This Day in Death

2.25.13: Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:25 pm February 27, 2013

C_EVERETT_KOOPWait, that’s not the Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper guy. That’s it; Starting tomorrow, I read the *entire* headline every time, no exceptions.

C. Everett Koop, former Surgeon General/owl-themed Bond villain, died this week after a recent bout of kidney failure. King Koopa (it is absolutely not too late to start calling him that) had a reputation for bucking his own personal beliefs in the interest of public health, such as when he forced a public discussion of the under-reported AIDS epidemic during the 1980s. For his trouble, Koop got accused by the religious right of pushing a “gay agenda.” For not wanting gay people to all just quietly die in a pit somewhere, I guess. Was that whole decade just a post-apocalyptic dystopia of old white men in shadowy rooms rubbing their hands together and coming up with new ways to be total dicks to everybody? Because the evidence really seems to be mounting. I mean, sure, the way VH1 Classic tells it, it was ten uninterrupted years of Hall & Oates music videos, but that’s the cable propaganda machine for you.

In February 1982, Koop released a scathing report on smoking, proclaiming it “the most important public health issue of our time.” He cited the health risks of smoking and called for the U.S. to become a “smoke-free nation.”

He followed up in 1988 with the landmark report “The Health Consequences of Smoking-Nicotine Addiction,” which equated nicotine addiction with addiction to cocaine and heroin. The report cited the links between smoking and a variety of cancers, highlighted the dangers of second-hand smoke to the non-smoker and called for warning labels on tobacco packages.

Calling out the dangers of smoking was a controversial move, and is largely believed to have cost then-candidate George H.W. Bush the ‘1950s Greasers in White T-Shirts and Leather Jackets’ vote. You wouldn’t think those guys would be following politics so closely, but if you’d ever seen them caucus you’d know their official stance on political ignorance is a firm “sit on it.”


Source: The LA Times

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2.22.13: Songwriter Diane Lampert – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:55 am February 26, 2013

DIANE_LAMPERTLampert and Buster Keaton having a flat hat-off.


Everyone knows that writing your own song is for chumps. That shit is hard, and writing is super time-consuming. Hell, this post has taken me four hours so far and it doesn’t even rhyme. Besides, Paula Cole already wrote Where Have All the Cowboys Gone, so you’re looking at taking the silver in that game, tops. If you’re a successful musician it’s best to just let someone else take care of the songwriting so you can get back to doing bumps off the backs of your army of Thai ladyboys.

Unfortunately, songwriter Diane Charlotte Lampert is dead, meaning you’re one step closer to being forced to write your own damn music. Or you could just steal Walk the Dinosaur, nobody remembers that song anyway. Alternately you could go the Maroon 5 route and just steal lyrics from the diaries of 12-year old girls. Believe me, they can’t fight back for shit.

Diane Charlotte Lampert, an accomplished songwriter of the 1950s and 1960s who wrote lyrics to title songs for more than 20 movies, has died.

Lampert’s husband, Fred Stuart, said she died of heart failure Friday at a Manhattan hospital. She was 88.

Lampert worked on songs performed by Brenda Lee, Steve Lawrence, Red Foley, The Lettermen and others.

Of course, Spinner leads with a picture of The Beatles and their headline claims that Lampert wrote songs FOR them, despite the fact that she only co-wrote one song that The Beatles just happened to perform, years after Eddie Fontane had already released his version of it. Several other acts would record the song in the following decades, and The Beatles’ version would remain unheard until it was finally released on a live album in 1994, which is apparently a tenuous enough connection to frame a piece of writing around if you just squeeze hard enough. It’s a disingenuous trick that anyone who’s bought my novella, That Time I Think I Saw One of the Guys From U2 (Definitely Not Bono or the Edge, One of the Other Ones) at the Orange Julius, But I Can’t Be Sure Because I was Kind of in a Hurry and Didn’t Really Stop to Look, knows all too well. Seriously, he’s only in it for, like, half a page! You guys are suckers, man.


Source: Spinner

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2.18.13: Lakers’ Owner Jerry Buss – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:10 am February 21, 2013

JERRY_BUSSPictured: Cocaine.


As I’ve tried to make clear to you guys on numerous occasions, I don’t do a lot of sports posts around here. Sorry, but if I wanted to watch a bunch of guys in matching uniforms march around in front of mindlessly adoring crowds I can Netflix Schindler’s List. But maybe that’s your thing; Sports/Nazism. Hey, I’m not here to judge. My function is merely to unfairly frame things so that others may more easily judge in the future. It’s noble, sure, but I wouldn’t exactly call myself a ‘hero,’ per se.

