This Day in Death

6.2.14: Alexander Shulgin, the ‘Godfather of Ecstasy’ – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 12:48 pm June 11, 2014

ALEXANDER_SHULGINJust spitballin’ here, but maybe it would take some of the stigma out of recreational drug use if your lab didn’t look like the set of Edward Scissorhands.


Medicinal chemist Alexander Shulgin, commonly known as the Godfather of Ecstasy (still my least favorite Godfather sequel, by the way), died last week. Mainstream news reports are saying it was due to his declining health over the past few years, but that’s probably just a conspiracy, if my buddy Sketchy Lou’s Facebook page about shapeshifting lizard people from outer space is on point. And it usually is!

Shulgin developed and synthesized hundreds of chemical compounds, but the drug that made him a household trailerpark name was MDMA, also known as Ecstasy, also known as E, also known as Molly, also known as X, also known as the Devil’s Dishrag. That last one is probably regional. The drug became commonplace in the rave community, and Shulgin’s death brings up a touchy subject: How do ravers grieve? I’m guessing they just turn into goths.

According to the psychedelic-research website Erowid, which broke the news of his death, Shulgin’s health had been on the decline since 2010, when he suffered a stroke.

In fairness, he’s only dead if you can’t see beyond the 3-dimensional constructs of our brains and realize that, divorced from the concept of “time,” we’re all joined together as a single tenth-dimensional creature, always both alive and dead, floating heedlessly through a universe where the length of a lifespan is of no more significance than a person’s height. At least, that’s how it seemed while I was dealing with a pretty scary Melatonin addiction a while back. Rollin’ on that Melly got me feeling slightly sleepier than I otherwise would’ve, yo.

The adverse effects of MDMA quickly ruled it out as a therapeutic tool, however, and instead the drug forged an intimate connection with dance music and modern rave culture. This reporter first learned about Shulgin while researching a 2013 story on MDMA and American electronic dance music. At that time, the drug was the subject of intense media scrutiny. Two college students had died at, or shortly after, the Electric Zoo music festival in New York City; the killer, several media outlets insisted, was a strange new drug called Molly (as MDMA came to be colloquially called in the U.S.).

America, you’re never gonna win the war on drugs when the drugs you’re fighting have awesome names like Ecstasy and Angel Dust and Matanuska Thunderfuck. What unsuccessful blogger wouldn’t wanna leave his woes behind and enter into a land called Ecstasy, a realm bumpin’ with nonstop house jams and raver chicks brandishing glow sticks like some kind of Psychedelic Knights Templar? You can’t go legit and expect to compete with that. It’s the reason the global pharmaceutical industry only manages to scrape together a paltry… $85 billion a year in profit?! Whoa. I bet if Sketchy Lou was pulling in that kind of scratch he probably wouldn’t still be dealing out of his ’95 LaBaron. Just when you think a guy’s got everything going for him, you know?

Source: Time



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2.3.14: Porn Star and Magazine Publisher Gloria Leonard – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 3:47 pm February 24, 2014

GLORIA_LEONARDI like my women like I like my Blues Traveler frontmen: with a staple right through the stomach.

Like moving to Canada if the candidate you don’t happen to agree with wins, sex is one of those things that everyone always talks about but nobody actually does. As every girlfriend I’ve ever had has made the painstaking effort to explain to me, it’s just one of those things people talk about to kill time at restaurants and airport bathrooms, nobody’s seriously going through with it. Nobody, that is, except those courageous stars of pornographic films. Every day, they’re suffering the humiliations of exposed back flab and poorly-executed fluid arc trajectories so that we don’t have to. They’re truly heroes among men, like firefighters who don’t pussy out by wearing a bunch of bulky clothes on the job. Not very sexy, Lieutenant.

Today, the world is short one more psychologically well-adjusted hero; porn star Gloria Leonard, who passed away recently after a stroke. I mean, like, a cerebrovascular accident, not… well, you know.

Leonard made her debut in 1974’s The Opening of Misty Beethoven, which must’ve been a prequel to those other movies because I didn’t see any St. Bernards in it anywhere. Charles Grodin was definitely there, though. I respect the continuity.

