The celebrated Australian author Colleen McCullough, probably best known for The Thorn Birds, has died at 77. McCullough's contribution to writing contributed well after her most famous book and she will be sadly missed. What has caused ire has been the way that her obituary was written in the Australian national newspaper, The Australian, where the second line refers to her physical beauty and weight. The Guardian compares this with other obituaries of people who do not have to be classified by weight or beauty or, as you would know them, men.
"Maria Ridulph was 7 when she was kidnapped from a street corner in Sycamore, Illinois, on December 3, 1957. Her kidnapping and murder is the nation's oldest cold case to go to trial. It required family members to turn against one of their own and haunted a small town for 55 years. Even now, the case may not be over." CNN: Taken: The Coldest Case Ever Solved [more inside]
Web artifact made of solid gold CELEBRITY LECTURES SERIES from Michigan State University. Ten years worth of lectures were posted in 1998. They are all still there-- awaiting your return. Edward Albee ,Isabel Allende, Maya Angelou, Margaret Atwood, Pat Conroy, Jacques d'Amboise, E.L. Doctorow, Richard Ford, Carlos Fuentes, David Halberstam, Joseph Heller, John Irving, Judith Jamison, William Kennedy, Norman Mailer, David McCullough, Terry McMillan, Arthur Miller, Joyce Carol Oates, Philip Roth, Jane Smiley, Susan Sontag, Amy Tan, Paul Theroux, John Updike,Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Derek Walcott, Garry Wills, August Wilson and Tom Wolfe. I listened to the Vonnegut lecture. Imagine-- a whole hour and a half (Well, I skipped the first 9 minutes of introductions.) with my favorite author wheezing and sputtering. How refreshing to hear him declaim in his own voice and reveal the happiest day of his life and his own favorite from among his works -"The Sirens of Titan".