Tag archive for "Dead Person of the Day"

National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day – April 18 – Edgar Codd

No Comments 18 April 2013

Folks,

Today’s DPD is a wonderfully brilliant and underrated figure in the history of just about everything over the past 60+ years.

Edgar Codd.

While working at IBM in the 50s and 60s he developed the theory for what is called relational databases. That might not mean very much for the stiffs down the hall at The Shade but relational databases empowers those perverts to search for such things as ‘people with their pants down looking stupid’ and get a spot on hit.

You see prior to Codd’s invention the internet looking like Zoroaster puked data in one big bucket. It was tough to sift through and actually find what you want. Codd enabled databases to cross-reference tables of data, allowing the information to be presented in multiple permutations.

Sadly, at the time IBM was focused on creating different types of databases and cast Codd’s work into the shit bin. It wasn’t until the late 70s until IBM’s new leadership embraced the approach. By that point a Silicon Valley entrepreneur had used used Codd’s academic papers to further develop the theory which eventually served as the basis for the company now known as Oracle.

All this basically means Codd helped us harness the power of the internet and created technology still heavily used today and received diddly squat for it.

Hooray!

Edgar F. Codd, 79, Dies; Key Theorist of Databases

By KATIE HAFNER

Published: April 23, 2003
Edgar F. Codd, a mathematician and computer scientist who laid the theoretical foundation for relational databases, the standard method by which information is organized in and retrieved from computers, died on Friday at his home in Williams Island, Fla. He was 79. Continue

National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day – April 10 – Kevin Hall

No Comments 10 April 2013

Folks,

Its shocking the subject of today’s DPD isn’t more well known. I have to admit that I didn’t connect the dots before descending into the archives late last night.

Do you realize that the lovable sasquatch character from the Harry and the Hendersons franchise and the Predator (yes THAT Predator) are the same person! Its True!

Kevin Hall – today’s DPD.

Hall was a giant standing well over 7’2″. He went to George Washington University where he played basketball and majored in theater. After graduating he went to Venezuela to pursue a career in the lucrative South American professional basketball scene. Shockingly it didn’t pan out and he returned to L.A. in 1984.

Here’s where the story gets a bit unbelievable. Not only was Hall part of Harry and the Hendersons AND Predator but he also got his start on 227. For those of you out there not familiar with the program….get familiar with it.

We have a new contributor to the DPD effort today with today’s obit coming from Jet Magazine. You can access the obit by clicking here and you might want to spend some time checking out the rest of that issue as well.

National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day – April 9 – Richard Condon

No Comments 09 April 2013

Folks,

Richard Condon started out slinging publicity for Snow White and Dumbo, went on to act as press agent for some of Hollywood’s biggest stars then, at the age of 43, turned himself into a best-selling novelist with The Manchurian Candidate.  He remained a best-seller with over 25 novels to his credit over a career which spanned almost 40 more years.

The Manchurian Candidate was a phenomenal book and a good film. It captured the vibrant balance between paranoia, jingoism and freudian behavioral psychology present during the Cold War. In addition to a tour de force from Frank Sinatra, the film also provided a breakout role for a young, electric Angela Lansbury. Boy, she radiated right off the screen (a luminescence she carried with her throughout her career right up to Murder, She Wrote.

Interestingly enough Sinatra also owned the rights to the film and after President Kennedy was assassinated withdrew it, supposedly for its prescient foretelling of the Kennedy assassination (it was 25 years before it was seen on the cinema screen again).

Condon’s writing often attracted that kind of controversy. The Manchurian Candidate bore no relation to the Kennedy assassination but he later wrote three novels based on that event. The best known, Winter Kills (1974), was in 1979 made into an ingenious film starring Jeff Bridges and directed by John Huston. Although it got rave US reviews it was pulled from cinemas after a couple of weeks and simply disappeared. Condon believed that “Senator Edward Kennedy’s dislike of the film was made known”. Coincidentally or not, the company behind the financing of the film also got $90m of defence contracts each year. Smells like bowl of clam chowder left in a car for a week in July eh?

Richard Condon, Political Novelist, Dies at 81

By MEL GUSSOW
Published: April 10, 1996
Richard Condon, the fiendishly inventive novelist and political satirist who wrote “The Manchurian Candidate,” “Winter Kills” and “Prizzi’s Honor,” among other books, died yesterday at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. He was 81. Continue

 

National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day – March 28 – Harry Crews

No Comments 28 March 2013

Folks,

The word “original” only begins to describe Crews, whose 17 novels place him squarely in the Southern gothic tradition. He emerged from a grisly childhood in Georgia with a darkly comic vision that made him literary kin to William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor and Hunter S. Thompson, although, sadly, he never achieved their broad recognition.

