April 24, 2008

April 24 | A Death A Day

September 1, 2007 - April 24, 2008: Age 8 months

My reasons for starting this blog were curiosity, and a sense of exploration and inspiration. After 239 entries those feelings are much diminished in relation to the project, and writing the next day's death is becoming a chore rather than a pleasure. I can always find people that interest me, but it has become harder and harder to find deaths that interest me.

Thus I'm going to let this go. It was originally intended as a one-year project, but I see no reason to carry through with that intention given my decreasing enthusiasm.

The success of the blog has surprised me. It gets more than 1,300 page loads by about 800 unique visitors a week. I think the secret to these numbers is this: I mention a lot of famous people. So I get a lot of one-time fly-by visits from people curious about Audrey Mestre, or Mao Tse-Tung, the Collyer brothers, etc. But there are regular visitors too; far fewer, a dozen or two come by each day.

The entries that are already here will stand indefinitely, unless I decide one day to delete the blog, so it will continue to get visitors. But to those of you who have been following the daily entries, or just dropping in from time to time, it's been nice feeling the mysterious connection of blogger and reader, so thanks for your interest. All the best for the future.

And here's my last word! Enjoy!

April 23, 2008

April 23 | Rupert Brooke

August 3, 1887 - April 23, 1915: Age 27

Rupert Brooke was a British poet famous for his sonnets about The Great War, and to a lesser extent for being a good-looking bisexual.

His most famous sonnet, The Soldier, is rather idealistic and contrasts with the bitter nature of the work of poets like Wilfred Owen. It is quoted a lot by people who want to celebrate the "supreme sacrifice" of a young man dying in combat. Weirdly enough, although Brooke died in 1915, it was not combat: like George Herbert, he died of an infected mosquito bite. He was on his way to a battle at Gallipoli. His friend William Brown was with him:
"...I sat with Rupert. At 4 o’clock he became weaker, and at 4.46 he died, with the sun shining all round his cabin, and the cool sea-breeze blowing through the door and the shaded windows. No one could have wished for a quieter or a calmer end than in that lovely bay, shielded by the mountains and fragrant with sage and thyme."

He was buried in an olive grove on the Greek island of Skyros. The text of The Soldier is included below. It was part of a series of poems entitled 1914.

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

Source: Wikipedia

April 22, 2008

April 22 | Linda Boreman

January 10, 1949 – April 22, 2002: Age 53

Linda Boreman, a.k.a. Linda Lovelace, was the star of the most successful porn movie of all time. Deep Throat cost about $25,000 to make in 1972 (the $1,250 paid to Boreman was retained by her husband. The movie made an estimated $600 million at the box office. In her four (four?!?) autobiographies, Boreman maintained that she was forced into prostitution and porn movies by her sadistic and controlling husband. Although some of the facts are in dispute, much of her story has been backed up by the other people involved.

In April 2002 Boreman rolled her car, suffering trauma and internal injuries. She survived about 2.5 weeks but did not regain consciousness. She was taken off life support and died on April 22.

Source: Wikipedia