Two notable (but archival) Hiroshima Day deaths
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2021-08-07 05:58:37 UTC
Well, there sure WERE a big bunch of wartime fatalities in a certain southern Japan city sometime during the minute of 8:14 am local time on Monday, the 6th of August 1945.

But this posting is NOT about them or their unfortunate fates. Rather, it concerns two people who ALSO each died on August 6th, one in 2009 (a man whom I never met), and then another in 2015 (a woman whom I, uh, much more than merely met).

The former individual was the late John Hughes, an inventive filmmaker who of course was the creative force behind a number of films now considered cult favorites, including "Sixteen Candles".

The brief essay linked below was e-published upon Hughes's unexpected Summer 2009 death while still a vigorous man at 59 (the same age, you may recall Clark Gable, Juliet Prowse and Albert Grossman each merely reached).

My word-dense prose therein not only hammers home--on an anvil, one might even say!--a vital if lethal point I believe we had ALL best be forever keep in mind, but ALSO highlights a downright fascinating factual aspect of capital punishment as practiced in (of ALL places for this Hiroshima Day double-tribute), Japan:

That said, this OTHER important person who died on Hiroshima Day was the wonderful artist and human dynamo Marci Fulton, who succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 2015.

Though we were never married, we were together for nearly the final 10 years of her remarkable life. (And that's a common-law wife in most states, including Washington State where she spent her last four decades, and where I met her at a seder in the shadow of The Space Needle in April 2006.)

Marci is easy to imagine: slight in frame and short in stature even in high heels, the brunette not only LOOKED a LOT like Betty Boop, but had a high, thin voice which even SOUNDED like the cartoon character who, it was famously said, "wasn't chaste but rather chased".

For my part, I didn't NEED to chase after Marci, as following get-to-know-you dinner conversation with her and her date while at the seder feasting table we each had been fortuitously seated at, I soon enough sat down on a piano bench and started started pounding out some tunes on an upright piano someone had fortunately earlier trundled into the hall. Marci's date soon sauntered over to sing a song or two over my chords, and that turned out to be his romantic mistake...for by songs' and then evening's end at this Society for Humanistic Judaism event--congregants are typically ardent atheists, whereas I'm a militant agnostic--Marci effectively had a new boyfriend.

Immediately we started spending all our time together, mostly right there in the vicinity of The Emerald City's Greenwich Village-like "University District", where we both rented flats--hers gloriously on the western shore of Lake Washington, and from whose spacious dock-deck with a good set of binoculars, one could literally spy parts of the mostly-fir-shrouded eastern-shore compound of Bill Gates, two nautical miles eastward in Medina.

Marci aka Marcia Coyne (and even a couple other surnames along the way) was eight years my senior, born [on Monday, November 13, 1946] and raised in suburban Portland, Oregon as the middle of three sisters to a civil engineer father who supervised the construction of numerous federal properties around the Oregon and Washington State.

By trade, Marci was a high school art teacher who was earnest AND ebullient, though maybe the adjective vivacious is more apt (and feminine, as she was usually opted for skirts rather than slacks).

Soon after we were an item, I started enthusing to various pals about my new love: "She's not only an intellectual who reads rather than watching TV, but she's loquacious too. You won't believe this, but SHE TALKS EVEN MORE THAN I.DO!" To which I would be told, "You're right, Bryan--I DON'T believe that." But then they'd soon enough meet Marci, and then sometimes buttonhole me away from her earshot: "You're RIGHT, Styble--she DOES talk even more than you!"

Marci gave birth to and raised five fine children by a couple of husbands, and not only never lost her slender figure, but also never lost the edge of her wit during her 68 years. And she was tough to impress: after years of her enduring my minimal abilities on guitar, one day I proudly demonstrated the latest instrument I had taken up, the drums. After laying down some simple beats for her over a minute or so, I both hoped and expected to hear some encouraging words. Her reaction instead: "It's about time you finally found an instrument you can play."

While Marci DID hang onto the host's every word whilst tuned to 710 kHz KIRO for that wacky "Radioactive Seattle with Bryan Styble" four-hour overnight broadcast, it would be an utter lie to claim Marci UNDERSTOOD what constitutes sterling-quality commercial newstalk radio. But like any talk radio listener, she only had to ENJOY it, not UNDERSTAND how or why the aural magicians did his tricks.

But Marci DID grasp one aspect of my beloved broadcast craft: from the get-go, she recognized that conducting a live, almost-anything-goes, open-lines show focused on the callers rather monologues (who at my instruction were only minimally-screened) was NOT an entertainment gig, but rather an improvisational ARTISTIC (and, ideally, intellectual) enterprise. And THAT just happens to be THE most important thing for any listener to undersand about commercial newstalk call-in hosting.

