The New Year is still relatively fresh, but 2016 has thus far been deadly for music icons.
To date, we have lost David Bowie, Natalie Cole, Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister and now founding Eagles’ guitarist Glenn Frey, who died Monday from complications related to Rheumatoid Arthritis and Pneumonia. He was 67 years old.
Frey burst onto the music scene in 1971 when he, Don Henley, Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon formed The Eagles, a band known for producing radio-saturating hits like “Hotel California”, “Life in the Fast Lane” and “Desperado”. They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
Like many music lovers of my generation, I grew up listening to The Eagles on AM and FM radio—long before I ever knew the names of the band members. In fact, I first learned who Glenn Frey was in the 1980s when he released “The Heat is On” as part of the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack. I always recognized the talent, though, and I assure you that he will be missed.
Enjoy that peaceful, easy feeling, my man. Always.
On Tuesday night, Phil Robertson from the reality television program “Duck Dynasty” stopped by the Fox News show “Hannity” to share his thoughts about the Islamic State, otherwise known as ISIS. In a month’s time, members of ISIS have executed hundreds of people, including two American journalists who were beheaded on video to avenge American air strikes in the region.
And to say Robertson was upset by these murders would be an understatement.
“In this case, you either have to convert them, which I think would be next to impossible. I’m not giving up on them, but I’m just saying either convert them or kill them,” the bearded wonder said. “One or the other.”
As if this wasn’t unrealistic enough, Robertson went even further.
“I’d much rather have a Bible study with all of them and show them the error of their ways and point them to Jesus Christ,” he said. “However, if it’s a gunfight and a gunfight alone, if that’s what they’re looking for, me personally, I am prepared for either one.”
Although I can understand Robertson’s anger—as well as his desire to convert everyone to Christianity, which so many people believe to be the cure for society’s ills—I can’t help but ask myself one basic question: Who gives a shit what this guy thinks?
Getting diplomatic advice from Robertson is like asking Sarah Palin for her opinion on anything. Nobody cares! To make matters worse, I fear that Robertson’s opinions may be seen as reflective of all Americans: if ISIS members won’t conform, then kill them.
I’m sorry, but isn’t it possible that a misconception like this could cause even more violence in the future? The answer is obviously yes, so my advice to people like Robertson is simple: shut the freak up and perhaps fewer Americans will lose their heads!
As if it isn’t bad enough that American journalists are being kidnapped and beheaded by members of the Islamic State in Iraq, now we have to worry about Americans decapitating themselves stateside!
According to recent reports by the New York Daily News, 51-year-old Tomas Rivera of the Bronx just beheaded himself in broad daylight along a busy New York street. Apparently, he tied a chain around his neck, attached the other end to a pole, climbed into his car and hit the accelerator.
Seconds later, Rivera’s vehicle smashed into a parked car while his head went the opposite direction. And believe it or not, but a Chicago man died in the exact same manner in 2011, which obviously could have set a gruesome precedent for Rivera.
Either way, you can’t accuse these men of lacking showmanship!
In 2002, American journalist Daniel Pearl was abducted by Pakistani militants and beheaded by Al-Qaeda operative Ahmed Omar Sheikh, who was subsequently hanged for this gruesome crime. Pearl’s murder ignited a firestorm of retaliation by American forces and eventually resulted in the killing of numerous Al-Qaeda leaders.
Well, it looks like the Islamic State—the extremist group formerly known as ISIS—has followed Al-Qaeda’s horrific example and beheaded another American journalist, James Foley. After being abducted last November in Syria and reportedly held near Damascus, Foley appeared in a recent video with an ISIS executioner, who apparently hacked off his head on camera.
Fortunately, the video entitled “A Message to America” was removed from YouTube shortly after being posted there, but a transcript of its message went something like this:
“This is James Wright Foley, an American citizen of your country. As a government, you have been at the forefront of the aggression towards the Islamic State. You have plotted against us and have gone far out of your way to find reasons to interfere in our affairs. Today, your military air force is attacking us daily in Iraq; your strikes have caused casualties among Muslims.”
I share this only because I’m struggling to understand why beheading innocent people seems like the right approach for ISIS or any Islamic militants, for that matter. All it really does is piss off America and lead to more death and destruction, which these days come in the form of unexpected drone attacks. If death is their ultimate goal, then this certainly is an effective way of achieving it. They may label it as jihad, but it seems much more like suicide if you ask me.