Ms. Leonard’s background in public relations, as well as her high profile on screen, led to her hiring as the publisher of the men’s magazine High Society in 1977, a job she held for more than a decade while continuing to appear in and direct films.

Already seasoned in a number of professions, Leonard didn’t appear in porn until she was well into her 30s. Continuing to appear in films into her mid-40s, she proved that vaginas don’t have expiration dates after all. So it’s never too late, lady who played Mona on Who’s the Boss?. Come on, this fanfic isn’t gonna make itself come true.

Source: The NY Times

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1.11.13: Ariel Sharon – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:32 pm January 15, 2014

ARIEL_SHARONGoat boa is fashion worth the risk of contracting foot-and-mouth disease for.


Unsuccessful prop comic Ariel Sharon died over the weekend after being in a coma for eight years following a stroke suffered in 2006. You’ve probably never seen his comedy routine, or even heard of him, such was the extent of his failure to break through into the mainstream. I blame his name. It just doesn’t scan as very funny, and as someone who’s sat through a lot of Kathy Griffin specials, I consider myself qualified to make that call. Hang on… Wait wait… Wait, let me doublecheck my notes… Okay… Alright. Upon closer reading it turns out Sharon was actually the former Prime Minister of Israel. Okay. Well, in that case I guess the name isn’t too odd after all, but I still maintain you’re not gonna pack the Guffaw Hut in Sioux City, Iowa with it.

Many in the Arab world called Sharon “the Butcher of Beirut” after he oversaw Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon while serving as defense minister.

He was a major figure in many defining events in the Middle East for decades, including his decision to turn over Gaza and parts of the West Bank to Palestinian control.

Sorry, I wanted to keep going here, but honestly after all these years this whole conflict “Israeli” starting to bore me. Ha! Now that’s how you structure a good joke, Sharon!


Source: CNN

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8.20.13: Author Elmore Leonard – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:20 am August 21, 2013

ELMORE_LEONARDLeonard’s Ten Rules of Writing, which is totally just a rip off of Thomas Pynchon’s Four Thousand and Seventy-Eight Rules of Writing. It took me months to read, and for some reason required my acquiring a working knowledge of both Spanish imperialism and the production of Benzethonium chloride, but I’m told it was totally worth it.


Elmore Leonard, author of Get Shorty, Be Cool, and probably a few books that didn’t indirectly lead to keeping John Travolta in Level 7 Thetan armor, died yesterday at the age of 87. On a positive note, Leonard’s death gives me the opportunity to prove that I have read books. The spine damage on this Anne of Green Gables paperback should put an end to all those rumors to the contrary. NOW LET’S GET LITERARY, MOTHERFUCKERS!!!

As described in a 2008 Washington Post profile, Mr. Leonard’s world is “populated by cops who aren’t exactly good, crooks who aren’t exactly bad, and women who have an eye for the in-between.”

What galvanizes this gallery of rogues and scoundrels, more often than not, is a scheme — a kidnapping, con job or robbery that will bring quick and easy money. As it turns out, the money is neither quick nor easy, and the schemes are doomed from the start, spinning down unexpected tangents and threatened at every turn by absurdity.

Pass. Those kinds of stories always get me so anxious, what with all their twists and turns and who knows what other kinds of geometric queasiness. That’s why I prefer books where the characters come up with a plan, it’s executed without any complications, and then the story ends early so we can all get a good night’s sleep. It’s kinda a niche without a lot of entries, so I’ve taken to just reading the first two chapters of a book and then skipping to the last ten pages. You save time and your nerves. I’ve also made my own edit of Cool Hand Luke, where Luke quickly learns to respect the prison system. In my version, most of the movie focuses on Luke communicating clearly with the prison bosses and making sure he doesn’t overeat before strenuous exercise. At the end he’s released after having served his full sentence. Once you take out all the card-playing and general cool-handedness it really becomes a film we can all learn from.


