This Day in Death

8.30.12: DEATH HOAX ROUND-UP! Bill Cosby, Rhianna, Eddie Murphy and Bill Nye – HANGING ON!

Filed under: Hanging On —James @ 6:19 pm August 30, 2012

Oh hey there, Wranglin’ Cowboy Monkey! It seems like only yesterday that I clumsily Photoshopped you into existence. Sorry about that. This must be how God felt after making the sea lamprey. Go away, sea lamprey. We don’t want what you’re selling.


There’s nothing wrong with a good hoax. From “War of the Worlds” to the Cottingley Fairies to the guy who keeps telling me that this is HIS apartment and that he’s totally gonna call the cops if I keep breaking in, hoaxes trigger our brains’ H-zone receptors and help in the production of vital amino acids, according to a sentence in this paragraph.

But the emphasis there is “good” hoax. The idea of simply posting that a celebrity has died and then waiting to be effortlessly debunked in the information age is positively Blues Cluesian in its shortsightedness. What’s the goal there, aside from fucking up the whole “living obituary” system I’ve got going here?

That’s why it’s all the more baffling to me that there’s been a recent rash of dead celebrity hoaxes (or hoaxi, if you’re okay with just making words right the fuck up). And so, as the internet’s leading postmortem custodian, allow me to take a minute to throw down some sawdust and mop up the vomit Twitter and Facebook have unceremoniously spewed upon my sacred hallways.

Bill Cosby – Okay, I think this one was just a preemptive effort. Last I checked, Cosby is about a hundred thousand years old and has slowly transformed his body into a round, blob-like consistency, which I can’t imagine is the best way to keep your vital signs up. Unless replacing Cosby’s cellular structure with Jell-O is all part of some exciting new viral marketing campaign from the psychopaths at Kraft, it’s not hard to believe he’d be gone.  But no, he’s still around, wearing awesome sweaters and only saying shit in public if it requires him giving ≤ 0 fucks.

UPDATE: Or it was just some dong.)

Rhianna – I dunno, man. Maybe it has something to do with just being awful in general. Or maybe it was just retaliation after we as a society developed the collective Pavlovian response of laughter every time that clip from “Battleship” is on tv and Rhianna tries to look hardcore while saying “boom” as if it’s this generation’s “I’ll be back.”

Eddie Murphy – This one was supposedly the result of a snowboarding accident. I can only assume it wasn’t meant to be taken seriously to begin with because I’m pretty sure no black person has ever gone skiing. Also, why do white people all talk funny? Ha! I’m saying what we’re all thinking!

Bill Nye – This was probably blowback for Nye posting a video begging parents who believe in creationism not to force it onto their kids. Urhm… that, uh… that doesn’t tend to go over too well with the folks you’re directing it at, Nye. Valiant effort, but maybe next time try to aim a little lower. Maybe just see if you can get them to take off those Truck Nutz first.

Source: USA Today.  Also, Facebook and Twitter and Gossip Cop and the LA Times and practically every other goddamn site on the internet. See, this is why I mainly stick to pornography and flash games based on 80s sitcoms.

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8.23.12: Muppet Puppeteer Jerry Nelson – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 4:46 pm August 28, 2012

Wow. This Cheech & Chong remake looks… pretty sweet, actually.


Jerry Nelson, one of the most prolific Muppet puppeteers, most known for voicing Count von Count and Gobo Fraggle, has died of emphysema at the age of 78. He died on Thursday and I was planning to start the week with that story but then Neil Armstrong had to get all jealous and sweep in to steal Nelson’s thunder. I didn’t wanna say anything in the last post, but that was kinda a dick move. Did you know Armstrong went to the moon twice? Twice! Goddamn, let someone else have a turn. Maybe a handsome blogger with a lot of free time, I dunno. He’d probably be great up there. Collecting soil samples, teaching the beautiful maidens of the Mons Maraldi about Earth-style lovemaking, having shootouts with three-headed alien bank robbers… I don’t know a lot about how space works.

