Well, well, well. I’m back, you chumps, or more to the point, I never went away. Oh sure, it’s been a while since I’ve written, but that’s because I’m too busy living.

Live, live, live! That’s all I do! It’s what I’m about: continued existence. I just keep on being alive, just respirating and ingesting and defecating, while other chumps just keep on getting dead!

It ain’t no thing getting to be 44 years old in this modern age, yet look at all these fools who just haven’t got what it takes. John Holmes didn’t have the balls to do it, and Junior Seau and Lyle Alzado didn’t have the brains.

And hey, speaking of dumb-ass football players, here’s what I know about you, Knute Rockne: You looked like Ronald Reagan, people called you “The Gipper,” and you are way too dead to correct me on either point. Oh, and you died on the way to make the movie The Spirit of Notre Dame (thus becoming the title character) because you got into a rickety piece-of-crap airplane that (like the Fighting Irish versus the North Carolina State Wolfpack during Hurricane Matthew) literally fell apart in the rain. Yay, good job!

I bet you didn’t see your early death coming, did you, Louis Braille? But you know who did have a bit of foresight? You, wrestler Brian Adams, variously repackaged as a Road Warrior ripoff, a laid-back surfer dude, and a white nationalist biker, but always known as Crush. Because your real gimmick was crushing your vertebrae and developing a lethal painkiller addiction. Yay, good job!

How about you, Andrew Breitbart? As everyone knows, you died of an aneurysm while taking a rage shit. You were the first person ever to yell the words “libtard cucksucker!” at Twitter so loud that you squirted a turd halfway out your butt and died. Yay, good job!

Speaking of floaters, Natalie Wood, the old joke is that you are the only kind of wood that doesn’t float, but that’s totally unfair—not only because your corpse was in fact found floating near Catalina Island after Robert Wagner murdered you in a fit of jealousy over your relationship with Christopher Walken but also because mahogany, ironwood and old-growth pine have a higher specific gravity than water.

And you, Lisa Robin Kelly: How do you take so many drugs that you get Second Becky-ed off a show about drug-taking teens? Personally, I think That ‘70s Show would have been a better title for The Golden Girls, but you clearly had no place near a cast of septuagenarians either.

And you, John Candy: Your problem can be summarized via three of your film titles: Canadian Bacon, Going Berserk, and It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time. It wasn’t.

And what about you, Dutch master Johannes Vermeer? Your oeuvre—“Girl with a Pearl Earring,” “Girl with the Wine Glass,” “Girl with a Red Hat”—sounds like if Stieg Larsson wrote Sex and the City episodes. Hard pass.

Now you, guitar whiz Django Reinhardt: If I’m looking for a great musician whose name begins with DJ, Jazzy Jeff is very much alive, thanks.

And then you, Antarctic explorer Robert Falcon Scott: You’re the polar opposite of being alive.

What a bunch of eternally 43-year-old jerks, creeps and losers you all are. I’m literally laughing out loud right now about what a bunch of weak, useless, inessential, frail little nerds you all are. There you go, you chumps, slipping this mortal coil and shuffling off the surly bonds of earth, and me, I just keep on trucking. I keep on keeping on. I take a licking, and I keep ticking. And what’s more, I’m never going to stop. I’m tempting fate, I’m racking up bad karma, and I’m spitting in God’s face and daring him to strike me down, because the fact of the matter is, you’re dead, I’m alive, and believe you me, that’s—just—the—freakin’—way—it—is!

After the carnage of 2016 claimed so many beloved celebrities, it was a good bet that 2017 would be even worse. And it was! This year dealt mortal blows not just to people but to the very foundational principles of western civilization, such as democracy, objective truth, and patriarchal power structures. Okay, that last one is hanging on, but it was pretty satisfying to see entertainment and politics undergo a sort of reverse Rapture with the sudden vanishing of scores of creepy old perverts. But of course, lots of people did die too. And not just any people, but famous people, whose deaths just matter more. People like the lovable patriarch of TV’s Huxtable family (Earle Hyman, who played grandfather Russell Huxtable, not the vicious serial rapist who played his son). People like the “Raging Bull,” Jake LaMotta, famed for knocking out opponents in 30 professional boxing matches and seven marriages. People like wrestler/murderer Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, who was infamously hit by “Rowdy” Roddy Piper in the back of the head with a coconut and who infamously hit his girlfriend, Nancy Argentino, in the back of the head with a Pennsylvania highway. On one hand, wow, we’re onto something with demolishing the patriarchy. Kill all men! But on the other, we’ll miss them when they’re gone, because, well, because we knew who they were. The larger you loom in life, the bigger a hole you leave in death. The greater your fame was, the more keenly felt is your absence. You are, quite simply, deader than ordinary non-celebrity garbage. But who, this year, is the deadest of all?

10. Don Rickles

DonRicklesWith apologies to the late Zarley Zalapski, Don Rickles was the last word in taking shots at hockey pucks. And as the acknowledged master of insult comedy, nothing would have pleased him more than being eulogized in the form of a roast. Therefore, it’s not happening here. Let not a bad word be said about this prince of a man. Moving on.

9. Roger Ailes

RogerAilesWell now, this guy, he was a real skunk. No name was more synonymous with “fake news”—apart, perhaps, from actor Joe Bologna—than the mastermind behind Fox News. That’s “fake news” not in the co-opted “true but unflattering reporting” sense of the term, but in the sense of wild, fantastic bullshit. And Ailes was the Ray Kroc of bullshit, serving a steady diet of ignorance, hate, and fear to millions for decades, from the War on Christmas to the Seth Rich murder conspiracy to birtherism. Ailes gave Donald Trump first a platform for raving, racist nonsense, later an unabashed propaganda network, and, during his campaign, debate-prep advice, no doubt personally coaching the candidate in how to make a woman uncomfortable by looming threateningly over her and breathing hotly, wetly and noisily down her neck. Broadcasting Two Minutes Hate 24 hours a day, no one has done more to split America in half than Ailes since the Confederacy. Perhaps that’s why Fox News personalities protested the pulling down of monuments to those traitors; they recognized kindred spirits. Ailes built an empire on raging against elites, yet this loathsome bastard child of Charles Foster Kane and Jabba the Hutt was personally worth $100 million, treated female employees like a medieval lord exercising the right of droit du seigneur, and suffered from hemophilia. Thank god for the last bit, as it contributed to his death after a fall in his bathroom resulted in a subdural hematoma—a fitting end for a monster who slammed America’s head against a toilet until it died of brain damage.

8. Chuck Berry


Although he was a beloved American icon who played at presidential inaugurations and White House command performances, Chuck Berry had a dark side. He was surly, he was violent, and he had a serious drinking problem. Not alcohol, of course—he swore that off after getting sick on whiskey as a teen—he had an insatiable craving for urine. Although, that sounds presidential in itself; Berry operated a sophisticated surveillance apparatus to capture women and girls using the washroom in his Missouri restaurant, and his own personal pee tape sounds much like the one allegedly being kept to blackmail fellow teetotaler Donald Trump, except with a better beat; on the other hand, Berry actually went to prison for his tax evasion and statutory rape, so perhaps the similarities end there. Nevertheless, “Bo Piddley” was an inspiration to generations of musicians as diverse as R. Kelly, Ricky Martin and fiddler Ashley MacIsaac, proving there was much more to “Johnny Pee Goode” beyond his constant faking of jellyfish stings; the rock and roll icon was also a pioneer in the genre of scat. Indeed, his appetite for poo play was so voracious that at age 90, one almost hopes he was still getting groupies to empty their colostomy bags into his mouth.

