This Day in Death

6.26.12: ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ Screenwriter Nora Ephron – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:59 am June 28, 2012

Don’t waste your time: I already checked and Hooch isn’t in it.


Author Nora Ephron died on Tuesday, along with my dream of public schools with fountains that dispense Hi-C. The two aren’t related or anything, I’m just trying to come to terms.

Ephron was the screenwriter behind When Harry Met Sally…, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail, which won the Oscar for Most 90s Thing Ever to Exist. Zubaz were robbed, man.

“Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady,” Ephron told Wellesley’s Class of 1996 in a commencement speech. “I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women.”

FUCK YEAH! THE RULES HAVE BEEN BROKEN! Oh, what’s that, Authority? You don’t want women to casually mention orgasms? Well jam it up your oppressive meat javelin, because these quirky bitches are stirring up SERIOUS trouble and they don’t care WHOSE toes they step on! I mean, not “equal pay for equal work” trouble, or “allowing women on the front lines of the armed forces” trouble, but if you get slightly uncomfortable when a woman flippantly discusses birth control you might as well go home and board up the windows because there’s a hurricane of X chromosomes coming to blow away a slew of marginally relevant social stigmas! Holy shit, if I don’t put on some Helen Reddy right this fucking second I swear to Christ I am going to kill myself.

(Ironic fun fact: “I am Woman” was co-written by a man.)

Source: The Huffington Post

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6.25.12: Guy Who Jumped Off the Eiffel Tower – PRETTY OBVIOUSLY DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:12 am June 27, 2012

Did you know that the Eiffel Tower was originally intended to be deconstructed and sold as scrap metal 20 years after its construction? No joke here, I just like to make sure I’m living up to the rigorous educational standards I’ve set for this blog.


Statistically speaking, you’re probably going to kill yourself [citation needed]. It’s a foregone conclusion, and frankly it’s hard not to be tempted with so many great options out there for inviting the inevitable: Bare-knuckled crocodile boxing, DIY heart surgery, or simply tricking a coworker into murdering you as an office prank. Man, Kevin in accounts payable is gonna think that shit is hilarious in retrospect! I can’t wait to not get to see that look on your face, K-Dog!

And, of course, there’s always that old classic; jumping from a national monument. Hell, in France it must be damn near irresistible, what with the Eiffel Tower being easily visible out the window of every single building in the country.

A police official says the man climbed the tower’s western pillar after it was closed to the public, and was approaching the third and highest level when rescue climbers made it to the scene. They tried to talk to him but he jumped instead, landed on the tower’s second floor and died soon after midnight Monday, the official said.

The tower was open as usual Monday after the incident. The company that manages the 324-meter tower says it was the first suicide on the tower in two years.

Yup, this barely slows them down over there. Going two years without a suicide would pretty much be cause for a parade in France, were not for all of the ennui keeping the Jubilation Committee down. These are all probably true things.

Source: CBS News

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6.20.12: Ron Phaneuf, Clock Craftsman – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:25 am June 26, 2012

I just spent a long while trying to come up with a recognizable rap lyric involving the word “glock,” which I would then change to “clock” for comical effect. Related: I am white.


Few occupations in 2012 send up the red flag of dangerous psychological imbalance like clock craftsman. If I need to know what time it is I’ll just do what all civilized people do: Request the information via Twitter, then wait for the internet to use its magic fairy juice to figure it out and get back to me. No need to complicate things with Roman numerals and smart-ass wooden birds. Basically, when your career choice can be used as the gimmick for a Batman villain don’t blame me if I cross the street when I see you coming.

Well, an arcane profession just got a little more arcanier now that Ron Phaneuf, Master Clockswain, has died in his sleep. His wife honored her husband’s tireless love of his craft with the following impossible to take out of context statement:

“He would polish all the moving parts, ream all the holes,” his wife said.

What? His wife appreciated his thorough reaming of all necessary holes. Nothing really humorous about that. Someone just died here, you should show some respect. I figured the sickle in the logo up there made it pretty obvious that this is a somber blog. She continues:

“Everything is so, like, digital. People don’t even wear watches because they could get the time off their cellphone now,” she said.

Oh man, I really wanna hang out with this lady now. I’m not really sure why modernizing something that’s completely utilitarian in purpose offends her on such a fundamental level, but it’s so damn charming. Does the old analog clock tell the time “warmer”? And what’s with all of these inoculations I see everyone getting nowadays? Avoiding contraction of life-threatening illnesses may be a nice convenience, but it’s so cold and clinical.

Anyway, I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t something kind of pleasantly quaint about Phaneuf’s dedication. It’s a throwback to a time when people were a bit more hands-on. A little bit of that attitude goes a long way, and that’s why I make my own condoms at home. People just don’t take pride in doing things for themselves anymore, that’s the problem.

