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R.I.P. Stephen Hawking (1942-2018) March 14, 2018

Posted by jkahane in news, obituary, science hut.
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Very sad news in the world of science today.

Visionary Physicist Stephen Hawking Dead at 76

The amazing Stephen Hawking has died. I can’t honestly say that I know all that much about Stephen Hawking, other than the stuff that is publicly available about him, but his seminal work, A Brief History of Time, is one of those works that everyone knows about and that has had a profound influence on me in my science tastes and flavours. Known for many books, Hawking’s work has not only had a profound influence on various physical sciences, but he also was the major reason that so many of our scientists today became interested in science in the first place. I can also say that he influenced my interest in astrophysics, quantum physics, time travel and several other sciences as well.

And now, he’s gone.

Rest In Peace, Dr. Hawking. You lived longer than everyone (including you) expected to live, and you lived an exceptional life and contrbuted not only to the sciences but to being human as well.

And for those of us who survive you in the world:

“Remember to look up at the stars.”


A Death in the (Gaming) Family February 15, 2018

Posted by jkahane in grocery shopping, health hut, in memorium, life, personal, tragedy.
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It has been a very difficult day for me today, as well as for the Friday night gaming group.

When I woke up this morning, I learned from Stephanie, DavidM’s wife, that DavidM had died at 3:45 am this morning of congestive heart failure as a complication/consequence of his having a very severe case of the flu that’s going around. David had been ill for over two weeks now, and had progressively got worse to the point where he’d been admitted to the hospital a week ago today. I’m saddened by his loss, and can’t even begin to imagine or feel how his wife and family are right now.

I’ve been sort of dysfunctional for most of the day, in a state of shock for the most part (I guess), and haven’t really accomplished anything at all today other than a bit of banking and grocery shopping I needed to get done.

I’d been gaming with DavidM for several years now, and had come to really like him. His personality was sparkling, he loved his wife and two children, ages 14 and 19, fiercely, and enjoyed what he did for a living. His loss leaves a terrible void in the lives of both his family and his friends, and I still can’t believe he’s gone.

A tragedy. A horrible day for all concerned.

R.I.P. Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018) January 24, 2018

Posted by jkahane in book hut, obituary, personal, reading hut, science fiction & fantasy.
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I heard about this yesterday, but needed to take some time before I could write the words.

Terrible, sad news in the world of science fiction and fantasy literature.

Ursula K. Le Guin, Acclaimed for Her Fantasy Fiction, Is Dead at 88

Over the 40+ years that I’ve been reading fantasy and science fiction, I’ve been a fan of Ursula K. Le Guin‘s books and works and her incredibly rich imagination and ability to…well, *write*. While I was introduced to the sf field with works by Asimov and the greats of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, my earliest fantasy reading was Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea. I may have always lived in other fantasy and science fiction worlds, but I consider Earthsea to be…home.

While I loved and enjoyed the Earthsea stories in my youth and teens, I came to adore her science fiction (The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed, The Word for World Is Forest, and the rest of the Hainish Cycle), but also some of the lesser known works like Rocannon’s World, The Lathe of Heaven and others. The real joy for me as I came to adulthood was I saw in Le Guin’s works her use of the creative flexibility of the science fiction and fantasy genres to undertake thorough explorations of both social and psychological identity and of broader cultural and social structures. In doing so, she draws on sociology, anthropology and psychology. And Goddess, but did she know language and words! Much of her writing is an abject lesson on how to write, and she did it with aplomb.

What can I say? I know…

It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.”

Rest In Peace, UKL. The words are silent now – but they will live on, forever. I am glad that we have all of your writings to savour from now until the end of time.

R.I.P. Brian Aldiss (1925-2017) August 22, 2017

Posted by jkahane in book hut, in memorium, reading hut, science fiction & fantasy.
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I came home yesterday from GenCon Indy 2017, and learned during the day that author Brian Aldiss had died.

Author Brian Aldiss Dies at the Age of 92

I discovered Brian Aldiss’s writing in 1967 or so, when I was 15, the first novel of his that I read being Hothouse (1962), and soon started to devour as much of his work as I could find over the years. He was a master of the genre, writing many intriguing books and lots of shorter fiction that was just…tremendous.

His loss is a terrible and sad one for the science fiction, fantasy, and horror community.

Rest In Peace, oh Grandmaster of the SFWA.

R.I.P. Deborah Watling (1948-2017) July 21, 2017

Posted by jkahane in in memorium, obituary, tv hut.
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Sad news in the world of Doctor Who.

