This Day in Death

12.19.13: ‘Screw’ Magazine Publisher Al Goldstein – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 7:23 pm December 30, 2013

AL_GOLDSTEIN I personally never read either magazine, but it’s my understanding that Screw beat out competitor Nuts to become the world’s premier metal fastener-based publication. I’m mature enough to admit that for a while I had some bi-monthly curiosity about Cotter Pin Review, though.

 
Al Goldstein, the publisher of Screw, the porno magazine that taught a generation of trailer trash how to successfully execute a Cleveland Bowtie, has died. Screw built its reputation on always being there for you when Hustler just seemed way too highbrow, and Goldstein rode that pony to its natural and inevitable conclusion: Erecting an 11-foot tall middle finger on his front lawn. It’s really the American Dream, and as a Jew born in America in the 1930s, Goldstein was just living up to the promise of that plaque on Ellis Island:

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
And they shall tell all those below their income bracket
To kindly sit and spin on this baller shit right here.”

And, for years, spin we did. But unfortunately Goldstein couldn’t compete with the instant gratification that is the internet pornado and soon found himself Hammer levels of broke.

By the mid-2000s, Goldstein was completely broke and homeless. “At times I was forced to sleep in a car or in a homeless shelter”, he told the New York Times in 2004.”I’ve gone from broads to bagels”, he said in that same interview, referring to his $10 an hour job at a New-York Deli.

Ouch. You know, Screw could’ve really thrived by becoming tech savvy during the internet’s nascent years, when things were a bit more naive and we were all wondering if anyone else out there was searching for blumpkin videos on Alta Vista. Goldstein could’ve been the beacon that guided every degenerate’s sticky-planked ship to shore. Instead the man fumbled on what could’ve become a billion-dollar empire and lost everything.

But I suppose we’ve all got our regrets. My big one is that I never really got into wearing hats. When I was a teenager all my friends would be out every Saturday night having a great time, canting their bowlers and derbys and porkpies like they’d be young forever. Unfortunately I was cursed with a freakishly asymmetrical skull and some rather unflattering forehead ridges, so whenever I’d compare my brim size to the other kids’ I’d just get all ashamed. Now years have gone by and there’s a whole display kiosk at JC Penny that’ll simply never make any sense to me.


Source: Jewish Business News

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12.18.13: Chicago DJ Larry Lujack – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:17 am December 22, 2013

 LARRY_LUJACKLujack, back center, poses for a picture with the “This is Why We’re Not in a Visual Industry” players. Not sure how an attractive lady ended up in the mix. See, this is why I’m against Affirmative Action, it really throws off the chemistry of a group like that.

 

Chicago radio legend Larry Lujack, considered the precursor to the modern shock jocks that have kept us so thoroughly entertained with a steady stream of fart-centric hilarity lo these last couple decades, died on Wednesday of esophageal cancer. This after the Chicago Tribune corrected its originally reported cause of death, which was “the pungent, creeping atrophying of all things related to radio, as the final desperate vestiges of a once relevant industry shambles, vacant-eyed and culturally impotent, towards the spiraling oblivion of total and complete obsolescence.” Good call on the rewrite, Tribune. That shit got pretty dark, even by Chicago standards.

That’s right, we’re mocking radio today: The medium of choice for people who desperately need to know what the roads looks like in the morning but would rather wait through a Twofer Tuesday Doubleshot of Van Halen classics instead of checking their phone. Because traffic and weather on the 8s after an ad for discount carpet treatment is the real information superhighway!

[Lujack and co-host Tommy Edwards] started doing their signature bit, “Animal Stories,” at WLS in the late 1970s. “Uncle Lar” would read offbeat news about animals to his sidekick, “little snot-nosed Tommy,” who would be hearing them for the first time. Their spontaneous chemistry made the live bits a hit with listeners, and an enduring chapter in Chicago radio history.

