Saturday, December 31, 2022

Celebrity Deaths 2022 Part Two

As it is every year, Death just can't seem to take a holiday— not even with the pandemic slowing down. Or is it surging again? I honestly can't keep track of it anymore.

Once again Death proved that neither fame nor fortune makes one immune to its icy touch, as so far there've been hundreds of celebrities and public figures who met their makers in 2022. Here's a partial list of the most notable ones who died in the second half of the year.

Note that there were many more high profile celebrity deaths this year than the ones I've listed here. I'm only including the ones I recognize or who had an impact on my life.

James Caan
Died July 6, 2022 at age 82.
Prolific actor who starred in hundreds of films, including Rollerball, Thief, Misery and of course, The Godfather.

He also proved he had a comedic side when he appeared as Buddy The Elf's father in Elf.

Larry Storch
Died July 8, 2022 at age 99 (!).
Best known for his role as Agarn in the 1960s sitcom F Troop. Storch also did numerous voiceover work, including Drac in Groovie Goolies. Amazingly he was still  working well into his 90s!

LQ Jones
Died July 9, 2022 at age 94.
Character actor who starred in The Wild Bunch, Hang 'Em High and The Patriot, among many others.. He also wrote and directed A Boy And His Dog, based on the Harlan Ellison novella.

Ivana Trump
Died July 14, 2022 at age 73.
Proof that the gods have lousy aim, she was once married to a certain Orange Man.

Alan Grant
Died July 20, 2022 at age 73.
Scottish comic book writer who worked on Judge Dredd, as well as a lengthy run on DC's Batman titles.

Paul Coker Jr.
Died July 23, 2022 at age 93.
Artist and illustrator who worked for Hallmark and MAD Magazine.

This one hurts, as I've been a fan of Coker's work since I was a wee lad. He was a huge influence, and to this day you can see a lot of him in my work.

David Warner
Died July 24, 2022 at age 80.
Prolific character actor who starred in hundreds of films, usually playing suave and sophisticated baddies. Much like Vincent Price, Warner could elevate even a subpar film and make it worth watching. 

He appeared in In The Mouth Of Madness, TRON, Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country, Titanic and many, many others.

Paul Sorvino
Died July 25, 2022 at age 83.
Character actor who generally played mobsters or authority figures. Starred in Goodfellas, Nixon and The Rocketeer.

Burt Metcalfe
Died July 27, 2022 at age 87.
Producer of the MASH TV series

Bernard Cribbins
Died July 27, 2022 at age 93.
A staple of British TV for decades. Cribbins was best known in the States as Wilfred Mott, grandfather of Donna Noble on Doctor Who.

Tony Dow
Died July 27, 2022 at age 77.
Best known for playing Wally Cleaver on Leave It To Beaver. Unfortunately there was some confusion about his death, as it was originally reported on the 26th. It turns out he went into hospice care on that date, and died a day later.

Mary Alice
Died July 27, 2022 at age 85.
Actress best known for playing Lettie on 1990s sitcom A Different World.

Nichelle Nichols
Died July 30, 2022 at age 89.
Actress and singer, world famous for playing Lt. Uhura in the original Star Trek. She broke down a ton of racial and gender barriers in the 1960s, by portraying a competent female officer in an era when blacks were relegated to playing servants and women were stuck in housewive roles.

Pat Carroll
Died July 30, 2022 at age 95.
Character actress and comedienne who was on pretty much every sitcom in the 1960s. She also did a lot of voiceover work, starring as Ursula in Disney's The Little Mermaid.

Bill Russell
Died July 31, 2022 at age 88.
Famed basketball player for the Boston Celtics.

Vin Scully
Died August 1, 2022 at age 94.
Famed sportscaster and voice of the Dodgers.

Clu Gulager
Died August 5, 2022 at age 93.
Another character actor with a ton of credits, who started out specializing in westerns. To me though his crowning achievement was starring as Burt in The Return Of The Living Dead.

Olivia Newton-John
Died August 8, 2022 at age 73.
British/Australian singer and actress and four time Grammy winner. She had fifteen top ten singles, including If You Love Me, Let Me Know, Have You Ever Been Mellow and of course Physical.

Gene Lebell
Died August 9, 2022 at age 89.
American stuntman and actor.

According to legend, during the filming of Under Siege, Steven Seagal bragged to Lebell that he could escape from any chokehold, no matter how strong. Lebell allegedly asked if he'd like to prove it, and Seagal agreed. Lebell supposedly got Seagall into position and instructed him to let him know when he was ready. At the signal, Lebell applied the chokehold to Seagall and instantly turned his lights out. Seagall then collapsed as he pissed and shit himself.

