This Day in Death

4.22.12: Guy Who was Beaten with an Electric Guitar – UNSURPRISINGLY DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:30 am April 30, 2012

Eyewitness statements have confirmed early reports that the attack was “metal as shit.”


If you’re one of the few remaining Americans who haven’t spent your waking hours meticulously memorizing the contents of this blog in order to be one step ahead when it’s finally admitted into future pressings of most major religious texts, it may have escaped your notice how cartoonishly insane Austin, Texas is. So here’s a story about a guy in Austin who was beaten to death. With a guitar. Man. Living in that town must be exhAUSTINg. HA! You see how that worked there? Fuck you, you probably didn’t even get it anyway.

Police have made an arrest in Austin’s ninth homicide of the year. Police say a man was beaten to death with an electric guitar.

Peter Andrew Levay, 42, is in jail charged with murder. He’s accused of killing 64-year-old Maurice Leray Eckert.

Right now is a good time to mention that all Austin citizens are required to go by three names, otherwise the ghost of Jonathan Taylor Thomas will come to your house at night and beat you with the rusty shovel his grave was dug with.

And now here comes Levay’s roommate to ruin that last joke.

Levay told his roommate, Lavern Fisher, he thought he killed the man who lived upstairs. Fisher says Levay called his sister, who called the Austin Police Department, to check on the man who lived upstairs. When officers arrived, no one answered the door, so they forced their way inside.

According to an arrest affidavit, right after the homicide Levay didn’t know what to do, so his roommate told him to “lay down and go to sleep.”

Well maybe if she would’ve told him to lie down and go to sleep she wouldn’t have come across like someone who spent 8th grade English making bongs out of milk cartons instead of learning the basic rules of language usage. Remember the proper approach to handling a tragedy: Stay calm, assess the situation, and don’t neglect syntax minutia during your deposition. It could save your life (it will never save your life).

Besides that blunder, Lavern’s got the right idea: Most dead people will come back to life within 6-8 hours if you just leave them be. If you accidentally kill someone, just get some rest, freshen up, maybe eat a nice, carb-heavy meal. You’re really gonna need some me time, and tomorrow you’ll see just how silly you were to have ever panicked in the first place.

Fisher says police found the victim’s bloody clothes in Levay’s closet, along with a wallet in the downstairs apartment.

Fisher says his roommate had been drinking with the man upstairs, and he thinks he knows what led to the murder.

“He started making sexual advances toward me and him, and they became violent,” said Fisher.

There’s nothing strange about this. Happens all the time. A couple of A-list, top dawg broheims just chillaxin’, having a few brews and trading off some killer Dave Matthews licks… It’s hard not to get a little turned on. That kind of barely restrained sexual tension is the perfect spark to set off a studio apartment full of testosterone, and the next thing you know someone’s getting a headstock through the cerebellum. The key to avoiding these tragedies is to stick with ZZ Top-style furry guitars when things become heated, and steer clear of more aggresive designs, such as your Flying Vees, or the kind of Rick Neilsen monstrosity that played such a key role in the tragic death of television’s Jonathan Taylor Thomas. We miss you, JTT!


Source: KHOU

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4.26.12: The Killers’ Saxophonist Tommy Marth – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:30 am April 27, 2012

Play “Blue Sky Mine”!


It’s been a rough couple of weeks for rock saxophonists. I mean, moreso than usual. First that guy from Men at Work was found dead in his Melbourne home, possibly murdered, probably by a wallaby. And now Tommy Marth, saxophone player for The Killers, has apparently taken his own life. I dunno, I was into saxophonist deaths before they got all watered down. All these guys are just trying to imitate Clarence Clemons’ death, God rest his skronkin’ soul.

For those of you who weren’t getting star tattoos on your wrists a decade ago, The Killers were among the nouniest of the post-2000 ‘The Nouns’ band jizzsplosion, a monstrous trend that fooled us all into thinking that what was essentially a manufactured boy band made up of the sons of rich white men was an authentic modern-day resurrection of rock music, a genre created by poor black men. After that black people stopped inventing cool things just so that we couldn’t take them anymore. Come on, guys! Just give us something new already. All we’ve come up with so far is the Keytar, and it’s really not as much fun as we’re pretending it is.

