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Good Fences

earl_hindman.jpg

Earl Hindman, 61, the Neighbor Unseen on `Home Improvement,' Is Dead
By WOLFGANG SAXON

Earl Hindman, the actor known to millions as the odd neighbor barely seen as he peeks over the backyard fence in the long-running television situation comedy "Home Improvement," died yesterday at Stamford Hospital in Connecticut. A Stamford resident, he was 61.

The cause was lung cancer, said his wife, the Rev. Molly P. McGreevy.

Mr. Hindman played Wilson from next door, imparting bits of wisdom about life to Tim Taylor, the embattled main character who knows how to improve other people's houses but not his own home. Viewers heard Wilson's advice but were left to wonder if they would ever get to see more of him. The show, a hit for ABC through the 1990's, continues to be seen nationally in syndication.

A lean, lanky character actor, Mr. Hindman started his versatile career on stage and appeared in films, television series and specials for more than 30 years. Before "Home Improvement," he was Detective Lt. Bob Reid for 16 years on the ABC daytime drama "Ryan's Hope," until it ended its run in 1989.

Earl Hindman was born in Bisbee, Ariz., and started acting in high school. He studied it at the University of Arizona in Tucson before setting out for New York. He worked both on and off Broadway and in regional theater before breaking through with his Off-Broadway role as Marvin Hudgins in "Dark of the Moon" in 1970. A year later he was in the original production of "The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel" by David Rabe at the Public Theater.

He made his first movie in 1969 and continued to mix films, television and the stage. His films included "The Ballad of the Sad Cafe" (1991) and, most recently, "Final" (2001).

Besides his wife of 27 years, Mr. Hindman is survived by his mother, Eula Hindman, and a brother, Ray, both of Tucson; and a sister, Anna Dean Shields of Payson, Ariz.

His wife said he finished shooting his last short feature, "Beautiful Summer," in June. Meant for independent or public television, it showed him as a crabbed old fisherman, hallucinating and in the end drowning, she said.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

Mahant Ramchandra Paramhans

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One thing I love about reading obituaries is because of patterns. Here's a pattern: real estate ownership issues can be really thorny. Think Western Wall / Temple Mount. Or any civic zoning dispute. That stuff I'm familiar with. But by reading the Times of India, I am able to read about what appears to be a pretty intense land dispute that has a timeline going back to 800,000 B.C. And have no idea what the hell they're talking about.

Mahant Ramchandra Paramhans

Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas president Mahant Ramchandra Paramhans ensured that the Ram temple agitation never went out of hand and acted as a bridge between the radicals in the movement and the government. He was responsible for the installation of the idols at the disputed site in 1949 and gave the Central government a breather in 2002 through his Siladaan programme. Paramhans breathed his last on July 31.

Lesson Learned: George Elliott

fish.gif Reading the obituaries has given me countless of unplanned, uncontrollable, unpredictable lessons born from the lives of those who died yesterday. Today, we get an old lesson:

If it smells like a fish, and looks like a fish, and feels like a fish, it really could be a fish.

George Elliott, 85, Dies; Warned of Planes Nearing Pearl Harbor By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla., Dec. 24George E. Elliott Jr., an Army radar operator whose warnings about aircraft approaching Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, went unheeded, died here on Saturday. He was 85.

The cause was complications of a stroke, his family said.

Mr. Elliott, then an Army private, detected the incoming Japanese aircraft and issued a warning that was brushed aside. An hour later, enemy planes reached the Navy fleet.

A 50-year anniversary article by The Associated Press told how Mr. Elliott and another private, Joseph L. Lockard, had been on duty since 4 a.m. at Kahuku Point on the northern tip of Oahu, Hawaii, familiarizing themselves with the new radar system.

Just after 7 a.m., Mr. Elliott saw "something completely out of the ordinary" on the screen: a huge blip, due north, 137 miles out. The information was relayed to headquarters, and the operators were told it was a flight of B-17 Flying Fortresses from California.

They kept tracking for practice, and the blip grew so large that Mr. Lockard figured the radar set was broken. They turned it off at 7:45, after the blip disappeared behind Oahu's mountains.

About 10 minutes later, the first bombs were falling on Pearl Harbor.

Mr. Elliott served in the Army until 1945, then worked for New Jersey Bell Telephone for 33 years before retiring.

Survivors include a son, Tom, and a brother, Clarence, of Port Charlotte.

Cheerocracy

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From the prescient film, "Bring It On"

--DXO

This is not a democracy, it's a cheerocracy.

