This Day in Death

4.21.15: ‘Rosie the Riveter’ Model Mary Doyle Keefe – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 3:31 pm April 24, 2015

MARY_DOYLE_KEEFEKeefe, next to the iconic image of strong, hardworking American women. Not pictured: Rosie’s unemployed husband, who’s “totally gonna get the band going for real this time.” 


Sad news from the art world, which is too bad because they’re normally so happy about things. Mary Doyle Keefe, the model for Norman Rockwell’s painting of Rosie the Riveter, has died at the age of 92. Originally conceived as a song supporting the efforts of American working women during World War II, the character has been adopted into other mediums and has become a symbol of sisters doin’ it for themselves. Well, provided they have giant, burly man arms, which seems to be sending kind of a mixed message:

Rockwell’s iconic work that honored women who worked on the home front featured a muscular-armed figure much larger than Keefe was in real life. Years later, Rockwell wrote a note to Keefe saying she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen and explaining that he needed the image to depict strength, the Courant reported.

“I did have to make you into sort of a giant,” Rockwell wrote.

It’s worth noting that, despite depicting essentially the same character, Rockwell’s painting is actually not directly related to the probably more well-known “We Can Do It!” Rosie poster. That’s because Rockwell’s estate is supposedly pretty intense about copyright protection and largely kept the image out of public view unless they were seeing some fat stacks of paper for it. Hey, the harsh reality is that inspiring people is strictly a for-profit industry. You think that kitten has been hanging in there all this time for fun?

Whichever version of the character you’re familiar with, I think there’s one universal truth we can all agree on: There is no lazier costume for an uncreative woman on Halloween than Rosie the Riveter. Every costume shop in the country should just get it over with and change their name to “Red Headscarves, Tired-Ass Zombie Make-Up, and Whatever Marvel Character Just Had a Movie” because that’s all I ever see you boring people wearing in October. As usual, let me do your legwork and present you with some totally baller alternative things you can dress up as for Halloween:

  • A Venn diagram
  • A reverse human centipede (that is, a bunch of centipedes sewn together into a person)
  • The original, shitty version of Batman
  • A semaphore flagger who only communicates via arm gestures
  • The Predator wearing a confusingly meta t-shirt:


Whatever, the point is I’m trying. I’m like a modern day Rosie myself, the only difference is that nobody’s dressing up like me. Well, that and the fact that I can’t perform physical labor. It seems I actually have hollow bird bones and they’ll shatter like Fabergé eggs under the slightest pressure. Or at least that’s how I got out of my military enlistment contract, suckers!

Source: USA Today

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4.14.15: Soul Singer Percy Sledge – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 2:11 pm April 17, 2015

PERCY_SLEDGEOf note: Percy Sledge was the inspiration for my christian death metal band, Mercy Sledge. We’re dropping the Sledgehammer… of piety!


It’s a well-documented fact that I can’t feel love. I had most of that part of my brain removed in the mid 90s to make room for more Sega Genesis codes. Then, a 15-year parade of heartaches violently and traumatically removed any lingering concept of tenderness that was still left in my psyche, and the very next day I started this blog. It’s kinda one of those stories Hollywood always likes to turn into movies.

But for those of you who still retain that magical sensation of your eyeballs getting warmer, or whatever love feels like, you may be sad to find out that soul singer and sonic aphrodisiac Percy Sledge has died. Aging women across the country are expected to lower their undergarments to half-mast as a sign of mourning. Sexy, sexy mourning.

Sledge is best known for his 1966 hit, “When a Man Loves a Woman,” a timeless ode to being a complete doormat for any woman who doesn’t make fun of your tooth gap. Maybe you never noticed the meaning tucked away in the verses, since after Michael Bolten covered the song in 1991 it’s been impossible to listen past the opening chorus. Serious aside: the Boltification of music is a real issue. That man could make Slayer sound like Sesame Street before we’d even know it, it’s like a superpower.

But anyway, look at this:

When a man loves a woman, spend his very last dime
Tryin’ to hold on to what he needs
He’d give up all his comforts, sleep out in the rain
If she said that’s the way it ought to be

I guess someone must find that kind of sentiment romantic, but I prefer my love songs to be about two people exerting mathematically identical amounts of energies for each other’s benefit within controlled and agreed-upon parameters. Sure, that doesn’t always fit so well into a rhyme scheme, but if I know anything about people it’s that the first thing they listen for is logical executions of pragmatic concepts. If you don’t believe me, just check out what the critics had to say about that musical revue Ayn Rand and Commander Spock put on. Do pull quotes like “A sensible evening of emotion-related entertainment,” and “Ended at a reasonable time” mean anything to you?