The band took to their Twitter account and maxed out the character limit to deliver an almost error-free condolence, because that’s apparently the new way for musicians to say they’re filled with sadness, but not quite a whole paragraph worth of it.

Last night we lost our friend Thomas Marth. Our prayers are with his family.There’s a light missing in Las Vegas tonight. Travel well, Tommy

Maybe I’m just a thousand years old (full disclosure: I am a thousand years old), but Twitter is such a shitty way to express any genuine emotion and it just comes off as insincere when people use it to announce something as supposedly important as the death of a friend and collaborator. And I’m not just saying so because I’m pissed that someone already stole my idea for a Twitter name. I really should’ve jumped on that *before* they brought Pac back, but really, who saw that coming?


Source: Pop Crush (looks pretty hardcore to me)

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4.21.12: Nixon Aide Chuck Colson – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:30 am April 26, 2012

Oh, that Doonesbury! How deliciously perspicacious! What’s that? You didn’t get it? Well, we can’t *all* go to college. I think I might have a water-damaged Marmaduke or two around here somewhere…


Chuck Colson, former aide to Richard Nixon, died on Saturday from complications related to a brain hemorrhage. Colson was the man behind Nixon’s famous “Enemies List,” which probably means he was a lot of fun to be around.

Colson was Nixon’s special counsel and was part of the Watergate scandal which led to Nixon’s resignation. He was known as the president’s “hatchet man,” and also served on Nixon’s re-election committee, which plotted and attempted to steal information from the Democratic Party headquarters.

Don’t bother looking it up; “Hatchet Man” is not an awesome new Juggalo-themed superhero. It’s just a misleading name for the kind of job that requires you to wear a tie that hasn’t been drawn directly onto your t-shirt. Looks like God’s path for me is still Federal Breast Inspector for at least one more day.

But Colson wasn’t just a shameless mudslinger who contributed to his nation’s gradual sense of total disillusionment with their elected officials, a decline in morale that has successfully transformed America into a veritable ant farm of desensitized IKEA patrons who can’t be bothered to vote unless a new M&M color is at stake. Oh no, he was also a pioneer of the now-classic “seriously, you guys, I’m totes changed” approach to pre-incarceration repentance.

Colson pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and served seven months of a one-to-three year prison sentence.

Prior to the start of his prison sentence, Colson became a born-again Christian. After his release from an Alabama prison, Colson founded Prison Fellowship, a nonprofit organization that conducts outreach to prisoners to “seek the transformation of prisoners… through the power and truth of Jesus Christ.”

Alright, I admit this is a pretty cynical post, but it’s hard not to be a bit of an ass about an administration that put both Colson and Ben Stein into the public consciousness. Because of Stein I have to hold my tongue every time someone still thinks it’s fucking hilarious to say “Bueller… Bueller…?” to an unresponsive crowd. Plus, he wore sneakers on every episode of Win Ben Stein’s Money. Dick Clark never would’ve strolled out onto the set of Pyramid in Crocs. Have some respect for the medium!


Souce: CBS News

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4.25.12: Colorado Man Who Wrote His Own Obituary – LET’S GET THIS OVER WITH!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:30 am April 25, 2012

No, Kid’s not dead, but the guy is this story is named “Flathead.” This was the first thing I thought of and I desperately needed something to keep my attention through this post. It’s working nicely.

Sometimes the internet gets ahold of something and, once in a great while, it’s stupid. The internet’s sterling judgement has given us an endless parade of musically-inclined cats, songs about deciding which seat to choose in your friend’s car, and lots and lots of casual racism. But today we got a story about some yokel in Colorado who wrote a funny obituary for himself instead. It’s the kind of thing Tina at work is going to show you two weeks after you’ve already seen it and you’re gonna have to pretend that it’s cute because 1.) you don’t want people to know that you burn through memes the way well-adjusted people go through toilet paper, and 2.) each day is little more than an increasingly desperate effort to avoid hitting the release valve on the barely-contained tank of rage directed at everyone who tries to show you “internet things” in your real life. This post just got… therapeutic.

“He enjoyed booze, guns, cars and younger women until the day he died,” reads the Denver Post obituary for Michael “Flathead” Blanchard.

And his cause of death? The obit attributes his maker-meeting moment to being “stubborn, refusing to follow doctors’ orders and raising hell for more than six decades.”

