This Day in Death

1.10.16: David Bowie – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 5:00 pm January 13, 2016

DAVID_BOWIE

[via mickjagger.com]

Jesus Christ, just make out already you two, am I right?! Oh wait. Nevermind.

 

Legendary glam rocker David Bowie passed away on Sunday after struggling with cancer for the past year and a half. Bowie had kept his illness secret and, to most of the world, continued to live a normal spaceman-like existence until he finally just up and died in private. You know, like how a damn housecat dies, just keeping everyone in the dark until you come home one day and find a tiny corpse hidden away somewhere lying next to its own lung. It’s why I always immediately check all the closets and behind the couch whenever I go into a stranger’s home.

Perhaps even moreso than his music, Bowie was known for his relentlessly shifting personas, I assume for tax evasion purposes. Look, I don’t know about “cool” things, alright? I own stock in Dell computers, I eat plain celery for lunch like three times a week, and up until a few months ago I thought an “early Bowie” was some kind of morning sex thing. I’m just not equipped to give you any kind of insight that the scarf-mavens at Pitchfork haven’t already.

Normally in ha-ha gridlocks like these I just mock people more successful than me by looking at their insincere grief tweets. But the Twitter response has been surprisingly rational, largely lacking in the characteristic mangled syntax and thinly-veiled self-promotion I’ve come to expect (okay, exploit) ’round those parts. Even Cher toned down her usual nonsensical garblings, and decoding her tweets used to be the intellectual equivalent of trying to drive one of those cars that simulates being drunk. I mean, what the hell happened here? Where’s the self-righteous contrarianism? Where’s the pandering? Where’s the shameless one-upmanship?  I’m kinda strapped for content, and that’s not a good sign for the first post of the year.

Hang on… New year… 2016…. That means that the internet as we commonly think of it is almost 27 years old. Did the internet just become an adult? Is that why it finally took down all of those Chuck Norris posters? Wow. I guess it’s time we all grow up a little, meaning it’s probably time to end this blog. Look, I know it’s sad, but we can’t be afraid to change and grow and embrace new standards of personal behavior and maybe try ethnic food someday as long as it’s not all weird looking. No, guys. I think 2016 is gonna be different. Bold, thoughtful, mature. I can’t hang around doing hacky boner jokes anymore in this new, homeowning internet. Let’s just end things by checking in with the Washington Post for a glimpse of how we’ll be viewing content in this brave new world.

PENN_CHAPO

Oh shit! False alarm, everybody, false alarm! We’re still stupid, see you next time!

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12.28.15: Motörhead Frontman Ian Fraser “Lemmy” Kilmister – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 1:11 pm December 30, 2015
Classic Rock Roll Of Honour Awards 2011 In London - Musician Portraits[via Inside Pulse]

That’s right, his actual last name from birth was Kilmister. Sometimes things just happen that way, like when it turned out the guy from Smash Mouth’s last name was Van Douchebro. It’s Dutch. 

 

Lemmy Kilmister, Motörhead frontman and evil version of the cop from the Village People, has died only two days after being diagnosed with cancer. No word on how the cancer is doing, probably because it wasn’t famous. Typical.

Over his 44-year career with Motörhead and precursor Hawkwind, Lemmy endured shifting band lineups, accusations of Nazi affiliation, and three lawsuits from his own liver. Despite mounting health problems, he kept on touring and performing right until his death, with many fans wondering each time they saw Motörhead if it would be his last show. I know the feeling: As a cocksure blogger who lives life a quarter paragraph at a time, people are always worried that each sick gerund I recklessly type may be spelling out the end of this autobio I call life. But the joke’s on them, because you can’t actually die from loneliness. Only from diseases facilitated by loneliness.

Rolling Stone has a nice writeup, but I don’t suggest reading it, as Lemmy’s controversial paraphernalia collection caused the comments section to devolve into accusations of Nazism almost immediately. Just bad form. It’s customary to wait for the coolest commenter to declare that he was “First!,” followed by easing into things with a couple of unsettling posts about Obama, and only then to go screaming full-tilt into the Hitler stuff. It may seem silly to you, but if we don’t respect the proud traditions of the internet we’ll never be able to benefit from its wisdom. Its stupid, dangerously racist wisdom.

