This Day in Death

7.28.14: NPR Journalist Margot Adler – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 1:46 am July 30, 2014

MARGOT_ADLERPfft! Speak for yourself, sign; I always pictured myself as more of a werewolf fan, mainly because all that body hair would really go a long way towards covering up a pretty unmanageable outbreak of chest acne. Plus, I bet nobody gives werewolves shit about eating pigeon meat.


Being a journalist is hard, not least of all because nobody takes my fedora with an index card labeled “PRESS” on it seriously. It’s an endless cycle of gathering information and writing it down and then changing it all because it turns out you made most of it up and your boss isn’t cool with that for whatever reason. It’s why I like doing this blog all by myself; Sometimes you just know a story’s true, and no cartoonish caricature of what I assume an editor looks like can shake that faith. Although I will admit that, after 300-plus posts, there may have been, like, maybe two or three pieces of information I possibly reported without vigorously fact-checking. Sorry about that. However, when I stated that getting a crown put on your tooth legally makes that tooth the king of your mouth… well, I’ll stand by that one til the day I die.

Oh yeah! Dying! It turns out that Margot Adler, journalist for NPR since the late 70s, has done just that. Died, I mean. See, haters? I can journalist!

Margot joined the NPR staff as a general assignment reporter in 1979. She went on to cover everything from the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic to confrontations involving the Ku Klux Klan in Greensboro, N.C., to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

I’m just gonna note here that it seems awfully suspicious that she was always around when these terrible things went down. I’m just saying. Moving on.

Margot had a long-standing interest in the occult. “Margot was not only a brilliant reporter, she was also a Wiccan priestess and a leader in the Pagan community,” Low Smith notes. “That was deeply important to her, and she wrote a seminal book about that world: Drawing Down the Moon. She also wrote a memoir called Heretic’s Heart.”

It may seem startling that someone in an industry as traditional as broadcasting would be so deeply invested in the counterculture, but keep in mind that Edward R. Murrow used to be the High Priest of the Church of Satan (alright, fine: that’s four things I haven’t looked up). I’ve also heard rumors that Sam Donaldson’s face is made of Silly Putty, but that’s not really relevant so I’m going to go back and edit that part out later if I don’t forget.

Source: NPR

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7.5.14: Washington Generals’ Entrepreneur Louis ‘Red’ Klotz – DEAD!

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

LOUIS_RED_KLOTZCome on, Generals! If you’re gonna go out there and be made jackasses of, at least take a cue from the Detroit Lions and demand a discount on concession nachos or something. Ha, I’ve been assured by my sports friends that that is quite astute.


As all of you guys know, I’m a huge sports fan. Only exhibition games, of course. Contests where prizes or money are at stake tend to get me all anxious and trigger my psoriasis. That’s actually why I turned down that referee position with the Miniature Golf League. Burdened is the back that shoulders the MGL stripes.

For the better part of the last century, the absolute kings of the pointless exhibition game have been the Harlem Globetrotters, who, incidentally, weren’t originally from New York and didn’t play a game in Harlem until 42 years after their founding because huh? But geographic scruplelessness hasn’t kept the team from winning over 22,000 games against a stacked deck of mostly inept opponents, largely due to the use of such tools of questionable legality as buckets of confetti, hypnotic umbrellas, and mid-game pantsings. Also, I think I caught Meadowlark Lemon traveling once.

For decades, the Washington Generals have functioned as the primary stooges for the Harlem Globetrotters’ incessant showboatery. In 1952, Louis ‘Red’ Klotz somehow managed to put together a team of legitimate athletes who would allow themselves to be humiliated every night for the rest of their careers. Unless Klotz’s scouting process involved placing a net over a door marked “Self-Esteem Workshop” like it was a damn Wile. E. Coyote cartoon, I have no idea how he managed to keep that train rolling. Are they paying these guys in ruby scepters and Google stock? Who the hell is signing up for this shit? Even their logo has them getting punked out:


Not to mention the subtle use of a white man, representing the military-industrial complex, being clowned on by a black man dressed in the colors of the flag, signifying the beginning of the overthrow of America by the Nation of Islam.  It’s all true! I stumbled on it while hanging out on this fair and even-handed forum for fair and even-handed people who just want to celebrate their own culture and that’s not racist so what’s so wrong with that this is still America for now isn’t it?

Anyway, in keeping with the Generals’ tradition of loserdom, I’m going to allow “Sweet” Clyde Dixon to deliver my eulogy to Klotz, whom I forgot to mention died recently. Sorry about that.

