Focus Point – The Best Last Word

I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. The most engaging book came my way lately — a collection of obituaries; 52 of them written by the famous obituary writer of the New York Times, Robert MCG. Thomas. It's called "52 MCGs."

A good obituary is more than just a recitation of facts. It summons up a life, reveals a bit of forgotten or misplaced history and, in the hands of a master, allows you to meet unusual and interesting people.

Thomas didn't just write about the famous. There's John Fulton, Spain's first U.S. matador; the man who buried Lee Harvey Oswald; and the bouncer at New York's swank El Morroco in the '50s and '60s. Along with Wrong-Way Corrigan and Minnesota Fats, there's Edward Lowe, the inventor of kitty litter. And who else would have chronicled the demise of Toots Barger, Queen of the Duckpins, or Hal Lipsett, the private eye who bugged the olive in a martini.

The final obit in the collection is by Michael Kauffman — of Thomas himself, who died last year.

Again, the book is "52 MCGs," by Robert Thomas.

Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. Visit the NCPA web-site at I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, pork is back.