With the sad passing of Clive James, quite a few of you have scored; Christine and Martin both had him down as their Cert, so 170 points each, and Debbie, Julie, Ashley, Shan and Julia also had him listed, so 70 points each also. Well done everyone! This has tightened the league table somewhat, who know what will happen in the next four weeks! Anyone at the top end of the table could win if one of their Big Three decide to succumb to the cold weather, it’s that close! And to anyone who’s a bit miffed about being at the bottom end of the table, don’t worry, I’m there too.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Nick Clifford, 98, American construction worker, last surviving Mount Rushmore carver.
- Goo Hara, 28, South Korean singer (Kara) and actress (City Hunter), suicide.
- Clive James, 80, Australian author (Cultural Amnesia), broadcaster (Fame in the 20th Century) and critic (The Observer), leukaemia.
- Gary Rhodes, 59, English chef (Rhodes W1) and television personality (MasterChef, Local Food Hero), subdural haematoma.
- Godfrey Gao, 35, Taiwanese-Canadian model and actor (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Love is a Broadway Hit, Legend of the Ancient Sword), cardiac arrest.
- Brad Gobright, 31, American rock climber, climbing fall.
- Sir Jonathan Miller, 85, English humourist (Beyond the Fringe), television presenter, and theatre director, Alzheimer’s disease.
- Lord Burgess, 95, American songwriter (“Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)“, “Jamaica Farewell“, “In Plenty and In Time of Need“).
- Iain Sutherland, 71, Scottish musician (The Sutherland Brothers) and songwriter (“(I Don’t Want to Love You But) You Got Me Anyway“, “Sailing”, “Arms of Mary“).
- Terry de Havilland, 81, British shoe designer.
In Other News
Music legend Tina Turner has spoken about turning 80 today, saying: “It’s like having a second chance at life.” The star has had a stellar 60-year career in which she has sold more than 200 million records. But in recent years the Queen of Rock and Roll has been dogged by ill health including a cancer fight and a kidney transplant. Tina said: “I’m 80. What do I think? How did I think I would be at 80? Not like this. “I look great. I feel good. I have gone through some very serious sicknesses that I am overcoming. It’s like having a second chance at life. “I am happy to be an 80-year-old.” Tina suffered a mild stroke after marrying German music executive Erwin Bach, 63, in 2013 and had to learn to walk again. Three years later she was diagnosed with kidney failure and intestinal cancer. Doctors treated the cancer by removing part of her intestine, but her kidney problems got worse and she considered assisted suicide. But then Erwin gave her one of his own kidneys, and Tina had a successful transplant operation in April 2017. She said: “I know that my medical adventure is far from over. There’s always another test, another doctor’s appointment or biopsy to get through.
Gray O’Brien has revealed on social media that he has been battling stage four tonsil cancer. The 51-year-old former Coronation Street star posted a video of him finishing his treatment and revealed that he had been “devastated” by the diagnosis. The actor, who played crooked businessman Tony Gordon in Corrie between 2007 and 2010, said he discovered that he had cancer after visiting his doctor with swollen glands. This was in August and since then Gray has had 30 rounds of radiotherapy, which has been done over a six week period. The Glasgow-born actor shared news of his diagnosis on Twitter but there was light at the end of the tunnel as he also announced that he had finished his treatment. Gray said: “When I received the diagnosis of tonsil cancer I was of course devastated – it’s cancer. “My reason for waiting to ring the bell before I mentioned it publicly is because I wasn’t sure how strong I would be in coping with the treatment, indeed could I cope with the treatment? “This is only the treatment finished. I now have a long way to go with my recovery. “I have been advised it will get worse before it gets better, and I have no reason to doubt this. “As long as I take it a day at a time as I have up until this point I am looking forward to coming through the other side.”
A tree surgeon was killed in a freak accident when he moved to avoid a falling trunk but was hit by a 16-stone branch from a neighbouring tree, an inquest has heard. Charley Purkiss-McEndoo, 27, was working in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park on May 23 this year, when the tragedy occurred. The highly regarded amateur rugby union player had felled a large oak tree before stepping to the side as it fell into what is known as ‘the safety zone.’ But in an unforeseeable tragedy, his textbook safety manoeuvre took him into the path of a falling branch from a neighbouring tree, an inquest heard. The branch belonged to a tree 20ft away which had rotted at its socket and was being held in place by the tree he was was felling as part of a five year forestry clearance plan on the estate. Mr Purkiss-McEndoo- described as a ‘wonderful, humble person’ and the ‘life and soul of his rugby team’ – had sent a text to his mother wishing her a happy birthday minutes before the tragedy. The inquest in Skipton found that he died an accidental death while following ‘correct safety procedures with correct safety equipment.’
On This Day
- 1919 – Lady Astor becomes the first female Member of Parliament to take her seat in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.
- 1952 – The New York Daily News reports the news of Christine Jorgensen, the first notable case of sex reassignment surgery.
- 1955 – American Civil Rights Movement: In Montgomery, Alabama, seamstress Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat to a white man and is arrested for violating the city’s racial segregation laws, an incident which leads to that city’s bus boycott.
- 1990 – Channel Tunnel sections started from the United Kingdom and France meet 40 metres beneath the seabed.
