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America through the eyes of two American-Americans

Harmon Killebrew, 74

Harmon Killebrew, known for his towering drives, hit 573 homers in 22 seasons that included an American League pennant with the Minnesota Twins in 1965 and a most valuable player award in 1969. One manager said he could hit the ball out of any park, 'including Yellowstone.'

Killebrew credited his power to growing up in Idaho. "When I was 14, and for the next four years, I was lifting and hauling 10-gallon milk cans full of milk," he told the Washington Post in 1984. "That will put muscles on you even if you're not trying."

A soft-spoken man who was nicknamed "Killer," Killebrew had enjoyed playing in Washington and was apprehensive about the team's move to Minnesota. But "I quickly learned that Minnesota was my kind of place and the fans there were my kind of people and are my kind of people," he said in his Hall of Fame speech.

"He's one of the great hitters of all time," Al Kaline, a Hall of Fame outfielder with the Detroit Tigers, told the Detroit Free Press in March. "He wasn't just a power hitter. Harmon was strong, but he had great hands and wrists and a great strike zone."

Killebrew's survivors include his wife, Nita, and nine children from two marriages, according to the Twins' website. His first marriage ended in divorce. A complete list of survivors was not available.


Filed under: Obituaries

Sathya Sai Baba, 84

Sai Baba once predicted he would live into his mid-90s, claiming he could choose the date of his passing. "The god has left us physically," said the Sai Baba hospital where he died, built largely with donations from Isaac Burton Tigrett, a devotee and the founder of Hard Rock Cafe, and located near his main ashram in Puttaparthi.

His legacy is not without controversy. There were several allegations that he sexually abused young male devotees. And in 1993 six followers were killed in his ashram, four of whom allegedly sought to assassinate him. The incident was never fully explained.

"India remains a country of faith," said Ravinder Kaur, a sociology professor at New Delhi's Indian Institute of Technology. "Even those reports about pedophilia didn't really dent his image. In this country, if you develop followers, they are very loyal. Nothing seems to shake it."

Over the years, several people alleged they were victims of sexual abuse during private audiences with Sai Baba.

In the 2004 BBC documentary "Secret Swami," filmmaker Tanya Datta interviewed two American male followers who said the guru had fondled their genitals, claiming it was part of a healing ritual.

Others from Sweden, Australia and Germany made similar allegations. A case against Sai Baba was reportedly filed in Munich but none was filed in India, which critics say reflects how well-connected he was here and supporters say is evidence that the allegations were baseless.

"He leaves behind values of peace, nonviolence and love," said Kunal Ganjawala, a Bollywood director and follower of 35 years. "Whether in the physical body, or after he leaves it, we should continue those teachings."


Filed under: Obituaries

Charles Laufer, 87

Charles Laufer, who built a publishing career with youth-oriented fan magazines such as Tiger Beat, has died. He was 87.

He changed the name of Coaster to Teen, and that magazine led Laufer to launch his signature publication, Tiger Beat, in 1965. Laufer started several other magazines before selling the company in 1978. He built his success on stars such as teen heartthrobs Bobby Sherman and David Cassidy as well as the Beatles and the Monkees.

His other magazines included such monthly publications as Rona Barrett's Hollywood and Gossip. "The first [magazine] was for love," Laufer told The Times in 1980. "Tiger Beat was for money."


Filed under: Obituaries

Episode 266

A little bit of rubbing and a lot of pep talk.Live from Largo, Happy Birthday Hugh Hefner, higher altitude = higher suicides, celebrity prison throw down, Ben Lyons reviews Arthur, Step In, Step Up or Step Away?, the privacy of pornstars, Richard Grieco's Gigolos, AVN Awards acceptance speeches, junking the Dance, underage identity theft, Wells Fargo cloaks it, white Versace jeans, Seth's TV picks, invasivores, Jonathan's hunting stories, the return of craig's house, the Thai Lady-Boy Bank, Wombtubing, plane mishaps, 3 extra days to not do your taxes, cocaine anonymous, Weed/Horse/Mind's Eye, more Chinese recalls, Pete Wentz's hair, More Layers?: Johnny Depp vs. Steven Tyler, find your face mate, "Guys are gross. Dudes are the worst. Dudes be disgusting.", catching up with testosterone tech, UYD needs a New Now Next Award, criminals look like criminals, Adam Levine Tweets, chubs on rides at Knott's Berry Farm, white ginges, one-armed switch blade fights, Jonathan gets gay-grifted, Amir: The Persian Warren Beatty and "I don’t know much, but I know I love Seth." Ball shots a must.

Filed under: Show Notes

Owsley Stanley, 76

Among a legion of youthful seekers, his name was synonymous with the ultimate high as a copious producer of what Rolling Stone once called "the best LSD in the world … the genuine Owsley." He reputedly made more than a million doses of the drug, much of which fueled Ken Kesey's notorious Acid Tests — rollicking parties featuring all manner of psychedelic substances, strobe lights and music.

The music that rocked Kesey's events was made by the Grateful Dead, the iconic rock band of the era that also bears Stanley's imprint. His chief effect on the band stemmed not merely from supplying its musicians with top-grade LSD but from his technical genius: As the Dead's early sound engineer, Stanley, nicknamed "Bear," developed a radical system he called the "wall of sound," essentially a massive public address system that reduced distortion and enabled the musicians to mix from the stage and monitor their playing.

Stanley relocated to Australia more than 30 years ago because he believed it was the safest place to avoid a new ice age. He was a fanatical carnivore who once said that eating broccoli may have contributed to a heart attack several years ago.

He was driving his car in a storm near the town of Mareeba in Queensland when he lost control and crashed, said Sam Cutler, a longtime friend and former Grateful Dead tour manager. He died at the scene.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by sons Pete and Starfinder; daughters Nina and Redbird; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.


Filed under: Obituaries
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