Fair enough.

The obituary then lists his late cat “Chopper” as his son, says someone named “Baba Yaba” can “kiss his butt” and notes that his childhood friends are predominantly “criminals, prostitutes and/or Democrats.”

First off, act like a man and say “ass” or just don’t say anything at all. I don’t read obituaries to see what it would look like if you ran “Scarface” through the ABC Family censor. I read them because my parents gave me no moral guidance whatsoever. Also, don’t you dare lump prostitutes in with criminals and Democrats, and I’m not just saying that because I can’t seem to stop mentioning them in posts. They provide a valuable service to lonely weirdos and bored millionaires with trophy wives alike. It’s pretty much the only thing that unites us as a nation.

While all the hell-raising surely didn’t help, his family told the Post “Flathead” actually died of natural causes. And, no, the obituary is not some cruel final jab by the family. They say the words are mostly Flathead’s.

His brother Steve Blanchard said “Flathead” wrote a draft of the obituary before he died. The family just added the final touches.

“He lived every minute to its fullest and then some,” Blanchard told the Post.

Not only is the obituary blunt, it’s late. The man nicknamed for his love of fixing up cars — including those with flathead engines — died nearly a year ago. The family decided to wait until closer to the one-year anniversary of his death to publish the obituary and hold his memorial service.

Who… what the hell… He died a year ago and you’re just now doing something about it? It’s not a new Stones album, you really don’t need 10 months of lead time to market a funeral. Maybe people in Colorado have time to waste but here in the midwest we’ve got a lot videos of anthropomorphic frogs to watch.

Source: HLN

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4.19.12: Men at Work’s Greg Ham – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:15 am April 24, 2012

Well I’ll be damned. I’ll never question a stereotype’s accuracy again.

Greg Ham, saxophonist and flutist (tee hee!) for 80s pop act Men at Work, died on Thursday at his home in Melbourne. Thus concludes everything I know about Men at Work. I’ll be honest: I’ve had to check the headline of this very post three times to make sure I was supposed to be talking about Men at Work and not Men Without Hats. The 80s were stupid.

Friends discovered Ham’s body inside a front room of his house, where he lived alone, on Thursday, April 19. They let themselves in after he failed to answer the door, the Australian newspaper The Herald Sun reported, adding that he had not been in contact with them in a week.

Homicide squad Detective Senior Sergeant Shane O’Connell told the newspaper there were a series of “unexplained issues” surrounding the death and no suspect has been identified.

“Somebody may’ve murdered a 58-year-old saxophone player from a band that hasn’t had a hit in nearly 30 years? That seems unbelievably arbitrary,” said anyone who lives in a country that wasn’t founded as a penal colony.

Men At Work broke up in 1985, while Ham and lead singer Colin Hay reunited in the 1990s. Ham had worked as a music teacher in his final years.

“We played in a band and conquered the world together,” Hay told The Herald Sun.

Alright, let’s, uh… let’s not go nuts here. I’m not trying to be callous about this, lord knows that a good skronky sax solo has changed my life for the better on more than one occasion, but metaphorically “conquering the world” for a little while in the 1980s is kinda like beating the Washington Generals. Yeah, there’s some opposition but everyone knows nothing’s actually at stake. Moreover, I’ve never met anyone who would dispute that the second line of the chorus of “Down Under” is “duh duh duh, duh duh duh and PLUN-DERRR!!” Needs more skronk!


Source: On the Red Carpet (I don’t know what it is, either.)

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4.13.12: “Dark Shadows” Star Jonathan Frid – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:17 am April 23, 2012

That’s right: A gothic soap opera. Finally, a show that caters to both tweens with Deadjournals and middle-aged diabetic women whose flesh has long since fused to the couch.


Actor Jonathan Frid, best known as Barnabas Collins in the television show “Dark Shadows,” has died of natural causes at the age of 87. “Shadows” was a 60s gothic soap opera, which, if my research is accurate, is a thing that can exist. But that’s probably old news to anyone who’s had to wait at a bus stop in the past two months (not bragging) and be bombarded with posters for Tim Burton’s latest 2 hour commercial for white facepaint and felt top hats “reimagining” of the story.