It's one of those infamous Hollywood stories that's probably apocryphal, but I really hope it's true.

Anne Heche
Died August 11, 2022 at age 53.
Died from injuries sustained in a traffic accident while driving coked out of her mind.

Wolfgang Petersen
Died August 12, 2022 at age 81.
German movie director, who helmed Das Boot and The Neverending Story. Wow, now THAT'S a diverse resume!

Tom Palmer
Died August 18, 2022 at age 81.
Prolific comic book inker, notable for The Tomb Of Dracula, Batman, The Avengers and many other titles.

Mikhail Gorbachev
Died August 30, 2022 at age 91.
Russian president in the 1980s, and Nobel Prize winner.

Peter Straub
Died September 4, 2022 at age 79.
Popular horror novelist in the 1970s, who wrote Julia and Ghost Story. He also collaborated with Stephen King on The Talisman and Black House.

Queen Elizabeth II
Died September 8, 2022 at age 96.
So much was written about her death that there's nothing more to add, other than she was the longest reigning British monarch.

Jean-Luc Godard
Died September 13, 2022 at age 91.
Avant-garde film director who helmed such films as Breathless, My Life To Live and Contempt (none of which I've ever seen). Died by assisted suicide, and who could blame him?

Louise Fletcher
Died September 25, 2022 at age 88.
Oscar winning actress who played Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, and Kai Winn in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Died October 28, 2022 at age 59.
Artis Leon Ivey Jr., better known as Coolio, was a Grammy winning rapper famous for Gangsta's Paradise.

Sacheen Littlefeather
Died October 2, 2022 at age 75.
Littlefeather was a Native American civil rights activist, who's sole claim to fame was appearing at the 1973 Academy Awards, where she famously 
declined Marlon Brando's Oscar at his request.

Loretta Lynn
Died October 4, 2022 at age 90.
Prolific Country music pioneer best known for her song Coal Miner's Daughter.

Judy Tenuta
Died October 6, 2022 at age 72.
Offbeat comedian who generally performed with an accordion slung around her neck. As part of her act she'd dress as
 a gauzy "Love Goddess," but spoke in a guttural Bronx accent and spoke of her religion called "Judy-ism."

Her humor wasn't for everyone, but I thought she was funny.

Austin Stoker
Died October 7, 2022 at age 92.
Actor best known for his role in Assault On Precinct 13.

Ann Flood
Died October 7, 2022 at age 87.
Star of 1960s soap The Edge Of Night, which I used to watch with my Granny!

Angela Lansbury
Died October 11, 2022 at age 96.
Celebrated movie, TV and stage star, best known for her roles in The Manchurian Candidate and Murder She Wrote. Lansbury was knighted and became a Dame in 2014.

Robbie Coltraine
Died October 14, 2022 at age 72.
Scottish actor who starred in hundreds of films, but was likely best known for playing Hagrid in the Harry Potter movies.

Ron Masak
Died October 20, 2022 at age 86.
Staple of TV sitcoms in the 1970s and 1980s.

Leslie Jordan
Died October 24, 2022 at age 67.
Actor/comedian best known for his role as Beverly Leslie on Will & Grace.

Jules Bass
Died October 25, 2022 at age 87.
One half of Rankin/Bass Productions, who produced dozens of animated Christmas classics such as Frosty The Snowman, Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town and of course, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Jerry Lee Lewis
Died October 28, 2022 at age 87.
Best known for his song Great Balls Of Fire. Oh, and for marrying his cousin when he was twenty two and she was all of thirteen.

Kevin O'Neill
Died November 7, 2022 at age 69.
Comic book artist who illustrated The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Marshall Law and many others. He had an offbeat, frenetic style that I liked.

Carlos Pacheco
Died November 9, 2022 at age 60.
Spanish comic artist who worked for numerous Marvel books, including Avengers Forever, X-Men: Legacy and Fantastic Four.

Kevin Conroy
Died November 10, 2022 at age 66.
Actor and talented voice artist, best known for voicing Batman in Batman: The Animated Series in the 1990s.

Gallagher (real name Leo Anthony Gallagher Jr.)
Died November 11, 2022 at age 76.
Stand up comic who gained fame by smashing watermelons onstage with a large wooden mallet. 

Few knew that Gallagher was actually quite talented at wordplay and observational humor, as sadly he became pigeonholed by the watermelon shtick. 

Robert Clary
Died November 16, 2022 at age 96 )!_.
Best known for playing French POW Corporal LeBeau on Hogan's Heroes.

