This Day in Death

6.17.14: Cadillac Ranch Patron/General Weirdo Stanley Marsh 3 – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 7:37 pm June 24, 2014

MARSHMarsh, in front of one of the cars in his famous Cadillac Ranch art installation. Sure, it’s missing tires and will most likely explode the second you turn the ignition, but it’s still safer than any of the flaming deathwagons that GM keeps rolling out. GM: Because Fuck It.

 

Insane rich guy, sort-of artist, and probable child molester (ooh, the Bryan Singer hat trick!) Stanley Marsh III has passed away due to pneumonia. Actually, that should be “Stanley Marsh 3,” as he’d had the “III” legally replaced with the Arabic numeral, insisting that Roman numerals were too pretentious. And the producers of The Fast & the Furious franchise slowly nodded their heads in respectful agreement before purchasing suits made out of pure cocaine.

He once turned a football-field-size swatch of ranch land into the likeness of a pool-table top: he had the prairie painted green and supplied giant billiard balls and a 100-foot cue stick. He had a colossal necktie tied around the chimney of his mother’s home. And he had dozens of fake traffic signs scattered around the city offering cryptic or lighthearted messages like “Road Does Not End,” “You Will Never Be the Same” and “Ostrich X-ing.”

When one such sign was stolen by a local teenager, Marsh hunted the thief down to his family’s property, locked him in a chicken coop, and proceeded to berate and threaten him. The incident brings up a mess of interesting questions about things like civil rights and trespassing laws, with the biggest one being what kind of teenager can’t escape the clutches of an out of shape 56-year-old man trying to stick you in a chicken coop? The kid even had home-turf advantage. I blame these video game consoles, making youths all soft and doughy. When I was that age I escaped from older men trying to trap me in all kinds of things, from overturned shopping carts to poorly-constructed bear snares to discarded refrigerators down at the dump. Life used to be a lot more fun.


Source: The NY Times

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6.15.14: “Flowers for Algernon” Author Daniel Keyes – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 6:17 pm June 19, 2014

DANIEL_KEYESTo put that number in perspective, J.K. Rowling once sold 4 million copies of a dirty limerick she scrawled onto a bar napkin. The film trilogy is currently being produced by Steven Soderbergh.

 

Daniel Keyes, best known as the author of perennial ‘Tim Allen becomes Paul Allen before going back to being Tim Allen’ novel Flowers for Algernon, has passed away do to complications related to pneumonia. For decades, Flowers for Algernon has been the book that countless 8th grade English teachers push on their students in the hopes of helping them discover who they really are, before giving up after realizing that what most of them really are are future 7-Eleven clerks and proto-arsonists.

The story was written as a series of first-person progress reports by Charlie Gordon, a 32-year-old bakery worker with an intellectual disability who is chosen for an experimental operation to increase his intelligence. A white mouse named Algernon had undergone the procedure and had become intelligent enough to solve mazes much faster than Charlie.

There’s no shame in not being able to finish one of those things. Who hasn’t gotten stuck overnight in the hedge maze at the Renn Faire, or a Long John Silver’s placemat? The key to survival is the same in both cases: Stay calm, leave a whole mess of breadcrumbs, and try to keep your crying to a respectable minimum.

The premise underlying Mr. Keyes’s best-known novel struck him while he waited for an elevated train to take him from Brooklyn to New York University in 1945.

“I thought: My education is driving a wedge between me and the people I love,” he wrote in his memoir, “Algernon, Charlie and I” (1999).

Paging Dr. Humblebrag! Dr. Humblebrag to the Egotorium, stat! Still, points for turning lemons into lemonade by using Flowers’ success as fuel for his next novel, Cockasaurus Rex and the Planet Full of Normals. It’s the harrowing story of a brilliant and well-endowed author who has to deal with being so handsome that regular people literally can’t look at him without blinding themselves. In the end, he’s forced to ease the pain the only way he knows how: by having wanton sex with untold scores of multi-ethnic supermodels. The point is that sometimes you just don’t understand how hard a person has it until you can see things from their perspective.



