This Day in Death

5.14.15: Blues Legend B.B. King – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 5:23 pm May 15, 2015

B_B_KINGI swear, Bono wasn’t even in this picture when I uploaded it. That guy’s just gotta find a way to make it about himself, doesn’t he? Check out that Canadian Tuxedo, though.


Legendary bluesman Riley “B.B.” King has reportedly died in hospice care on Thursday. If only there were some form of music the blues community could use to adequately express their feelings of sorrow and lose at a time like this. I vote they try klezmer. Even the goyim have to admit that some of those shofar players can really rock the shtetl!

His death comes only weeks after the passing of “Stand By Me” singe Ben E. King, which can only mean one thing: Death is now alphabetical. Oh sure, you can say this is just another one of those times where I make an aggrandized connection based on the most nebulous data available, but if you think the Burger King’s creepy facial paralysis is the result of anything less than a near-fatal stroke, well, you’re the one with the confirmation bias, not me.

Mr. King went out on the road and never came back after one of his first recordings reached the top of the rhythm-and-blues charts in 1951. He began in juke joints, country dance halls and ghetto nightclubs, playing 342 one-night stands in 1956 and 200 to 300 shows a year for a half-century thereafter, rising to concert halls, casino main stages and international acclaim.

Man, even adjusted for inflation (one year in 2015 would be about 430 days in 1956) that’s a lot of shows for a guitarist to play in a pretty short amount of time. If my calculations are correct, that’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 15,000 hot licks a year. If he was smart, he made sure to get paid by the *squiddily-skwow*.


Source: The NY Times

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5.4.15: Ellen Abertini Dow, aka The Rapping Granny – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:38 am May 7, 2015

ELLEN_ALBERTINI_DOWAnd still only slightly less street cred than Snoop has had since Soul Plane.


The 90s were great. Wait, sorry, I phrased that wrong. The 90s were awful. But, as I’ve said before, at least back in the day the entertainment industry and our appointed representatives knew that we really didn’t wanna hear about any of that depressing stuff going on in the world and wisely kept it out of our theaters and televisions. Sure, Slick Willy was dropping bombs on the Sudan, but we were able to avoid having to give a tug as long as it didn’t preempt Big Willie dropping weapons-grade laughs on our 900-pound tvs. We bought shitty Mexican food from dogs that spoke for no reason and called it brilliant entertainment. Hell, I bet you still consider The Wedding Singer to be a classic film, don’t you?

Well, you’re wrong. It was stupid, not least of all because one of its most beloved moments featured then-79-year-old Ellen Albertini Dow singing “Rapper’s Delight.” That really was the extent of the joke, that it didn’t make sense for this old woman to be singing this song, and we had zero qualms about rewarding this kind of behavior with untold gobs of currency. You see, for some reason a lot of people find it hilarious when one kind of person does something that is typically associated with a different kind of person. Allow me to illustrate the point using the most intuitive way of communicating information (as well as the most intuitive way of communicating how awesome you are at Halloweening): The Venn diagram:


As the diagram suggests, by appealing to those who enjoys all three major types of shitty comedic juxtaposition, you hit the surprisingly lucrative tender zone of people with impaired cognitive function and endless disposable income. For years an old white woman engaging in an activity typically associated with young black men was the gold standard of lowbrow pandering. But, to be fair, the artistic validity of these things can change with time. Someday when death is cured and we cease to age we’ll look back at footage of the rapping granny via the latest build of Wikipedia Synaptica downloaded onto our Brainstream and, like a fossil preserved in timeless amber, marvel at its beauty, alien yet somehow impossibly relatable all at once. And if none of that sounds believable to you, keep in mind that the Mona Lisa was originally commissioned to be used as toilet paper for the pope. I wouldn’t lie to you people.

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