This Day in Death

4.26.13: Country Music Legend George Jones – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:29 am April 29, 2013

GEORGE_JONESJones, seen here performing with fellow country star Tammy Wynette. Here’s a fun fact: In Nashville all divorce proceedings are legally required to be expressed via tearful duet.



Country legend George Jones has died of respiratory failure, and if that wasn’t enough of a downer, it also looks like Billy Ray Cyrus is gonna need a mullet amputation following his recent bout of Achy Breaky Peripheral Arterial Disease.

If you’re not familiar with Jones’ body of work, it probably either means you’ve got some sort of degenerative brain disease or you’re planning to go down with the ship on this whole dubstep thing (my condolences either way), because the man charted an almost comical 150-plus songs over the course of his career. I tell you; People bitched a blue streak about human decency in the 1950s when record companies started forcing musicians to literally perform in their sleep, but you can’t argue with those kinds of results. In fact, Jones charted more songs than any other musician in any genre, although that’s partially because I never finished my concept album about Alf. Look, I’m a perfectionist, it’ll be done when it’s done.

That Jones continued touring and recording until this month astonished and delighted fans who had seen him struggle with alcohol and drug abuse, multiple marriages and divorces, lawsuits over his erratic behavior, and brushes with death in motor vehicle accidents. His life became the stuff of country legend: Following a drinking binge during which his wife took his car keys so he couldn’t drive, Jones famously commandeered a motorized lawn mower and drove himself to the nearest liquor store.

Baller. I mean, you know… a shameful and serious problem that hurt the lives of Jones and his loved ones for decades, but also baller. Country singers used to be fearless about indulging their vices in hilariously inappropriate ways, but then everyone got all paranoid about TMZ hiding in their trash cans and cleaned up their acts. The longer Brad Paisley goes without getting into a drunken fistfight with a giraffe the harder it is for the rest of us to go on pretending that his music doesn’t suck. Honestly, it’s like he’s daring us to stop him at this point.


Source: LA Times

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4.19.13: M*A*S*H Actor Allan Arbus – DEAD!

Filed under: Uncategorized —James @ 9:37 am April 24, 2013

ALLAN_ARBUSFun fact: The Korean War was actually waged solely to serve as a backdrop to M*A*S*H.


Actor Allan Arbus is dead today at the age of 95, which may seem pretty old, but keep in mind that Jack LaLane was still picking fights with silverback gorillas at that age. Serious anger problems, that guy. Anyway, Arbus was best known for playing Major Sidney Freedman, the company psychiatrist on legendary war dramedy M*A*S*H in the 70s and 80s. So, to review: Pretending to be a psychiatrist while on the set of a popular television show = totally fine. Pretending to be a psychiatrist after locking an actual psychiatrist in a broom closet = felony. If you’re anything like me, you may want to consider printing out this post and putting it on your fridge as a daily reminder. That’s what they call “life-hacking.”

Mr. Arbus appeared in films like “Coffy” and “Crossroads” and was a TV regular during the 1970s and ’80s, appearing on “Taxi,” “Starsky & Hutch,” “Matlock” and other shows. But his best-known role was Major Freedman, the liberal psychiatrist who appeared in a dozen episodes of “M*A*S*H.” He treated wounds of the psyche much as Capt. Hawkeye Pierce treated surgery patients: with a never-ending string of zingers.

Yikes. This is starting to hit pretty close to home, to be honest. I know I keep things pretty light around here, but the truth is I’m using humor to mask a lot of my own confusion and fear about death. I think a lot of it probably stems from watching Ghost Dad without the proper adult supervision. That kind of thing will really mess a kid up if they don’t have someone there to put what they’re seeing into a healthy context. Oh! And also when I was seven years old I went into my neighbor’s house and found him wearing my dead dog’s face as a mask. Man… it took me a looong time to see the humor in that.


Source: NY Times

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4.16.13: “Voice of the NFL” Pat Summerall – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 7:23 am April 23, 2013

PAT_SUMMERALLSummerall, seen here with the shaved polar bear that FOX would sub in whenever John Madden was too hammered to wake up. Some people will tell you they can tell the difference between an authentic Madden broadcast and the ones the bear held down, but those people are probably just trying to impress you.


As I’ve copy and pasted to you many times before, we don’t do many sports posts around these parts. That shit is boring, and if I felt like memorizing a bunch of confusing rules just to get through my day I would’ve read those Megan’s Law forms the judge gave me. But the “voice of the NFL” Pat Summerall died last week, and we’re gonna cover it because I think talking about football might make me seem manlier. I’ve really gotta do something to balance out all of those Blossom repeats I’ve been watching on Oxygen lately.

George Allen “Pat” Summerall was born May 10, 1930, in Lake City, Fla., a rural area midway between Jacksonville and Tallahassee. He was an all-around athlete and attended the University of Arkansas on a basketball scholarship. Once there he became an all-Southwest Conference selection in basketball and football. He graduated with a degree in education and later earned a master’s degree in Russian history.