Source: The Washington Post


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7.5.13: Feminist Author Elaine Morgan – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 6:11 am July 15, 2013

ELAINE_MORGANUnless the Aquatic Ape has to fight Sharknado I’m out. It’s a very simple criteria that I use for all literature, thank you very much.


Noted author and feminist Elaine Morgan died on Friday, which is the perfect combination of words to use if you ever find yourself needing to somehow suck all the fun out of a kegger. It’s like a magical incantation with just the right ratio of haughtiness to existential sorrow.

Elaine Morgan’s long and varied life encompassed experience as an author, TV writer, lecturer and scientific rebel.

Scientific rebels can be easily identified because their cylinders never graduated. Ha! Chemistry puns! Who else is gonna give you that? Alright, fine, xkcd will. But I promise you that if I ever start putting stick figures on this site I’ll at least show some common courtesy to my readers by giving the female ones comically oversized breasts. It’s called respecting your audience.

Speaking of feminism:

In the 1970s Dr Morgan took on the scientific establishment with a new theory of human evolution.

Her book The Descent of Woman became an international bestseller, turning her into a feminist hero who toured the US three times.

She went on to devote her attention increasingly to the subject of human origins.

It’s starting to dawn on me how pissy Jezebel is gonna get if they see this post. We’ve had a rocky relationship ever since my article, “Putting a Dime on the Dollar: A Plea to Reassess Susan B. Anthony’s Doability in the Information Age,” was rejected for publication. Supposedly the inclusion of multiple drawings of busty stick figures didn’t sway any editors to my side. Well excuse me for trying to establish a consistent motif as a writer!

Source: BBC News

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4.8.13: Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher – DEAD!

Filed under: Uncategorized —James @ 4:12 am April 9, 2013

 MARGARET_THATCHERI once bought a sex toy called The Iron Lady. I don’t really wanna talk any more about that.


Former Prime Minister and Meryl Streep job-creator Margaret Thatcher has died this week at the age of 87. I know I should’ve reported on it earlier, but it took a while to translate those BBC reports from goofy British English to your standard SuperXXXtreme American English*. You can’t just throw a superfluous ‘u’ into a word without asking us first, Britain!

Thatcher was a divisive figure in the UK for her controversial stance on, I don’t know, crumpet taxes or something. She also played a key role in ending the Cold War:

Thatcher’s political instincts had wide-ranging effects, including her conclusion early on that Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev represented a clear shift in the Soviet tradition of autocratic rulers. She said the West could “do business” with him, a position that influenced U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s dealings with Gorbachev as the Soviet era declined.

Christ, the Cold War was boring. 50 years and we never even got a really solid cartoonish supervillain out of it. I wasn’t expecting a Hitler 2 or an Ivan the Terrible (the Remix), but at least throw us a bone with an Ivan the Total Dick or something. Even the Cola Wars had Ray Charles declaring a fatwa on thirst, that was pretty cool. Or put Gorbachev in a cryogenic suit, Mr. Freeze-style. Point is, I don’t care what the transcripts say: It was 10th grade American History that failed me.


*Brought to you by Geico

Source: CBC News

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9.1.12: Songwriter Hal David – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 11:08 am September 3, 2012

Before you ask: Fuck yes he did.

Songwriter Hal David died this weekend, and as usual I’ll be giving you my largely ignorant Cliff’s Notes about who he was because you’re not motivated enough to look it up yourself. And I respect that.

David’s gentle pop sensibilities were representative of an era when people preferred songs about where raindrops may be falling in re: one’s head, or whether or not there is always something there to remind you (there is). His greatest successes came as a result of the many hits he wrote for Dionne Warwick with fellow composer Burt Bacharach. David was, of course, the sexy one. Together the duo conquered the charts with “Walk on By,” “I Say a Little Prayer,” “Anyone Who Had a Heart” and oh so many other songs that undid all the hard work He-Man and the Masters of the Universe put into me.

 The sophistication of Mr. David and Mr. Bacharach’s songs was a ticket beyond the Top 40 for them. They often wrote for the movies, and four of their songs were nominated for Academy Awards: “What’s New, Pussycat?,” “Alfie,” “The Look of Love” and “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” the last of which brought them their only Oscar, in 1970.