Source: NY Times

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4.29.14: Bob Hoskins – DEAD!

Filed under: Uncategorized —James @ 10:49 pm May 7, 2014

BOB_HOSKINSHey! Maybe you guys can use those hydraulic leg braces to help you leap into a better movie.


British actor/Denzel Washington co-conspirator Bob Hoskins is dead today, so let’s skim his IMDB profile for credits that your brows are low enough to recognize. (Sorry.)

To the Rockstar-soaked brains of today’s early thirtysomethings (sorry!), Hoskins is best known for playing Eddie Valiant in 1988′s Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the wildly innovative film that spawned countless other animation/live-action hybrid noir parody films, such as Cool World and… others.

Come on, you guys remember Cool World, right? Brad Pitt before he mattered, back when maybe you might’ve had a shot with him? Like, you’d just happen to see him in some dank bar, hair mussed and looking downtrodden, but his rugged, homegrown good looks still shining through like some sort of celestial aura tangled in the complexities of human existence. You quietly walk up to him, with a confidence you’ve never known before, born of an almost holy certainty that this, this, is the reason you’ve been put on Earth. You ask him, coolly, “what’s wrong, handsome?” He looks up, trying to mask a subtle doubletake as he wonders how he ever got this lucky. Sensing your inborn compassion, he explains his doubts about his career, about whether or not he’ll ever truly “break through.” You listen. You more than listen, you hear. And, what’s more… he knows. He knows how deeply you care, how profoundly you understand. You quickly rebuild his spirit, not with hollow niceties, but rather with a series of impeccably perceptive reassurances that Brad can’t help but be bolstered by. The two of you continue to talk for the better part of maybe an hour, purposely withholding the inevitable for just a little bit longer. Why hurry? Your connection is so cosmic, yet so primal, that you both know there’s no chance of this night ending any other way. Eventually the urge simply becomes too intense to fight any longer, and with a coy, “do you want to get out of here?” and a flagged taxi, Brad rips away the membrane separating the evening’s intimate conversation from the night of transcendent lovemaking to come. The next morning you slip out before Brad wakes up, lightly brushing his silken hair away from his eyes, knowing that nothing will ever be able to match this inconceivably perfect experience. There’s no sadness in your heart: you’re forever secure in the knowledge that you and only you are responsible for putting Brad back on the path that will eventually give us such classics as Seven, Inglourious Basterds, and Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas. Then, back at your underground lab, you use a stolen saliva sample to craft an army of superstrong Brad clones that expertly perform a barrage of daring bank heists that quickly raise the funds you’ll need for your orbital Evapo-Ray, which will hold the planet hostage under constant threat of the evaporation of every body of water on the planet. You know: Old-fashioned romance.

Annnnnd…. block quote:

Harlequin
Harlequin
Harlequin
Harlequin

He followed [Roger Rabbit] with performances in a variety of films, including 1991′s “Hook” in which he played Smee, the pirate assistant of Captain Hook; 1995′s “Nixon” as FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover; and 2001′s “Last Orders” as the gambler friend of protagonist Michael Caine, whose pals gather to spread his ashes after his death.

Hoskins also depicted video game mascot/half of the reason the Italian Anti-Defamation League exists Mario in the floptrocious disastrophe that was the Super Mario Bros. film. Hey, you can complain all you want, but pardon me if I don’t have a lot of sympathy because a movie based on a video game about a fat plumber who collects floating coins didn’t have the respectful gravitas you were expecting. I hear they’re getting Tolstoy’s ghost to iron out some kinks for the reboot.



Source: CNN

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4.17.14: Gabriel García Márquez – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:39 am May 1, 2014

 GABRIEL_GARCIA_MARQUEZIf you were planning to pick up Marquez’s short story Big Momma’s Funeral, please note that it is not, in fact, the basis for Martin Lawrence’s Big Momma’s House film franchise. Really, the only similarity between the two is the truly shocking amount of fart jokes. Clean it up already, Gabo!