Oh wait! “Ream all the holes!” Oh, dude, I totally get it now! Alright, that’s pretty good after all. Yeah. *Sigh.* Yeah.


Source: Tampa Bay Times

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6.6.12: Lesley Brown, Mother of First In-Vitro-Fertilization Baby – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:26 am June 25, 2012

Look at it, pretending to sleep while secretly plotting. Scheming… What are you working on? What are you up to… ?


You know, whenever I walk around downtown metropolitan areas I can’t help but wonder: Where are all the people? Sometimes I walk into a Jimmy John’s and can almost reach the counter without having to squeeze through a jungle of dangling arm fat and “YOLO” wifebeaters. Maybe that kind of wide open terrain works out in the sticks, or in mildly uninhabitable hellscapes like Des Moines, but here in real cities literally every square inch of space should be occupied by some obnoxious person’s obnoxious spawn. It’s a good thing I’m not agoraphobic, because living on a planet with a paltry 7 billion other people is like being the goddamn Omega Man.

Sadly, as we teeter on the cusp of dangerous underpopulation, we’ve lost one of the generals in our war against measured reproduction.

Lesley Brown, who gave birth to the world’s first in-vitro-fertilization baby, has died at age 64, according to news reports from Britain.

Brown made history July 25, 1978, when her daughter Louise was born at Oldham District General Hospital in Greater Manchester (photo) after undergoing pioneering IVF treatments by Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards. She and her husband tried to have a baby for nine years previously, but her Fallopian tubes were blocked.

That’s right! When God practically told Brown, “I actually think we’re good for new people right now, thanks”, she decided she wasn’t having any of that shit. Brown flew up to Heaven on a winged horse called Science (metaphorically) and told that pushy, omniscient son of a bitch to cram it in his Godhole. Then, just to make sure He fully understood who was in charge here:

Brown later delivered another daughter, Natalie, who was also conceived through IVF.

A second daughter! Seriously! Just to smite God and biology! She probably didn’t even *want* that one, but you can’t afford to show any weakness around these celestial deities. And that’s why we posthumously award you, Lesley Brown, the first ever TDiD Medal of Indiscriminate Procreation:



Because if I wanted to be able to find an open parking space on the same block as my apartment I’d drive a Smart Car. And sister… I ain’t driving a Smart Car.


Source: USA Today


6.18.12: Beatles’ Film Actor Victor Spinetti – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 7:35 pm June 22, 2012

Take THAT, vaguely-defined authority figure! You’ve just been playfully lampoon’d!


Oh man, nothing spells increased traffic like obscure actors dying under not uncommon circumstances.

Welsh actor and author Victor Spinetti is dead today at the age of 82. Spinetti was probably best known for appearing in bit roles in several of the Beatles’ films, playing the straight man to the band’s capering. Could Spinetti’s brief appearances have been the reason the films were receiving diminishing returns, leading to frustration among the band and therefore being the real reason they broke up? It’s not my place to say, but you’d have to admit that all of the pieces fit pretty well. It’s a good thing I’m writing all of this down.

Born in the Welsh town of Cwm in 1933, Spinetti’s grandfather was an Italian immigrant to Wales, a fact which was evident in his full name: Victorio Giorgio Andrea Spinetti. Educated in Cardiff at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Spinetti began a lifelong career in theatre, but was catapulted to international fame for his role as the slightly eccentric and humourless TV director in Alun Owen and Dick Lesters’ hugely successful and ground breaking rockumentary; A Hard Days Night(1964).

For those of you who never saw A Hard Day’s Night, it’s basically the proto-Spice World of the 60s. How far we’ve come. Hey, did you guys know that Scary Spice had Eddie Murphy’s illegitimate child? Man. It seems like that kid should really be able to ask for a do-over.


Source: Seattle PI

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6.20.12: Artist LeRoy Neiman – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 3:35 am June 22, 2012

The final photo of Neiman, taken moments before being suckerpunched by the ghost of Pastel Muhammad Ali. That guy is a fucking menace.


Impressionistic painter LeRoy Neiman, the second most popular LeRoy after Jenkins, has died this week at the age of 91. Let’s all slip on our tweed blazers and tastefully step back from this block quote:

Mr. Neiman’s kinetic, quickly executed paintings and drawings, many of them published in Playboy, offered his fans gaudily colored visual reports on heavyweight boxing matches, Super Bowl games and Olympic contests, as well as social panoramas like the horse races at Deauville, France, and the Cannes Film Festival.

