Tag Archive | "Death"

Top Ten Famous Deaths at the Age of 27

Kurt Cobain 1967 - 1994

Kurt Cobain 1967 – 1994

The recent death of incredibly talented actor Philip Seymour Hoffman of a heroin overdose on February 2, 2014 once again reminded us all of the dangers of fame and addiction. Only 46 years of age, he was a master of his craft with years ahead of him, but this was not meant to be. When we move from actors to musicians however, 46 seems to be a long and healthy life for many of the most famous who died so very young.  The number of rock musicians who died early in life is clearly far too many. That being said, the fact that so many of the biggest and most influential talents in rock music history died at the age of 27 is downright bizarre.

Over the years, the conspiracy theorists have come up with a number of stories behind the deaths of the members of this so called “27 club.” These stories have grown more and more outrageous with each year passed, with everything from legal cover-ups to elaborate hoaxes and even deals with the devil gleefully spun into rock mythology gold in order to try and make some sense of these tragic losses.

Below, in no discernible order, is a list of the most famed deaths in music, all coming at the youthful age of just 27 years old.

1. Kurt Cobain

Cobain had possessed a troubled mind for most of his life, which was accelerated by his heroin addiction and refusal to attend rehab. Cobain became the gravelly voice of the 1990s grunge movement the minute ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ hit the airwaves, with the Nirvana leader continuing to create brilliant rock milestones until the day he died.

Jimi Hendrix 1942 - 1970

Jimi Hendrix 1942 – 1970


2. Jimi Hendrix

His unparalleled ability to express and innovate on the guitar, as well as his endless desire to redefine everything about what rock music could be and how it was presented, make it all but certain that the four original albums we got to hear from Hendrix were only the tip of what he could have accomplished with more time. Sadly, a combination of red wine and sleeping pills (reportedly, stronger than expected) took that all away from us.

3. Brian Jones

Jones, a slide guitar genius who intended to be the Stones’ leader as they performed more traditional blues-based music, was slowly pushed to the side in favor of the impressive songwriting abilities (and charismatic on-stage presences) of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. After he contributed to just two songs on 1969′s ‘Let it Bleed’ album, Jones’ substance abuse problems — including an arrest that threatened his ability to tour overseas — became too much for his bandmates. Those same abuse problems are also believed to have contributed to his drowning death.

Jim Morrison 1943 - 1971

Jim Morrison 1943 – 1971

4. Jim Morrison

The singer reportedly died on July 3, 1971 — again, at the age of 27 — of heart failure in the bathtub of his Paris apartment. In accordance with French law, since there was no sign of foul play, no further investigation was performed. However many people suspect that Morrison in fact died of a heroin overdose, possibly in the bathroom stall of a nearby club. Or… maybe he faked the whole thing and is raising horses in Oregon.

5. Janis Joplin

According to Rolling Stone’s account, Joplin was found dead in L.A.’s Landmark Hotel, with fresh needle marks on her arm and $4.50 clutched in her hand. It has been suggested that her dealer accidentally sold her and several other clients an overly strong dose of the drug. She was in the process of finishing up what would turn out to be

Robert Johnson 1911 - 1938

Robert Johnson 1911 – 1938

the her posthumously-released 1971 solo album ‘Pearl,’ having just completed the a cappella track ‘Mercedes Benz‘ three days earlier.

6. Robert Johnson

Since so little is known about Johnson — who recorded barely more than two dozen songs, including ‘Dust My Broom’ and ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ in his unnaturally short life — some pretty crazy myths and rumors about him have taken hold in many people’s minds.  He’s rumored to have sold his soul to the Devil, and to have died after being poisoned by the jealous boyfriend of a woman he was talking to, just as famed talent scout John Hammond was trying to hand him a one-way ticket to fame and fortune.

7. Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse 1983 - 2011

Amy Winehouse 1983 – 2011

An English singer-songwriter known for her deep contralto vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres, including R&B, soul, jazz, and reggae.  Winehouse’s 2003 debut album, Frank, was a critical success. Her 2006 follow-up album, Back to Black, led to five 2008 Grammy Awards, tying the record for the most wins by a female artist in a single night, and made Winehouse the first British female to win five Grammys, including three of the general field “Big Four” awards: Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Song of the Year.After years of abusing drugs and alcohol, Winehouse was found dead in her apartment of alcohol poisoning on 23 July 2011. Her album Back to Black released posthumously became the UK’s best-selling album of the 21st century.