In recent years, Mr. Nelson gave up the physically demanding job of operating the Count and other puppets on “Sesame Street” but still voiced the characters, the workshop said. The show’s new season launches in September, and Mr. Nelson’s voice will be heard.

This is the second Muppet-related death this year, and a lot of people would just see lemons there where I see a boundless sea of lemonade. That’s why I’m beginning work on CSI: Sesame Street, a street-smart crime drama set in a sleepy village that follows the efforts of the local law enforcement to bring down the drug and child-smuggling ring of the evil Mr. Aloysius “Trunks” Snuffleupagus. One early review called it “an insult to both children and adults alike.” That means we can only go up from here, baby!


Source: The Washington Post

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8.25.12: Neil Armstrong – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 10:22 am August 27, 2012

FINE, YOU WENT TO THE MOON. THAT’S AWESOME. Have you ever been to Tampa? Well, I guess we’ve both done some pretty cool things then.


Neil Armstrong, the first man to both walk *and* c-walk (probably) on the moon died on Saturday at the age of 82. I mean, that’s all assuming you buy into this whole “landing on the moon” thing. I’ve got some interesting typo-filled literature I printed off from a Geocities site that I think will really open your eyes. Then, when you’re ready, I’ll explain how the US government isn’t actually allowed to make you pay an income tax. It has a lot to do with the completely undeniable FACT! that the Constitution was in reality just written 23 years ago by then-“President” H.W. Bush and his Skull & Bones cronies. IT’S EXACTLY LIKE IN 1984, SHEEPLE.

[Current NASA administrator Charles] Bolden also noted that in the years after the moonwalk, Mr. Armstrong “carried himself with a grace and humility that was an example to us all.” The historian Douglas Brinkley, who interviewed Mr. Armstrong for a NASA oral history, described him as “our nation’s most bashful Galahad.” His family called him “a reluctant hero who always believed he was just doing his job.”

Indeed, some space officials have cited these characteristics, as well as his engineering skills and experience piloting X-15 rocket planes, as reasons that Mr. Armstrong stood out in the astronaut corps. After the post-flight parades and a world tour for the three Apollo 11 astronauts, Mr. Armstrong gradually withdrew from the public eye. He was not reclusive, but as much as possible he sought to lead a private life, first as an associate administrator in the space program, then as a university professor and director of a number of corporations.

In retrospect it’s kinda stunning to think about Armstrong being allowed to lead such a dignified life. Ever since Pepsi purchased the moon in 2004, that kind of thing would be in flagrant breach of contract. Nowadays Armstrong would be required to shoot four seasons of a reality show with Ruben Studdard and one of the Menendez brothers.

Armstrong’s death comes only a month after fellow astronaut, and first American woman in space, Sally Ride passed away. Meanwhile William Shatner is still waddling around the convention circuit despite having reached what appeared to be critical mass some decades ago, and all he had to do was whiff a couple of right hooks at some unlucky extra in a lizard costume. Jesus, Death is more ironic than an LMFAO fan.

Source: The New York Times

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8.14.12: Smoke, Donkey Mascot for the US Military in Iraq – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 11:17 am August 24, 2012

Pictured: An adorable, loving animal who boosted troop morale during and after wartime. Annnnnd now your weekend sucks.


The donkey above is Smoke, who died last week after being rescued from a Middle East warzone and adopted as an unofficial mascot for US soldiers stationed in Iraq, where apparently there’s been some sort of conflict in recent years. I wouldn’t know, since I stopped paying attention to politics or culture in general after 1999, the universally agreed upon peak year of human achievement. Lance Armstrong got crazy doped up and won the Tour de France, NASA was crashing shit into other shit like the galaxy was a goddamn Michael Bay movie, and the New Radicals unleashed “You Get What You Give,” the first of what I’m sure has been a string of mega-successful hits that aren’t in the least bit embarrassing with the benefit of hindsight.

But, if I’ve been missing anything for the past however many years have passed, it’s gotta be the addition of badass donkey warriors, blazing their way through the desert with dual rocket launchers on their shoulders and teaching Iraqi schoolchildren valuable lessons about staying away from drugs and not drinking any water darker than “Pewter Cast” on the Sherwin-Williams Color Visualizer. God, I’m so pumped now! LET’S GET SOME MOTHERFUCKING STATS IN HERE, BLOCK QUOTE!!!!

