You Can’t Take It With You: Attitude and Aptitude Edition

Dave Brubeck 1920 to Wednesday
Brubeck always dreamed of being a rancher. Instead he gave birth to the “West Coast Cool sound that characterised American jazz throughout the 1950s and ’60s.” A convert to Roman Catholicism, Brubeck composed a mass entitled To Hope! Also he recorded this tune, Take Five, which went on to be the first million-selling Jazz record and made Brubeck the first musician to grace the cover of Time Magazine. He leaves countless covers of that platinum single including this dub version that I have come to love:

Rick Majerus 1948 to Saturday
Rick Majerus was a big man from Milwaukee. And he had a way with words. He was famed for his sharp tongue–full of both wit and vitriol. Frequently accused of berating players in practice,  the only berating I heard was the time he told Dick Vitale–live on ESPN–that he was uninformed and full of hyperbole (and in doing so lived out the dream of college basketball fans everywhere).  Rick was a friend of the Society of Jesus: a 1966 graduate of Marquette University High School, he graduated from Marquette U in ‘70. His coaching career started there (with, of course, the late great Al McGuire) and ended at St. Louis University. He leaves behind the many lives he touched as a harsh but loving coach.

David Schwendeman 1924 to last Monday
David spent his days “carefully removing, scraping, boiling and bleaching bones.” He was the last full-time taxidermist at the American Museum of Natural History. He leaves behind the awe that every child cannot but feel at seeing a swooping Peregrine Falcon frozen midair, pigeon between his talons.

Art Ginsburg 1931 to two weeks ago Wednesday
Mr. Food–as Ginsburg was known on his 90-second segments syndicated to more than 100 television stations–showed how to whip together a quick weekday dinner that would drive one to say, as he frequently did, “Ooh! It’s so good!” “I don’t want to be the super celebrity,” he said, which was good because he never was. “When you need bodyguards, that’s not my deal.”  But maybe celebrity’s overrated.  As fellow folksy, televised, culinary-personality-of-the-people Rachel Ray put it, “Art Ginsberg was a warm, gregarious man who knew food is more about love and sharing than a fancy ingredient list.” He leaves behind the 8 million cookbooks he sold–and the God-knows-how-many meals from them prepared.

Zig Ziglar 1926 to last Wednesday
“Attitude, not aptitude, determines altitude.” “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”  “There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.” As one of the world’s leading motivational speakers, Ziglar made a career of saying stuff like that. He leaves behind a lot of people who listened to him and came to see the brighter side of life. Don’t believe me? Judge for yourself:

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