He grew up the son of a tenet farmer and, often times, ate clay soil as his only means of sustenance. He finished high school and went into the Marine Corps at the end of the Korean War. After completing his military duty, he used the G.I. Bill to attend the University of Florida, where he, skipped class, did drugs and – eventually – met his wife. They married and divorced twice, along the way producing two sons, one of whom drowned in a neighbor’s pool as a toddler.

His literature was shockingly creative and unapologetically disarming.

  • There was the 600-pound man ensnarled with a sideshow madam (“Naked in Garden Hills,” 1969)
  • Tthe former high school football star whose life comes undone during his backwoods town’s annual rattlesnake hunt (“A Feast of Snakes,” 1976),
  • The boxer reduced to punching himself out (“The Knockout Artist,” 1988)
  • Perhaps the most extreme of Crews’ scenarios unfurled in “Car” (1972), in which the son of a junkyard owner eats an old Ford Maverick chunk by chunk, in the process becoming a spectacle on national television. The New York Times said the novel “may very well be the best metaphor yet made up about America’s passionate love affair with the automobile.”

Take this obit and rub it in some dirt. When you’ve done that put it in the middle of the floor and stare it. Think about some questionable choices you could have made and didn’t – then imagine.

Harry Crews dies at 76; Southern writer with darkly comic vision

April 01, 2012|By Elaine Woo, Los Angeles Times
Harry Crews, a rough-hewn Southerner who drew a keen following with novels that describe a Hieronymus Bosch landscape of grotesques — characters who are tossed into rattlesnake pits, walk on their hands, croon lullabies to a skull and literally eat a car — died Wednesday in Gainesville, Fla. He was 76.

 

National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day – March 21 – Pinetop Perkins

No Comments 21 March 2013

Folks,

We’ve one of the great Mississippi Delta bluesmen as a subject of today’s DPD – Pinetop Perkins.

It was on the backs of people like Pinetop that American rhythm and blues music was built. He has also been credited with teaching Ike Turner how to play the piano. Elton John, Billy Joel and Gregg Allman have said they were influenced by his exuberant, down-home style of playing. Pinetop even performed at The Band’s 1978 swan song – The Last Waltz.

What’s more, he gives the staff here at the NOR hope for prosperity later on in our career. Sure, when we started out we thought the NOR would be the go to source in obit writing worldwide by now. We’re not there yet but we keep plugging away.

Pinetop’s longevity as a performer was remarkable — all the more so considering his fondness for cigarettes and alcohol; by his own account he began smoking at age 9 and didn’t quit drinking until he was 82. Few people working in any popular art form have been as prolific in the ninth and tenth decades of their lives. At age 97 he became the oldest Grammy Award winner (beating out perennial grouch and cheapskate George “I forgot my wallet” Burns.

A sideman for most of his career, Mr. Perkins did not release an album under his own name until his 75th year. After which he released another dozen albums.

The author Robert Gordon, in his book “Can’t Be Satisfied: The Life and Times of Muddy Waters,” wrote that Mr. Perkins “learned to play in the same school as Muddy — a cotton field, where the conjugation was done with a hoe and the school lunch was a fish sandwich and homemade whiskey.”

Originally a guitarist, Mr. Perkins concentrated exclusively on the piano after an incident, in 1943, in which a dancer at a juke joint attacked him with a knife, severing the tendons in his left arm. The injury left him unable to hold a guitar or manage its fretboard (not to mention grabbing cookies from the cookie jar).

Here’s to an American Legend

Wait a few minutes to let it cool, then grab a warm obit!

Pinetop Perkins, Delta Boogie-Woogie Master, Dies at 97

By BILL FRISKICS-WARREN

Published: March 21, 2011

Pinetop Perkins, the boogie-woogie piano player who worked in Muddy Waters’s last great band and was among the last surviving members of the first generation of Delta bluesmen, died on Monday at his home in Austin, Tex. He was 97. Continue

National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day – March 12 – Morton Downey Jr.

No Comments 12 March 2013

Folks,

What a week eh? Daylight savings, spring time just around the corner. It seems like the perfect time to focus on vitriolic xenophobic rage. Which brings us to today’s DPD – Morton Downey Jr.

A precursor to the more well known acts like Glenn Beck, Jerry Springer and Rush Limbaugh, Downey Jr. was a harbinger for bringing America up close and personal with….well….itself.

His TV rose to prominence during the mid-late 80s when there was a whole bunch of odd crap happening in America. The white middle class was getting cramped and uncomfortable. Downey Jr. provided a great outlet to vent frustration. The cool thing about him was that he was unbiased on who we reigned his fury down upon. The man had a mouth like an interstate.

