The gifted humorist, essayist, journalist, screenwriter, and filmmaker Nora Ephron died today at age 71 from pneumonia brought on by acute myeloid leukemia according to The New York Times. We first encountered Ms. Ephron's work in a short humor piece she did for Esquire magazine in the '70s, if our memory can be trusted, titled simply, "Crabs" (we can't seem to locate it online and so can't link to it), which, it struck us at the time, was one of the most perfect pieces of humor we'd ever read. She once said of writing (this a close paraphrase as we can't locate the source of the verbatim quote): "Beginnings and endings are easy. It's the stuff in the middle that's hard." That's no doubt true (as it is of life as well) but one would be hard-pressed to discern that in Ms. Ephron's writing so effortlessly does it all seem to flow whether it be for the page or the screen. The film When Harry Met Sally for which she wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay is a case in point and a sterling example of Ms. Ephron's pitch-perfect, bitingly humorous but deeply sympathetic and insightful commentary on contemporary male-female behavior and interaction, and her short, best-selling, thinly-veiled autobiographical novel Heartburn another case in point and a sterling example of her ability to find humor (if at times of the dark sort) in even the most painful personal experience. Hers is a voice absent which the world will be a poorer and less bright place. She will be sorely missed. Atque in perpetuum, Nora, ave atque vale.