7. Bill Pullman

BillPullmanWhat a career Bill Pullman had. From early films such as the psychological thriller Brain Dead (alongside actor Bill Paxton), Pullman went on to become the first actor to be killed by a Terminator, Predator, and Xenomorph and Hollywood’s go-to guy for playing brothers of lead characters named Wyatt. (See Weird Science and Tombstone—no, actually see them; they’re great movies.) An old friend of filmmaker James Cameron from their days working together on a martini ranch, the two worked together on the film Titanic and later went on an documentary expedition to the actual Titanic. (Pullman and Cameron also went on a trip together when a disgruntled crew member slipped PCP into their soup during filming on the blockbuster.) It’s fitting that Pullman should succumb to human frailty so close together with another frequent collaborator, Powers Boothe; the two were on opposite sides in both the Hatfield/McCoy feud and the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Pullman had personal experience with the assassin’s bullet, as well; he went to the same high school as Lee Harvey Oswald and was on the scene the day JFK was assassinated. What was Pullman’s involvement? Hard to say, but isn’t it an interesting coincidence that he died just before the unsealing of the official files?

6. Monty Hall


Here’s the famous probability puzzle known as the Monty Hall Problem: Suppose you are on a game show and are given the choice of three doors: Behind one door is 96-year-old former Let’s Make a Deal host Monty Hall, who is in very poor health after a recent heart attack; behind the others are goats. You pick a door, say number 1, and the host (say, Billy Bush; he’s not doing anything better these days), who knows what’s behind the doors, opens another door, say number 3, which has a goat. He then says to you, “Do you want to pick door number 2?” While you deliberate whether it’s to your advantage to switch your choice, Monty Hall exists in a state of being simultaneously both dead and alive.

5. Tom Petty

TomPettyAny time you heard one of his classic hits, Tom Petty evoked strong memories, such as the first time you ever saw a 500-year-old corpse miraculously mummified by its arid mountain climate. However, despite—or perhaps because of—his dessicated appearance, Petty seemed younger than his 66 years, so his death came as a blow. (Petty was actually a year younger than unsettling-looking former teen idol David Cassidy, if you want to compare the merits of plastic surgery versus sleeping in a smoker full of applewood chips as a means of preservation.) Even crueler than Petty’s premature demise, of course, is that when 76-year-old Bob Dylan goes, Jeff Lynne is going to have to hear over and over about how sad it is that all the Travelling Wilburys are gone. It’s kind of like how, after Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell was added on to the hod rod death toll, people mourned that Eddie Vedder was the only major remaining grunge singer, when—hello—Courtney Love is still right here. Also, how crazy is it that Cornell’s pal and one-time Stone Temple Pilots replacement frontman Chester Bennington got what was coming in the end seven years younger than the infamously troubled Scott Weiland? Anyway, the point is that Petty died too young—not as young as, say, Malcolm Young of AC/DC or George Young of the Easybeats, both of whom died as young as one can, but he won’t come around here no more, and ain’t that a shame?

4. Fats Domino

FatsDominoHere’s another heartbreaker: losing the beloved artist behind Richie Cunningham’s post-coital anthem, “Blueberry Hill.” But isn’t it kind of amazing that a guy nicknamed “Fats”—he really was named Domino; he was dubbed “Fats” after fellow pianists Fats Waller and Fats Pichon, but also because he ate like a pig—lived to be 89? Admit it; you thought Fats Domino was already dead. And why wouldn’t you? Fats Waller died at 39. Fatty Arbuckle died at 46. And Fat Albert? Well, he is a cartoon, but he’s morbidly obese and spends a lot of time putting his mouth on an old radiator he found in a junkyard, so you do the math. His secret? Not really being that fat. As he explained in his early signature hit single, “The Fat Man,” “They call me the fat man ’cause I weigh 200 pounds.” (For reference, the average weight of an American man in 2017 was 195.7 pounds.) So he wasn’t really fat, just a little chubby. And speaking of which: Chubby Checker? How was that allowed to happen? It’s outrageous gimmick infringement. Was this normal? Were obscure regional labels abounding with names like Tubby Backgammon, Blubbery Chess, and Avoirdupois Acey-Deucey? It’s taking advantage of the man’s gentle, genial nature. No way would a mean son of a bitch like Jerry Lee Lewis have tolerated that shit. That chubby little bastard would have had a buck knife sticking out of his fat back.

3. Jerry Lewis

JerryLewisOn that note, how did the Killer coexist with this guy, who people found barely tolerable as it was? Fine, the French supposedly loved him (although that seems like something they came up with to troll Americans), but Jerry Lee Lewis seems the type to hate most people generally, the French specifically, and Jerry Lewis murderously. Why did Jerry Lee Lewis (real name!) let the former Joseph Levitch (impostor!) run around calling himself “Jerry Lewis”? Maybe he just decided, “Hey, I’m the Killer. And be they assassins or serial killers, killers go by three names,” and that was that. Anyway, Lewis’s punchably obnoxious shtick was just exhaustingly zany. Silly faces and voices: We get it. He was a braying, screeching, rubber-faced man-child on-screen, except when hosting the annual muscular dystrophy telethon, when he was maudlin and mawkish. Off-screen, he was a miserable jerk, rude to fans and prone to offensive comments about gay and disabled people. He was a big influence on some of today’s comic minds, such as Adam Carolla, Two and a Half Men co-creator Lee Aronsohn, and T.J. Miller, with his classic “women aren’t funny” bit. Half the reason his former partner Dean Martin’s drunk act was so convincing was that you couldn’t conceivably be around the excruciating Lewis without turning to the bottle to cope.

2. Charles Manson


One of rock music’s first big plagiarism cases took place after the Beach Boys got carried away turning Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen” into “Surfin’ U.S.A.,” which got them a slap on the wrist but evidently taught them nothing too serious can come of ripping off a violent former reform school boy named Charles, because they did it again just five years later. And they were right! The next time it happened, Dennis Wilson beat the living daylights out of the complainant and made him cry like a baby in front of everyone. Then the Beach Boys went back to happily suing each other for their rest of their career. Meanwhile Dennis’ erstwhile pal grew so disenchanted with the music industry that he gave up his show-biz dreams, marking his retirement by having his small but devoted fan base go to the former pad of Dennis’ pal, record producer Terry Melcher, and slaughter everyone in sight. But it didn’t have to be that way. Let’s compare Charles Manson to the actual worst person ever to write a Beach Boys song, Mike Love. In terms of songwriting, both display a kind of “Hitler’s watercolors” competence. Mike’s voice is infamously thin and nasal; Manson had more of a Cat Stevens thing going, plus he could play guitar. As for mental stability, it takes a megalomaniac to think Mike Love is the most important Beach Boy and should own the band’s name. Plus, ever see his unhinged Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction rant? It’s a push. Here’s where Manson really pulls out in front: First, he had a magnificent head of hair, whereas the only thing keeping Mike Love from covering his baldness with a MAGA cap is that he has too much ego to wear one without his own name or that of his band. Second, no bad songs about transcendental meditation; in fact, Manson once objected so much to Hare Krishna chanting that another inmate set him on fire. Third, charisma as a frontman: Charles Manson is absolutely unassailable on this point, and you can’t argue with that.