Basically, if Thomas Kinkade fucked Bill Cosby’s sweater and they had the most bourgeois child ever conceived, you’d have Neiman’s style. There. I just saved you $60,000 on that BFA.

Alright, now that we’ve got a classy backdrop to work against, let’s get to what you guys expect from me: Softcore smut.

In 1954, after five issues of Playboy had appeared, Mr. Neiman ran into Mr. Hefner and invited him to his apartment to see his paintings of boxers, strip clubs and restaurants.

That sounds like every first date I’ve ever had. Personally, I like to hang the strip club paintings above the bed. It really helps connects the dots, and I find that women appreciate that.

In 1955, when Mr. Hefner decided that the party-jokes page needed visual interest, Mr. Neiman came up with the Femlin, a curvaceous brunette who cavorted across the page in thigh-high stockings, high-heeled shoes, opera gloves and nothing else. She appeared in every issue of the magazine thereafter.

Oh, the opera gloves are a smart touch; They keep it from being sexist. It’s like when a porno uses those soft dissolves between scenes. It’s too artful for anyone to be offended. “Is this some lost Orson Welles film? When did he work with Sasha Gray? Should I put on a tie before I watch this thing?”


Source: The New York Times

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6.19.12: Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak – HANGING ON! OR MAYBE DEAD!

Filed under: Hanging On —James @ 1:38 am June 21, 2012

He was Egypt’s most Tommy Lee Jonesian president.

Why hello there, “Hanging On” tag. We haven’t seen you around here in a while. So, what, you think you’re better than me, now? Because you’re not. You’re not better than me.

Egyptian news reports late Tuesday that said [former president Hosni] Mubarak was “clinically dead” sent fireworks into the night and cheers among the banners blowing in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. But like so much else in Egypt, things were not as they first appeared. Officials hurried out their own statement: Mubarak, sentenced to life in prison this month for complicity in the murder of hundreds of protesters in the uprising that toppled him last year, was actually in critical condition and on life support.

“But what does any of this have to do with fluffy ducklings?” exclaimed the exasperated husk of what once was CNN. “Is there any way we can make this story 15% more xtreme?”

Anyway, the accusations levied against Mubarak included the aforementioned complicity, as well as economic fraud, shutting down internet and telephone service, and once trying to block out the sun with a giant mechanical disc. That last thing may have actually been Mr. Burns, but I already closed the Mubarak tab so I’m just winging it now.

Source: The LA Times

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6.17.12: Financial Reporter Dan Dorfman – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:21 am June 19, 2012

I even wanna give his *picture* a wedgie.


As I’ve told my increasingly-hostile student loan officer multiple times, if I understood how money works I wouldn’t have traded all of mine for these magic x-ray specs. So I can’t really comment on the career of financial columnist and professional nerdlinger Dan Dorfman, who passed away on Sunday due to a heart condition. Instead, I wonder if Forbes has a slightly dickish way to honor his work. I sure hope so, or I’ll have to rewrite that last sentence, and Daddy isn’t a big fan of that kind of effort. Also, I’m not 100% on where the ‘backspace’ key is.

If you want to see the depths to which news fact checking has fallen in the United States, be amused that the first reporter to post an article about Dan Dorfman’s passing on June 17th, incorrectly reported his age as 82. That error has been repeated at more than two dozen other publications from coast to coast.  Dan was born on October 24, 1931. By my calculations he was 80 when he died, a simple reporting  mistake he would never have made.

AWWWWWWWWWW YEAH, SON!  Financial journalists be beefin’! Joan E. Lappin isn’t shoveling any more of what AP reporter Jennifer Saba is dropping! And don’t think you’re getting off easy, editor Marguerita Choy! There’s gonna be plenty of dropped grammatical ‘bows to go around! It’s the Pound Down in Noun Town! The Brawl Fleet of Wall Street! The Fists of Rage on the Fiscal Page! Oh God this is boring. Is there anything… baller… about any of this?

…his editor at Money [Magazine], Frank Lalli, demanded that Dorfman reveal sources for some of his articles. Like the true journalist he was, think the Valerie Plame case when you read this, he refused to divulge his sources. He was canned.

Hey, Lil’ Kim basically went to jail for that. So you could say that Dorfman represented Stop Snitchin’: Wall Street. That would explain the teardrop tattoos, at least.

And that’s it. Come back tomorrow when I once again try, and almost certainly fail, to make another guy in an ugly tie seem interesting. Fuck you, my life does *SO* have meaning!


Source: Forbes

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6.17.12: Rodney King – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 3:44 pm June 18, 2012

I thought it’d be a little less of a bummer if the whole incident had taken place at Disneyland. I was right, but not by enough.