Jean-Michel Basquiat 1960 - 1988

Jean-Michel Basquiat 1960 – 1988

8.  Jean-Michel Basquiat

An American artist and founder of the punk band Gray, Basquiat gained popularity first as a graffiti artist in New York City, and then as a successful 1980s-era Neo-expressionist artist. Basquiat’s paintings continue to highly influence modern-day artists and command high prices at auctions around the world.

9.  David Alexadnder

Alexander can be heard in the Stooges’ self-titled debut album along with the group’s sophomore masterpiece, ‘Fun House.’ The bassist was dismissed from the Stooges after losing interest in rehearsals and being too drunk to play a hometown gig in Michigan. The bassist died of pneumonia and an inflamed pancreas in 1975 at the age of 27. Alexander’s alcohol abuse reportedly contributed to the bassist’s early demise.

10. Alan Wilson

Wilson was born in BostonMassachusetts and grew up in the Boston suburb of Arlington, Massachusetts. He majored in music at Boston University and often played the Cambridge coffeehouse folk-blues circuit. He acquired the nickname “Blind Owl” owing to his extreme farsightedness; in one instance when he was playing at a wedding, he laid his guitar on the wedding cake because he did not see it. As Canned Heat’s drummer, Fito de la Parra, wrote in his book: “Without the glasses, Alan literally could not recognize the people he played with at two feet, that’s how blind the ‘Blind Owl’ was.


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Is school going well dear?” My grandmother asked, smiling at me. I didn’t reply at first, so she asked again.

“Sorry Grandma. Yeah it is. It’s going good. I finish grade twelve soon and I’m gonna hear about universities in a month or so.” I tried to smile, but it was hard, and instead of asking a question back, like what you’re supposed to do when it’s a normal conversation, I just sat there quietly.

“Well dear, I’ll leave you alone for a little while. You look like you need some quiet time,” she said. Then she stood up, and started heading out of the room.

My Mom, standing against the wall about ten feet away, looked at me and nodded her head towards my grandmother. I knew what she wanted, but I didn’t want to do it, so I pretended like I didn’t notice, and acted like I needed to straighten out my tie or something. Then there was a shadow in front of me, someone blocking the light that was behind me.

“John.” my father whispered a warning in my ear, warm breath passing across the back of my neck, setting my nerves on edge, egging on the rebellion inside me that was just about to blow up. “Get up and get over there,” he said, growling. His hand squeezed my shoulder hard, not in a loving way. I knew there was no point arguing, and besides, with everyone pretending to not look at me, it would have been pointless. I looked over at my mother, but even she was looking away, her face set in that stupid “I can’t deal with this” expression that I just so totally hated.

“Okay,” I said quietly, my teeth clenched. “Just let go of me.” I jerked my shoulder forward, and my father released his hand. I stood up, worked my way past sitting relatives and friends, around chairs and couches, darting glances, unasked questions, and into the next room.

As often happens to men my age, not old enough (yet) to live on their own, there ends up always being a lot of time spent in places you just didn’t want to be at. It could be a reunion, a family gathering, a Christening, a baptism, first communion, and then all those goddamn holidays, and every time there’s a better place to be and some better thing I could be doing, and some plan I totally made weeks ago and even told everybody about, like, a hundred times, but no. No. I have to go.

The door clicked softly behind me, and the quiet conversations were replaced by soft whispers down the hallway in the other room. My feet stood there, rooted, unable to shift or move even an inch, until the scream came. It was a loud, short, piercing, anguished, confused scream, and I just hated it. I hated it and I couldn’t take it anymore. Then came the sound of someone falling on the ground, and a moment later the soft footsteps of family friends and half-known neighbors passing by, deciding suddenly to be somewhere else for a while. It was the crying that got me going again, I just couldn’t take hearing it.