1. Hugh Hefner


Publishing magnate Hugh Hefner famously lived a life of leisure in a big mansion perpetually at the height of 1980-style opulence and and refused to put on pants. The late John “Higgins” Hillerman would have set his doberman pinschers on him in an instant. The Playboy founder was a complex figure. The whole enterprise smacks of sexism, yet he also proclaimed himself a feminist and advocated for women’s reproductive rights (which wasn’t totally selfless; it’s easier to get women to have sex if they don’t have to worry about getting pregnant). He also fought racism. He gave Black comic Dick Gregory his big break and funded his efforts to recover the bodies of three murdered civil rights workers in Mississippi. (On the other hand, he also let good pal Bill Cosby do a little freelance bartending at the Playboy Mansion, where he did his famous Spanish Fly routine with at least a dozen bunnies.) Hef also inspired the 1960s Batman series with a theme party he threw in 1965; thus, he’s also responsible for dooming Adam West to be typecast as Batman forever (unlike Val Kilmer, who played the role only once, in Batman Forever). Contrary to what you might expect of a key figure in the sexual revolution, Hef was a virgin until 22; later in life, his orgies basically consisted of his watching porn and jerking off while Playmates cavorted around him, simulating lesbian lovemaking. (Which master of horror terrified the most people with his grisly resurrections of the dead? The late zombie film auteur George A. Romero, or the pharmacist who prescribed a geriatric Hugh Hefner’s boner pills?) Although Hefner owed his empire to Marilyn Monroe, whose nude photos he published in the first issue of Playboy, he never actually met her in life. Not that she was able to avoid him entirely; he bought the burial plot next to hers to spend eternity together. Creepy, huh? At least it’s not as bad as entrepreneur Richard Poncher, who bought the crypt above Marilyn’s from Joe DiMaggio during their 1954 divorce and had himself buried upside down. Ugh, men.

Cars 3


I started out my very first Father’s Day a couple of years ago by being awoken by a Chris Benoit-style diving headbutt from my son. (Happy Father’s Day to the late Chris Benoit, by the way). So, to commemorate the anniversary of my concussion, the idea of sitting in a dark room for a couple of hours sounded just about right.

“It’s Father’s Day! Maybe we should all go see a movie,” my wife suggested to my son, laying on the theatricality. “What movie would you like to see, Daddy?”

“Why, Cars 3, of course,” I said, defeatedly.

Here’s some things about kids. First, they all wear those shoes that light up whenever you take a step and absolutely cannot stay still, so a theatre full of kids these days is like being in a discotheque. Second, they’re total front-runners. And third, they don’t know the time-worn conventions of sports movies. So my son heard throughout the entire movie that this hot new challenger named Jackson Storm was unbeatable and decided, “Well then, that’s my guy. Sign me up for Team Storm. I’m putting all my chips on a winner.”

Spoiler alert (because racecars have spoilers): In the end, the dickhead hotshot bad guy lost the final race to a nice yellow car. And in turn, my son lost his shit, standing up and shouting, “I don’t like the yellow car! Jackson Storm is nice!

Well, let me tell you something about Jackson Storm, folks: He isn’t nice. He’s arrogant and condescending, and he was just constantly negging Lightning McQueen and psyching him out with politely worded but mean-spirited backhanded compliments. So, I tried to calm my son down by explaining to my son how Jackson Storm was actually a bit of an asshole and said some kind of shitty things to the red car. And also, come on, who did he really think was going to win in the end? The point-of-view character who we accompany on a hero’s journey through his crisis of confidence about a seemingly insurmountable challenge? Or the guy we don’t see in any scenes by himself, ever? But he wasn’t having it.

So, instead, I just shook with laughter throughout his public tirade, and I imagined  the other formulaic sports movies I could use to break his heart. He’d definitely be cheering for the rich preppie jerks in any snobs-versus slobs comedy, for example, and he’d have to be carried screaming out of a showing of Rocky IV when the invincible Russian juggernaut Ivan Drago loses the final boxing match.

Like, that’s more fun at least than the poor guy I saw carrying his kid out of the theatre who was screaming “I hate you, Daddy! You are dumb!” Happy Father’s Day to that guy.

After work, I went to the doggy daycare to pick up Gracie, my reddish brown goldendoodle. I pulled into the parking lot right after a woman and her son, and let them go in first, even though I could’ve beaten them to the door.

“Here to pick up Copper, huh?” asked the woman behind the counter. She picked up a walkie talkie. “Bring Copper out front.”

“Is Copper coming?” asked the boy.

“Copper’s coming,” his mom answered, handing over her credit card.

The machine didn’t work. “Is Copper coming?” asked the boy again. Yeah, I thought, Is Copper coming?

“Yes, Copper’s coming,” she assured him, retrying her card.

It went through this time. “Is Copper coming?” the boy asked. Where the hell is Copper? I thought.

“That’s the third time you’ve asked that,” she said. “Go wait in the car. Copper is coming.” He went to wait in the car, for Copper, who was coming.

Just then the door opened. And out came …

… a black dog.



Hey, quick, what’s the significance of the number 43? “Well, that’s easy,” you say. “It’s the atomic number of technetium, Richard Petty’s racecar number, and the largest non-McNugget number—that is, the largest number of Chicken McNuggets that can’t be ordered by adding together any combination of 6-, 9-, or 20-pack boxes.” Wrong, idiot! The significance of 43 is that it’s the age that I am, and that a bunch of 42-year-old creeps and jerks and losers never got to be!

Elvis, for instance, was a hero to most but he was a guy who died taking a shit to me. Seriously, King, what are you really remembered for today? Having a brand synonymous with dying on the toilet, hanging out with a corrupt president in the Oval Office for reasons no one understands, and being a fat, bloated corpse. You’re basically the ’70s version of Breitbart honcho Steve Bannon. Go shoot a TV, hillbilly.

Why so furious, Billy Fury, you store-brand British Elvis knockoff? Are you furious that you dropped dead of a heart attack at only 42? You mad, bro? Didn’t see that coming? Your stage name might as well have been Billy Hypertension. A little on the nose, innit? It’s like Shakin’ Stevens dying of an epileptic seizure or Jimmy Nail dying of tetanus or Cliff Richard falling off a rocky precipice.

But I have to hand it to you, Ratt guitarist Robbin Crosby. You may be the only person ever to get AIDS and a heroin addiction and still somehow balloon to 400 pounds. Is it true the song “Round and Round” was written when someone asked you to describe your physique in two adjectives?

Kimbo Slice, you sound like some other country’s refreshing citrus fruit soda and you looked like a homeless Rick Ross. I liked your backyard brawling act better when it was called Bumfights. I’m not scared of you.

When Randy Savage died, people kept saying, “At least he’s with Miss Elizabeth now.” Boy, I hope that isn’t true, lady. Every time a dead wrestler so much as glances at you, he must angrily grab you by the wrist and yank you to another cloud. And there are a lot of dead wrestlers, so basically you’re in hell.

Speaking of dead wrestlers, Bruiser Brody, if you just had to get stabbed to death in a shower so badly, it really should have been by Nailz, that big guy in the orange prison jumpsuit who feuded with the Big Boss Man, not some masked, interchangeable tag-team jabroni named Invader 1. If Invader 1 had to murder anyone, it should have been Peter Tosh, who actually was killed in a home invasion. Do I really have to write your storylines for you dummies?

Louisiana governor Huey Long, you were an egomanical huckster salesman turned demagogue politician with delusions of grandeur, yet also a big dumb baby who couldn’t stand criticism from the newspapers and allied yourself with anti-Semitic, fascist-leaning talk-radio-style media to push your half-baked ideas. You were a foul-mouthed, boorish braggart with a penchant for body-shaming chubby ladies. Boy, am I ever so sorry someone shot you a month after you announced you were running for president. Am I ever. No one totally should have done that.

Speaking of presidential candidates getting gunned down, you’re always the runner-up, Robert “Bobby” Francis “RFK” Kennedy. Ever notice how in “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” Billy Joel sings “JFK! Blown away! What else do I have to say?!” and then doesn’t mention you at all? Wow, right? He couldn’t squeeze you into the rest of the song somewhere in between punk rock, Wheel of Fortune, and the rock and roller cola wars?

Don’t take this the wrong way, John Cazale, but I’m really, really, really glad you’re dead. I’m glad for me to outlive you, of course, but as I said, that’s the wrong way. I’m also glad for you that you’re dead. You did five films in six years that all got nominated for Best Picture—a couple of Godfathers, The Conversation, Dog Day Afternoon, and The Deer Hunter. If you were alive today, your chinless rat face would still be popping up alongside your pals Pacino and De Niro in awful crud like Jack and Jill and Dirty Grandpa. You’d break my heart, Fredo.

