2024

Dead Pool 9th June 2024

A busy week for deaths! With the sad passing of rugby player Rob Burrow, I can award 109   points to Christine, Paula, Mark, Paul C, and me, and a whopping 209 points to Julia for having him as her Cert. I can also award 49 points to Gwenan who correctly guessed that Janis Paige would pass away this year. 

Well done everyone, especially me as I am now embarrassingly at the top of the Leader Board, I’m not cheating, honestly!!!  

Look Who You Could Have Had:

  • Erich Anderson, 67, American actor (Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, Bat*21,), oesophageal cancer. 
  • Harry van Hoof, 81, Dutch conductor (“Ding-a-dong”, “I See a Star”), composer (“How Do You Do”). 
  • Rob Burrow, 41, English rugby league player (Leeds Rhinos, Yorkshire, national team), complications from motor neurone disease. 
  • Jeannette Charles, 96, British actress (National Lampoon’s European Vacation, The Naked Gun, Austin Powers in Goldmember).  
  • Colin Gibb, 70, British musician (Black Lace). 
  • Janis Paige, 101, American actress (Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, The Pajama Game, It’s Always Jan). 
  • Morrie Markoff, 110, American blogger, writer, and supercentenarian. 
  • William Russell, 99, English actor (Doctor Who, The Adventures of Sir Lancelot, The Great Escape). 
  • C.Gambino, 26, Swedish rapper, shot.  
  • Nicholas Ball, 78, English actor (EastEnders, Footballers’ Wives, Hazell). 
  • William Anders, 90, American astronaut (Apollo 8, author of the photograph Earthrise) and diplomat, ambassador to Norway, plane crash. 
  • Michael Mosley, 67, British television journalist and writer. 

In Other News

Singer Halsey has indicated she has been struggling with the autoimmune disease lupus in a cryptic social media post. The 29-year-old declared she was “lucky to be alive” in the Instagram post and said she had written an album about her secret health struggles. “Long story short, I’m lucky to be alive. Short story long, I wrote an album,” she said on Tuesday night. “It begins with The End. Out now.” she said before tagging Lupus Research Alliance and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs, causing inflammation. Along with the announcement she shared a series of photos summarising her health journey. In the first clip, she was seen rubbing her legs as she told the camera, “Seriously … I feel like an old lady. I told myself I’m giving myself two more years to be sick. At 30 I’m having a rebirth, I’m not going to be sick and I’m going to look super hot and have lots of energy and I’m going to get to redo my 20s in my 30s.” 

Kevin Campbell is ‘very unwell’ in hospital as Arsenal and Everton both provided an update on their former player following news of his ill health. It emerged on Sunday that Campbell had been reportedly ‘rushed to hospital’ with former footballers Ray Parlour and Trevor Sinclair offering public support. The 54-year-old won a number of major trophies at Arsenal having progressed through the Hale End academy during his 10-year stint at the north London club. Campbell recently fell ill and while his current condition remains unknown, his former clubs Arsenal and Everton have confirmed that he is ‘very unwell’. ‘Everyone at the club is sending love to Kevin Campbell and his family, following news that our former striker is very unwell,’ Arsenal said in a statement on Monday. ‘We’re thinking of you.’ Campbell played a total of 209 games for Arsenal between 1985 and 1995, producing 55 goals and 20 assists. He is also well known for his successful spell at Everton, where he scored 50 times and provided eight assist across 160 appearances.

On This Day

  • 1930 – A Chicago Tribune reporter, Jake Lingle, is killed during rush hour at the Illinois Central train station by Leo Vincent Brothers, allegedly over a $100,000 gambling debt owed to Al Capone.
  • 1959 – The USS George Washington is launched. It is the first nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine.
  • 1968 – U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson declares a national day of mourning following the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

Deaths

  • 68 – Nero, Roman emperor (b. 37).
  • 1870 – Charles Dickens, English novelist and critic (b. 1812).
  • 1958 – Robert Donat, English actor (b. 1905).
  • 2013 – Iain Banks, Scottish author (b. 1954). 
  • 2014 – Rik Mayall, English comedian, actor, and screenwriter (b. 1958). 
  • 2017 – Adam West, American actor (b. 1928).

Dead & Alive

A woman in Nebraska who was mistaken for dead at a nursing home and later found to be alive at a funeral home has now really died, authorities have confirmed.

Constance Glantz, 74, was declared dead at a nursing home near the state capital of Lincoln on Monday.

Staff at a local funeral home that she was then brought to noticed about two hours later that she was still breathing. They quickly performed CPR on her.

Ms Glantz was quickly taken to hospital, but officials said that she was later declared dead – for a second time – soon after.

Police are now investigating the incident, but they said there is no evidence of criminal intent by the nursing home.

“This is a very unusual case,” Chief Deputy Ben Houchin from the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office said at a press briefing on Monday.

“Been doing this 31 years, and nothing like this has ever gotten to this point before.”

A coroner was not sent to the nursing home after it declared her dead because Ms Glantz had been placed in hospice care, and the circumstances did not fall within a coroner’s remit, Mr Houchin told reporters.

Ms Glantz’s death had been anticipated, he explained.

Additionally, “a physician had seen her in the last seven days, and the physician was willing to sign the death certificate, and… there was nothing suspicious at the time of the death”.

On Tuesday at around 16:00 local time she was pronounced dead for a second time, Mr Houchin later told reporters.

He added that a post-mortem examination had been scheduled later on Tuesday, and that results could take up to 12 weeks.

“The funeral home did absolutely nothing wrong,” Mr Houchin added. “They are the ones who found that she was still alive.”

Mr Houchin did not name the homes at the centre of the mishap.

Reporters also contacted the funeral parlour named in local media – Butherus, Maser and Love Funeral Home – which said in a statement: “We are proud that our directors and staff handled the recent incident in the news appropriately and with upmost care.”

Ms Glantz is not the only person to be pronounced dead only to reveal themselves as still being alive.

In June last year, 76-year-old Bella Montoya in Ecuador was declared dead following a suspected stroke, placed in a coffin and taken to a funeral parlour for a vigil ahead of her burial. Five hours later, she was found to be alive after the coffin was opened to change her clothes. She did, however, die days later.

In 2018, a South African woman who was initially declared dead following a road accident was discovered alive in a mortuary fridge.

Dr Stephen Hughes, a senior lecturer in medicine at Anglia Ruskin University’s School of Medicine in Chelmsford, has said that such cases are rare, but that “death is a process”.

“Sometimes somebody may look like they’re dead but they’re not quite dead,” Dr Hughes told the Flying Monkeys  after the incident in Ecuador. “Careful examination is necessary.”

Dr Hughes added that doctors would often look for heart sounds or breathing effort for at least a minute before declaring someone dead, and that some drugs could also slow down body processes, giving someone the false appearance of having passed away.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Johnny Depp (61), Natalie Portman (43), Eddie Marsan (56), Michael J. Fox (63), Griffin Dunne (69), Kanye West (47), Colin Baker (81), Liam Neeson (72), Karl Urban (52), Anna Torv (45), Bill Hader (46), Michael Cera (36), Helen Baxendale (54), Bear Grylls (50), Mark Ryan (68), Paul Giamatti (57), Jason Isaacs (61), Robert Englund (77), Josie Lawrence (65), Mark Wahlberg (53), Mel Giedroyc (56), Angelina Jolie (49), Bruce Dern (88), Sean Pertwee (60), Noah Wyle (53), Russell Brand (49), Bradley Walsh (64), Imogen Poots (35), Michelle Keegan (37), James Purefoy (60), and Suzi Quatro (74).


Dead Pool 2nd June 2024

Welcome once again to a pointless week for the Dead Pool. Shockingly, most of our famous people were tragically young this week

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Bette Nash, the world’s longest-serving flight attendant, has died aged 88 after nearly 70 years of airborne service. The news was broken by her employer, American Airlines, which mourned her death in a post on Twitter. “She started in 1957 and held the Guinness World Record for longest-serving flight attendant,” the airline said. “Bette inspired generations of flight attendants. Fly high, Bette.” Ms Nash began her career at the age of 21 with Eastern Airlines, the forerunner of American Airlines, working on its shuttle flight between Washington DC, where she lived, and Boston. She preferred the route because it allowed her to spend every night at home. She had intended to move on after a few years, but ended up staying, becoming a familiar sight to frequent flyers on the route. She never officially retired from her post. “The people are exactly the same,” she told the Flying Monkeys in 2017. “Everybody needs a little love.” According to other US media outlets, she died on 17th May in a hospice after recently having been diagnosed with breast cancer. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants, the union which represented Ms Nash, said “Our thoughts are with her family and friends during this difficult time. Bette will always be an integral part of our history and she will not be forgotten.”

Bats and rock ‘n roll rarely go together. There’s Ozzy Osbourne’s legendary biting the head off one. And now, add Taylor Momsen to the list. Opening for AC/DC on  the Power Up tour, the Pretty Reckless front-woman was bitten on the leg by a small bat. She wasn’t particularly bothered and the show went on, but now she has to undergo two weeks of rabies shots. “So…ROCK AND ROLL MOMENT…in Sevilla Wednesday during “Witches Burn” of all songs… a BAT flew onto me and clung to my leg,” Momsen wrote on Instagram. “In the moment I was performing and had no idea until the incredible crowd kept screaming and pointing.” In the video she shared, Momsen was calm. “I must really be a witch,” she said to the crowd. “It’s alright and the bat’s fine. He’s gonna be my new friend.” In the caption, Momsen added: “He was cute, but yes he bit me…so rabies shots for the next two weeks thanks to all the staff at the hospital who dubbed me #batgirl after seeing it on the local news that morning…more footage to come…that’s one for the books!!!!” The Pretty Reckless are touring with AC/DC in Europe through August.  

The number of executions recorded worldwide last year jumped to the highest level since 2015, with a sharp rise in Iran and across the Middle East, Amnesty International said in a report released Wednesday. The human rights group said it recorded a total of 1,153 executions in 2023, a 30% increase from 2022. Amnesty said the figure does not include thousands of death sentences believed to have been carried out in China, where data is not available due to state secrecy. The group said the spike in recorded executions was primarily driven by Iran, where authorities executed at least 853 people last year, compared to 576 in 2022. Those executed included 24 women and five people who were children at the time the crimes were committed, Amnesty said, adding that the practice disproportionately affected Iran’s Baluch minority. “The Iranian authorities showed complete disregard for human life and ramped up executions for drug-related offences, further highlighting the discriminatory impact of the death penalty on Iran’s most marginalised and impoverished communities,” Agnès Callamard, Amnesty’s secretary general, said in a statement. The group said China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and the United States were the five countries with the highest number of executions in 2023. The total number cited in Amnesty’s annual report was the highest it recorded since 2015, when 1,634 people were known to have been executed. The US carried out 24 death sentences last year with only China (1,000+ executions), Iran (853+), Saudi Arabia (172), and Somalia (38+) using the death penalty more often. Callamard said progress faltered in the US, where executions rose from 18 to 24 and a number of states “demonstrated a chilling commitment to the death penalty and a callous intent to invest resources in the taking of human life.” The report cited the introduction of bills to carry out executions by firing squad in Idaho and Tennessee, and Alabama’s use of nitrogen gas as a new, untested execution method in January. Amnesty said that despite the setbacks, there was progress because the number of countries that carried out executions dropped to 16, the lowest on record since the group began monitoring. 

A man who died at Amsterdam airport was an airline employee who allegedly deliberately climbed into plane’s jet engine. He was killed immediately after getting into the KLM passenger plane’s engine at Schiphol Airport Wednesday afternoon as it prepared for takeoff. Passengers and crew members on board the Embraer 190 aircraft told the Flying Monkeys that a ‘hellish noise’ came from the engine, which quickly began trailing smoke. The Dutch Royal Military Police investigating the incident said today that the man ‘intentionally climbed into the engine, indicating this is a case of suicide’. They additionally said that he had been ‘identified as an employee of a company operating at the airport’. It was unclear from initial reports whether the victim was travelling with the airline or worked at the airport. An insider told the Flying Monkeys that the incident was ‘very intense’, adding: ‘After the plane was pushed back to take off, someone walked into the engine.’ Psychological support will be provided for the passengers witness to the incident, military police said. The passengers have since been disembarked from the aircraft. They noted that the passengers may still be ‘important witnesses’ in helping them understand exactly what happened.

On This Day

  • 1692 – Bridget Bishop is the first person to be tried for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts; she was found guilty and later hanged.
  • 1953 – The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey becomes the first British coronation and one of the first major international events to be televised.
  • 2023 – A collision between two passenger trains and a parked freight train near the city of Balasor, Odisha in eastern India, results in 296 deaths and more than 1,200 people injured.

Deaths

  • 1990 – Rex Harrison, English actor (b. 1908).
  • 2008 – Bo Diddley, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1928).
  • 2008 – Mel Ferrer, American actor (b. 1917).
  • 2009 – David Eddings, American author (b. 1931).
  • 2012 – Richard Dawson, English-American soldier, actor, and game show host (b. 1932). 
  • 2017 – Peter Sallis, English actor (b. 1921).

The Pig Farmer Killer

Robert William “Willie” Pickton, a.k.a. “The Pig Farmer Killer”, was a Canadian serial killer who was convicted for six counts of murder and was suspected for at least 26 others. 

Not a lot of details about Pickton’s life prior to him becoming a serial killer are currently publicly known due to Canadian publicity laws regarding ongoing criminal investigations. What is known is that he was born in 1949 in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia. His family had been pig farmers for three generations, but by the time of his arrest, Pickton had largely given up using the farm for actual farming and only raised a few pigs to sell to friends and neighbours. 

He and his two siblings, David Francis Pickton and Linda Louise Wright, inherited the family pig farm, where Pickton later committed his murders. In 1994 and 1995, they sold parts of their inherited land, earning a total of $5.16 million. 

In 1997, Robert was charged with the attempted murder of a prostitute named Wendy Lynn Eistetter, having tried to stab her, but the case was dropped because prosecutors felt that the victim, who was a drug addict, was too unstable to give an accurate testimony, even though both the victim and Pickton, who suffered a stab injury during the encounter, were treated at the same hospital and a key to the set of handcuffs on Eistetter’s wrist was found in Pickton’s pocket. David, on the other hand, had a criminal record for a sexual assault in 1988 and had also been sued on three occasions for various traffic offences. 

Though Robert was locally considered a quiet man, he and his siblings often hosted wild parties at a converted building near the pig farm called “The Piggy Palace”. In 1996, they also founded a non-profit charity organisation called the “Piggy Palace Good Times Society”, the function of which was listed as to “organise, coordinate, manage and operate special events, functions, dances, shows and exhibitions on behalf of service organisations, sports organisations and other worthy groups”. This came to an end after a New Year’s Eve party on December 31, 1998, when the Pickton siblings were sued for violating zoning laws and legally forbidden from holding any more parties. The “Piggy Palace Good Times Society” was disbanded soon afterwards in January 2000 for failing to provide mandatory financial statements. 

In 1999, Canadian police received a tip that Robert kept human flesh in freezers on his  property. Though a warrant was secured, no search was carried out. 

On February 5, 2002, Pickton was arrested when police, acting on a warrant for firearm violations, found personal belongings of a missing woman on the farm. A second court order was obtained to continue searching the farm as part of the BC Missing Women Investigation, which investigates the disappearances of women. 

As they searched the grounds, they found remains of some victims, such as skulls cut in half and stuffed with human hands and feet, DNA from 33 women, bloody clothing, and a jawbone and teeth. They also found a .22 revolver with a dildo attached to its barrel, .357 Magnum rounds, two pairs of faux fur-lined handcuffs, a pair of night-vision goggles, and photos of a garbage can containing the remains of a victim. Pickton claimed that the dildo, which had the DNA of both him and a victim on it, had been meant to function as a makeshift suppressor. The gun also contained a spent cartridge. While in custody, Pickton told an undercover officer posing as a fellow inmate that he had wanted to kill one more in order to bring his victim count up to an even 50, suggesting that he is responsible for 49 murders. A video recording of the statement was later used as evidence in his trial, which began on January 30, 2006. 

Exactly how he killed his victims is not entirely known to the public, as is anything he might have done to them before killing them. According to a witness on tape, Pickton had claimed that he brought his victims, who were prostitutes, to the farm, handcuffed them, raped them, killed them by strangling them, bled and gutted them, ran them through a wood-chipper and then fed their remains to his pigs. Another claim is that the victims were ground, the resulting mince mixed with the pork mince from the farm and the packages given to Pickton’s friends and family. It was stated in a Biography Channel documentary about the case that Pickton would lure his victims to his farm using a simple ruse, such as pretending to buy sexual favours. During sex, he would become violent and accuse the victims of something, such as stealing from him, in order to build up his rage. He would then restrain them, kill them by strangling or shooting them, and then butcher their bodies.

Pickton pleaded not guilty to 27 charges of first-degree murder, one of which was later rejected on the grounds of a lack of evidence. Because of a publication ban, not all the details are publicly known about the proceedings. On December 6, 2007, a jury found Pickton guilty of six murders, which were reduced from first-degree to second-degree. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, which in Canada entails a possibility of parole in 25 years and is the highest possible punishment for second-degree murder, essentially earning Pickton the same punishment that he would have received for a first-degree conviction. 

On May 19, 2024, Pickton was attacked by another prisoner at the Port-Cartier Institution in Quebec. The prisoner, Martin Charest, described as having a history of assaulting other prisoners, “speared” Pickton in the head with a “broken broom-like handle.” Pickton was placed on life support after being airlifted to a hospital. He died at a hospital in Quebec City from complications of the attack on May 31, 2024. 

