Deaths were a bit thin on the ground last week but plenty to read as always. I’ll be closing the donations page next week, last chance to chip in you feel you need to. Big thank you to everyone who did!
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Lance Kerwin, 62, American actor (James at 15, The Loneliest Runner, Salem’s Lot).
- Sylvia Syms, 89, English actress (At Home with the Braithwaites, The Queen, Ice Cold in Alex).
- Tom Verlaine, 73, American musician (Television), songwriter (“Marquee Moon“) and producer (Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk).
In Other News
A man has died after he was crushed by a telescopic public urinal he was working on in central London, just yards from the Harry Potter theatre. Emergency services raced to the scene in the West End on Friday to attempt to free the maintenance worker, who become trapped underneath the unit. A rescue operation was launched just after 1pm between Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road, near the capital’s busy theatre district. The London Fire Brigade sent four fire engines and around 25 firefighters, and with the help of police and paramedics at the scene managed to free the man but he was pronounced dead soon after. In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said: “We’re sorry to have to update that, despite the efforts of emergency services, the man who was critically injured in Cambridge Circus was pronounced dead at the scene. His next of kin have been informed. Cordons remain in place at the location.” The man had become trapped underneath the hydraulic urinal, a toilet stowed below ground which is brought to street level at night for people to use. A crane was brought to the scene as part of efforts to lift the entire structure out of the ground. Road closures were in place through Cambridge Circus during the attempted rescue, while buses were diverted away from the area.
If you are stuck for a Maverick next year, you could choose this 45-year-old software developer. Bryan Johnson has opened up about his quest to regain his youth through a rigorous plan that involves a strict diet, medical procedures, and treatments, and which costs him around $2m a year. Johnson made his wealth when he sold his company, Braintree Payment Solutions, to Ebay’s PayPal in 2013 for $800m in cash. Since then, the 45-year-old has turned his attention inward and is now focused on reversing the ageing process. To reach his goals, which include achieving the “brain, heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, tendons, teeth, skin, hair, bladder, penis and rectum of an 18 year old,” Johnson employs a team of more than 30 doctors and health experts who monitor his “every bodily function”. The treatment plan, which is overseen by Oliver Zolman, a 29-year-old regenerative medicine physician, and required an investment of “several million dollars,” also meant building a medical suite in Johnson’s Venice, California home, according to the publication. As for what “Project Blueprint” entails, Johnson revealed that he wakes up each morning at 5am and takes two dozen supplements and medicines, including zinc to supplement his diet and a micro-dose of lithium for “brain health”. He also follows a strict vegan diet of 1,977 calories a day, works out for an hour each day, and goes to sleep at the same time each night. He also wears blue-light glasses for two hours before bed. Each month, the millionaire tech entrepreneur also “endures dozens of medical procedures, some quite extreme and painful, then measures their results with additional blood tests, MRIs, ultrasounds and colonoscopies. He’s taken 33,537 images of his bowels, discovered that his eyelashes are shorter than average and probed the thickness of his carotid artery. He blasts his pelvic floor with electromagnetic pulses to improve muscle tone in hard-to-reach places and has a device that counts the number of his nighttime erections.” Johnson also undergoes weekly acid peels and laser therapy, and has fat injected into his face to build a “fat scaffolding”. He claims that the procedure is different from regular fillers because, as he “regenerates,” the new fat will “create fat on its own”. “The body delivers a certain configuration at age 18,” Johnson told the flying monkeys. “This really is an impassioned approach to achieve age 18 everywhere.” Who wants to tell him he looks like he’s 45?
Dame Esther Rantzen has said she is remaining “optimistic” after revealing she has been diagnosed with lung cancer. The 82-year-old broadcaster, long-time activist and founder of charities Childline and The Silver Line, confirmed the news on Sunday. Dame Esther said in a statement to the flying monkeys: “In the last few weeks I have discovered that I am suffering from lung cancer which has now spread. At the moment I am undergoing various tests, to assess the best treatment. I have decided not to keep this secret any more because I find it difficult to skulk around various hospitals wearing an unconvincing disguise, and because I would rather you heard the facts from me. At the age of 82, this diagnosis has prompted me to look back over the years, and I want to express my profound thanks to everyone who has made my life so joyful, filled with fun, and with inspiration. First and foremost my family. My three children Miriam, Rebecca and Joshua have been the most wonderful support, company, and source of love and laughter and I am deeply grateful to them. My friends have been amazing and have created memories which sustain me and give me strength. My colleagues with whom I have worked, and continue to work with in broadcasting, journalism, the voluntary sector, and in many other organisations have been a constant pleasure, and have amazed me with their tolerance of my wild ideas and awful jokes. I have been continuously inspired by the courageous children, older people and viewers who have trusted me with their life stories. I have always tried to live up to that trust. As I am sure you will understand, while I am awaiting the results of the tests, I am unable to answer questions. Thanks to the extraordinary skills of the medical profession there are wonderful new treatments, so I am remaining optimistic.” Dame Esther, who was a trailblazer for female broadcasters, became a household name during her career at the BBC. She is best-known for presenting That’s Life! – a programme featuring a mix of investigations, topical issues and entertainment – from 1973 to 1994.
