EppsNet Archive: Death

Gabriel García Márquez, 1927-2014

19 Apr 2014 /
Gabriel García Márquez

Gabriel García Márquez, the influential, Nobel Prize-winning author of “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and “Love in the Time of Cholera,” has died, his family and officials said.

He was 87.

CNN reported the death of García Márquez with more or less equal weightiness as the following “top stories”:

I didn’t cherry-pick those stories, by the way. They were all listed as Top Stories on CNN.com.

CNN is a “serious” news outlet. García Márquez’s death was also reported in the “popular” media, amongst reality show updates, celebrity pregnancies and Kardashians.

Orwell wrote about a society in which books are banned. As it turns out, there’s no need to ban books because no one has any interest in reading one. We’re drowning in a sea of trivia.

RIP Gabriel García Márquez


More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of

9 Apr 2014 /

People who hijack the occasion of another person’s death to offer up long-winded tributes – to themselves:

“My fondest memory of the deceased is the time many years ago when he fixed me with his penetrating gaze and, in that intense manner of speaking he had that brooked no dissension, he told me how great I am. What an inspiring moment! Blah blah blah . . . me me me . . .”

Thank you, Professor Pompous.

Stuck in India - Humayun's Tomb


Let it Bleed

3 Apr 2014 /
Hemophiliac (album)

Hemophiliac (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At my piano lesson tonight, I noticed what looked like a streak of blood on one of the keys. The next thing I noticed was that the tip of my right index finger was bleeding — apparently a paper cut from a sheet of music, although I didn’t feel anything at the time.

I didn’t want to ruin the piano so I stopped playing and tried to get everything cleaned up.

I asked my teacher, “If you’re playing a concert and you start bleeding, what should you do? Just keep going?”

“Yes.”

“What if in addition to being a pianist, you’re also a hemophiliac and you might die? Would that alter your advice?”

“Are you a hemophiliac?”

“Fortunately, no.”


At Any Rate, That Is Happiness

1 Apr 2014 /
Field of pumpkins at harvest time

Nothing happened. I did not expect anything to happen. I was something that lay under the sun and felt it, like the pumpkins, and I did not want to be anything more. I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness: to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep.

— Willa Cather, My Antonia

EppsNet Book Reviews: Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

29 Mar 2014 /

Richard Yates poses the question of how much reality people can stand, and the answer he comes up with is “not very much.” Alternatives to facing reality head-on are explored in Revolutionary Road: avoidance, denial, alcoholism, insanity and death.

Some excerpts:

“You want to play house you got to have a job. You want to play very nice house, very sweet house, you got to have a job you don’t like. Great. This is the way ninety-eight-point-nine per cent of the people work things out, so believe me buddy you’ve got nothing to apologize for. Anybody comes along and says ‘Whaddya do it for?’ you can be pretty sure he’s on a four-hour pass from the State funny-farm; all agreed.”

 

And all because, in a sentimentally lonely time long ago, she had found it easy and agreeable to believe whatever this one particular boy felt like saying, and to repay him for that pleasure by telling easy, agreeable lies of her own, until each was saying what the other most wanted to hear — until he was saying “I love you” and she was saying “Really, I mean it; you’re the most interesting person I’ve ever met.”

People’s inability to absorb large, unfiltered doses of reality probably explains why New Yorker fiction editor Roger Angell wrote to Yates’s agent in 1981, “It seems clearer and clearer that his kind of fiction is not what we’re looking for. I wonder if it wouldn’t save a lot of time and disappointment in the end if you and he could come to the same conclusion.”

And why at the time of his death in 1992, all of Yates’ books were out of print.

Rating: 5 stars


Death Row Headlines We’d Like to See

19 Mar 2014 /

I saw this headline on MSN News this morning:

Texas Set to Execute Aspiring Rapper

Here’s an undated photo of the musical murderer:

Ray Jasper

Ray Jasper

The fact that he was an aspiring rapper seems comically irrelevant to the fact that he was convicted of slitting a man’s throat — which didn’t kill him — and then stabbing him — which did.

