The end of the year always brings a list of deceased celebrities, whatever that has come to mean when every plastic surgery-deformed slag on a Real Housewives of (insert city here, but "Human Zoo Hell on Earth" will easily substitute) claims to be a star.
P&J offer a different take on this tradition.
First we have people who should be dead but aren't, like Keith Richards and Stephen Hawking. Hang in there, guys.
And then, we have people you wish had passed away, like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Tom Brokaw (please go away and stop using every chance you get to sell your faux history books on NBC), Lloyd Blankfein, and everyone else employed at Goldman Sachs. Oh, and anyone talking or texting on a cell phone while driving. God must be truly preoccupied if he hasn't sent down a thunderbolt to rid of their ilk. Get on the stick, Big Sir.
Finally, a list of the actually deceased. But not the big names. No, P&J offer up some folks far removed from the A-list (and also far removed from the "Housewives" schlock) whom we wish had reached a riper age:
Michael Clarke Duncan — Killed it in a monumental role in The Green Mile.
Phyliss Diller — The B-list Joan Rivers.
Ron "Horshack" Palillo — To his credit, not a Scientologist like his co-star.
The "Nine" — Ernest Borgnine; If you don't know why, shaddup.
Andy Griffith — Doop-doo-da-doop-doo-doo, da-doop-doo-doo, da doop-dee-do.
George Lindsey — Andy's pal Goober; sort of like Mitch McConnell, but smarter.
Donna Summer — She worked hard for the money
Mitchell Guist of Swamp People — Shooting squirrels in the Elysian fields now.
Levon Helm — One-upped The Boss with "Put your makeup on, fix your hair up pretty, and meet me tonight in Atlantic City." Better than even "Chest Fever."
Dick Clark — Yeah, he just died this year, despite what you would think. Phillipe got his autograph at age seven in a country club restaurant, so he's an eternal God at Casa Diablo.
Davy Jones — Actually an intelligent person, who had enough sense to milk the Monkees long before Boy Scout troop master- and Catholic priest-arousing "boy bands" arrived.
Don Cornelius — Took that long, last ride on the soul train.
And dearest to our hearts, the lovely, wild, and incredibly talented Etta James, who could whup bad girls Joan Jett, Lucinda Williams, and Whitney Houston with one hand tied behind her back. Tell Mama!
Some local passings of note, too. Here in the Biggest Little, we lost the "Pleasure Kings," two of the greatest musicians of our lives. Thom Enright passed away on February 20 from brain cancer. He was one of the finest guitarists to ever come out of Rhode Island and made his name playing for some of the most popular bands in the area: The Tombstone Blues Band, John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band, Roomful of Blues, the Young Adults, and (for many years) Duke Robillard and the Pleasure Kings. He was an inspiration to a couple of generations of Rhode Island musicians.