Jay Leno is in the hospital again. The former host of The Tonight Show was previously hospitalized in November for burns sustained while working on one of his vintage cars, but he’s now receiving treatment for new injuries. Ahead of his return to performing in Las Vegas in March, the comedian revealed in a new interview with the flying monkeys that he got into a motorcycle crash on Jan. 17th and required medical care for broken bones. “Just last week, I got knocked off my motorcycle,” Leno said. “So I’ve got a broken collarbone. I’ve got two broken ribs. I’ve got two cracked kneecaps.” The good news is that Leno says he’s “okay” and “working this weekend.” Leno was test-driving a 1940 Indian motorcycle, one of his many prized vintage vehicles, when he noticed the smell of leaking gas and decided to pull over and figure out the problem. “So I turned down a side street and cut through a parking lot, and unbeknownst to me, some guy had a wire strung across the parking lot but with no flag hanging from it,” Leno said. “So, you know, I didn’t see it until it was too late. It just clotheslined me and, boom, knocked me off the bike. The bike kept going, and you know how that works out.” Leno compared his recent predicaments to another accident-prone celebrity: Harrison Ford. “You know, after getting burned up, you get that one for free,” Leno said. “After that, you’re Harrison Ford, crashing airplanes. You just want to keep your head down.” Leno should have plenty of time to recuperate. Sadly for Leno, CNBC has canceled Jay Leno’s Garage, his long-running series about vintage vehicles and the stories behind them. The network cites a renewed investment in its “core content of business news and personal finance.” So basically it was shit.
On This Day
- 1845 – “The Raven” is published in The Evening Mirror in New York, the first publication with the name of the author, Edgar Allan Poe.
- 1886 – Karl Benz patents the first successful gasoline-driven automobile.
- 2020 – COVID-19 pandemic: The Trump administration establishes the White House Coronavirus Task Force under Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.
- 1820 – George III of the United Kingdom (b. 1738)
- 1888 – Edward Lear, English poet and illustrator (b. 1812)
- 1964 – Alan Ladd, American actor (b. 1913)
- 1977 – Freddie Prinze, American comedian and actor (b. 1954)
Have you ever wondered what your own funeral will be like, or who might turn up? Well, a curious Brazilian man has faked his own death to find out. Baltazar Lemos, 60, from Curitiba, Paraná, announced his death on social media and set up a hoax funeral for his friends and family.
Lemos frequently conducts funerals, and has overseen hundreds of ceremonies commemorating the life of other people. He recounted how saddened he had been after conducting a service with just two people in attendance compared to other services where more than 500 were present.
So, just like the episode in Friends where Ross Geller held a fake funeral to see which of his old college mates would attend, Lemos pulled the hoax to see who would show up. Unfortunately for the 60-year-old Brazilian, his funeral produced similarly disastrous results to that of the fictional palaeontologist.
Lemos told our Brazilian flying monkeys ‘I had the idea five months ago. I wanted to make it look like I really died. People interpreted it in their own way. The truth is that I wanted to know who would come to my wake.’
He also apologised for his antics. ‘I didn’t tell anyone, because I hoped it would work out. I had no intention of hurting, offending, or causing any harm to anyone. I truly apologise to these people.’
Social media users quickly learned of the disastrous funeral. One wrote: ‘You got what you wanted Baltazar, to draw attention. In all the groups of event photographers, people are talking about your ‘death’. Everyone was mourning. What a ridiculous joke! I think you should take a picture with everyone who mourned your supposed death. I don’t know you personally and I hope I don’t ever meet you.’
Another of his friends said: ‘I’ve known him since 2001. I thought the story was horrible. I spent one day sad and the other very indignant. For me, he died on the 17th [the day the fake death was announced], when I found out everything. It was in very bad taste.’
Last Week’s Birthdays
Tom Selleck (78), Heather Graham (53), Katharine Ross (83), Marc Singer (75), Oprah Winfrey (69), Adam Lambert (41), Tim Healy (71), Will Poulter (30), Ariel Winter (25), Elijah Wood (42), Tom Hopper (38), Alan Alda (87), Frank Darabont (64), Alan Cumming (58), Bridget Fonda (59), Patton Oswalt (54), James Cromwell (83), Scott Glenn (84), Deep Roy (74), Ellen DeGeneres (65), Volodymyr Zelenskyy (45), Matthew Lillard (53), Mischa Barton (37), Kristen Schaal (45), Nastassja Kinski (62), Michael Ontkean (77), Adrian Edmondson (66), Neil Diamond (82), and Gil Gerard (80).