Last Week’s Birthdays

Morena Baccarin (45), Awkwafina (36), Jewel Staite (42), Liam Cunningham (63), Justin Long (46), Zachary Quinto (47), Dominic Cooper (46), Dana Carvey (69), Tom Holland (28), Morgan Freeman (87), Brian Cox (78), Jonathan Pryce (77), Amy Schumer (43), Robert Powell (80), Heidi Klum (51), Alanis Morissette (50), Brooke Shields (59), Colin Farrell (48), Clint Eastwood (94), Lea Thompson (63), Stephen Tobolowsky (73), Colm Meaney (71), Mark Sheppard (60), Keir Dullea (88), Harry Enfield (63), Ted Levine (67), Annette Bening (66), Laverne Cox (52), Danny Elfman (71), Kylie Minogue (56), Michelle Collins (62), and Paul Bettany (53).


Dead Pool 26th May 2024

I hope you’re all enjoying the bank holiday weekend! Somehow I don’t think the people listed below are. Anyhow, no points to dispense this week, unsurprising as some of the deaths were very unexpected.  

Look Who You Could Have Had:

  • Richard Foronjy, 86, American actor (Serpico, Midnight Run, Carlito’s Way). 
  • Ebrahim Raisi, 63, President of Iran (since 2021), helicopter crash. 
  • Charlie Colin, 57, American bassist and guitarist (Train, The Side Deal), fall.
  • David Wilkie, 70, Scottish swimmer, Olympic & World champion, cancer. 
  • Caleb Carr, 68, American author (The Alienist, The Angel of Darkness), cancer. 
  • Morgan Spurlock, 53, American film director (Super Size Me, Where in the World Is Osama bin Laden?, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope), cancer. 
  • Kabosu, 18, Japanese Shiba Inu dog and Internet meme (Doge), leukemia. 
  • Richard M. Sherman, 95, American film songwriter (Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang). 

In Other News

Scottish comedian Janey Goldley has shared a worrying health update. The 62-year-old is currently battling terminal cancer. Taking to Twitter on Thursday, Janey admitted she was “worried sick”. She gave a fresh health update as she said that her cancer markers were “high”. Sharing the news with her 294,000 followers, the Glasgow-born performer wrote: “I have a CT scan soon, every three months I get them, I am worried sick as the cancer number is high, we know the cancer is active but not sure where. “Every pain, every twinge scares me. But I am carrying on – next show London ! I won’t go easy into the night” Her health update, which she posted on Twitter alongside a video update, has racked up 4.7k retweets, over a hundred shares, and nearly 200 comments. Janey was admitted to hospital in November 2021 for ovarian cancer, which has since been diagnosed as terminal, though the disease is being kept under control. At the time, she was forced to cancel tour dates while she underwent treatment. The comedian was told she was cancer-free in June 2022, but by the end of the year, the disease had spread to her peritoneum, the membrane lining the abdominal cavity. Earlier this year, she thanked NHS staff for taking care of her as she underwent a scan and announced her cancer was “incurable”. Posting to social media, Janey wrote: “The scan news is in – me and Ashley laugh and cheer Thanks to the Scottish NHS And everyone at the Beatson I have incurable cancer but it’s treatable. “The scan results are in and there is no change from the scan in November 2023. So that means no change, doesn’t mean I am cured or the cancer has gone away.” She continued: “I am still getting the same treatment so it’s a clear scan but I still have terminal cancer.”  

ITV news presenter Rageh Omaar looks like he is on the road to recovery after his on air health scare that saw him hospitalised after the live show. The 56-year-old has been pictured looking happy and relaxed as he walked his dog in London while wearing navy trousers and a waxed jacket, a month after he fell ill. The News At 10 host received medical care last month after he became disorientated while presenting and appeared to slur his words while reading an autocue towards the end of the bulletin. Omaar, the ITV News International Affairs Editor, was seen struggling to clear his desk and re-cap a pen following the final news story of the night and as the end credits began to roll. and has been recovering at home with his wife and three children since, the nature of his illness has not been disclosed. Following his live TV ordeal, Rageh penned a statement to thank his fans for the support he had received. “I would like to thank everyone for their kindness and good wishes, especially all the medical staff, all my wonderful colleagues at ITV News, and our viewers who expressed concern”, he wrote, adding that he had been “determined” to finish the program despite his suspected mini-stroke.  

Kabosu, the dog behind the “doge” meme, has died after 14 years of internet fame, her owner has said. The Japanese shiba inu inspired a generation of online jokes and became the face of Dogecoin cryptocurrency. She had been suffering from leukaemia and liver disease and died on 24th May. “She quietly passed away as if asleep while I caressed her,” Atsuko Sato wrote on her blog “I think Kabo-chan was the happiest dog in the world. And I was the happiest owner. As a rescue dog, Kabosu’s real birthday was unknown, but Ms Sato estimated her age at 18. In 2010, two years after adopting Kabosu from a puppy mill where she would otherwise have been put down, Ms Sato, a teacher from Sakura, east of Tokyo, took a picture of her pet crossing her paws on the sofa. She posted the image on her blog, from where it spread to online forum Reddit and became a meme that bounced from college bedrooms to office email chains. The memes typically used goofy broken English to reveal the inner thoughts of Kabosu and other shiba inu “doge” – pronounced like pizza “dough” but with a “j” at the end. The picture also later became an NFT digital artwork that sold for £3.1m and inspired Dogecoin, which was started as a joke by two software engineers and is now the eighth-most valuable cryptocurrency, with a market capitalisation of $23bn. Kabosu fell ill with leukaemia and liver disease in late 2022, and Ms Sato said in a recent interview with AFP that the “invisible power” of prayers from fans worldwide helped her pull through. Ms Sato, 62, said she had become so used to “unbelievable” events that when Mr Musk changed the icon for Twitter, now X, to Kabosu’s face last year, she “wasn’t even that surprised”. A $100,000 statue of Kabosu and her sofa crowdfunded by Own The Doge, a crypto organisation dedicated to the meme, was unveiled in a park in Sakura in November last year. Sato and Own The Doge have also donated large sums to international charities, including more than $1m to Save the Children. The NGO says it is “the single largest crypto contribution” it has ever received. 

On This Day

  • 1940 – World War II: Operation Dynamo: In northern France, Allied forces begin a massive evacuation from Dunkirk, France.
  • 1967 – The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is released.
  • 2004 – United States Army veteran Terry Nichols is found guilty of 161 state murder charges for helping carry out the Oklahoma City bombing.
  • 2020 – Protests triggered by the murder of George Floyd erupt in Minneapolis–Saint Paul, later becoming widespread across the United States and around the world.

Deaths

The Last Queue

Hundreds of crowded climbers have been captured on footage slowly making their way up the summit of Everest close to where a British climber and his guide went missing on Tuesday after they were hit by collapsing ice.

Experts fear overcrowding on the world’s highest mountain may have played a role in causing the collapse of a cornice – an overhanging mass of hardened snow on the edge of a precipice – which led to the disappearance of Daniel Paul Paterson, 40, and Pastenji Sherpa, 23. The pair have not been heard from since they reached the summit at around 4.40am local time on Tuesday and are feared dead.

Mr Paterson and his guide ran into trouble after ice collapsed and fell on them near the Hillary Step, just below the summit at around 8,800 metres, according to Lapka Sherpa. The Everest guide said they had ‘heroically’ reached the top of the world’s highest peak before going missing as they descended. 

Vinayak Malla, an accredited guide with the International Federation of Mountain Guides  Associations, said: ‘After summiting, we crossed the Hillary Step, traffic was moving slowly then suddenly a cornice collapsed a few metres ahead of us. ‘As the cornice collapsed, four climbers nearly perished yet were clipped onto the rope and self-rescued. Sadly, two climbers are still missing. We tried to traverse yet it was impossible due to the traffic on the fixed line.’ Meanwhile, a member of a team at Everest base camp told The Times: ‘A cornice broke off and washed down a few climbers including Daniel and his guide towards the Tibet side.’

Overcrowding on Everest has become of increasing concern to experts and officials in recent years. In 2019, 11 people died between March to May during the climbing season, prompting Kul Bahadur Gurung, general secretary of the Nepal Mountaineering Association to say that  ‘there were more people on Everest than there should be’.

With Mr Paterson’s disappearance entering a fourth day, his partner Beck Woodhead vowed that she will ‘do everything’ to bring him home, and has set up a GoFundMe page to raise £150,000 for a search and rescue operation. The research nurse said that her partner ‘is known for his adventurous spirit, his kindness, and his unwavering dedication to helping others,’ as she issued a plea saying: ‘Now, it is our turn to help him.’ She described him as a passionate Leeds United fan, as well as a ‘beloved son, brother, partner, friend and a proud joint owner of Wakefield Crossfit.’ The British climber, who is believed to be from Wakefield, was described by Sherpa Lapka as being ‘known for his robust fitness, uplifting positivity, and strong determination’.

The missing men were part of a 15-strong team with 8K Expeditions, led by Bolivian climber David Hugo Ayaviri Quispe. Sherpa Lapka said his colleague Pastenji was a ‘dedicated climber from his youth, with  impressive climbs under his belt including twice on Mt. Everest, K2, Amadablam, and  several other 6,000m peaks.  His warm spirit, kindness, and outstanding expertise made him one of the premier guides at 8K Expeditions,’ he added.

Mr Paterson, who was known to his friends as ‘Pat’, was also a ‘committed’ climber, and had trained in the Himalayas last year. He previously said he was emotional when he saw the Everest summit, telling his followers: ‘My dream will always be to conquer this.’ He dedicated his climb to a late friend from Wakefield Crossfield Club and recently announced that members had raised £10,000 for her family.

Nepal is home to eight of the world’s 14 peaks over 8,000 metres (26,246 feet) and welcomes hundreds of adventurers each spring climbing season. Everest is only climbable in the short windows of clear weather when the winds are calm. This has led to long queues forming at challenging sections, leaving climbers waiting in the freezing cold and burning through their valuable oxygen supplies. Earlier this month, Mongolian climbers Usukhjargal Tsedendamba, 53, and Purevsuren  Lkhagvajav, 31, went missing on Everest. The pair, who had not relied on sherpa guides, were found dead a week later at two different locations after summiting the peak.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Helena Bonham Carter (58), Pam Grier (75), Bobcat Goldthwait (62), Laurence Fox (46), Lenny Kravitz (60), Stevie Nicks (76), Cillian Murphy (48), Ian McKellen (85), Mike Myers (61), Octavia Spencer (54), Frank Oz (80), Doug Jones (64), Alfred Molina (71), John C. Reilly (59), Jim Broadbent (75), Priscilla Presley (79), James Cosmo (76), Tommy Chong (86), Bob Dylan (83), Joan Collins (91), Richard Ayoade (47), Melissa McBride (59), Bob Mortimer (65), Ginnifer Goodwin (46), Naomi Campbell (54), Fairuza Balk (50), Judge Reinhold (67), Noel Fielding (51), Mr. T (72), Timothy Olyphant (56), Jack Gleeson (32), Joel Fry (39), Cher (78), and Louis Theroux (54).


Dead Pool 19th May 2024

Another short newsletter this week, not a lot going on!  

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Olivia Munn has offered fans a candid health insight following her cancer diagnosis. Earlier this year, the 43-year-old announced to her Instagram followers that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer ten months prior. Just days after doctors confirmed the disease was present in her body, she underwent a double mastectomy. In a heartbreaking post, Olivia revealed she’d ‘only cried twice’ during the ordeal and that she credited Dr. Thaïs Aliabadi for ‘saving her life’. “Dr. Aliabadi looked at factors like my age, familial breast cancer history, and the fact that I had my first child after the age of 30,” the X-Men star wrote. “She discovered my lifetime risk was at 37 percent. Because of that score I was sent to get an MRI, which led to an ultrasound, which then led to a biopsy. The biopsy showed I had Luminal B cancer in both breasts.” Following the initial reveal on March 13th, the mum-of-one has shared another update. Speaking to the Flying Monkeys, Olivia announced she had opted to undergo further surgery as opposed to receiving Lupron or leuprolide injections. This medication, which lowers oestrogen levels in the body, was reportedly causing her to feel intense levels of ‘exhaustion’. “I would wake up in the morning and almost immediately need to get back into bed,” she explained. Meanwhile, Munn announced that she has now had an oophorectomy and hysterectomy, as well as a full double mastectomy. “I took out my uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries!” 

Steve Buscemi is on the mend after he was attacked in Manhattan on Wednesday. The 66-year-old was punched in the face while walking in the Kips Bay neighbourhood around noon on May 8th. The attack left Buscemi with swelling to his face and left eye, and he was treated at Bellevue Hospital. Afterward, his publicist gave an update on his condition. In a statement the spokesperson said, “Steve Buscemi was assaulted in Mid-Town Manhattan, another victim of a random act of violence in the city. He is OK and appreciates everyone’s well wishes, though incredibly sad for everyone that this has happened to him while also walking the streets of New York.” A witness working nearby saw the attack and told the Flying Monkeys, “I saw he was with a woman, and then through the corner of the window I saw him trip and fall backwards. He right away got up and ran in the opposite direction. I didn’t see who hit him.” The NYPD told us, “At this time there are no arrests, and the investigation remains ongoing.” The department released surveillance footage of a suspect and added, “The individual is described as a male with dark complexion, wearing a dark coloured baseball style cap, blue t-shirt, black pants, white sneakers, and carrying a bookbag.” The police department is asking for the public’s help to find the perpetrator. Just weeks ago, Buscemi’s “Boardwalk Empire” co-star Michael Stuhlbarg was also randomly attacked with a rock in Manhattan.

On This Day

  • 1536 – Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII of England, is beheaded for adultery, treason, and incest. 
  • 1962 – A birthday salute to U.S. President John F. Kennedy takes place at Madison Square Garden, New York City. The highlight is Marilyn Monroe’s rendition of “Happy Birthday“.
  • 2018 – The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is held at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, with an estimated global audience of 1.9 billion.

Deaths

Last Week’s Birthdays

Grace Jones (76), James Fox (85), Tina Fey (54), Miriam Margolyes (83), Chow Yun-Fat (69), Toyah Willcox (66), Paul Whitehouse (66), Megan Fox (38), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (34), Pierce Brosnan (71), Danny Trejo (80), Debra Winger (69), David Boreanaz (55), Stephen Mangan (56), Janet Jackson (58), Cate Blanchett (55), Sofia Coppola (53), Tim Roth (63), George Lucas (80), Francesca Annis (79), Siân Phillips (91), Greg Davies (56), Harvey Keitel (85), Robert Pattinson (38), Samantha Morton (47), Iwan Rheon (39), Zoë Wanamaker (75), and Mark Heap (67).


Dead Pool 12th May 2024

Some very well known faces on our list this week, however nobody scored a point! This weeks edition is short and sweet, it’s lovely and sunny out there, so go outside! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

  • Jeannie Epper, 83, American stuntwoman (Romancing the Stone, Kill Bill: Volume 2, Wonder Woman). 
  • Susan Buckner, 72, American actress (Grease, Deadly Blessing, The Brady Bunch Hour). 
  • Bernard Hill, 79, English actor (The Lord of the Rings, Titanic, Boys from the Blackstuff). 
  • Ian Gelder, 74, British actor (Game of Thrones, Torchwood, Little Dorrit), bile duct cancer. 
  • Kristin Hallenga, 38, English breast cancer awareness activist (CoppaFeel!), breast cancer. 
  • Dame Shirley Conran, 91, British writer. 
  • Susan Backlinie, 77, American actress (Jaws, Day of the Animals, 1941). 
  • Roger Corman, 98, American film director (The Little Shop of Horrors, Death Race 2000, The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre).

In Other News

BBC Antiques Roadshow’s Theo Burrell has been hospitalised again as she continues her fight against an incurable brain tumour. The beloved antiques expert shared her concerns over critical scan results after being admitted to the hospital on Wednesday, providing fans with an update on her ongoing health struggle. Theo has kept the public informed about her health since being given only months to live nearly two years ago. Diagnosed in 2022 with grade 4 glioblastoma – an aggressive form of cancer that originates in the brain or spinal cells – the 36-year-old was confronted with a dire prognosis. The BBC personality was initially crushed by the news and worried about the potential spread of the cancer. Despite this, she has received treatments that have successfully reduced the tumour to just 10 percent of its original size, although she still experiences significant side effects like headaches and nausea. Nevertheless, Theo is determined to make a difference by embarking on a daring fundraising challenge. She announced to her Instagram followers: “On Saturday 25th, I’m heading to Aberdeen and abseiling down the King’s Tower, all 131 feet of it! The last time I did anything similar I was 19 – not exactly yesterday! If you can help me raise some funds (all for @braintumourrsch ) I’d be very grateful – link in bio. Thank you.”  

Christopher Biggins has undergone open heart surgery and admitted: “It’s not easy getting old.” The 72-year-old pantomime veteran and TV star revealed he has recently had an operation to repair a valve in his heart and knee-replacement surgery. Biggins told the Flying Monkeys: “I’m like the bionic man. I’ve had a new knee put in and I’ve had a new valve put into my heart. It’s not easy getting old.” The actor, known for his appearance on reality shows including I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! and Celebrity Big Brother, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2010 and admitted he is becoming increasingly aware of his health. He said: “I’ve always been aware of being a big boy – aware of my weight and looking at going on diets.” The theatre star admitted that losing his friends has brought home his own mortality. He said: “As you get older, the things you go to – apart from restaurants and theatres – are funerals and memorial services. It makes you aware that life is very shallow. It’s not easy. You never know when you’re going to go.” Speaking about Dame Barbara Widsors’s death last year he said: “I hope that, when we die, all of us, that we can see for the next 24 hours the reaction of everybody to our death. If she could have seen the reaction to her death she would have been so thrilled. The coverage was unbelievable.”   

