You Can’t Take It With You: Big Government Edition

Reg Presley 1941 to Monday
‘Ebulliently-lusty voiced’ Reg has the most recognizable growl this side of the MGM lion.  I’m talking about the one from The Troggs sole #1 single, “Wild Thing” on which Mr. Presley sang lead.  A bricklayer since the age of 15, his desire to instead play rock and roll put him and his wife and two kids on the dole.  Until, of course, “Wild Thing.”  He leaves behind countless uncomfortably-lecherous moments at the Karaoke bar.

Dr. Arlene Ackerman 1946 to Saturday
Some called the former Philadelphia schools’ chief ‘Queen Arlene’ “polarizing, autocratic, and overpaid.”  Others considered her a savior of low-performing schools owing to her initiatives that dropped class sizes and raised test scores.  Nobody doubted that her decisions put the quality of students’ learning first, but teachers and taxpayers might have preferred she had other (cheaper) priorities.  She leaves behind a school district with greater performance but also with greater tension and debt.

Saturday Mail Delivery 1863 to 25 weeks ahead Saturday
This death apparently “won’t kill anyone,”  as one Chicagoan remarked.  Saturday mail delivery has less than half of a year left.  It’ll save $2 billion a year, executives say.  We won’t even notice, post-office customers claim.  The post office is now in a “death-spiral,” union bosses worry.  Maybe they’re right to worry – Saturday delivery will take down 20,000 jobs with it.

Guy F. Tozzoli 1922 to Saturday
You might say Mr. Tozzoli made late capitalism a tangible reality.  In 1962 the Port Authority of New York charged him to lead the team that would build the Twin Towers.  His knack for grandiosity was captured in these directions that he gave to architect Minoru Yamasaki: “Yama, I have something to tell you. President Kennedy is going to put a man on the moon. You’re going to figure out a way to build me the tallest buildings in the world.”  He left behind the symbol of the overreaching power of global capitalism or the pathway to world peace through trade, depending on your point of view.

Stuart Freeborn 1914 to Wednesday
Stuart Freeborn took up green clay, molded it to look like Albert Einstein and breathed into it, giving birth to Yoda.  Freeborn also transformed Peter Sellars into his three unforgettable characters in Dr. Strangelove.  Fear of fluoride and sentences in which the order goes object, subject, verb behind he leaves.

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The cover photo, “Urban Mailman,” is via WikiCommons.