This week in death: Rating the obits for Michael Jackson, Billy Mays, Karl Malden and more

If you love a good celebrity death, you've been in heaven the last several days. And if you're a connoisseur of a good celebrity obit, you need to be reading

Obit is a brilliantly edited online magazine that makes for great reading anytime, with all kinds of features that lend themselves to discussion over the watercooler, or your workplace equivalent thereof:  Died on the Same Day (today's deaths: Jim Morrison and tennis player Pancho Gonzalez); Best Sendoffs (including Top 10 Stupid Death Tricks); and Ask Judy (a Q&A on dying well by Vanity Fair contributing editor Judy Bachrach). And it doesn't confine itself to the deaths of individuals; there have been essays on the end of a terrorist organization, the demise of journalism, even the death of silence, as well as "the photography, the art, the prose of death" (in the words of founder J. Robert Hillier). Death: It's a big subject, and Obit means to cover all its facets.

But the mag is most useful as a highly readable digest of obituaries past and present, and since lately there have been a whole lot of obituaries to digest, Michael Schaffer's "The Grim Reader: This Week in Death" is a must-read.

Schaffer tells you who in the "Obitosphere" did the best job of remembering Billy Mays; Karl Malden; choreographer Pina Bausch; actress Gale Storm (who sent obituarists to their thesauri to find synonyms for "perky"); graffiti artist Michael Martin; and, of course, MJ. If you're looking for a compendium of the most insightful and most embarrassing of all the Michael Jackson commemoratives, this essay is the place to go.

My fave from Schaffer's examples: tracking down the whereabouts of Bubbles.

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