Susan Backlinie, the American actress and stuntwoman who played the first shark attack victim in Steven Spielberg’s 1975 film Jaws, has died. Along with being a stuntwoman specialising in swimming work, she was also an animal trainer. In her later life she worked as a computer accountant. Backlinie’s appearance in Jaws took three days to shoot, with Backlinie strapped into a harness while the crew struggled to get the desired effects.Contrary to rumour, Backlinie’s startled reaction and screams of anguish were not due to her being injured by the harness that yanked her back and forth in the water. However, she was attached to a line that was anchored to the ocean floor beneath her, and she was intentionally not warned when she would be first pulled underwater; this helped provoke a more genuine expression of surprise from her initially – but the remainder of her performance was her own as an actress. When Jaws co-star Richard Dreyfuss saw a daily of her performance of being attacked by the shark, he told her it absolutely terrified him. Backlinie also appears in Spielberg’s film 1941 parodying her role in Jaws: instead of being attacked by a shark during a midnight swim, she’s “picked up” by the periscope of a Japanese submarine. The scene has been described as the best joke in what is otherwise widely considered one of Spielberg’s least successful films.

On This Day

  • 1941 – Konrad Zuse presents the Z3, the world’s first working programmable, fully automatic computer, in Berlin.
  • 2008 – An earthquake (measuring around 8.0 magnitude) occurs in Sichuan, China, killing over 69,000 people.
  • 2010 – Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771 crashes on final approach to Tripoli International Airport in Tripoli, Libya, killing 103 out of the 104 people on board. The sole survivor was a 9-year-old Dutch boy.

Deaths

  • 1957 – Erich von Stroheim, Austrian-American actor, director, and producer (b. 1885).
  • 1994 – John Smith, Scottish-English politician, Labour Party leader (b. 1938).
  • 2001 – Perry Como, American singer and television host (b. 1912).

Last Week’s Birthdays

Malin Akerman (46), Rami Malek (43), Domhnall Gleeson (41), Emilio Estevez (62), Rhea Seehorn (52), Ving Rhames (65), Gabriel Byrne (74), Jason Biggs (46), Richard Gadd (35), Tim Blake Nelson (60), Pam Ferris (76), Holly Valance (41), Jadyn Wong (39), Meg Foster 76), Sally Phillips (54), Bono (64), Rosario Dawson (45), Grace Gummer (38), Billy Joel (75), Stephen Amell (43), Vicky McClure (41), David Attenborough (98), Salome Jens (89), Alexander Ludwig (32), Richard O’Sullivan (80), George Clooney (63), Adrianne Palicki (41), and Pippa Haywood (63). 


Dead Pool 5th May 2024

Short and sweet this week, I’m sure you all have better things to do on a bank holiday weekend! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Jeremy Clarkson’s Clarkson’s Farm co-star Gerald has been diagnosed with cancer, with the news being broken to fans in the new Amazon Prime series. The latest instalment of the hit series reveals that Gerald, a cherished member of the farm crew, is battling prostate cancer. Fans of the show have come to adore Gerald, who regularly features in Jeremy and Kaleb’s farm antics, especially for his expertise in construction. In a touching update later in the season, Jeremy shares that Gerald is on the mend following a medical procedure, much to the relief of viewers rooting for his recovery. Jeremy has previously spoken fondly of his bond with Gerald, reminiscing: “It doesn’t matter if you can’t understand what he’s talking about, because he’s usually talking about Manchester United.” He added, “He’s fantastic. We’ve known each other for a very long time. He’s 72, also never been outside the village, but has worked on this farm for 50 years. He’s a great dry stone-waller, which is a dying art.” The dynamic duo of Jeremy and Kaleb found themselves in need of Gerald’s skills this year after they accidentally demolished a significant stone wall during their attempts at ‘unfarming’. 

Former Spandau Ballet musician Martin Kemp has predicted that he will die within 10 years. Kemp, 62, made the admission during a podcast recorded alongside his son, former  Capital Breakfast radio presenter and former I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! contestant Roman Kemp. Back in the 1990s, Kemp was diagnosed with two benign brain tumours, and successfully underwent radiotherapy and surgery to have the growths removed. However, one of the side effects of the experience was epilepsy, which Kemp has lived with ever since. The two Kemps discussed their mortality during the first episode of the new podcast series FFS! My dad is Martin Kemp. In the episode, titled “Death, Martin and Roman”, Kemp is asked by his son how much longer he expects to live. “I’ll be really honest with you, 10 years,” he responds. “I don’t know how long I’ve got left but I will tell you, since I was the age of 34, when I went through all of that brain tumour scare, I spent two years of my life thinking I was going to die. And I think, after that, everything else, every day, every year, every month that I’ve lived, every experience that I’ve had has been a bonus.” Kemp explained that he had been “practically resigned” to the notion that he was going to die, and had been “happy with his lot”. The bassist continued: “I thought: ‘If I go, do you know what? What a life’ and that was back then. So, every year that I live, every month that I’m alive now is like a bonus. “I would be happy if I got to 80, that gives me 18 years. My brain still wasn’t working properly from the operation,” he said. “To the point where sometimes if I wanted to walk left, I would walk right, or like I couldn’t think about putting things in order, or anything like that. Learning lines was just way out there.”  Kemp played bass guitar in Spandau Ballet from 1979 until the group’s dissolution in 1990, later returning for a decade after the band reunited in 2009. 

Mark Steel has shared the triumphant news he is now cancer free as he reveals doctors “saved his life”. The comedian and BBC radio star, 63, revealed he noticed his neck was “looking much bigger than normal” while shaving. He ignored it for two weeks but eventually saw a doctor after his neck continued to get bigger. After hospital visits and a lost biopsy, Mark was told he had cancer in at least two places, with the “primary cancer” in his throat. Mark shared his cancer diagnosis in October last year, and has now been able to reveal the news he is cancer free. In a post on Twitter, he said: “A nice man from UCL Hospital called this week, to say a scan of me showed the cancer I had has all gone. The treatment worked, the cancer bottled it and ran off, the wimp.” He added: “One thing I’ve learned through all this is I don’t recommend chemotherapy or radiotherapy as recreational drugs. I can’t see them taking off in the clubs. UCLH is an amazing place packed with wonderful souls. They’ve saved my life but I reckon this mention on Twitter makes us even. Also, I discovered my son and daughter are magnificent and that I know lots of brilliant people who are beautifully kind and funny and rude. And… lots of you sent me messages which was SO appreciated and I’d marry you all if there wasn’t a law against it. Now I’ll shut up about it, after the ‘my cancer journey’ book and tour and musical. And from now on I’ll be careful not to catch cancer again.” Mark’s pals shared their delight at the update as Janey Godley said: “I’m so happy for you.” 

On This Day

  • 1902 – A stand box collapses at Ibrox Park (now Ibrox Stadium) in Glasgow, Scotland, which led to the deaths of 25 and injuries to more than 500 supporters during an international association football match between Scotland and England. 
  • 1943 – World War II: United States Army Air Forces bomber aircraft accidentally cause more than 900 civilian deaths, including 209 children, and 1,300 wounded among the civilian population of the Belgian town of Mortsel. Their target was the Erla factory one kilometre from the residential area hit.
  • 1974 – Carrie, the first novel by American author Stephen King, is published for the first time with a print run of 30,000 copies.

Deaths

Last Meals

Willie James Pye was an American convicted murderer who was given the death penalty in 1996 for murdering his ex-girlfriend Alicia Lynn Yarbrough after he kidnapped and raped her. Pye acted together with two other people to commit a robbery at the home of Yarbrough’s boyfriend, which in turn led to the murder in 1993. 

Pye, who was convicted and sentenced to death three years after the crime, remained on death row for nearly 30 years before he was put to death via lethal injection on March 20, 2024. His case became a point of controversy due to the alleged inadequate legal representation he received during the trial, which allegedly left out details of Pye’s troubled childhood and other mitigating factors that may have spared his life. Pye was the first death row convict to be executed in Georgia after a four-year moratorium on executions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On November 17th 1993, Pye was involved in the rape-murder of his ex-girlfriend Alicia Lynn Yarbrough (aged 21 at the time), with whom he had an on-again, off-again romantic relationship prior to their final break-up. After their final break-up, Yarbrough ended up with another man, and she had a child, which Pye believed to be his, and he was angered that a birth certificate for the baby was signed with Yarbrough’s lover as the child’s father. On the day in question, Pye, armed with a newly bought .22 pistol, teamed up with two people, 15-year-old Anthony Freeman and 25-year-old Chester Adams, to commit robbery at the lover’s house, but after finding Yarbrough alone in the house with her baby, Pye and his accomplices abducted her and would later rape her at a motel, and also stole her jewellery. Afterwards, the trio drove Yarbrough down a dirt road, where Pye ordered her out of the car, told her to lie face down and shot her three times, which resulted in her death.

Yarbrough’s corpse was discovered on the same day of her murder, and the trio were arrested soon after. Pye and Adams denied their involvement in the crime, while Freeman confessed to the murder and implicated both Adams and Pye. DNA tests would later confirm that the semen found on the victim’s corpse belonged to Pye, which allowed the authorities to charge him as a suspect for Yarbrough’s murder. 

Pye’s lawyers urged for the state to grant Pye clemency and commute his death sentence to life in prison without parole, on the grounds of Pye’s low IQ and troubled childhood and the inadequate legal representation in his trial back in 1996. They also claimed that Pye suffered from foetal alcohol syndrome, as a result of his mother’s alcohol abuse while she was  pregnant with him, which may have damaged his brain and affected his mental responsibility at the time of the killing. Three former jurors who convicted Pye stated that they did not want Pye to be executed, after citing that they would have opted for life without parole had his childhood and low intelligence been revealed during his first trial. However the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles officially turned down his clemency petition in 2024. 

Pye reportedly ordered a last meal of two chicken sandwiches, two cheeseburgers, french fries, two bags of plain potato chips, and two lemon-lime sodas. He was also visited by six family members, a clergy member, and an attorney for the final time before his death sentence was carried out. 

Pye was executed by lethal injection at 11:03 p.m. at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Center in Jackson, Georgia. Pye was 59 years old at the time of his death. Reportedly, before he was administered with a single dose of pentobarbital, Pye accepted a final prayer but he did not make a final statement. 

Last Week’s Birthdays

Henry Cavill (41), Zach McGowan (44), John Rhys-Davies (80), Lance Henriksen (84),  Richard E. Grant (67), Marc Alaimo (82), Michael Palin (81), Adele (36), Will Arnett 54), Christina Hendricks (49), Pom Klementieff (38), Rob Brydon (59), Sandi Toksvig (66), Ben Elton (65), Matt Berry (50), Dwayne Johnson (52), David Suchet (78), Lily Allen (39), David Beckham (49), Engelbert Humperdinck (88), Julie Benz (52), Jamie Dornan (42), Joanna Lumley (78), Uma Thurman (54), Michelle Pfeiffer (66), Daniel Day-Lewis (67), Jerry Seinfeld (70), Kate Mulgrew (69), Willie Nelson (91), Anita Dobson (75), Kirsten Dunst (42), Gal Gadot (39), and Sam Heughan (44).


DeadPool 28th April 2024

A fairly quiet week again, I’d send out the Flying Monkeys, but I’ve misplaced the cage key. 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

  • Terry Carter, 95, American actor (Foxy Brown, McCloud, Battlestar Galactica). 
  • Mike Pinder, 82, English Hall of Fame musician (The Moody Blues) and songwriter (“The Best Way to Travel”, “A Simple Game”).
  • Frank Field, Baron Field of Birkenhead, 81, British politician, MP and member of the House of Lords, prostate cancer. 
  • Marla Adams, 85, American actress (The Young and the Restless, The Secret Storm, Splendor in the Grass). 
  • Maria Feliciana, 77, Brazilian singer, worlds tallest woman 7ft 3in.

In Other News

The ITV News presenter Rageh Omaar is “receiving medical care” after becoming unwell live on air. Omaar, who is the network’s international affairs editor, was leading Friday evening’s News at Ten programme when he appeared to have difficulty reading the bulletins on the autocue. In a statement released after the programme aired, ITV News acknowledged viewers’ worries and provided an update on the situation. “We are aware that viewers are concerned about Rageh Omaar’s wellbeing,” an ITV News spokesperson said. “Rageh became unwell while presenting News at Ten on Friday and is now receiving medical care. He thanks everyone for their well wishes.” The nature of Omaar’s illness during the broadcast is currently unknown. Across social media, the hashtag #itvnews began to trend in the UK, as viewers shared messages of support and worry for the newsreader. ITV pulled the show from its scheduled re-runs on ITV+1, with a message instead telling viewers that ITV was “temporarily unable to bring you our +1 service. We will resume shortly.” it read. Many on Twitter have admonished others for sharing the footage or Omaar’s broadcast, during which he stumbled over reading some words. Omaar has worked on ITV News since 2013, beginning his tenure as a special correspondent and presenter. Update: Following medical treatment at hospital, he is now recovering at home with his family. The nature of Omaar’s illness during the broadcast still remains unknown.

Harvey Weinstein, the former movie mogul and convicted sex offender, has been hospitalised in New York City, his lawyer said on Saturday. Arthur Aidala, a lawyer for Weinstein, told The Flying Monkeys that Weinstein was moved to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan after he arrived to the city jails from a prison in upstate New York. “They examined him and sent him to Bellevue. It seems like he needs a lot of help, physically. He’s got a lot of problems. He’s getting all kinds of tests. He’s somewhat of a train wreck health wise,” Mr Aidala said. The news comes just days after a New York appeals court vacated his rape conviction after finding the trial judge made “egregious errors” by allowing prosecutors to call witnesses whose allegations were not related to the charges at hand. Weinstein was moved from Mohawk Correction Facility in Syracuse to Rikers on Friday after his 23-year prison sentencing was vacated. The 72-year-old remained in custody due to his 2022 rape conviction in Los Angeles.   

Norway’s king plans to scale back his participation in official duties “out of consideration for his age”, the country’s royal household has said. Officials said the move would see King Harald, 88, make a “permanent reduction” to his public engagements. Harald is one of Europe’s longest reigning monarchs, serving since 1991. But he has battled illness in recent years and was admitted to hospital in Malaysia in February after falling sick while on holiday. He was treated for an infection he contracted while staying on the resort island of Langkawi. He was later fitted with a pacemaker to compensate for a low heart rate. Harald has not been seen in public since his hospitalisation. His son, Crown Prince Haakon, has carried out the king’s duties in his absence. In a statement on Monday, the royal household said “practical arrangements will also be made in the conduct of his official activity”, but offered no further details on what the arrangements would be. Monday’s announcement comes just days after Harald formally resumed his constitutional duties, having taken two months of sick leave after being released from hospital. His official diary listed three separate meetings, including a summit with the head of the country’s armed forces. Last year, the king carried out 431 public engagements. They included chairing cabinet 35 times and holding 110 audiences with leaders such as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Despite his advancing age and ill-health, King Harald has openly ruled out abdicating. In January, he told reporters that he had taken an oath that “lasts for life”. “It’s that simple for me,” he added. “We’re at it until the bitter end.” Despite his health issues, polling suggests that the king remains extremely popular with Norwegians. A survey earlier this year showed that 64% of the population did not want him to abdicate in favour of his son, while some 72% of Norwegians remained supportive of the monarchy. Harald has been known to hold progressive views throughout his time on the throne. In 2016, he made an impassioned speech in support of LGBT equality and refugees, paying tribute to his fellow citizens from “Afghanistan, Pakistan and Poland, from Sweden, Somalia, and Syria,” and saying that Norwegians “are girls who love girls, boys who love boys, and girls and boys who love each other”. 

On This Day

  • 1869 – Chinese and Irish labourers working on the First transcontinental railroad lay ten miles of track in one day, a feat which has never been matched.
  • 1881 – Billy the Kid escapes from the Lincoln County jail in Mesilla, New Mexico.
  • 1923 – Wembley Stadium is opened, named initially as the Empire Stadium.
  • 1945 – Benito Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci are shot dead by Walter Audisio, a member of the Italian resistance movement.
  • 1973 – The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, recorded in Abbey Road Studios goes to number one on the US Billboard chart, beginning a record-breaking 741-week chart run.
  • 1986 – High levels of radiation resulting from the Chernobyl disaster are detected at a nuclear power plant in Sweden, leading Soviet authorities to publicly announce the accident.

Deaths

Gods of Death

Hades, Pluto, and Hel are some of the most well-known gods of death and the underworld from ancient mythology, but nearly all ancient cultures have one. Each death god from around the world represents the unique views different cultures have of death. Let’s have a  look at a few. 

Hades – Greek God of Death: In Ancient Greek mythology, the Greeks believed many gods ruled over the various elements of life and death. They would often perform ceremonies and sacrifices to earn favour, be it a good harvest, wealth and prosperity, or entrance to the afterlife. Among these gods, Hades, the Greek god of the underworld, ruled over the dead. Often depicted with a somber expression and a beard, Hades was known for his helmet, the Helm of Darkness or the Cap of Invisibility, and his companion, Cerberus, the three-headed dog that guards the entrance to the Underworld. His name means Unseen One, but he is also known as the Giver of Wealth, or Pluton. He is most known for his roles in the mythological stories about his parents, the Titans, and his niece, Persephone. As the god of the underworld, Hades typically remained in his realm and does not appear in as many myths as other gods.

