This Day in Death

7.22.13: Dennis Farina – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 11:54 pm July 25, 2013

DENNIS_FARINAThe man liked consistency.  I heard a photographer once tried to put just one olive into his prop martini. We’re all praying for his family’s safe return someday.


Actor Dennis Farina, who is still not my cool dad despite multiple prayers and sacrifices to the Incan god Inti, is dead this week due to a blood clot in his lung. In his 3-decade acting career Farnia portrayed over a dozen exasperated police sergeants who were sick and tired of that cocksure detective O’Malley playing by his own rules all the time. Goddammit, you’ll bring the Benito crime family down by the book or it’ll be your badge this time, capice!?

The mustachioed Farina was accustomed to playing characters on either side of the law, such Lt. Mike Torello on TV’s Crime Story as well as mobsters like Jimmy Serrano in 1998’s Midnight Run and Albert Lombard on Miami Vice. He had a fruitful partnership with that show’s creator, Michael Mann, having also starred in his films Thief and Manhunter.

I don’t know why everyone’s always so down on typecasting. What’s the big deal? You get really good at a single role and just as soon as you start contemplating eating a bullet from boredom the world at large gets sick of you anyway and the phone stops ringing. Then you open up a putt-putt golf course, do a couple of “Where are They Now?” segments on VH-1, and sit back waiting for some director to pull a Tarantino and remember you from their youth, subsequently casting you in a major motion picture or television show, at which point the internet gets all ironic about you, and BAM! Late-career renaissance. It worked for Neil Patrick Harris and Betty White. Irony even gave Chuck Norris a nice new coat of paint, and that guy’s practically a cartoon supervillain in real life. It’s a decent paycheck for some cakewalk work, and that’s a pretty tender deal if you ask me. Oh, yeah; I’m using the word “tender” now in place of “cool.” Start saying that from now on.


Source: USA Today

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7.20.13: Helen Thomas – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 10:14 pm July 22, 2013


PEOPLE-HELENTHOMAS/Woe was the soul of anyone foolish enough to sit within a five foot radius of Helen “Chili Powder” Thomas.


Over her nearly six decade career in journalism, Helen Thomas was a leading journalistic voice in American politics, reporting on and often gaining access to the inner circle of every President since Kennedy (Carter was the grabbiest). Sadly, Thomas passed away on Friday and will not be able to cover the inevitable 2016 election of P.R.E.Z.B.O.T., our first openly gay robot president. Oh sure, the religious right are gonna have a field day, but he can’t help the way he was programmed.

Her career, however, came to an end under a cloud of controversy.

Thomas, then working for the media conglomerate Hearst as a syndicated columnist, was blasted for comments she made regarding Jewish people.

In 2010, a YouTube video surfaced showing her saying that Israel should “get the hell out of Palestine,” and that the Jewish people should go home to “Poland, Germany … and America and everywhere else.”

That’s an unfortunate way to end such a distinguished career, and I hope the criticisms didn’t darken her spirits in her last days. You really can’t let your critics get to you like that. For instance, growing up everyone told me I was emotionally distant and unlovable on a basic human level, but you’d be hard pressed to get any of the cats in my apartment to agree with that.

Source: CNN

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7.13.13: ‘Glee’ Star Cory Monteith – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 6:45 am July 17, 2013

CORY_MONTEITHThis thing has been on the air for four years, yet FOX still has zero interest in picking up my spinoff about high school bullies working tirelessly to keep the hallways clear of the combined menace of dweebs, nerds, poindexters and spazoids. I swear, if it takes the rest of my life I’m getting Wedgie Patrol greenlit.


Alright folks; I’m in way over my head here, so pardon me while I copy and paste together something marginally coherent for you:

Glee star Cory Monteith, whose character Finn Hudson evolved all the way from being a jock who doesn’t sing to being a jock who *does* sing, was found dead over the weekend.

Look, I’m not gonna pretend I understand what any of that means. My internet went down for 20 minutes once in 2009 and the next thing I knew everyone was singing their way through high school and kids were Snapchatting pictures of their buttholes to each other, so I’m still kinda playing catchup on youth culture. All I can seem to figure out for certain is that it’s cool to be uncool now, so I’m finally taking my Coogi sweater collection out of its 15-year retirement. I bet those teenagers at the mall are gonna think I’m pretty “dope” now and will probably ask me to teach them some of my moves at the skate park or whatever. Everyone says kids are difficult, but you really just gotta be able to relate to them.

