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Mourning Roundup: September 17, 2010, Weekend Edition
SEPTEMBER 17, 2010 TAGS:
Trampling on a Grave?Jimmy Carter wants to sell copies of his new book, and so he takes to CBS’ 60 Minutes armed with a provocation: Ted Kennedy did more than anyone to hurt the chances of health care reform in the United States than any other politician. Not in the weeks and months prior to his death last summer, when President Obama waged his war in Congress to pass reform, but in the summer of 1979, when Ted Kennedy was gearing up to try to unseat the unpopular President Carter.
Carter claims that Kennedy held up Carter’s bill in the Senate to deny Carter a political victory heading into the 1980 election. You may remember that Kennedy attempted to wrest the Democratic Party’s nomination that summer from a sitting president.
That might have been Ted Kennedy’s lowest point politically. His turn as a campaigner began terribly (“a nation of vast natural resources”) and ended disgracefully (a contested convention) and it undoubtedly weakened Carter’s chances against the Ronald Reagan.
It might seem that former President Carter is trampling on the grave of the avuncular Lion of the Senate who served his last 20 years in public office with passion and purpose. But to erase that time when Kennedy was a lump of misguided ambition from his life story would be doing his legacy an equal disservice. From his own ashes did Senator Kennedy rise.
Sometimes it takes the brashness of a peanut farmer to remind us of that.
Star Trek UrnsCan’t afford to send your loved one’s remains into space? Don’t want to wait until Boeing begins commercial space burial trips? Then here’s an urn from you.
The World Turns No More
The final episode of As The World Turns airs today. 54 seasons of comas, evil twins and other diet pill addictions comes to an end. It is a said time for soap operas. A Guiding Light ended its decades-long run last year. Both shows were created by Irna Phillips, who died in in 1973.
Selling The ClubJim Winner wasn’t so much the inventor of The Club, the steering wheel mounted anti-car theft device, than its greatest fan. A fervent salesman, Winner dabbled in industries as varied as lodging, pianos and vacuums. Whatever the product, Winner was bullish, apparently attempting to live up to his name.Stephen Miller’s obit in the Wall Street Journal makes use of some great reporting from a 1993.
Mr. Winner used his earnings to establish a corporate headquarters in downtown Sharon surmounted by six-foot pink neon letters spelling out WINNER. On the ground floor was a shop, The Winner, which touted itself as "World's Largest Off-Price Fashion Store." The upper floors housed Winner International, which built on the success of the Club to offer the Door Club for apartments, bike and gun locks, and pepper spray.
A Wall Street Journal reporter who visited the office in 1993 found it populated by salesmen with stickers on their phones reading "Sense of Urgency" and "Stay Focused." Less important than sales goals, it seemed, was the company's concern for its own auto security: The same reporter counted only eight of 150 cars parked at a company function actually using the Club.
Winner made no secret of his ambition. The WSJ obit gives us an appropriate kicker quote:
"If it weren't the Club, it would have been something else—it could have been a door knob," he told the Journal in 1993. "The product is not my cause. I like to sell."
The existential kicker is that Winner died in a car accident.
The Economist on Green BurialA quick roundup from The Economist about new techniques in green burial. The takeaway? That there hasn’t been a successful alternative practice in western culture to traditional burial since cremation. And that there are a raft of entrepreneurs clamoring to find the next thing… whether it’s promession, natural burial, alkaline hydrolysis or turning your ashes in LP’s.
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