Pluto – Roman God of Death: The foremost of the Roman chthonic (“subterranean”) deities, Pluto was god of the dead and lord of the underworld. A figure of enormous dread and terrible might, Pluto dispensed luck and controlled the fates of all mortals. As commander of the subterranean realms, he was the master of ores, metals, and the precious stones found within them. For this reason, he was celebrated by many as the bringer of wealth. Pluto was the Roman counterpart to Hades, who ruled the underworld of the same name. Pluto lived underground in a gloomy palace, and seemed to have little interest in the world of men. Likewise, Pluto seldom involved himself in godly affairs. He rode a chariot, carried a staff, and was often depicted wearing a warrior’s helm. Pluto was often accompanied by Cerberus, a three-headed hound that served both as his pet and guardian of the underworld.

Hel – Norse God of Death: Hel is a giantess/goddess who rules over the identically-named Hel, the underworld where many of the dead dwell. Her name’s meaning of “Hidden” has to do with the underworld and the dead being “hidden” or buried beneath the ground. Hel is the daughter of Loki and the giantess Angrboda, and therefore the sister of the wolf Fenrir and the world serpent, Jormungand. This makes her part of a highly dangerous and disreputable family. Hel is generally presented as being rather greedy, harsh, and cruel, or at least indifferent to the concerns of both the living and the dead. However, her personality is little-developed in what survives of Old Norse literature. Her appearance is described as being half-black, half-white, and with a perpetually grim and fierce  expression on her face.

Kali – Hindu God of Death: Kali is the Hindu goddess of death, time, and doomsday. She is often associated with sexuality and violence but is also considered a strong mother figure and symbol of motherly love. Kali is most often represented in art as a fearful fighting figure with a necklace of heads, skirt of arms, lolling tongue, and brandishing a knife dripping with blood. Kali’s name derives from the Sanskrit meaning ‘she who is black’ or ‘she who is death’. As an embodiment of time Kali devours all things, she is irresistibly attractive to mortals and gods. 

Anubis – Egyptian God of the Underworld: Anubis was a jackal-headed deity that guided souls and dead kings to the afterlife. There they were judged by Osiris through the weighing of the heart. Anubis would also embalm the dead and protect them. Anubis was one of the most important gods in Ancient Egyptian history. People viewed him with respect as a god of the underworld. He was depicted as a jackal-headed god because jackals were frequently seen roaming around tombs in Ancient Egypt. Anubis was said to have invented the mummification process. In world mythology, gods of death are often associated with evil. However, this wasn’t the case for Anubis. The Egyptian people viewed him as a good, protective deity. 

Ah Puch – Mayan God of Death: Ah Puch is an extremely fearsome deity usually depicted as a skeleton, often with rotting flesh. Ah Puch is the god of death, darkness, and disaster and yet also apparently represents regeneration, child birth, and beginnings. Ah Puch likes to surface at night and skulk around, there is only one way to escape his attentions. Howl! 

Mictlantecuhtli – Aztec God of Death: Mictlantecuhtli was the Aztec god of death who ruled over Mictlan, the land of the dead. Mictlan was where most people would spend their afterlife, regardless of moral standing. His name comes from his status as the ruler of Mictlan, and simply means “Lord of the Land of the Dead.” Mictlantecuhtli was most commonly depicted as a skeletal figure, though reliefs have also been found depicting him as a skull with eyes. He was sometimes shown with his mouth open, ready to receive the setting stars that disappeared during the day. As the Aztec lord of the underworld, Mictlantecuhtli didn’t act as the judge of the dead, Mictlantecuhtli simply tried to maintain order in his domain.

The Shinigami – Japanese Death Gods: In Japanese folklore, the Shinigami are death gods who play an essential role in the afterlife. People believed them to be spirits who guided the dead to the next world. In most cases, they are considered benevolent beings who guide the dead to the afterlife. Though many assume they are look similar to the Grim Reaper, most literature portrays them as something less frightening. They are said to wear black kimonos and have long white hair and can hide in plain sight or be invisible until you are  close to death.

Maman Brigette – Haitian and Voodoo Death God: Maman Brigitte is a lwa, or intermediary between the human and divine, of both life and death in Haitian Voodoo. She is always seen drinking rum infused with hot peppers, or sometimes she simply seen eating the peppers. She’s also said to swear frequently, and is associated with black roosters. She’s the partner of Baron Samedi, the male lwa of life and death. She protects the dead, gravestones, tombs and cemeteries. Maman Brigitte use of obscenity is a reminder not to be afraid to tell the truth and speak from the heart. She likes to have fun and is not afraid to say what is on her mind. Maman Brigitte is tough, serious, fun loving, the life of the party, caring, protective, religious, respectful, loud, rowdy and wild. Despite the fact of her rude and foul mouth she is also well spoken and behaves in a regal manner. Even though she has the power over the dead Maman Brigitte is priestess and teacher in healing.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Jessica Alba (43), Penélope Cruz (50), Mary McDonnell (72), Ann-Margret (83), Jay Leno (74), Jenna Coleman (38), Russell T. Davies (61), Giancarlo Esposito (66), Pablo Schreiber (46), Channing Tatum (44), Tom Welling 47), Kevin James (59), Jet Li (61), Joan Chen (63), Melania Trump (54), Renée Zellweger (55), Al Pacino (84), Gina Torres (55), Hank Azaria (60), Talia Shire (78), Djimon Hounsou (60), Jack Quaid (32), Joe Keery (32), Shirley MacLaine (90), Barbra Streisand (82), Rory McCann (55), Dev Patel (34), John Cena (47), Lee Majors (85), John Hannah (62), Gemma Whelan (43), Blair Brown (78), John Oliver (47), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (58), Amber Heard (38), Jack Nicholson (87), and Sheryl Lee (57).


Dead Pool 21st April 2024

Sadly no points to award this week, In fact a quiet week all round! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

  • Pooch Tavares, 81, American singer (Tavares). 
  • Vincent Friell, 64, Scottish actor (Trainspotting, Restless Natives, The Angels’ Share).
  • Derek Underwood, 78, English cricketer (Kent, national team), complications from dementia.  
  • Michael Donovan, 54, English convicted kidnapper (Kidnapping of Shannon Matthews), cancer. 
  • Willie Limond, 45, Scottish boxer and footballer (Albion Rovers), complications from a seizure.
  • Dickey Betts, 80, American musician (The Allman Brothers Band) and songwriter (“Jessica”, “Ramblin’ Man”), cancer and COPD. 
  • Leighton James, 71, Welsh footballer (Burnley, Swansea City, national team). 

In Other News

Shocking footage captured the moment a shameless woman dragged her dead uncle into a bank in a bid to take out a loan in his name. The dead man’s head could be seen swaying back and forth as her niece tried to get hold of his neck at a bank counter in Rio de Janeiro. The Brazilian woman, identified as Erika de Souza Vieira Nunes, can also be seen using her hand to keep her dead uncle’s neck upright as she asked him to sign off a four-figure loan. Pretending to have a conversation with him, she said: “Uncle, are you listening? You have to sign it. I can’t sign for you. “Sign here and stop giving me a headache,” she added as she asked the deceased old age pensioner to hold the pen between his fingers. But her shameless drama was met by a silent response from the dead man. One of the bank workers present at the scene said: “I don’t think this is legal. He doesn’t look well. He’s very pale.” To which Erika quipped: “He’s like that,” before asking her uncle if he is unwell and wants to go to the hospital again. Seeing the ordeal, the bank staff grew suspicious and started filming the pair before calling an ambulance. And her shocking con rumbled soon after the paramedics confirmed Paulo Roberto Braga, 68, had passed away before she shamelessly hauled his body into the bank in a wheelchair. Cops soon arrested Erika for the scam and revealed she tried to take out a loan for 7,000 Brazilian Reais (£2,500), local media reports. Police chief Fabio Luiz confirmed after the arrest Mr Braga was already dead when he was wheeled into the bank. He added: “The investigation is continuing to identify other family members and to find out if he was alive when the loan was arranged and when it dates from.” 

Warwick Davis has announced that his wife of over 30 years, Samantha Davis, died on March 24. “My wife and soul-mate, best friend. Devoted mother. My favourite human. My most trusted confidant and an ardent supporter of everything I did in my career, has passed,” the 54-year-old said in a statement. “Her passing has left a huge hole in our lives as a family. I miss her hugs.” While Samantha’s cause of death has not been shared, Warwick explained that her mobility had become impaired in recent years. He said she was “determined that it would not impact her quality of life and limit what she did and was able to achieve.” Samantha’s death follows her 2019 battle with sepsis. Her health dramatically declined ahead of a family caravan holiday. Warwick previously said: “The next few hours were the longest of my life as I waited on the ward with our children in the empty space left by Sam’s hospital bed. I hoped it would not symbolise a future for us without her.” It’s believed she contracted the deadly bacterial infection, sepsis, after undergoing decompression surgery on her spine. Samantha said: “We went home a week later and suddenly I couldn’t feel my legs. I thought I was still recovering from the surgery so I went to bed, but the next day I felt awful, as though I had been hit by a truck. I stayed in bed all day while Warwick and Harrison went to a family party and the next morning I woke at 4am feeling even worse.” She recalled her deteriorating condition, “As the day went on I couldn’t concentrate, I lay on the sofa and when I tried to get up I collapsed on the floor.” Warwick hopes that following her death, Samantha “continues to inspire through the things she did and that her love, warmth and generosity will be her legacy. She always lived her best life. Although the pain of losing Sammy and being without her is unbearable, I feel so fortunate I was able to be close to her and experience her magic for 35 years.” 

On This Day

  • 1509 – Henry VIII ascends the throne of England on the death of his father, Henry VII. 
  • 1918 – World War I: German fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, better known as “The Red Baron”, is shot down and killed over Vaux-sur-Somme in France. 
  • 1934 – The Surgeon’s Photograph, the most famous photo allegedly showing the Loch Ness Monster, is published in the Daily Mail. 

Deaths

  • 1509 – Henry VII of England (b. 1457). 
  • 1910 – Mark Twain, American novelist, humorist, and critic (b. 1835). 
  • 2003 – Nina Simone, American singer-songwriter, pianist, and activist (b. 1933). 
  • 2016 – Prince, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer, and actor (b. 1958). 

Last Meals

After spending countless years incarcerated and having only prison chow to tide you over, you’d think the majority of death row inmates would have their final meal order all sorted out in advance.

It’s arguably the only thing that people facing capital punishment have to look forward to, as being put to death isn’t the most exciting prospect.

But this bloke’s dietary request should serve as a cautionary tale to any other death row prisoners, as what he asked for was so ridiculous that prison officials refused – and saddled him with a pot of plain yoghurt instead. 

Let’s have it right – who would want to leave this world with just a dairy product on their stomach? I for one, do not.

James Edward Smith, on the other hand, had no choice.

The convicted killer, 37, was slapped with a death sentence after he was found guilty of fatally shooting Larry Don Rohus, while he was robbing an office building in Houston, Texas.

On March 7, 1983, Smith strolled up to a Union National Life Insurance Company branch brandishing a gun and wearing a stocking mask, before he started to demand money.

The employee who he first encountered refused and hid behind a filing cabinet, leaving the district manager, Rohus, to deal with the situation.

Rohus complied with all the demands and began to retrieve money from the cash drawer before putting it in a plastic bag.

He gave the money to Smith and then began walking away – only for the gunman to open fire. 

The 44-year-old was shot twice – once through the heart – and was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

Smith fled the building on foot and was chased down by one of Rohus’ co-workers as well as other Good Samaritans.

Ultimately, the Kentucky-born killer was convicted of capital murder and was sentenced to death by lethal injection.

The former tarot-card dealer – who also confessed to six ‘ritualistic’ deaths at trial which were never proven – even waived his final appeals which could have potentially stalled the process in the hopes of speeding up his execution.

Prior to his first scheduled execution on 11 May, 1988, Smith was quoted as saying: “Life is a temporary situation. The spirit moves on. Death is like eating a prune in the morning. It’s a  natural function.”

He really ran with this take on life and then requested a last meal of rhaeakunda dirt – which is exactly what it sounds like. 

Smith intended to eat the soil as part of a voodoo ritual, which he both practiced and believed in, as he reckoned that it would assist his journey into reincarnation.

Sadly for him, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice turned down the bizarre request because, as you would expect, dirt was not included on the list of approved foods.

After all that rigmarole, Smith ended up getting a last-minute stay of execution – although his death sentence was then rescheduled for two years later.

He again refused his appeals, expressed his wishes to die and his hunger for dirt to be his last meal.

Again, Smith’s strange snack was denied and the last ever item of food he ate on this earth was a plain yoghurt.

Not even flavoured.

Last Week’s Birthdays

James McAvoy (45), Toby Stephens (55), Andie MacDowell (66), Tony Danza (73), Rob Riggle (54), Iggy Pop (77), Jessica Lange (75), Andy Serkis (60), Clint Howard (65), Carmen Electra (52), Veronica Cartwright (75), George Takei (87), Ruth Connell (44), Michael Brandon (79), Nicholas Lyndhurst (63), James Franco (46), Tim Curry (78), Ashley Judd (56), Hayden Christensen (43), Kate Hudson (45), Simu Liu (35), David Tennant (53), Rick Moranis (71), Hayley Mills (78), Conan O’Brien (61), James Woods (77), Jennifer Garner (52), Rooney Mara (39), David Bradley (82), Victoria Beckham (50), Sean Bean (65), Anya Taylor-Joy (28), Gina Carano (42), Claire Foy (40), Ellen Barkin (70), Sadie Sink (22), Emma Watson (34), Seth Rogen (42), Emma Thompson (65), Luke Evans (45), and Maisie Williams (27).


Dead Pool 14th April 2024

Surprisingly, no points to hand out today, I could have sworn a couple of you had O.J.  

Next weeks issue will be dependent on whether WWIII has kicked off yet… 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

  • Lori and George Schappell, 62, American conjoined twins. 
  • Joe Kinnear, 77, Irish football player (Tottenham Hotspur, national team) and manager (Wimbledon), complications from vascular dementia
  • Peter Higgs, 94, British theoretical physicist, discoverer of the Higgs boson, Nobel Prize laureate (2013). 
  • O. J. Simpson, 76, American football player (Buffalo Bills) and actor (The Naked Gun, The Towering Inferno), prostate cancer. 
  • Roberto Cavalli, 83, Italian fashion designer and inventor. 
  • Eleanor Coppola, 87, American filmmaker (Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, Paris Can Wait, Love Is Love Is Love). 

In Other News

Jackie Chan has responded to fans who were left “concerned” about his health following the release of a new photo of the star. The renowned actor and martial artist is known for his fitness, and was seen with grey hair at a recent event in Sichuan, China, sparking concern on social media once it went viral. Now, the Rush Hour star, who just turned 70, has responded to worries about his health, and revealed the reasons behind his appearance – which he admitted had frightened even his close friends. “Not so long ago, a lot of friends saw some recent photos of me on the internet, and they were all concerned about my health,” he wrote in a post on Instagram celebrating his 70th birthday on Sunday. “I want to take this opportunity to let everyone know, don’t worry!” He shared that he had donned the new look for a forthcoming role, but did not confirm any further details. “It’s just a character appearance for my latest movie. The character requires me to have white hair, white beard and look old. Over the years, I’ve always been willing to try new things for a movie, no matter if it’s a challenging stunt or a breakthrough appearance for a character.” He went on to reflect on his long career in the industry and turning 70, adding: “Especially for us stunt people, we don’t know how lucky we are to be able to grow old.” The Police Story star was born in Hong Kong, China, and appeared in a number of low-budget action movies before making his big break in Hollywood in the 1980 film The Big Brawl. He was awarded an honorary Academy Award in 2016 for his contributions to the film industry. The actor concluded, “I’ve been in the entertainment business for 62 years and I cherish every moment because I’m lucky I’m still filming today.”   

The world’s oldest conjoined twins Lori and George Schappell have died at the age of 62. Lori and her transgender twin George passed away on Sunday at a hospital in Pennsylvania due to undisclosed causes, per their online obituaries. The siblings, who had partially-fused skulls and shared 30 per cent of their brains, defied doctors who said they wouldn’t live past the age of 30. The twins had previously made headlines after George, formerly Dori, came out as transgender. Lori was able-bodied but George, who had spina bifida, was confined to a wheelchair which his twin pushed around. He had enjoyed a successful career as a country singer but Lori pursued her interests elsewhere as a trophy-winning ten-pin bowler. She also worked at a hospital laundry for several years during the ’90s, arranging her schedule around George’s gigs, which took them around the world to countries including Germany and Japan, according to the Guinness World Records. The twins lived independently in a two-bedroom apartment in Pennsylvania where they took turns practicing their separate hobbies. They alternated whose room they slept in and also showered separately by using the shower curtain as a barrier as one stood outside the bath. The pair appeared on numerous shows including Jerry Springer, The Maury Povich Show and The Howard Stern Radio Show. In the past, when asked if the death of one would necessarily mean the death of the other, Lori said at the time: ‘No, it would not. That’s another misconception.’ George, then Reba, explained in the 1997 documentary: ‘If it’s caught early enough, we could both be rushed to the hospital and then in an emergency, quickly be separated to save the other one.’ Elaborating further on whether they had ever wished to be separated, he said no: ‘Would we be separated? Absolutely not. My theory is: why fix what is not broken?’  

