This Day in Death

2.13.16: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 5:33 pm February 15, 2016
Politics aside, I simply won’t trust a man who wears a hat he clearly stole from a French philosophy student.


Big news in the law world (which is still Earth, I guess), as Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has passed away over the weekend. Let’s get the minimum required amount of backstory out of the way, Block Quote!

In 1986, after Chief Justice Warren Burger announced his intention to retire, Mr. Reagan nominated Judge Scalia to the Supreme Court. Though his conservative views were well known, he was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 98 to 0.

By the way, “conservative” pretty much means “Christian” in these contexts. That coded language is annoying, just say Christian. It’s kinda like when someone says “I’m not religious, but I’m spiritual” when they’re actually trying to say “I’m just lazy.”

For a lot of Americans, Scalia’s most infamous moment was tipping the scales in favor of George W. Bush during the code red clusterfucking that was the 2000 election. Scalia halted a recount in Florida and, for the fourth goddamn time, a candidate won the popular vote but lost the election due to trailing in electoral votes. The controversy led to many citizens calling to do away with the electoral college altogether, a cause they doggedly pursued for a solid 6 weeks until new episodes of Will & Grace started airing again. In their defense, that Debra Messing is a treasure.

Obviously, the death of a Supreme Court Justice is a big deal, and will inevitably lead to a lot of heated emotions and complex discussion. Most of that discussion, of course, will be about the Court itself. Not as a judicial body, but rather the physical court. Just look at this snorefest:

SUPREME_COURT[via Bloomberg]

I know I’m supposed to stay impartial, but this is the sorriest thing I’ve ever seen. Ionic pilasters? Are you shitting me? I literally just threw up in my mouth, it’s disgusting. This is America, if you can’t spring for Corinthian capitals you might as well go back to deadlifting lintels onto trabeated systems in Croatia like an animal. And what’s with the two morose flags that appear to be on suicide watch? Shameful. Every surface should be flag, and every flag as proud and erect as a peacock’s spinal column. We’re talking about a Supreme Court, not some trailer trash appellate noise. Judge Joe Brown wouldn’t even air out his dirty robes in this place, and that guy got his law degree from one of those county fair games where you throw a ring around a water jug.

No, a truly Supreme Court should look like the second act of Total Recall mated with a Rubic’s Cube: Just an unrelenting visual assault of lights and colors and hydraulic arms and a mess of hanging tubes carrying unspecified glowing liquids to undisclosed locations for purposes that will never be made clear. Also, the bench should be a minimum of 20 feet above the ground, both to emphasize the Justices’ superior standing and to ensure visibility of the bald spots of anyone on the floor. I just don’t like people thinking they can Friar Tuck that mess without the world finding out.

And just to keep the mood light, how about if every session opens with the Justices banging their gavels to the drum solo from “In the Air Tonight”? Oh! And maybe a jumbotron to replay especially sick injunctions with cool 3D animations that speak to my youthful sensibilities. Basically anything to make the room feel more like a bowling alley in 1993 would be pretty sharp.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “James, you’re clearly a visionary for troubled times, but who’s gonna pay for all of this bombastery?” Well, for starters, I’m almost certain that’s not a real word. Secondly, don’t you worry, because a few tasteful sponsored LED banners should go a long way towards footing the bill. But before you start moaning about integrity and ethics understand that I’m talking really classy stuff, like, “Declare a writ of habeas delicious with Mountain Dew’s new Energizing Midnight Grape Kickstart!” Or has anyone considered renaming it the Taco Bell Taco Supreme Court? I’ve really been coming up with a lot of good ideas since I started wearing this “Make America Great Again” hat.


Source: The NY Times

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2.4.16: Earth, Wind & Fire Co-Creator Maurice White – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 1:54 am February 10, 2016

 MAURICE_WHITEGotta hand it to the guy: They told him a suit made out of pure ivory wouldn’t be comfortable, but he wouldn’t budge. Sometimes a man just has to feel like he’s encased inside a giant mastodon tusk.


Maurice White, co-founder of legendary funky, souly-type band Earth, Wind & Fire, has died after a protracted battle with Parkinson’s disease. Also dead: usage of the Oxford comma in band names. As far as I’m concerned it doesn’t get any more soulful than proper grammar, and I, a white guy who was born in the 80s, would know a few things about soul.

The springy, elastic soul-pop of “Shining Star,” which White co-wrote, earned them their first Number One, and paved the way for hits like the joyful “Sing a Song,” the percussive and brassy “September,” their swinging cover of the Beatles’ “Got to Get You Into My Life” and the robotic disco of “Let’s Groove.” Rolling Stone included the group’s sweetly smooth 1975 single, “That’s the Way of the World,” on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

It seems to me that after White’s death, coupled with the very recent deaths of musicians Glenn Frey, Jimmy Bain, David Bowie, Dan Hicks, Paul Kantner, and others, it’s officially time to bury (tee hee! Death pun!) the “they always die in 3s” hogwash you people won’t stop clogging up my social media with.

All of those deaths have occurred in just the first five or so weeks of the year. And those are just the musicians you, Joe and Jane Jockstrap of Mooseknuckle, Indiana, have heard about. It doesn’t include musicians who may be extraordinarily famous in genres or parts of the world you don’t think about, or exceptionally-talented yet largely unknown musicians, or the huge contingent of notable non-musician deaths. Do you really think the giant space lizard that decides who lives and dies is catering its decisions to what you specifically know about? Nothing revolves around you, and I’m here to add some Galileo-level perspective to your myopic diet of selfie soufflés and… I don’t know, hashtag hashbrowns, maybe. I’ll come back to this part some other time.

What you’re really experiencing is a phenomenon known as apophenia. Simply put, your brain is forcing you to see nonexistent patterns, even if it requires tossing out evidence that disagrees with said patterns, because accepting the reality that shit just kinda happens without any kind of grand scheme is too existentially terrifying for your brain to process. The human brain: Just pretty much doing whatever for five million years.

So what’s the harm in holding up bullshit statistics if they make you feel more comfortable about the inevitable black sprawl of total inconsequence that is your death? Well, for starters that comfort is dishonest, and therefore evasive. You haven’t made peace with your mortality, and are actually actively denying it by denying how arbitrary death is. Secondly, since notable people die literally every day, deciding which three “count” is a shitty and judgemental thing to do. That kind of distinction should only be left to qualified and astonishingly square-jawed deathbloggers ahem hem.

And that’s how one little change in your life can make you a better, less cynical person. Next time I’ll explain how you can help enforce local parking ordinances by stealing hubcaps from parked ambulances. Hey, that spot is metered, big shot!


Source: Rolling Stone

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