Some future Death Row headlines we might expect to see from MSN:

  • Texas Set to Execute Aspiring Comic with 37 Twitter Followers
  • Texas Set to Execute Amateur Banjo Player
  • Texas Set to Execute Man With Irritating Laugh

Geoff Edwards, 1931-2014

6 Mar 2014 /

Geoff Edwards

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Geoff Edwards, the hip-looking 1970s and ’80s host of TV game shows including “Jackpot!” and two incarnations of “Treasure Hunt” died Wednesday, his agent said. He was 83.

“Geoff was one of the cleverest, funniest radio and television personalities I’ve worked with,” said fellow game show host Wink Martindale. The two were DJs at pop radio station KMPC in Los Angeles.

Shocking, shocking news . . . Wink Martindale is still alive?!

RIP Geoff Edwards


Another Reason I Stopped Meeting Women on Craigslist

17 Feb 2014 /

http://nation.time.com/2014/02/16/craigslist-killer-satanic-cult/?iid=obnetwork


Jim Fregosi, 1942-2014

15 Feb 2014 /

Jim Fregosi

http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/eye-on-baseball/24442867/report-former-all-star-longtime-manager-jim-fregosi-dies-at-71

I grew up in Orange County as an Angels fan. They were a team of losers at that time, but I went to a lot of games with my dad and had a good time watching them play.

Jim Fregosi was my favorite player, usually the only good player on a typical Angels roster.

RIP Jim Fregosi.


Philip Seymour Hoffman, 1967-2014

2 Feb 2014 /
Philip Seymour Hoffman

Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead Sunday of an apparent drug overdose at his Manhattan apartment.

Police responded to the 46-year-old’s apartment in the West Village shortly after 11 a.m., police sources told FoxNews.com.

A friend found his body in the apartment and phoned police. Hoffman was alone in his bathroom when he was discovered with a heroin-filled needle in his arm, law enforcement sources said.

I am really shocked to hear that. People are shooting up heroin first thing in the morning?! To me, a shot of heroin — like a nice, warm bath — is best enjoyed in the evening, to unwind after the travails of the day.

This is yet another blow to a theory that most Americans believe, which is that wealth is synonymous with happiness.

Philip Seymour Hoffman, he’s in every movie, it seems like. He’s a Top 1 Percent wage-earner for sure. We hate the Top 1 Percent! They’re so rich and smug and happy.

“Oh,” people think, “if only I had a lot of money and I could do anything I want. Then at last I could be happy too.”

Wrong. Not only would you not be happy, you’d be even less happy than you are now, because you’d no longer have lack of money to blame for your unhappiness.

Frankly, I’m surprised that more actors aren’t overdosing themselves on a daily basis. It’s such a minor art form. Someone writes things down for them to say and they say those things. Sometimes a bit of business is written down for them to perform while they say the things that were written down for them to say.

The adulation that actors receive is so wildly out of proportion to the triviality of what they do. Some, like Hoffman, have the limited amount of self-awareness required to recognize this, to their eternal detriment.

P.S. I just saw this:

Fearless in his choice of roles

The “fearless choice of roles” meme with reference to actors has always stuck in my craw.

“So let me get this straight . . . if I take this role, I’ll have to read the script, learn my lines and pick up a check? Nope, sorry. Too scary.”

RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman.


Thoughts on a Turbulent Flight

30 Dec 2013 /

I can’t sleep on planes. I’m afraid the damn thing will crash and I’ll miss it.

 

I don’t believe in anything. I wish I did. It seems comforting to imagine holding the plane aloft with prayer.

 

I’m not a good person. Why shouldn’t something terrible happen to me?


World Ends: Women, Minorities Hardest Hit

22 Nov 2013 /
http://blogs.wsj.com/searealtime/2013/11/20/baby-girls-at-increased-risk-of-death-following-typhoons-says-study/

Clifford Nass, 1958-2013

22 Nov 2013 /
Clifford Nass

Clifford Nass

One of his most publicized research projects was a 2009 study on multitasking. He and his colleagues presumed that people who frequently juggle computer, phone or television screens, or just different applications, would display some special skill at ignoring irrelevant information, or efficiently switching between tasks, or that they would prove to have a particularly orderly memory.

“We all bet high multitaskers were going to be stars at something,” he said in an interview with the PBS program “Frontline” after the paper he and his colleagues wrote, “Cognitive Control in Media Multitaskers,” was published in 2009.

