I am too old and tired to compile a Stiff List this year. So instead I’ll just link this cheesy Dead Celebrities list on CNN – even though it leaves-out some pretty prominent dead people.
After the repeal of the Clinton-era “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy you can now openly serve in the military even though you are not a heterosexual.
Now the bad news:
After the repeal of the Clinton-era “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy you can now openly die in the military even though you are not a heterosexual.
Just keeping things balanced….
It’s that time again: the annual round up of the famous, the infamous, the known and unknown, but mostly of the freshly dead: it’s the 2009 GraceLessLand Stiff List. There are some innovations this year. First, the list is divided into monthly sub-lists, and second we have instituted a “Grim Reaper Point Score System”, or GRPSS. The Reaper is assigned points based on degree of difficulty, terrorist affiliation, Frenchness, royalty, and many other arbitrary and less-than-sensical criteria. Also this is the longest annual Stiff List ever – not because more people died in 2009 than in other years, but because I discovered Wikipedia already keeps track of this stuff, so a huge thanks to them for reducing my job to pretty-much a cut-and-paste effort! Of course I have added some commentary here and there. Finally it should be noted that a new cause of death seems to be sweeping the list this year: “airstrike”.
Vic Chesnutt, 45, famous unknown musician, works now worth millions, of muscle relaxant overdose.
George Michael, 70, Sports journalist, broadcaster, and not the gay guy who wrote “I Want Your Sex”, of leukemia.
Mick Cocks, Austrailian musician famous for having the last name “Cocks”.
Yiannis Moralis, 93, Greek visual artist and unfortunately NOT Yanni.
Connie Hines, 78, played Wilbur’s wife on “Mister Ed”, where her only lines were “Dinner’s ready!” and “Oh, Wilbur, honestly!”, of heart failure.
Dan O’Bannon, 63, American screenwriter, director and actor. He wrote and starred in the cult clasic “Dark Star”, and also wrote the original story for “Alien”, and the scripts for films such as “Heavy Metal”, “Total Recall”, and “Blue Thunder”, of Crohn’s disease.
Roy E. Disney, 79, Walt’s much less talented nephew who nontheless inherited the Disney Empire, of stomach cancer.
Nur Akbar, 56, Afghan Al-Qaeda terrorist, airstrike (+5 bonus points for the Grim Reaper).
NOVEMBER (a particularly good month for royalty)
Prince Alexander of Belgium, 67, Belgian royal, pulmonary embolism (+1 royalty bonus).
Princess Farial of Egypt, 71, Egyptian royal, oldest child of King Farouk, stomach cancer (+1 royalty bonus).
Jacques Baratier, 91, French film director and screenwriter (+1 French bonus).
Francis French, 7th Baron de Freyne, 82, Irish aristocrat (+1 royalty, +2 IRISH royalty bonus).
Ken Ober, 52, American comedian and host of MTV’s “Remote Control”, probably of chronic has-beenitude.
Roy Butler, 83, American politician, first directly elected Mayor of Austin, Texas (1971–1975), complications from a fall. Prior to Butler the mayor of Austin was selected by penis size.
Carl Ballantine, 92, American actor and magician who played Gruber on “McHale’s Navy”, natural causes.
Princess Haya bint Abdulaziz, 80, Saudi royal, sister of King Abdullah (+1 royalty, +3 Saudi royalty).
Norton Buffalo, 58, American singer-songwriter, blues harmonica player (Steve Miller Band), lung cancer (-1 for the Grim Reaper for taking someone I liked and admired – Norton could put on a great show).
Claude Lévi-Strauss, 100, French anthropologist and author (+1 French, +1 French intellectual, -1 centenarian penalty).
Soupy Sales, 83, American comedian and television host, cancer.
Howard Unruh, 88, American spree killer (+3 spree killer bonus).
Joseph Wiseman, 91, Canadian actor who played “Dr. No” (+1 Evil Genius bonus).
Vic Mizzy, 93, American composer of “The Addams Family” and “Green Acres” theme songs, of terminal schmaltz.
Dickie Peterson, 63, American rock singer (Blue Cheer), liver cancer (-1 penalty for member of Blue Cheer).
Vyacheslav Ivankov, 69, Russian crime figure, gunshot wounds.
René Sommer, 58, Swiss co-inventor of the computer mouse (-2 penalty mouse co-inventor).
Fatima of Libya, 98, Queen of Libya (1951–1969), widow of King Idris I (+1 royalty bonus).
John Couey, 51, American murderer, killer of Jessica Lunsford (the inspiration for Jessica’s Law), anal cancer (+2 pedophile bonus, +5 imaginative agonizing death for pedophile).
Nick Strutt, 62, British country musician (-1 world’s only British Country musician).
Susan Atkins, 61, American murderer (‘Manson Family’ member), brain cancer (+1 Manson bonus).
