Those are people who died, died…They were all my friends, and they died.


Those are lyrics from Jim Carroll’s seminal 1980 punk anthem, People Who Died.  This week, Jim Carroll, who also wrote The Basketball Diaries, passed away, along with a man who NEVER puts Bebe in a corner, Patrick Swayze, as well as Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary fame.

They all were important to me in various ways, J. Carroll because Basketball Diaries – book not movie, sorry Leo – is absolutely terrific, possibly the best writing done by a teenager since Rimbaud; Swayze not for Dirty Dancing or Ghost, but for Roadhouse, which I watched at least ten times in college because it’s packed with sex and violence; and Mary Travers simply because my mom is a huge folkie so I grew up listening to her.


It’s weird how it always seems to happen in threes…Ted Kennedy, Les Paul, John Hughes.  Before that, Michael Jackson, Suzanne Sommers (whoops, Farrah Fawcett!), Ed McMahon.

But then again, if you throw in Walter Cronkite (July 17),  David Carradine (June 4), Bea Arthur (April 25) and Natasha Richardson (March 18), there’s always someone leaving us.  Makes you realize how short life is, and also how silly it is to fixate on so much of the dumb stuff we do, such as reality TV, thinking Obama is Stalin and Hitler’s love child, and what stupid thing Kanye West did this week.

Although, as to the last, it actually made my day.  What a…



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