This Day in Death

6.6.16: Kimbo Slice – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 1:40 pm June 13, 2016

KIMBO_SLICEGranted, he was pretty intimidating, but you could put that durag on Fred Savage and I’d be just as scared. Wait, no, that’s not true.


As I’ve had to (ironically, at this point) disclaim many times, we don’t do many sports posts around here. Nope, I’ve sat through Over the Top, both Major Leagues, and all of those Karate Kid movies, and the evidence is clear; Sports dramatically raise your risk of exposure to dated buttrock soundtracks. Talk to your doctor if you’ve experienced symptoms of Chronic Obstructive Loggins Disease, Hagar Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV), or Bononucleosis.

Nonetheless, today we’re talking about the death of Kevin Ferguson, aka Kimbo Slice, and not just because we share the same nickname. Of course, the difference is that he became known as “Slice” after leaving a large cut on an opponent’s face, whereas I got it because I once ate half the menu at the Cheesecake Factory to win a bet. The medics said I wouldn’t survive the night, although I think they underestimated just how high I’ve raised the tolerance threshold for abusing my body. It’s a special kind of discipline.

But back to people who aren’t me for a moment. Slice, a controversial figure in the worlds of MMA and boxing, died last week at the age of 42 due to heart failure resulting from a tumor on his liver. It’s a surprisingly early end to his life and career, but at least he’s in heaven punching angels now. Yeah, I feel I’ve pieced the jist of the Bible together pretty well over the years.

He played middle linebacker at Miami’s Palmetto High and showed the potential to play in college before Hurricane Andrew caused Palmetto High’s season to be cut short and his scholarship offers vanished. He flunked out of college at Bethune-Cookman University and was homeless for a brief time. He worked as a limo driver, strip-club bouncer and bodyguard before rising to fame through his viral street-fighting videos.

Ugh. Even for someone who lived as hard and fast as Slice did, 42 is still a depressingly young age to die. Life doesn’t even begin until 50, if the t-shirt section at Spencer Gifts is to be believed. As an athlete in your early 40s there are still so many ears left uncauliflowered, so many used mouthguards left to sell on eBay to recoup unsuccessful vanity record label losses, and at least one sad and misguided late-career comeback attempt. I was really looking forward to being let down by that in 10 years.


Sources: ESPN and Yell Magazine (header image)

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6.4.14: Don Zimmer – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 11:28 pm June 7, 2014

DON_ZIMMERYou’d better hope that if you Google “Don Zimmer + 3rd Base” you only get back sports-related results.


I don’t do a lot of sports posts around here. When you’ve lost as many loved ones to jock itch as I have, it just takes all of the comedy out of athleticism. Seriously, parents: Talk to your kids about not sharing towels.

But despite that, we’re gonna go ahead and do this Don Zimmer post. Why? Because baseball is America’s pastime, along with co-ed toga parties and putting desserts inside of other desserts. Read your Constitution, you heathens, it’s all in there.

Zimmer, nicknamed “Popeye” (which was probably the “Diddy” of the 50s), remained a figure in professional baseball right up until his death, marking an amazing 66-year career in the game. Let me try and put that into a context we can all relate to: In that same span of time Tolstoy’s landmark work of realist fiction Anna Karenina could’ve been reprinted in its original serialized format sixteen and a half times over. Of course, I don’t have to tell you that’s a prospect the Russian Orthodox Church most certainly wouldn’t be too excited about, considering their harsh criticisms of the man whom they believed helped the Bolsheviks rise to power during the Russian Revolution of 1917. Wow. I guess sports are pretty interesting. You know what? I’m gonna apply for that job at ESPN after all.

 “He was a great, fiery ambassador for the game,” said Zimmer’s former Dodgers teammate Roger Craig, who also hired him as a coach when he managed the Padres and Giants. “That’s why he worked for so many teams and with so many good baseball people. He loved the races and he loved baseball. He was a great human being.”

Also, if you say his name the way it appears in a phone book, it sounds like a Rastafarian telling someone to “simmer down.”

Source: The Chicago Tribune

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5.28.14: Maya Angelou – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 3:52 am May 29, 2014

MAYA_ANGELOUYeah, it’s alright, but I still prefer the sequel, Bird 2: The Uncagening. If Mark Wahlberg was a book, you guys… if Mark Wahlberg was a book.


Poet and author Maya Angelou has died today after cancelling several engagements due to failing health. Beginning her writing career in 1959, Angelou spent 55 consecutive years of her life publishing her work. Well, 51 if you don’t count the four years that she spent writing dirty nursery rhymes for Andrew Dice Clay.

HICKORY DICKORY DOCK QUOTE, LET’S GO TO THE BLOCK QUOTE! Ha! I don’t know why he ever stopped doing these!

