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RIP William "Bill" Casilli

William "Bill" Casilli passed away in his sleep on December 29, 2011. He was a gifted keyboardist who began playing at the young age of four and played his first professional job at age 13. Over the years he played and conducted for Frankie Avalon, Anna Maria Alberghetti, Dihanne Carroll, Nancy Wilson, Gogi Grant, Ann Blythe and Katherine Grayson, including a 10-year stint with Leslie Uggams. He was also the last pianist to play Westside Story on Broadway and conducted the last four months of Leslie Uggams’ Broadway show Hallelujah Baby. Bill appeared as conductor and pianist on several television shows, including Johnny Carson, Dean Martin, Red Skelton, Merv Griffin, Ed Sullivan and Mike Douglas. He is survived by his son Rod Casiili, his daughter Marcella Casilli and his wife Edith.

In case you're wondering why this is posted here?
He was my ex-husband. He was border-line famous, but apparently not enough for the Los Angeles Times to consider him news worthy. So no "news" obituary.

Still it seemed to me that there ought to be a notice somewhere – online obituaries are picked up from newspapers. So that meant placing a classified obituary – the kind you pay for. No problem.

Whoa. Do you know what an obituary costs these days? According to the LA Times website, to include a photo and enough copy to even vaguely describe his illustrious life was around $1,000. OK, not an exorbitant amount of money to commemorate a loved one, but he would have thought it a huge waste of money. Who reads newspapers anyway.  Read More 
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No Looking Back

In last Sunday's Los Angeles Time Book Review, Mary McNamara proclaimed, “I outgrew Salinger,” noting that for years she had hung on J.D. Salinger's every printed word and, now, as an adult, she's revisited Franny and Zooey and discovered that she's absolutely over it.

I, too, was once a Salinger groupie. I haven't read the books since my youth, but if I did, I would likely agree with McNamara's sentiment. That doesn't mean Salinger's impact on me as a teenager isn't as valid as it ever was; I'm just not a teenager any more.

I'll bet if I were to revisit Hermann Hesse's works, they would have nowhere near the same effect on me as they did when I was in my very serious and angst-ridden early twenties. Who knows, maybe even Dostoevsky and Kafka wouldn't totally blow me away like they did then when I was in college. But I'm never going to find out. There are too many wondrous things that I haven't read and I want to be blown away in new ways. Life is just too short for repeats. Read More 
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