Cold as ice, that “Sweet” Clyde.


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7.16.14: Johnny Winter – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 5:55 pm July 18, 2014

JOHNNY_WINTERWinter, seen here jamming with Jimi Hendrix. Notice how both look bored while being better at something in their 20s than you’ll ever be at anything for as long as you live? Hey, follow-up question: How’s that bakery you were gonna open coming along? Oh, putting it on the backburner for a while, huh? Well, that’s okay, too. Next year is definitely your year, I can just feel it.

Legendary albino blues guitarist Johnny Winter, brother of similarly-afflicted virtuoso Edgar Winter, was found dead in his hotel room on Wednesday. I’m gonna run down the subtext of that for you again, nice and slow-like, because I don’t think you really caught the weight of what I just wrote: Two albino brothers, with the unbelievably on-the-nose surname ‘Winter,’ both became brilliant musicians and rose to concurrent critical and commercial success in the 70s. I know it sounds like the most laser-focused after school special ever produced, but no, this actually happened in our really real world. Seriously, why do you people even need drugs when crazy shit like this is happening out there? It’s like I tell the troubled teens I speak to at local inner city middle schools: “Information is the real crack!”

His big break came while opening a show for Mike Bloomfield in 1968. Winter’s performance that evening caught the eye of Columbia Records, who quickly signed him to a contract. He was given a $600,000 advance, the largest one ever received at that time.

And after only one show! That just reaffirms my long-held theory that it’s only a matter of time until the Commissioner of Technology stumbles upon one of my ha-ha posts here and asks me to become the official comic laureate of the internet. I’ve already got some pretty solid light-hearted zingers cooked up about cat5 cables and such. Like, isn’t it crazy when people say, “LAN network”? The ‘n’ already stands for network, you idiot! You just said “local-area network network,” you unlovable cretin! It works better if you can see my face.

Source: Consequence of Sound

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7.11.14: Tommy Ramone – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 4:04 am July 14, 2014

TOMMY_RAMONESo cool you can barely tell they were invented by Hot Topic in 2004 to sell t-shirts to idiots. After so many years of Big Dog I think we were all ready for a change, though.

Most people don’t know this about me, but I used to be in a pretty sweet punk rock band. We were called Johnny Quesadilla and the Caramelized Onions, and we could’ve been huge if we’d decided to sell out. Instead, we remained virtual unknowns during our brief but explosive tenure because we didn’t wanna be part of the mainstream corporate bullshit machine, and also because we never wrote any songs. But honestly, our brand of music wasn’t about the songs or the… music. We weren’t about to go down that road like the fucking Carpenters or some shit. No, we were all about three things: Copying VHS tapes for private use without either expressed or implied consent, wearing comfortable shoes even when socially inappropriate, and generally breaking whatever rules we could find as we hung around the hard streets of our gated community, just trying to survive in a world that looked down its nose at our upper-middle class privilege.

Which brings us to the death of Thomas Erdelyi, aka Tommy Ramone, drummer and producer for seminal punk rock outfit the Ramones. Tommy was the last surviving original member of the band, and his passing most likely means the Ramones’ legacy will have to be protected by the alternates the band recruited when interpersonal friction began to make their break-up an inevitablity. So get ready for the acceptable rock power of Curly Joe Ramone, Gallagher 2 Ramone, George Lazenby Ramone, and RC Cola Ramone. They’re okay. They’re not great, but they’re mostly okay.

Right about now is when I’d usually throw in some pithy block quote and try to add some gravitas to whatever the hell it is I think I’m doing around here. This time, though, in the spirit of honoring the Ramones’ contribution to modern music, let’s instead reflect on the time in 1989 when Dee Dee Ramone inexplicably released a hip hop album under the name Dee Dee King. It was called Standing in the Spotlight, and was seemingly recorded in the half-hour span of time between someone explaining to him what “hip hop” was and his actually hearing a hip hop song for the first time. Let’s listen:

I’m the master of hip hop!
-Dee Dee King, Mashed Potato Time

Some claims are just bulletproof, gentle prince.

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6.30.14: Director Paul Mazursky – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:41 pm July 7, 2014

PAUL_MAZURSKYA still from Mazursky’s Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, a film where a foursome doesn’t lead to divorce or anyone crying at a 24-hour Arby’s. See? I told you guys that kinda thing can work. All it takes is some clearly established boundaries, lots of trust, and two completely loveless marriages.