“All of the writers of my generation must honor the ground broken by Dr. Maya Angelou,” author Tayari Jones posted on her Facebook page Wednesday.

“She told a story that wasn’t allowed to be told,” Jones said. “Now, people tell all sorts of things in memoir, but when she told the truth, she challenged a taboo — not for shock value, but to heal us all.”

Angelou’s writing spoke to a longing for understanding and unity between all people, a lesson her followers have certainly taken to heart. And if you don’t believe me, why, just scroll down to the comments section, which I am just now doing for the first time, with utter confidence that they won’t cause the above statement to backfire on me to an hilarious degree:

Please read the comments before opening your big mouth. If she had written the same works and was white, wouldn’t you be singing praises now? Be honest people. It is in your heads. Black people will never do anything your ilk appreciates.

No one is as shrill, negative, angry, violent, mistaken, false or as un-American as you appear to be. Perhaps you should read something besides the 2nd Amendment and the false, misleading and inflammatory propaganda of the far right.

Oh get a grip … what are some of these “truth[s] and democratic/republic ideals” that are supposed to seep in btw? Hatred of guns? I suppose you’re also one of those know-nothing libbies who blames the NRA for the latest shooting in CA. Typical.

Don’t get your undies in a bundle. You’re not the only one who can “bite back” take your meds and relax lol.

Obamacare is screwing the vast majority of middle class Americans. Mean while, his followers continue to talk about how much “class” he has. I have some news for you, class isn’t going to pay for my sick child’s healthcare. Wake Up.

Wow. Thoughtful stuff. Are those Woody Guthrie lyrics or something? Fun fact: Obama is the driving force behind 98% of all internet comment sections. The remaining 2% actually come from articles about Obama, and are generally centered around how I can get off-brand boner pills on the cheap.

Point is, between hate-filled comments section and sifting through her words for “haters gonna hate”isms, holy shit have you guys missed the point. If you really need some new catchphrases to prop up an unearned sense of self-confidence I’m sure Beyonce will be dropping a new song any day now. Meanwhile, maybe once #MayaAngelou stops trending we can all try actually… you know… practicing some of what the woman represented. Like, maybe not being such a unrelenting douche to literally every single person you encounter in your day-to-day life.

I mean, you can do that stuff. It’s already too late for me. The doctors say I’m dead on the inside. Seriously, actually dead. They don’t even understand what that means, but x-rays don’t lie.

Source: CNN

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5.8.14: Herb Lotman, Developer of the Chicken McNugget – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 6:35 pm May 26, 2014

HERB_LOTMANYou can really taste the dimethylpolysiloxane. Or at least you could, if your taste buds weren’t experiencing 10,000 simultaneous heart attacks.


I can’t recall much of the 80s, primarily because I was a baby. An alcoholic baby. That’s probably why it’s never occurred to me that there was a time before we all had Chicken McNuggets figuratively and/or literally lodged in our right ventricles. So if the thought of those compressed chicken shavings makes your insides all warm in a non-cardiac-arresty kind of way then you can thank Herb Lotman of Keystone Foods, who developed the McNugget in the 80s. I mean, you can’t really, because he passed away recently. But let’s be real; you weren’t ever actually going to thank him anyway. You have a real follow-through problem, you know that?

Lotman was also a philanthropist, co-founding the McDonald’s LPGA Championship, a major women’s professional golf association tournament, which directly benefited Ronald McDonald House Charities. The event has raised more than $48 million for the children’s charities in the 29 years since its inauguration, making it the largest fundraiser in golf. Since 2010 it has been sponsored by the Wegmans supermarket chain.

“Whether it’s good times or bad times economically, we’ve got to help the kids who aren’t as fortunate as the other children,” Lotman told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2002. “When we tell people our story, they give. It’s been working pretty good.”

It seems to me that, if I were more cynical, I could probably make the case that donating millions of dollars to children’s charities and then inundating said children with cryogenically frozen artery sodomizers roughly hewn into food-like shapes for the rest of their lives doesn’t exactly make you the lieutenant of morality. I could make that case… and it looks like I’ve done exactly that. Huh. It really felt like I was gonna take things in a different direction for a second there.

Source: LA Times

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2.17.14: Devo’s Bob Casale – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:00 am February 19, 2014

BOB_CASALEMark Mothersbaugh removes his energy dome for two and only two reasons: the playing of the national anthem and weekly fungal scalp infection treatments. Those domes are filthy.


One of the Devo dudes is dead, which is a surprisingly fun-sounding way to deliver sad news. I’ve really been looking for silver linings lately. Huh. I guess all those Tony Robbins seminars are finally starting to sink in.

Bob Casale played rhythm guitar and/or keyboards on every Devo record in the band’s history. He appeared on such monster hits as Whip It and That Other One, I Think They Used it in a Commercial or Something, You’d Know it if You Heard It. For my money, it’s just not a real all-ages dance party in my aunt’s basement until she cranks that one up.

