The use of words that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they refer to.
And here's one you don't automatically think to add to the list.
I'll tell you how it deserves a place on the list in a minute.
First, though, sad news this weekend of a life well lived and ended too soon.
Andrew Gold died yesterday.
59. Heart attack.
As with the passing of James Arness this weekend, Andrew Gold is going to get next to nothing in terms of name recognition from anyone under the age of forty five, save for the ardent audiophile, pop music trivia type or TV theme song buff.
His sudden passing will likely generate hardly a splish, let alone a splash.
Twin onomatopoeia. Double word score.
Any mention of his name you might happen upon this weekend will almost certainly be prefaced with the term "singer/songwriter".
As in "singer/songwriter Andrew Gold dies at 59", etc.
Because while much of his considerable portfolio of career accomplishment arguably qualifies as "household words", his name itself will require the aforementioned preface to make his inclusion in any news reporting valid.
As opposed, say, to if Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian were to suddenly and unexpectedly pass, when everyone would instantly know who we were talking about, making it completely unnecessary to include the identifying preface "talentless, self absorbed celebrity/reality show star..".
So to onomatopoetically speak.
I won't wham, wallop or splatter you with the minutiae of Andrew Gold's life and career here.
That's why God created Google.
A website name, by the way, I think deserves a place on the list as well.
What I'm willing to bet, though, no matter your age, is that you have been exposed, at one time or another, to the work of "singer/songwriter Andrew Gold".
I'm also willing to bet that any news you read about him this weekend is going to include, likely early on, that he was the composer of the theme song to the TV show, "The Golden Girls", "Thank You For Being A Friend'.
And any testimonial to him that appears at all is likely to have that song and/or title plunked and plopped in our direction.
I'll spare you the squawk, snarl and snort about how predictable that is.
And simply offer up, as tribute to a talent too soon gone zip, zap, zoom, a song written and performed by a close friend, collaborator and fellow performer of Andrew Gold's.
Singer/songwriter Karla Bonoff.
Oh...and as for reason I think "obituary" deserves a place on the list of onomatopoetic words?
Trying to distill a full, rich and amazing life into just a few, attention span challenged sentences is a bitch.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Saturday, June 4, 2011
There will be no use of the term "riding off into the sunset" in this piece.
I like to think I'm a little better than that as a writer.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch...
James Arness has passed away.
To anyone born after, say, 1975, that news, if noticed at all, will be immediately filed away in the "Another Old Fart Fogey My Parents/Grandparents/GreatGrandparents Care About, What's New On TMZ?" folder.
I don't remember being particularly affected, one way or the other, some years ago when, say, Kay Kyser died.
Every generation has its own heroes, idols, celebrities, yada, yada, here today, gone tomorrow, like sands through the hourglass, with liberty and justice for all.
When it came to fame, James Arness was no more or less.
(I still like to play loose / with the Dr. Seuss)
For those who don't know, but are curious, here's a link to the short burst version of the who, what, when and where of Mr. Arness's time on the mortal coil.
The obvious place to go here is a testimonial to the man and a borderline overwrought lament about the passage of time and/or the heroes, celebrities, etc of my particular generation.
For those expecting that approach, welcome.
You've obviously never read any of my work before.
Do I feel a little pang or two with the passage of yet another of my childhood heroes?
But death, like taxes, is a part of life, right?
So, let's just gallop past that outpost, shall we?
What really touches me with this news isn't the loss of a person as it is the continued loss of a type.
A type of celebrity that is dwindling in number with each passing day with no signs of being replenished, a type that, like your garden variety pterodactyl, will, once its gone, be gone forever.
James Arness was a TV and movie star for over forty years.
To the best of my knowledge, and ability to Google where necessary, he never:
...walked out on the contract he signed for his TV show in a huff, going out on a drugged out personal appearance tour, riding onto the stage, on horseback, shouting out his newly minted catchphrase, "duhhh...whinnying..!"...
...got caught shoplifting resulting in a sentence of wearing an electronic monitor just to the north of his stylish Acme boot...
...fathered a child, or children, with his housekeeper, nanny or blacksmith...
...did an episode, either dramatic or comedic, of his landmark TV series co-starring any character, human or equine, named Snooki...
...decided he was qualified to run for President with only his celebrity, his wealth and a arguably un-hip hair style to offer as resume'...
...found himself available for download in a most basic state of undress exhibiting considerable prowess with his big six gun...
...would stand a chance of being given a second look by TMZ if he were on the tube or screen today...
This was one totally boring dude.
And, like a pterodactyl in a Stetson, one of the very few left of a dying breed.
A celebrity with class.
A promise is a promise.
And I promised there would be no sunset salutations.
So, let's just leave it at this.
Life well lived, Mr. Dillon.
And say hello to Chester, Doc and Miss Kitty for me.