This Day in Death

5.28.14: Maya Angelou – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 3:52 am May 29, 2014

MAYA_ANGELOUYeah, it’s alright, but I still prefer the sequel, Bird 2: The Uncagening. If Mark Wahlberg was a book, you guys… if Mark Wahlberg was a book.


Poet and author Maya Angelou has died today after cancelling several engagements due to failing health. Beginning her writing career in 1959, Angelou spent 55 consecutive years of her life publishing her work. Well, 51 if you don’t count the four years that she spent writing dirty nursery rhymes for Andrew Dice Clay.

HICKORY DICKORY DOCK QUOTE, LET’S GO TO THE BLOCK QUOTE! Ha! I don’t know why he ever stopped doing these!

“All of the writers of my generation must honor the ground broken by Dr. Maya Angelou,” author Tayari Jones posted on her Facebook page Wednesday.

“She told a story that wasn’t allowed to be told,” Jones said. “Now, people tell all sorts of things in memoir, but when she told the truth, she challenged a taboo — not for shock value, but to heal us all.”

Angelou’s writing spoke to a longing for understanding and unity between all people, a lesson her followers have certainly taken to heart. And if you don’t believe me, why, just scroll down to the comments section, which I am just now doing for the first time, with utter confidence that they won’t cause the above statement to backfire on me to an hilarious degree:

Please read the comments before opening your big mouth. If she had written the same works and was white, wouldn’t you be singing praises now? Be honest people. It is in your heads. Black people will never do anything your ilk appreciates.

No one is as shrill, negative, angry, violent, mistaken, false or as un-American as you appear to be. Perhaps you should read something besides the 2nd Amendment and the false, misleading and inflammatory propaganda of the far right.

Oh get a grip … what are some of these “truth[s] and democratic/republic ideals” that are supposed to seep in btw? Hatred of guns? I suppose you’re also one of those know-nothing libbies who blames the NRA for the latest shooting in CA. Typical.

Don’t get your undies in a bundle. You’re not the only one who can “bite back” take your meds and relax lol.

Obamacare is screwing the vast majority of middle class Americans. Mean while, his followers continue to talk about how much “class” he has. I have some news for you, class isn’t going to pay for my sick child’s healthcare. Wake Up.

Wow. Thoughtful stuff. Are those Woody Guthrie lyrics or something? Fun fact: Obama is the driving force behind 98% of all internet comment sections. The remaining 2% actually come from articles about Obama, and are generally centered around how I can get off-brand boner pills on the cheap.

Point is, between hate-filled comments section and sifting through her words for “haters gonna hate”isms, holy shit have you guys missed the point. If you really need some new catchphrases to prop up an unearned sense of self-confidence I’m sure Beyonce will be dropping a new song any day now. Meanwhile, maybe once #MayaAngelou stops trending we can all try actually… you know… practicing some of what the woman represented. Like, maybe not being such a unrelenting douche to literally every single person you encounter in your day-to-day life.

I mean, you can do that stuff. It’s already too late for me. The doctors say I’m dead on the inside. Seriously, actually dead. They don’t even understand what that means, but x-rays don’t lie.

Source: CNN

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5.8.14: Herb Lotman, Developer of the Chicken McNugget – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 6:35 pm May 26, 2014

HERB_LOTMANYou can really taste the dimethylpolysiloxane. Or at least you could, if your taste buds weren’t experiencing 10,000 simultaneous heart attacks.


I can’t recall much of the 80s, primarily because I was a baby. An alcoholic baby. That’s probably why it’s never occurred to me that there was a time before we all had Chicken McNuggets figuratively and/or literally lodged in our right ventricles. So if the thought of those compressed chicken shavings makes your insides all warm in a non-cardiac-arresty kind of way then you can thank Herb Lotman of Keystone Foods, who developed the McNugget in the 80s. I mean, you can’t really, because he passed away recently. But let’s be real; you weren’t ever actually going to thank him anyway. You have a real follow-through problem, you know that?