Anyway, if you really insist on talking about someone other than me, here’s a little something about Lakers’ owner Jerry Buss dying. Hey, did you know that Jay-Z owns barely a tenth of a percent of the Nets, even though he acts like he’s purchased the entire borough of Brooklyn? Basically, if Jay-Z’s money wasn’t involved with the Nets then Andray Blatche might have to switch to a slightly less absorbent sweatband.

The death of the Lakers’ owner Jerry Buss Monday at age 80 brought out all the usual remembrances, which included the proper credit for creating the Lakers phenomenon out of almost nothing, for spawning much of what we recognize as the modern N.B.A. out of so much magic dust. The tales of the man behind all that, though, were so colorful and so unlikely, it is worth taking a second to realize that if Jerry Buss had not been real, Hollywood would have had to make him up.

Look, you can dress it up all you want, but I still think it’s silly that they based an entire sport off of a Will Ferrell movie. If that’s gonna be the template I’d much rather they make a phoney sport out of that one he did about the rednecks who drive around in circles for no good reason and wear jumpsuits with corporate logos all over them like a bunch of shameless goddamn whores. Man, that shit would be hilarious to watch in real life!


Source: The New York Times

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2.17.13: Country Singer Mindy McCready – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:57 am February 19, 2013

MINDY_MCCREADYWhenever someone dies tragically I have a real hard time finding an image I feel comfortable mocking. Then 90s fashion comes to the rescue. “Fuck it, add, like, a shitload more buttons, for no discernible reason,” said every pant company, every day, for an entire decade.


Country singer Mindy McCready died this weekend of an apparent suicide, and since this is the internet I’m expected to be all callous about that. Well you guys can cram it in diagonally, I have standards about dignity. They’re vaguely defined, easily circumnavigated, and only come up when convenient, but they’re always there. Like those little blades that cut the floss for you, dutifully there when you need them but utterly ignored during the rest of your life. That analogy may or may not make much sense; I just drank an awful lot of mouthwash and the whole medicine cabinet is kinda fascinating me right now. Point is let’s just, for once, try to be professional about things around here. God.

In 2009, like some other troubled stars willing to allow the public to watch them repair themselves, she signed up to appear on the reality series “Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew.” On one episode, she suffered a seizure.

In the last few years, four other cast members from that series have also died.

Wow. Five cast members dead, with the status of several others still undetermined? Alright, I’m just gonna toss something out there and we’ll see if she flies: Are we absolutely positive that Dr. Drew is not a member of some sort of satanic cult, cultivating corpses for his unholy masters to consume as fuel? Keep in mind, I’m not married to this theory. I’m willing to entertain the possibility that he’s actually some kind of demented scientist who needs human organs to use in biological experiments so horrifying they’d make that Human Centipede doctor look like a high school chemistry teacher. Or maybe he’s just flat-out, old school, Manson-style crazy. I mean, this is all just spit-balling, there are no bad ideas about what horrible secret Dr. Drew is most definitely hiding that drives him to use his awful tv show to murder people. Let’s crack this case together. Teamwork makes the dream work, I always say!

Source: The New York Times

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2.4.13: Jazz Trumpeter Donald Byrd – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 7:07 pm February 15, 2013

 DONALD_BYRD I enjoy this picture a lot more if I imagine that the harder he blows the more it makes his afro grow out. Look, I’m trying to learn to appreciate jazz here, but you’re really gonna have to meet me halfway.


Jazz Trumpeter Donald Byrd is dead, and my reporting on it really does a lot to class up a resume that’s mostly filled with Cheeto stains and borderline anti-Semitic remarks. Despite being considered an innovator of the “hard-pop” style, Byrd’s reputation has been hampered by being literally the only jazz musician to neither appear on The Cosby Show nor OD on heroin. They’re sorta the twin jewels of jazz credibility.

 In 1958, he signed an exclusive recording contract with the Blue Note label and formed a band with a fellow Detroit native, baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams, making their label debut with the 1959 album “Off to the Races.” The band became one of the leading exponents of the hard-bop style, which evolved from bebop and blended in elements of R&B, soul and gospel music.

Pfft. You guys are a bunch of hypocrites. Oh, sure, everyone gets all weepy when some jazzy triangle player or whatever dies, but nobody even noticed when the entire genre of nu metal died in 2002. Don’t you remember the good times? Mudvayne, Puddle of Mudd? It was the golden age of mud-based band names, for Durst’s sake! Have you even considered what happened to the guy from Papa Roach? He has no other employable skills, nu metal was his last resort, assholes! Static-X!