You know, I had a whole thing written here about how much Tim Burton sucks and how he churns out blandly repetitive films with such stunning consistency that you can actually use his production schedule as some sort of shitty sundial. “Oh, Johnny Depp is screen testing pale facial prosthetics, it must be the harvest!” Stuff like that. But then I realized how everybody kinda already says that, and my saying so would be redundant, which would be a bit too ironic for me to handle. So I deleted the whole thing, but now I feel bad because I cheated you out of a paragraph. So, in its place, here’s a picture of a dog that kinda looks like William H. Macy.


Also, if any of you remember what this post was supposed to be about please Facebook me that info.


Macy Dog picture via Ranker, because someone’s definitely gonna want credit for that.

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4.19.12: The Band’s Levon Helm – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 4:30 am April 20, 2012

Fun fact: Helm grew up in a place called Turkey Scratch, Arkansas and remains the town’s only citizen not to have formed a militia predicated on domestic terrorism. Truly, the heart of the heartland.


Levon Helm, drummer and vocalist for The Band, has died today as the result of a prolonged battle with cancer. Helm’s best known work to most people was his vocal performance on The Band’s hit The Weight, but he also enjoyed a lengthy solo career in addition to acting in films such as Coal Miner’s Daughter and The Right Stuff. Helm was a fantastic musician and his death is undeniably sad, but at least it means I don’t have to go with the story about a seemingly-dead hamster returning to life that I had originally figured I’d be resorting to. Ugh. Wallace and Cronkite are gonna take turns beating me with pillowcases full of soap bars when I die.

In Mr. Helm’s drumming, muscle, swing, economy and finesse were inseparably merged. His voice held the bluesy, weathered and resilient essence of his Arkansas upbringing in the Mississippi Delta.

Mr. Helm was the American linchpin of the otherwise Canadian group that became Bob Dylan’s backup band and then the Band. Its own songs, largely written by the Band’s guitarist, Jaime Robbie Robertson, and pianist, Richard Manuel, spring from roadhouse, church, backwoods, river and farm; they are rock-ribbed with history and tradition yet hauntingly surreal.

The Band also holds the distinction of having the second least Googleable band name in existence, right behind The The. Come on, guys, get it together. Every band I’ve ever played in has hired an SEO expert before even thinking about things like drummers or songs or buying instruments. That kind of business acumen is what got my group, The Natalie Portman Upskirt Pics (featuring The Dark Knight Bit Torrents), top billing at the Chuck E. Cheese in Grand Rapids, MI in 2009. Did we each get two comped slices of pizza that night? I think you can guess the answer to that.

Bob Dylan had famously brought an electric band to the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, and after its members had made other commitments, he hired Mr. Robertson and Mr. Helm for a summer tour.

At their first rehearsals, Mr. Helm recalled, his reaction to Mr. Dylan was, “I couldn’t believe how many words this guy had in his music, or how he remembered them all.” Before playing their first show, at Forest Hills Tennis Stadium in Queens, Mr. Dylan told the band, “Just keep playing, no matter how weird it gets.”

I can’t tell you how many games of strip poker I’ve hosted that have ended in shame and confusion because of that very same phrase. Next time I’m inviting girls.

Alright, can I just say something that’s not exactly relevant but nonetheless feels like it deserves a mention? I really wish The Band would’ve toured on a triple bill with The Who and Yes at some point. Primarily because my support of any idea is directly proportional to how quickly it would devolve into a “Who’s On First?” routine. Hell, you wouldn’t even need to change the name of the bit.


Source: The New York Times

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4.18.12: Dick Clark – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 6:39 am April 19, 2012

It’s not often that a guy in rainbow suspenders and a wide tie isn’t the most uncomfortable person in the room.


Television icon Dick Clark has died after suffering from a heart attack on Wednesday. You know Clark best from his long-running stint hosting every show that’s ever been on television ever. Except “MADtv.” Because come on.

In recent years ABC took to shamelessly propping a post-stroke Clark up against a lightpost in Times Square to continue co-hosting his signature “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” special. In the wake of that it can be hard to keep in mind that Clark balled pretty hard by all scientifically measurable standards, and no amount of having to share the spotlight with sentient Banana Republic store Ryan Seacrest will change that. In addition to “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” Clark created the American Music Awards, “The $25,000 Pyramid,” “TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes,” hosted “American Bandstand” for 30 years, got to hang out with Michael Jackson (before the… unpleasantness), and ended up on the Forbes 400 Wealthiest Americans list. Meanwhile, I still tell the story about the time I managed to get into the background of “Good Morning America” wearing an “It Ain’t Gonna Suck Itself” shirt. Who’s had a more esteemed career in entertainment? History will make that decision.