Lotman was also a philanthropist, co-founding the McDonald’s LPGA Championship, a major women’s professional golf association tournament, which directly benefited Ronald McDonald House Charities. The event has raised more than $48 million for the children’s charities in the 29 years since its inauguration, making it the largest fundraiser in golf. Since 2010 it has been sponsored by the Wegmans supermarket chain.

“Whether it’s good times or bad times economically, we’ve got to help the kids who aren’t as fortunate as the other children,” Lotman told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2002. “When we tell people our story, they give. It’s been working pretty good.”

It seems to me that, if I were more cynical, I could probably make the case that donating millions of dollars to children’s charities and then inundating said children with cryogenically frozen artery sodomizers roughly hewn into food-like shapes for the rest of their lives doesn’t exactly make you the lieutenant of morality. I could make that case… and it looks like I’ve done exactly that. Huh. It really felt like I was gonna take things in a different direction for a second there.

Source: LA Times

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5.18.14: Jerry Vale – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 5:47 pm May 21, 2014

JERRY_VALETypically the phrase “great Italian hits” is just a list of people Frank Sinatra has had killed. Man, if the Italians were allowed on the internet I would be in some shit right about now.


50s-era singer Jerry Vale is dead today, most likely from something medical, but I feel we shouldn’t shut the door just yet on the possibility of a new rabies strain that only affects aged crooners. Sorry, “natural causes” has just reached the saturation point of boredom for me. You gotta spice this shit up, Nature.

Vale also played himself in the films Goodfellas and Casino, the latter of which is actually just Goodfellas with an additional half hour of Joe Pesci calling Sharon Stone a “puttana,” plus some stock footage of a roulette wheel spinning. Probably.

Mr. Vale rose to stardom performing in supper clubs as a teenager, and hit the charts for the first time in 1953 with “You Can Never Give Me Back My Heart.” He was a fixture at Columbia Records, where he recorded more than 50 albums and churned out hits like “Two Purple Shadows” and “Al Di La.” His biggest hit, “You Don’t Know Me,” peaked at No. 14 on Billboard’s Hot 100 list in 1956.

More like, “You Don’t Know This Song,” am I right? Ha! I tell you, sometimes they just write themselves. Not this time, though. That one actually took a deceptively long time. But I’m still left strangely unsatisfied, like watching a fat mime. Let’s see if we can get even further out of my web-savvy target demographic’s wheelhouse. Hey Blockquote; Have you got anything with that uncomfortable old person smell on it?

After Mr. Vale and his wife, Rita, moved to California, the two became a constant presence at Mr. Sinatra’s Rancho Mirage ranch. He played at the annual Frank Sinatra Celebrity Invitational Golf Tournament for several years and once performed at the event in 1996.

Holy Methuselah in white pants. I haven’t seen so many geriatric bullet points since I lied about my age to join the AARP. Goddammit, members get a 15% discount at participating Denny’s restaurants and I can’t go 12 hours without a Grand Slamwich, I did what I had to do.

Source: The NY Times

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5.13.14: H.R. Giger – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 3:17 am May 17, 2014

HR_GIGERYep, that’s the legitimate and boundlessly creative work of a beloved cult artist. I suppose that means there’s a certain 9th grade social studies teacher out there who owes the cover of my high school notebook an apology now.



H.R. Giger, the rare artist who actually was just trying to make everything look like cocks (unlike those half-measure Disney artists), has died due to injuries sustained during a fall. Details are spotty, so it’s currently anyone’s guess if that accident was more along the lines of an endless and terrifying freefall into a twisting vortex of techno-organic female genitalia or just, like, tripping on a crack in a Whole Foods parking lot. You know, if you think about it, that whole “twisting vortex” thing probably counts as gettin’ some.

Giger is best known for designing the schlong-skulled titular creatures of the Alien film franchise. Those monsters were the most successful case of covertly sneaking a giant dick into a film until Mel Gibson gave himself a cameo in The Passion of the Christ. BAM! That is a burn ten years in the making!