Paul Bremer's First Words on the Capture of Saddam Hussein

BREMER: Ladies and gentlemen, we got him.

President George W. Bush on International Law

Chancellor Schroederplays a mean piano

Here's our president answering a question at the White House yesterday:

--DXO

Q Sir, Chancellor Schroeder says international law must apply in this case. What's you're understanding of the law?

THE PRESIDENT: International law? I better call my lawyer; he didn't bring that up to me. I asked President Chirac and Chancellor Schroeder and President Putin to see Jim Baker, to talk about debt restructuring. If these countries want to participate in helping the world become more secure by enabling Iraq to emerge as a free and peaceful country, one way to contribute is through debt restructuring. And so Jim Baker, with the consent of the Secretary of State, is going to go over and talk to these leaders about that. But I don't know what you're talking about, about international law. I've got to consult my lawyer.

God Bless Paul Simon

a good man!

He fought the Republicans tooth & nail in 1984, and won. They thought he was soft. They were wrong.

Nixon on Reagan

Here's a second take on recently-unearthed text from Nixon and Haldeman on the still-living Ronald Reagan.

-DXO

December 11, 2003
Tapes Show Nixon Was No Reagan Fan
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

COLLEGE PARK, Md., Dec. 10 — President Richard M. Nixon was unimpressed by Ronald Reagan, a fellow California Republican, whom he called "strange" and not "pleasant to be around," newly released White House tapes show.

Talking politics with his chief of staff, H. R. Haldeman, at the presidential retreat at Camp David, Md., in August 1972, Mr. Nixon turned the conversation to two Republican governors: Mr. Reagan, and Nelson A. Rockefeller of New York. Both had tried for the 1968 Republican presidential nomination, won by Mr. Nixon.

"Reagan is not one that wears well," the president said.

"I know," Mr. Haldeman agreed.

"On a personal basis," Mr. Nixon continued, "Rockefeller is a pretty nice guy. Reagan on a personal basis is terrible. He just isn't pleasant to be around."

"No, he isn't," Mr. Haldeman said.

"Maybe he's different with others," Mr. Nixon said.

"No," Mr. Haldeman said.

"No," the president replied, "he's just an uncomfortable man to be around, strange."

The conversations are part of 240 hours of audiotape recordings from the Nixon administration that were released on Wednesday by the National Archives center here. Covering July through October 1972, the tapes are the 10th batch of Nixon recordings, totaling 2,109 hours, that the agency has released since 1980.

Syria Lesson

Sometimes an obituary will startle me slightly, shake me out of silly conceptions and lazy thinking. Before I read Daniel Nehme's obituary, the nature of the Syrian political and educational systems-- the number of political parties, the existence of law degrees, the apparent ability to be known as a Communist, never occurred to me. Now, I can imagine that, just like everywhere else, the parties were a sham, the law degrees available mainly to the rich and favored, the Communists weren't really Communists, and so on. But in these short paragraphs I saw more than I had before. It's a big world out there, people.

Daniel Nehme, prominent politician and Communist, dies at 78
Sunday, December 7, 2003

(12-07) 19:47 PST DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) --
Daniel Nehme, a member of the central leadership of Syria's ruling political coalition, has died at age 78, the official Syrian Arab News Agency said Sunday.

SANA said Nehme, appointed a leading member of the National Progressive Front in 1972, died late Saturday from a heart ailment at the Shifaa hospital in Damascus.

The National Progressive Front is made up of seven political parties, including the Baath Party of President Bashar Assad. Nehme was also a member of the politburo of Syria's Communist Party.

Nehme joined the Communist Party in 1944. A year later, he graduated from Damascus University and began practicing law in the Mediterranean port city of Latakia. As a communist, he was jailed several times, once for three years of hard labor starting in 1951.

He had also worked as the editor-in-chief of the Communist Party's al-Nour magazine.

Nehme will be buried on Monday in Mashtal Hilo village near Tartous, some 144 miles northwest of Damascus. He is survived by his wife, Nadima Yassouf, their four sons and two daughters.

©2003 Associated Press

OopsaDaisy

The New York Times had to issue a rare correction today-- Katharine Sergava is not dead.

ABOUT ME

Daniel X. O'Neil: Chicago-based writer and internet developer. I am a co-founder of and the People Person for EveryBlock, a site that pulls together local news and public information. I run dozens of personal projects and websites for clients, and also own half of a poetry book company.

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