 

Spanish-language author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, best known for his 1967 novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, has died. Despite earning praise so effusive that its literary import was compared to that of the Bible (which is, like, the Bible of Bibles), you may be surprised to find out that Solitude was in actuality awful until Oprah decided otherwise in 2004. By entering it into her book club, it became the novel that launched thousands of impressionable women from their indoor cat gazebos and through the doors of Borders locations throughout the country. Hmm… Odd that fans of a woman who’s made billions by exploiting the insecurities of her followers would be so into a book about loneliness. You always assume those ladies have it all.

He achieved fame for pioneering magical realism, a unique blending of the marvellous and the mundane in a way that made the extraordinary seem routine.

With his books, he brought Latin America’s charm and teaming contradictions to life in the minds of millions of people.

That all might be a bit heady for those of you who got degrees in employment-centric fields (sell-outs!), so allow me to boil all that down to a sort of unfair generalization stew: Magical realism is when you write yourself into a corner, decide “fuck it,” give a character a pair of angel wings or something, and say it’s a metaphor when called out about it. It’s the non-cartoon equivalent of how they got rid of Poochie.

If this post can bear any more academic analysis, I’d like to note how much I enjoy that Marquez wrote his novels exclusively in Spanish: All those extra squiggly lines just make everything look so festive, like each sentence is having its own little party right there on the page. Or ‘fiesta,’ if you will. Okay, well… that’s probably enough insight for my book circle, time to catch up on Total Divas. Later, all you basic bitches!

 

Source: BBC

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3.5.14: Game Show Host Geoff Edwards – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 10:42 pm April 11, 2014

GEOFF_EDWARDS“Hey, you guys saw Seven, right? Oh. Well, you probably don’t wanna look in 29, then.”

 

According to a sentence I need to start this paragraph, being on a game show is a lot like life: There’s way too much standing around, just about all the detail you’d ever want to know about the person next to you can be summed up with three fun facts, and how much skill a person has at it is directly proportional to how skeptical and/or spiteful we are towards them. Also, sometimes there are a bunch of marines there for some reason.

That completely legitimate analogy brings us to the news that Geoff Edwards, best know as the host of the game shows Jackpot! and Treasure Hunt, has died. On a positive note, if we play this just right, it might mean we’re gonna walk out of this post with a Wink Martindale blurb in our pocket. NO WHAMMY, BLOCK QUOTE!

“Geoff was one of the cleverest, funniest radio and television personalities I’ve worked with,” said fellow game show host Wink Martindale. The two were DJs at pop radio station KMPC in Los Angeles.

Oh yeah, there it is. Seriously, if you don’t care what a guy named Wink has to say, then you and I are traveling on two roads that are simply never gonna intersect. We get a real-life Guy Smiley in here and you people don’t even know how to appreciate it. That’s why Drew Carey ended up hosting Price, you know.

 

 

Source: ABC News

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10.25.13: ‘Simpsons’ Voice Actor Marcia Wallace – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:08 am November 1, 2013

MARCIA_WALLACESo this is how my childhood begins to die. Huh. I always figured there’d be an Eve 6 ballad playing in the background or something.

 

Sassy television actor Marcia Wallace passed away last week due to complications related to pneumonia. Wallace starred in The Bob Newhart Show and The Merv Griffin Show, but those of us who aren’t thousand-year-old mummymen know Wallace best as the voice of delightfully slutty Springfield Elementary teacher Edna Krabapple on The Simpsons. Wallace is the show’s first regular voice actor to pass, making it all the harder for me to continue denying the inevitability of a bleak, Hans Moleman-less future. Goddammit, that football hit him right in the groin! I swear, if God takes that away from us I’ll have no choice but to continue coming up with excuses not to go to church.

She had numerous TV appearances, and is remembered by “Brady Bunch” fans as the saleswoman who sold middle sister Jan a black wig in an infamous episode about accepting who you are. Other shows on her resume include “Charles in Charge,” “ALF,” “A Different World,” “Magnum, P.I.” and “The Young & The Restless.”

