Dead Guys I Will Miss

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As an­other year comes to an end there is time for re­flec­tion and res­o­lu­tions, but for some folks this is a time of year for re­view. The 2015 lists have be­gun to ap­pear and there is one year end list that is al­ways dis­turb­ing and that is the list of celebri­ties who have passed on, bought the farm, cashed in their chips, breathed their last breath or in the most sim­plest of terms, died. It will hap­pen to ev­ery­one and has been called the great equal­izer but the loss of some folks seem to af­fect us more than oth­ers. There was one celebrity loss in 2015 that will definitely leave a hole on the “quotable quote” scene and that was in late Septem­ber when base­ball’s Yogi Berra was called up to the ul­ti­mate base­ball league in the heav­ens. I be­came a fan of Yogi Berra dur­ing the six­ties when I be­came a fan of Yogi Bear, who was a car­toon char­ac­ter named af­ter the diminu­tive New York Yan­kee’s all-star catcher. I was very im­pressed once, when as a man­ager for the New York Mets, Yogi (5’ 7”) ran out to ar­gue a call with a much taller um­pire and af­ter a short time of yelling at the ump’s chest was tossed from the game…af­ter some dirt was kicked, which be­came a clas­sic man­ager’s move. I was even more im­pressed when I be­gan to hear the Yogi quotes. I was quot­ing Yogi Berra with­out even know­ing it and I was quot­ing Yogi Bear as well, “Hey Boo Boo, let’s get our­selves a pick-in-nic bas­ket.” The Yogi Berra quote I most of­ten use is, “When you come to a fork in the road…take it!” but there are so many oth­ers I was not aware of that are to­tally Yogi-isms. When I or­der pizza for pickup or de­liv­ery I al­ways use the Yogi-ism, “You bet­ter cut the pizza in four pieces be­cause I am not hun­gry enough to eat six pieces.” For some rea­son, the pizza guy knows who is or­der­ing. An­other Yogi-ism that seems to ap­ply to most of my old timer’s hockey games is, “We made too many wrong mis­takes” but what might be his best quote is, “I never said half the things I said.” Rest in Peace Yogi. When I heard that Spock, or more ac­cu­rately Leonard Ni­moy the ac­tor who por­trayed Spock, had died last Fe­bru­ary the first thing I hon­estly won­dered was if the fu­neral cer­e­mony would be a Vul­can Cel­e­bra­tion. The sec­ond thing I thought of was, if there was a fu­neral home that had ser­vices in Vul­can, would it be proper to wear Star Trek uni­forms. Af­ter por­tray­ing the same char­ac­ter for al­most 50 years and a few oth­ers in be­tween it is log­i­cal to con­fuse the real with the fic­tional. It is also log­i­cal that a log­i­cal char­ac­ter that has had so much in­flu­ence in en­ter­tain­ing us science fic­tion fans would log­i­cally be missed. Logic was Spock’s forte, and I would like to think that there are oth­ers out there that like my­self that will ap­proach a prob­lem with the thought, “What would Spock do?” When the so­lu­tion I have log­i­cally ar­rived at to solve a prob­lem will not have the de­sired ef­fect, I of­ten hear a lit­tle voice in my head say­ing, “That was il­log­i­cal” and that lit­tle voice sounds like Spock or rather Leonard Ni­moy. I have adopted and changed Spock’s Vul­can farewell of, “Live long and pros­per” to a more hippy-er greet­ing for Christ­mas, birth­day and re­tire­ment cards by adding the phrase, “in peace and har­mony.” “Spock to Scotty…Please beam me aboard one last time.” My heart was heavy and filled with the blues ever since May when BB King passed on af­ter a long and pro­lific ca­reer as a Rhythm and Blues guitarist. Just not any Rhythm and Blues guitarist but one of the most in­flu­en­tial gui­tarists of all time with a rank­ing by Rolling Stone Mag­a­zine of top 50 gui­tarists of all time. BB King’s sig­na­ture song, Grammy Award win­ning “The Thrill Is Gone” is rated at 183 of the top 500 hits of all time and is a song I would like to have with me if I were to be stranded on a desert is­land, or is that a dessert is­land. I of­ten try to im­i­tate BB’s string bend­ing vi­brato style and have even gone as far as own­ing a copy of his fa­mous Gib­son ES355 gui­tar he named “Lu­cille,” but it has not help me play like the “Mayor of Bluesville.” Af­ter win­ning just about ev­ery award in the world ex­cept the No­bel Peace Prize, BB King will missed and “Lu­cille” just be­came a col­lec­tor’s item. I won­der if his es­tate will trade her for this ac­cor­dion I have in my closet? Th­ese men are gone now but I can only hope to be as log­i­cal as Spock, as com­i­cal as Yogi and be as cre­ative as BB.

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