Do yourself a favor and search some of his clip – the stuff with Ron Paul and Al Sharpton is particularly interesting.

Morton Downey Jr.; Made Bullying a TV Trademark

PAUL BROWNFIELD | TIMES STAFF WRITER
Morton Downey Jr., whose career as an entertainer crystallized in the 1980s when he became the bombastic host of a confrontational cable TV talk show, has died.

Downey died of lung cancer and other respiratory problems at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, his family announced Monday night. He was 67. Continue

Shades of Gray

Dead Person of the Day – March 7 – Sidney Gottlieb

No Comments 07 March 2013

Folks,

Today’s DPD represents possibly the best and the worst of American ingenuity during a very tumultuous time in our history. What’s more interesting is the tone of today’s obit. Given the inferred sentiment from the brit daily supplying the obit its not hard to imagine what the view was of these activities beyond U.S. borders.

I juicy tidbit pulled from this obit should give you some context:

‘Gottlieb’s contribution was to oversee MKUltra. From the early 1950s through most of the 1960s hundreds of American citizens were administered mind-altering drugs. One mental patient in Kentucky was given LSD for 174 consecutive days. In all the agency conducted 149 mind-control experiments. At least one “participant” died as a result of the experiments and several others went mad.

The most bizarre brainwave of Gottlieb (himself a frequent user of LSD) was to set up a string of CIA-controlled brothels in San Francisco which operated for eight years. Prostitutes would slip drugs to their customers, and the results would be observed by agency officials through two-way mirrors. Such was the clandestine contribution of the city of flower power to the national war effort in Vietnam’

With each step forward we wade through remorse and hope for better.

The line forms to the left and when the soups done we have some cabbage.

Obituary: Sidney Gottlieb

SIDNEY GOTTLIEB was living vindication for conspiracy theorists that there is nothing, however evil, pointless or even lunatic, that unaccountable intelligence agencies will not get up to in the pursuit of their secret wars. Continue

National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day – March 6 – King Floyd

No Comments 06 March 2013

Folks,

It’s a special day here at the NOR. Yes, its true that the lives of all humans are interconnected in this paradoxical webbing of marshmallow we live in. But every once in a while something comes up that has significant meaning for yours truly. And today is one of those days.

King Floyd – New Orleans musician, postal worker, and soundtrack to The Steam.

Floyd hit it big in the early 70s with his ‘almost too funky to handle’ hit Groove Me. Cats and muthafuckers were getting down to that number from sea to shining sea.

At about the same time an underground network of amateur wrestling associations were sprouting up around the country. One such league was located in the bowels of Rhode Island – the RIWL. During its year of inception – 1970 – The Steam tore through the league with a wrath not known since the early days of Neptune Sneer in the West Coast Wrestling Federation of the 1940s. The Steam was smooth as silk. His finishing move, The Vapors, has made the toughest SOB on the planet look like a morning of cartoons.

Yours truly was The Steam’s manager back then. Coming off our title season in 1970 we wanted entrance music that fit our style and grace. Hard rock wouldn’t do…too cliche. We wanted something that captured the smooth yet devastating essence of The Steam.

Enter ‘Groove Me’ by King Floyd. We had a hell of a run in 1971 although we lost the title to the Indomitable Cream Puff on a VERY questionable DQ. King Floyd’s relentlessly thrusting groove epitomized Steam’s cascading fury style. In short, we nailed it. Floyd nailed it. More importantly our presence caused more than a few to remember better times before stepping into the ring.

Those were some of the best years of my life. I often times catch myself humming ‘Groove Me’ when I’m putting on a three piece suit…thinking of The Steam……his mystique and how – for once – everything came together just so…

Floyd King (King Floyd), singer and songwriter 1945 – 2006

The irresistibly funky “Groove Me”, written and performed by the New Orleans singer King Floyd, topped the US R&B charts in 1971. The single was a perfect example of the gritty, sweaty, Southern soul genre and bore a distinct similarity to Jean Knight’s equally infectious “Mr Big Stuff”. Both singers had recorded their vocals on the same day – Sunday 17 May 1970 – on top of backing tracks arranged and produced by Warzell Quezergue at Malaco studios in Jackson, Mississippi. Continue

National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day – March 5 – John Belushi

No Comments 05 March 2013

Folks,

Being in the business of death can sometimes be bittersweet. Obviously. Today’s subject is one of those cases – John Belushi.

He was hilarious. Larger than life. And, personally speaking, I’ve used the zit stunt he executed in Animal House plenty of times since I first saw that movie as an ankle biter.