Kilmister boasted that he had drank a bottle of Jack Daniel’s every day since he turned 30, although he admittedly gave up booze in 2013 as his health started to catch up to his hard living. “I suddenly realized I was waking up in pools of other people’s vomit, and I had no recollection of them,” Kilmister told Rolling Stone in January 2014. “That’s a bit much. I’m not saying don’t have fun, don’t snort the occasional line – but don’t make it your life.”

If you didn’t do the math yourself (and I know you didn’t do the math because I’m the only one who would, so stop playin’), at an approximate rate of $18.99 per bottle, that’s $6,931.35 a year, adjusted for inflation but before taxes, because I assume Lemmy wrote that shit right the hell off. After 38 years that would come to $263,391.30 blown on a carcinogen whose entire function is to try to murder you to the best of its ability. And it’s not just Lemmy, as the average American spends roughly 1% of their income on alcohol. Good job, dumbasses: You essentially just blew your retirement savings to hire a steady stream of tiny Mel Gibsons to punch you from the inside of your body for the rest of your life.

 

Source: Rolling Stone

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12.18.15: Norman Bridwell, Creator of Clifford, the Big Red Dog – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 6:07 pm December 21, 2015
Norman Bridwell, Dick Robinson[via Today]

Bridwell, right, appears at a birthday event for Clifford, who has raised his paws in a symbolic gesture of solidarity with the #redlivesmatter protesters. Jesus, we’re trying to have a party here, can you turn off the social justice rhetoric for one day?

 

Norman Bridwell, creator of the much-tolerated Clifford, the Big Red Dog series of books, has died at the age of 86. Clifford, of course, was the heartwarming story of a runty puppy who eventually grew to become a crippling financial burden to his owner, a little girl without a job. I think it’s a metaphor for going to college.

You know, everyone thinks they can just wham bam a children’s book and make a fortune because they’re only, like, 50 words long and most of the pictures are of everyday things like dogs and trees and gimp masks and stuff. Well, that’s where you’d be wrong, you cynical opportunist, you. Even the simplest writing is extremely draining. Why, just check out this exclusive sneak peek at the climactic scene from my in-the-works screenplay, Lawyerhorse 2000: The Horse That’s Also a Lawyer:

LAWYERHORSE

 

That right there is the result of two years of meticulous plotting, intense personal introspection, and one failed marriage. So don’t go assuming that Bridwell just one-two’d the whole concept in an afternoon.

…Scholastic accepted the manuscript that he’d written over a weekend.

See? A weekend. That’s three days if you count Friday. For all we know Monday was Memorial Day, it could’ve been a solid 96 hours invested. Alright, fine, so it’s still not that long. But that’s only because Bridwell was a professional and knew how to execute an idea in a short amount of time, the result of years of disciplined writing. By the time he came up with Clifford he must’ve been firing with enough precision and prolificacy to make Stephen King throw up his corn chowder all over his L.L. Bean signature shearling-lined duck boots. (He lives in Maine.)

Bridwell told Simon that he “was shocked when it was accepted for publication, because I’d never written anything before.”

Okay, so, this is getting hard to justify, like feeding a cow a hamburger. I guess the real lesson here is, “just do it, you might get lucky.” It’s the same attitude bank robbers have. Just sayin.

 

Source: NPR

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12.3.15: Scott Weiland – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 6:25 pm December 5, 2015

SCOTT_WEILANDWeiland, seen here performing for what I have to assume is a crowd made up of 50% Hell’s Angels and 50% sassy airline stewards. You gotta know your audience, I always say.

 

Musician Scott Weiland, best known as frontman for 90s bar trivia answer Stone Temple Pilots, was found dead in his tour bus on Thursday. No official cause of death has been released, but cocaine was found on the scene and Weiland’s struggles with addiction were widely-known. Of course, there’s nothing funny about addiction, at least not with the current slate of drugs that are available. Maybe if someone invented one that gradually made you look like a circus clown, or made you pass gas super loud during fancy dinner parties. Let the world have a laugh already, black market pharmacology!

The Stone Temple Pilots came on the scene at the height of the grunge movement, releasing its first album, “Core,” in 1992. Critics were unkind, accusing them of being poseurs riding the coattails of Nirvana and Pearl Jam.

But it didn’t matter. “Core” and its 1994 follow-up, “Purple,” sold more than 10 million copies. STP won a Grammy in 1994 for the song “Plush” and had monster hits with “Vasoline” and “Interstate Love Song.”