“We were absolutely shocked,” he said. “We all lost our bets. It turns out multitaskers are terrible at every aspect of multitasking. They’re terrible at ignoring irrelevant information; they’re terrible at keeping information in their head nicely and neatly organized; and they’re terrible at switching from one task to another.

He added, “One would think that if people were bad at multitasking, they would stop. However, when we talk with the multitaskers, they seem to think they’re great at it and seem totally unfazed and totally able to do more and more and more.”

With children doing more multitasking and people asked to do more of it at work, he said, “We worry that it may be creating people who are unable to think well and clearly.”


The Best-Laid Plans . . .

15 Nov 2013 /
http://laist.com/2013/11/15/man_who_burned_to_death_at_weho_hal.php

Smoking is bad for your health.

Should I ever happen to kill myself while trying to perform a simple task — I’m trying not to, but if it does happen — please don’t publish a photo of me in a college hoodie.

Au revoir, professor!

UT alum


Thank You for Smoking

31 Oct 2013 /

According to the American Cancer Society, smoking kills about 1 in 5 people in the United States.

Is that bad? If so, why? You’ve got to die somehow. Would it be better if those people died from some other cause? How would you prefer to see them die?

James Bond

Also: Some percentage of Americans would rather be dead than alive anyway. I don’t know what that number is, but I’d bet it’s higher than 1 in 5.

(If you Google “percentage of people who would rather be dead,” the top results all point to a 2008 survey in which 52 percent of respondents said they would rather be dead than disabled.

If you change the search to “percentage of people who would rather be dead than alive,” you get a mishmash of links, including a few more links to the “dead vs. disabled” survey, but you still don’t get the number you’re looking for. Phoning up random Americans and asking if they’d rather be dead is evidently not considered an appropriate thing to do, although it seems like a highly relevant question to me.

Slight digression: I also found a survey in which people were given the option of saving either their pet dog or a foreign tourist from in front of an onrushing bus. Forty percent chose the dog, which seems low to me.)

Anyway, the American Cancer Society goes on to say:

About half of all Americans who keep smoking will die because of the habit. Each year about 443,000 people in the United States die from illnesses related to tobacco use. Smoking cigarettes kills more Americans than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide, and illegal drugs combined.

Where does that number — 443,000 — come from? The problem with throwing out numbers on smoking deaths is that there’s no way to know that any given smoker died because of smoking.

If a smoker dies from lung cancer, is that automatically counted as a smoking-related death? There’s no way you can know that. Because non-smokers get lung cancer too. Not as often as smokers, but they get it.

You can look at a lot of cases collectively and say that smoking is associated with a higher risk of lung cancer. You could even say that smoking causes lung cancer. But for any given person, you can’t say that this person’s lung cancer was caused by smoking and if he didn’t smoke, he would not have died of lung cancer.

Same thing with other diseases — if a smoker dies of heart disease or a stroke, is that because of smoking? There’s no way you can know that.

The second problem with the numbers is that if smoking kills 1 person in 5 (20 percent), and half of all smokers die because of smoking, then you’d have about 40 percent of Americans as smokers. That’s too high. According to the CDC, 19 percent of U.S. adults are smokers (as of 2011).

Why not keep it real, skip the bogus numbers and say, “Smoking helps some people get through the day. It revs them up or it calms them down or I don’t know what it does, but it helps them get through the day. That being said, there are other ways to get through the day, and setting a vegetable product on fire and inhaling the smoke into your lungs is clearly not the most healthful thing you can do.”


And So it Goes

16 Oct 2013 /

Joe Bell, 48, was walking cross-country from Oregon to New York to memorialize his gay son, who killed himself after being bullied.

Bell’s journey began April 20 and ended this week on a two-lane road in eastern Colorado, where he was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer whose driver had apparently fallen asleep.

Joe Bell


A (Nearly) Perfect Murder

14 Sep 2013 /

A Montana woman was charged on Monday with killing her husband of eight days by pushing him off a cliff at Glacier National Park during an argument and after expressing doubts about the marriage, court records show.

Jordan Graham, 22, was charged with second-degree murder in U.S. District Court in Missoula stemming from the July 7 death of her husband, Cody Johnson, 25, of Kalispell. . . .