Gary Coleman, for you, I’ll keep it short. The only thing smaller than you was your bank account statement. The only thing shorter, your marriage. The only thing cuter, Emmanuel Lewis. My god, you must have shat your little diaper when he came along, a smaller, cuter, and soon to be more alive version of you. But at least you had the recurring catchphrase that continually delighted America: “I declare bankruptcy.”

Prince Albert, you got a lot of places named after you, such as Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, which I think is pretty cool because clearly I like insulting the dead. Know what else got named after you, though? A penis piercing. Penis piercing. All anyone thinks of now when they hear your name is a penis piercing, you penis piercing.

True story: When my wife was in Grade 8, she liked Married with Children and told her teacher she thought Ted Bundy was really funny, and her teacher got really mad. My wife getting yelled at is the only good thing about you.  Screw you, Ted Bundy, you lousy pain in the butt!

Okay, real quick now because unlike you dead chumps, I have a life to live: In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes and Ernie Kovacs dying without paying any of his taxes. You sure don’t see me sticking it to my widow like that. Queen Mary I of England, they called you “Bloody Mary” because you were bloody awful, and if I look into a mirror and say your name three times, you still appear to be dead. Gilda Radner, the raddest thing about you is how alive you make me look by comparison to you. Pretty friggin’ rad! And cheer up, Rashaan Salaam, Orlando Thomas, Godfrey Myles, Lew Bush, Antonio Armstrong, and Chester McGlockton. For NFL players, you all got to reach late middle age.

Once again, unlike you stupid dopes, you are just such losers and suck so bad, and I’m a winner and suck either very good or not at all. You wretched sad-sack wretches. As usual, very much in contrast to you poor, dumb suckers, I’m too fast for the Grim Reaper and I will never get what’s coming to me!

I rediscovered this in the archives of a long-dead website, and I am not proud of it!


2000 Flushes inventor Al Eisen was, for a time, considered an unofficial member of the Rat Pack that consisted of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop, and Sammy Davis, Jr.

Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood possesses the unusual ability to split herself into three separate and identical physical entities, and exist tri-locally.

Danny Wood, a former member of teen heartthrob vocal combo New Kids on the Block, currently serves his nation under the relatively-anonymous guise of Paul H. O’Neill, 71st Secretary of the Treasury of the United States of America.

Actor Christopher Walken and media mogul Rupert Murdoch briefly wrestled as Masked Invader #1 and #2 in Verne Gagne’s Minnesota-based American Wrestling Association during 1977.

Camryn Mannheim, star of The Practice, performed background vocals on “Slice of Your Pie,” from the 1989 Mötley Crüe album Dr. Feelgood.

Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst possesses a single shred of goodness, which is guarded by large Rottweilers.

Prior to becoming Prime Minister of Canada in 1984, The Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney tested for the part of President of the United States of America. His pal, Hollywood veteran Ronald Reagan of course got the role.

Blonde Baywatch beauty Erika Eleniak has evolved into a being of pure energy.

In 1985, Dr. Henry Kissinger was briefly considered as a replacement for the departed David Lee Roth as lead vocalist for Van Halen.

Sixth Sense star Haley Joel Osment was the unknown “Green River Killer” who slew up to 49 women in the Greater Seattle area of Washington State between 1982 and 1984.

Edward James Olmos, who portrayed Lieutenant Castillo on Miami Vice, once extorted a sizable salary increase from producer Michael Mann by threatening to consume the Earth with something he called a “cloud of death.”

Flamboyant Virgin Records tycoon and balloon adventurer Richard Branson was never anything more than a rumour.

River Phoenix gave his last performance in a Japanese-made production, the 1968 film Destroy All Monsters, in which he portrayed Gamera.

Richard Gere was once secretly rushed to an emergency room in L.A. where it was discovered that he had acute appendicitis.

Comedienne Margaret Cho had a child out of wedlock with Harald Bluetooth, 11th century king of Norway.

Sir Alec Guinness auditioned for, and failed to get, the role made famous by Tony Danza in the popular situation comedy Who’s The Boss?.

Alaskan songbird Jewel believes herself to be the reincarnation of a milkmaid who lived in Hertfordshire, England during the 1980s.

Gun-toting record producer Sean “Puffy” Combs led a heroic expedition to King Solomon’s Mines, where he and a band of three other adventurers recovered the Spear of Destiny from Nazis in 1934.

Keanu Reeves is a good actor.

Morrissey, fey frontman of British pop band The Smiths—despite being a public proponent of vegetarianism and animal rights—was inexplicably spotted eating bacon and eggs at a truck stop north of Cardinal, Ontario in 1991.

Saved by the Bell hunk Mario Lopez was married to Jim Nabors in a secret Hollywood wedding ceremony.

Lou Diamond Phillips made his first screen appearance in a small, non-speaking part in the Warner Bros. animated short Bully for Bugs.

Rhea Perlman is an underdeveloped fraternal twin who was removed from Warren Beatty’s shoulder shortly after birth.

Mookie Wilson was the last man on earth.

Well, that was some year. Lots of things ended abruptly and permanently, such as Brangelina, Fox sci-fi crime drama Second Chance (after its first and only season, ironically), and, of course, American democracy. And, as always—or seemingly way moreso—many celebrity lives. As celeb after celeb died, again and again the cry was raised: “Fuck this horrible year.” Except, as much as people blamed 2016 as a personified, spree-killing annus horribilis, it’s not 2016. It’s the natural aging curve of celebrities from the apex of mass media, before the fragmentation of monoculture. In other words, for the next little while, this is just what’s going to happen to people who got famous when we all watched the same thing, between when TV started and when we all got the internet. 2017 will be even worse, and so will every year until we’ve fully put behind us the golden age of fast-food media that served billions but offered a few basic menu choices. This will play out slowly and you’ll be screeching at whatever year it is until the cast of Friends dies. After that, it’ll seem okay again. There are more celebrities now, but they’re much smaller, so it’ll be like stars winking out rather than supernovae exploding. When former American Idol contestants die, you’ll barely be sad. By the time PewDiePie dies, you won’t even blink. See? You feel better already. So, let’s get to ranking, who exactly, the most dead people are this year.

10. Alan Rickman

alanrickmanAmong 2016’s first dead celebrities to make fans ululate in despair, Alan Rickman is particularly missed at this time of year as the villain of the greatest Christmas movie of all time, Love Actually. Rickman played a lot of great villains, such as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films, and Ronald Reagan in The Butler. And as Hans Gruber, ruthless mastermind of the Nakatomi Plaza heist in the second greatest Christmas movie of all time, Die Hard, he stole every scene he was in, thanks to his skills as the second most exceptional thief associated with luxury towers that the German race has ever produced. Rickman’s presence in not one but two great Christmas movies immeasurably improves both (in ways that never get old and won’t bother your significant other). When cold English wife Emma Thompson opens her new Joni Mitchell CD in Love Actually, you can pretend the inscription reads “Benefits of a classical education,” and when she peeks at the card from her philandering husband, you can pretend it says “Now I have a machine gun. Ho-ho-ho.” Similarly, when Rickman misquotes Plutarch in Die Hard, you can pretend he adds “To continue your emotional education,” and when he examines the note attached to the dead terrorist tied to a chair in the elevator, you can pretend it says “Sorry I’m such a grumpy bugger.” Oh, his presence also arguably improves both movies because he was a really good actor. And an attractive one, it would seem; amazingly, Rickman was ranked #34 by Empire magazine’s list of the 100 Sexiest Stars in history. No offence, but wow, really? And with respect to the late Leonard Cohen, researchers found a blend of Rickman and Jeremy Irons’ voices to be the perfect male voice. Boy, are people attracted to total creeps or what?