During our first date after the seder, Marci and I talked at length about how long we both hoped to AND expected to live. Right then and there she nailed it: said she assumed she was at the beginning of her final decade, and would be quite content to then "rotate out", as she often phrased it.

A frequent flier--ironically hooked up with a nevermore-flying fellow who has been happily self-grounded ever since landing in Detroit on Saturday, October 12, 1996*--Marci got down here to Florida and as well as over to her alternate residence in the District of Columbia many times from Seattle. Alas, her ultimate her ambition to join me for good down here at Zanadu was never realized. (But I've maintained the terrace of my fun-house condo as an artistic installation in memoriam, anchored by a never-employed easel displaying a blank canvas.)

I think of you numerous times every day, Marci, for I cannot exit The Batcave, Zanadu's home-office/sleep-loft, on my way to the great room's centerpiece baby grand piano, without first passing the length of said tribute terrace.

* Yet I've STILL managed to drive to and through EVERY one of the Lower 48 (and almost all them many multiple times), and oh does one see AND experience SO much more on the GROUND of what is so derisively called flyover country!
2021-08-08 19:23:17 UTC
Oh, and while on the tri-parte subjects of Seattle, capital punishment, and the now-six-years-late Marci Fulton, this addendum:

Among Boop lookalike/soundalike Marci Fulton's many wonderful charms, as much as she loved meeting the famous, she was simply no match for me, an inveterate celebrity hound (yet never-autograph-requester). Marci just hadn't met as nearly many celebrities, great or small, over her 68 years as I had managed even by age 30; she'd always marvel whenever some public figure appeared on some show or commercial and I'd say, "Oh, I've met him." "Now where'd you meet HIM ?!?" it would usually then go, even though of course she understood that, as a broadcasting career guy (as well as two decades spent in the celebrity-infested metro areas of L.A., the SF Bay Area and Chicago), I had all kinds of such opportunities that most folks just never get.

(Successfully spotting them on a parking lot or passing them on a sidewalk is REALLY facilitated if you remember that in person up close, they are almost alway a decade older in appearance AND noticeably taller or shorter than you'd thought.)

But Marci was especially intrigued by how my little human-hunting habit seemed blessed by sheer luck as well. For in L.A. during the '80s, as I related her early on, I had received TWO celebrity wrong numbers at my Mar Vista pad! (First, it was silent-screen star [and director William Desmond Taylor's sometimes-suspected killer!] Mary Miles Minter, whom, while still in the dark as to her identity or even suspecting she necessarily was in The Business, I kept on the line yakking (re radio and what-have-you) for at least 20 minutes before she finally said, "Well, you're quite the interesting young man, I must say. But I must now turn you over to my assistant, who shall tell you to whom it is that you have been speaking."

And then a year or so later accidentally sailing my number was John Doe, both husband to Xcene and bassist frontman for those terrific rockers, their band X. Not to MENTION Doe's status as a sometime Dylan acquaintance and sideman. (Though THIS guy certainly mentioned same, whist returning the call Doe left on my answer-machine and then reaching him in his hotel suite.)

STILL, there was one MEGA-famous figure I NEVER met, yet Marci encountered and talked to at least TWICE. AND this [big-]household name was a fellow she actually twice prepared lunchtime sandwiches for circa 1971, behind the counter of the University Way [boulevard] sub shop she had worked at in those days.

I'm talking about that handsome University of Washington undergrad and familiar face around both the University District and Seattle City Hall (and, oh yes, secret-life prolific serial killer), Ted Bundy.

As everyone recalls, and many quite gleefully, the late, left-handed Bundy first lost his nice hair and then mere minutes later his not-at-all-nice life in the Florida electric chair on Tuesday, January 24, 1989. That was only four days after Ronald Wilson Reagan had that previous Friday at noon Eastern forever quashed the eerie 1841-commencing POTUS sequence sometimes termed the Zero-Ending Election-Year Presidential Curse, simply by living to see George Bush the Elder become his successor.

And I suppose, given the death-penalty element of the triparte theme of this belated mini-obit--you see, I had been wanting to textually toast Marci for fully six years now, but it TOOK those six years for her death's lingering sting to wear off such that I might dispassionately craft this dense-prose tribute--elegant-essayist dictates oblige me to (only remindingly, I trust?) point out the following:

That half of the four presidential assassins [Charles Guitteau via hanging in the District of Columbia in 1881 and then Leon Czolgosz via electrocution in New York State in 1901] were executed per se, while the other half [John Booth via barn fire set by authorities in Virginia in 1865, and then of course Lee Oswald by pistol fire in Texas in 1963] each respectively experienced his OWN less formal--and downright illegal!--form of capital punishment.

2021-08-08 19:28:59 UTC
Uh...rock star John Doe DIALED my Mar Vista telephone number inadvertently; he didn't SAIL it.

Auto [in]Correct, yet again.