Wait, a football player with a master’s in Russian history? In the real world that’s like getting a PhD in Everything. What happened to the standard bullshit BA in Communications degree that every pro athlete usually gets? You don’t have to aim so high, it’s not like we expect much from you guys in that area. Charles Barkley only has an associates in Doritos, and I’m pretty sure he just made that field up. But studying Russian history probably involves actual work. Figuring out how to pronounce those backwards R’s, for one thing. That’s a semester right there.

Source: USA Today

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4.11.13: Comedian Jonathan Winters – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 7:52 am April 15, 2013

JONATHAN_WINTERSAbove, forward, even diagonal… that motherfucker could point at *anything.*


So comic legend Jonathan Winters died last week, but I’m not taking it too hard. See, once you become a famous and handsome comedy blogger you realize that all comedians fall neatly into one of two categories: ‘Dave Coulier’ and ‘Other.’ Don’t argue, just accept.

But apparently a lot of people out there feel differently. Specifically, 140 characters worth of differently. Because, despite the story not going live til two days after his death, all of the quotes CNN pulled about his death were tweets. Because phone calls are for assholes and old people, not the hip, tech-savvy newshounds at CNN, with their Mountain Dew IV drips and their backwards “Keep Cool with Coolidge” baseball caps. That also explains why Wolf Blitzer got that Skrillex haircut.

“First he was my idol, then he was my mentor and amazing friend,” tweeted Williams. “I’ll miss him huge. He was my Comedy Buddha. Long live the Buddha.”

“R.I.P Jonathan Winters,” tweeted comedian and filmmaker Albert Brooks. “Beyond funny, he invented a new category of comedic genius.”

“Had a great run. Actual genius,” tweeted Kevin Pollak.

“A genius and the greatest improvisational comedian of all time,” tweeted Richard Lewis.

“The first time I saw Jonathan Winters perform, I thought I might as well quit the business,” tweeted Dick Van Dyke after hearing of Winters’ death. “Because, I could never be as brilliant.”

Oh my! It’s a veritable “Who’s Who” of “There’s No Way That Guy is Still Alive.” Nonetheless, I’m gonna roll with it; Richard Lewis isn’t gonna come up often on this blog, and so this may be my only chance to post this:

If there was any justice in this stupid country, “Bemulleted Richard Lewis wearing a utility belt full of adult juice boxes” would be the number one Halloween costume every single year.

Source: CNN

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4.8.13: Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher – DEAD!

Filed under: Uncategorized —James @ 4:12 am April 9, 2013

 MARGARET_THATCHERI once bought a sex toy called The Iron Lady. I don’t really wanna talk any more about that.


Former Prime Minister and Meryl Streep job-creator Margaret Thatcher has died this week at the age of 87. I know I should’ve reported on it earlier, but it took a while to translate those BBC reports from goofy British English to your standard SuperXXXtreme American English*. You can’t just throw a superfluous ‘u’ into a word without asking us first, Britain!

Thatcher was a divisive figure in the UK for her controversial stance on, I don’t know, crumpet taxes or something. She also played a key role in ending the Cold War:

Thatcher’s political instincts had wide-ranging effects, including her conclusion early on that Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev represented a clear shift in the Soviet tradition of autocratic rulers. She said the West could “do business” with him, a position that influenced U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s dealings with Gorbachev as the Soviet era declined.

Christ, the Cold War was boring. 50 years and we never even got a really solid cartoonish supervillain out of it. I wasn’t expecting a Hitler 2 or an Ivan the Terrible (the Remix), but at least throw us a bone with an Ivan the Total Dick or something. Even the Cola Wars had Ray Charles declaring a fatwa on thirst, that was pretty cool. Or put Gorbachev in a cryogenic suit, Mr. Freeze-style. Point is, I don’t care what the transcripts say: It was 10th grade American History that failed me.


*Brought to you by Geico

Source: CBC News

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4.4.13: Film Critic Roger Ebert – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 5:14 pm April 5, 2013


ROGER_EBERTYou know, in ancient Roman times, thumbs up actually meant that the judged person was to be put to death, while thumbs down meant they had performed well and deserved to live. I guess meanings change over time, like when your girlfriend says she’s leaving you but it’s obvious that she means you should break into her new boyfriend’s house and threaten him with a tire iron. Message received, baby.


Film critic Roger Ebert is dead today, only two days after declaring that he would be putting his writing duties on hold to address his resurgent thyroid cancer. Genuine tragedy, or odious conspiracy by Rob Reiner to sneak a North sequel in while nobody’s watching the gate? Ugh. If there’s a North reference that doesn’t fall flat I haven’t found it yet. Let’s… let’s just do the block quote thing already. I’ll have something better to end on.

It would not be a stretch to say that Mr. Ebert was the best-known film reviewer of his generation, and one of the most trusted. The force and grace of his opinions propelled film criticism into the mainstream of American culture. Not only did he advise moviegoers about what to see, but also how to think about what they saw.