Despite what unscrupulous bloggers like me from earlier in this post like to imply, Lujack didn’t really engage in the crass put-em-on-the-glassisms of later shock jocks, usually opting to pull out of a tailspin before things got particularly tasteless. He even half-joked that he’d like to personally buy back every copy of his autobiography Superjock, largely because he found the vulgar language embarrassing in retrospect. Of course, that’d be borderline impossible. Lujack would’ve had better luck just trying to remove the offensive bits from future printings, like they did with all the racist stuff in Huckleberry Finn. Or the time Gabriel Garcia Marquez had to rewrite part of One Hundred Years of Solitude after he erroneously implied that the Muisca people were conquered by Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada in 1536, when every backwoods, inbred hick knows that the Spanish Empire didn’t make their way to Colombia’s Cordillera Oriental until 1537. Ha! See you on the shortbus, Marquez, you clueless dolt! Also, I heard that the second printing of the Bible took out a whole passage about Job calling God an “ass bucket.” In that light it really looks like he was bringing shit on himself if you ask me.


Source: The Chicago Tribune

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12.18.13: “Great Train Robbery” Fugitive Ronnie Biggs – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 7:00 am December 19, 2013

RONNIE_BIGGSPictured: crime not paying.


Back when money existed outside of China, people enjoyed having it and exchanging it for products and the occasional ribald favor that their sexually-repressed spouses just couldn’t be talked into, not even as a birthday present. I’m not sure what kind of borderline-illegal act of depravity Ronnie Biggs was definitely hoping to buy with his cut when he agreed to participate in the so-called “Great Train Robbery” of 1963, but I do know two things: 1. Biggs died yesterday, and 2. the deceased can’t sue for libel.

Biggs’ sole responsibility in the heist was to find an engineer to drive the train once it had been successfully hijacked. When, during the job, the engineer revealed that he had no idea how to run the damn thing, the recently-bludgeoned OG engineer was brought back in and forced to follow the criminals’ instructions. That’s why you always wait for the go-ahead to start with the bludgeoning. In fairness, I’ve been stuck behind old Jewish women buying lotto tickets at the gas station. It’s a tough urge to fight.

In July 1965, after serving 15 months, Mr. Biggs scaled the prison wall with a rope ladder and took off in a waiting furniture van. He made his way to the European continent, where he had cosmetic surgery, and eventually to Australia, where his wife and their children joined him. (The couple’s third son was born there.)

In 1969, as Scotland Yard began to close in, he fled again. By 1970, Mr. Biggs had made his way to Brazil, which then had no extradition treaty with Britain. His marriage to Ms. Powell, who remained in Australia with the children, ended in divorce.

Mr. Biggs lived covertly in Rio until 1974, when Detective Chief Superintendent Jack Slipper of Scotland Yard arrived there. Detective Slipper, who had pursued Mr. Biggs around the world for years, was determined to bring him back to Britain, treaty or no treaty.

Yeah, things just kinda kept going like that. Biggs spent decades as a fugitive, outsmarting incompetent British police forces that I have to assume consisted entirely of extras from Fatty Arbuckle shorts. He eventually became ballsy enough to start openly selling merchandise based around the infamous heist, earning a decent living and basking in the universal reverence that apparently comes with being not very useful during a robbery.

Why spend half of your life on the run instead of just serving your sentence and getting on with things? It really comes down to principles: It’s like when you put off taking out the trash for so long that the scent starts provoking rats and stray cats to chew through your wall, and the next thing you know you’re trying to drive a shantytown of hobos out of your kitchen using a controlled burn, and suddenly you find yourself thinking, “this is still way better than taking out the fucking trash like a goddamn conformist.”

The real victims in all of this were, of course, the trains themselves, whose glory days are long behind them now. On the plus side, those abandoned railroad tracks became a godsend to thousands of introspective singer-songwriters who needed something to pose next to for publicity photos when they couldn’t find a highway marker sign. Man, who knows where those guys might end up in this crazy world!