Oof. Alright, maybe the prescription in my nostalgia specs needs to be updated, but I’m just gonna say it: Those shows were weapons-grade terrible. Most of the writing is so lazy it makes this stupid blog look like Steinbeck in comparison (for which I’m grateful, actually). Seriously, in Charles in Charge they just went ahead and named the main character’s best friend “Buddy.” ALF was like someone detonated a box of gimmicks on a television set, and The Brady Bunch was clearly a coded message promoting incest, which I just don’t feel is appropriate at all. The final straw was A Different World, which, despite its title, appeared to be set entirely on Earth. I assume it’s only because they ran out of money to build the sets, but that’s still pretty misleading.


Source: NBC News

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6.3.13: New Jersey Senator Frank Launtenberg – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 3:18 pm June 5, 2013

 FRANK_LAUTENBERGIt’s posts like this that make me regret committing to this whole ‘funny caption’ thing. Seriously, what the hell am I supposed to do with this? I may as well have been looking up pictures of actual white bread.



Frank Launtenberg, senator from New Jersey (the only state where you can major in Body Odor), died on Monday of viral pneumonia. No word yet on what will happen to Launtenberg’s proposed “Alla Them Stukachs in Newark Should Get Beat the Fuck Down in a Fuckin Hurry” bill. I’m really not sure that was even within his jurisdiction, but the legislative process will sort it out, I guess.

Let’s see what those jamooks over at The New York Slimes have to say about this.

[Lautenberg] pushed through a provision to establish a national drinking age of 21, a measure that threatened to cut 10 percent of a state’s federal highway money if it did not comply. He argued that the change would save lives by ending “a crazy quilt of drinking ages in neighboring states” and prevent those under 21 from driving over “blood borders” to get drunk and then try to drive home.

And yet Lautenberg sat on his hands when it came to kids crossing borders to attempt the infamous Michigan Bottle Deposit Scam. Godammit, the Great Lakes State could be hemorrhaging untold dimes in revenue even as we speak! I should watch, like, a lot less tv.

 

Source: The New York Times

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1.7.13: Fred Turner, Former McDonald’s CEO, Founder of Hamburger University – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 10:38 am January 23, 2013

image

See? You legalize gay marriage and all of a sudden clown mascots are marrying CEOs of multinational corporations. Next thing you know anything goes and an alpaca is getting hitched to an issue of Highlights for Children.

 

Former McDonald’s CEO Fred Turner is dead today at the age of 80. Turner is the third McDonald’s CEO to die in the last decade; Jim Cantalupo died of a heart attack in 2004 and was replaced by Chris Bell. Bell, who ate the company’s food regularly, died of colon cancer the next year, with his diet potentially at fault. Unlike the others, and luckily for McDonald’s PR department, Turner dying of pneumonia would be hard to pin to their product’s questionable nutritional value. Well, unless you count their controversial Southwestern Streptococcus Chicken Salad. That thing is infectiously delicious.

Turner was actually one of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc’s earliest employees, starting at the counter and working his way up to become CEO in 1974. It’s an inspiring life story, proof that even you, with enough hard work, can get out of your dead-end minimum wage hellscape of a job and become one of the most success entrepreneurs in the country. I mean, not you personally, as you lack basic ambition and critical thinking skills. What company is looking for someone who can beat The Beatles: Rock Band on expert, or come up with exciting new things to make bongs out of? Honestly, the odds are just astronomically against you. It’s simple social Darwinism, really. If anything you should count yourself lucky you’ve lived this long without choking on a shoelace or something.

In the early days of the company, Mr. Turner could often be found working alongside employees in the restaurants, teaching new hires the McDonald’s approach to preparing and serving fast food. Only two years after his arrival, Mr. Turner wrote the first “operations and training manual,” which is still the blueprint for McDonald’s restaurant operations.

That’s right; McDonald’s has left the same manual sitting in the back room for over 50 years, which is also how they make a jar of Special Sauce. I hear the secret ingredient is sun-dried Grimace bits.

In 1961, Mr. Turner led the effort to create McDonald’s Hamburger University, where employees, managers and franchisees are trained.