Although he transcended SNL he was one of the few – I felt – that was actually funny on the show. Most of the other people that make it to SNL are incredibly funny. Then they get there and ‘poof’ something  happens and they’re not funny anymore. But anyways….

A few thoughts on today’s DPD research:

1. I was shocked and appalled at the dearth of Belushi obits. We should all be ashamed.

2. I had no idea Robin Williams and Robert de Niro stopped by to hang with Belushi on his fatal night and both split the scene because that bitch Cathy Smith was weirding them out. Williams was quoted as saying “If you ever get up again, call ”

3. Back to Smith – she ran Levon Helm, Belushi and Gordon Lightfoot dry (obviously each to varying degrees). But in retrospect can’t we bring people like this up on charges?

By 1982 John Belushi had began hanging out with a less than reputable group of characters – namely, one Cathy Smith, a former back-up singer for The Band, who had become a strung out addict and drug dealer.

On March 4, 1982, John Belushi, Smith, and former SNL writer Nelson Lyon spent the evening partying together. The trio ingested massive quantities of liquor, french toast and snorted even larger quantities of cocaine. They stumbled all over West Hollywood looking for the next party and ended up at the secret nightclub above The Roxy called On The Rox. From there, they walked next door to The Rainbow Room and ate. Belushi later felt like he had to hurl and/or poop and asked Smith to take him back to his room at the Chateau Marmont.

According to Smith, Belushi asked her to shoot him up with a needle full of drugs several times that night. Belushi, who was deathly afraid of needles, seemed to like the high, she claimed. While the couple sat around in a dazed state, two famous persons stopped by to see them. Comedian Robin Williams popped in and snorted a few lines of coke, but was creeped out by Smith. He thought she was a little too crusty for Belushi.

Sometime after 3:00 AM, actor Robert DeNiro knocked on Belushi’s door. He had been playing tag with Belushi all night. The scene inside the room was disgusting, so DeNiro decided to not stick around.

John Belushi and Cathy Smith continued to shoot up until Smith decided she had to leave. She helped Belushi shower and put him to bed before taking off in his Mercedes. She noticed on the way out that he was breathing funny. But she STILL left him. He was found the next day by his personal trainer – dead. And the rest is history.

Shades of Gray

Dead Person of the Day – February 28 – Jane Russell

No Comments 28 February 2013

Folks,

Talk about a dame to get your knickers in a tizzy eh? Jane Russell – va va voom!

Before we get into the whole thing lets note a couple things:

Howard Hughes continuously proves he has an eye for talent
The catholic church being out of touch is nothing new.

Ms. Russell was a voluptuous actress at the center of one of the most highly publicized censorship episodes in movie history, the long-delayed release of the 1940s western The Outlaw.

Ms. Russell was 19 and working in a doctor’s office when Howard Hughes, returning to movie production after his aviation successes, see her one day while visiting his podiatrist. One look at her curves and he was treating her to a steak dinner. Rumor has it he even flew in an authentic boston cream pie from The Parker House. Needless to say he cast her as the tempestuous Rio McDonald, the object of a romantic rivalry between Doc Holliday and Billy the Kid, in “The Outlaw,” which he directed (and did a superb job).

But hey Norm…why was the movie so polarizing? Good question. A movie poster — which showed a sultry Ms. Russell in a cleavage-revealing blouse falling off one shoulder as she reclined in a haystack and held a gun — quickly became notorious and seemed to fuel movie censors’ determination to prevent the film’s release because of scenes that, by 1940s standards, revealed too much of the star’s supple breasts. The Roman Catholic Church was one of the movie’s vocal opponents. Ironically, in a stunning turn of a events that same Jane Russell became a staunch right wing, christian conservative later in life promoting pro life agendas, speaking in tongues and the right for the pope to wear his red slippers where ever he damn well pleased.

But back to the genius of Howard Hughes….

Although the film had its premiere and ran for nine weeks in San Francisco in 1943, it did not open in New York until 1947 and was not given a complete national release until 1950. Critics were generally unimpressed by its quality, but it made Ms. Russell a star. The specially engineered bra that Hughes was said to have designed for his 38D leading lady took its place in cinematic history. Brilliant!

It’s a sexy day here at The Shade. If you haven’t yet I highly recommend today’s edition of Sexy Memoirs. While I can’t stand most of the stiffs on their writing staff Rayburn shows some promise
Obits Thursday. Wahooo

Jane Russell, Sultry Star of 1940s and ’50s, Dies at 89

By ANITA GATES

Published: February 28, 2011

Jane Russell, the voluptuous actress at the center of one of the most highly publicized censorship episodes in movie history, the long-delayed release of the 1940s western “The Outlaw,” died on Monday at her home in Santa Maria, Calif. She was 89. Continue

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