The mystery around Kate Beckinsale’s health continues as the Underworld actress has deleted all posts related to her hospital stay from her Instagram feed. For several weeks, the 50-year-old shared cryptic photos where she could be seen lounging in her room but as eagle-eyed followers have spotted, all posts related to the star’s health woes have been deleted. As she seemingly takes a break from the online platform, her comments have also been limited, although reasons for the change have been left unclear. The actress’ social media activity sparked concern in March, 2024, as she unveiled her health ordeal by sharing a string of shots where a teary-eyed Kate could be seen in a hospital gown with a large black bow in her hair. Her post was relayed on Instagram as she paid tribute to mothers around the world on Mother’s Day, including her own, Judy Loe. She refused to respond to worried fans who asked her for an update. “Thank you to those that love us and support us when it’s shit and try to make sure there are some bits that aren’t”, she had then penned. “And for looking after our dogs when we can’t, and lead us to remember happy things when we can’t. And turn up when we are sick and sit with us. And send balloons and check in and pull us out of wells with love.” A handful of days later, Kate still kept details around her health issues shrouded in secrecy as she continued to post from hospital to honour her late father, Richard, who passed away in 1979 as well as her stepfather, Roy Battersby, who drew his last breath at the age of 87 in January, 2024. After celebrating Easter in her hospital bed with a pair of festive socks, Kate posted photos while receiving a visit from pal Jonathan Voluck and seemed in good spirits as they wore peanut headbands while smiling at the camera. But, once again, she failed to mention why she’d been hospitalised. On April 9, 2024, the actress added fuel to the fire by posting and also deleting a photo of her mother Judy with a black eye. Fans grew increasingly frantic as she captioned: “My mum is hurt. Everything in me just wants me to scream. That soft, beautiful face, the unfairness of yet another fucking blow, this time to the face, hands, knee. As I am twisting my guts up to rail at this, she dresses in delicate purple to jauntily complement and has managed not to break a single bone. No one is stronger, no one terrifies me more in her fragility. Please mind, if you can. Minding helps.” But when faced with questions about her health, particularly as fans remember she had suffered from a ruptured ovarian cyst in January, 2019, Kate denied that she was being treated for a ruptured cyst or endometriosis. 

On This Day

  • 1865 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is shot in Ford’s Theatre by John Wilkes Booth; Lincoln dies the following day. 
  • 1912 – The British passenger liner RMS Titanic hits an iceberg in the North Atlantic and begins to sink.
  • 1958 – The Soviet satellite Sputnik 2 falls from orbit after a mission duration of 162 days.This was the first spacecraft to carry a living animal, a female dog named Laika, who likely lived only a few hours.
  • 1986 – The heaviest hailstones ever recorded, each weighing 1 kilogram, fall on the Gopalganj district of Bangladesh, killing 92.
  • 1999   – A severe hailstorm strikes Sydney, Australia causing A$2.3 billion in insured damages, the most costly natural disaster in Australian history. 
  • 2003 – The Human Genome Project is completed with 99% of the human genome sequenced to an accuracy of 99.99%.

Deaths

Last Meals 

A Missouri man who murdered his cousin and her husband in 2006 has been executed by lethal injection despite clemency appeals by prison staff.

Brian Dorsey, 52, shot Sarah and Ben Bonnie after they agreed to help him with debts he owed to drug dealers.

The couple’s four-year-old daughter was at the home during the fatal attack. 

Dorsey nearly faced ‘surgery without anaesthesia’ to find a vein to inject the lethal drug due his obesity. Currently there is no guidance on how far the execution team can go to find a suitable vein, leaving open the possibility of an invasive “cutdown procedure,” Dorsey’s attorneys said. 

The procedure involves an incision that could be several inches wide and several inches deep. Forceps are used to tear tissue away from a vein that becomes the injection point.

However, the procedure wasn’t required and he was pronounced dead at 18:11 local time on Tuesday, according to a news release from the Missouri Department of Corrections.

Advocates for Dorsey argued that he had reformed during his stay in prison and that he did not have adequate legal defence during his trial.

The US Supreme Court rejected two bids to delay the execution. The governor also rejected a request for clemency, saying in a statement on Monday that Dorsey “punished his loving family for helping him in a time of need”.

Missouri Governor Michael Parsons also cited prosecutors’ claims that he sexually assaulted his cousin’s body after killing her. Lawyers for Dorsey reject the allegation, saying it was never proven at trial.

Dorsey turned himself in to the police three days after the attack. He confessed and pleaded guilty.

He is the first inmate executed by Missouri this year, after four people were put to death in the state in 2023.

Lawyers for Dorsey argued that he had become a model inmate in the last 17 years, one who worked as a prison barber giving haircuts to staff, and was remorseful for his crimes.

They said he was suffering drug-induced psychosis at the time of the attack, two days before Christmas, and that his lawyers faced a financial conflict of interest during trial.

At the time, the Missouri Public Defender Office’s paid court-appointed lawyers a flat fee of $12,000 per case. A low sum, given the thousands of hours normally needed in capital justice murder cases.

They argue his lawyers rushed him to take a plea deal that did not ensure that he would not be given a death sentence.

Former Missouri Supreme Court Justice Michael Wolff wrote to the governor saying the payment system, which has since been changed, has “undoubtedly influenced everything”.

Mr Wolff wrote that executing Dorsey “will dishonour our system of capital punishment”.

A petition signed by more than 70 correctional officers argued his sentence should be commuted to life in prison due to good behaviour.

“The Brian I have known for years could not hurt anyone,” one officer wrote in the petition. “The Brian I know does not deserve to be executed.”

In his final statement before his death, Dorsey again apologised to his victims and their relatives.

“To all of the family and loved ones I share with Sarah  and to all of the surviving family and loved ones of Ben, I am totally, deeply, overwhelmingly sorry,” he wrote.

“Words cannot hold the just weight of my guilt and shame. I still love you. I never wanted to hurt anyone. I am sorry I hurt them and you.”

Ahead of the execution, relatives of Dorsey’s victims called his sentence being carried out “a light at the end of the tunnel”.

Dorsey “was a close family member who was given a safe haven to get him out of a bad situation and turned this helping hand into the ultimate betrayal of a loved one”, according to a statement from Sarah Bonnie’s family. 

According to the Missouri Department of Corrections, before his execution he ordered his favourite foods, which included two cheeseburgers, two large French fries, two orders of chicken strips and a sausage, pepperoni, onion, mushrooms and extra cheese pizza.

The execution was carried out by a single dose of the sedative pentobarbital at the state prison in Bonne Terre.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Adrien Brody (51), Anthony Michael Hall (56), Sarah Michelle Gellar (47), Robert Carlyle (63), Julie Christie (84), Rob McElhenney (47), Peter Capaldi (66), Bokeem Woodbine (51), Ron Perlman (74), Peter Davison (73), William Sadler (74), Edward Fox (87), Jennifer Morrison (45), Saoirse Ronan (30), Claire Danes (45), Shannen Doherty (53), Andy Garcia (68), Ed O’Neill (78), Nicholas Brendon (53), David Letterman (77), Milly Alcock (24), Tricia Helfer (50), Matt Ryan (43), Jeremy Clarkson (64), Charlie Hunnam (44), Daisy Ridley (32), Haley Joel Osment (36), David Harbour (49), Steven Seagal (72), Peter MacNicol (70), Kristen Stewart (34), Elle Fanning (26), Dennis Quaid (70), Mark Pellegrino (59), Cynthia Nixon (58), Robin Wright (58), Katee Sackhoff (44), Patricia Arquette (56), and Dean Norris (61).


Dead Pool 7th April 2024

Lets award the points!!! Stu and Lee both had the worlds oldest man down as their Cert, so  136 points each and 36 points goes to Dave, who strengthens his grip at the head of the league table. Well done all of you! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

In late March 2024, weeks after Buckingham Palace announced King Charles is suffering from an unspecified form of cancer, celebrity gossip magazine In Touch Weekly published an article allegedly offering specifics on his diagnosis. Citing anonymous sources, the article claimed he has pancreatic cancer and only two years to live. One source reportedly told In Touch Weekly some people close to the British monarch believe his cancer “is worse than they’re making it out to be,” while another allegedly told the publication Charles “is not only battling pancreatic cancer… but has a mere two years to live.” Obviously this rumour is unproven, the alleged sources in the In Touch Weekly article were anonymous and, therefore, we were unable to to independently verify their claims. Searching the Royal Family’s website and Google, there was no evidence of the Palace revealing Charles’ specific form of cancer. No reputable news publications substantiated the rumour – which, if true, would be eminently newsworthy. 

A teenager had to be taken to hospital due to a suspected brain infection, after bursting an enormous pimple on his nose. Justine Seit, had burst the huge zit sitting on his nose, however, he soon became ill with an infection in Negros Oriental province, the Philippines. Burning up with a fever, the boy was taken to hospital on March 30th. The 17-year-old was put on oxygen whilst doctors conducted a CT scan to investigate whether the infection had reached his brain. After being prescribed antibiotics, Justine’s condition started to improve and the pus was drained from his boil-like pimple. His relieved mother Monaliza Marcos said: “To everyone, especially the teenagers, my advice is not to fiddle with pimples on your face because the infection might spread to your brain. The doctors have taken a sample from the pimple for analysis. I’m so grateful my son was able to recover from his sickness.” Doctors have warned against popping pimples in the ‘danger triangle’ area of the face. The region, also called the ‘triangle of death’, is marked by the corners of the mouth to the bridge of the nose. The network of veins in this area provides channels through which facial infections can spread toward the brain. Several years ago, a teenager was blinded by a mystery illness sparked from squeezing a seemingly harmless nose spot. Mary Ann Regacho, 17, suffered severe facial swelling after simply popping a pimple on her nose. The youngster originally thought the growth was a simple spot caused by hormones after she gave birth to a baby boy at age 16. But, when she squeezed the spot, Mary said it grew painful days later before it started spreading across her face. The teenager, from Nueva Ecija, in the Phillippines, said it was “like a balloon inflating”.

On This Day

  • 1933 – Prohibition in the United States is repealed for beer of no more than 3.2% alcohol by weight, (Now celebrated as National Beer Day in the United States).
  • 1955 – Winston Churchill resigns as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom amid indications of failing health.
  • 1969 – The Internet’s symbolic birth date.
  • 1983 – During STS-6, astronauts Story Musgrave and Don Peterson perform the first Space Shuttle spacewalk.

Deaths

  • AD 30 – Jesus Christ (possible date of the crucifixion (b. circa 4 BC).
  • 1739 – Dick Turpin, English criminal (b. 1705).
  • 1891 – P. T. Barnum, co-founded The Barnum & Bailey Circus (b. 1810).
  • 1947 – Henry Ford, founded the Ford Motor Company (b. 1863). 
  • 2001 – David Graf, American actor (b. 1950). 
  • 2015 – Geoffrey Lewis, American actor (b. 1935).

Last Meals 

The US state of Oklahoma has carried out its first execution for 2024, giving a lethal injection to a man convicted of a double murder.

Michael Dewayne Smith was 19 when he killed Janet Moore and Sharath Babu Pulluru during a drug-fuelled crime spree in Oklahoma City in 2002. 

When offered the choice of what to order for a last meal, Smith made the unusual decision to reject the chance to place an order. He instead ate some of the remaining foods he’d had from the prison canteen. When asked if he had any last words, Smith, 41, said: “Nah, I’m good.” 

He is the 12th person to be executed in Oklahoma since the state resumed carrying out death penalties in 2021.

The nearly seven-year hiatus came after a series of problems arose during executions.

In 2014, a condemned prisoner writhed in apparent pain for 43 minutes before dying from a heart attack. The next year, a prisoner being executed told witnesses “it feels like acid” and “my body is on fire”.

Smith’s murders were committed while he was already on the run for a shooting death a year earlier.

Janet Moore was killed when he went to her house looking for her son, who Smith believed to be a police informant.

In a separate attack, Sarath Babu Pulluru was killed when Smith mistook him for another convenience store clerk who had made comments to a local newspaper about Smith’s criminal gang. Pulluru was shot nine times before being doused with lighter fluid and set on fire.

Smith died within minutes of receiving the lethal cocktail of three drugs, according to reporters who witnessed it at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.

He was pronounced dead at 10:20 ET on Thursday, the Department of Corrections confirmed to the Flying Monkeys.

Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond released a statement after Smith was declared dead, saying: “I am grateful that justice has been served.” 

The family of Janet Moore also released a statement declaring that “justice has been served”   and thanking authorities for pursuing the punishment over the past 22 years.

“It does not go unnoticed or in vain, as we were constantly reminded this is justice for a loss that has caused a ripple for generations to come,” the family wrote.

Sharath Babu Pulluru’s family said in a statement that Sharath “will forever live in our hearts”. 

Last Week’s Birthdays

Russell Crowe (60), Francis Ford Coppola (85), Jackie Chan (70), Paul Rudd (55), Michael Rooker (69), Zach Braff (49), John Ratzenberger (77), Billy Dee Williams (87), Lily James (35), Hayley Atwell (42), Mitch Pileggi (72), Pharrell Williams (51), Robert Downey Jr. (59), Natasha Lyonne (45), Hugo Weaving (64), Graham Norton (61), Amanda Bynes (38), Eddie Murphy (63), Alec Baldwin (66), Paris Jackson (26), Pedro Pascal (49), Michael Fassbender (47), Jesse Plemons (36), Emma Myers (22), Linda Hunt (79), Penelope Keith (84), Mackenzie Davis (37), Asa Butterfield (27), Annette O’Toole (72), Ali MacGraw (85), and Michael Praed (64).


Dead Pool 31st March 2024

Been a while since someone scored, it must be time to send out the Flying Monkeys! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Arnold Schwarzenegger has shared some health news. The Terminator star and former California governor revealed on his Arnold’s Pump Club podcast that he has been fitted for a pacemaker after having undergone three open-heart surgeries. “Last Monday, I had surgery to become a little bit more of a machine: I got a pacemaker,” he said. “First of all, I want you to know I’m doing great! I had my surgery on Monday, and by Friday, I was already at a big environmental event with my friend and fellow fitness crusader Jane Fonda,” he continued. “Nobody would ever have thought I started the week with a surgery. I want to thank my whole team at the Cleveland Clinic. All of the doctors and nurses took amazing care of me and made the surgery as painless as possible,” he added. Schwarzenegger initially underwent two open-heart surgeries in 1997 to replace his pulmonic valve and aortic valve. Normally lasting 12 to 15 years, he underwent surgery to get both replaced again in 2018 and 2020. The actor also added a bit of levity. The photo he shared shows a reclining Schwarzenegger with a red wire running out of his ear into what looks like a Looney Tunes version of a time bomb resting on his chest. Of the “pacemaker,” he wrote sarcastically, “you can only see it if you’re really looking for it.”  

Pope Francis skipped the traditional Good Friday procession at Rome’s Colosseum to ‘protect his health’, the Vatican said, making a last-minute decision that added to concerns about his frail condition during a particularly busy period. Francis had been expected to preside over the Way of the Cross procession, which re-enacts Christ’s Passion and crucifixion, and composed the meditations that are read aloud at each station. But just as the event was about to begin, the Vatican announced that Francis was following the event from his home at the Vatican. “To conserve his health in view of the vigil tomorrow and Mass on Easter Sunday, Pope Francis will follow the Via Crucis at the Colosseum this evening from the Casa Santa Marta,” a statement from the Vatican press office said. While Francis had also skipped the event in 2023 because he was recovering from bronchitis and it was a particularly cold night, his decision to stay home this year suggested his plans had changed suddenly. The 87-year-old Francis, who had part of one lung removed as a young man, has been battling what he and the Vatican have described as a case of the flu, bronchitis or a cold all winter long. For the last several weeks he has occasionally asked an aide to read aloud his speeches, and he skipped his Palm Sunday homily altogether. The decision to stay home appeared to be very last-minute: Francis‘ chair was in place on the platform outside the Colosseum where he was to preside over the rite. His close aide, Monsignor Leonardo Sapienza, was on hand and moved the television screen around on the platform so Francis would have a better view of what was going on inside the Colosseum itself. But at 9.10pm, five minutes before the official start of the procession, the Vatican press office announced on Telegram that he wouldn’t attend. The chair was quickly taken away. In addition to his respiratory problems, Francis had a chunk of his large intestine removed in 2021 and was hospitalised twice last year, including once to remove intestinal scar tissue from previous surgeries to address diverticulosis, or bulges in his intestinal wall. He has been using a wheelchair and cane for over a year because of bad knee ligaments.  

The Who musician Roger Daltrey has reflected on his generation after reaching a milestone age, stating: “I’m on my way out.” Daltrey, who has been the frontman of the rock band since 1964, stepped down as the curator of the annual Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT) gigs, which take place at Royal Albert Hall, weeks after his 80th birthday on 1st March. He has now reflected on his decision to end his time as the event’s curator, suggesting it stemmed from a desire to “be realistic” about his future. Writing in a “backstage diary” for The Times, Daltrey said: “I have to be realistic. I’m on my way out. The average life expectancy is 83 and with a bit of luck I’ll make that, but we need someone else to drive things. I’m not leaving TCT – I’ve been a patron since I first met the charity’s founders, Dr Adrian and Myrna Whiteson, more than 30 years ago – and that will continue, but I’ll be working in the back room, talking to the government, rattling cages.” Daltrey said he had concern “about how many words” he had to remember ahead of recent shows he performed, and admitted to feeling nervous beforehand. “On at 8.40pm and I’ve got to say I really feel it tonight,” he wrote, adding: “We haven’t done anything for seven months and this winter’s been brutal. I’ve been in hibernation. For the whole of January, I lost my voice completely. I live like a monk and if I went on tour for a week I’d be fit as a butcher’s dog again, but tonight, for the first time in my career, I think, ‘Blimey, this is hard.’”