As I moved into the other room, I saw that everyone else had cleared out. It was a large space, but looked so cold and empty now. These are always sad things, but I mean they could have at least made the room look a little more cheerful. In the middle, in a small pink heap on the floor, my grandmother cried. Her bony frame and sharp angles shaking, gasping, sudden misery making it hard for her to breathe.

I walked over and asked her if she was okay, putting my hand on her shoulder. I fumbled in my pocket and found some kleenex, and passed it down. She took it and thanked me, and kept crying. I didn’t want to stand there, bent over like some giant, so I sat down, and listened to her for a while. She didn’t understand what was going on, and wondered why nobody had told her that her husband had died. There he was, lying peacefully, as they say, but he didn’t look right to me, not like the way dead people look when you watch funerals on TV shows.

Soon her crying died down a little, and I stood up, gently getting her to stand up as well. I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say anything. I just stood between her and the casket, and helped her to the door, and back into the other room.

A minute later I was sitting down in my chair, the same chair I’d been in all morning. My grandmother was cheerful again, asking me all sorts of questions. She asked about school, girls, my car, and my sports. Then she started to look a little distracted. She looked at her watch, and around the room, searching. “Where’s William?” she whispered to herself, looking for my grandfather’s face somewhere nearby. She looked for a few moments, then stood up and left, and I looked down at my shoes. When I sensed my father coming my way, I didn’t even wait for him to say anything. I just got up and walked after my grandmother.

She’d been quicker this time. When I popped my head out the door, I didn’t see her. I waited for a moment, but I didn’t hear anything either. It was strange. So I walked down to the viewing room, and sure enough, she was there. She wasn’t crying, just sitting on the floor, in the middle of the room, staring at my grandfather, like all those other times today.

I put my hand on her, and felt nothing. I pulled it right back, scared, and got down on my knees beside her. Her eyes were closed, and she wasn’t crying because she wasn’t breathing. I didn’t know what to think, or do. I felt so confused. I knew I should be feeling really sad, that I should be crying, but it wasn’t like that at all. I felt, not happy, but relieved. And then I felt ashamed for feeling relieved. I felt so goddamned selfish for feeling that way, but I couldn’t help it. And then I think I figured out why.

It was mercy. All day, in and out of this room, I counted seventeen times, including now. I watched my grandmother see her husband die, right before her eyes, again and again. Every time it happened, leading her away, I watched her forget all about the whole thing. Today I hated God like I never hated anyone in my whole life, because it was just the cruelest joke ever imagined. I kept thinking if I saw anyone even crack a smile that day, I’d just go ballistic on them.

I guess it just took a little while for God to listen, but eventually he did. What the mind forgets, the body remembers, and whether it was God or nature, something knew it just wasn’t natural. And so there I was, kneeling on the floor, holding my grandmother’s hand, and while I knew I had just lost her, she had found her husband again.

From James O’Hearn…


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Death of Innocents


From Mexico Corespondent Dori Rangel…

“There are side effects of the government’s fight against drug trafficking.” These were the recent words of the president of the Mexican Republic, in referring to the increased number deaths in the war on drugs.

The fight against drug trafficking has not only become a national slaughter, but has also resulted in a death march for minors. In recent years, 900 children have died in Mexico as a result of the war against drug trafficking.  In 2010 alone, an estimated 100 children have already been killed.

With the number of child deaths rising, people are unhappy with the results of the government’s efforts. Drug trafficking is a phenomenon that has become an economic and political problem, but the family unit’s breakdown and the physical and mental suffering of Mexicans that has followed, are striking the deepest wounds upon our nation. Simply put, the increasing violence in my country leaves a tremendous amount of pain and sadness in the homes of average Mexicans, as the drug war continues to claim its victims each and every day.

The phrase drug trafficking can strike fear in those who only read the headline or watch it on TV. The words conjure up images of violence, death, and loss. Above all else, people are instilled with fear, with many afraid of going out into the streets.