The donkey learned to walk into offices and open desk drawers to find apples, carrots and other treats planted there by Marines.

Hmm. Okay, well, granted that I often get stymied trying to open drawers myself and therefore can’t really criticize, but that *is* a little underwhelming. It’s still not as bad as when I found out that actual seals are rarely if ever allowed to join the Navy Seals. You know, it’s revelations like that that really make global military conflicts seem less than inviting. Sure, I realize it’s technically war and all that, but what joykilling dictator decided we can’t have some fun with it?


Source: Yahoo!

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8.20.12: Comedian Phyllis Diller – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 5:20 pm August 23, 2012

That’s funny and all, but seriously, you risk potentially contracting hantavirus that way. I know comedy can be fun, but safety should really be our first concern.


Phyllis Diller died this week at the age of 95, and I know you’re gonna make some sassy comment about, “oh, her act died years ago hahaha” or something because everyone in the office tells you you’re the funniest person there and that you should totally think about going into stand-up comedy. But your coworkers still watch Family Guy and don’t seem to see any issue with that at all, so maybe you shouldn’t rush the transition. See, now you made me go off topic, which I almost never do here.

In her many television appearances she would typically sashay onstage wearing stiff, outsize, hideous metallic dresses (she did this, she said, so she could lie to her audiences about the state of her body, which was really trim and shapely)

Think of that as a more earnest precursor to the current trend of super attractive women putting on a pair of glasses to pass themselves off as nerds, because that’s the hot group to exploit right now. My heavens, a Star Wars reference? That’s not at all what the cool kids enjoy! Oh, Zooey Deschanel and her $400 haircut will never find a man now!

Ms. Diller was never really the grotesque-looking woman she made herself out to be; her body, in fact, was attractive enough that when she posed nude for a Playboy photo spread the pictures ended up not being published — the magazine was going for laughs, and decided that they looked too good to be funny.

That’s right, premier comedy magazine Playboy opted not to publish photos of a popular celebrity because they were sexually appealing. It was all part of the brief reign of Dr. Reverso, a fiendish supervillain who wormed his way into the magazine’s editorial seat in the 1960s. Surprisingly, that kind of thing happens all the time. Penthouse has been run by a stray doberman for decades now.

Source: The New York Times

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8.19.12: ‘Top Gun,’ ‘True Romance’ Director Tony Scott – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:05 am August 22, 2012

 Will Smith raps a song that shares its title with the film or GTFO.


Director Tony Scott is dead today after jumping off the Vincent Thomas Bridge in Los Angeles. Scott is best know for holy shit did I just say he jumped off a bridge? Hey Block Quote, can we run that back?

Director Tony Scott is dead today after jumping off the Vincent Thomas Bridge in Los Angeles.

Yeah, that definitely looks like something I’d write. Case closed, I guess. Of course, I didn’t list any reason at all for Scott’s suicide, so lets take a look at what the LA Times says. One of these days I’m gonna have a long talk with me about my lack of follow-through on these things. A long, metaphysical talk.

Investigators probing the death of “Top Gun” director Tony Scott said they still don’t know why he plunged from the Vincent Thomas Bridge on Sunday.

Law enforcement sources said several notes Scott left do not mention any health problems or offer solid clues about why he jumped. It’s possible, the source said, that authorities might never make a clear determination of motive.

Or maybe it was because he had brain cancer. Or maybe he didn’t. Or maybe you’re allowed to just put any random shit on the internet as long as you’re paid up with Go Daddy. Otherwise Danica Patrick comes to your house and pretends like she’s gonna make out with your girlfriend but instead she just breaks your legs and steals your wallet. I hate those commercials.

Scott was known for his kinetic, high-energy action scenes in films like Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop II, True Romance, Days of Thunder and Crimson Tide. But all of that was just the lead-up to his 2009 masterpiece; convincing John Travolta that audiences would find him intimidating if he dressed up like the biker from the Village People.