“Glee” star Cory Monteith died as a result of “mixed drug toxicity” involving heroin and alcohol, the British Columbia Coroners Service reported Tuesday.

Monteith, 31, was found dead in his room at the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel in downtown Vancouver, B.C. on July 13.

“At this point, there is no evidence to suggest Mr. Monteith’s death was anything other than a most tragic accident,” the Coroners Service said.

And so now here’s the part where I have to be the bad guy and mention that the jury’s pretty much in on the effects of heroin, so it’s kinda weird to classify an OD strictly under “accident.” You pretty much know what you’re getting into nowadays. Hey, I get it; You’re a 31-year old man playing a high school student for some inexplicable reason. You need to take the edge off, and all of your bros are gonna call you out if you’re the only one in the group without *any* type of hepatitis. But if you think drugs are the answer, just try telling that to my Halls Mentho-Lyptus addiction. On the street they call it the Tangy Dragon, you know.


Source: FOX News

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7.5.13: Feminist Author Elaine Morgan – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 6:11 am July 15, 2013

ELAINE_MORGANUnless the Aquatic Ape has to fight Sharknado I’m out. It’s a very simple criteria that I use for all literature, thank you very much.


Noted author and feminist Elaine Morgan died on Friday, which is the perfect combination of words to use if you ever find yourself needing to somehow suck all the fun out of a kegger. It’s like a magical incantation with just the right ratio of haughtiness to existential sorrow.

Elaine Morgan’s long and varied life encompassed experience as an author, TV writer, lecturer and scientific rebel.

Scientific rebels can be easily identified because their cylinders never graduated. Ha! Chemistry puns! Who else is gonna give you that? Alright, fine, xkcd will. But I promise you that if I ever start putting stick figures on this site I’ll at least show some common courtesy to my readers by giving the female ones comically oversized breasts. It’s called respecting your audience.

Speaking of feminism:

In the 1970s Dr Morgan took on the scientific establishment with a new theory of human evolution.

Her book The Descent of Woman became an international bestseller, turning her into a feminist hero who toured the US three times.

She went on to devote her attention increasingly to the subject of human origins.

It’s starting to dawn on me how pissy Jezebel is gonna get if they see this post. We’ve had a rocky relationship ever since my article, “Putting a Dime on the Dollar: A Plea to Reassess Susan B. Anthony’s Doability in the Information Age,” was rejected for publication. Supposedly the inclusion of multiple drawings of busty stick figures didn’t sway any editors to my side. Well excuse me for trying to establish a consistent motif as a writer!

Source: BBC News

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7.2.13: Douglas Engelbart, Inventor of the Computer Mouse – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 7:30 am July 8, 2013

DOUGLAS_ENGELBARTFinally a clit that gamers can actually find, am I right?! Don’t leave me hanging, brosef!


In the 1960s, computing visionary Douglas Engelbart and his (presumably bespectacled) peers had a dream. A dream that one day moms across the country would accidentally give their social security numbers to a banner ad disguised as a flash game where you swat anthropomorphized flies with a cartoon newspaper. A dream that locally-stored pornographic content could be easily accessed without having to tab around like a goddamn mongoloid. Lo was born the computer mouse, forever replacing the archaic technology of poking a nerd with a stick and telling him to “do computer stuff.” People make fun of them now, but in 1982 if your new Commodore 64 came with a nerdstick you were the coolest kid in the neighborhood.

Englebart had said that he did not, however, come up with the name “mouse.” When asked in an interview with Stanford about the name in December 1986, Engelbart said, “No one can remember [who came up with the name]. In the lab, the very first one we built had the cord coming out the back. It wasn’t long before we realized that it would get in the way, and then we changed it to the front. But when it was trailing out the back like that, sitting there, just its funny little shape.”

Additionally, Wikipedia points out that “mouse” is *not* an acronym for “Manually Operated User Selection Equipment,” as is sometimes claimed. It should be pretty obvious that that’s just another one of those instances where someone’s tried to reverse engineer the name into an acrostic that seems more meaningful, like S.H.I.E.L.D., or cinematic classic F.A.R.T.: The Movie. I’d also like to take this opportunity to dispel the hurtful rumors that my name is actually an acronym for “Jews are mighty evil, Sam.” It’s totally out of line, I don’t even know anybody named Sam!