The “Alien” movies weren’t Giger’s only foray into cinema. He contributed designs to other science-fiction films such as “Species” and was featured in the recent documentary “Jodorowsky’s Dune,” having contributed designs for the director’s aborted film adaptation of the Frank Herbert novel.

Around the same time Giger was commissioned to design a new batmobile for 1995’s Batman Forever, also known as where Val Kilmer left his career. You would be forgiven for expecting a Giger-designed vehicle intended for a Joel Schumacher Batman movie to be a slam dunk of man junk, but the results were suprisingly non-phallic, proving that even innuendo must have a saturation point. So tread lightly, Queen tribute bands of the world: that ice is looking mighty thin already.


Source: LA Times


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5.12.14: A Couple of Cartoon Voice Actors – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 10:21 pm May 12, 2014

LEE_MARSHALL_EFREM_ZIMBALISTIn a Class-Off, I’m giving this to Alfred in a walk. Granted, a neckerchief adds a touch of sophistication, but that lead shrinks pretty significantly when it’s literally the only thing you’re wearing. Also, stitching your name onto it? What are you, in third grade? Who wants to steal some mountain biking tiger’s sweaty neckwear anyway?


Animation: It’s kind of bullshit. Loosed from the constraints of reality that the rest of us are slavishly beholden to, animators get to just go around drawing any damn thing, things which may not even really exist, and we’re supposed to be impressed. Wow, vast landscapes of the imagination and delightfully colorful characters, huh? What do you expect me to do with that? Why don’t you get back to me when you’ve drawn something real, like… a loveless marriage of convenience? Or student loan debt? Teachers don’t get to make up which facts they’re going to teach. Surgeons don’t get to just freestyle crucial labia-enhancement procedures. Yet we let animators just make shit up and nobody’s policing any of it. I mean, there’s the FCC, but they’re tied up doing God’s work of making sure I don’t accidentally hear an f-word at 11:30 PM on a Tuesday, because apparently I live in a Sear’s catalog from 1956.

Today we’ve got a double-shot from animation’s saving grace, the clothing-optional world of voice acting: First up is Lee Marshall, the voice of Frosted Flakes’ sugarpeddling mascot Tony the Tiger, who had spent decades accompanying ethnically-diverse youngsters on whitewater rafting trips like everything was just totally normal there. HOW DID HE GET OPPOSABLE THUMBS!?

Marshall began voicing the Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes mascot in 1999, filling in for the original actor, Thurl Ravenscroft.

Marshall got his first full-time radio job at the age of 14 in Phoenix. He had a prematurely deep voice and lied about his age. His career included radio newsman, rock ‘n’ roll disc jockey, sports broadcaster and wrestling ring interviewer.

Well, I can’t imagine the ring itself has all that much to say in an interview, but then again I’m not a sports fan.

Next up is fellow voice actor Efram Zimbalist, Jr., who portrayed Alfred Pennyworth in the seminal Batman: The Animated Series… uh, series. At least it means I get to talk about Batman, which, frustratingly, was at least half the reason I started this stupid blog in the first place. Did you know Burt Ward is still perfectly healthy? Guy doesn’t even have a wasp’s nest on his property or anything. It’s horseshit is what it is.

Zimbalist found a whole new generation of fans through his voice roles on several animated TV series, including as Doctor Octopus on Spider-Man, Justin Hammer on Iron Man, and as King Arthur on The Legend of Prince Valiant. But it was as Bruce Wayne’s droll butler and confidante Alfred Pennyworth on Batman: The Animated Series that he may be best known to IGN readers.

Also of note to IGN readers: “Efram Zimbalist, Jr.” is what it sounds like when you say “X-Men symbolist fever” with tape over your mouth. Really surprised that didn’t make the article. There must have been a word limit or something.

Source: USA Today and IGN

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4.29.14: Bob Hoskins – DEAD!

