Tony Snow and Clay Felker

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TONY SNOW & CLAY FELKER

July, 2008

 By Katharine Blossom Lowrie

A grief that transcends politics

felker-life-2.jpgTwo partings in July: Tony Snow (above) and Clay Felker (left).  Of different generations, the two had little in common, other than journalism and cancer. Tony Snow, former press secretary to George W. Bush, died of colon cancer on July 12. He was 53.

Felker, the visionary editor whose New York magazine spawned New Journalism in the 1960s, died in his sleep on July 1, according to his wife, author Gail Sheehy.  He was 82 and had suffered from throat cancer for some time.

With the death of Tim Russert in June, one mourns the loss of this distinguished cluster of journalists, a grief that transcends politics. For those of us who go about our daily lives attached to a morphine drip of news – whether TV, newspapers, Internet or radio – such passings affect us deeply. Even with Felker, whose New Journalism heyday had long since been eclipsed by the New Media, his impact on reporting and writing hoists him into the legendary category.

An incestuous family, loners who thrive best in packs of our peers

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Sydney Pollack

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SYDNEY POLLACK

July 1, 1934 to May 26, 2008

by Katharine Blossom Lowrie

He seemed taller in person

with-hoffman.jpgI met Sydney Pollack back when I covered Hollywood as a freelancer for the LA Times Calendar section in the early 1980s. He seemed taller in person, distinguished, with a wide, welcoming grin. The event was a Columbia Pictures screening of Tootsie, the 1982 comedy starring Dustin Hoffman, whose character transforms from down-and-out actor Michael Dorsey into actress Dorothy Michaels to boost his sagging career.  Pollack, who directed the movie, plays a featured role as Dorsey’s agent (shown above with Hoffman in a still from the film).   With Tootsie heavy with pre-release Oscar buzz, my intention was to snag a future interview with Hoffman.  Since I knew him from our days as drama students, I wasn’t too worried about approaching him at the screening.  But Hoffman was in absentia, off filming in New York.

After the screening, although I was among those who congratulated Pollack for his directorial efforts and splendid comic turn at acting, I didn’t feel right about mentioning my long-ago relationship with Hoffman or requesting an interview with Pollack.

Not a single unnecessary word is spoken

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Corporal Joseph C. McCarthy, USMC

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CORPORAL JOSEPH C. MCCARTHY

March 21, 1983 to Sept. 6, 2004

[EDITOR’S NOTE: On this Memorial Day 2008, a U.S. Marine is remembered for his sweet heart and belief in future generations, a belief his family gives voice to through a foundation bearing their fallen hero’s name.]

“Hearts and minds, gents”

Lance Cpl. Joseph C. McCarthy, 21, would kneel down and clown around with Iraqi children, dispensing fistfuls of candy (which he always carried), even in dangerous situations. “Hearts and minds, gents,” he would quip, leveling a frisky grin at fellow Marines concerned for his safety.  McCarthy’s sweet-dispensing ways won him the nickname “Willie Wonka.”

Joe’s mother, Rhonda McCarthy of St. John’s, AZ, said her son believed Iraqi children “were going to change the world.”  On Easter Sunday in 2004, she said, he handed out candy to youngsters at a military checkpoint west of Fallujah while strangers, who could have been insurgents, looked on. “He did it because he loved kids,” Rhonda McCarthy said. “Joe was the peacemaker that day, and they were all laughing and joking within minutes.”

Couldn’t wait to…get in the corps

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Sgt. Timothy Smith, U.S. Army

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TIMOTHY MICHAEL SMITH

Sept. 20, 1982 to April 7, 2008

Stop-Loss

Stop-Loss orders suspend discharges so that experienced members of the military can continue to serve at a time of national crisis. Hollywood made a movie about it. The reality ordered Sergeant Timothy Michael Smith back to duty last year. He died April 7th when his Humvee struck an improvised explosive device in the streets of Baghdad. He was 25 years old.

Known to family and friends in his hometown of South Lake Tahoe as “Timmy,” the newly-married sergeant had already served one tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2006 and should have been released from the Army last November. Instead, he was redeployed to Iraq as part of the 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Polk, Louisiana.

Pretty gung-ho

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Lance Cpl. Marcus Stephen Glimpse

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LANCE CPL. MARCUS STEPHEN GLIMPSE

1983 to 2006

[EDITOR’S NOTE: To honor the fallen heroes of Iraq and Afghanistan, Précis occasionally revisits those who have paid the ultimate price. This is the second in a series of profiles in braverya reminder of what we have lost.]

160 pounds of pure muscle

glimpse-cropped.jpgFew are as utterly transformed by the U.S. Marine Corps as Lance Cpl. Marcus Glimpse of Huntington Beach. Prior to entering boot camp in 2003, Marc, as everyone called him, was 129-pound high-school dropout, who couldn’t hold a job and liked to sleep the day away.  He sported a fuchsia Mohawk, painted his fingernails Visigoth black and spent every waking hour playing video games or watching The Sopranos.

Then the Marines took over.  By the time Marc graduated the School of Infantry in 2004, he was 160 pounds of “pure muscle,” said his father, Guy Glimpse.  He went on to become an authoritative leader, volunteer for the prickliest combat assignments and inspire his collegues with his quick-draw wit.

But the Marines fired-up something else in Marcus Glimpse: ambition. Following his deployment in Iraq, he planned to go on to college and become a lawyer.

That dream came to a crashing halt

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