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4.1.15: Pillsbury Doughboy Creator Rudolph Perz – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 2:44 pm April 9, 2015

 RUDOPLH_PERZ_STAN_FREBERGSo, what, are his hat and neckerchief also made of dough, just like his body? Wouldn’t that be like a human chef who wears clothes made from his own skin? Oh, why was I born without the ability to appreciate whimsy!?


Sad news from the world of advertising, as we’ve entered day 12,000 of not being able to find the beef. Let’s try to keep hope alive, America.

Not making things any better is the fact that Rudolph Perz, creator of the Pillsbury Doughboy, aka Poppin’ Fresh, has died at the age of 89. For those of you who aren’t familiar (and, yes, I’m referring to all of you psychopaths without televisions) Poppin’ Fresh is an anthropomorphic blob of glop who manipulated the illusion of togetherness to hawk said glop to people who get their cultural and culinary identities from vacuum-sealed cardboard tubes. Wow. That settles it: I’m getting that Chomsky neck tattoo after all.

Although, to be fair, and also to fill up space, there is something to be said for the wide-eyed earnestness of old-fashioned advertising. Commercials used to create an idyllic landscape that could make you believe it’s possible to someday have friends who aren’t quietly plotting your demise, or family that doesn’t kick you out at Thanksgiving for stealing silverware. Commercials used to be little 30-second bursts of heartwarming dopamine injected directly into your brain, a brief reprise from Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman‘s constant reminders that life is neither easy nor particularly funny. Nowadays, in this post-Joey world of television, every ad is so hyper-aware and ironic that I don’t know if I’m being sold a pair of pants or an MFA. Where’s the artificial, prepackaged love?

“We are saddened by the loss of Rudy Perz. Nearly 50 years ago, he created one of America’s most loved and adored characters, the Pillsbury Doughboy. Our thoughts are with Rudy’s family during this difficult time,” Pillsbury president Liz Nordlie said in a statement.

50 years! And the little gremlin hasn’t really changed at all in half a century; Still pale as a Tim Burton wet dream. Isn’t it time for a doughperson of color, or maybe an autistic spokescreature that can raise both yeast and awareness? And do we even know how fluid his gender identity is? It’s hard to deny that Pillsbury is just flaunting their bigotry now, and there’s no hashtag I won’t relentlessly retweet until our voice is heard. Wow. That settles it: I’m getting that Jezebel tramp stamp after all.


Source: Time

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3.23.15: Gary Dahl, Inventor of the Pet Rock – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:57 am April 1, 2015

GARY_DAHLIf a Spencer Gifts could ejaculate, this is what it would look like.


Back in the 1970s, civilization was still submerged in a bubbling bath of primordial ooze and chlamydia, bouncing aimlessly from discotheque to key party and back again in an endless search for ever-bigger fucking shirt collars. Then one day a young visionary named Gary Dahl beheld this motley stew, recognized that the people simply needed a little direction to allow them to reach their full potential, took a hard look in the mirror, and realized he could probably turn a quick buck on these backwater rubes. So he packaged a bunch of rocks under the guise of some vague existential statement and sold them for $3.95 a pop. That’s $17.23 in 2015 dollars, by the way. For that price you could buy one of those “get your shit together” books and stand a chance of actually contributing something meaningful to the world some day. Instead a bunch of hippies spent a combined two mil on rocks in boxes while complaining about consumerism run amok and you wonder why people like me are on a slow but steady march to suicide.

But this post is more than just a thinly-veiled cry for help. The famed… let’s say “inventor”… has died at the age of 78. Yeah, that works. I mean, sure, he “invented” the Pet Rock in the same sense that Columbus “discovered” America: That shit was already there, they just had to keep people from realizing it until they could cash out and/or get some cities named after them. Shine on, you magnificent hucksters!

“People are so damn bored, tired of all their problems,” he told People magazine in 1975. “This takes them on a fantasy trip — you might say we’ve packaged a sense of humor.”

He recruited two colleagues as investors, visited a building-supply store and bought a load of smooth Mexican beach stones at about a penny apiece.

The genius was in the packaging. Each Pet Rock came in a cardboard carrying case, complete with air holes, tenderly nestled on a bed of excelsior. Mr. Dahl’s droll masterstroke was his accompanying manual on the care, feeding and house training of Pet Rocks.

It just goes to show you that it doesn’t matter what you’re selling, it only matters how what you’re selling looks. That’s probably why Bible sales are way down. Without some razzle dazzle on the outside all you’re left with is a thousand pages of life lessons about not washing your beard near another man’s sheep or whatever. Let’s see if we can’t put some meat on that grill:


Now that’s a Bizzible worthy of the limited-edition phylactery treatment. You won’t be able to burnish your calfskin fast enough to keep these suckers on the shelves.

Source: The NY Times

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