exordia

"How are we to help those who die and those who have died?" --
Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

"By writing or reading obituaries,
we can discover ways to make our time on earth more worthwhile, more productive, more meaningful to others." -- Alana Baranick, "Life on the Death Beat"

"'I always read the obituaries in The Times,' I explained to her. 'They make me bloody glad to be alive.'" -- John Mortimer, "Rumpole's Return"

Be prepared: BBC practices for death of Queen Elizabeth II

Well, here's a bizarre story. Evidently, when the Queen Mother died on March 30, 2002, the BBC was roundly criticized for the fact that the newsman announcing her death was wearing a gray suit and a burgundy tie at the time. This was perceived as being intensely disrespectful. De rigeur for Elizabeth II's inevitable death announcement: dark suit, black tie, white shirt. (Also learned a new British-English folk expression meaning to die via a comment on this story -- "pop her clogs." Lovely.) Let us hope that all decorum is observed when it is time to deliver the obsequies. And such. Via the Daily Mail.

Rose Robertson

World War II espionage agent and gay rights activist -- via the Guardian.

Arnaucuaq aka Maryann Sundown

Yup'ik dance diva -- via the Anchorage Daily News.

Maryann Sundown 2011 from Dean Swope on Vimeo.

Antonio Cassese

Expert in international criminal law and supporter of human rights -- via the New York Times.

John McCarthy

Computer scientist -- via the New York Times. He coined the concept and phrase "artificial intelligence."

Liviu Ciulei

Theater and film director -- via the New York Times.