Ertugrul Osman, 97, Turkish 43rd Head of the Imperial Ottoman Dynasty, lung and kidney failure (+1 Turk, +1 important Turk).
John Hart, 91, American actor (The Lone Ranger).
Alan Deyermond, 77, British hispanist (+1 hispanist bonus).
Arthur Ferrante, 88, American pianist (Ferrante & Teicher), natural causes (+2 muzak bonus).
Dick Hoover, 79, American professional bowler (+1 pro-bowler bonus).
Henry Gibson, 73, American actor (Laugh-In, Boston Legal), cancer.
Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, c.30, Kenyan terrorist, airstrike (+5 bonus points for the Grim Reaper).
Patrick Swayze, 57, American actor (Dirty Dancing, Ghost), pancreatic cancer.
Thabet bin Laden, 49, Saudi businessman and patriarch, brother of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden (+1 Saudi, +1 bin Laden relative).
Jim Carroll, 60, American author (The Basketball Diaries), poet and musician, heart attack (+1 bonus to Grim Reaper for waiting this long).
Maria Christina of Bourbon-Parma, 84, Spanish royal (House of Bourbon-Parma), daughter of Elias, Duke of Parma (+1 royalty bonus, +3 House of Bourbon).
Chanel, 21, American dachshund, world’s oldest dog, natural causes (-1 doggie penalty).
Ted Kennedy, 77, American politician, Senator from Massachusetts (1962–2009), brain cancer (+1 Kennedy bonus, +1 JFK’s brother bonus, +1 swimming bonus, -3 penalty because conservatives hated him so and they shouldn’t get such a break).
Joseph Corbett, Jr., 80, American murderer and kidnapper, suicide by gunshot (+1 murderer bonus, +1 kidnapper bonus, +1 relative justice bonus).
Robert Novak, 78, American conservative author and pundit, brain cancer (+1 pundit bonus, +1 balance bonus for same month as Ted Kennedy).
Paul Healion, 31, Irish cyclist, car crash (+1 irony bonus).
Les Paul, 94, American guitarist and inventor, complications from pneumonia (-3 global hipness reduction penalty).
Willy DeVille, 58, American singer–songwriter for “Mink DeVille” and Puerto Rican impersonator, pancreatic cancer (-1 penalty for Grim Reaper for bad form).
John Hughes, 59, American film director, screenwriter, and producer (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Breakfast Club), heart attack.
Anthony Impreveduto, 61, American corrupt politician, member of the New Jersey General Assembly (1987–2004), lymphoma (+1 bonus corrupt politician, -1 penalty because finding a corrupt politician in NJ is a bit too easy).
Budd Schulberg, 95, American screenwriter (On the Waterfront), television producer and novelist, natural causes.
Benson, c.25, British common carp, voted as Britain’s Favourite Carp (death announced on this date).
Princess Felicitas of Prussia, 75, German princess, great-granddaughter of Kaiser Wilhelm II (+1 royalty bonus, +1 relative of Wilhelm II bonus).
Sybil, British Downing Street cat, Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office (2007–2008), after short illness.
Gerald Gardner, 83, Irish-born American mathematician, evidence led to ban on sex-segregated classified advertising. leukemia (+1 obscure accomplishment bonus).
Gidget, 15, American chihuahua, Taco Bell mascot, stroke (+1 annoyance removal bonus for the Grim Reaper).
Walter Cronkite, 92, American television news anchor and father figure who was instrumental in turning Americans against the war in Vietnam, cerebrovascular disease.
Robert McNamara, 93, American business executive, Secretary of Defense (1961–1968), natural causes (+1 dipshit bonus).
Drake Levin, 62, American guitarist (Paul Revere & the Raiders), cancer.
John Barry, 84, American president and CEO of WD-40, pulmonary fibrosis probably caused by inhaling too much WD-40.
John Keel, 79, American ufologist and writer (The Mothman Prophecies), heart failure (+1 ufologist bonus).
Karl Malden, 97, American Academy Award winning actor (A Streetcar Named Desire), natural causes.
Mollie Sugden, 86, British actress (Are You Being Served?), natural causes.
Billy Mays, 50, American pitchman and television host (Pitchmen), hypertensive heart disease (+1 annoyance removal bonus).
Gale Storm, 87, American actress (My Little Margie, The Gale Storm Show).
Farrah Fawcett, 62, American actress (Charlie’s Angels), anal cancer (-1 adolescent fantasy figure penalty).
Michael Jackson, 50, American pop singer–songwriter, acute propofol intoxication (+1 Michael Jackson bonus, -1 Michael Jackson penalty).
Ed McMahon, 86, American television host (Star Search) and announcer (The Tonight Show) (+1 pitchman bonus, -1 cultural icon penalty).