Source: The NY Times

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12.14.13: Peter O’Toole – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 7:18 pm December 16, 2013

PETER_O'TOOLEHey, remember back when movie posters actually required getting the stars together and taking pictures, forcing them to willfully tolerate being around each other? Seriously, look at this insanity: None of those guys are even in the same time zone, and I’m pretty sure Jet Li isn’t actually a sentient watercolor painting. You really expect me to believe Dolph Lundgren’s schedule was a little too packed for him to swing by for a few snaparoos?

 

Actor Peter O’Toole, legendary Irish-born and English-schooled star of Lawrence of Arabia, has died at the age of 81. Hey, you know what I don’t get about them Irish? The whole cabbage thing. You’re not lettuce, cabbage, and you never will be. I see a head of you sitting out on the counter and I think that maybe I’ll make myself a delicious BLT. You know, treat myself after a hard day of salting the lawns of my enemies. But then I get close to you and suddenly it smells like someone’s cooking crystal meth in a Louisiana outhouse. You look and taste like wet dollar bills, cabbage. Even your name sounds like some kind of flesh sack for incubating sea lampreys. Anyway, O’Toole was a pretty great actor. I feel like, in hindsight, I could’ve emphasized that a little more here.

O’Toole’s portrayal of Lawrence was followed in 1964 by the role of King Henry II in “Becket,” opposite Richard Burton as Thomas Becket. Both men were nominated for the best actor Oscar for the film, but both lost.

The pattern of Oscar nominations, but no statuettes, for O’Toole is unmatched. “Always the bridesmaid, never the bride,” he once said.

Yeah, that’s why you can’t trust award shows to make the right calls. The people casting those votes all trade in political favors and demonic sacrifices. And I have no problem exposing that, even though it’ll probably cost me that AVN Award for my role as ‘Hapless Pizza Boy’ in Dirtpipe Conquistadors 17. Now they’ll probably give it to that guy who played ‘Stressed-Out Business Executive Who Just Needs Someone to Help Him Relax Before the Big Meeting’ instead. Pft. Goddamn Harvard boy; no respect for the working class.

 

Source: CNN

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11.25.13: Diorama Painter Fred F. Scherer – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 10:55 pm December 11, 2013

FRED_SCHERERScherer, seen in the background doing art. You know, art; the thing with the assholes wearing the berets?

 

If there’s one key human advancement that we witnessed in 2013, it’s that we’ve finally made the scourge that is art completely obsolete. Van Gogh? More like Van Get the hell out of my modern society, you pompous, one-eared Dutch freak. Oh, you spent a month painting a picture of a starry night? Yeah, I have the same picture; I took it with my phone and added a “Post-Impressionism” filter while I was eating a Swiss cake roll and waiting for the bus. It took me five seconds, and it didn’t have to be commissioned by the Sky Pope, or however shit gets done in the Netherlands. No, here on Earth we’ve advanced beyond the need for art. Who are you to tell me how a thing looks, anyway? I can already see in on Google Street View, don’t try to tell my retinas that that redwood’s bark is a burnt sienna when it’s clearly more of an Aztec brick. My eyes work just fine, thanks. It’s like I’ve always said: the visual arts are only useful for the blind. Those guys could use a leg up about that kinda thing.

It may’ve been art’s impending death that caused Fred F. Scherer, diorama landscape painter for the American Museum of Natural History, to pass away last month, a poetic synchronization with the loss of the form that, in many ways, gave him life to begin with. Or it could’ve been because he was 98. Or it could’ve been the result of being in confined spaces with open cans of Benjamin Moore all day. I’m not a theologian/doctor/painter.

…[T]here has to be a lot of depth and substance to the airspace of the picture — an illusion of odors, bugs and many miles of air currents in the 20 to 30 feet between the back wall and the spectator’s glass. Mr. Scherer was a master of all those illusions, especially air, [museum artist Stephen C. Quinn] said.

In an interview with The Brattleboro Reformer in Vermont, Mr. Scherer gave a summary of his technique: “I would juxtapose warm and cool colors to give it more airlike qualities,” he said. “It’s painted that way to vibrate like air in the distance does.”