Despite his success Clark stayed humble and genuinely likeable to the end. It’s refreshing to, for once, be able to read a celebrity’s Wiki entry without having to internally justify decades worth of tax fraud and raging antisemitism. I swear, every time a famous person seems like a decent human being it’s only a matter of time until someone finds them hanging out in the cemetery cutting off corpse hands to use as masturbatory aides. That’s exactly what happened with Tom Hanks. Seriously, stay away from that guy. Dude is fucked. Up.


Source: CBS News

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4.5.12: Automotive Designer Ferdinand A. Porsche – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:30 am April 18, 2012

“…and then sometimes it just goes backwards. Just out of nowhere! And you can’t stop it! It’s fucking hilarious when you see that shit!”


Once, during a game of trivia, I overheard someone on a competing team come up with the name ‘Clark Gable Duncan’ while trying to remember Michael Clark Duncan’s name. I decided then and there that ‘Clark Gable Duncan’ would be my alias during any situation that would require me to use an assumed name. But that’s all changed, since I’m now aware of the name Ferdinand A. Porsche. Seriously! Ferdinand A. Porsche! That name just screams highbrow intellectualism, and if there’s one thing a prostitute expects when she hesitantly follows me into a Motel 6, it’s sophistication.

Oh, the real guy is dead now, by the way.

Ferdinand A. Porsche, who designed the original Porsche 911, the snazzy, powerful sports car that became the lasting signature of the German automobile company founded by his grandfather and later run by his father, died on Thursday in Salzburg, Austria. He was 76.

Porsche A.G., whose headquarters are in Zuffenhausen, near Stuttgart, Germany, announced the death in a statement. No cause was given.

Yeah… No big surprise there: Germans aren’t real big fans of publicly explaining mysterious deaths. That’s right, Germany! Almost 70 years later and we’re still making Holocaust jokes! Wakka wakka!


Source: The New York Times

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4.6.12: Michael Sands, Creator of Mr. Blackwell’s “Worst Dressed List” – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:30 am April 17, 2012

It’s vaguely ironic that this is the only picture I could find of a famous Hollywood publicist.


Michael Sands, the man who developed the concept for Mr. Blackwell’s “Worst Dressed List,” died on April 6 after choking on a beef sample 13 days earlier. Alright, I just typed that and even I’m not sure I didn’t make it up.

Sands was at Gelson’s deli counter in Century City on March 24 when he began to choke on a beef sample. His son, Nick, told The Wrap that his father had Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, which meant that his airways were smaller than normal.

He was revived by paramedics and rushed to Cedars-Sinai, where he was placed in a medically-induced coma. He died on April 6 at the age of 66, The Wrap reports.

Those of you who are regular readers know that I don’t like to use my platform to mock people. No, I believe that humor is much more powerful when nobody’s feelings get hurt. However, if I had to come up with the bullet points for the most inconsequential life ever led I’d have a hard time beating:

And this is coming from a guy whose Alexa ranking is currently getting slaughtered by an Angelfire blog about casserole recipes that hasn’t been updated since 1998. I know a thing or two about being inconsequential.

That’s not to say Sands didn’t go out of his way to insist he was actually super badass and interesting and had about a billion girlfriends and a race car but he borrowed it to one of his friends who’s an astronaut and that’s why he can’t show it to you.

Sands was known for his eccentricities, claiming to have been a CIA operative who helped capture terrorist Abu Abbas, who hijacked the Achille Lauro cruise ship in 1985. He also once posed partially nude in a magazine to promote his line of cheesecakes. He had appeared in various TV commercials and some film roles.

“Wow, white people are really serious about this cheesecake stuff,” said all black people.

As for the CIA thing, I’m actually starting to buy it. Laugh all you want but fashion commentators have long been considered America’s secret weapon. I once heard a rumor that Tim Gunn single-handedly fought off an invasion of mole people with nothing but a tastefully subtle Vitaliano Pancaldi necktie. Annnnnnnnd moxie!


Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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