Deborah Watling has died. The actress played companion Victoria Waterfield during the Patrick Troughton era of the show

Deborah Watling, Doctor Who Companion, Dies at 69

I really only knew Deborah Watling through her work on Doctor Who, where she took on the role of Victoria Waterfield from “The Evil of the Daleks” (1967) through “Fury From the Deep” (1968). After leaving the show, she appeared in numerous TV roles including Danger UXB (1979), Rising Damp: Hello Young Lovers (1978), and Doctor in Charge (1972) as well as doing a lot of work in the theatre.

My favourite moment with Victoria from the Second Doctor’s period is this bit from “The Tomb of the Cybermen”:

Rest In Piece, Deborah. Your memory will live on when I close my eyes. Goodbye.

R.I.P. Martin Landau (1928-2017) July 17, 2017

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I heard this morning that actor Martin Landau died yesterday.

Oscar-winning Actor Martin Landau Dies at 89

Actor Martin Landau has over 177 acting credits to his name, but to be honest, I remember him best as Rollin Hand from Mission Impossible (1966-1969) and Commander John Koenig from Space: 1999 (1975-1977). I saw him in various other roles over the years, but these two were the most memorable for me, to be honest, and I loved his performance in these roles very much. Another of his memorable roles came in his Oscar-winning performance as Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood (1994).

Rest In Peace, Martin Landau. Moonbase Alpha salutes you.

R.I.P. Stephen Furst (1955-2017) June 17, 2017

Posted by jkahane in babylon 5, news, obituary, tv hut.
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Sad news in the entertainment industry once more today, especially for fans of the Babylon 5 tv series and movies.

Animal House Actor, Stephen Furst, Dead at 63

Actor Stephen Furst, has died of complications of diabetes. He was 63. While many knew him best as Flounder in Animal House (1978), I was better acquainted with the actor through his role as Dr. Axelrod in St. Elsewhere (1982-1988) and his role as Vir Cotto on Babylon 5, though he also had a myriad of roles in other tv shows, movies, and the like.

R.I.P. Stephen Furst. A toast to absent friends, in memory still bright. Farewell, on behalf of a grateful Centauri Republic. May you sleep in light.

R.I.P. Adam West (1928-2017) June 10, 2017

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I was saddened to hear the news that actor Adam West died today.

Adam West, TV’s Batman, Dies at 88

Best known for his role as Batman in the campy 1960s series, Adam West appeared in quite a few other roles and productions over the years.

Rest In Peace, Mr. West. Time to doff the old cape ‘n cowl for good this time.

Happy Birthday, O First Commander of Babylon 5 May 6, 2017

Posted by jkahane in babylon 5, birthday, tv hut.
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Today is Michael O’Hare’s birthday.

Well, it would have been…but the actor sadly passed away on September 28th, 2012 (at the age of 60) after having a heart attack and then going into a coma before he died.

Michael O’Hare was born in Chicago, Illinois, attended Harvard University (where he majored in English literature), and studied at the prestigious Juilliard School of Drama. While he appeared on a range of television shows (from Trapper John, MD to The Cosby Mysteries), he is best known for his casting in Babylon 5 as Commander Jeffrey Sinclair.

A lot of folks didn’t like the character of Commander Sinclair or the actor’s portrayal of the role, finding it wooden and one-dimensional, but I was of the opinion (shared by some) that this portrayal of Commander Sinclair was deliberate and pre-planned. I loved Commander Sinclair, and Michael O’Hare’s portrayal of him!, and was sad that he exited the series (though the reasons for his doing so were only revealed after the actor’s death).

In his memory, I’ll just wrap this up with my two quotes from Commander Jeffrey Sinclair:

“Sooner or later everyone comes to Babylon 5.”

“All my life I’ve had doubts about who I am, where I belonged. Now I’m like the arrow that springs from the bow. No hesitation, no doubts. The path is clear.”

Rest In Peace, Michael O’Hare. You are missed.

R.I.P. Chuck Berry (1926-2017) March 19, 2017

Posted by jkahane in in memorium, music, music hut, obituary.
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Terribly sad news in the music industry. (Heard about it a couple of hours after yesterday.)

Rock ‘n roll musician and legend Chuck Berry has died. 😦

Rock ‘n Roll Legend Chuck Berry Dies at 90

Chuck Berry, Rock ‘n’ Roll Pioneer, Dead at 90

I’ve been listening to rock ‘n roll for most of my life, to be honest, and this news was both saddening and shocking to me for various reasons that I’m not going into here. Chuck Berry was one of, if not, rock’s greatest practitioners, guitarists, and the best pure rock ‘n roll writer who ever lived. He’s going to be sorely missed.

Here’s the iconic song from 1958.