Here at the TDiD, we have a little rhyme. It goes, “Your beliefs are stupid and wrong/and you should do everything in your power to never share them.” I’m sure all you Pedantic Petes out there are complaining about how that doesn’t actually rhyme, but that’s where you’re wrong: It *does* rhyme in the original Mandarin. So right there you’re proving my point. With that in mind, Rodney King was found dead in his pool in Rialto, California this weekend. Take it to the YouTube comments section if you wanna feel good about your poorly written racist rant and/or crackpot conspiracy theory.

In 1991, King was pulled over by the LAPD and severely beaten. The incident was secretly recorded from a distance, and when the footage entered the public consciousness it set off a firestorm of debate about racism and police brutality. When three of the four officers involved were acquitted of any wrongdoing, it sparked the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. If that all seems like a pretty complex situation with a lot of important issues to consider before coming to a conclusion about what really happened and who was truly at fault, you can just do what I did and form your opinion by watching season four of In Living Color instead. Without the King incident it basically would’ve been 22 minutes of Fire Marshal Bill every week. The Fly Girls had never been so socially relevant. Or fly.

Says the NY Times:

There was no evidence of foul play, the Rialto police said.

Mr. King, whose life was a roller coaster of drug and alcohol abuse, multiple arrests and unwanted celebrity, pleaded for calm during the 1992 riots. More than 55 people were killed and 600 buildings destroyed in the violence.

In a phrase that became part of American culture, he asked at a news conference, “Can we all get along?”

He then added, “Except for, you know, that dude I hit with a pole and then robbed. I’m cool with not getting along with that guy.”

One thing we can all agree on is that the incident was a huge blow to the public perception of law enforcement as a benevolent force that exists to serve and protect. It was only through the combined efforts of the release of Paul Blart: Mall Cop and this picture of a dog wearing a policeman’s uniform that we were finally able to begin healing our national wounds. Godspeed, Commissioner Sniffles! Our collective innocent rests in your adorable little paws!

Source: The New York Times

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6.10.12: ‘Sesame Street’ writer Judy Freudberg – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:56 am June 15, 2012

“Hey, Elmo. You wanna go firebomb those ‘Electric Company’ pussies again?”


A lot of you felt that Dick Beals death didn’t hit close enough to home and requested I shatter some slightly more recent childhood memories. Well, number one, that’s kinda messed up on your part. And two, how about the death of Judy Freudberg, one of the writers responsible for bringing loveable gremlin (?) Elmo to prominence on ‘Sesame Street’? I mean, it already happened, so it’s kinda out of my control if that isn’t what you wanted to hear. I guess that question was kinda rhetorical.

Despite being inhabited by furry elephantine creatures with suicidal depression and vampires who refuse to seek help for their crippling OCD, everyone has a soft spot for ‘Sesame Street’. For me personally, it’s how I learned about sharing, and it was a lesson I’ll never forget. I’m not so great with numbers, or simple geometric shapes, for that matter. Dining etiquette isn’t my strong suit, either. Basic grammar rules and human empathy tend to escape me, as do automotive maintenance, foreign and domestic politics, estimating weights, remembering birthdays, manual labor, electronic appliances, traffic signs, pet care, understanding how zippers work, subtlety, resume writing, time management, identifying *most* colors, poise, finances, eyeballing distances, dietary restraint, macrame, short or long-term planning, respecting positions of authority, musical composition, cardiovascular exercise, avoiding slanderous statements, chivalry, civic pride, presidents’ names, appreciating fine art, taking orders, personal and professional boundaries, punctuality, recycling, vocal projection, sports, firing small arms, calligraphy, memorization, deductive reasoning, not taunting caged animals, identifying different types of rocks and/or clouds, distinguishing between dreams and reality, and acknowledging the legitimacy of any kind of belief structure. Also, I can barely tie my shoes and whenever I see a plane I assume it’s a bad juju demon attempting to impregnate the sun. But sharing… I got that shit DOWN.

“When Sesame Street first started, it was the only game in town,” she recalled five months after leaving the show. “So they could get away with a lot more. They weren’t worried about competition.

“And then we were told, around season 30, 12 years ago, that we were losing our audience, especially with about 20 to 30 minutes left in the show. We were the only hourlong program on; children’s television was almost all 30-minute shows. And that’s when we came up with “Elmo’s World,” to go in the last part of the show, to win back their attention. And it worked.”

As long as she wasn’t responsible for those pre-taped segments where kids went on awesome field trips while I sat rotting away inside some elementary school hellhole in a Detroit ghetto. Whatever, like that shit was even fun. I don’t know what you punks think you’re gonna get out of playing games at a cotton candy factory that you won’t get from a rusted metal desk with a dying mouse hiding in it.


Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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