“Find a way to paint more visible air into this landscape” sounds like either a zen mind-clearing exercise or the insane demand of an eccentric billionaire art collector, but Scherer managed to pull it off. Some of his dioramas looked so realistic you could be living inside one right now and you’d never even know it. It would definitely go a long way towards explaining these “American Midwestern Lonely Blogger” information plaques I keep finding around my apartment.



Source: The NY Times

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12.5.13: Nelson Mandela – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 2:44 am December 7, 2013

NELSON_MANDELAOh, I’m sorry, are those wraparounds prescription? Douche.

 

Well, political prisoner-turned-president of South Africa Nelson Mandela is dead, which can only mean one thing: racism is back. Sorry guys, we had a good five years, but I think we all kinda knew this thing had an expiration date on it when we signed up. Let’s look at the positive; if post-racial civilization was a sitcom five seasons would be a pretty respectable run. And an attractive syndication package, I might add! Try to focus on the good times, like when audiences of all colors and creeds came together to tell Will Smith that we don’t feel like putting up with his ugly kid’s stupid face anymore. There was a time when speaking up like that would’ve gotten you hosed on the street, you know.

“I leave it to the public to decide how they should remember me,” he said on South African television before his retirement.

“But I should like to be remembered as an ordinary South African who together with others has made his humble contribution.”

So that’s a big “case closed” on this post, then. Astute readers will note that I haven’t said much of substance here. For whatever reason people get all salty when I say pretty much anything about their beloved world leaders, and I’m seriously not up to the fight. Honestly, my skin is like construction paper, you could start me hemorrhaging with the blunt end of a Bic. Instead, I’m just gonna try backing out of the room on this one. Look, if you want legitimate insight have you considered visiting the Nelson Mandela Museum in Mthatha? Fair warning if you go; they had trouble filling out some of the wings and ended up adding artifacts from late 80s/early 90s follicle-rock superstars Nelson, as well as quite a few items relating to cartoon bully Nelson Muntz. I looked at blue vests for the better part of an afternoon before putting two and two together.



Source: The Chicago Tribune

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11.30.13: Actor Paul Walker – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 7:59 am December 3, 2013

PAUL_WALKERThese movies may be stupid, but at least Walker had the common sense to stand under his own name. Jesus Christ, Rodriguez, is branding just not important to you at all?

 

Actor Paul Walker, seen above in part of the 40% of that poster that isn’t Vin Diesel’s schnoz, died on Saturday from a tragic bout of irony. You see, Walker was part of the Fa3t and Fur10us film series and he died while riding in a speeding car, which is both sincerely tragic and recklessly dickish. I felt the need to spell that connection out for you because, if you’re anything like me, you have no idea what these movies are: It turns out my brain is programmed to cross-reference Vin Diesel, Ludacris, and The Rock and mentally trashcan any point at which all three converge. So far it’s only happened for the Fa3t &nd 4ur1ŎU$ movies and a really weird sermon I once heard about the three wise men.

Walker and Roger Rodas, who was believed to be driving, died in the wreck on Hercules Street, a wide business park road, in the community of Valencia inside the city of Santa Clarita, about 30 miles north of Hollywood, according to Walker’s publicist and CNN affiliate KCAL.

In a pretty classy instance of C.R.E.A.M., Universal Pictures wasted no time announcing plans to complete the 5ấ3t &nd 4ur1Ŏü$ installment Walker was working on at the time of his death, most likely by throwing some mountain goats and a typewriter in a cement mixer and hoping that an extensively rewritten script eventually falls out. So how will Walker’s absence be addressed? A mid-film sex change/recast to internet crush Jennifer Lawrence? A harrowing return to his home planet? An endless parade of face-obscuring lens flare after face-obscuring lens flare? Universal Pictures CEO James Schamus responded to the rampant speculation by Instagramming a picture of himself sodomizing a bag with a dollar sign on the side of it. At this point the leading theory is that the bag was filled with money, although this cannot yet be verified.

One thing’s for sure: Your dumbass roommate is still gonna go see this mess, “just to make fun of it,” because he doesn’t understand that Hollywood can cash ironic checks just as easily as sincere ones.

 

Source: CNN

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