There's an obit for Red Buttons on www.tvtattle.com, and it pains me to see it. Buttons was a genuinely funny man, fast on his feet, abrasive and all-around cool. And he gave TV critics who weren't even born during his heyday a reason to recognize that just a year ago. PBS was touting a special about TV legends, and Mickey Rooney had all but hijacked a press conference tied to the show. Buttons was also there. He took over. (You can read a longer account from my blog then in ''Hail, Red'') He proved that his comedy was still sharp -- and basically timeless.