Dee Dee Ramone's death mattered to me. I don't own any Ramones records, never saw them live, have only seen Rock n Roll High School in fits and starts. Dee Dee hadn't even been a Ramone for years and years. Yet there's something about people who flicker out at 50 from self-defeating behavior that affects me. The candle burns so quickly no matter what one does, and one's own personal road accident could be around any corner. But losing oneself to a drug overdose--the idea saddens me. The Ramones understood that rock music had become in essence a parody by the late 1970s. The Ramones accentuated the self-parody--gimmicky common surnames, retrograde leather jackets and sunglasses, a sound like a dental drill with lyrics from the graffiti on a high school desk. Whether they were recording their first album for $ 6,000, or making a B movie in which mice explode, the Ramones got something about life that can only be said with cheap amps played over 90 second spans. Now they're leaving us, one by one.