I like to believe we’ve started thinking more critically about our viewing options since Ebert’s success, and it’s really shifted the landscape for the better. Sometimes my friends and I will walk out of an Adam Sandler movie and debate for hours if Kevin James farting on Rob Schneider was a metaphor for the oppression of the working class in America and, if so, was it too subtle? I know, I know; Happy Madison Productions would rather we just focus on the transcendent narrative prowess and rich characterizations that are their hallmark, but you simply can’t prepare a feast for the senses and tut-tut us beggars for gorging a bit! Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go pick up the 1996 Chateau La Mondotte Saint Emilion I’ve purchased for tonight’s 2 Fast 2 Furious viewing party. To film!

Source: The NY Times

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4.1.13: ‘Buckwild’ Star Shain Gandee – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:41 am April 4, 2013

SHAIN_GANDEEThe cast of Buckwild, and the only known image of a group of West Virginians in a pickup truck that doesn’t involve a noose and a minority. That’s progress, Mountain State!


I don’t have the slightest idea what Buckwild is, and if you happen to know where MTV is on your cable box it probably means your literacy level is hovering around sub-Beavis levels, so I really don’t need to impress you, or even be coherent. The rest of this post may as well be lorem ipsum for all the difference it’ll make. But I’ll do you one better and pretend to care about your interests. Your stupid, stupid interests.

Apparently Buckwild is a reality show set in West Virginia centering around let’s just say incest. Alright, that might not be strictly true, but supposedly it’s close enough in spirit that the state has denied the show tax credits due to the negative stereotypes it appeares to be enforcing. So when Shain Gandee, one of the show’s stars, was found dead on Monday the state collectively put down the pig they’d been relentlessly seducing and flew their most solemn “If You Hear the Shot, You Weren’t the Target” t-shirt at half-mast, as is their mourning tradition. It’s quite beautiful, in its way.

Gandee, 21, was found dead in a vehicle along with his uncle, David Dwight Gandee, 48, and Donald Robert Myers, 27, authorities said.

On Monday, the sheriff’s office said they had “received word of a disabled vehicle in a wooded area” near Sissonville, that deputies and Sissonville Volunteer Fire Department personnel used all-terrain vehicles to reach the 1984 Ford Bronco belonging to the Gandee family.

You know, everyone likes to bitch about how much MTV sucks now, but what everyone seems to be forgetting is that it was pretty much always totally unwatchable. The Real World and Road Rules were shamelessly scripting reality back when CBS was still beta testing the cyborg that would eventually become Jeff Probst, and whenever they *did* get around to playing music videos it was usually either Will Smith getting jiggy with a fisheye lens or some shitty Pearl Jam knockoff. Hell, pre-1991 the station’s programming consisted entirely of nothing but the Ghostbusters‘ theme on repeat. And I know we all liked Beavis & Butthead, but most of those episodes were just stitched together from looped bits of previous episodes, forming a sort of content ouroboros that they just hoped we were all too hopped up on Surge to notice (we were). Toss in a solid 25 minutes of commercials per hour and it’s amazing anyone ever thought there was the slightest bit of integrity to the whole scam. I don’t really begrudge MTV selling snake oil to the easily entertained for the last three decades, I just wish aging Gen Xers hadn’t let nostalgia convince them that Kennedy introducing a 7 Year Bitch video was their moon landing. Maybe it’s time to take some baby steps towards transparency. Can we at least admit that we’re all just watching the invasive surgery channel for masturbatory purposes? We all know it, let’s just be mature enough to get it all out in the open already.



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3.28.13: Sabian Cymbals Founder Robert Zildjian – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 10:57 am April 1, 2013

 ROBERT_ZILDJIANHey, it looks like they finally fired that Mr. Magoo guy. Seriously, who thought he was a good choice to work in a cymbal factory? Every day was like a goddamn indoor thunderstorm with him around.


Get ready to break some hard news to the third most important member of your Megadeth cover band, because Robert Zildjian, the founder of Sabian Cymbals, died last week at the age of 89. Sabian is, of course, not to be confused with infamous female masturbatory saddle the Sybian. That’s probably not a very common misunderstanding, but I just felt the need to make sure my lady readers were aware of how sensitive I am to their self-pleasuring needs. This blog is very feminist, deal with it.

Zildjian founded Sabian in 1981 after a legal battle with his brother, Armand, over their inheritance of the family business, Avedis Zildjian Co., a major cymbal maker. The companies remain competitors.

I’m really not sure what the big deal is here. Instant Rimshot is pretty much gonna put all of these companies out of business anyway. It’s all I ever use when people hire me to host their company roasts, and I never hear anyone complaining. Well, except for Tina in payroll, but if she didn’t want people making jokes about her abortion she shouldn’t have used her real name at Planned Parenthood. It’s like you’re asking people to find out, Tina!


Source: Billboard (Photo from this guy’s MySpace)

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