Arthur Luft, 94, Manx politician and deemster (+1 deemster bonus).
IZ the Wiz, 50, American graffiti artist, heart attack (+1 graffiti artist bonus).
Bob Bogle, 75, American guitarist (The Ventures), non-Hodgkin lymphoma (-1 global hipness decrease penalty).
Bernard Barker, 92, Cuban-born American intelligence operative, Watergate burglar, lung cancer (+1 Watergate criminal bonus).
David Carradine, 72, American actor and film director, hanged self while masturbating (+3 embarrassment bonus, +1 dipshit bonus, -1 zen interest penalty).
Millvina Dean, 97, British woman, last living passenger aboard the Titanic, pneumonia (+1 elusive prey bonus for the Grim Reaper).
Danny La Rue, 81, Irish-born British female impersonator and singer, prostate cancer (+1 irony bonus).
Octavia St. Laurent, American transwoman and performer (+1 bonus for pretentious trans-gender name selection).
Dom DeLuise, 75, American actor and comedian (The Cannonball Run, The Secret of NIMH), writer and chef, kidney failure.
Maxime de la Falaise, 86, British model, socialite, fashion designer, cookbook writer and gastronome, natural causes (+1 over-achiever bonus).
Beatrice Arthur, 86, American Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress (Maude, The Golden Girls, Mame), cancer (-1 cultural icon penalty).
Alex Lees, 97, British planner of the Great Escape during World War II (+1 difficulty bonus for the Grim Reaper).
Ray Nance, 94, American World War II veteran, survivor of D-Day (+1 difficulty bonus for the Grim Reaper).
Patty Costello, 61, American ten-pin bowler, pancreatic cancer (+1 pro-bowler bonus).
Marilyn Chambers, 56, American pornographic film actress (Behind the Green Door), erotic dancer, and politician, heart disease (-1 adolescent fantasy figure penalty).
Colin Jordan, 85, British politician and Neo-Nazi activist (+1 politician bonus, +2 neo-Nazi bonus).
Henri Meschonnic, 76, French poet, linguist, translator and theoretician (+1 French bonus, +1 French intellectual bonus).
Dave Arneson, 61, American game designer, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, cancer (+2 overcoming saving-throw bonus, +3 Vorpal Blade).
Netherwood Hughes, 108, British fourth-to-last veteran of World War I (+1 difficulty bonus for the Grim Reaper).
Uriel Jones, 74, American drummer (The Funk Brothers), complications from heart attack. (-1 global funk decrease penalty).
Ezio Flagello, 78, American opera singer, heart failure (+1 opera bonus).
Natasha Richardson, 45, British actress, epidural hematoma (-1 unnecessary roughness penalty).
Nicholas Hughes, 47, American marine biologist, son of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, suicide by hanging (+1 family tradition bonus).
David Wood, 86, British Army officer, last surviving platoon commander of the Pegasus Bridge operation during World War II (+1 difficulty bonus).
Frederick Conyngham, 7th Marquess Conyngham, 84, Irish nobleman, cancer (+1 royalty bonus, +1 IRISH royalty bonus).
Paul Harvey, 90, American radio broadcaster (+1 pitchman bonus, -1 cultural icon penalty).
Philip José Farmer, 91, American writer (Riverworld).
Howard Menger, 87, American ufologist (+1 ufologist bonus).
Socks, 19, American Presidential cat of the Clinton family, euthanized so he couldn’t talk.
Snooks Eaglin, 73, American guitarist, heart attack (+1 Guy Named Snooks bonus).
Gyula Sáringer, 81, Hungarian agronomist (+1 agronomist bonus).
Alfred A. Knopf, Jr., 90, American publisher, son of Alfred A. Knopf, out of print.
Virgil Lee Griffin, 64, American Ku Klux Klan leader (+1 KKK bonus, +1 KKK leader bonus).
Herbert Hamrol, 106, American centenarian, one of the last survivors of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, pneumonia (+1 difficulty bonus).
John Updike, 76, American author (Rabbit Is Rich, The Witches of Eastwick), lung cancer.
Marguerite, Baroness de Reuter, 96, British aristocrat, last heir of the Reuters family, granddaughter-in-law of Paul Reuter (+1 royalty bonus).
Panapasa Balekana, 79, Fijian-born Solomon Island co-writer of the Solomon Islands national anthem.
Bob Doyle, 93, Irish activist, last surviving Irish member of the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War (+1 difficulty bonus).
Vivian Illing, 108, American centenarian, one of the last survivors of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake (+1 difficulty bonus).
Charles H. Schneer, 88, American film producer (Jason and the Argonauts), Alzheimer’s disease (+1 under budget bonus).
Raymond Parker, 89, British sprint canoer (+1 difficulty bonus, special aquatic capture category).
Andrew Wyeth, 91, American painter (Christina’s World), after short illness.