Graham on July 11 reported to emergency dispatchers at Glacier National Park that she had found her husband’s body below a steep hiking path. It was not immediately clear how far he had fallen.

Graham later admitted to authorities that she had lied about Johnson’s death and that she had shoved him off a cliff during an argument while hiking.

Jordan Graham taking a page from my playbook, in which I postulated years ago that the best way to murder someone and get away with it would be to push them off a cliff, because it would be very hard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the fall wasn’t accidental.

Maybe I should have added, although it seems obvious, “unless you confess to the crime.”

On the flip side: Don’t get into an argument with your spouse when you’re standing at the edge of a cliff.


If You Quote Poetry at My Death, I Will Haunt You

12 Sep 2013 /

If you know me, and you outlive me, and you want to say something on the occasion of my demise, please do not quote a snippet of poetry or other literary material, e.g., “He did not go gently into that good night.” Or: “I think Wordsworth said it best . . .”

Portrait of William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth

Bullshit . . . Wordsworth did not say it best. Wordsworth didn’t know me. You knew me. Go ahead and say something from the heart if you have something. Keep it real.

He was not a good person.

He had the most appalling social skills, which is why he had no close friends.

After his son moved out, he just unraveled like an old sock.

I remember at Jackie O’s funeral, her kids — was it just one kid, or both? I think both — read a poem. A poem! That’s when you really know that your life was not well-lived, when your own children have nothing to say about you.

Don’t you hope to god that your children at least will have some personal remembrance to share after you’re gone?

I remember when we used to go to the park and he pitched baseballs to me.

He spent a year of his life helping me with algebra homework.

He always believed in me.

To anyone tempted to eulogize me with a literary reference, I swear I will rise from the grave — in spirit if not in body, although body will be my preference — and cast a shadow upon your soul.


I Killed a Guy in Florida

5 Sep 2013 /

Lightning in Florida

Lightning Epps

Hi everybody! it’s me, Lightning!

I knew I should have killed those two guys under the truck so there wouldn’t be any witnesses.

HA HA! Kidding! I wasn’t even in Florida!

— Lightning paw


See You in Hell, New Orleans

4 Sep 2013 /

Satan

[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan -- PE]

A 1-year-old girl was shot dead in her babysitter’s arms in New Orleans, prompting the city’s mayor to declare “enough is enough” as police hunted for two suspects with little help from witnesses.

Londyn Samuels, who was just learning to walk, was struck by a bullet fired into her 18-year-old nanny’s back as she carried the toddler home from the park.

There’s a train they call the City of New Orleans, and it is on a fast track to Hell.

First of all, let me say for the record that everyone is equal in Hell — regardless of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, blah blah blah, or any other legally protected status.

That said, when I see a headline like 1-year-old shot to death on New Orleans street, I know when I click through, I’m going to see a black face on the other side.

White people have their own peccadilloes, but they don’t shoot babies in the street.

As for the second part of the headline — “Enough is enough” — an 11-year-old New Orleans girl rocking her baby cousin to sleep was killed a few days later when gunmen started shooting into her house.

It’s getting to where I myself am afraid to go to New Orleans. Ha ha, no I’m not, but you see what I mean.

Anyway, here’s some advice from a guy who’s been around: If you’re black, and you want to be remembered fondly, or remembered at all, make sure you get shot by someone who’s not black.

For example: a kid in Florida named Trayvon Martin was shot by a Hispanic man with a white name: George Zimmerman. Everyone remembers Trayvon Martin. Even the president talks about him. Black “leaders” shuffle his parents in front of various assemblages demanding Justice for Trayvon.

He’s remembered lovingly by people willing to overlook the fact that he was trying to beat George Zimmerman to death when, unfortunately for him, Zimmerman pulled a gun and shot him.

Trayvon Martin is . . . well, let’s just say that God doesn’t like violent troublemakers, despite being a violent troublemaker himself. What a phony.

Londyn Samuels

Londyn Samuels

Londyn Samuels is in heaven, of course. She led a short, blameless life.

But because the man who shot her was black, not only is no one demanding Justice for Londyn, witnesses won’t come forward to ID the shooter, and no black “leader” has directed so much as a “shame on you” toward anyone involved.

See you in Hell!


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