After being ousted from STP, Weiland joined Velvet Revolver, a rock outfit made up of former members of Guns N’ Roses who were sick of Axl Rose’s bullshit and yearned to get back to focusing on music by signing on with a slightly different flavor of hopelessly abusive frontman. It’d be like divorcing Ike Turner to go marry Chris Brown. Eventually you start to wonder how likely it is that Slash, Duff McKagan, Matt Sorum, and Dave Kushner really all fell down a staircase at the same time.

It’s weird seeing the 90s grunge guys like Weiland start dying, though. It seemed like we totally skipped over a huge wave of 80s musician deaths. The only thing that really comes to mind is the time that all the members of Survivor died from asphyxiation while doing their hair in an unventilated building. I know it’s a tragedy, but they were tempting fate with that name to begin with.

 

Source: CNN

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8.30.15: Wes Craven – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 2:54 pm September 8, 2015

WES_CRAVENYou know, that Freddy Krueger thought he was a pretty tough customer, but let’s see him slash anyone up out in a rainstorm. Those blades would rust right the hell up, and then what, you’re gonna kill me with Tetanus? Joke’s on you, pal: I probably already needed a shot anyway, what with all of these stray dogs I keep getting into fights with.

 

Well, Halloween may be on its way, but if you’ve got a Craven’ for more horror flicks from slasher maestro Wes Craven, you’re gonna be disappointed. Because he’s dead. I tried to soften the landing with that pun up there, feel free to message my LinkedIn profile to let me know how I did!

Craven was best known as the creator of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, which featured prop comic/lawncare enthusiast/occasional sadistic murderer Freddy Krueger terrorizing dense suburban kids in their dreams. On a personal note, I’m not ashamed to admit I never quite got over my childhood fear of Freddy. Imagine how terrifying he would be in real life! I mean, who wants to talk to a white guy in a fedora? You know he’s just gonna tell you he wears it ironically, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s still wearing it and it still looks stupid, and you just know if you call him out on it suddenly you’re the asshole. Not to mention that hipster sweater he’s always got on. I’m getting chills just thinking about him cornering me at a party to tell me about the idea he had for a combination bike shop/microbrewery. At least Jason was into hockey, that’s kinda cool. I’d way rather be murdered by him. Yeah, that’d be sweet.

“For three years I was unable to sell [A Nightmare of Elm Street]. I basically went broke,” he told CNN years later. “So when the film got made and was a financial success, my career went from the basement through the roof. It was a wonderful feeling.”

While struggling during the early days of his filmmaking career, Craven supposedly directed porn, although that was under a pseudonym for some reason. What was he so ashamed about? It’s not like porn and horror films are all that different: You throw together a story revolving around some creepy dude looking for a busty teenager who doesn’t do much more than scream, slide a tight 80s’ synth-rock soundtrack underneath, and start cranking out the sequel before the lights even cool down. The only major difference is that Hollywood film sets are notoriously drug-free. Those people have a sacred trust with the viewing public, and they don’t take that lightly.

 

Source: CNN

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8.17.15: Yvonne Craig, TV’s Batgirl – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 6:25 pm August 23, 2015

YVONNE_CRAIGThere, American Dental Association: I just did in 15 seconds what you guys have spent 150 years trying to do. Pfft, dentists! Truly the podiatrists of the medical world.


Actress and reason I hit puberty 14 years before I was conceived Yvonne Craig has died of breast cancer at the age of 78. Best known as Batgirl in the ’60s Batman tv show, Craig was added to the series in the third and final season to boost ratings and de-sausage the crimefighting sausage fest that was going on in the Batcave. Hey, you know who I feel bad for? People trying to put together a literal sausage fest. It must be impossible to get funding for that anymore. I mean I like a good sausage as much as anybody, but I’d definitely never go to one. No way, I hear those places are total sausage fests, bro.

Craig also had a memorable guest spot on Star Trek as the green-skinned alien Marta. Typical Hollywood: Would rather cover a white woman in paint than just hire a green actor to begin with. And don’t even get me started on how disenfranchised translucent Americans are in show business. It’s like they’re invisible or something.

Her numerous TV credits besides “Batman” included “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis,” “The Six Million Dollar Man,” “Kojak,” “Starsky and Hutch,” “Mod Squad,” “77 Sunset Strip,” “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,” “Love, American Style” and “Emergency!”

