Well, it’s April 4, 2009, which means the 2008 JG2Land Death Pool Of Death is officially, totally, and completely over. The winner, with a hefty 65 points, is LeMar M. Congrats, LeMar. You win either lunch on me at a reasonably priced restaurant or a copy of Strange Brew on VHS (retail price: $35 in 1983). Choose wisely!
Let’s look at the final standings:
LeMar M. – 65
Nathan C. – 16
John P. – 13
Me – 8
Andy C. – 0
No question, LeMar dominated this game by correctly predicting three big point-earning ’08 deaths – Paul Newman, George Carlin, and Eartha Kitt. The rest of us just got lucky with one expiration apiece (Nathan had Chuck Heston, John scored with James Whitmore, and I got in there thanks to Van Johnson). I think Andy’s skew towards irreverence (read: Wink Martindale, Peter Mayhew) cost him, but I will give him eternal credit for entering Dakota Fanning’s name into regular play. See who everybody had in this post.
I hope everybody had fun with this year’s death pool. Stay tuned for JG2Land Death Pool 2009 Part III: 2 Fast, 2 Furious, 2 Legit To Quit. It’ll make the 2008 death pool look like a game of table tennis!
Socks Clinton, the black and white American Shorthair who occupied the White House during the most skirt-chasin’-est Administration since that of Calvin Coolidge, died yesterday after a prolonged battle with throat cancer. He was 19 in human years.
Socks was by all accounts a good kitty. He always ate his num nums and never went poo poo on the rug. Buddy, the late chocolate lab Bill Clinton adopted in 1997 in a futile attempt to distract the nation from the amount of sloppy blowjobs he was getting in the Oval Office, once remarked about Socks, “Despite his stereotypical asshole cat behavior, I can’t help but like the son of a bitch”
The ultimate testament to the ubiquitous popularity of Socks Clinton is the fact he starred in his own video game, 1993′s completed-but-never-released Socks The Cat Rocks The Hill for Super Nintendo. To anyone’s knowledge, this is the only instance of a White House pet appearing in its own 16 bit side scroller (although it should be noted Amy Carter’s cat, Misty Malarky Ying Yang, did have her own psychic friends network in the late ’80s).
After leaving the White House in 2001, Socks lived a quiet and peaceful existence with former Clinton secretary Bettie Curie and her husband in Hollywood, Maryland. Friends close to the cat say he often spoke of mounting a comeback, but would generally be distracted by a piece of yarn or flashlight beam before any serious planning could be done.
Upon learning of his furry friend’s demise, Bill Clinton joked, “I can’t wait to be reunited with Socks the next time I order sesame chicken at Mr. Fung’s Choy Palace.” The former president then slapped his knee and laughed uproariously for ten to fifteen minutes.
No one had Socks Clinton in the death pool. That’s because he was a fucking cat.
James Whitmore, the character actor best known for playing lovable old codger Brooks Hatlen in the 1994 prison epic The Shawshank Redemption, died yesterday at the tender age of 87. Lung cancer laid the smack down on this fixture of early television’s sweet, wonderful ass.
Not many people can count both “Chevron Hall Of Stars” and “CSI” among their credits. Respect to you, James Whitmore. I’m sorry I kept confusing you with Richard Widmark for all those years. Hopefully you won’t begrudge me for that in the afterlife.
John P. had Jimmy Whit in the 2008 JG2Land Death Pool Of Death, delivering him a big-ass thirteen points. That brings the current tally to:
LeMar M. – 65
Nathan C. – 16
John P. – 13
Me – 8
Andy C. – 0
Only two months left. Will anyone be able to topple LeMar and his sickening lead? Maybe, if tragedy befalls Jared Leto or Dakota Fanning. Stay tuned, fans of the macabre!
Lux Interior, the rail-thin psychobilly superstar who helped redefine underground rock with his legendary band the Cramps, died yesterday at the believable age of 62. A pre-existing heart condition brought down the man responsible for yelping out such sleaze-tastic Carter-era classics as “Human Fly” and “I Was A Teenage Werewolf.”