Source: Yahoo! News

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2.11.13: Heart Attack Grill Mascot John Alleman – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 10:01 pm February 14, 2013

JOHN_ALLEMANWait wait wait WAIT… So you’re telling me you can make atrociously indulgent dietary decisions but not necessarily end up fat? Looks like we’ve been lied to by the Health Gestapo yet AGAIN.


If you’re anything like John Alleman, you enjoy subtlety. Calling a place that serves burgers so unhealthy that a committee of physicians is demanding its license be suspended the Heart Attack Grill is a move so gentle it would make Garrison Keillor himself slightly flush. That’s kinda a big deal for him.

So its no wonder that Alleman was so enamored with the place, eating there so often that he was considered the restaurant’s unofficial mascot. I’ll let you guess how that eventually turned out. Yeah, you don’t get on this blog for making solid lifestyle choices. You get on it via crushing inevitability, poor health decisions, and/or petty bribery. I’m really trying to lean hard on that last one in 2013, though.

Last week, Alleman, 54, suffered a massive heart attack and was rushed to Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas, where he remained on life support until he passed away this morning.

According to restaurant owner “Doctor Jon” Basso, Alleman would visit the Heart Attack Grill on a daily basis, and often stood outside for hours trying to convince others to enter.

“I told him if you keep eating like this, it’s going to kill ya,” Basso told the Las Vegas Sun. “He’d say, ‘I just love your place, Jon.’ He’s the only person I know who was probably at the restaurant more than I.”

That’s right; Alleman disregarded Basso’s advice, even though he was both the owner *and* a doctor, albeit one of those quotation mark doctors like you meet at flea markets and county fairs. I can sympathize, though; Both Alleman and myself are badass rebels who live and die by our own rules, feeling the wind in our hair and only sleeping with the lights on when it’s super dark outside.


Source: Gawker

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2.10.13: Lolong, the World’s Largest Saltwater Crocodile – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:05 am February 12, 2013

LOLONGAt what point can we just call it a fucking dinosaur? Nobody wants anything to be cool anymore.

If you’re still dragging your feet about booking that vacation to the Philippine town of Bunawan then I’ve got two pieces of bad news for you: 1.) You have awful vacation ideas, and 2.) you might as well not even bother anymore because Lolong, the 20-foot long crocodile that’s lived there for decades, is dead. With Lolong gone, Bunawan is expected to fall back on its next most popular tourist attractions; creepy Jesus paintings and contracting scabies. I think things are gonna turn out just fine for those guys.

Various religious groups offered prayers Monday and spiritual leaders also planned to perform a tribal funeral rite, which involves butchering chickens and pigs to thank forest spirits for the fame and other blessings the crocodile has brought, Elordie said.

The crocodile’s capture in September 2011 sparked celebrations in the town. It was caught with steel cable traps during a hunt prompted by the death of a child in 2009 and the later disappearance of a fisherman. Water buffalos have also been attacked by crocodiles in the area.

Yup, it straight up ate babies and the whole town is mourning just the same. They’re even offering pork as a thank you, and someone probably had to mortgage their bamboo hut to swing that. Meanwhile you probably can’t even get your neighbor to water your plants while you’re out of town. I dunno, maybe if you contributed to your community a little more you could someday enjoy the kind of admiration that a freaky, murderous reptile commanded. It’s too bad we’ve got ten more months until it’s time to make New Year’s Resolutions, because that’d probably be a good one for you.

Source: ABC

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2.5.13: Hollywood Makeup Artist Stuart Freeborn – DEAD!

Filed under: Uncategorized —James @ 6:23 pm February 8, 2013

STUART_FREEBORNHey ladies, wouldn’t it be great if we could do that to every man’s head? Woo! I have had *too many* Coco Snowball Martinis.


From transvestites and the excessively vain to the slutty Golden Girl and even your validation-starved sister, everyone loves makeup. But did you know that it can be used for something other than reinforcing oppressively stereotypical gender expectations? It’s true! Makeup can also be used to make space turtles or whatever for movies. That’s what Yoda is, right? Some kinda space turtle? Whatever, I don’t really care. Point is, Stuart Freeborn, who created the makeup for characters in Star Wars, 2001: A Space Odyssey and more, is dead today at the age of 98.