[…]

“She had been able to do this with joy and much laughter and she wouldn’t have changed a thing,” Ms. Craig’s family said. “Well, maybe one thing, and that would have been not to get cancer.”

Was that a burn on the recently deceased? Is there supposed to be a rimshot there or something? I’m not really offended morally, just professionally. Look, grieving family: I went to school for years to understand how to use autocorrect. Don’t try to horn in on my niche unless you’re looking for some serious trubble.

 

Source: The NY Times

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7.31.15: “Rowdy” Roddy Piper – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 4:24 pm August 5, 2015

ROWDY_RODDY_PIPERPiper, right, opting to leave his shirt on during extreme physical exercise. It’s a good look, and suddenly I don’t feel so alone for refusing to go topless in the pool at the YMCA. Hey, if we could all have hairless shoulders the world would be a very different place.

 

“Rowdy” Roddy Piper, WWE Hall of Famer and the last person named “Rod” not to go into gay porn, was found dead in his Hollywood home last week. Piper’s death is being reported as natural causes, which may sound unusual considering he was only 61, but in wrestling years that puts him in, like, his early 400s. Those guys have life expectancies that make medieval peasants look like Greek gods.

Technically cast as a villain among the pro wrestling personalities of the World Wrestling Federation (also known as the WWF and later the WWE), Piper’s charisma, over-the-top personality, and boundless energy made him a key pop culture figure. The WWE has named him as the greatest villain in wrestling history.

I’ve discussed my utter confusion about wrestling before, but one area that I’m completely into is the impossibly steep curve of insane stunts that the fans force the wrestling industry to climb as time goes by. Once your headline is that Seth Rollins just beat a man with an actual steel fucking ladder there’s no going back to the fundamentals. The industry could survive another 10,000 years and you’ll never see anyone talk about trying a back to basics approach that really emphasizes holds and good sportsmanship. You’ve crossed a one-way threshold. If you were to travel just five years into the future your brain probably couldn’t even acclimate to how much more psychotic the whole thing will have become in such a relatively brief time. By 2020 you’ll have guys with surgically-altered lizard faces cannonballing through brick walls and ripping out each others’ shoulder blades to use as oars with which to paddle themselves to safety, since it all takes place within a Plexiglass cage that is slowly filling up with hundreds of gallons of the performers’ own HGH-infused sweat. And that’ll be the undercard.

Just, you know… no blood. It really sends the wrong message about violence, and these are family-friendly events.

 

Source: Screenrant

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7.11.15: Nintendo Chief Executive Satoru Iwata – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 1:11 pm July 17, 2015

SATORU_IWATAIwata with Luigi, probably snickering about how Birdo turned out to be transgendered. That kind of gossip isn’t cool anymore, you guys. No H8!

 

Satoru Iwata, Chief Executive for Nintendo, has passed away due to a bile duct growth. Doctors described it as being “totally gross,” and claimed the growth made them “barf like a million times.” Kind of an inappropriate response coming from medical professionals but it’s not like we weren’t all wondering anyway.

Known for pushing back against complicated and expensive video games, Mr. Iwata quipped at a 2006 conference that had Tetris been introduced then, it would have required better graphics and a film deal to be feasible. In the same speech, Mr. Iwata gave a sort of coda on his views on gaming: “Video games are meant to be just one thing. Fun. Fun for everyone.”

If you’re under the age of 30, then first of all I highly suggest you begin a regimen of bottling your sparkling, youthful blood and other bodily fluids for future preservation. They are full of sacred minerals that may hold the secret to longevity and eternal sexual potency. But also, you may not be aware that Nintendo, perennial bronze-taker in the video game wars, used to be a juggernaut of the industry. It’s true! Back in the 90s, there were two major systems duking it out for your Josta-soaked dollar, and whichever side you fell on told the entire neighborhood what kind of kid you were. Your parents either got you a Nintendo Entertainment System, or they got you a shoebox with a picture of Sonic the Hedgehog drawn on the inside. Oh yes, I admit I spent many a solitary Friday night staring at that idiot box, dreaming of me and my best/only buddy Sonic getting to that next exciting level… Or any level, I guess. Really, witnessing any kind of movement at all would’ve been amazing. In retrospect it seems like a pretty crude system, but that’s just the way technology makes things look obsolete with time.