This is one of those deaths that catches you off guard at first, but then you sit back and realize, “Yeah, that person hadn’t really been on the scene as of late.” The most recent Cramps album was 2003′s Fiends Of Dope Island. Since then, it’s been kind of easy to forget they ever existed. Psychobilly is such a compartmentalized genre that even its Beatles are way off in some dark corner, collecting dust and waiting patiently for the next short burst of attention.
Of course, this is about the worst way anyone could be reminded of the Cramps’ greatness. Although I never went whole hog on Lux and the gang, I did cherish one of their records a great deal during my formative years – 1994′s Flamejob. To deny the power of “The Ultra Twist” is to deny the power of God himself:
It should be noted that even during this relatively healthy period, people were cracking jokes about Lux Interior’s corpse-like appearance. I believe Beavis & Butt-head likened the punk icon in this video to HBO’s Cryptkeeper. Harsh, but not entirely untrue.
So here’s my personal Lux Interior story: one time a friend of mine was hanging out at Downtown Disney, the kiddie conglomerate’s adult-oriented shopping area on the outskirts of Orlando, FL, when he spotted Lux Interior walking around with lifemate/Cramps guitarist Poison Ivy. This encounter was notable because Lux was wearing a very loud sun dress and one of those big floppy gardening hats you see old people rocking all the time. I can’t remember if they had any kind of interaction, but suffice to say we both thought it was pretty cool and funny that this rock legend was dressed like a typical elderly female tourist.
Rest in grease, Lux. No one had you in the death pool, you rascally Purkhiser, you.
My Twenties, the period of my life best remembered for hosting such impressive accomplishments as finishing college and appearing as an extra in an Amanda Bynes movie, died yesterday when I turned Thirty. It was a slow, painful, agonizing death marked by pockets of extreme regret and pointed shame (I still can’t believe I went to that They Might Be Giants concert—what was I thinking?).
Already, the world seems different. I went to the grocery store this morning where I noticed Pepsi has a brand new super-futuristic logo. It almost looks like a feminine hygiene product now. The brand of orange juice I buy suddenly features a small, bulbous plastic orange as its cap. What the hell is that about? Most confusing of all, everyone else in the store was wearing clothes. Jesus H. When did Brooklyn go puritan? When I move to a nudist colony, I expect it to stay nude for at least five to ten years.
I shall not let this startling trip to Food Dimensions (yes, that’s the actual name of the grocery store in my neighborhood) bring me too far down, though. In this age of Obama, I must remain optimistic. Thirtysomething will be a grand time. You know what they say—thirty is the new twenty. I guess that means I can look forward to backpacking across Europe, falling into massive credit card debt, and growing apart from the people who helped shape and enrich my youth.
Fuckin’ a, dude! Bring thirty on. I’m ready for it. I can smell what Three Oh is cookin’. Smells like gumbo (gumbo is the stuff that smells like old tires and fear, isn’t it?).
P.S. – No one had my twenties in the death pool.
Eartha Kitt, the sultry southern minx who famously sang the 1954 rich girl rant “Santa Baby” and who later used her irresistible feline inclinations to great acclaim as TV’s Catwoman, died yesterday at the saucy age of 81. Colon cancer was the sassy, sexy culprit.
What can you say about ol’ Eartha? She was a fierce lil’ lady who seemed like she’d be a lot of fun to go out on the town with. Always fun to listen to. She definitely made the best Catwoman (despite her lack of height). She was in Ernest Scared Stupid, which doesn’t really mean anything. I just wanted to mention it.
LeMar had Eartha K. in the Official 2008 JG2Land Death Pool & 401(k) Program, bringing his total score to 65. Goddamn, LeMar, when it comes to predicting high-scoring celebrity deaths, you are excellent. Score recap:
LeMar M. – 65
Nathan C. – 16
Me – 8
Everybody Else – 0
Rest in peace, Eartha. You were my favorite singer whose name closely resembled the name of our planet.