The original members of Devo grew up in Akron, Ohio, and were inspired form a band after personally witnessing the Kent State massacre in 1970. “We came of age in the middle of a huge cultural war. This country was basically in the midst of a new civil war — the lines were drawn very clearly,” Bob Casale said in a 2012 interview with Under the Radar. “[We formed the band because] it was a more immediate way of self-expression that required less money and no outside permission. You try to make a film and you have to come up with the money, you need a big crew, you need to ask people for favors and get permission. If you have an idea for a song you can pretty much go into your basement with your band mates and do it.”

Devo’s name comes from a joke that band members Gerald Casale and Bob Lewis developed in art school, asserting that humanity is evolving backwards, or “devolving.” However, since the concept of evolution refers to any and all biological adaptation, and therefore has nothing to do with how intelligent a given species is, the term “devolution” is practically meaningless and borderline nonsensical. Ironically, in telling us how stupid we were becoming, Devo was actually building their image around an entirely accidental misunderstanding of a basic scientific premise. You could try to claim the band knew all this and was just being hyperaware, but I’m chalking it up to the kind of uninformed intellectual flailing that’s launched a thousand grammatically-mangled Facebook reposts. And that’s why, when someone with an art degree tells you that they “wanna open your eyes about some things going on in the world lately,” you just tell them to get back to painting your shed. The sun’s going down and you’re not dragging a lamp out there.

Source: Rolling Stone

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8.24.13: Broadway Star Julie Harris – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 5:55 pm August 29, 2013

Tarzan - Season 1Harris, on the set of Tarzan in 1966. Pfft. I don’t see what the big deal is; I could’ve played that role, if producers weren’t so close-minded about a Tarzan who keeps his shirt on the whole time.


Famed theater actress Julie Harris died over the weekend, although if you live in a town populated by 18th century fops you probably already knew about it and I’m just reopening wounds right now. Sorry about that, but in my defense, your town sounds awful.

Over the years, Harris’ portrayals of historical women led to her being celebrated as one of the most esteemed performers in the history of Broadway, even surpassing such household names as That One Guy Who Was Most Likely Gay and That Lady Who Died (You Know Who I’m Talking About, the Lady). Wow, wouldn’t it have been amazing to have seen all three of them together in something?!

Sometimes called the first lady of the American theater, she made her first Broadway appearance while she was still in college, and over the next half century-plus earned 10 Tony nominations, more than any other performer. The last was in 1997 for a revival of “The Gin Game,” D. L. Coburn’s mordant comedy about the contentious friendship between two isolated denizens of an old age home that emerges over a card table.

Harris was also an accomplished film star, appearing in films such as 1955’s East of Eden, where she had the honor of sucking serious face with superhunk/white cotton t-shirt aficionado James Dean. I hear, if you do it right, it gives you the power to see in six dimensions.


Source: The NY Times

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3.7.13: Yes Guitarist Peter Banks – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 5:21 pm March 18, 2013

Yes guitarist Peter BanksBanks, seen here punching a hole in the sun. You don’t see it much anymore, but back in the 70s *every* band used to physically assault celestial objects during performances. I guess music just had a lot more soul back then, you know?


So Peter Banks, founder and original guitarist for prog rock hippie archetypes Yes, is dead. In honor of Yes’ unique brand of toked-up sonic wankery, this post is gonna go on for 19 uninterrupted minutes and contain multiple allusions to dragons that breathe love instead of fire as an allegory for the military industrial complex, although most of you will probably get bored and hop over to Redtube before the halfway point. Philistines!

A statement from fellow Yes band members said: “We are deeply saddened to learn about the passing of fellow bandmate and founding Yes member, Peter Banks. He was a huge piece of the fabric that made Yes what it is, and our thoughts, sincere condolences and prayers are with him and his family. Peter, we shall miss you greatly.”

Between his work on the first two Yes albums, several ambitious follow-up bands and a solo career, Banks was considered “the architect of progressive music,” laying the groundwork for countless misguided bands to confuse interesting musical ideas with keytar solos that drag on longer than the final season of The Office. Oof. It must sting to watch an approach you pioneered turn into a parody of itself by overambitious devotees. No no, those extra 3 bass strings are totally gonna make that rock opera about Carl Sagan finally *click*. It must’ve been at least a little disheartening for Banks. That’s why my motto has always been “Aim Low,” and it’s served me well, as my windowless studio apartment can attest. You can read all about it in my new self-help book, Icarus Was a Dick: Misunderstanding Greek Myths in the 21st Century.

Source: Telegraph

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2.22.13: Songwriter Diane Lampert – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:55 am February 26, 2013

DIANE_LAMPERTLampert and Buster Keaton having a flat hat-off.