Potentially DTF writer and director Paul Mazursky passed away last week at the age of 84. Tapping into the sexual zeitgeist of the 70s, Mazursky’s work can arguably be seen as the spiritual forebearer of such modern-day entries into the “Random Fucking as Metaphor for Freedom or Whatever” genre as Spring Breakers, The Canyons and my personal in-the-works screenplay, U Up? (SPOILER ALERT: She was up.)

Mazursky made his writing and directorial debut with 1969’s Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, a movie about two progressive couples dabbling in partner-swapping, presumably with a subplot about a truly reckless overuse of ampersands. Look, I don’t care what filmmakers wanna do in the privacy of their own homes, but when you put it on a poster for everyone to see then to hell with your artistic intentions, you be responsible and use commas. Believe me, I don’t like putting them in any more than you do, but things get pretty run-on sentencey around here in the heat of the moment sometimes. If Hollywood isn’t teaching our kids about proper conjunction usage, where are they gonna learn it from? Man, that got heavy-handed.

The film critic Richard Corliss wrote in New Times in 1978 that Mr. Mazursky had “created a body of work unmatched in contemporary American cinema for its originality and cohesiveness.”

He was, Mr. Corliss said, “likely to be remembered as the filmmaker of the ’70s. No screenwriter has probed so deep under the pampered skin of this fascinating, maligned decade; no director has so successfully mined it for home-truth human revelations.”

Sure, but that’s easy. The 1970s were recent enough that anyone who lived through them without Quaaluding their memories into oblivion could probably cobble together something vaguely profound about the era. The real juice is in films about the sexual decadence and cultural shifts of the 1870s. Think about it: You had Lewis H. Morgan publishing Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family, which, hoo boy, I’m sure I don’t have to tell any of you, set off a shitstorm in re: his “central theses about social evolution, primitive promiscuity, and group marriage.” That was… interesting, I bet. Also, I think they’re already making an adaptation of the story of how Thomas Edison accidentally sent a phonographic cylinder recording of himself reciting a poem about his taint to President Grant. That looks like it’s gonna be pretty good.


Source: The NY Times

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6.27.14: Bobby Womack – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 6:24 pm July 2, 2014

BOBBY_WOMACKSo, to review: Heart-shaped soundhole on your guitar = clever and tastefully sexual. Goatse-inspired soundhole on your guitar = crass and unromantic. Do I have that pretty much right, emcee at the Our Lady of Hope open mic night?


Singer/songwriter Bobby Womack died on Friday and I’m kinda at a loss for anything to add, seeing as how wrestler/poet the Iron Sheik’s already written pretty much the most beautiful Twitter eulogy Womack could’ve asked for:

Sheik is, of course, referring to the fabled “Black Note,” an extremely low pitch hidden within the music of soul singers of Womack’s caliber. Legend goes that just the rich, low tone alone can impregnate a woman orally. Uh, sorry: aurally.

Womack experienced a number of hills and troughs throughout his seven-decade career, but went out on a high note with his final completed album, 2012’s well-received The Bravest Man in the Universe. Rolling Stone listed it as one of the 50 best albums of the year, although that’s actually kinda odd, since they only awarded it three and a half stars out of five in their review. Now, I’m no regional mathlete, but that translates to roughly 70%, which is generally considered to be somewheres around a C- (or, if you will, an Alabama A). This leads me to assume that either the collective staff of Rolling Stone only listened to about 51 albums in 2012, or that they’ve been completely sucked up into a vortex of their own cultural irrelevance. That’s Rolling Stone Magazine: “We don’t even like the things we do like!”

After the death of his brother, Harry, in 1974, Womack’s career stalled, but was revived in 1981 with the R&B hit “If You Think You’re Lonely Now.” Throughout most of the Eighties, the singer struggled with drug addiction, eventually checking himself into a rehabilitation center for treatment. A series of health problems would follow, including diabetes, pneumonia, colon cancer and the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease[.]

Jesus, I didn’t even know a single person could have all of those things. Did he live inside a Petri dish or something? Did his doctor even consider upping his dosage of handwashing “Happy Birthday”s to three? I mean, that’s a potential malpractice suit right there. What a depressing mess this has turned into. You know what, let’s just check in on the Iron Sheik again:

Ha! You tell ’em, Sheik! I bet Satan is mighty pissed off right about now, although it’s probably pretty hard to tell the difference one way or the other.


Source: Rolling Stone

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