I did not see the latest Muppet special that aired this week, “A Muppet Christmas: Letters To Santa,” but I heard it was a pile of ass. Not surprising. The previous Muppet Xmas outing wasn’t all that hot, either—2002′s “It’s A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie.” You know you’re in trouble when the best you can offer is an over-the-shoulder Yoda cameo.
The Muppets have been in something of a free-fall for the past decade, failing to give us anything all that inspired or magical beyond 1999′s semi-ok Muppets From Space. I, of course, blame Disney, who acquired our favorite felt outfit in 2004. The Mouse isn’t exactly known for quality outside the parameters of its theme parks or star-studded CG vehicles. Why should they direct any of their energy or dollars into a franchise that’s at best a hazy seventies Gen X memory? They shouldn’t, I guess, since the current gen is way more into human Pinocchio-types that sing and play guitars.
The sad fact is the Muppets’ best years are behind them. They had a great run, but maybe it’s time to stop trying to squeeze out whatever tasty green frog juice is left in Kermit’s dry little frog body. It’s like any great band or movie franchise—you want to see them get out of the game with some dignity. Shit, I don’t want to hear anyone but Jim Henson voice Rowlf. That shit, as “Family Guy” deftly observed, is just wrong.
I would be just fine if Disney just cut their Muppet losses now and relied on pimping the classics (DVDs of “The Muppet Show” and the theatrical Muppet movies, whatever they can do with “Muppet Babies,” that fantastic exhibit they have at their movie studio park known as “Muppetvision 3-D,” etc). I don’t want to wake up this time next year to see Fozzie and Gonzo farting around some half-assed Twilight parody or playing a rival band in the next Jonas Brothers movie.
Van Johnson, the blond heartthrob who set 1940s female undergarments afire with turns in some of the biggest movies of that decade, died today at the age of 92. The Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo and Brigadoon star passed away after a serious bout with old age at an assisted living facility in Nyack, NY.
I was convinced this day would never come, but here we are. Van Johnson is dead, and I’m finally in the death pool with a big eight points. I’m shocked.
Johnson played opposite some true motion picture greats in his day—Humphrey Bogart, Spencer Tracy, and Clark Gable, just to name a few. Yet Hollywood immortality escaped the Van Man, whose extensive filmography includes the following Troy McClure-like entries:
Too Many Girls
Two Girls and a Sailor
Three Guys Named Mike
Divorce American Style
Murder in an Etruscan Cemetery
The first person to correctly guess which one of these movies features Van’s final acting performance (and Heath Ledger’s first!) wins a hard slap across the face from yours truly.
Van Johnson chose an unfortunate time to expire—one day after ’50s sex icon Bettie Page, Unless something crazy comes out in the next few hours (i.e. Van killed the Black Dahlia, Van was the second gunman, Van left everything to Britney Spears, etc), this news will fade away like so many of his biggest features. Damn the injustice of it all. VJ had talent, fer chrissake! He had it coming out every pore. He deserves not to be forgotten.
On the other hand, Bettie Page was fucking hot as shit. I mean, come on, look at this shit:
Recapping the official 2008 JG2Land Sleazetastic Death Pool-O-Rama scores:
LeMar M. – 46
Nathan C. – 16
Me – 8
Everybody Else – 0
Here’s to you, Van. Maybe I’ll dye my hair blond tomorrow and pretend I’m not gay when I really am in your honor.
RickRolling, the popular Internet-based phenomenon that involved tricking people into viewing the video for Rick Astley’s 1987 hit “Never Gonna Give You Up,” died a violent death last Thursday somewhere between 77th St and Herald Square in New York City. The horrific event was caught on tape by NBC cameramen, who were filming the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. RickRolling was approximately one year old.