Amazingly Clary actually spent time in a real concentration camp. In 1942 he and his family (who were Jews) were transported to a Nazi camp in Ottmuth. Clary was later sent to the Buchenwald camp, where he began entertaining the SS soldiers as a means of survival. 

Sadly he and three other siblings were the only members of his family to survive the Holocaust.

Jason David Frank
Died November 19, 2022 at age 49.
Actor & martial artist, best known for playing Tommy Oliver— the Green Ranger (and later on the White Ranger) on Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers

Sadly Frank died by suicide, allegedly after a bitter divorce from his ex wife.

Greg Bear
Died November 19, 2022 at age 71.
Noted Science fiction author.

Mickey Kuhn
Died November 20, 2022 at age 90.
Child actor and last surviving cast member of Gone With The Wind!

Irene Cara
Died November 25, 2022 at age 63.
Actress & singer who starred in Fame and sang the hit Flashdance... What A Feeling.

Albert Pyun
Died November 26, 2022 at age 69.
Prolific B-movie director, who helmed such so-bad-they're-good films as The Sword And The Sorcerer, Nemesis, Cyborg and a pre Marvel Studios Captain America.

Christine McVie
Died November 30, 2022 at age 79.
Singer/songwriter and member of Fleetwood Mac.

Bob McGrath
Died December 4, 2022 at age 90.
Actor & singer who starred on Sesame Street for many years.

Kirstie Alley
Died December 5, 2022 at age 71.
Actress best known for her role as Saavik in Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, and as Rebecca Howe on Cheers.

Alley was also a prominent Scientologist. Sadly, her views became more and more extreme in her later years, as she became a right-wing, anti-vax conspiracy theory nutjob.

Angelo Badalamenti
Died December 11, 2022 at age 85.
Composer who scored many of David Lynch's films and projects, including Twin Peaks.

Stuart Margolin
Died December 12, 2022 at age 82.
You may not know the name, but if you watched TV at all in the 1970s you'll recognize his face. Margolin was a prolific character actor who guest starred on virtually every TV show in the 1970s.

Died December 29, 2022 at age 82.
Arguably the world's most famous soccer (aka football) player, and world champion in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

Ruggero Deodato
Died December 29, 2022 at age 83.
Italian film director, best known for helming the infamous Cannibal Holocaust.

Barbara Walters
Died December 30, 2022 at age 93 (!).
Pioneer of American journalism and broadcasting, who became the first female co-anchor of a nightly network news program.

Walters was known primarily for her interview style, which consisted of provocative questions. She famously asked Dolly Parton if her breasts were real, and queried Barbra Streisand about why she didn't get a nose job. 

Her most famous question (supposedly to Katherine Hepburn) was "If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?" was largely apocryphal. Hepburn stated she was strong and resilient like a tree, and Walters simply asked her "what kind?"

I was shocked to find out she was 93, as I had no idea she was that old. I've been watching her on TV my entire life though, so it checks out.

Pope Benedict XVI
Died December 31, 2022 at age 95.
Served as Pope from 2005 to 2013.

According to rumor, as part of the death ritual his fellow clergymen have to gather around his body, shout his name three times and then tap him on the head with silver hammer to confirm he's really dead.

Good Riddance To Bad Rubbish, 2022 Edition!

It's that time again, when we all say a welcome "Good Riddance" to the current corn-studded turd of a year.

Here's just a sampling of the treats 2022 had in store for us:

• Vladamir Putin ordered his Russian troops to invade Ukraine. Fortunately the Ukrainians have put up quite the resistance, but... they shouldn't have had to.

• Covid cases continued to kill thousands across the country, while an indifferent public simply shrugged.

• Our shithole of a planet tried its best to wipe us out with hurricanes, tropical storms, tornadoes, quakes, heat waves, blizzards and more. This is not a nice planet.

• Monkey Pox cases began soaring.

• There were over 600 mass shootings, causing our leaders to wring their hands and offer thoughts and prayers, but no definitive action.

• Putin threatens nuclear war when his invasion doesn't go the way he wanted (bring it on, I say).

• The Supreme Court decided they were in charge of the country, and overturned Roe vs. Wade.

• Gas prices soared to record highs.

• Inflation rose across the country, hitting food prices in particular.

• Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated. 

• Queen Elizabeth II died, allowing Charles to become king.

• England went through THREE prime ministers in just two months.

• It was revealed that trump stole thousands of top secret documents from the White House and flung them into a closet in Mar-A-Lago. Much was made of this highly illegal and possibly treasonous action, but as usual, he faced zero consequences.