9. Rob Ford

robfordOf course not. That’s why reptilian sociopath Doug Ford, like the Jim Belushi of municipal politics, shamelessly furthers his own ambitions by trading off the memory of his popular brother, infamous crack mayor and big fat party animal Rob Ford. Let’s not mince words. Rob wasn’t evil like his brother, but he was a mean, petty, ignorant, foul-mouthed bully. He was a rich man who was able to somehow paint himself as a common man through sheer crudity. He was a child of privilege who presented himself as a self-made man, although his own acumen as a private businessman was wildly overstated. He wasn’t above using his office to further the interests of his own company, and it was painfully clear he didn’t even understand what a conflict of interest was. He was fond of having his ego stroked at large rallies and prone to having his security rough up people. He conducted a startlingly dishonest war on the media for reporting the true facts about him. He was capable of shockingly inappropriate behaviour with women, though his demure Eastern European wife said little about it. A self-avowed racist, he was even prone to hobnobbing with neo-Nazis (okay, just one time, but the guy was in uniform). He was somehow capable of getting away with scandal after scandal that would end any normal political career, but make no mistake, he was grossly unsuited to wielding political power even on the municipal level, and it boggles the mind to think what might happen if someone like that ever somehow became the leader of a nation, as Rob fantasized about doing. (Can you even imagine that nightmare scenario?) No, Rob Ford was not a good man, but he was a man who nevertheless did try to do good, even if it was rooted in a need to feed his own ego—but to feed his inferiority complex rather than any kind of malignant narcissism, because he was at heart an insecure little boy who just wanted to be told, Good job, Rob. You are special. So, in that spirit, Rob, you were actually honest at the end about having cancer, when the natural assumption was you were shamelessly faking it to drop out of your race for re-election to avoid certain defeat. Good job, Rob.

8. Garry Shandling

garryshandlingSpeaking of alcohol abuse, if you somehow haven’t had your fill of dead celebrities, throw on an early season episode of Garry Shandling’s talk-show parody The Larry Sanders Show and drink when a now-deceased person is seen or mentioned. By the time you get to season 2’s Warren Zevon/Gene Siskel/John Ritter episode, the death toll is incredible, a freaky, morbid viewing experience like watching an old WrestleMania. (Speaking of which, this is a good place to slip in a mention of some prominent names crossed off the Alive Wrestlers List: Chyna, Mr. Fuji, and—with due respect to Lou Marsh Trophy winner Penny Oleksiak, Canada’s Greatest Athlete, “Iron” Mike Sharpe.) And sadly, although costar Rip Torn should by all rights have predeceased him—probably violently—it’s worse now that Garry Shandling himself has passed away. Shandling’s satire of the ‘90s talk-show wars was like a blend of two shows it greatly influenced, crossing 30 Rock’s inside-show-biz perspective with The Office’s mockumentary cringiness. But let’s not hold it against Shandling that he made Ricky Gervais’s career possible. He also gave a big career boost to Jon Stewart, who, before playing a voice of sanity on the Bush-era Daily Show, played the guest host and potential successor threatening to push Sanders out of the big chair in the show’s All About Eve-esque final seasons (with Sanders attempting to undermine the new kid by slipping him C-list guests), and if he’s not going to be relevant in these turbulent times, he could do worse than to jump back in there for a Netflix sequel.

7. Muhammad Ali

muhammadaliWe skipped over a no-longer-extant name from one of those early WrestleManias, though it’s a mere referee rather than a wrestler: main-event special guest referee Muhammad Ali. He was known a little for his boxing as well, and with respect to the great pugilists who died in 2016, such as Kimbo Slice, Gordie Howe, and the guy who trained Apollo Creed, Ali may have been a hair above them all. In fact, save for adult film star Amber Rayne, no one who died this year was more skilled with their fists than Ali. Ali was for a considerable length of time probably the most famous person on Earth. To try to explain his level of fame, Muhammad Ali was kind of like the Elvis of the sporting world, except with a personality. Imagine if The Rock were to cross over from wrestling to movie stardom to then become president (hey, he’s mused about it, and stranger things have happened). Next to Muhammad Ali, he’s still a chump. Not only was Muhammad Ali the greatest, he was also the second greatest. Everyone else is fighting for third place. There’s a golden plaque traveling to the outer cosmos attached to the space probe Voyager 1 with a picture of Muhammad Ali as the archetypal example of a human, and if that isn’t true, it ought to be.

6. Zsa Zsa Gabor

zsazsagaborThree notorious man-eaters met their end in 2016: a great white shark that killed an Australian surfer, a tiger that killed three Indian villagers, and Zsa Zsa Gabor. You can tell a lot about Zsa Zsa by the other women in the lives of her many husbands. One of said husbands invented the Barbie and Chatty Cathy dolls; another was great-grandfather of the equally lifelike if less articulate Paris Hilton. Yet another went on to have a decade-long affair with Anna Nicole Smith. And yet another went on to briefly marry Zsa Zsa’s older sister, Magda, after which he quite understandably began drinking heavily and killed himself. She also had a husband in common with her great rival in serial monogamy, Elizabeth Taylor, the above-mentioned Conrad Hilton. (This makes him sort of the Ian McKellen of his time: He made all-too-brief appearances in two of the great Hollywood franchises, alternately playing the part of a lord of the rings and an ex-man.) But, enough of her husbands, as Zsa Zsa herself frequently said. Zsa Zsa was more than a Larry Sanders Show C-list guest, and she was far more than, say, a mere Eastern European beauty queen turned wife to a billionaire hotelier and stepmother to his son, Barron (though she was all those things, at one time). She was also, for instance, someone who once escaped life under a Nazi regime. And she was, to many in 2016, an aspirational figure who lived out the American dream—as an immigrant, no less!—of bitch-slapping a traffic cop without getting summarily executed and having evidence planted on her. If John Lennon were alive, he’d have to add a verse to “Imagine” about that.

5. Fidel Castro

fidelcastroRemembered as the Cuban revolutionary leader whose face doesn’t adorn T-shirts and dorm-room posters, Fidel Castro is thus barely remembered by the younger set at all, except maybe as the guy who stole the trillion dollar bill from Mr. Burns. But this guy was a big deal. On one hand, he was an authoritarian strongman who clamped down on free speech, denied America’s greatness and allied himself with Russia, and brought the world closer to nuclear war. On the other, he championed universal education and health care for his people. So we can all agree half that stuff sounds pretty good, anyway. He also made an enemy of the CIA, which no one in his right mind wants to do. Where the CIA successfully assassinated that other great Caribbean revolutionary—Bob Marley—Castro constantly survived the intelligence agency’s attempts to remove him: the exploding cigar, the booby-trapped conch shell, the tunnel entrance painted onto the side of a desert cliff. Yet, he hung on for nearly six decades after the 1959 coup by which he seized power, the most infamous show of force against an unpopular leader named Bautista¹ until Roughned Odor’s brawl-inciting sucker punch in the final Rangers/Jays game of the 2016 season. Speaking of baseball, Castro was supposedly no slouch as a pitcher, although he was obviously far more effective as a left-wing political figure, making him sort of a Mirror Universe Curt Schilling. Could he have been a more successful video game developer than Curt Schilling, in another life? Yes, but that’s true of everyone on this list.