Many voices throughout the country have risen to cry out for justice, to cry out for peace – a peace that every day appears further away from being achieved. Far too often, justice is interrupted by corruption within the governance and justice sectors of Mexico. Many have told me never talk about the subject, let alone write about it. Those who publish reports about drug trafficking, government failures, and political corruption are often threatened with death. It may sound like a movie or an exaggeration, but this is simply a fact in Mexico. Journalists have routinely been killed or kidnapped again and again. Worse still, many have shared how their families have been threatened with death, including the lives of their children.

Nearly every day we hear about the deaths of children caught in the crossfire between the Mexican Army and drug-dealing kidnappers. Children are also commonly used as mules, abducted and forced to fill their small bodies with drugs in order to bring them to the United States. Many are often left alone on the streets afterwards, and some are simply killed.

Human rights groups have sent recommendations to the Mexican supreme court, but it will take a lot more than that to curb our problems.

We need to be more aware of the fact that the decisions we make can affect innocent lives.  People who have not had the opportunity to live, even in the worst kind of poverty, are dying because of both drug use and the violence caused by its incessant trafficking.

Professionals, politicians and lawmakers, people whom we trust, are often the most corrupt and this encourages the drug trade tenfold. This is why the worst thing we can do is remain silent and not report these crimes, not talk about them. We need to stand up and be heard. No matter what your culture or religion, take a minute of your time to cry out for peace and for an end to the death of innocents.  We must not allow this evil into our peaceful existence. We must not remain silent.


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Top Ten Countries With the Lowest Life Expectancy


halloween_demons_219The lottery of birth can be unforigiving at times. None of us get to choose where in the world we come into being, but for those born on the list of countries below, life is hard from the moment they arrive. Simply and harshly put, death comes to these poor souls very early. People in these countries live, on average, nearly 50 years less than those living in countries with the highest life expectancy. Huge problems like HIV infections, high infant mortality rates, and societal violence impact young people and drive the life expectancy downward. The results are the average number of years to be lived by a group of people born in the same year, if mortality at each age remains constant in the future. Each entry includes total population, as well as both the male and female components.

  • 1. Botswana  – 32.3
  • 2. M0zamique – 33.7
  • 3. Swaziland – 34.2
  • 4. ZImbabwe – 35.3
  • 5. Malawi – 35.6
  • 6. Namibia –  36.1
  • 7. Zambia – 37.4
  • 8. Rwanda – 38
  • 9. Central African Republic (the Congo) – 43.1
  • 10. Ethiopia – 43.3

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The Death Of An American


jackson-michaelFew issues can bring the Arab and Western World together these days. Religious, cultural and social differences, both perceived and real, run amuck – each region’s respective media doing its very best to manipulate all concerned. Every once in awhile, an event occurs that brings the base level humanity of all of us to the surface of our being. An event of global magnitude unfolds that reminds people across the planet that we are more similar than different, more alike than we can even begin to understand or, in some cases, would like to admit. On June 25th of this past year, both the Arab and Western Worlds came to a sudden halt upon witnessing the death of an American.

Michael Jackson had such a dramatic and tragic life. In so many ways he represented, in an extreme fashion, the full spectrum of our collective human experience. From the simple joys of childhood innocence, to the craving for acceptance, approval, and love from others, to the somber loneliness and bitter emptiness of our broken souls; many of us looked upon him and without ever realizing it, saw a reflection of us all.

From Dubai to Amman, from Beirut to Cairo, people watched the news of his death unfold on their televisions and remembered his music. Jackson was a truly global star and many thirty something Arabs looked back on their childhood’s and recalled how the gloved one ruled the world. His videos and songs were played; his moves and his dancing were emulated, not only in the streets of America, but in the deserts of the Middle East.

His painful final years will forever be connected to the Arab world and the tiny desert nation of Bahrain. Sheik Abdulla bin Hamad Isa Al Khalifa, a son of Bahrain’s king and an aspiring songwriter, befriended Jackson after the singer was found innocent of all child charges laid against him in his infamous 2005 circus of a trail. He invited him to live in Bahrain and showered him with money. Jackson lived there for approximately a year and kept a low profile. He never performed in any way and always stayed within arms reach of his royal freind and the entourage he brought with him. After Jackson left Bahrain in 2006, the sheik said Jackson failed to fulfill his part of what was to be a music venture. Jackson denied the charge, saying he understood the time and money spent on him and his children to be a gift. The two settled the dispute in a November deal and parted ways amicably.