Seriously, Travolta went to the set of The Taking of Pelham 123 every day, got into costume, and everyone just held their tongues and he totally bought it. Hell, I bet the neck tattoo was his own idea. “Hey Tony, everybody knows there’s nothing scarier than a pudgy old man in a leather jacket, but what if I had some ink on my neck, like I’m in Blink 182 or somethin’? All I worry about is, would that be *too* scary, you know? Would people, like, be afraid to bring their kids and stuff?”

Source: LA Times

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8.18.12: Scott McKenzie, “San Francisco” Vocalist – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:39 am August 20, 2012

In 1967, just having a copy of this record sleeve in your car qualified you for a DUI.

Singer Scott McKenzie, best known for his top ten club banger “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair),” died over the weekend at the age of 73. Cause of death was not publicized, which means I get to make something up and, if not legally disputed within 7 days, it becomes official. It’s why Ray Bradbury died from Werewolfitis, you know.

Annnnnnd let’s go to the heavy-handed block quote:

It seems to me that the McKenzie’s song is something like Jorge Luis Borges’ singular point in “The Aleph.”

Oh holy pretentious fuck here we go…

The song contains the potential of San Francisco in the ’60s when people like the Diggers, Oswley Stanley (the LSD alchemist), the San Francisco Mime Troupe, and various other individuals and groups were attempting a radical reimagining of how society should work, before opportunistic drug dealers (like the mafia), the CIA, media attention and conservative hysteria, as well as mainstream recuperation of the countercultural ethos, tore the whole thing apart.

In that light, McKenzie’s “San Francisco” at once rides the light and darkness of that time. The infinite potential running up against the destructive power of America’s culture of greed and power.

Honestly, that reads like an article in one of those newspapers homeless people are always selling downtown. It’s just a collection of vaguely profound-sounding phrases and references to events that may or may not have ever occurred. I mean, I’m not saying I know for a fact that 9/11 *wasn’t* orchestrated by a team of hyper-intelligent snake people, I just doubt the guy wearing four winter coats in the middle of July managed to crack the case.


Source: Death & Taxes

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8.11.12: Gay Marriage Protester Who Set Fire to General Mills’ Lawn – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:05 pm August 17, 2012

Dying of a heart attack after destroying a food product that can help reduce heart attacks *and* wearing a pink shirt while protesting gay marriage? They must grow some potent irony in Minnesota.

The man above is Michael Leisner, who was under investigation for apparently fleeing the scene after setting fire to the lawn outside of General Mills’ corporate campus in Golden Valley, Minnesota. Leisner was protesting the company’s indirect support of gay marriage by burning a box of Honey Nut Cheerios, which, apparently, are made of the same stuff they make those trick birthday candles out of. The investigation has come to an unceremonious halt, since Leisner dropped dead of a heart attack last week.

Look, we’re not gonna get into politics or social issues here, because I don’t want to risk having to know your opinions on anything other than how handsome I look in my new tracksuit (thank you, by the way). As I’ve tried to drive home before, if I wanted to hear the incessant braying of a bunch of half-informed attention whores I never would’ve stopped moderating that Cabbage Patch Kids forum. Those guys… are intense.

But at this point I think we all kinda know gay marriage will be legal everywhere eventually. Have you ever watched old newsreel footage and just been stunned by the crazy shit people were protesting, and how society was more or less split down the middle about it at the time? Like, “Wait, Strom Thurmond was trying to ban photosynthesis? How the hell would that even work?” It amazes me that people *still* don’t realize that that’s the legacy they’re gonna be leaving behind. People like Leisner go to their graves convinced they’re taking some righteous stand but a hundred years from now they’re just gonna be that guy who burned down an orphanage because he figured Laserdiscs were gonna give us all mutant superpowers. Dude, just get on the winning team while you can.