- 1135 – Henry I, king of England (b. 1068)
- 1866 – George Everest, Welsh geographer and surveyor (b. 1790)
- 1947 – Aleister Crowley, English magician, poet, and mountaineer (b. 1875)
- 2007 – Anton Rodgers, British actor (b. 1933)
Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin was a Russian mystic and self-proclaimed holy man who befriended the family of Tsar Nicholas II, the last monarch of Russia, and gained considerable influence in late imperial Russia. Born to a peasant family in the Siberian village of Pokrovskoye in the Tobolsk governorate, Rasputin had a religious conversion experience after taking a pilgrimage to a monastery in 1897. He has been described as a monk or as a “strannik” (wanderer, or pilgrim), though he held no official position in the Russian Orthodox Church.
After traveling to St. Petersburg, either in 1903 or the winter of 1904–05, Rasputin captivated some church and social leaders. He became a society figure, and met the Tsar in November 1905. In late 1906, Rasputin began acting as a healer for Alexei, the Tsar and his wife Alexandra‘s only son, who suffered from hemophilia. At court, he was a divisive figure, seen by some Russians as a mystic, visionary, and prophet, and by others as a religious charlatan. The high point of Rasputin’s power was in 1915, when Nicholas II left St. Petersburg to oversee Russian armies fighting World War I, increasing both Alexandra and Rasputin’s influence. As Russian defeats in the war mounted, however, both Rasputin and Alexandra became increasingly unpopular.
On 12 July 1914 a 33-year-old peasant woman named Chionya Guseva attempted to assassinate Rasputin by stabbing him in the stomach outside his home in Pokrovskoye. Rasputin was seriously wounded, and for a time it was not clear that he would survive. After surgery and some time in a hospital in Tyumen, however, he did recover.
Having decided that Rasputin’s influence over the Tsarina had made him a threat to the empire, a group of nobles led by Prince Felix Yusupov, the Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich, and the right-wing politician Vladimir Purishkevich concocted a plan to kill Rasputin in December 1916, apparently by luring Rasputin to the Yusupovs’ Moika Palace. Rasputin was murdered during the early morning on 30 December 1916, at the home of Felix Yusupov. He died of three gunshot wounds, one of which was a close-range shot to his forehead. Beyond this, little is certain about his death, and the circumstances of his death have been the subject of considerable speculation.
According to historian Douglas Smith, “what really happened at the Yusupov home on 17 December will never be known”. The story of Rasputin’s death that Yusupov recounted in his memoirs, however, has become the most frequently told version of events. According to Yusupov, he invited Rasputin to his home shortly after midnight and ushered him into the basement. Yusupov offered Rasputin tea and cakes which had been laced with cyanide. At first, Rasputin refused the cakes, but then began to eat them. To Yusupov’s surprise, Rasputin did not appear to be affected by the poison. Rasputin then asked for some Madeira wine (which had also been poisoned) and drank three glasses, but still showed no sign of distress. At around 2:30 am, Yusupov excused himself to go upstairs, where his fellow conspirators were waiting. Taking a revolver from Dmitry Pavlovich, Yusupov returned to the basement and, referring to a crucifix that was in the room, told Rasputin that he’d “better look at the crucifix and say a prayer”, then shot him once in the chest. Believing him to be dead, they then drove to Rasputin’s apartment, with Sukhotin wearing Rasputin’s coat and hat, in an attempt to make it look as though Rasputin had returned home that night. Upon returning to the Moika Palace, Yusupov went back to the basement to ensure that Rasputin was dead. Suddenly, Rasputin leapt up and attacked Yusupov, who – with some effort – freed himself and fled upstairs. Rasputin followed and made it into the palace’s courtyard before being shot by Purishkevich and collapsing into a snowbank. The conspirators then wrapped Rasputin’s body in cloth, drove it to the Petrovsky Bridge and dropped it into the Malaya Nevka River.
News of Rasputin’s murder spread quickly, even before his body was found. An investigation was launched the next morning and his body was found under the river ice, approximately 200 meters downstream from the bridge.
Rasputin was buried on the following day at a small church at Tsarskoye Selo. The funeral was attended only by the royal family and a few of their intimates. Rasputin’s wife, mistress, and children were not invited, although his daughters met with the Royal family at Vyrubova’s home later that day. His body was exhumed and burned by a detachment of soldiers shortly after the Tsar abdicated the throne in March 1917, in order to prevent his burial site from becoming a rallying point for supporters of the old regime.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Ridley Scott (82), Ben Stiller (54), Mandy Patinkin (67), Billy Idol (64), Chadwick Boseman (42), Gemma Chan (37), Diane Ladd (84), Don Cheadle (55), Jeff Fahey(67), Karen Gillan (32), Ed Harris (69), Aimee Garcia (41), Judd Nelson (60), Martin Clunes (58), Armando Iannucci (56), Jon Stewart (57), Robin Givens (55), Bill Nye (64), Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (31), Tina Turner (80), Rita Ora (29), DJ Khaled (44), Christina Applegate (48), Bruno Tonioli (64), Sarah Hyland (29), Stephen Merchant (45), Conleth Hill (55), Billy Connolly (77), and Denise Crosby (62).