On This Day

  • 1889 – The Eiffel Tower is officially opened.
  • 1990 – Approximately 200,000 protesters take to the streets of London to protest against the newly introduced Poll Tax.
  • 1998 – Netscape releases Mozilla source code under an open source license.

Deaths

  • 1837 – John Constable, English painter and educator (b. 1776).
  • 1855 – Charlotte Brontë, English novelist and poet (b. 1816).
  • 1913 – J. P. Morgan, American banker and financier (b. 1837).
  • 1993 – Brandon Lee, American actor and martial artist (b. 1965).
  • 2002 – Barry Took, English comedian, actor, and screenwriter (b. 1928).
  • 2016 – Ronnie Corbett, Scottish comedian, actor and screenwriter (b. 1930

Death by Balls – Part 2

Death by Yoga Ball: For centuries, yoga has provided physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being to those who commit to it. But in this freaky case, yoga – more specifically, a yoga ball – led two women to their untimely deaths.

Khaw Kim-sum, an anaesthesiologist and associate professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, is serving a life sentence in Hong Kong for murdering his wife, Wong Siew-fing, and 16-year-old daughter, Lily. The 53-year-old from Malaysia purportedly wanted to get rid of the women so he could continue his affair with a student.

Kim-sum filled an inflatable yoga ball with poison gas and placed it in the trunk of the family’s yellow Mini Cooper. The gas leaked out and killed Siew-fing and Lily, who were discovered by the roadside in their locked car.

The women were pronounced dead at the same hospital in which Kim-sum worked. A postmortem examination concluded that they had died from inhaling carbon monoxide. During the trial, witnesses revealed that Kim-sum told them he planned to use the gas on rabbits. He had told police that he had intended to use it to get rid of rats in his home. The professor also suggested that his daughter knew the ball contained carbon monoxide gas and may have been trying to commit suicide. 

Death by Racquetball: Very little was reported about a man who died while playing racquetball. While the vigorous sport is notorious for causing heart attacks, it was not a heart attack that killed this player.

This story was reported in a South Florida Sun-Sentinel article about bizarre deaths. An unnamed man was playing racquetball with his wife. On a return, the woman struck her husband in the side with the ball. The man had no idea that the strike had ruptured his spleen, and he continued playing. A short time later, he haemorrhaged to death.

Ruptures to the spleen are most often caused by a direct blow to the abdomen. The symptoms – pain and bruising – do not always appear immediately.  

Death by Cricket Ball: Cricket players wear helmets, but the helmets do not protect everything. During a cricket match between South Australia and New South Wales, 25-year-old Phillip Hughes was struck by the ball. The ball hit the unprotected area just below Hughes’s left ear. He immediately collapsed, was rushed to the hospital, underwent surgery, and was placed into an induced coma.

The “sport-related blunt-force cerebrovascular injury,” a vertebral artery dissection, led to a haemorrhage. Hughes died two days later, just three days shy of his 26th birthday. Improvements were made to the cricket helmet, but the added guards do not protect the vulnerable area of the neck on which Hughes was struck. A review concluded that the incident was purely accidental, and any changes made to improve safety during the review period would not have prevented it. 

Death by Hurling Ball: Harry Byrne, age 13, died on the playground at St. Kieran’s College in Ireland. The student was hit in the head by a sliotar, or hurling ball, during a lunchtime break. He was rushed to the hospital but succumbed to his injury.

Hurling is a tradition in Ireland, where it is common to see “young lads walking up and down the street with hurleys in their hand, not mobile phones.” The hard, solid hurling sliotar is about the size of a tennis ball. It features a cork core covered by stitched leather and has a mass between 110 and 120 grams.

Hurling is a big deal at St. Kieran’s, and students strive to make the school team and go still further afterward. Young Mr. Byrne was a talented hurler who had won two under-14 championship medals. The school described the incident as a “freak accident” that occurred while the children were playing normally.

Death by Football: Allie Brodie, age 18, had just started her freshman year at the University of Alabama when tragedy struck. While soccer football during a student ministry retreat for her Christian sorority, Brodie was hit in the head and suffered a severe brain injury.

The freshman’s symptoms got progressively worse in the days following the soccer game. She underwent two brain emergency surgeries and spent weeks in a medically induced coma. She was diagnosed with a rare condition she’d had since birth: a tangle of abnormal blood vessels in the brain that divert blood away from normal brain tissue. The soccer ball triggered internal bleeding in the young woman’s brain.

Brodie remained in the coma but later died from complications of the resulting pneumonia. 

Death by Golf Ball: A freak accident on the course led to the death of Australian golfer Rod Gurney in 2021. The 69-year-old was struck in the head by a ball hit by a fellow player. Gurney was attended to at the scene by paramedics but declined to seek additional medical treatment. Over the next few days, however, his condition worsened, and he was admitted to the hospital, where he died.

“Although this death was tragic and sudden,” said his family, “we are heartened to know that he passed doing something he loved.” 

Last Week’s Birthdays

Ewan McGregor (53), Christopher Walken (81), Richard Chamberlain (90), Rhea Perlman (76), William Daniels (97), Daniel Mays (46), Warren Beatty (87), John Astin (94), Céline Dion (56), Norah Jones (45), Eric Clapton (79), Ed Skrein (41), Lucy Lawless (56), Brendan Gleeson (69), Christopher Lambert (67), Marina Sirtis (69), Elle Macpherson (60), Eric Idle (81), Thaddea Graham (27), Vince Vaughn (54), Julia Stiles (43), Lady Gaga (38), Dianne Wiest (78), Orla Brady (63), Nick Frost (52), Quentin Tarantino (61), Nathan Fillion (53), Julian Glover (89), Mariah Carey (55), Fergie (49), Keira Knightley (39), Jennifer Grey (64), Martin Short (74), Diana Ross (80), Lee Pace (45), Sarah Jessica Parker (59), Richard O’Brien (82), Paul Michael Glaser (81), and Elton John (77). 


Dead Pool 24th March 2024

Alas, no points to award this week, perhaps we need to send out the Flying Monkeys?!

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

The Princess of Wales has been diagnosed with cancer and revealed her illness to the world in a personal and deeply moving video message. Kate Middleton disclosed that the cancer was discovered while she underwent major abdominal surgery at The London Clinic at the start of the year. The 42-year-old princess said she needed to recover from surgery before she could start “preventative chemotherapy”, as advised by her medical team. “This of course came as a huge shock, and William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family,” she added. The news is another cruel blow to the royal family with King Charles and the future queen now both fighting cancer at the same time. The King paid tribute to his “beloved” daughter-in-law after the news broke, and said he was “so proud of Catherine for her courage in speaking as she did”. Speculation has swirled for weeks about Kate’s medical condition, with ceaseless rumours and wild conspiracy theories spreading online. Sitting on a garden bench, Kate explained she had needed time to come to terms with the news and tell her children before informing the wider world. She said: “It has been an incredibly tough couple of months for our entire family, but I’ve had a fantastic medical team who have taken great care of me, for which I am so grateful. In January, I underwent major abdominal surgery in London and at the time, it was thought that my condition was non-cancerous. The surgery was successful. However, tests after the operation found cancer had been present. My medical team therefore advised that I should undergo a course of preventative chemotherapy and I am now in the early stages of that treatment.” Praising her husband as “a great source of comfort and reassurance”, Kate said: “It has taken me time to recover from major surgery in order to start my treatment. But, most importantly, it has taken us time to explain everything to George, Charlotte and Louis in a way that is appropriate for them, and to reassure them that I am going to be OK. As I have said to them, I am well and getting stronger every day by focusing on the things that will help me heal; in my mind, body and spirits.”  

The husband of Coronation Street actress Julie Goodyear has said she is “slowly fading away” following her dementia diagnosis. Scott Brand told the Flying Monkeys that he missed his “fun-loving wife”, and said it was “extremely painful” to watch her deterioration. Goodyear, 81, played the leopard-skin-loving barmaid Bet Lynch in the soap. Brand was speaking up in conjunction with a new Alzheimer’s Society campaign, which the couple are backing. The campaign features a TV advert, voiced by the actor Colin Firth, entitled The Long Goodbye. It focuses on the brutal reality of the disease and how it causes people to “die again, and again, and again”. Brand, 55, publicly shared news of Goodyear’s diagnosis last summer. Sharing an update on her condition, Brand said: “I miss the fun-loving wife that Julie had always been – the larger-than-life personality that brightened up everywhere she went, and the smile that lit up every room. All of this is now slowly fading away and it’s extremely painful for me to watch this deterioration.” Brand said his wife now struggles to recognise people, and said he missed the daily joys of being in a couple. “Not being able to spontaneously go out as husband and wife, holding hands as we stroll along, going for meals together and going shopping – all these losses for me symbolise the long goodbye.” Goodyear starred in Coronation Street from 1966 to 2003. Thanks to her performance, Bet Lynch became one of the ITV soap opera’s longest-serving and best-loved characters. Her clothing and glamorous looks were trademarks, but Brand said his wife had now lost interest in her appearance. “Julie has always been extremely glamorous, going nowhere without her make-up,” he said. “But now the lipsticks and make-up go unworn, and clothes are no longer of interest, especially the leopard print.”  

A man was thought to be ‘brain dead’ and given just a four percent chance of survival after trying to pull out an ingrown hair. Steven Spinale was diagnosed with sepsis in 2022 and was left fighting for his life. The dad ended up in a medically-induced coma and had to undergo open heart surgery. Aged 36 at the time, Steven was ‘pretty sick’ for a month of so before with doctors unable to figure out what was wrong with him, according to his sister Michelle. All they could work out however was that the bloke ‘was bleeding internally from somewhere’ – but Michelle says this ended up being ‘the smallest worry’. Steven had tried to remove an ingrown hair in his groin, which became infected. Sepsis can be triggered by an infection in any part of the body and is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the immune system overreacts and can cause multiple organ failure and death. “He was turned away at numerous hospitals who thought he was making it up. He started vomiting blood and they still sent him home,” she said. “The next day, my sister had to call 911 because he couldn’t breathe.” It was then found that he had a ‘rare bacteria that was ravaging through his body and shutting down all his organs.’ Steven’s body was drove to sceptic shock and he was hit by a number of conditions in hospital as Michelle wrote that he caught influenza A and had double pneumonia. She added that the sepsis had reached his heart and he also suffered a ‘small stroke’. Steven was placed in a medically-induced coma as his family were told he had just a four percent chance of surviving. And incredibly, after a number of treatments, he woke after a month with no brain damage. In late November 2022, a positive update was issued on Steven that although he had a ‘long road ahead of him’ he was ‘steadily on his way’. 

On This Day

  • 1199 – King Richard I of England is wounded by a crossbow bolt while fighting in France, leading to his death on April 6th. 
  • 1944  – World War II: In an event later dramatised in the movie The Great Escape, 76 Allied prisoners of war begin breaking out of the German camp Stalag Luft III.
  • 1989 – In Prince William Sound in Alaska, the Exxon Valdez
  • spills 240,000 barrels of crude oil after running aground.
  • 1999   – A lorry carrying margarine and flour catches fire inside the Mont Blanc Tunnel, creating an inferno that kills 38 people. 
  • 2015 – Germanwings Flight 9525 crashes in the French Alps in an apparent pilot mass murder-suicide, killing all 150 people on board.

Deaths

Death by Balls

How many types of balls can you name? How many of said balls have killed someone?

We all know that sports can be dangerous, especially for the athletes who participate in them. You can certainly find stories of players who have passed on while playing their beloved sport, from football and boxing to racing and Olympic luge. And even people simply exercising can find themselves injured. However, what happens when the equipment they use becomes deadly?

Whether merely spectators or the result of more nefarious reasons, over the next two weeks we will cover ten strange deaths caused by the balls used in these various activities.

Death by Baseball: Linda Goldbloom was enjoying the ninth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles when she was struck by a foul ball. An unidentified San Diego Padres hitter swung at a 150 Km/h pitch to send the ball over the protective netting behind the home plate and into the 79-year-old woman’s head. According to a coroner’s report, Goldbloom died four days later from head trauma. An estimated 1,750 fans are struck by foul balls every season, but Goldbloom’s death was the first in nearly 50 years. While many of the injuries are serious, only two other deaths by foul balls, one in 1943 and another in 1970 have been reported.

Thanks to the “Baseball Rule,” American major league baseball teams cannot be held liable for the injuries inflicted on spectators. As long as the team offers some protected seating in the areas where foul balls are most likely to cause injuries (e.g., the netting that hangs behind home plate), it has met the standard of reasonable care. Most MLB tickets even feature a disclaimer warning that fans sitting outside the protected zone do so at their own risk. 

Death by Exercise Ball: Baba Yanyan was in her stroller on the street when something fell from an apartment building. A metal ball, one that is used for hand and wrist exercises, fell eight stories and struck the child in the head. Yanyan died hours later in the hospital.

Police were unable to identify the owner of the metal ball despite a door-to-door investigation of the apartment building’s 121 households. Without recompense for the criminal matter, the child’s family took their case to court. Families in the building were ordered to pay a “gift” to the family as compensation. Falling objects from apartment buildings is a persistent problem in China. 

Death by Cue Ball: In 1989, a 23-year-old painter was dubbed “Death Wish” because of his continuously reckless behaviour. He’d smash tumblers on his face, slash his wrists with sharp objects, and swallow things like keys and glass. Local police described the man as “of good health physically but of low intellect.”

One of his favourite tricks involved swallowing and then regurgitating a pool ball. His friends had seen the stunt numerous times and paid little attention when Death Wish attempted it again after a night of heavy drinking. But this time, something went wrong.

Death Wish ran out of the pub, collapsed in the street, and turned blue. His friends were able to get their hands on the ball but could not extricate it. An ambulance team arrived and attempted to insert an airway tube, but it was too late. The pool ball obstructed the throat and prevented intubation. Fifteen minutes after swallowing the pool ball, the young man was dead.

Postmortem dissection revealed a white cue ball lodged firmly in the man’s throat. The cause of death was “suffocation secondary to an impacted foreign body in the throat.”

Every other time Death Wish performed this trick, he swallowed one of the coloured pool balls, which measured 2 inches in diameter. Unfortunately, on that fateful night, the trickster swallowed the white cue ball, which at 1.87 inches is only slightly smaller in diameter but exponentially smaller in volume: the perfect size to lodge in the man’s pharynx. 

Death by Bowling Ball: More than 30 police officers combed the Fort Worth, Texas, area searching for Sida Osman. The 5-year-old boy had been playing in front of his apartment building when he disappeared. His badly beaten body was discovered in a vacant lot the next day.  Another boy, age 14, admitted to beating Sida with a bowling ball because he found the child “irritating.” Prosecutors revealed that the teen struck the boy multiple times before straddling him to deliver a final blow, much like “spiking a football.” The killer wiped his fingerprints from the ball before tossing it into a nearby yard. While Sida’s family was frantically searching for him, the teen reportedly brought friends to the scene to show off his handiwork.

Unfortunately, the murderer was not eligible to be tried as an adult. At a detention hearing, he tearfully confessed as part of a plea deal and was sentenced to 23 years in prison. The first two years of his sentence would be spent in a juvenile detention centre and the remainder in state prison.  

Death by Tennis Ball: Sweden’s Stefan Edberg won the Australian Open twice (1985, 1987), Wimbledon twice (1988, 1990), and the U.S. Open twice (1991, 1992). But before he became one of the world’s best tennis players, Edberg delivered a fatal serve on the court that nearly ended his career.

In the 1983 Boy’s Single Final of the U.S. Open, 17-year-old Edberg delivered a powerful serve that struck linesman Richard Wertheim. The ball hit Wertheim in the groin and knocked the linesman off-balance. He fell backward and hit his head on the court.

One week later, Wertheim died in the hospital of a subdural haematoma. It was the blow to the head and not the injury to the groin that killed the linesman, but Edberg was so regretful that he nearly quit the sport altogether. Instead, the teen ended up winning the ’83 Final and completed the Grand Slam of Juniors.

Wertheim’s family sued the U.S. Tennis Association for $2.25 million, accusing the association of failing to provide adequate safety precautions for umpires. An attorney for the family said that Edberg was a “very prodigious player with a lot of speed,” noting that tennis balls hit by professional athletes have been clocked at speeds greater than 100 miles per hour! 

More next week! 

Last Weeks Birthdays

Jessica Chastain (47), Jim Parsons (51), Lara Flynn Boyle (54), Alyson Hannigan (50), Tig Notaro (53), Kelly LeBrock (64), Amanda Plummer (67), Joanna Page (47), Reese Witherspoon (48), Lena Olin (69), Matthew Modine (65), William Shatner (93), Carter Wong (77), Gary Oldman (66), Matthew Broderick (62), Sonequa Martin-Green (39), Timothy Dalton (78), Jaye Davidson (56), David Thewlis (61), Holly Hunter (66), Ruby Rose (38), Spike Lee (67), Freema Agyeman (45), Theresa Russell (67), John de Lancie (76), Bruce Willis (69), Glenn Close (77), Ursula Andress (88), Harvey Weinstein (72), Brad Dourif (74), Luc Besson (65), and Queen Latifah (54).