Everyone knows that writing your own song is for chumps. That shit is hard, and writing is super time-consuming. Hell, this post has taken me four hours so far and it doesn’t even rhyme. Besides, Paula Cole already wrote Where Have All the Cowboys Gone, so you’re looking at taking the silver in that game, tops. If you’re a successful musician it’s best to just let someone else take care of the songwriting so you can get back to doing bumps off the backs of your army of Thai ladyboys.

Unfortunately, songwriter Diane Charlotte Lampert is dead, meaning you’re one step closer to being forced to write your own damn music. Or you could just steal Walk the Dinosaur, nobody remembers that song anyway. Alternately you could go the Maroon 5 route and just steal lyrics from the diaries of 12-year old girls. Believe me, they can’t fight back for shit.

Diane Charlotte Lampert, an accomplished songwriter of the 1950s and 1960s who wrote lyrics to title songs for more than 20 movies, has died.

Lampert’s husband, Fred Stuart, said she died of heart failure Friday at a Manhattan hospital. She was 88.

Lampert worked on songs performed by Brenda Lee, Steve Lawrence, Red Foley, The Lettermen and others.

Of course, Spinner leads with a picture of The Beatles and their headline claims that Lampert wrote songs FOR them, despite the fact that she only co-wrote one song that The Beatles just happened to perform, years after Eddie Fontane had already released his version of it. Several other acts would record the song in the following decades, and The Beatles’ version would remain unheard until it was finally released on a live album in 1994, which is apparently a tenuous enough connection to frame a piece of writing around if you just squeeze hard enough. It’s a disingenuous trick that anyone who’s bought my novella, That Time I Think I Saw One of the Guys From U2 (Definitely Not Bono or the Edge, One of the Other Ones) at the Orange Julius, But I Can’t Be Sure Because I was Kind of in a Hurry and Didn’t Really Stop to Look, knows all too well. Seriously, he’s only in it for, like, half a page! You guys are suckers, man.


Source: Spinner

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2.1.13: Former New York Mayor Ed Koch – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 7:40 am February 4, 2013

ED_KOCHDid you know you can purchase your own grave before you die? It all but negates the need to fake your own death to secure a good spot, making my recent actions look kinda foolish. I should really call my mom and bring her up to speed about the whole thing one of these days.


Alright, well, Ed Koch is dead, but I’m gonna turn this over to the Times. So let’s all grit our teeth and try not to roll our eyes while they turn this into an insufferable stroke-job for New York.

Edward I. Koch, the master showman of City Hall, who parlayed shrewd political instincts and plenty of chutzpah into three tumultuous terms as mayor of New York with all the tenacity, zest and combativeness that personified his city of golden dreams, died Friday morning at age 88.

Liiiiittle more, please…

But out among the people or facing a news media circus in the Blue Room at City Hall, he was a feisty, slippery egoist who could not be pinned down by questioners and who could outtalk anybody in the authentic voice of New York: as opinionated as a Flatbush cabby, as loud as the scrums on 42nd Street, as pugnacious as a West Side reform Democrat mother.

Mmmmm yeah, that’s the stuff. New York City: Where even the obituaries are relentlessly self-important. I hear reporters at the Times are paid in airtight jars of their own farts.

Anyway, at several points in his career, Koch’s political opponents attempted to damage his reputation by spreading speculation that he might be gay, because apparently that’s a thing that matters somehow. I’m not really sure how that’s even a smear campaign, gay people probably make solid political leaders. They have such a great sense of community, always rehabbing shitty studio apartments and walking around holding hands with each other to make sure nobody gets lost. I guess that just means homosexuals tend to have a poor sense of direction, but that’s hardly a reason to keep them out of office. They’re not mayoring the Appalachian Trail, motherfuckers, vote ’em in.

Source: The New York Times

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11.9.12: The Delfonics’ Major Harris – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 7:15 pm November 14, 2012

Alright, fine: MAYBE he wore it better than me, but I just can’t abide such a dangerous amount of hat canting. Someone could get hurt!


Major Harris, who sang with the Delfonics in the early 70s before striking out on a solo career, died last week. Unfortunately, all I can think about now is how different my life would’ve turned out if my legal first name was Major. So authoritative! I would’ve even settled for Corporal. Man… right now I’d probably be riding across the desert plains with my laser rifle in the back seat and my Russian girlfriend/superspy/international supermodel at my side, fighting injustice in towns where the law has packed up and snuck out when no one was looking. We’d live and die by our wits and gusto, our days filled with the misty-eyed gratitude of simple local townsfolk, our nights with the kind of passionate lovemaking that would make Odysseus and Penelope look like a Four Loko-fueled Craigslist hookup in Atlantic City. Instead I’m stuck with this stupid blue-collar ‘James’ situation, and as a result my life is only, like, 85% of that. It’s fucking bullshit, man.


Source: The Huffington Post

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