When I was an eleven-year old boy, Michael Jackson was the coolest human being on the planet. The slightest glimpse of him on the television drew me in like a tractor beam. I tried to dance like him, to dress like him, to be like him. This past weekend my beautiful wife and I went to Mercato Mall in Dubai to see see Jackson’s concert rehearsal film “This is It.” My wife grew up a world away from my hometown farming village in the empty deserts of Doha, but she too listened to him as a young girl. In fact, the whole world did. And there we were, two souls who came together against all odds, but who had in fact been joined in spirit by the man we watched on the screen in front of us. So very far away from our childhoods, we were transported back to our beginnings one more time, by a man we both grew up in awe of… this time side by side.

What I saw onscreen was far from the frail and gaunt portrayal of the man often employed by the media in the days leading up to what was to be his grandiose return. His appears fit, strong and even vigorous. At times, I found it hard to believe he was 50. His choreography was tight, built upon precisely-timed movements and cues. It looked exhausting, but Jackson never shows any signs of being tired. It was clear he was a man entirely in charge of the physical instrument that was his body, making all he did seem as natural as taking an afternoon stroll. He was also so very patient and encouraging to his troop of young dancers, but the command in his voice reveals how much creating a new and different world on stage meant to him. I saw man in tune with everything aroud his presence, approaching even the most minute details of his upcoming performance with ferver and passion.

Jackson did not appear to be a man about let down his investors, his fellow performers or his fans. There is no doubt, he was fully prepared for his opening night. That I will always believe. Simply put, he was at the top of his game.

What stayed with me as we walked out of the darkened theatre was Jackson’s disinterest in engaging the cameras and how this only added to both his mystery and his legend. He did not want to acknowledge the camera, because then the world he was creating, the world in which he felt safest, would not be real. Michael Jackson lived in his own world, a world that was far away from all the prejudice and abuse he faced in this one, because that’s what he needed to do. Anyone who went through what Jackson did each day would have to somehow escape to another place, a place somewhere within the far reaches of the mind, if for no other reason, but to shelter his own sense of humanity. Being called a wacko and a freak, again and again, for years on end took its toll on the man. In all the time we knew him from afar, he rarely granted interviews, rarely spoke at all, placing himself into a protective cocoon of isolation. And nowhere did he feel safer than when he was on stage. In effect, throughout “This Is It” he was always performing, but not for those who might see what was being filmed; he was performing for the attending masses at his never-to-be performed sold out show that he saw in the deepest regions his neon kaleidoscope imagination. And what a show it would have been.

This amazing, kind, eccentric, intriguing, bizarre, talented giant  is no longer with us, but the entire planet will never forget. And in that sense, Micheal Jackson, just like his life long hero Peter Pan, has reached his own form of immortality.

There were times throughout the film, upon realizing I was in fact watching the final hours of the man’s life, that tears welled up in my eyes. I miss him already and a part of me always will. 

From David Anthony Hohol…




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Picturing RELATIVITY- see all photos


  • CANADA: AN EXPAT HEAVEN With our ever shrinking global village, migratory work patterns are becoming more and more a part of people’s lives. Work in one country, summer in another, then try yet another. Thinking about it? Canada, Australia and Thailand are the best places to do
  • NO KIDDING, CONDOLEEZA! In a video at the recently opened George W. Bush Library, Condoleeza Rice confirms Bush was both aware and condoned torture. Guess there’s no need to lie your asses off anymore, is there Dipshit?
  • NO MATTER WHAT, IT'S WORTH IT With its Tex-Mex menu, Taco Bell is one of the most popular fat-food chains in America. No matter what happens after you eat it..
  • TURKISH AUTISTIC ATHIESTS “Autistic children do not know believing in God because they do not have a section of faith in their brains,” claims a renowned Turkish Sociologist. Gotta love nut-jobs, like this asshole! They’re so entertaining!



Does the fact that Barack Obama is black and the son of an African Muslim contribute to the radical nature of those who oppose his policies?

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