Another thing that boggles the mind—at least my mind—is this: Why in the world would any journalist volunteer to cover the Middle East? Are they as suicidal as the jihadists who eventually kidnap and murder them? Or is covering the Middle East considered “paying your dues” as a journalist—kind of like those rookie meteorologists forced to cover every hurricane while high winds and rain bombard them?
Whatever the case may be, the obvious answer to the question of peace in the Middle East is this: it will likely never come. As long as violence and murder supersede love and compassion, there may never be a lasting peace. America needs to realize this and do something it should have done long ago: get the hell out of there. Otherwise, I fear more innocent people—including the 20 journalists still missing in Syria—will pay the ultimate price.
And personally, I don’t care about Middle East news coverage if it costs more American lives. Do you?
Whoever first pointed out how reality can be stranger than fiction sure knew what they were talking about, huh? Here are some stories from around the world that prove just how strange—and utterly disturbing—reality can get. Brace yourselves.
Hamilton, Ohio: If you lived in Hamilton, Ohio between 1976 and 2012—and if you lost someone whose body was transported to the local morgue—odds are that 60-year-old morgue attendant Kenneth Douglas had sex with it. In a recent deposition as part of a lawsuit against Hamilton County, the perverted old bastard admitted to “banging” not one corpse, not even ten corpses, but as many as 100 of them! What’s more, one of his deceased lovers was a 19-year-old girl who had been murdered and nearly decapitated! When asked why he did it, Douglas had only one thing to say: “She gave good head.” Okay, I made that last part up, but he’s still a freak.
London, England: Last week, a coroner’s inquest into the 2013 death of 50-year-old Nigel Willis determined exactly what killed him: a vibrator lodged in his rectum. Apparently, the sex toy perforated his bowel, caused septic shock and eventually caused multiple organs to fail. He was pronounced dead on February 7th and though I have no idea what his death certificate stated, I can only assume “death by vibrator” was listed as the cause. Pleasure gave way to pain, in other words, and poor Nigel paid the ultimate price.
Mary Esther, Florida: House-hunting can be challenging for anyone, especially first-time buyers. Of course, it can be even more difficult when you use it as an excuse for public masturbation. Laugh if you will, but this very thing happened to 21-year-old Daniel Lewis Davis recently. According to the eyewitness account of a 5-year-old girl, Davis parked his Ford F-150 in a residential neighborhood, stripped down to his birthday suit, pleasured himself in the middle of the road, ran up and down the road several times and then drove away. Fortunately, he was stopped by a deputy in the area and arrested after claiming he was simply house-hunting. The fact that he had two previous arrests for indecent exposure certainly screwed that excuse up for him, though. What a tool… pun intended.
Martinsburg, West Virginia: According to a report issued last month by West Virginia’s Board of Medicine, weight loss doctor Tressie Duffy will no longer be permitted to practice medicine. Why, you ask? Well, it turns out that Dr. Duffy got some new breasts and decided to start flaunting them all over the office. She showed co-workers, patients and even drug representatives, some of whom were invited to touch and squeeze them. Duffy even forced one of her female co-workers to “motorboat” her breasts, which for the uninitiated involves putting your face between them and making a motor sound as you blow a huge raspberry between them and move your head from side to side. I’m sure there are some videos available on YouTube for anyone needing a visual aid.
Seattle, Washington: Our next story comes from the great state of Washington and involves 33-year-old Sila Hans, who was recently arrested and charged with indecent exposure and public urination. Apparently, Hans went into a neighbor’s yard, urinated on it, dry-humped some lawn furniture and then exposed her vagina, smacking it a few times for good measure. Sadly, she did all of this in full view of two children—an 11-year-old and a 15-year-old. And though she was highly intoxicated at the time, there can be no doubt that when it comes to lawn furniture sex, the conversation begins and ends with Hans.
Albuquerque, New Mexico: The perfect end to this edition of the Reality Round-Up is provided by 53-year-old Shari Walters, who was arrested last Wednesday at her Albuquerque home. Two weeks ago, one of her roommates returned home to find Walters lying naked in the backyard with her German shepherd, Spike. The faint afterglow surrounding Walters indicated some sexual act had taken place and she even confessed to having sex with the dog. In fact, Walters confessed to having canine sex regularly since she was 14 years old! As if this weren’t bad enough, Walters then tried to poison her roommates so they wouldn’t tell on her; she put rubbing alcohol and toilet bowl cleaner in their food. Fortunately, no one was harmed—aside from Spike—and Walters was taken to jail.