Dead Pool 17th March 2024

Here we go again! The week has flown by yet again and more celebrities have been force-choked into the afterlife. Alas no points to be awarded, but plenty to read about. 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

The inventor of karaoke, Shigeichi Negishi, has died at the age of 100. The Tokyo-based entrepreneur was the first person to automate and commercialise karaoke in 1967 when his ‘Sparko Box’ went on sale. Author Matt Alt, who interviewed the entrepreneur in 2018 for his book Pure Invention: How Japan Made the Modern World wrote Mr Negishi’s obituary in The Wall Street Journal, published on Thursday. He also shared photos of the legendary inventor on his Twitter account. Mr Negishi died on 26th January after a fall, his daughter Atsumi Takano told Mr Alt. Karaoke came to Mr Negishi through an “epiphany”, Mr Alt wrote, when an engineer at an electronics company he ran in 1967 heard him singing to himself and told him he wasn’t very good. Mr Negishi, 43 at the time, told the employee to “give me a break,” before thinking: “If only they could hear my voice over a backing track!” And while the invention of karaoke has widely been credited to Japanese musician Daisuke Inoue, who released the ‘8 Juke’ box in 1971, it was in fact Mr Negeshi’s Sparko Box that marked the first singalong machine known to man four years prior. It is recognised as the earliest by the All-Japan Karaoke Industrialist Association, the country’s largest organisation of karaoke manufacturers and retailers, according to Mr Alt. Mr Negishi created some 8,000 Sparko Boxes and placed them at establishments throughout Japan, but his venture was rather short-lived as he “grew tired of the conflict with musicians and the grind of door-to-door sales and maintenance,” Mr Alt said. He left the karaoke business entirely in 1975 and his innovative Sparko Box soon gave way to similar iterations. Now, according to Mr Alt, only one remains, and is kept by Mr Negishi’s family as a memento. Mr Negishi, who has three children, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, never patented his creation. His daughter told Mr Alt: “Truly, the patent never bothered him. He felt a lot of pride in seeing his idea evolve into a culture of having fun through song around the world. To him, spending a hundred years surrounded by his family was reward enough.”  

Christie Brinkley has told fans about her experience undergoing treatment for skin cancer in a new social media post. The American model and actor, 70, shared a post about her health to Instagram on Wednesday, along with pictures of her face, where doctors had operated to remove cancerous cells. In the caption, she shared her positive thoughts about the cancer being detected at an early stage, before quipping that the surgeons had taken great care with her wounds. She wrote: “The good news for me is we caught the basal cell Carcinoma early. And I had great Doctors that removed the cancer and stitched me up to perfection like an haute couture Dior.” The star, who has featured in TV programmes such as Parks and Recreation, Ugly Betty and The Goldbergs, went on to reiterate the importance of SPF and regular checkups to her followers. “The good news for you is that all of this can be avoided by being diligent with your sun protection! I got serious a bit late so now for this ole mermaid/gardener, I’ll be slathering on my SPF 30, reapplying as needed, wearing long sleeves and a wide-brim hat. And doing regular total body check-ups…that is a MUST!” Brinkley noted that she was “lucky” that her cancerous spot was picked up early, as a doctor noticed it by chance while examining her daughter. “It wasn’t my appointment so I wasn’t going to say anything but at the VERY end I asked if he could just look at a little tiny dot I could feel as I applied my foundation. He took a look and knew immediately it needed a biopsy! He did it then and there! So make your own good luck by making that check-up appointment today. And slather up my friends!” In the accompanying images, Brinkley is seen with an incision close to her hairline, then later with a bandage covering the cut area.  

Louis Walsh has revealed he has been fighting a rare form of blood cancer. The former X Factor judge was diagnosed with Waldenstrom Macroglobulinaemia. Speaking  on Celebrity Big Brother, the 71-year-old star said he was recovering from a rare cancer, adding that it had been a “reality check”. Louis made the admission in a conversation with housemates Levi Roots and Ekin-Su. Asked about his experiences in lockdown, he replied: “I was sick, and I think nobody knew I was sick. I had cancer – a mild version, a rare one, in my blood. I didn’t even know I had it until I went to the hospital. They checked me and then they found it.” Louis said it affected him mentally. Pointing to his head, he admitted: “It’s just up here, even when I go past a hospital I almost get sick. It’s all gone, I’m fine. It was just the shock of being sick and that word – nobody wants that word. I have it blocked out, a reality check.You see so many people sick and it’s terrible. In my world it was all about pop music and all that. I didn’t think of anybody getting sick or anything like that. And that was like, wow, reality check – you’re in the real world.” Friends of the star told the Flying Monkeys the condition is the reason why Louis has been sleeping so much in the reality show’s house. A source said: “Louis is in remission currently but you can see how frail he is and that he has lost a lot of weight. It’s also the reason why he’s sleeping so much, it all took a lot out of him. The whole experience was the main driver behind signing up for the show. He’d been really ill and just wanted to enjoy life again and thought ‘what the hell’.” The friend said that Louis been suffering the condition in lock-down and received incredible care in Dublin but it left him feeling very isolated. They added: “It’s little wonder he has decided to immerse himself in the Celebrity Big Brother house. It’s almost as a reaction to what has happened. It was quite the ordeal, not least as the cancer is so rare that it took a while to get diagnosed.” It is not known what treatment Louis received, although sufferers often have chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Around 350 people in the UK are diagnosed with Waldenstrom Macroglobulinaemia each year.

On This Day

  • 1891 – SS Utopia collides with HMS Anson in the Bay of Gibraltar and sinks, killing 562 of the 880 passengers on board.
  • 1963 – Mount Agung erupts on Bali killing more than 1,100 people. 
  • 1968 – As a result of nerve gas testing by the U.S. Army Chemical Corps in Skull Valley, Utah, over 6,000 sheep are found dead.  
  • 1985 – Serial killer Richard Ramirez, aka the “Night Stalker“, commits the first two murders in his Los Angeles murder spree.  
  • 2000 – Five hundred and thirty members of the Ugandan cult Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God die in a fire, considered to be a mass murder or suicide orchestrated by leaders of the cult. Elsewhere another 248 members are later found dead.  

Deaths

  • 1947 – Mike, American  chicken, lived 18 months following decapitation (h. 1945). 
  • 2011 – Michael Gough, English actor (b. 1916).
  • 2023 – Lance Reddick, American actor (b. 1962).

Died Laughing 

The mystery of the man who was reported to have died laughing watching the comedy show The Goodies in the 1970’s may have been solved by doctors.  

The episode Kung Fu Kapers is infamous after fifty-year-old Alex Mitchell could not stop laughing for a continuous 25-minute period – almost the entire length of the show – and it was assumed that he suffered a fatal heart attack as a result of the strain placed on his heart.

Mr Mitchell’s death after laughing for half an hour watching The Goodies made headlines around the world in 1975. Later his wife, Nessie, wrote to the show’s stars Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie to thank them for making his final 30 minutes so enjoyable.

More recently, his granddaughter Lisa Corke, 23, suffered a near fatal cardiac arrest at home on the Isle of Sheppey. She has now been diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome which doctors think could have also caused her grandfathers death.

Mr Mitchell’s son Alex, who was 17 at the time, said: “They just thought it was a heart attack. After what happened to Lisa I spoke to my sister, who was with my dad at the time, and my mum… and they said it was as though my dad fainted and started breathing funny. Listening to how Mick [Lisa’s husband] described what happened to Lisa it was almost identical symptoms. That’s when the doctors put two and two together and came up with the idea that actually they think it’s hereditary.”

Consultant cardiologist Dr Pier Lambiase said: “You may find other members of the family that have unexplained deaths and it was put down to a heart attack at the time, but it was actually due to this condition. I would say given the fact that his granddaughter, I believe, had Long QT Syndrome and the circumstances of the death it would be good circumstantial evidence. To be absolutely certain you would have to see if there was an abnormality in the gene that causes Long QT Syndrome found in the granddaughter that is also evident in other members of the family, particularly the individual who passed away.”

Mrs Corke was put into a medically induced coma after she suffered the cardiac arrest in May.

She said: “The doctors know what it is, they know that it is genetic so hopefully they’ll be to find if the children have it, if my brother has it and if my father as well. And hopefully protect future generations in our family.”

A person with Long QT Syndrome suddenly faints or passes out during exercise, or when experiencing intense emotions, such as fear. Symptoms typically begin in young children, but may occur in newborns and can appear as late as middle age.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Kurt Russell (73), Morfydd Clark (35), Rob Lowe (60), Gary Sinise (69), John Boyega (32), Patrick Duffy (75), Alan Tudyk (53), Alexandra Daddario (38), Aisling Bea (40), Jerome Flynn (61), Erik Estrada (75), Jimmy Nail (70), Pollyanna McIntosh (45), David Cronenberg (81), Eva Longoria (49), Will.i.am (49), Ansel Elgort (30), Jamie Bell (38), Michael Caine (91), Billy Crystal (76), Betsy Brandt (51), Quincy Jones (91), William H. Macy (74), Aaron Eckhart (56), Titus Welliver (62), Jaimie Alexander (40), Lesley Manville (68), Liza Minnelli (78), Jodie Comer (31), Thora Birch (42), Alex Kingston (61), John Barrowman (57), and Johnny Knoxville (53).


Dead Pool 10th March 2024

Another pointless week flies by, and because my brain doesn’t seem to be engaged today, I have failed miserably to come up with some Bullseye quips, so I’ll just leave that up to you! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Michael McIntyre has shared a health update after being forced to cancel a comedy show following an emergency operation. The British comedian, who was one of the most-watched TV stars over Christmas 2023, was set to perform at Southhampton’s Mayflower Theatre on Monday, but had to call it off due to the procedure. Days after the host of BBC game show The Wheel pulled out of playing Plymouth Pavilions due to “illness”, an announcement informed ticket owners that Monday’s show would be rescheduled. A statement shared by the comedy star’s team on Sunday revealed that McIntyre is currently “unable to perform” after having “an operation to remove kidney stones”. The announcement read: “We regret to inform customers that Michael McIntyre will be unable to perform on Monday 4th March at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton. Unfortunately, Michael has had an operation to remove kidney stones. The show will be rescheduled to a later date which will be announced shortly. Tickets will remain valid for the new date. If you are unable to make the new date you will be entitled to a refund. We are very sorry for any inconvenience caused.” McIntyre’s fans shared well wishes to the comedian, with many who themselves have previously had kidney stones posting particular sympathy for what he must be enduring. On Thursday, the comedian’s team issued an update on McIntyre’s health, announcing his return to stage. “Michael McIntyre has had successful surgery to remove kidney stones and is recovering well,” a post shared on his official social media pages read. “He has been medically cleared to perform in Nottingham on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and is very excited to get back on stage.”  

Adult film star Emily Willis is in a coma after being admitted to hospital early last month, with Willis’ family telling fans to brace for the worst. Her father, Michael Willis told the Flying Monkeys that she is currently on a ventilator to assist with her breathing. Emily went into cardiac arrest whilst in rehab. It was previously reported that the cardiac arrest occurred as a result of an apparent overdose, but Michael has since shared that Emily’s toxicology report came back negative. Michael added that before entering rehab she was eating very little, telling the Flying Monkeys that she weighed only 80 pounds when she checked herself in. However, it is currently unknown whether this was influential in her health crisis. Emily was determined to get healthy and seek help for her substance abuse problem, her father added. A GoFundMe was recently set up by her family to support Emily with long-term care, at the time of writing it has managed to raise $47,162 out of a $600,000 target. In an update posted to GoFundMe on March 8, her family said they, “have been by her side as she slowly tries to recover. “We want to express our gratitude to those who have donated, and please know that your generosity will greatly aid in Emily’s ongoing recovery process.” Speaking of Emily’s career they wrote her “professional career was separate from her family life. “She retired from the adult industry nearly two years ago and had aspirations of success in other fields of entertainment. Those who worked with her in her new career path knew she had the potential to achieve her dreams.”  

Del Amitri singer Justin Currie, who has revealed he has Parkinson’s disease, has spoken about the “grim” prospect of having to stop performing. The 59-year-old Scot said he had always imagined he would still be playing “in a pub at the age of 80”. But he said the disease had shown him that “you think you’re invulnerable until something proves you’re not”. Speaking on the Flying Monkeys, Currie said: “I can’t play the way I would expect to.” He added: “I know it will get worse. At what rate, nobody knows. So I know I’m going to have to stop. The idea is quite grim.” The Glasgow-born singer said Parkinson’s had already changed his personality “in not necessarily negative ways”. He said: “With any form of disability, you become aware of disability in general, and you become acutely aware of that line that disabled people have been saying for years – that there aren’t able-bodied people, there are just a lot of people who are not yet disabled. So I quite like that. I quite like the idea that we’re all going to go through some of these difficulties at some point in life.” Del Amitri had hits in the 1980’s and 90’s with songs including Kiss This Thing Goodbye, Nothing Ever Happens and Always The Last to Know. After a 12-year hiatus, the band reformed in 2014. Currie said the illness had affected both his ability to play the guitar and his voice and he has had to “relearn” how to sing some parts of the band’s hits. He said: “That ridiculous cliche, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’, that’s not true. If you lose a leg you are not strong. And I am not stronger for having Parkinson’s, believe you me.” 

On This Day

  • 1876 – The first successful test of a telephone is made by Alexander Graham Bell.
  • 1933 – The Long Beach earthquake affects the Greater Los Angeles Area, leaving around 108 people dead.
  • 1945 – World War II: The U.S. Army Air Force firebombs Tokyo, the resulting conflagration kills more than 100,000 people, mostly civilians.

Deaths

  • 1913 – Harriet Tubman, American nurse and activist (b. c.1820). 
  • 1942 – Wilbur Scoville, American pharmacist and chemist (b. 1865).
  • 1988 – Andy Gibb, Australian singer-songwriter and actor (b. 1958).
  • 1998 – Lloyd Bridges, American actor and director (b. 1913).
  • 2005 – Dave Allen, Irish-English comedian, actor, and screenwriter (b. 1936).
  • 2010 – Corey Haim, Canadian actor (b. 1971).

Deadly Ride

In the weird and wonderful history of horse racing, Frank Hayes holds a unique place.

On June 4, 1923 at New York’s Belmont Park, the 22-year-old won the only race of his career on the horse Sweet Kiss.

He also became the only man to ever win a race despite being dead.

Hayes, a stable hand turned stand-in jockey, achieved the unthinkable and rode the 20-1 shot to a surprise victory over fan favourite Gimme. While that in itself shocked the crowd, what was to come would be even more shocking. After Hayes crossed the finish line, he tumbled from the saddle. Reports at the time said track doctor John A. Voorhees rushed over to examine Hayes but pronounced him dead immediately and said he had suffered a heart attack. 

“The grim reaper paid a sensational visit to the Belmont Park track yesterday,” wrote the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. “The exertion and excitement proved too great,” said the New York’s Daily News, which also described Hayes as “well-liked … favourite in the saddling room and stable and took a great pride in his calling.”

It’s believed Sweet Kiss never raced again. In fact, lore says it earned the nickname “Sweet Kiss of Death.” According to Keeneland Library, the years for which it had race statistics for the horse, Sweet Kiss won a total of $1775 in earnings. 

More than 95 years later, and it’s still not clear when exactly Hayes died. “Our documentation for Hayes is limited,” Roda Ferraro, head librarian at Keeneland Library, told Flying Monkeys. “The fact that we have a photograph of Hayes on Sweet Kiss mid-jump that day is pretty incredible as the photographers of that period for which we are the repository of record did not specialise in steeplechase coverage.”

The Guinness World Records claims the jockey died during the actual race. “Despite his sudden death, Hayes somehow remained in the saddle long enough for the 20-1 long shot to jump the final fence and cross the finish line in first place,” it says.

There were conflicting reports at the time surrounding the cause of the jockey’s death. While some said it may have been from the excitement of the race, other reports pointed to heart failure as a result of having to reduce his weight to 130 pounds.

“He was confronted with the task of taking off nearly 10 pounds in 24 hours,” the Buffalo Morning Express wrote. “This morning he spent several hours on the road, jogging off surplus weight. He strove and sweated and denied himself water and when he climbed into the saddle at post time he was weak and tired.”

A week later, Hayes was buried in the same riding silks he wore during his first win – which was also his last.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Olivia Wilde (40), Jon Hamm (53), Sharon Stone (66), Chuck Norris (84), Juliette Binoche (60), Oscar Isaac (45), Cynthia Rothrock (67), Bryan Cranston (68), Jenna Fischer (50), Rachel Weisz (54), Alan Davies (58), Shaquille O’Neal (52), Eva Mendes (50), Jolene Blalock (49), Matt Lucas (50), Jake Lloyd (35), Paul Blackthorne (55), Fred Williamson (86), Penn Jillette (69), Catherine O’Hara (70), Patsy Kensit (56), and Dominique Pinon (69).


Dead Pool 3rd March 2024

Points!!! With the passing of Iris Apfel this week, we can award 48 points each to Nickie and Gwenan, and a fantastic 148 points to Trish who listed Iris as her Woman. Well done all of you! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Norway’s King Harald had a temporary pacemaker implanted on Saturday at a hospital in Malaysia after falling ill while on holiday there, the Norwegian royal household said. “The pacemaker was implanted due to a low heart rate. The decision was made earlier today, and the procedure was successful,” the palace said in a statement, adding that he is doing well under the circumstances but still requires rest. The procedure should make the journey home safer, likely in a couple of days, it said. The 87-year-old monarch was on a private holiday in the South-East Asian country when he fell ill with an infection earlier this week. King Harald has been Norway’s ceremonial head of state since 1991 and is Europe’s oldest living monarch. He has repeatedly been hospitalised with infections in recent years, and has also undergone heart surgery. 