David also scored a major hit with “What the World Needs Now is Love,” which contains a surprising amount of neo-Nazi propaganda. You have to read between the lines a little but once you notice it it’s in damn near every line. I would say he was overdoing it a bit, but then again I’m not a hit songwriter.

Source: New York Times

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7.16.12: Country Music Icon Kitty Wells – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:59 am July 18, 2012

Well, that’s a funny looking vacuum cleaner, baby.


Long before music went to hell and Gwen Stefani got away with murdering Adam Yauch, there were brassy dames like Kitty Wells. In the 1950s Wells became the first female country star following the success of her hit, “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels.”

Wells laid a template for female singers in country music that started a shift in traditional male-female roles in rural America with “Honky Tonk Angels,” a strikingly assertive response to Hank Thompson’s masive 1952 hit “The Wild Side of Life,”…

“And it was totally written by a dude,” added the Mayor of Irony.

Alright, that’s not fair. Writing and performing your own hits wasn’t common for anyone at the time, so the most a performer could hope to do was to use their voice (literally and metaphorically) to help make a song relatable, which Wells more than managed to do. That’s the real reason she became known as the “Queen of Country,” and despite the fact that my classmates gave me that same nickname after my 8th grade talent show performance of “Stand By Your Man,” I don’t even think they knew who Kitty Wells was. So, really, that just made THEM look stupid, not me.

The stern resolution Wells gave voice to would be echoed in subsequent recordings by Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and still ripples today in assertive songs by Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood.

It’s a legacy that you can still feel in the air every time Taylor Swift awkwardly swings her strangely angular shoulders into the studio to record another 12 songs about getting to kiss a boy. I think country music might actually be evolving backwards. By 2015 I expect most country songs to be about how women should learn to move less while sleeping so as not to disturb their husbands while they’re trying to focus on banging underage Korean prostitutes.

Source: LA Times

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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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6.4.12: Trololo Guy Eduard Khil – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:07 am June 6, 2012

No, he’s not the same as the Enzyte Guy. I can understand the confusion, since both have caused me to develop painful erections for sustained periods of time.


Like most of you, I get the bulk of my news from YouTube commenters. For instance, you know who I just found out is gay? Everyone. Also, the consensus seems to be that my mother can be easily convinced to dispense sexual favors to whomever requests them. It’s gonna be an awkward Thanksgiving, but I think not knowing was the worst part, you know?

But YouTube isn’t all about my mom’s total lack of a moral compass. It turns out they have videos up there now, too. And Eduard Khil, that cheerful fellow up there, racked up millions of views based on nothing but a wordless song, a commanding baritone, and a smile that claims legal residency in the Uncanny Valley. The whole package was positively Steve Harveyian in its ability to raise your spirits and make you momentarily forget about the constant din of Skrillex songs and parole officers that make life barely worth absent-mindedly trudging through until you inevitably hang yourself with a fanbelt in an Amaco bathroom. The preceding sentence also applies to heroin.

Eduard Khil, known to most Western audiences as Internet star “Mr. Trololo,” died early Monday in St. Petersburg after suffering a stroke in April. He was 77.

Khil, a baritone who was popular in the 1960s and ’70s in what was then the Soviet Union, received a number of awards during his career, including the People’s Artist of Russia honor, but it wasn’t until a 1976 TV performance surfaced online in late 2009 and hit big in early 2010 that he enjoyed international fame.

“The death of the exceptional singer, Eduard Khil, is an irretrievable loss to Russian culture,” Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Monday in a statement expressing his condolences. “He was truly a people’s artist. Several generations of people loved his songs not only in this country but also abroad.”

If you check out the source link they’ve actually got a recent picture of Khil, but seeing him outside of that gauzy, gaudy video we’ve all been watching for so long is just jarring to me. In my mind he’s so locked into that one very specific scenario that anything different brings on some extreme cognitive dissonance. It’s like when I saw that porno Mr. Rogers did. I mean, the production values were wonderful, I just wasn’t prepared. God, this post has been filthy.


Source: The Los Angeles Times

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