Ugh. That just skewed dangerously close to being topical. Can we all agree that we’d be fine with this if he was just burning a box of Original Cheerios to protest how godawful they taste? They’re like dusty little drywall rings. It’s like the breakfast that everyone would eat in a movie about a super bland town in the 50’s that’s about to get shaken up by the arrival of rock music. Unless General Mills himself is gonna come to my kitchen every morning and cut up a banana to put in the flavorless horse chow he calls a cereal I’ll just stick to my usual breakfast of a Japanese Double Roll Pizza. The intestinal pain lets you know you’re ready for the day!

Source: The Smoking Gun

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8.14.12: Ron Palillo, Television’s Arnold Horshack – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 10:37 am August 16, 2012

Palillo’s in the center. Yup, the censors let him wear those pants in 1975, but in 2012 if you say “fuck” on basic cable they kick you out of The Wiggles.


Today we spend a maximum of 300 words mourning actor Ron Palillo, best known as Arnold Horshack in 70s sitcom “Welcome Back, Kotter.” Palillo died on Tuesday after suffering an apparent heart attack-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack. Okay, listen, I realize that doesn’t make a lot of sense but I don’t have very deep reserves when it comes to 70s references. You’re lucky I even got the decade right.

Mr. Palillo was inextricably linked with the character he played from 1975 to 1979 on “Kotter,” the hit ABC sitcom, in which title character Gabe Kotter returns to his Brooklyn alma mater to teach a group of lovable wiseguys known as the Sweathogs. Horshack was the nasal teen who yelped, “Oooh, ooh,” and shot his hand skyward whenever Kotter posed a question.

Alright, let’s get down to the heat of the meat here: Palillo is dead, Robert Hegyes died earlier this year, and John Travolta was killed aboard his private jet by Xenu’s airbourne thetan armada following the filming of “Face/Off” in 1996 and was replaced with a chubby robot clone (Let us never forget). That means that the sole remaining Sweathog is Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, aka Freddie “Boom Boom” Washington. So I reached out to him to see what he’s been up to:

“Well, yesterday I successfully fought off the family of raccoons that were hoping to reclaim the refrigerator box they’d been living in, and I’m also in talks to appear in a commercial for a strip club in Louisville, Kentucky.”

Thanks for checking in, Boom Boom!

Source: The Washington Post

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8.13.12: “Cosmopolitan” Editor Helen Gurley Brown – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 5:17 pm August 15, 2012

Pictured: The 80s. All of them. Also, I could write a postgraduate dissertation on that Eddie Murphy blurb.


Author and “Cosmopolitan” editor Helen Gurley Brown has died at the age of 90. Brown edited the magazine for over 30 years and is largely regarded as a visionary who transformed the content of women’s magazines to allow frank discussions abouGODDAMMIT YOU SAID TAPER CUT JEANS WOULD BE A TIMELESS FASHION CHOICE. I’VE BEEN MAKING A JACKASS OUT OF MYSELF FOR YEARS. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MANY JOB INTERVIEWS I’VE WHIFFED BECAUSE OF YOU?! I COULD’VE BEEN IN MIDDLE MANAGEMENT AT THE OFFICE DEPOT BY NOW, YOU SPITEFUL OLD GARGOYLE! GOD! She will be missed.

As Cosmopolitan’s editor from 1965 until 1997, Ms. Brown was widely credited with being the first to introduce frank discussions of sex into magazines for women. The look of women’s magazines today — a sea of voluptuous models and titillating cover lines — is due in no small part to her influence.

At 5 feet 4, she remained a wraithlike hundred pounds throughout her adult life. That weight, she often said, was five pounds above her ideal.

So there you go, women of America: Cosmo says you should feel confident and empowered, but you should probably pick up a subscription anyway because you’re still too fat and no one will ever *really* love you. Also, your co-workers are totally laughing at you when you’re not looking. Man, Sir-Mix-A-Lot would not be down with any of that. No, he wouldn’t be down with any of that at all.

I think the really important thing that I’ve personally learned here is that unmarried women *have* been having sex, which means a lot of girls just lost their “go to” excuse after I take them to the Olive Garden to split an endless pasta bowl. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me every Saturday night since I was 16, shame on me.

UPDATE: Sir-Mix-A-Lot stirs up a lot of emotion in people, and so, by special request, I have to include this.

Source: The New York Times

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