And here I thought dogs were supposed to be man’s best friend!
Death is something I read about every day—given how dark and depressing most news stories are—but in general, I try not to ponder my own inevitable demise. Granted, this is something I was preoccupied with in my youth, but as I grew older, I decided life was too short to worry about dying. Death is inescapable and spending too much time dwelling on it can distract from what little life we all have left. Focusing on the days ahead rather than the end of those days is preferable, after all.
Then I started watching documentaries on Netflix and came across a Dave McRae series entitled Final 24, which chronicles the final day in the lives of famous people, all of whom died under mysterious circumstances. And now, much to my chagrin, I find myself thinking about death yet again.
The first episode focused on Sid Vicious, the bassist for the punk band The Sex Pistols who died of a heroin overdose in 1979. After being arrested for the murder of his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen—a murder he could not remember perpetrating—Vicious went on a drug-fueled bender, sponsored in large part by his own mother. In fact, some believe his mother gave him a fatal overdose on purpose, to spare him from another traumatizing stint in prison. Whatever the case may be, Vicious’ final 24 hours were dark and depressing—as they likely are for most just before they die.
Episode two turned a lens on one of the greatest comedic performers of all time, the great John Belushi. Like Sid Vicious, Belushi spent his final day of life blitzed out of his mind on drugs, including cocaine, marijuana and—go figure—heroin, a drug he had just begun using during his final trip to New York City. Unfortunately, he didn’t just shoot up heroin; he injected speedballs, deadly combinations of heroin and cocaine. As you might imagine, things didn’t go well for Belushi and he overdosed on the concoction, which ultimately caused his death and put an end to one of the most promising careers in entertainment history.
The remainder of the Final 24 series includes stories about other famous people and their tragic deaths: Marvin Gaye, John F. Kennedy, River Phoenix and Hunter S. Thompson. I plan to watch them all, of course, but I am trying hard not to dwell on my own impending death. I say “impending” because it could be today, next week or even fifty years from now. You just never know.
Of course, I hope that when my number is finally up, death comes in the most peaceful and painless way possible. Isn’t that something we all wish for? I mean, the last thing I want is to die while doing something embarrassing—not to me, necessarily, but to my friends and family members. One such scenario might involve masturbation—having a heart attack while stroking off and being discovered in a compromising position. Nothing would be more embarrassing, especially if rigor mortis set in and my hand had to be pried off my junk with a crowbar or something.
We can’t all die in our sleep, after all!
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones, dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones, now shake dem skeleton bones.
Earlier this month, police in Brooklyn, New York were called to a 15th Avenue apartment building in Borough Park to investigate a strange, foul odor—and we all know what that means.
“I’ve never smelled something like that before,” long-time tenant Amin Ashrafov told authorities after detecting the overpowering stench.
The odor led police to the apartment of 28-year-old Chava Stirn, a young woman who shared the apartment with her 61-year-old mother, Susie Rosenthal. According to neighbors, Stirn refused to let anyone enter her apartment—forcing relatives to leave food outside her door—and strange noises could often be heard coming from her abode.
“When I listened, she was screaming,” resident Malka Lerner explained to investigators. “[She yelled] ‘I kill myself, I kill myself!’”
Apparently, this was enough for the cops, who entered Stirn’s apartment and quickly discovered the source of the foul smell. It came from the skeletal remains of her mother, who died roughly three years earlier. During this time, Stirn had been sleeping next to her mother’s corpse, sitting next to it at mealtimes and even dressing it up. Once her mother decomposed, she would prop up her bones on a pile of trash bags in the kitchen, pull a chair close and sleep there for the night.
“It’s a scene right out of Psycho,” an anonymous officer said later. “This is one of the weirdest cases I have ever seen.”
When officers questioned Stirn, she threatened to harm herself and was immediately taken for a psychiatric evaluation. An autopsy was scheduled to determine her mother’s cause of death, but as of yet no one knows what happened.
One thing is for certain, though: this poor woman has some serious mental issues. And I, for one, hope she gets the treatment she needs after such a dark and gruesome experience.
It looks like the latest recipient of a senseless shooting tragedy is none other than “Sin City” itself: Las Vegas, Nevada.