Ricardo Montalbán, 88, Mexican-born American actor (Fantasy Island, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan), heart failure (+2 Overcoming Wrath of Khan bonus).
Mikhail Donskoy, 61, Russian programmer, co-developer of the first world computer chess champion (Kaissa) (+1 strategy bonus).
Patrick McGoohan, 80, American-born Irish actor (The Prisoner, Braveheart), after short illness (-1 cultural icon penalty).
Rob Gauntlett, 21, British mountaineer, youngest Briton to climb Mount Everest, climbing accident (+1 appropriateness bonus).
Bill Stone, 108, British World War I veteran (+1 difficulty bonus).
Ray Dennis Steckler, 70, American film director (Rat Pfink a Boo Boo), cardiac arrest due to arteries clogged with schmaltz.
Bob Wilkins, 76, American television personality, horror film host, complications from Alzheimer’s disease (+1 Creature Feature bonus), -1 cultural icon penalty).
Ron Asheton, 60, American rock guitarist (The Stooges), heart attack (death announced on this date).
India, 18, American pet cat of President George W. Bush.
With the death of Gertrude Baines on Friday, Mary Josephine Ray is now officially the country’s oldest person at 114. Ms. Ray lives in New Hampshire and…oh, wait, this just in: Mary Josephine Ray has passed-away, just moments ago.
That means a 113-year-old man from Florida, Mr. Walter B. Smy- no, wait, word has just reached GraceLessLand that he, too, has just passed-on.
So, now 112-year-old Pru- no, damn, there she goes, too.
That leaves 111-year-old…ah, crap, forget it.
Former (as in “no longer”) Vice President Dick “Dick” Cheney said the Obama administration decision to investigate “enhanced interrogation techniques” is politically motivated. Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Cheney said the investigation is “a witch hunt, in which I am the witch which is being hunted, which is being disguised as an attempt to answer which is which: interrogation techniques which work vs. ones which don’t, which is a stupid question which should not be asked.”
Cheney, who should have shut-up six months ago as most former (as in “no longer”) Vice Presidents do after leaving office, is worried about his and former (as in “no longer”) Presdent George Bush’s political legacy. “Do we want a Bush administration that will be remembered for being perky, fiesty, spunky, and perhaps a little casual in the handling of firearms? Or do we want one remembered for how many high officials were convicted of war crimes – say like me, for instance?” the former ex-ex-Vice President asked.
Cheney appeared on the Fox program while in-between flights on his way to the annual meeting of “Chief Executives Who Won’t Shut-Up And Go Away Like They’re Supposed To”, or CEWWSUGALTST, an organization founded by former (as in “no longer”) President Jimmy Carter. This year’s featured speaker is former (you fill it in) President Bill Clinton, who will address the rather exclusive audience on the subject of “Getting The Old Rag-and-Bone Out Of The House: The Advantages Of Spouses Running For High Office”.
Senator Edward M. Kennedy died Tuesday; he was 77. He first served in the Senate in 1960 when appointed to fill his brother President John F. Kennedy’s seat, after the elder Kennedy was elected to the Presidency. Leader, statesman, legislator, and apparently a pretty good swimmer, “Teddy” was easily re-elected term after term until his death. His brothers John and Robert were both assassinated, while the oldest Kennedy brother, Joseph P. died in a plane crash during World War II. There were nine Kennedy siblings in all, most of whom died young as can be seen from this chart.
Ted Kennedy’s most lasting legacy may be that he lived to get old, as the plethora of dead siblings, neices, nephews, uncles, aunts, and cousins piled-up over his lifetime. Kennedy himself cheated the grim reaper numerous times by surviving plane crashes, automobile accidents, and avoiding being elected president. Others who rode-along with the lifelong Democrat weren’t so lucky: aide Edward Moss died in a 1964 plane crash, while campaign worker Mary Jo Kopechne drowned in a 1969 car accident. Kennedy served in Paris during the Korean War, where he was lucky to avoid various venereal diseases.
Kennedy made one run for the Democratic presidential candidacy in 1980, but dropped-out of the race due to the extreme probability of “health problems”. This was just one of a string of disappointments in his life, starting when he was kicked-out of Harvard for cheating on a Spanish test: “I was on the football team – I thought we were supposed to cheat” he may have said. Over the years he struggled with alcohol, drug, sex, and food addictions, as well as an unfortunate tendency to jowliness and a marked inability to drive safely at night.
….and not of being set on fire, living in pain, screwed-up plastic surgery, never having emotionally matured, living under the pressure of being the center-piece of a multi-million-dollar entertainment empire with literally hundreds if not thousands of people dependent on his talents, or of being abused by his father and used as a meal ticket by the rest of his family, or of self-doubt and self-loathing, or of trying to live up to the expectations of a jaded and shallow public, like we thought.