Author, essayist, cultural critic and general raconteur Gore Vidal passed away last night at the age of 86.
He was incredibly prolific, writing 25 novels, two memoirs, and several compendiums of his essays. He also movies, television shows and plays (including The Best Man, originally a film and now rebranded as Gore Vidal's The Best Man, which is playing on Broadway right now.)
He was also a fierce critic of American foreign policy, which he didn't tone down after 9/11, which made him a lot less popular in certain circles after terrorism hit America.
But he was incredibly witty. I had the opportunity to see him in conversation with Christopher Hitchens in Berkeley in 1997, back when the two were still friends.
He was also on television often in the 70's and 80's - a time when literary figures weren't an endangered species on that medium. His famous feud (and he had many) with Norman Mailer was captured on the Dick Cavett Show on ABC back in 1971.
On to other news..
A day after Lindsey Graham, John McCain and New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte came to Tampa to alert the community about major impending cuts to the Pentagon's budget, Democrats fired back, saying they were "preying on military communities."
26 days before the RNC begins in Tampa, Host Committee CEO Ken Jones told reporters that his goal of raising $55 million by the time the convention begins is still on pace, though as usual, he didn't give any specifics about how close they are at this time.
Speaking of the convention, living legend Willie Nelson will be performing on the Wednesday night of the RNC someplace in Tampa....
And on Monday the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County produced a new report on the state of conditions with the homeless in the area.