Source: ABC News

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6.28.13: Matt Osborne, aka Doink the Clown – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 7:02 am July 4, 2013

DOINK_THE_CLOWNPictured: Wrestling.


I hate writing about professional wrestling. It’s one of those topics that gets a lot of fans up in their Axe Bodysprayed arms if you criticize it, which wouldn’t bother me so much if only they didn’t totally miss the point of the criticism. Yes, we all know that these guys put their bodies through a lot to get into shape, but you know who else does that? Ultraviolent prison inmates. Just because something’s hard to do doesn’t make it an admirable use of your time. It’s like setting a world record for most STDs; You can be proud of the effort if you want, but don’t expect anyone to give you the key to the city for it.

Alright, now that I’ve laid down a foundation that will most definitely keep wrestling fans from emailing me, it’s time to let you know that Matt Osbourne, who wrestled as Doink the Clown in the 1990s, is dead. Osbourne resurrected the Doink character with a new “smeared-makeup psycho killer” approach in 2010, working under the assumption that literally nobody but him had seen The Dark Knight. Solid plan, there. If you’re hoping to get away with copyright infringement maybe just steal something from Green Lantern instead.

“The locker rooms are much different now than they used to be,” he said, stressing it’s not necessarily a lack of respect. Mostly, it’s that the younger wrestlers are “off, into their own thing, not wanting to learn, or just thinking they know. I don’t know, I really don’t know. It’s hard for me to get into these young guys’ minds. I don’t know where they’re coming from. I just know how different it is.

“When I was young, I was always talking to the older guys, listening to them, seeking advice … I don’t see it a lot. There are some guys who are, and I relish that. That’s great. I’m there for them. But I can’t help somebody who doesn’t want it.”

Oh man, that is so Kenny Powers I grew a mullet just reading it. But he’s got a point: How do these young punks expect to get ahead in the world of fake wrestling without taking a knee whenever a 55-year old man in clown makeup who’s doing the indie circuits after nearly 20 years of involuntary quasi-retirement starts giving out advice? Guys like that always have a lot of wisdom to pass on, like where to get the best jean jackets or how to take a shower at a bus stop. And if you’re looking to laugh uncomfortably at some vaguely homophobic jokes, then prepare to perk those ears right the hell up. Plus, people like that usually refer to their girlfriend as their “old lady,” and that’s just something we could all stand to be doing a little more of.

Source: Canoe (It’s like the Canadian Yahoo!, which… ew.)


6.16.13: Second City Co-Founder Bernie Sahlins – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:26 pm July 1, 2013

BERNARD_SAHLINSSahlins poses with lighthearted 70s comedy troupe Zanytown, whose playful skewering of societal norms inadvertently resulted in the wrongful imprisonment of more than 400 legal immigrants. It’s a pretty funny story, I’ll tell you guys about it another time.


Over its 54-year history Chicago’s Second City theater has given birth to countless brilliant and talented comedic legends, as well as Rachel Dratch. It’s become a comedy lynchpin, like pushing a diabetic down a staircase. It’s just something all us comedy folk go through at some point. Sadly, Bernie Sahlins, co-founder of the theater, died last month of pancreatic cancer. You know, they say the best humor comes from real life, so if cancer gets your sides all asplittin’, congratulations: You’re not actually a cruel human being with no sense of empathy, you’re a cruel comedy visionary with no sense of empathy.

“This was still the Beat generation, and we started out to found a coffee house where we idlers, including the actors whom we had with for years, could loll around and put the world in its proper place.”

But The Second City caught on within months of opening, despite some early money problems and other issues, and it became instrumental in the growth and development of improvisational and sketch comedy.

“Improv.” We in the industry just call it “improv,” as we don’t have time for a bunch of extra syllables nobody’s gonna read anyway. Improv combines the visual thrill of watching people knock on doors that aren’t there with the narrative cohesion of just flat-out making shit up on the spot. It’s like watching a five-year old trying to get out of trouble for knocking over a houseplant. I mean, sure, I don’t preplan anything around here either, but that’s because of good old sturdy, tried and true American laziness, not some kind of postmodern experimental fartsniffing. Way too heady, if you ask me. What was the problem with slurs against the Irish and a simple spinning bowtie? That was comedy everyone could get behind. Except the Irish, I guess.

Source: Variety

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