As 2008 draws to a close, I'd like to pause to remember a couple of socks who left the dryer this year:
William F. Buckley, Jr. - His years of skewering the follies of liberalism will continue to be an inspiration.
George Carlin - I thought his stuff on "stuff" was great, and will always remember listening to my buddy Brandon's somewhat-warped cassette on the 7 words during a roadtrip between Lubbock and Dallas.
Michael Crichton - The genius who brought us Jurassic Park, among other great works of fiction.
Bo Diddley - His signature beat served as the backdrop to many a colorful line at Lost Pines summer camp.
Bobby Fischer - He was the reason my dad bought that cheesy chess set in Ciudad Acuna.
Estelle Getty - Who could help but laugh at Sophia in The Golden Girls?!
Isaac Hayes - He made "Hello, children" a signature phrase on South Park.
Charlton Heston - Alzheimer's Disease has claimed another giant. Heston was so much more than an actor, though his roles as Moses, Ben Hur, and El Cid are legendary. For me, though, he should always be remembered as a defender of our Constitution--both as a civil rights marcher and a defender of the right to keep and bear arms.
Sir Edmund Hillary - The mountain climber's passing was noted in a previous posting.
Eartha Kitt - I had only discovered her version of "Santa Baby" this year!
Harvey Korman - Tim Conway always cracked him up on The Carol Burnett Show.
Heath Ledger - The Joker deserves a posthumous Oscar this year.
Bernie Mack - Gone too soon, America.
Jim McKay - His intro to "Wild World of Sports" was always mimicked in our house . . . the agony of da feet!
Robert Mondavi - Cheap table wine drinkers should all raise a glass to him.
Paul Newman - His performance in "Empire Falls" made the movie better than the book.
Bettie Page - She was the classic queen of pin-ups.
Randy Pausch - His "last lecture" should be mandatory viewing.
Sydney Pollack - You may not remember the name, but you'd recognize his face. His performance in "Tootsie" opposite Dustin Hoffman was awesome!
Tim Russert - My Sunday routine still hasn't recovered from his sudden passing.
Yves St. Laurent - I thought I was styling when my mom bought me one of his ties to wear at an uncle's wedding back in the 80s.
Tony Snow - Always seemed like a good guy, whether on the cable news or behind a podium at the White House.
And, of course, we should also remember the 500+ service men and women who gave their lives in Iraq & Afghanistan.