Originally some bullshit weirdos on the Internet did to amuse each other, the practice of RickRolling began to bleed over into real life late last year. Astley’s hit inexplicably invaded college basketball games, Scientology protests, NPR, and various American television programs. Occasionally, these instances were punctuated by a Rick Astley imitator draped in traditional Astley garb (trench coat, black turtleneck). Astley himself was amused by the joke and initially decided he didn’t want to capitalize on the trend, preferring to let the jokers have their fun.
That changed Thursday morning, when Astley burst out of a parade float in midtown Manhattan and started lip-synching “Never Gonna Give You Up” to a crowd of stunned Turkey Day onlookers. Although the singer was interrupting a performance of “Best Friend” by the cast of “Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends,” any element of surprise was ruined for home audiences by NBC emcee Matt Lauer, who warned viewers beforehand about “a special musical surprise.” Astley was also mentioned in the Parade’s opening credits.
With an awkward entrance and a pained look on his face, Rick Astley effectively murdered the phenomenon that bore his name in under one minute. RickRolling officially expired when some gross-looking puppet gleefully announced, “I love RickRolling!” right after “Never Gonna Give You Up” faded out. Ten minutes later, my mother called and asked if I’d ever heard of “RickyRolling.”
Reaction to the RickRoll’s death has been mixed.
“…[T]o Rickroll the Macy’s parade is a pretty inspired burial,” commented Flashman on AVClub.com.
“I was in my room watching YouTube when I hear coming outta a TV in a bedroom beside my room the ‘Rickrolling,’” said an obviously shell-shocked Roy999888 on Youtube.com. “I came over and as soon as I saw Rick I was like, ‘OMGWTFBBQHAXZORSLOL!’”
“I’m down with the Turkey Day RickRoll,” President-Elect Obama said early Monday morning while lifting weights on a hovercraft in a Shazam costume.
According to the RickRoll Wiki, at least 18 million adults in this country alone have been Rickrolled.
No one had RickRolling in the death pool.
“MADtv,” the televised sketch comedy extension of Mad Magazine that failed to become a cultural touchstone for any given demographic in this country and was rarely worth more than one or two chuckles, has been canceled after fourteen seasons by host network FOX. The final episode will air sometime next year.
I remember it was a pretty big deal when “MADtv” debuted back in 1995. It was the first comedy show to go head-to-head with “Saturday Night Live” since the late seventies, I think. “SNL” was in a pretty bad way that year and it seemed completely possible the creaky old NBC warhorse could be dethroned by whatever Mad had to offer. I have to admit I was a little worried. Then “MADtv” aired and the stench was fouler than pigeon taint. America weighed their options and collectively said, “You know what? That Will Ferrell guy is funnier than this. Let’s stick with ‘SNL.’”
“MADtv” hung in there, though, just barely retaining its status as Royal Crown to “SNL’s” Coke. How they did it with such consistently weak and obvious writing I’ll never know. I think it’s very telling that the biggest star in the show’s history, Artie Lange, broke out only because his pal (and “SNL” alum) Norm MacDonald mentioned Lange’s epic cocaine addiction on “The Howard Stern Show.” As someone famous once said about Johnny Thunders, you’re supposed to get famous and then become a junkie. Of course [pick your own joke here],
A) if Artie had stayed on “MADtv,” fame would have never entered into the equation.
B) I’d probably be hitting the nose candy pretty hard myself if I was trapped on my generation’s equivalent of “Friday’s.”
I’m knocking “MADtv” pretty hard here, but the truth is some very talented people passed through its ranks over the years. I’m talking about folks like Orlando Jones (hilarious in Evolution), David Herman (hilarious in Office Space), Nicole Sullivan (cute and funny on “King Of Queens”), and Jeff Richards (his Letterman impression = orgasm). Fun people, but I defy you to think of a single friggin’ skit any of these jokers appeared in during their tenure on “MADtv.” No, none of them were Ms. Swan. Sorry, you fail, which actually means “MADtv” fails. Fourteen seasons of the weakest sauce ever.
No one had “MADtv” in the death pool, but I assure you everyone playing wanted it to die.
Prediction: FOX will fill the gap in their Saturday night schedule now with “Bones” reruns.