4. Nancy Reagan

nancyreaganParticularly after the Zsa Zsa Gabor entry, it feels wrong to define the only other woman² on this list by her spouse(s), but not only is this inevitable for a First Lady, it’s also how Nancy Reagan defined herself. Following her “meet-cute” with future president Ronald Reagan, in which she enlisted his help to avoid blacklisting due to the Red Scare, the then-actress selflessly decided to put her undistinguished onscreen career on hold in favour of helping him chase political power. (The scurrilous rumors, publicized in Kitty Kelley’s unauthorized biography, of her much more distinguished offscreen career as the reigning blowjob queen of Hollywood shall not be dignified here.) As his First Lady, she was technically his Second Lady because of his previous marriage to fellow actress Jane Wyman (ironically, a registered Republican who left him over political differences when he was still a Democrat, which is still only the second-biggest marital mistake by someone named Wyman, thanks to Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman somehow becoming his own step-grandfather-in-law without the aid of time travel). Nevertheless, she hearkens back to an era when the First Lady was actually the wife of the president rather than some other female blood relation, although Ronald often called her “Mommy” for some gross reason. Known to the public (and a chortling Kitty Kelley) for the phrase “Just Say No,” Nancy Reagan was also known for her tireless advocacy for stem-cell research following her husband’s diagnosis for Alzheimer’s. A cynic might wonder why she deserves so much praise for only doing good on an issue that personally affected her, but then again, she personally refused to help close friend Rock Hudson get potentially life-saving treatment when he was dying of AIDS, so she’s above reproach, really.

3. Gene Wilder

genewilderWhether it’s due to the human brain’s natural inclination toward pattern seeking or because Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, the psychiatrist who proposed the five stages of grief, was one of a set of identical triplets, death is said to follow a rule of threes. (So is comedy, which is no coincidence to those who regard the two as the same thing.) Three times five equals fifteen stages of grief, which sounds about right to describe the collective mourning of a trio of fey, puckish imps. There was Gene Wilder, the eccentric fudge-packer who ruled the Oompa-Loompas. And there was Prince, the tiny elfin sex god. And there was David Bowie, the bisexual alien rock star and goblin king. But let’s get back to Wilder. Oh, the guy who played Condescending Wonka died? you say. Please tell me more. First, stop being a jackass. And second, sure. For starters, he was more than a wearisome internet meme. He also starred in Blazing Saddles, about titans of industry enriching themselves at the expense of small-town Americans by exploiting their racism. And The Producers, about a fraudulent scheme involving a theatrical “love letter to Hitler.” And Young Frankenstein, about the creation of an imbecilic monster with poor impulse control. While these old-fashioned and far-fetched premises may seem to have little to offer the American public in 2016, they had some pretty good dick and fart jokes.

2. Prince

princeAnd now, dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to talk about the artist called Prince—or, as he is once again properly called, The Artist Formerly Known As Prince. The flamboyantly coy androgyne known by an unpronounceable symbol came to an unspeakably early end, dying at a mere 57 years of age when it was assumed he’d rule in funky purple splendor over his court of session musicians and vaults of musical treasure at Paisley Park for centuries. He was as insanely competitive as he was ludicrously gifted (and not just at music; The Chappelle Show understated his gifts as a basketball player and trash-talker, if anything, and he regarded himself as the Serena Williams of ping-pong). He slept with—and feuded with—Madonna, because of course they did. He fist-fought Sinéad O’Connor. He dismissed George Michael as “ain’t shit.”³ He refused Michael Jackson’s offer to sing “Bad” as a duet because of the line “Your butt is mine.” Prince demanded that the world know that he owned our asses. So he did, and yet, beneficent ruler that he was, he returned the gift, shaking that skinny little thing for the world like the sexy motherfucker that he was.

And now we come to the final entry, the deadest person of the year. And look, a lot of people died this year. Narrowing it down to the deadest was no easy task. Each of the nine listed above battled stiff competition to make it into the top ten. But which stiff could make it into the final spot? John Glenn? Glen Frey? Glenn from The Walking Dead? Or is it someone else that you’ve already guessed? In the end, the choice was clear.

1. Harambe

harambeWith apologies to David Bowie, the one dead person this year who truly gave people the permission to be first weird and then tedious was Harambe, the dead gorilla turned dead horse. After his death in a wild gunfight at the Cincinnati Zoo, the late silverback became comedy gold to an internet still mourning a certain supercilious chocolatier. The instantly tiresome meme became so popular that the zoo was forced to delete its social media (RIP to the Most Dead Twitter Account of 2016), and Harambe at one point actually polled ahead of Green party candidate Jill Stein as a write-in candidate in the US presidential election.

Well, hold on. That’s kind of interesting. Could Harambe actually have become president, had he lived? At first, obviously the answer is no, he was just a gorilla. But the rules merely state that the president must be a natural-born citizen over the age of 35. Let’s take that in parts. First, he was definitely natural-born. Despite the conspiracies that doubtlessly would have sprung up about his African ancestry, he was born in Brownsville, Texas, so despite his funny name, he was not only American but a red-stater at that. But was Harambe a citizen? Whereas citizenship and political participation were once exclusive to white males in the US, the franchise has been gradually extended, and now that the movement to grant legal personhood to non-human great apes is gaining steam, who knows? It would have been up to the courts. Lastly, Harambe was barely 17, an ideal age to be gawked at as a Miss Teen USA contestant, but far too young to be US president, right? But that’s in human years. As gorilla life expectancy is only 35 to 40 years, compared to humanity’s threescore and ten, they get two-for-one credit. By Inauguration Day, Harambe would have been nearly 17 years and 8 months old in human years, or 35 years and four months in gorilla years. So, yes, it’s possible that Harambe could have become president, had he not been assassinated.

The question is, in a year when Western democracy seemed so fundamentally broken as to allow “Boaty McBoatface” to win a poll to name a new UK research vessel, would enough dummies have been rushing to back a brutish, surly, low-browed, semi-intelligent primate accustomed to putting down challengers to his alpha status using only monosyllabic bluster, primitive displays of dominance, and sheer sexual aggression? We may never know.

¹Close enough.
²And this wouldn’t even be a problem if Carrie Fisher hadn’t suffered a heart attack on a transatlantic flight just before the end of 2016 (the lousy prequel to the death of her mother, Debbie Reynolds, the following day). You knew Fisher would be carried off an airplane someday; you just figured she’d be screaming and spitting. Her death caused a great disturbance in the Force and an even greater disturbance in this top-ten ranking.
³George Michael, for his part, lived long enough to dismiss Prince as “ain’t alive” before he went-went to his eternal reward on December 25, the “Last Christmas” headlines his final gift to us.

One headlight


I stopped at the day care a couple of days ago and ran into my neighbor, who was loading his son into his car. “How are you?” he asked as I got out of my car and yelped as an arc of electricity jumped from the door to my finger.

“Ow! Goddamnit!” I quipped.

“Heh,” he said. “Winter. Hey, did you know your headlight’s out?”

Well, I was floored. I’d been so smug. I judge people who drive around with one headlight burned out. Get your life together, I’d always mentally sneered. You look like a damn motorcycle.

I got my son and put him in the car. He noticed the burned-out light quickly, since we often like to play a game where I switch on my high-beams in the eyes of oncoming drivers. “Don’t worry,” I assured him, “we can make it home on one headlight,” which was the start of two consecutive days with that Wallflowers song stuck in my head.

That aside, I found that I actually kind of liked driving around with only one headlight. I think it made me look crazy. I imagined that other cars gave me more room, so as to avoid whatever the unpredictable lunatic might do next. It was better than urinating in your pants on public transit, which a lot of things are, but it was both similar and better, by virtue of not taking place on public transit.

Still, I thought I’d better get it taken care of on the weekend. I thought often while driving of an old high-school classmate who’d gotten his eye poked out while fencing with ski poles, and concluded two things:

First, if you were that guy, wouldn’t you go right out and get glasses even if you had perfect vision in the remaining eye, just to protect it? A monocle, at least? I would.

And second, this is why you have two eyes and why car-makers give you two headlights, so that you have a backup. But assuming both were installed at the same time, they’d tend to stop working around the same time. (I’m still talking about both headlights and eyes here, which reminds me that for years, my wife has been boasting about her “more than perfect” 20:10 vision only to discover that she now needs glasses. I was pretty smug about this for a while, but now she lies in bed and holds her phone at arm’s length to read it, jamming it into the side of my body.)

