On Wednesday, William Van Poyck was executed
by the state of Florida for murdering a prison guard during a botched 1987 attempt to free an imprisoned friend. Poyck spent 25 years in solitary confinement on death row, during which time he wrote to his sister about his life in prison. Since 2005 she has published those letters to a blog called Death Row Diary
. 'Poyck used to write about everything from the novels and history books he was reading and shows he watched on PBS to the state of the world and his own philosophy of life – punctuated by news of the deaths of those around him, from illness, suicide, and execution.' Excerpts
. His final letter.
posted by zarq
on Jun 13, 2013 -
"Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice — pull down your pants, and slide on the ice." - Dr. Sidney Freedman, M*A*S*H.
Allan Arbus, actor, photographer, and amateur clarinetist, passed away last Friday
. He was 95. [more inside]
posted by heyho
on Apr 25, 2013 -
In 1974, Leon Leyson was one of a group of Jews who greeted Oskar Schindler when he visited Los Angeles. It was the first time the two had seen each other since the war. He began to introduce himself, but Schindler interrupted: "I know who you are," Schindler said, grinning at the middle-aged man before him. "You're Little Leyson." On Sunday, the youngest name on Schindler's List passed away at the age of 83.
"The truth is, I did not live my life in the shadow of the Holocaust," he told the Portland Oregonian in 1997. "I did not give my children a legacy of fear. I gave them a legacy of freedom." [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jan 14, 2013 -
Young Edd Gould
always enjoyed drawing comics of himself and his friends. Growing up in the internet age, his doodles
evolved into Flash animations of increasing complexity, and in time Edd and pals Tom Ridgewell
and Matt Hargreaves teamed up to produce an "Eddsworld"
series of online webtoons and comics
At first crude and halting, the group's "eddisodes"
progressed from surreal shorts
into full-fledged productions that pushed the boundaries of amateur web animation, with expressive characters
, full soundtracks
, complex effects, and a fast-paced, off-kilter sense of humor: MovieMakers
- Rock Bottom
- Hammer & Fail
At its height, the college co-op was producing shorts for Mitchell & Webb
and the UN Climate Change Conference
, fielding offers
from Paramount and Cartoon Network, and racking up millions of hits on YouTube
Work slowed, however, when Gould was diagnosed with leukemia
-- a relatively survivable form, though, and Gould carried on working gamely
through his hospital stays. So it came as a shock last week when Matt and Tom announced that Edd had passed away
, prompting an outpouring
in his short 23 years.
posted by Rhaomi
on Apr 2, 2012 -
Growing up, she was a beloved celebrity in her home country. Thousands of girls were named after her. So was a bestselling perfume
. But Josef Stalin's "Little Sparrow," his only daughter, (born Svetlana Stalina) defected to the United States in 1967. Upon arriving in New York, she promptly held a press conference
that surprised the world, denouncing her father's regime. Svetlana
became a naturalized US citizen, moved to Taliesin West, married an American, changed her name to Lana Peters, then returned to the Soviet Union in 1984, declaring
that she had not been free "for one single day" in the U.S., only to once again
return to America in 1986. She lived out her remaining days in a small town in Wisconsin
. Mrs. Peters passed away
from colon cancer on November 22nd, at the age of 85. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Nov 28, 2011 -
"For the progress of humanity, work alone is not adequate, but the work should be associated with love, compassion, right conduct, truthfulness and sympathy. Without the above qualities, selfless service cannot be performed."
On Sunday morning
, Indian guru Sri Sathya Sai Baba passed away.
He leaves behind a massive empire
, several million mourning devotees worldwide,
an extensive religious philosophy
, a great deal of controversy
and a legacy of large-scale philanthropic projects in India, including free hospitals and mobile medical facilities
, a free university and schools,
and other efforts which included supplying clean water
to hundreds of rural villages. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Apr 25, 2011 -
passed away today. She was the most well known and influential composer of Jewish music and litergy in the United States. The Jerusalem Post says
that "Friedman’s music is performed in synagogues around the world more than that of any other modern composer."
Her most well known song is a setting of Mi Shebeirach
, a prayer for healing.
posted by kdern
on Jan 9, 2011 -
British actor Pete Postlethwaite has died
at the age of 64, after a lengthy battle with cancer. A renowned veteran of the Royal Shakespeare Company (he held the leading roles in both The Tempest
and 2009's King Lear
among others), Postlethwaite is perhaps best known worldwide for his roles in The Usual Suspects
), The Constant Gardener
and The Lost World: Jurassic Park
. Steven Spielberg supposedly described him as "the best actor in the world", although Postlethwaite himself often denied this
posted by fight or flight
on Jan 3, 2011 -
Nate Neilson is a name that is not only unfamiliar to most people, it's unfamiliar to many of his biggest fans. That's because he went by the nom-de-brick
". Neilson was a huge presence in the online Lego community, regularly putting out amazing
and unique Lego creations
on a regular basis, including entire building genres
He was also the driving force behind Novvember
, a month-long celebration of the "Vic Viper" (from the videogame "Gradius") in which he and others "riffed" on a basic central design to see how many interesting variations on it they could make
Sadly, Neilson passed away recently following an automobile accident. Many of his online fans only learned this way of his real name, his job as a stay-at-home-Dad with two sons, and his other artistic outlet
. He was a huge presence in the online Lego community, and he will be greatly missed.
There is a fine eulogy for him (along with an overview of his work and influence) over at the premiere Lego site, The Brothers Brick
(And yes, his icon was a Lego rubber band holder
posted by Legomancer
on Apr 14, 2010 -
Girl, Interrupted: The Life and Death of Brittany Murphy
"Part of the shock surrounding Murphy's death is clearly related to her age, though it may also be attributed to the fact that Murphy has been in the public eye for over 15 years, starting out in Hollywood when she was 14... It's something we've watched progress this entire decade: young women who are held up as the next big thing (Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears) and then brushed aside or openly mocked after they no longer fit an expected mold. It is both a story of self-destruction and mass-destruction, the business of creating and destroying a star; sometimes it's caused by internal forces, and sometimes it's fed by the rest of the world."
posted by ocherdraco
on Dec 20, 2009 -
Alison Des Forges,
American historian of Africa, MacArthur genius
and top human-rights advocate
, was an impassioned observer of the Rwandan genocide
the United States and United Nations to intervene in the killings, saving
some Rwandans from certain death, and later writing one of the definitive histories of the events, "Leave none to tell the story
". She testified at hundreds of trials and inquiries resulting from the genocide. Last night, she perished
aboard Flight 3407. "Her death is a devastating blow," said the president of Human Rights Watch, where she worked as an advisor. "She epitomized the human rights activist — principled, dispassionate, committed to the truth and to using that truth to protect ordinary people."
posted by docgonzo
on Feb 13, 2009 -