Sunday seems like the best day for this feature, but is also the laziest day of the week. Today I am going to resolve this tension by the doing the minimum amount of work that allows me to post something, so I can feel better about myself while wasting four hours watching a stupid football game.
Burt Bacharach died this week and my initial reaction was, well, he’s a legend and all, but that’s not really my area. Then I was reminded that he (and his partner Hal David) had written “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head,” which is probably the first song I remember hearing as a wee, wee lad. I had no idea it was from Butch Cassidy then (or for many years), and even now I can’t put much of a context to this song, or even say definitively whether I really like it or not. It’s beyond that, among the deepest-seeded imprints that I could never shake off even if I wanted to.
Also reaching the end of the road1this month: the Boeing 747, which debuted in 1968, right around the same time as “Raindrops.” Back then traveling by airplane was something people actually enjoyed doing; in a eulogy of sorts for the 747, The New York Times says:
The four-engine airplane was much larger than any other and could fit hundreds of people in rows with up to 10 seats across. The upper deck, reachable by a spiral staircase, hosted a luxurious lounge. American Airlines had a piano bar installed in the main cabin.
Nowadays such luxuries are reserved for the private jets of billionaires; the rest of us are happy for a seat that reclines three inches. The 747 won’t go away for awhile, as there are many still in service, especially in Japan. But the last one left the factory at the end of January, so the end is in sight.
And since I like to follow the Rule of Threes, here’s an obit that caught my eye among the small ones.
Talk about doing the minimum: The actual content there is all of two words, and they are clearly lies. A person who was “dearly loved” wouldn’t have gotten the shortest possible obit with a picture that looks like it had flying monkeys cropped out of it. Looking for context, I found a longer writeup on legacy.com, which provides more information:
Margaret Connolly Hoffman, age 94, of Bellport, NY passed away peacefully in her sleep on Saturday, January 28, 2023. “Peg” or “Peggy” was preceded one week in death by her beloved youngest sister Mary Lane Connolly Cairns of Marblehead, MA. As one of four daughters of Eugene T. and Eloise L. Connolly of Marblehead, Margaret was known for her wry sense of humor, her beauty, and her athletic prowess in diving and sailing at the Pleon and Eastern Yacht Clubs in Marblehead, MA….
She was known for her personal generosity and her great love of family. She is survived by her sons Ned, Tim, Derek, and Jon, eight grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her older sisters Barbara Connolly Guild and Ellen Connolly; and tragically, by her smart, beautiful daughter, Holly, next to whom she will be interred in Beverly Farms cemetery, Beverly, MA. She is also survived by her brother Eugene T. Connolly of New Haven, CT, and a large number of adoring nieces and nephews.
But that does nothing to explain the hostility embodied by the above clipping. She must have pissed somebody off, who knows how or why. A more flattering picture appears in the legacy.com obit; and since it dovetails nicely with mentions of the 747, let’s leave off there for now.
Burt Bacharach: “Walk On By” sung by Dionne Warwick. “The Look Of Love” sung by Dusty Springfield. “My Little Red Book” sung by Arthur Lee of Love.
Pop music does not get any better than those.
I think Peggy looks beautiful in both pictures. Amazing form in the dive.
I would be honored to have you write my obit, if I ever die.