The point is that I’m getting increasingly paranoid, and Jakob Dylan’s continued assurances are no longer working. So I want to take care of it post-haste.

My blind wife said that since I need an oil change anyway, I could just get them to put a new headlight for about a ten-dollar service fee. But on the other hand, my neighbor had said that it was easy to do yourself, and you could look at a YouTube video to see how to do it, which costs less than ten dollars. And it’s not like I’m not handy with cars. A few weeks ago, I changed the winter tires and my left wrist almost doesn’t hurt anymore from torquing the lug nuts. And just the other day, I cleaned all the windows with a squeegee at the gas station. And I have to open the hood of the car to put some winter windshield washer fluid in there anyway, so while I’m in there, how much harder can it be to swap out a simple electrical automotive part?

Well, quite a bit harder, according to some forum posts I read. “Well, this is quite a bit harder than you’d think,” said some posts. “Why would they make it this way? It almost seems like they want you to come into the dealership so they can charge you an exorbitant amount of money to perform what should be a simple task.” Other posters complained about their hands getting all scratched up in the process of changing a headlamp. “Ow,” commented one poster. “Goddamnit.”

That’s not good, I thought, because my hands are my fortune. I used a few of my million-dollar fingers to type in “YouTube” and some car-related words and found the video my neighbor had promised. I watched in increasing dismay as the guy in the video went through a simple process of unlocking a complex sequence of clips and bolts, removing the bumper, and bleeding profusely. But what made up my mind conclusively was that the video started during broad daylight, and then midway through, there was a jump cut, and then it picked up again at dusk. Now, the video itself only lasted about five minutes, but I suspect there was some Hollywood magic taking place there.

So, here’s my pro tip: If you watch a how-to video, and it goes from day to night over the course of it, hire a pro.



Forty two. The answer, according to Douglas Adams, to life, the universe, and everything. And also the answer to the question “What age do stupid losers not get to live to?” Because now that I’m there, let me tell you, I’ve buried a lot of losers. The list just keeps getting longer and longer, the same way their lives don’t. Sad!

Let’s start by giving out a little credit here. Big Boss Man, 41 is a pretty venerable age for a professional wrestler, especially a Southern fried three hundred pounder. Remember the time your wife left the room for a minute and, in the brief time it took her to return, you just sat there on the couch and died? Classic rib. And remember that angle where you crashed the funeral of The Big Show’s father and tore around the cemetery with the casket chained to the back of the Bluesmobile? Your own funeral was just like that, and you can’t tell me otherwise.

And you, Nate Dogg, you almost made it to six in Dogg years, so don’t feel that bad. Losing to Young MC on a rap-themed edition of The Weakest Link, though? That you should feel bad about.

Patrice O’Neal, you shouldn’t feel that bad, either. You almost made it to 42, just like you almost became famous. Given your almost-breakout performance as a Comedy Central roaster, the easy joke is to say that you’re now roasting in hell, but the fact is that your final and best-known TV appearance was with Charlie Sheen, Mike Tyson, and Dog the Bounty Hunter, so yes, that is its own special kind of eternal punishment.

And you, Kirsty MacColl, you were more than just a tremendous voice. You were, in the words of Shane MacGowan in “Fairytale of New York,” an old slut on junk, lying there almost dead on a drip in that bed (much like Terri Schaivo, who also died at 41 but at least far outlived then-governor Jeb Bush’s presidential hopes). Hmm. I got a little off track there. Let’s try again: You, Kirsty MacColl, you were more than just a tremendous voice. Why, Morrissey, of all people, thought you had a great rack, paying tribute to your “crackin’ bust” in the liner notes of your greatest hits album. Of course, in the end, old Moz wasn’t the one who actually motorboated you.

Wow, that was a boner killer. And speaking of which, there’s you, Andrew Koenig. I assume that, much like Playboy Playmate Julie McCullough, your “Boner” nickname was too sexually provocative for Kirk Cameron. After you did go on to play an apparently decent Joker in a critically acclaimed Batman fan film. Isn’t it sad that both you (dim-witted teenage sitcom sidekick turned comic book character) and Kirk Cameron (born-again Christian turned straight-to-video star) basically add up to one Willie “Bibleman” Aames? Yes, it’s sad, for everyone.

What about you, computer science pioneer Alan Turing, you nerd? What is the Turing test, anyway? Something about encountering a fatal error involving an apple? If the Turing test involves living to 42, you definitely fail.

And how about about that Northern Calloway, who was the beloved character David in the Sesame Street neighborhood and a not-so-beloved character in the suburbs of Nashville, where he went on a glass-smashing rampage clad only in a Superman T-shirt after viciously beating a woman with an iron rod? Of course, he wasn’t so beloved on Sesame Street either, after biting a musical director, stalking a teenage castmate and proposing to her at her high school, and going even crazier after they wouldn’t let him fake-marry Maria on the show. After his well-overdue firing, rather than give a frank accounting of his absence as had been done with the late Mr. Hooper, Sesame Street literally explained his disappearance by sending him off to “live on a farm” like a dead pet. The book Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street says, however, that he died of a massive heart attack during a struggle with psychiatric hospital staff. Well, how about that Northern Calloway! I’m actually coming around a bit on this madman.

You know who no one cares about now, though? You, Louis XIII of France and Charles XI of Sweden. Kings? Once. Now? Chumps. But you, Richard I of England, aka “Lionheart,” at least Jean-Claude Van Damme cares about you. Enough to lift your nickname for one of his series of identical films about doing the splits and kicking guys in the face, at least. But that just makes me wish you’d been nicknamed Richard the Timecop or Richard the Cyborg or Richard the Universal Soldier. Of course, your nickname in Occitan, which you actually spoke instead of English, was Oc e No, (“Yes and No”), supposedly because of your reputation for terseness but really because it’s the answer to the question “Were you really any good as a king?”

I bet you never saw your death coming, Jeff Healey. All the chicken wire in the world can’t protect you from … heart cancer? That’s a thing? Well, at least you did something original, you glorified cover band hack. Did they hire you to play at the Double Deuce because you could grunt out turds in both blues and jazz styles? Hey, did you even know you had a mullet?

Hey, Jane Austen, it is a truth universally acknowledged that you wrote the part of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies that was super-boring. That movie bombed hard, too. Maybe it should have contained a rotting corpse who people were actually happy to see dead, likeoh, I don’t knowyou.

Ugh. I’m getting bored. You people all bore me. You, Mata Hari, Margeaux Hemingway, Paula Yates, Eric Carr, Neal Cassady, Louis Riel, and Anne of Clevesyou’re all just so stupid and dead and boring. And you’re never going to get any more interesting, and you’re never going to get to be 42. Or will you? Here’s an interesting fact: The number 42 is considered unlucky in Japanese culture because the numerals sound like “unto death.” So I guess you losers do get to be 42, in a way. A bad way!

Wow, you suck!

Many things came to an end in 2015. Our impression of British prime minister David Cameron as someone who probably hasn’t fucked a dead pig, for example. NBC anchorman Brian Williams’ reputation as the most trusted man in America, followed by that of Subway pitchman Jared Fogle. And U2 singer Bono’s ability to play guitar, following a bicycle accident (so the news isn’t all bad). And, as usual, many, many lives. But it just so happens that there’s a big difference between dead and the most dead.

10. Leonard Nimoy

“Of all the souls I have encountered in my travels, his was the most … human,” James Kirk once said, viciously roasting his dead best friend with stinging insult comedy. Known for appearing on Mission: Impossible, In Search of…, and the Canadian five-dollar bill, Leonard Nimoy was of course best known as Mr. Spock, the pointed-eared hobgoblin science officer on Star Trek. He became an icon for this role, and contributed much to Star Trek lore, inventing the Vulcan salute, which he adapted from a Jewish priestly blessing, as well as the Vulcan Death Grip, which he adapted from a forceful teenage masturbatory technique. Generations of children who grew up on the reruns loved him like a cold and distant father, and if you understandably got a little emotional over his death, just remember, he wouldn’t have wanted that. Instead, let’s hope he placed his katra in Zachary Quinto before he passed on, and get to work on building a Genesis Device to revive him.

9. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper

As usual, many names were crossed off the Alive Wrestlers List, notably including Verne Gagne, Nick Bockwinkel, “The Other Nature Boy” Buddy Landel, and “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. But don’t worry too much about that last one, wrestling fans; as you know, a “Dusty Finish” is an ending that seems definitive, only to then be reversed on a technicality. So let’s talk about “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, aka “Hot Rod,” now aka “Room Temperature Rod.” Roddy Piper was no role model (unless you’re a big, muscular fake Scotsman, like hockey defenceman Douglas Murray or Shrek). He was wildly politically incorrect even in the nakedly racist milieu of 1980s professional wrestling, such as when he painted the right side of his body black like Frank Gorshin in the Star Trek episode “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” to wrestle the biracial “Bad News” Brown. (The bad news for Piper was that the paint wouldn’t come off for a month.) On the other hand, he played the foil in feuds with guys who turned out to be self-centered, disloyal creeps (Hulk Hogan), alleged murderers (Jimmy Snuka), or Juggalos (Greg “The Hammer” Valentine). Just when you think you have all the answers, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper changed the questions, not to mention his vital status.

8. Taylor Negron

Perhaps the reason more people didn’t talk about Taylor Negron that they were scared to say his name in case it was a racial slur. But they should have. He was one of the great henchmen of all time in the underrated The Last Boy Scout as Milo, who looked kind of like a fey Anton Chigurh and was in his own way just as creepy. In addition to being a familiar face during the 1980s stand-up comedy boom, his cousin is the singer from Three Dog Night, he was a frequent guest on The Dating Game even though he was openly gay, and he was so nice that he got along with everyone in Hollywood, even Ben Stiller!

7. Ann Mara/Anne Meara (tie)

Speaking of Ben Stiller, he probably got a lot of mistaken letters of condolence after New York Giants matriarch Ann Mara died, and let’s hope he held on to them for just three months, until the death of his mother, comedian Anne Meara, whom you probably best and incorrectly remember as Seinfeld‘s Estelle Costanza. Maybe it’s a little confusing to lose Ann Mara and Anne Meara so close together—as well as BB King and Ben E. King—but it’s sort of neat and tidy, isn’t it? Like, don’t you sort of hope Dylan McDermott and Dermot Mulroney die in the same car? Or that they crash into Bill Pullman and Bill Paxton? Or that they run over Guy Fieri and the guy from Smash Mouth as they lie down in the middle of the road in some kind of suicide pact? Of course you do.

6. Yogi Berra

The sports world used to be rich in great nicknames. Just to pick from those who left us in 2015, there’s Moses “The Chairman of the Boards” Malone, Darryl “Chocolate Thunder” Dawkins, and Frank “Win One For The” Gifford. But baseball great Lawrence Peter Berra completely lost his given name and was known universally as “Yogi”, a nickname he acquired (and this is true) for his habit of sitting with arms and legs crossed, pouting after losing ball games. And like many mystics (and like Coach from Cheers, who was basically the same guy) he was known for his nonsensical, strangely wise sayings, such as his famous tautology “It ain’t over till it’s over.” “Boy, I hope I never see my name up there,” he once said while watching an in memoriam tribute to dead ball players. “Always go to other people’s funerals,” he advised. “Otherwise they won’t go to yours.” But when asked what he’d like his own epitaph to be, he replied simply, “That’s easy: It’s over.”

5. Robert Z’Dar

Honestly, Robert Z’Dar’s appearance on this list is really just an excuse to print his picture. Just look at this guy. You have to be one weird-looking guy not to have the name “Z’Dar” be the weirdest looking thing on your driver’s license. A sufferer of cherubism—aka Rumer Willis Disease—Z’Dar looked like the model for Family Guy’s Quagmire, or maybe a bloated Steven Seagal, which is really saying something when you think about it.

4. Lois

With the possible exception of John Wayne Gacy, it’s always depressing when a beloved children’s entertainer dies. For instance, the very idea of getting the news about Raffi’s inevitable passing is so terrifying that sometimes you’re afraid to answer the bananaphone when it rings late at night. Although Sharon, Lois & Bram were never the same after Lois Lilienstein retired from touring—arguably, they were finished when food allergy and anaphylaxis-related hysteria forced them to stop performing that “Peanut Butter” song in schools—they were a great influence on generations of schoolchildren, not least in how casually they paved a path for mainstream acceptance of polyamorous lifestyles. Probably there were some tense times where an angry Bram shouted “How about you skinnamarinky don’t, for once, Sharon?!” but for the most part, things seemed pretty hunky-dory among the triad.

3. John Nash

If you never got around to watching A Beautiful Mind in theaters, 2015 was your last chance to see it—splattered all over the windshield of a taxi.

2. Christopher Lee

Pilot. Champion fencer. Heavy metal singer. Englishman.
Just one man can claim to be all of these things, and that’s Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson. But before his death, so too could Sir Christopher Lee. Lee had a fascinating career, onscreen and off. The stories he must have had. Imagine how the star of Hammer’s Dracula films must have bonded with Martin Freeman on the set of The Hobbit, the former spinning tales of starring in a British series about a Godless, hideous, fang-toothed monster, and the latter talking about doing exactly the same thing when he worked with Ricky Gervais. Perhaps best known as the Sith Lord Count Dooku from Star Wars, Lee was part of the great generation of British thespians that also produced Alec “Obi Wan Kenobi” Guinness and Peter “Grand Moff Tarkin” Cushing. Among his other villainous roles were Scaramanga, James Bond’s titular nemesis from The Man with the Golden Gun, as well as a member of the band on the run on the cover of Paul McCartney and Wings’ Band on the Run. You may also remember Lee as the white wizard Saruman of The Lord of the Rings, during the filming of which Lee set Peter Jackson straight about what kind of noise his character should make when fatally stabbed in the back because Lee, a veteran of the Winter War, SAS officer during WWII, and post-war Nazi hunter, knew exactly what that sounds like. If you wanted to know what it sounded like when somebody’s head got chopped off, well, Lee knew that too, having been there for the last public execution by guillotine in France. Lee packed more life into his 93 years than just about anyone, and now that he’s gone, he’s more dead than just about anyone. Just about.

1. Scott Weiland

It all came to an end for one faux-grunge frontman this year. But let’s forget about Bush singer Gavin Rossdale’s marriage; no doubt his wife would like to, after his years of philandering and openly admitting to not liking her music. Speaking of shitty husbands, there’s Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland, who was promptly lionized to a surprising degree, although give Weiland credit for predicting this posthumous adulation way back on the first album; he is smelling like a rose precisely because he’s dead and bloated. History will eventually judge STP accurately, as a competent content generator of grunge-like music, up there with the guys who did Raven’s WCW entrance theme. But where STP were originally written off as fakes and copycats and lamestain cob nobblers, even Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell implicitly endorsed Weiland as a Seattle OG with a rewritten version of his tribute to dead Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood, “Say Hello 2 Heaven” (which officially makes that song the grunge “Candle in the Wind”). It took his ex-wife to remind people that, beyond merely being a charming scamp who’d occasionally get so high he’d accidentally sing an entire concert through a megaphone, Weiland actually really was such a disaster as a husband, father, and human being that maybe Art Alexakis should have been the one writing songs about him. Once dismissed as an Eddie Vedder clone, methadone for Ten addicts, Weiland was really more of another Layne Staley, consuming the heroin of ten addicts, as well as coke, and booze, and MDA, and the patience of everyone around him. The tragic thing about Weiland isn’t that he died so young. It’s that he so vastly outlived his life expectancy.