Ah, good old Hamburger University! The only school where you can major in myocardial infarctions. You know, they say failure to gain tenure there is what turned the Hamburglar to a life of crime, but I think the deck was already kinda stacked against him with that name. At any rate, it was just another in a long line of savvy business decisions from the company that hired Jason Alexander in a Miami Vice blazer to sell you on the concept that McDonald’s employees shouldn’t have to bother assembling your sandwich for you. No wonder the HU Coronaries never make it to the Super Bowl.

 

Source: The Chicago Sun-Times

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12.27.12: General “Stormin’ Norman” Schwarzkopf – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 6:33 pm January 1, 2013

NORMAN_SCHWARZKOPFGrenadian resistance forces were stunned when, during the US’s 1983 invasion, Gen. Schwarzkopf successfully managed to discharge several live rounds from his finger gun. No, I made that up. It’s just silly.

 

Retired military general and Chris Farley job creator “Stormin’ Norman” Schwarzkopf died last week, due to complications related to pneumonia. A key figure of the Persian Gulf War in the early 90s, Schwarzkopf found himself in the public eye as the first military figure to be part of the then-emerging 24-hour news cycle. And by “news cycle,” I of course mean 2 hours of actual reporting, 4 hours of getting screamed at by an ideological zealot, 4 hours of getting passive-aggressively screamed at by the other kind of ideological zealot, 6 hours dedicated to finding out which celeb might be sporting a baby bump, and 8 hours of a live feed from that channel that just shows aquariums.

Virtually unknown to the public before the Persian Gulf War, Schwarzkopf became a household name while he oversaw the buildup of 700,000 coalition troops, including more than 540,000 U.S. forces, after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.

The war began on January 17, 1991, with the start of the nearly six-week air campaign against Iraq that was followed by a 100-hour ground offensive that pushed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait.

Schwarzkopf also challenged the notion of the violence-obsessed military leader, saying to Larry King in 1992 “I never wanted a war” and “absolutely, I hate war.” Convincing Americans of that must’ve been a bit of a tough hurdle, considering how deeply ingrained that stereotype had been in people’s minds. Plus, you know, he had “war” right there in his last name. That’s why I had to change my last name from Von Sexjaguar. My mom still hasn’t forgiven me for that but I’m sick of being pigeonholed.

Source: CNN

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11.28.12: Motivational Speaker Zig Ziglar – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 4:54 pm November 29, 2012

Did you know that ZZ Top’s name is actually Billy Gibbons’ tribute to Zig Ziglar and his landmark motivational guide Over the Top? As always, please do not look up anything I write here.

 

Zig Ziglar, the man responsible for keeping Dweezil Zappa from being the last entry in my personal list of celebrities with disproportionally silly names, is dead today after suffering from a bout of pneumonia. Ziglar spent decades preaching the power of positive thinking in books like Over the Top, which actually has next to nothing to do with arm wrestling so don’t even waste your money. Learning effective time-management techniques isn’t gonna untear this tendon, Ziglar.

The Crayon-eaters over at USA Today managed to tap out the following before, presumably, spending the afternoon working on a half-page pie chart about iPhones:

Prestonwood Baptist Church Pastor Jack Graham, Ziglar’s friend and pastor, said Ziglar “truly was filled with faith.”

“He was positive. He was hopeful. You just never heard negativity from Zig Ziglar,” Graham said. “It wasn’t just something he did on a platform. This was who he was. This is how he lived his life. And he helped so many people.”

You know, we get a lot of cheap laughs out of cynicism around here, but it’s honestly hard not to feel a little inspired by Ziglar’s work/the money he made. That’s why I’ve finally penned the revealing book on personal accountability that you guys have been begging me to write for years. Here’s the cover, so that you know what you’re looking for while browsing Amazon or the smoldering ditch that used to be your local Borders.

 

 

I know what you’re thinking, and I agree, but my publisher said they had to Photoshop that towel onto me for legal reasons. It’s goddamn bullshit if you ask me; Kids gotta learn about this stuff eventually. On the plus side, I managed to trim it down to a lean 800 pages by removing all that deadwood about hanging out with the Dalai Lama. We need excitement if we’re gonna move paper in 2012, hippy!

 

Source: USA Today

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