Filed under: Uncategorized —James @ 10:49 pm May 7, 2014

BOB_HOSKINSHey! Maybe you guys can use those hydraulic leg braces to help you leap into a better movie.

British actor/Denzel Washington co-conspirator Bob Hoskins is dead today, so let’s skim his IMDB profile for credits that your brows are low enough to recognize. (Sorry.)

To the Rockstar-soaked brains of today’s early thirtysomethings (sorry!), Hoskins is best known for playing Eddie Valiant in 1988’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the wildly innovative film that spawned countless other animation/live-action hybrid noir parody films, such as Cool World and… others.

Come on, you guys remember Cool World, right? Brad Pitt before he mattered, back when maybe you might’ve had a shot with him? Like, you’d just happen to see him in some dank bar, hair mussed and looking downtrodden, but his rugged, homegrown good looks still shining through like some sort of celestial aura tangled in the complexities of human existence. You quietly walk up to him, with a confidence you’ve never known before, born of an almost holy certainty that this, this, is the reason you’ve been put on Earth. You ask him, coolly, “what’s wrong, handsome?” He looks up, trying to mask a subtle doubletake as he wonders how he ever got this lucky. Sensing your inborn compassion, he explains his doubts about his career, about whether or not he’ll ever truly “break through.” You listen. You more than listen, you hear. And, what’s more… he knows. He knows how deeply you care, how profoundly you understand. You quickly rebuild his spirit, not with hollow niceties, but rather with a series of impeccably perceptive reassurances that Brad can’t help but be bolstered by. The two of you continue to talk for the better part of maybe an hour, purposely withholding the inevitable for just a little bit longer. Why hurry? Your connection is so cosmic, yet so primal, that you both know there’s no chance of this night ending any other way. Eventually the urge simply becomes too intense to fight any longer, and with a coy, “do you want to get out of here?” and a flagged taxi, Brad rips away the membrane separating the evening’s intimate conversation from the night of transcendent lovemaking to come. The next morning you slip out before Brad wakes up, lightly brushing his silken hair away from his eyes, knowing that nothing will ever be able to match this inconceivably perfect experience. There’s no sadness in your heart: you’re forever secure in the knowledge that you and only you are responsible for putting Brad back on the path that will eventually give us such classics as Seven, Inglourious Basterds, and Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas. Then, back at your underground lab, you use a stolen saliva sample to craft an army of superstrong Brad clones that expertly perform a barrage of daring bank heists that quickly raise the funds you’ll need for your orbital Evapo-Ray, which will hold the planet hostage under constant threat of the evaporation of every body of water on the planet. You know: Old-fashioned romance.

Annnnnd…. block quote:


He followed [Roger Rabbit] with performances in a variety of films, including 1991’s “Hook” in which he played Smee, the pirate assistant of Captain Hook; 1995’s “Nixon” as FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover; and 2001’s “Last Orders” as the gambler friend of protagonist Michael Caine, whose pals gather to spread his ashes after his death.

Hoskins also depicted video game mascot/half of the reason the Italian Anti-Defamation League exists Mario in the floptrocious disastrophe that was the Super Mario Bros. film. Hey, you can complain all you want, but pardon me if I don’t have a lot of sympathy because a movie based on a video game about a fat plumber who collects floating coins didn’t have the respectful gravitas you were expecting. I hear they’re getting Tolstoy’s ghost to iron out some kinks for the reboot.

Source: CNN

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4.20.14: Rubin “Hurricane” Carter – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 4:46 pm May 5, 2014

RUBIN_CARTERCarter, seen here being visited in prison by Bob Dylan. Man, 70s-era Dylan could’ve taught even Johnny Depp a thing or four about the accessory management game. For instance, if the flower in your Panama hat is a spring-bloomer you really should flip your top-most scarf in the same direction, but for summer and fall flowers (like, say, a Cottage Apricot Chrysanthemum, which is just lovely, by the way) you’re going to want to do a full-wrap with one of your mid-level scarves, which, obviously, should be a light cotton along the lines of a Roberto Cavalli triangle wrap. Anyway, #rockandroll, #prison, #hardguys.


