This Day in Death

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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4.16.13: “Voice of the NFL” Pat Summerall – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 7:23 am April 23, 2013

PAT_SUMMERALLSummerall, seen here with the shaved polar bear that FOX would sub in whenever John Madden was too hammered to wake up. Some people will tell you they can tell the difference between an authentic Madden broadcast and the ones the bear held down, but those people are probably just trying to impress you.


As I’ve copy and pasted to you many times before, we don’t do many sports posts around these parts. That shit is boring, and if I felt like memorizing a bunch of confusing rules just to get through my day I would’ve read those Megan’s Law forms the judge gave me. But the “voice of the NFL” Pat Summerall died last week, and we’re gonna cover it because I think talking about football might make me seem manlier. I’ve really gotta do something to balance out all of those Blossom repeats I’ve been watching on Oxygen lately.

George Allen “Pat” Summerall was born May 10, 1930, in Lake City, Fla., a rural area midway between Jacksonville and Tallahassee. He was an all-around athlete and attended the University of Arkansas on a basketball scholarship. Once there he became an all-Southwest Conference selection in basketball and football. He graduated with a degree in education and later earned a master’s degree in Russian history.

Wait, a football player with a master’s in Russian history? In the real world that’s like getting a PhD in Everything. What happened to the standard bullshit BA in Communications degree that every pro athlete usually gets? You don’t have to aim so high, it’s not like we expect much from you guys in that area. Charles Barkley only has an associates in Doritos, and I’m pretty sure he just made that field up. But studying Russian history probably involves actual work. Figuring out how to pronounce those backwards R’s, for one thing. That’s a semester right there.

Source: USA Today

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6.19.12: Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak – HANGING ON! OR MAYBE DEAD!

Filed under: Hanging On —James @ 1:38 am June 21, 2012

He was Egypt’s most Tommy Lee Jonesian president.

Why hello there, “Hanging On” tag. We haven’t seen you around here in a while. So, what, you think you’re better than me, now? Because you’re not. You’re not better than me.

Egyptian news reports late Tuesday that said [former president Hosni] Mubarak was “clinically dead” sent fireworks into the night and cheers among the banners blowing in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. But like so much else in Egypt, things were not as they first appeared. Officials hurried out their own statement: Mubarak, sentenced to life in prison this month for complicity in the murder of hundreds of protesters in the uprising that toppled him last year, was actually in critical condition and on life support.

“But what does any of this have to do with fluffy ducklings?” exclaimed the exasperated husk of what once was CNN. “Is there any way we can make this story 15% more xtreme?”

Anyway, the accusations levied against Mubarak included the aforementioned complicity, as well as economic fraud, shutting down internet and telephone service, and once trying to block out the sun with a giant mechanical disc. That last thing may have actually been Mr. Burns, but I already closed the Mubarak tab so I’m just winging it now.

Source: The LA Times

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4.5.12: Malawi President Bingu Wa Mutharika – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:10 am April 12, 2012

Malawi may not be setting a great example for how to run a country, but it’s hard to deny the allure of their annual Pimp Rodeo.

Delightfully insane Malawian president Bingu wa Mutharika died last Thursday after suffering from cardiac arrest, and I’m kinda relieved about it, because otherwise I might’ve been forced to break my 15-day streak of not writing the words Trayvon Martin on this blog. No way we’re gonna be walking on that lawn, solely because I don’t wanna hear your stupid opinions. I’ve already made my feelings known about listening to your half-assed, self-righteous bullshit and can conclusively state that everything you believe is completely incorrect and you should be ashamed of yourselves for believing your thoughts have any substance to them whatsoever. Oh! By the way; Remember to ‘like’ us on Facebook!

I’m gonna urge you to go ahead and read this whole article because this guy was about ten different flavors of nuts, but here’s the obvious money shot:

A brittle and mercurial man, Mutharika’s behaviour grew so erratic that some Malawians would question his sanity. He abandoned his presidential palace in Lilongwe not out of shame over inhabiting its 300 luxurious rooms, built for $100 million in a country suffering abject poverty, but because he declared it to be haunted and claimed that invisible rodents were running all over him at night.

Exorcists were duly summoned to this vast residence, set in 1,300 acres of grounds (constructed, in fairness, not by Mutharika himself but by Malawi’s equally eccentric first president, Hastings Kamuzu Banda). A sleepless and terrified Mutharika went to stay elsewhere while his aide for religious affairs urged sympathetic priests to “pray for the New State House to exorcise evil spirits”.

YES. YES. ABSOLUTELY YES. We don’t have enough world leaders doing such endearingly crazy shit. Usually when a president loses his mind he just cuts everyone’s kneecaps off and sells them to China or something. Mutharika’s ghost mouse infestation is downright charming by comparison. It’s a throwback to simpler times, like when Jimmy Carter banned all use of the letter ‘L.’ That was a weird six months, man.


Source: The Telegraph

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