Yesterday around lunchtime, a couple walked into CiCi’s Pizza and for no apparent reason, gunned down two police officers in cold blood: 41-year-old Alyn Beck and 31-year-old Igor Soldo.
“I just sat down to have lunch. The officers were sitting in front of me, at the table right next to me, and this man came in out of nowhere,” eyewitness Sheree Burns recounted. “I thought he was going to get a drink, the way he walked up and walked past them. And then he turned around, pulled a gun on his right and shot the bald officer in front of me.”
After grabbing the officers’ guns and ammunition, the as-yet-unidentified couple said something like “This is a revolution” and left CiCi’s. They then walked across the street to Walmart, killed a woman as she was walking through the front door and exchanged gunfire with police before disappearing into the back of the store. Once there, the woman fatally shot her husband before turning the gun on herself in what some have described as a “suicide pact.”
Details are still rather sketchy at this time, but some disturbing information has been released in the last few hours. For one, police searching the couple’s apartment discovered a written manifesto that included “extremist views toward law enforcement.” Officers also learned some strange things from Krista Koch, one of the couple’s neighbors. She claimed the couple often dressed up as Batman villains Harley Quinn and the Joker—the man sometimes dressed as Slenderman, too (the online meme who inspired two young girls to stab their friend on his behalf recently)—and even told police they planned to carry out an attack soon. When they first mentioned this to her, she dismissed it because they seemed so “crazy.”
Actually, craziness might be reason enough to take them seriously, especially in retrospect. Too bad that never happened.
No one knows what prompted this crazy couple to murder three innocent people before killing themselves, but it could be almost anything in our violent, gun-riddled society. Senseless violence is, unfortunately, becoming the norm, and I don’t expect things to improve anytime soon.
After all, if shootings in Aurora and Newtown didn’t illustrate the need for more gun control, why should this?
On March 12th in Phoenix, Arizona, 12-year-old Austin Tapia was sitting at home, playing video games while his mother and two sisters went out to get dinner. As they were leaving, they noticed 27-year-old Andrew Ward—Austin’s half-brother—walking toward the home, but still went about their business and left the young boy home alone.
This is a decision Austin’s mother will likely regret for the rest of her life.
Around 5:30 that afternoon, Ward phoned police from a local convenience store and told them he had stabbed someone. When the cops arrived, they found Ward covered in blood and—a short time later—discovered Austin’s body. They questioned Ward about the murder and asked him why he killed the young boy—and his reply was pretty chilling, to say the least.
“Honestly, I just felt like killing.”
Needless to say, Ward was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and child abuse. He pleaded not guilty, but his confession was enough to land him in Lower Buckeye Jail—his 12th jail visit since 2006.
In other words, Ward and crime seem to go hand-in-hand. Unfortunately, though, jail wasn’t enough to contain his need to kill because last Wednesday night, he claimed yet another victim: 33-year-old Douglas Walker, a convicted armed robber and Ward’s cellmate for three weeks.
Officers discovered Walker dead in his cell after inmates reported a fight. A peanut butter sandwich and plastic bag had been shoved down his throat, he had been beaten severely, his neck had been slit using a playing card and his eyes had been gouged out with a golf pencil. Ward immediately confessed to beating and choking his cellmate. He also told detectives that he had “no regrets for the attack,” but his motive remains unknown… or does it?
If you ask me, what we have here is a natural born killer… not someone especially skilled at killing, but someone who feels impelled to kill. And since psychiatric experts cleared Ward following the murder of his half-brother—sending him to jail rather than a mental hospital, which he originally requested (as if criminals have a right to choose)—it’s probably safe to assume that other natural born killers with deep emotional issues or mental problems still walk among us.
It’s a comforting thought, isn’t it?
Walter Bruhl Jr. was an 80-year-old veteran of the Korean War, a grandfather of four and—based on the obituary he wrote for himself before he passed away this Sunday—an undiscovered comedian.
“This was him to a T,” Bruhl’s son Martin said of his father and his hilarious obituary. “I’m sure he is laughing back down at us.”
Bruhl’s other son Sam posted the obit to Facebook—and later to Reddit—with the following message: “Typical of my PopPop. He’s the only man I’ve ever known to be able to add his own humor like this.”
Rather than picking and choosing what to share from Bruhl’s “last written work,” I will instead include the obituary in its entirety to honor a man whose funny bone never stopped working… even from beyond the grave. Enjoy!