“Don’t burn out, don’t fade away” or “Rebel without a haiku”

James Dean, Feb. 8, 1931 — Sept. 30, 1955

New York Times obit page, Sept. 28, 2011:
Arch West, Johnnie Wright, Wilson Greatbatch

Three films, fatal crash
Live fast and die young, James Dean’s
Mythic rebel youth

Alec Guinness saw
Death in Dean’s Porsche Spyder
Obi-Wan was right

James Dean, so handsome
So tormented and so cool
What a total waste

Neil Young said better
To burn out than fade away
But he’s done neither

So keep creating
Yeah, I like that plan, versus
The alternatives

Won’t make New York Times
When I go like these three guys
That’s OK with me

One day’s obit page
Strange who passes before us
Slice of life — and death

Arch West, creator
Of the Dorito. Did he
Go out with a crunch?

Arch West, Doritos
Were his idea. Will God
Make more just like him?

97 years
Arch West lived, didn’t just let
Chips fall where they may

97 years
Lived singer Johnnie Wright, too
Kitty Wells’ husband

Had the guts to try
A different beat: Latin lilt
Made “Poison Love” hit

Had the smarts to snag
Ellen Deason as bride, switch
Name to Kitty Wells

And he knew her star
Was brighter than his, helped her
Rule ’50s country

Wilson Greatbatch lived
“Just” 92 years, the pup
Of geezer all-stars

Greatbatch made his first
Heartstopping discovery
Accidentally

Then he figured how
To use that discovery
To keep hearts going

Next he figured how
To make big idea small
To fit inside us

Voila! Pacemakers!
But there was just one problem
Batteries ran out

So he kept working
— You’ll get a charge out of this —
Succeeded again

It’s energizing
How he perfected a cell
To last a decade

He invented things
His whole life, never gave up
On changing the world

So take your foot off
The gas, fire up your brain,
Creative juices

Whatever you’ve got
The world needs right now — and for
A few decades more


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