Lucas said in a statement:

“[Freeborn] brought with him not only decades of experience but boundless creative energy. His artistry and craftsmanship will live on forever in the characters he created. His Star Wars creatures may be reinterpreted in new forms by new generations but at their heart they continue to be what Stuart created for the original films.”

Freeborn was just another member of the delicate ecosystem of talented people who worked tirelessly to bring George Lucas’ half-assed fever dreams to something approaching palatability. In retrospect, what exactly did Lucas contribute to the empire that keeps his horrific meatbeard so glossy? Other people designed and built everything, and even a lot of the directing and writing duties were taken up by more competent nerds than Lucas. At this point it seems like he basically just scribbled “ROBOTS N MONKEYS IN SPACE!” in crayon and tricked everyone into feeling sorry enough to try and help him. I tell you, in the 70s you could get anything done with enough moxie. Moxie, of course, being 70s slang for cocaine.

Source: Time

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2.4.13: Troggs’ Frontman Reg Presley – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 2:32 pm February 6, 2013

REG_PRESLEYThe Troggs, shortly after jettisoning several extraneous members and trimming down to a sparse four-piece, because apparently a 60s British rock band doesn’t need a breakdance squad. Pfft. How illin.’


Musician Reg Presley has died of lung cancer this week, breaking the tradition of musical icons named Presley dying of constipation on their bathroom floors. Alright, so that only happened to one so far, but we really could’ve *had* something there, you know?

Presley was the lead singer for The Troggs, who, according to leading musicologists, specialized in a genre called “rock and roll.” It supposedly caused quite a stir for a while, just ask your parents. Okay, fine; ask your grandparents. Though comatose for decades, rock music didn’t officially die until last year, when Gwen Stefani ruthlessly murdered Adam Yauch. If that weren’t true, how come it’s tagged?

The Troggs had a number of hit songs, including Wild Thing and Love Is All Around, which was covered in the 1990s with huge success by Wet Wet Wet.

The success of the Wet Wet Wet version, which featured on the soundtrack of the hit film Four Weddings and a Funeral, allowed Presley to pursue his interest in crop circles and UFOs.

The singer published a book, Wild Things They Don’t Tell Us, about the paranormal in 2002.

Granted, that’s a pretty silly vanity project, but what else is an aging rock star supposed to do with a sudden influx of late-career royalties for a two-minute song? That’s house money you’re playing with, go nuts. How do you think I finance this stupid blog? You find one pube in your Veggie Works Burrito and Del Taco practically throws money at you to keep it quiet. The secret is sneaking in your own pubes in a vial. Don’t try to wing it in the restaurant like a damn animal, that’s just poor taste. People are trying to eat in there.


Source: BBC

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2.1.13: Former New York Mayor Ed Koch – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 7:40 am February 4, 2013

ED_KOCHDid you know you can purchase your own grave before you die? It all but negates the need to fake your own death to secure a good spot, making my recent actions look kinda foolish. I should really call my mom and bring her up to speed about the whole thing one of these days.


Alright, well, Ed Koch is dead, but I’m gonna turn this over to the Times. So let’s all grit our teeth and try not to roll our eyes while they turn this into an insufferable stroke-job for New York.

Edward I. Koch, the master showman of City Hall, who parlayed shrewd political instincts and plenty of chutzpah into three tumultuous terms as mayor of New York with all the tenacity, zest and combativeness that personified his city of golden dreams, died Friday morning at age 88.

Liiiiittle more, please…

But out among the people or facing a news media circus in the Blue Room at City Hall, he was a feisty, slippery egoist who could not be pinned down by questioners and who could outtalk anybody in the authentic voice of New York: as opinionated as a Flatbush cabby, as loud as the scrums on 42nd Street, as pugnacious as a West Side reform Democrat mother.

Mmmmm yeah, that’s the stuff. New York City: Where even the obituaries are relentlessly self-important. I hear reporters at the Times are paid in airtight jars of their own farts.

Anyway, at several points in his career, Koch’s political opponents attempted to damage his reputation by spreading speculation that he might be gay, because apparently that’s a thing that matters somehow. I’m not really sure how that’s even a smear campaign, gay people probably make solid political leaders. They have such a great sense of community, always rehabbing shitty studio apartments and walking around holding hands with each other to make sure nobody gets lost. I guess that just means homosexuals tend to have a poor sense of direction, but that’s hardly a reason to keep them out of office. They’re not mayoring the Appalachian Trail, motherfuckers, vote ’em in.

Source: The New York Times

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