Source: NY Times

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6.22.15: Donald Featherstone, Creator of the Flamingo Lawn Ornament – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 4:53 pm July 3, 2015

DONALD_FEATHERSTONEAll I’m saying is that, if the gay mafia is so worried about reinforcing stereotypes, they’d do well to find a slightly less whimsical method of gangland reprisal.

 

Donald Featherstone, the creator of the pink plastic lawn flamingo, has died at the age of 79. If you’ve ever wondered about the origin of the well-known ornament, but only wanted to hear the story if it was completely boring and unremarkable in every way, then you and your weird adrenal gland are in luck:

“…They asked me to work on a duck, so I went to buy a real duck to study. I named him Charlie. When I had the plastic duck done, set him free in Cogshall Park. They then asked me to do a flamingo,” he said.

“You can’t go locally and buy a flamingo, so I got some books, and one that had some good shots was National Geographic. I made the silhouette, then put on the clay and that’s how it all got started.”

“Basically, I did my job.” Well, touché, interviewer who expected a lot more than that. To be fair, Featherstone eventually became president of Union Products, the company he made the decorations for. So let that be a lesson for all of us: Keep your nose down, do your job well, stop stealing syrup from the soda fountains at work, and someday you’ll definitely be managing that Sbarro’s and pulling in a rather tasty $37k annual salary. Then you steal the syrup.

For those outside of America’s majestic trailer park circuit (AAA refers to it as the “Meth Belt”), you may not be aware that the pink flamingo lawn ornament has become a symbol of distinction and class division. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this comparison, and while you’re at it, stop second-guessing me all the damn time, you bunch of Doubting Dorothys.

MOBILE_HOME

 

Pretty conclusive stuff, right? Well hang onto your acid wash cutoffs, because those’re actually the same trailer! That’s right: Just eight bucks’ worth of painted plastic is all it takes to let your neighbors know that, yeah, you might be getting approved for that payday loan after all.



Source: NPR

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6.11.15: WWE Wrestler Dusty “The American Dream” Rhodes – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 10:33 pm June 12, 2015

DUSTY_RHODESRhodes’ “American dream” persona was an impassioned testimonial about how a regular working class joe, with perseverance and a rock solid work ethic, might someday get the chance to irreparably shatter his tibia falling twenty feet onto a pressboard table. That was always my favorite verse of America the Beautiful.

 

Look, I don’t understand professional wrestling. I’ve really tried, but I can never seem to figure out if I’m supposed to be disturbed or amused or baffled or a little turned on or what at any given time. One moment I’m watching a couple of greased-up beefcakes settle their differences by clotheslining each other, just as the Founding Fathers intended, and we’re all having a ball. It’s nothing but joy and laugher from the crowd while these guys dramatically shorten their lifespans for our entirely disposable entertainment. It’s absolutely absurd, and I think I get the satire, and I’m 100% on board. Then Brock Lesnar, the most terrifying man on the planet, walks out with a penis tattooed on his chest like he was the first one to fall asleep at the cruelest slumber party of all time, and I’m not supposed to laugh because this shit is serious all of a sudden. Well excuse me, but someone decided to decorate an emotionless monster like he was the Superman of Turkish bathhouses, I’m gonna get a titter out of that.

Or let’s take a look at the recently deceased Virgil Runnels, aka Dusty Rhodes, aka “The American Dream”:

DUSTY_RHODES_2

What the hell is even happening here? Are the polka dots supposed to represent some kind of evolutionary natural defense, like he can trigger your epilepsy as a last resort? Was he supposed to be a bumblebee and the tailor fucked up the pattern? Or is he a reverse leopard, with yellow spots on a black body? That last one would make a lot of sense aesthetically, since a pasty, lumbering biped with that kind of body weight distribution is pretty much the exact opposite of  the regal and lithe leopard, but is that really considered menacing? You know what wrestling uniform would really intimidate your opponent in the ring? A finely-cut Italian suit paired with a bold power tie. It screams, “Don’t mess with me, I’ve got money and privilege and can easily afford some pretty luxurious bedsheets!” Granted, it probably won’t breathe super well, but this is more of a psychological game you’re playing at now so I can’t imagine you’re gonna have to get all sweaty or anything.

 

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