RIP Guy Clark

There are some people who become type specimens.  They’re the folks who define the characteristics of the category of folks to whom they belong.  Guy Clark was — or rather, given what remains — continues to be the type specimen of the singer-songwriter.

Charles Pierce has already written his remembrance of this artist, who died today of what sounds like complications of a hard-lived, powerfully felt life:

He was a craftsman in all the best senses of the word–in the way he created his songs, and in the way he told his stories, and in the places the music took you…

That’s exactly right.  And yeah, go read the rest, and listen to Charlie’s picks of the Guy Clark songs that resonate for him.

For me?  Well, the first number I recall was his biggest mainstream hit, “L. A. Freeway” — which holds up OK, but isn’t what drew me back to Clark when I started listening to him with intent a few years ago.  This is the one that got me started, at a time (as I face again this year, dammit) when too many people that mattered in my life were dying on me:


This one got me next, and still does:*

And this is the one I think of on the day Guy Clark left us; he’s taken his place in the room he sings us into:

All of which is to say that Clark couldn’t have a good time. He loved a party** — just ask him:

The list goes on. The Hon. Pierce has it right: Clark was a meticulous song writer and a brilliant one (the two modifiers don’t describe the same quality). Dive in anywhere, and the worst you’ll get is fine fun. At his best….

Dammit — it’s been a crap year for musicians here in these United States.

I’ll leave you with one more favorite, one that captures the heart of what I love most about Clark — the way his music inhabits a story and vice versa:

Rest in peace, Guy Clark.

*And here’s a lagniappe.  Check out this tune, the one Clark sends us to in an homage and something of a statement — a recognition of the league in which Guy himself could play.

**In the old days, when it was Clark and Townes Van Zandt and some more bad boys and girls, I don’t think I could have come close to keeping up, had I had the amazing fortune to be in the right bar at the right time.  But that’s another story.  If you want to read up  on Mr. Clark — this is a fine and recent profile.

RIP Whisper, a Good Cat

My brother had to put down his cat, Whisper, whose brother Speak died several years ago.


She had terminal cancer. His cats, though domesticated, were almost feral near anyone but him, so whenever I would watch his cats for him, it was like a UFO spotting if you could get one of them to come near you for a very brief petting. They loved him, though, and she had the entire upstairs to his house as he blocked it off from the dogs. She slept on him every night, and loved him almost as much as he loved her.

If it had not been for Seth getting Speak and Whisper, I probably never would have gotten Tunch or now Steve. She’s buried in my parent’s backyard next to Speak, Mouse, and far too many other good pets.

Rest in Peace, Patty Duke

Wow, this sucks. Among my earliest memories are watching reruns of “The Patty Duke Show” with my mom when I was a kid. Mom was a big fan, and they were around the same age. Gone too soon.

RIP Gary Shandling

This really bites:

Comedian, actor, writer and producer Garry Shandling, known for “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” and “The Larry Sanders Show,” has died, TMZ reported on Thursday.

He died at an L.A. hospital on Thursday, according to the outlet. A cause of death has not been released. He was not known to be suffering from any illnesses, and just a few days ago retweeted Kathy Griffin’s photo of himself, her and Bob Odenkirk.

His was my style of comedy.

Rest in Peace: Former First Lady Nancy Reagan Dies at 94


First Lady Nancy Reagan has died at the age of 94.


According to The New York Times the cause was congestive heart failure.


She will be buried next to her husband at he Ronald Reagan Presidential library in Simi Valley, California.

* Image of young Nancy Davis from here.

** Image of Mrs. Reagan from here.

*** Image of Mrs. Reagan from here.

Friday Evening Open Thread

Rest in peace, Gayle McCormick of Smith. (Love the earlier version of that song by the Shirelles too.)

It’s a lovely evening here, so we’re hanging out at the tiki bar, having a glass of wine and watching the hens scavenge. We’ll throw something on the grill for dinner eventually. (Not a chicken!)

What are you up to? Open thread!

Justice Antonin Scalia Is Dead

Per MySanAntonio:

Associate Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead of apparent natural causes Saturday on a luxury resort in West Texas, federal officials said.

Scalia, 79, was a guest at the Cibolo Creek Ranch, a resort in the Big Bend region south of Marfa.

According to a report, Scalia arrived at the ranch on Friday and attended a private party with about 40 people. When he did not appear for breakfast, a person associated with the ranch went to his room and found a body…

I’m sad for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who considered him a friend.

Is it possible for President Obama to nominate Joe Biden as Scalia’s replacement? Yeah, I don’t think Joe wants the job either, but watching him Bugs-Bunny the GOP Fuds for the next nine months would be highly entertaining.

Second-best #outoffuckstogive candidate: Professor Anita Hill (whose nomination might have the salutatory side effect of killing Clarence Thomas, or at least causing him to resign before the spotlight caught him… because I know there’s a lot of voters under the age of 30 who don’t remember just how horribly Thomas and his defenders behaved back in 1991).