Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Ant Farm

Reason no. 86,078 to read the Obituaries section of the New York Times:

Milton M. Levine, 97, inventor of the Ant Farm. I always wanted one of those things and never got one. Someone had to invent that idea for it to exist and his name was Milt Levine.

The thing I like about reading the obituaries, and I know I've said this before, is that you get to read about ordinary people who in the course of their lives did extraordinary things – or even just one extraordinary thing. But maybe they also had a crummy childhood, went to war, figured some stuff out, moved around, worked a bunch of places, had some kids, failed, succeeded. It's interesting to read about people's whole lives – regular or famous – after they're over.

Reason no. 99,123: John Barry, who died last week at the age of 77. The dude composed the music for (among many others) Midnight Cowboy, Body Heat, and all the James Bond films until they started sucking. Before that he was married to Jane Birkin.


Anyway I think it's pretty fascinating to look back on a person's entire life, almost no matter who the person is. If you don't think that's morbid you can read more obituaries here. Also interesting is a 2008 interview with obituary writer Bruce Weber.

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