As you all should be thoroughly aware of by now, I don’t bother following sports. That’s largely because ESPN is right next to Bravo on my cable box, making it a level 3 “accidental Andy Cohen viewing” threat. But prizefighter Rubin “Hurricane” Carter is dead, and I have a duty to keep writing this blog until someone calls me a genius and puts my face on a series of commemorative plates, so let’s just get on with it.

In 1967, Carter was convicted of murdering three people in a bar in New Jersey. The case became a tangled mess of racism, questionable legal and police procedures, media buffoonery, and bitchin’ protest songs. Amidst the confusion, Carter became a symbol of all that’s wrong with our legal system, and a painful reminder of how far we still have to go when it comes to healing our racial divides. After 19 years, his conviction was overturned and he would spend the rest of his life fighting for others whom he believed had been falsely imprisoned. It’s a harrowing story of prejudice, perseverance, and, ultimately, justice. Certainly something we should all take some time to reflect on, except that, yeah, he probably did kill those people after all. That kinda puts a heavy “do the ends justify the means?” stank on this story, which this blog is absolutely not up to the task of addressing. It’d be a lot easier on me if Carter had just slung worthless grills like George Foreman or something. I like him, you can tell he’s one of the good ones. I’m talking about boxers, not… you know. What? Oh whatever, fuck you guys. I can’t be racist, I had three Busta Rhymes albums in high school, so there.


His ordeal and its racial overtones were publicized in Dylan’s 1975 song “Hurricane,” several books and a 1999 film starring Denzel Washington, who received an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal.

In a statement issued Sunday, Washington praised Carter’s “tireless fight to ensure justice for all.”

Point, Washington. Counterpoint:


You made this. This would not have existed without your active and willing participation, and a small handful of people ended up seeing it. Carter lost 19 years, those people lost 100 minutes each, adding up to somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 total hours, gone. You tell me, where’s their justice? So, you know, I guess there are two sides to every story, huh? Case dismissed!

Source: The Huffington Post

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4.17.14: Gabriel García Márquez – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:39 am May 1, 2014

 GABRIEL_GARCIA_MARQUEZIf you were planning to pick up Marquez’s short story Big Momma’s Funeral, please note that it is not, in fact, the basis for Martin Lawrence’s Big Momma’s House film franchise. Really, the only similarity between the two is the truly shocking amount of fart jokes. Clean it up already, Gabo!


Spanish-language author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, best known for his 1967 novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, has died. Despite earning praise so effusive that its literary import was compared to that of the Bible (which is, like, the Bible of Bibles), you may be surprised to find out that Solitude was in actuality awful until Oprah decided otherwise in 2004. By entering it into her book club, it became the novel that launched thousands of impressionable women from their indoor cat gazebos and through the doors of Borders locations throughout the country. Hmm… Odd that fans of a woman who’s made billions by exploiting the insecurities of her followers would be so into a book about loneliness. You always assume those ladies have it all.

He achieved fame for pioneering magical realism, a unique blending of the marvellous and the mundane in a way that made the extraordinary seem routine.

With his books, he brought Latin America’s charm and teaming contradictions to life in the minds of millions of people.

That all might be a bit heady for those of you who got degrees in employment-centric fields (sell-outs!), so allow me to boil all that down to a sort of unfair generalization stew: Magical realism is when you write yourself into a corner, decide “fuck it,” give a character a pair of angel wings or something, and say it’s a metaphor when called out about it. It’s the non-cartoon equivalent of how they got rid of Poochie.

If this post can bear any more academic analysis, I’d like to note how much I enjoy that Marquez wrote his novels exclusively in Spanish: All those extra squiggly lines just make everything look so festive, like each sentence is having its own little party right there on the page. Or ‘fiesta,’ if you will. Okay, well… that’s probably enough insight for my book circle, time to catch up on Total Divas. Later, all you basic bitches!


Source: BBC

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