• trump announced he was running for president again, proving we really are living in the darkest timeline. That f*cking orange asshole's like a bad rash that just won't go away.

• Elon Musk did his best to become a second-rate Bond villain, much to the world's annoyance and boredom.

• Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars, and we had to hear about it every day for the next three months.

• Marvel Studios did their level best to destroy the MCU that they spent ten years creating.

• The world population topped an astonishing 8 BILLION people, which is just way too goddamned many.

Whew! And that's all just off the top of my head! I'm sure there were even more atrocities I've thankfully pushed from my mind.

It's an exercise in futility, but I'm gonna say it again— let's hope 2023 is a better year for us all.

Friday, December 30, 2022

R.I.P. Boss From The Eighth Circle of Hell

Back in the 1990s I worked as a graphic designer at a marketing agency, for a rather colorful Boss. A Boss who knew little or nothing about the design process, and whose every move and decision made all our jobs that much harder. A Boss who came preloaded with so many outrageous quirks and bizarre character traits that it seemed like he stepped off the set of a hackneyed sitcom.

I wrote a series of posts years ago, outlining just a few of my experiences with this Boss— mostly as blog content, but also in an attempt to exorcise him from my psyche.

Alas, I was informed that the Colorful Boss died this past November.

I'm honestly not sure I feel about that. I guess I'm as saddened as I am about the death of any fellow human, but... dear lord, this was without a doubt the most annoying man I've ever encountered. Everything about him exasperated me— his personality, his managerial style, his mannerisms, his way of dressing and of course his voice. His horrible, grating voice that started droning the second he entered the building and never stopped until he left.

I once realized he was somehow annoying me even while sitting completely still and not saying anything. It was like his head was broadcasting "annoying waves," that only I could pick up. He was physically and mentally exhausting to be around.

And against all logic and reason his company is still around and fairly successful, despite his insane ideas and clueless management. The only way that's possible is if he made a pact with Satan, who finally came to collect his due a couple months ago.

Anyway, in honor of the Colorful Boss, here're the links to the posts I wrote about him. Enjoy my pain:



And lastly, a special Bonus Boss From The Eighth Circle Of Hell Tale that I just remembered:

Back In the 1990s I worked as a graphic designer at a marketing company, for a rather colorful Boss. This was a man who came up in the 1960s, long before office computers and desktop publishing were a thing.

One day he came tearing out of the accountant's office, screaming at the top of his lungs, "Watch out, everyone! Tammy's got a fungus on her computer! Don't get anywhere around her!"

Of course he meant she had a virus on her computer. One that none of us designers were in any danger of catching, since Tammy had a PC and we all worked on Macs. Yet the Colorful Boss was convinced he was going to have to get her computer disinfected and fumigate her office, to prevent the spread of her deadly electronic fungus.

Seriously, that really happened.

Just In Time For Grift-Mas UPDATE!

A couple weeks ago I posted that former president donald trump was teasing a "MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT," which inexplicably turned out to be a set of NFT digital trading cards (!). Naturally the cards featured his favorite subject— him, natch— in various preposterous poses and outfits.

Against all logic and reason, all 45,000 of these "exclusive" cards sold out in just twenty four hours, netting him over $5 million bucks— confirming many pundits' suspicions that this was all part of some elaborate money laundering scam.

Jesus wept.

Ah, but it gets better!

In my original post I noted there was something off about the cards, as they all had a weird plastic sheen to them, as if they were generated by one of those AI programs that are all the rage right now. You know, the ones where you type in "trump as a superhero" and some algorithm spits out a reasonable facsimile of your request. 

Turns out it's actually worse than that!

To absolutely no one's surprise, most of the "art" seen in trumps trading cards appears to have been stolen from copyrighted images.

For example, this ridiculous shot of trump as a cowboy appears to have been taken from a duster found on both Amazon and Walmart's websites. You can tell because the creases on the right arm and left body are identical. Someone just copied the jacket to their desktop, recolored it in Photoshop and crudely pasted trump's noggin on top of it.

Same goes for this absurd image of him as a hunter. The torso and lower legs (again with identical folds and creases) were nabbed from an online catalog.

And this astonishing image of him as an astronaut was lifted from NASA's website and altered a bit.

Then there's THIS incredibly amateurish shot of trump in a tuxedo, which was stolen from the Men's Warehouse site.

Paying for clipart and using it in a project is perfectly fine— that's what it's for. But swiping images from online stores, as was clearly done here is a different matter altogether. It's a clear copyright violation and an all around sleazy move by someone who should know better.

Jaysis. Has this two-bit conman EVER been involved in any venture that wasn't at least partially illegal or criminal?

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