THE MASTER OF BLACK AND WHITE DIES
You have seen the dramatic photographic work of Yousuf Karsh for decades, likely without knowing who clicked the shutter. For most of his more than 90 years Karsh was behind the camera, or in the darkroom, or arranging for a photo session. As his reputation grew he gained the attention of world leaders, popes and personalities. Now he has died. If you have ever seen the classic portrait shot of Winston Churchill, looking very much like a bulldog, it's Karsh's work. So is the lovable photo of "Papa" Ernest Hemmingway, dressed in a turtleneck sweater. That's the photo that was the inspiration for the Hemmingway postage stamp. Many others of his large catalog of works were used on stamps, including his shots of Dag Hammarskjold and Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip. Others who posed for Karsh were Prince Rainier and Princess Grace, Pope Pius XII, Gen. George Marshall and Nehru. It's safe to say that much of the way we look at the great leaders of the 20th century was shaped by the keen eye of Karsh. His photos are dramatic ... black-and-white ... etched in stone. If you look at some you'll notice something very interesting. Not all of the person's face, front-to-back, is in focus. Although the eyes are always in the sharpest of focus, often the ears, the front of the nose and other features are less than sharp. Consciously done or not, Karsh's extremely short focal length focuses our own eyes on the most important aspects of the photos. By the way, according to CBS News, when Karsh did the classic photo shoot with Churchill in 1941, the great British leader gave him only two minutes. Karsh took charge. Barking orders: "Take that cigar out of your mouth!" The results are the stuff of photographic legend. He took the soul and personalities of the great and near great and froze them in time. Stark. Dramatic. Captivating. He was, in many ways, the greatest portrait photographer of all time. Yousuf Karsh was 93.
JUDGE SAYS 'NO' TO JARDINE SUIT
For years the original lead guitarist of the Beach Boys, Al Jardine, has been taking any action he could to regain his place as "one of the boys." His latest attempt to be included in the work of the Beach Boys was to go to court in a lawsuit. In the action, according to Los Angeles court records, Jardine claimed that he was being unceremoniously excluded from the most recent concerts by the remaining members of the group. The Los Angeles court ruled that since the crux of the case had already been decided by earlier court actions, it had no jurisdiction in the case. Meanwhile, according to a statement released to media, Jardine's lawyer says his client hasn't given up yet. Jardine is often referred to as "the lost Beach Boy." He has toured with his own group, Al Jardine's All-Star Beach Band.
SOMEONE STILL HOUNDING THOMPSON
In recent months author Hunter S. Thompson has been hounded by someone pretending to be writer Ted L. Nancy, author of "Letters from a Nut." Some, according to the New York Post, have assumed that the badgering has been coming from popular TV icon Jerry Seinfeld. But Seinfeld says he is not the one who has been sending the letters. Recently, Thompson, described in the publication as "a gun-toting gonzo journalist," has threatened Seinfeld with emasculation if the letters don't stop. A representative of the comic says that Seinfeld has definitely never sent any letters to Thompson.
COUNTRY STAR SAYS HER DOG 'SINGS'
Popular Patty Loveless has long been a lover of animals, but now her feelings for pets may have paid off. The news provider country.com reports that Loveless and her husband Emory Gordy Jr. have what might best be described as a "singing German shepherd." Apparently Loveless's pooch, named Shostakovich, sings along when she taps out a song on a tiny toy piano. The dog -- named for the famous Russian composer and nicknamed "Shosta" -- even paws the keyboard, helping Loveless with the tune. Loveless tells the online publication that the dog is a piano nut. She jokes that maybe it's time to buy the pooch a mandolin.
KEITH'S JINGOISM HYPES RECORD SALES
The latest effort by Toby Keith, "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)," has jumped to the No. 1 spot on the country charts. In part, the move from fourth to first place was precipitated by the attention given the song over the Fourth of July weekend, including his non-participation in one event because of the organizer's "problems" with some of the language in the song. Keith's patriotic rabble-rousing song has now been on the Billboard Hot Country Singles and Tracks chart for only nine weeks. The folks at CMT network note that the song's rise to the top in that short period of time is rather meteoric. The song is Keith's fifth consecutive No. 1 hit on the charts.
JACKO'S CHARITY CD LIES IN LIMBO
Shortly after the terror events of 9/11, music icon Michael Jackson made a ton of phone calls to music stars from a variety of genres. "Would you help me make an all-star album to raise money for disaster relief?" More than three dozen stars said "yes." Each went to a studio and started working on the effort. Meanwhile, Jackson found someone he thought would make a great executive producer and promoter of the project, F. Marc Schaffel. Now, according to the Los Angeles Times, Schaffel has admitted that he's a producer of porno films. Jackson's spokesman tells media that because of that, he's fired Schaffel from the project. Now, effectively, the compilation -- including contributions from Tom Petty, Julio Iglesias, Reba McEntire, 'NSync, Ricky Martin, Carlos Santana, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey and others -- lies in limbo. There are questions as to whether it will ever see the light of day. Jackson, who has recently publicly blasted his own label, Sony, and its brass for what he calls the racist ripping-off of minority artists, is shying away from the project now that Schaffel's link to porn has come to light.
UPI DAILY SURVEY QUESTION NO. 271
In light of the death of classic photographer Yousef Karsh, today's question: "What is the one photograph is most etched in your memory, either a personal one or one taken by a professional and seen in the media or elsewhere?" Put PHOTO in the subject line and send to firstname.lastname@example.org via the Internet.
A LOOK BACK AT A PREVIOUS QUESTION
Some time ago we asked what particular ITEM you might have purchased that turned out to be a big mistake. Here are some of your replies: Amanda -- who just turned 17 (Happy Birrthday) -- says she once bought a letterman-style jacket, but ended up never wearing it. She found out that, even in the winter, it's too hot to wear. DD says that she once bought a very expensive fur coat, but after someone made a comment about "the number of animals who lost their lives to make the coat" she doesn't wear it much anymore. Susan says that a 1990 BMW was a bad purchase. Although the odometer said it had only 40K miles on it, within a year everything fell apart. She includes a litany of disasters associated with the car. Peggy's car also fell apart. Poor Nigel once lost $30,000 on an investment property that went sour. Terry, who is in a wheelchair, notes that a washing machine was too tall to operate without getting out of the chair. Pat W reports a disaster with vinyl siding. There were several other horror stories about computers, including a sob story about Gateway. GBA.