Irish President Michael D Higgins will remain in hospital over the weekend in order to monitor his blood pressure, his office has said. The 82-year-old was admitted to St James’  Hospital in Dublin on Thursday evening after feeling unwell. A statement from the president’s office on Friday said Mr Higgins has thanked the public “for the outpouring of well wishes which he has received”. He would also “like to express his deep appreciation to all those who have sent messages to him, as well as to the medical staff for their continuing care.” A conversation was held on Friday around discharging the president but it was decided against as a precaution. It is anticipated that the president will return to the presidential residence, Áras an Uachtaráin, early next week, the statement added. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he has been in touch with Mr Higgins. “I just passed him on my best wishes. Obviously anything around his medical information is confidential,” Mr Varadkar told the Flying Monkeys. “But I expect he’ll be out in the next couple of days, and obviously we all wish him a very speedy recovery.” Mr Higgins became president in 2011 and was re-elected in November 2018. He felt unwell at Áras an Uachtaráin on Thursday afternoon and underwent an initial medical assessment. His office said “no immediate concerns were identified”, but a decision was taken to proceed to hospital for further tests.  

Mark Feehily of Westlife has announced he is to step back from the band and will not be joining them for their upcoming tour due to ongoing health issues. The 43-year-old singer recently underwent surgery to treat a hernia and said he was also treated for sepsis during a Covid lockdown in August 2020. Feehily said his hernia surgery was a success but he has been advised to take time to recover and not go back on tour with Westlife. Westlife are currently preparing for their US tour and they will play Canada, the USA, Mexico and Brazil. In his post on social media, Feehily said: “Most of you are aware that I have had some health challenges over the past while. It is with the upmost level of regret that I must now temporarily stand down from all Westlife touring until a time that I have had the chance to fully recover from the turbulent journey I have been through as an individual.” He also paid tribute to his Westlife bandmates and the medical staff in his post. “To Shane, Kian and Nicky, I love you three and I know you’ll knock it out of the park,” he said. “To all the medical staff who held my hand and kept my spirit lifted (you know who you are!) my heartfelt thanks goes out to each and every one of you.” 

On This Day

  • 1873 – Censorship in the United States: The U.S. Congress enacts the Comstock Law, making it illegal to send any “obscene literature and articles of immoral use” through the mail.
  • 1931 – The United States adopts The Star-Spangled Banner as its national anthem.
  • 1938 – Oil is discovered in Saudi Arabia.
  • 1944 – A freight train carrying stowaway passengers stalls in a tunnel shortly after departing from Balvano, Basilicata, Italy just after midnight, with 517 dying from carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • 1985 – Arthur Scargill declares that the National Union of Mineworkers’ national executive voted to end the longest-running industrial dispute in Great Britain without any peace deal over pit closures.
  • 1991 – An amateur video captures the beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers.

Deaths

  • 1959 – Lou Costello, American actor and comedian (b. 1906). 
  • 1983 – Hergé, Belgian author and illustrator (b. 1907). 
  • 1987 – Danny Kaye, American actor, singer, and dancer (b. 1911).
  • 2003 – Horst Buchholz, German actor (b. 1933).
  • 2010 – Michael Foot, English politician, Secretary of State for Employment (b. 1913).
  • 2012 – Ralph McQuarrie, American conceptual designer and illustrator (b. 1929).
  • 2018 – Roger Bannister, English athlete, first man to run a four-minute mile (b. 1929).

Fly My Pretties! 

Franz Reichelt was a French tailor, inventor and parachuting pioneer, now sometimes referred to as the Flying Tailor, who is remembered for jumping to his death from the Eiffel Tower while testing a wearable parachute of his own design. 

Reichelt had become fixated on developing a suit for aviators that would convert into a parachute and allow them to survive a fall should they be forced to leave their aircraft in mid-air. Although he created and experimented with multiple prototypes of wings and parachute suits over the years, they were by and large failures, to the point that it was a point of contention between newspapers after his death whether or not any of his designs were ever functional.

Believing that a suitably high test platform would prove his invention’s efficacy, Reichelt repeatedly petitioned the Paris Police Prefecture for permission to conduct a test from the Eiffel Tower. He finally received permission in 1912, but when he arrived at the tower on 4th February, he made it clear that he intended to jump personally rather than conduct an experiment with dummies. 

Despite attempts to dissuade him, he jumped from the first platform of the tower wearing his invention. The parachute failed to deploy and he plummeted 57 metres to his death. The next day, newspapers were full of illustrated stories about the death of the “reckless inventor”, and the jump was shown in newsreels. 

The news footage of his jump shows him modelling his invention in its folded form, which Le Gaulois described as “only a little more voluminous than ordinary clothing.” The suit did not restrict the wearer’s movements when the parachute was packed, and Le Petit Parisien described the method of deploying the parachute as being as simple as extending the arms out to form a cross with the body. Once extended, the outfit resembled “a sort of cloak fitted with a vast hood of silk”, according to Le Temps. 

Some police officers were present to maintain order, as the Paris Police Prefecture had given Reichelt permission to proceed. After his death, Louis Lépine, who, as the Prefect of Police, was ultimately responsible for the permission being granted, issued a statement making it clear that while the police routinely gave permission for experiments to be performed from the Eiffel Tower, it was understood in these cases that dummies would be used. They had given permission in Reichelt’s case only on the basis that he would be conducting dummy drops, and that under no circumstances would they have allowed him to proceed if they had known he would be making the jump himself. Lépine assured La Croix that he had never signed an order that allowed a live jump. 

From his arrival at the tower, however, Reichelt made it clear that he intended to jump himself. According to a later interview with one of the friends who accompanied him up the tower, this was a surprise to everybody, as Reichelt had concealed his intention until the last moment. His friends tried to persuade him to use dummies in the experiment, assuring him that he would have other opportunities to make the jump himself. When this failed to make an impression on him, they pointed to the strength of the wind and said he should call off the test on safety grounds, or at least delay until the wind dropped. They were unable to shake his resolve; seemingly undeterred by the failure of his previous tests, he told journalists from Le Petit Journal that he was totally convinced that his apparatus would work, and work well. When questioned as to whether he planned to take any additional precautions, such as using a safety rope, he replied that he would not, since he intended to trust his life entirely to his parachute. 

At 8:22 a.m., observed by a crowd of about thirty journalists and curious onlookers, Reichelt readied himself – facing towards the Seine – on a stool placed on a restaurant table next to the interior guardrail of the tower’s first deck, a little more than 57 metres above the ground. After adjusting his apparatus with the assistance of his friends and checking the wind direction by throwing a piece of paper taken from a small book, he placed one foot on the guardrail, hesitated for about forty seconds, then leapt outwards. According to Le Figaro, he was calm and smiling just before he jumped. His parachute, which had seemed to be only half-open, folded around him almost immediately and he fell for a few seconds before striking the frozen soil at the foot of the tower.

Le Petit Parisien reported that Reichelt’s right leg and arm were crushed, his skull and spine broken, and that he was bleeding from his mouth, nose and ears. Le Figaro noted that his eyes were wide open and dilated. He was already dead by the time onlookers rushed to his body, but he was taken to the Necker Hospital where he was officially pronounced dead. An autopsy concluded that Reichelt had died of a heart attack during his fall. 

The next day’s newspapers were full of the story of Reichelt’s “tragic experiment”, complete with photographs; at least four newspapers showed images of the fatal jump. Film of the attempt, including footage of Reichelt’s body being removed and the onlookers measuring the depth of the crater left by his impact (15 centimetres), was distributed by news organisations.

After Reichelt’s death, authorities became wary of granting permission for any further parachute experiments using the Eiffel Tower. More recently, the tower has become the scene of a number of illicit base jumps. A Norwegian man died in 2005 after losing his canopy while attempting a promotional jump for a clothing firm – the first parachuting death at the tower since Reichelt. A sanctioned stunt jump for the 1985 James Bond film A View to a Kill was successful. 

Last Week’s Birthdays

Julie Bowen (53), Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (51), Jessica Biel (42), Miranda Richardson (66), David Faustino (50), Charlie Brooker (53), Bryce Dallas Howard (43), Daniel Craig (56), Nathalie Emmanuel (35), Rebel Wilson (44), Ethan Peck (38), Gates McFadden (75), Jon Bon Jovi (62), Chris Martin (47), Alexander Armstrong (54), Jensen Ackles (46), Javier Bardem (55), Ron Howard (70), Lupita Nyong’o (41), Dirk Benedict (79), Justin Bieber (30), Roger Daltrey (80), John Turturro (67), Kate Mara (41), Timothy Spall (67), Adam Baldwin (62), Richard Coyle (52), and Bill Duke (81).


Dead Pool 25th February 2024

A surprisingly deadly week, and we have points to award! Well done to Abi who correctly predicted that American supercentenarian Edith Ceccarelli would die this year. As Abi had her down as her Cert, she scores a wonderful 134 points!!

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News 

Emmerdale actor Dean Andrews has shared a health update after he was taken into hospital for surgery. The star, known for playing Will Taylor on the ITV soap, said he was “glad to have woken up” and thanked staff at Sheffield’s Thornbury Hospital in a recent social media post. The 60-year-old shared a picture of himself to his Instagram page wearing a hospital gown and a wristband. He was connected to what appeared to be an IV drip as he gave a thumbs-up and smiled. “Surgery went well. Very happy to have woken up. Many thanks to my surgeon Chris and all the staff at Thornbury Hospital,” he wrote as a caption. Support poured in from well-wishers as they wished him a “speedy recovery” and hoped he would “get well soon”. Others were surprised at the seemingly sudden information, with some concerned users saying, “Oh no! What has happened? I hope you’ll be feeling better super soon.” One made a joking reference to the actor’s seminal role in the hit BBC series, Life on Mars, and remarked: “Did you wake up and the year was 1973 and your detective chief inspector kept calling you Raymondo by any chance?” The actor did not share the nature of his health condition or the procedure that was undertaken.  

Pete Doherty has shared an update on his health months after revealing he is “a very sick man”. The Libertines singer has returned for a new album alongside his bandmate Carl Barat and, in a new interview, the pair reflected on the drug-fuelled public antics he was notorious for in the Noughties and 2010s. Doherty also addressed concerns surrounding his health after telling interviewer Louis Theroux he feels “death is lurking” after years of drug and alcohol abuse took their toll on his body, “I’ve battered it, haven’t I? I’ve fucking caned it,” he told Theroux on BBC series Louis Theroux Interviews…, adding: “The heroin and the crack… I surrendered to that, and then it was cocaine and the smoking and the alcohol, and now it’s cheese and the saucisson, and the sugar in the tea.” Doherty said doctors have told him he needs to change his diet as it would lead to “diabetes and cholesterol problems” – and, while speaking to the Flying Monkeys on Saturday, the musician revealed that he has now been “diagnosed with type two diabetes”. He told them: “Yeah, I am a bit of a glutton. It’s not a joke. I’ve been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. And at the moment, I’m lacking the discipline to tackle cholesterol.” Doherty said he is sober and that Barat created a strict no-alcohol rule while making the new Libertines record. “Carl insisted on there being no alcohol even. He wanted it to be pure. It’s not like I want to get pissed, but I like a glass of cider. And he’s like, no. It was pressure. We’d never done it before. The studio had always been a time of merriment and celebration.” However, Doherty was “relieved” and “proud” to realise he could make music without drinking. Doherty previously revealed he currently takes blocker injections to prevent drugs from taking effect, stating: “I like to think I could do without it, but that level of trust has to be earnt, doesn’t it?” In the new interview, he said the blockers have been “transformative”, saying: “With all the will in the world, I don’t think I’m ready to lose it. People around me definitely prefer me to have it.” Elsewhere in the interview, Barat said he was “not surprised” that Doherty survived his colourful past, stating: “No, he’s too smart to die. He never intended to die.” 

Vladimir Putin is likely to have something “fundamentally wrong” with his health and may be suffering from Parkinson’s disease, a former head of MI6 has been told. Sir Richard Dearlove, who headed the British intelligence service between 1999 and 2004, said his sources in Europe believe Mr Putin’s health is deteriorating. He said one suggestion is that the Russian president is suffering from Parkinson’s disease, one of the symptoms of which can be delusions. Sir Richard said this might explain Mr Putin’s “paranoia” and the death of prominent opposition figure Alexei Navalny. It comes after much speculation about Mr Putin’s health in recent years, with some unsubstantiated theories including him having cancer or using a body double. Asked on LBC about the state of Mr Putin’s health, Sir Richard replied: “I do not have a clear answer to that but I have contacts and friends still in Eastern Europe who think there is something fundamentally wrong with him medically. But I’m not a clinician.” Expanding on what illness Mr Putin may have, he said: “Probably Parkinson’s which of course has different representations, different variations, different seriousness. But if the man is paranoid, and I think the murder of Navalny might suggest a certain paranoia, that is one of the symptoms.” Since his political opponent’s death, Mr Putin was seen taking flight on a new nuclear-capable bomber plane on Thursday. The move has been seen by the West as a bid to send a reminder of Russia’s nuclear might amid soaring tensions with the West over the fighting in Ukraine. Referring to this, Sir Richard told LBC: “Putin is always postured – that’s part of his character and the rumours of his illness maybe make it more important now that he postures in a way that suggests he isn’t ill, if he is.

On This Day

  • 1836 – Samuel Colt is granted a United States patent for his revolver firearm.
  • 1932 – Hitler, having been stateless for seven years, obtains German citizenship, This does not go well. 
  • 1994 – American-Israeli extremist Baruch Goldstein commits a mass shooting at the Cave of the Patriarchs mausoleum, leaving 29 dead and over 100 injured before he was disarmed and beaten to death by survivors.

Deaths

  • 1723 – Christopher Wren, English architect, designed St Paul’s Cathedral (b. 1632).
  • 1983 – Tennessee Williams, American playwright, and poet (b. 1911). 
  • 2001 – Don Bradman, Australian  cricketer; holder of world record batting average (b. 1908). 
  • 2017 – Bill Paxton, American actor and filmmaker (b. 1955).

Cachi the Killer Poodle 

It will never be known what inspired Cachi the poodle to jump, but on the afternoon of October 24, 1988, that is exactly what he did, plummeting thirteen floors from the balcony of a Buenos Aires apartment building. The unexpected death of a family pet is certainly a tragic thing, however, in Cachi’s case, the tragedy was just beginning. At the time of Cachi’s fateful leap, seventy-five-year-old Marta Espina happened to be passing by on the sidewalk below and was struck by the poodle, killing both Marta and Cachi instantly.

In the gruesome aftermath, spectators gathered to try to piece together exactly what had happened. Soon the sidewalk was so filled with onlookers that they began spilling into the street, clambering for a view of the fatal scene. Forty-six-year-old Edith Sola was so focused on trying to catch a glimpse of Cachi’s wreckage that she failed to notice an oncoming bus, which struck and killed her, making her Cachi’s second victim.

Unfortunately, Cachi’s work was not finished. An unidentified man, who had witnessed both the plunging poodle and the bus impact, suffered a heart attack on the scene. While he was rendered first aid and treated by paramedics, the man died on the way to the hospital, mercifully ending Cachi’s body count at three.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Anson Mount (51), Sean Astin (53), Rashida Jones (48), Jameela Jamil (38), Lee Evans (60), Daniel Kaluuya (35), Edward James Olmos (77), Ben Miller (58), Emily Blunt (41), Dakota Fanning (30), Kelly Macdonald (48), Josh Gad (43), Aziz Ansari (41), Kyle MacLachlan (65), Dichen Lachman (42), Jeri Ryan (56), Drew Barrymore (49), Thomas Jane (55), James Hong (95), Julie Walters (74), Sheila Hancock (91), Nigel Planer (71), Elliot Page (37), Jennifer Love Hewitt (45), Jordan Peele (45), Sophie Turner (28), Kelsey Grammer (69), Tyne Daly (78), Anthony Daniels (78), Anthony Head (70), Brenda Blethyn (78), Benedict Wong (54), Cindy Crawford (58), Rihanna (36), Trevor Noah (40), Millie Bobby Brown (20), Benicio Del Toro (57), Ray Winstone (67), Jeff Daniels (69), and Leslie Ash (64).


Dead Pool 18th February 2024

This weeks big news it the untimely passing of DJ Steve Wright. Got to say, the radio will not be the same without him. 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Six-time Olympic cycling champion Sir Chris Hoy says he is “optimistic, positive and surrounded by love” after revealing he was diagnosed with cancer last year. The former Great Britain track cyclist, 47, posted on Instagram that his treatment, which includes chemotherapy, “is going really well”. “I am continuing to work, ride my bike and live my life as normal,” he added. Hoy won six Olympic golds between 2004 and 2012. The Scot, also an 11-time world champion and the second most decorated Olympic cyclist of all time, said that his diagnosis came as a “huge shock, having had no symptoms”. He did not disclose the type of cancer, and added: “For the sake of my young family, I had hoped to keep this information private but regrettably our hand has been forced. Whilst I’m thankful for any support, I’d like to deal with this privately. I’m optimistic, positive and surrounded by love for which I’m truly grateful. As you might imagine, the last few months have been incredibly difficult. However, I currently feel fine. It’s an exciting year of work ahead, not least with the Paris Olympics in July. I can’t wait to get stuck in, have fun and share it with you all.” Hoy won Olympic team sprint silver at Sydney 2000 and his first gold in the 1km time trial at Athens 2004, before three golds at Beijing 2008 and two more at London 2012. He retired from cycling in 2013, with his record of 17 global titles across four disciplines making him the most successful track cyclist of all time. Only Sir Jason Kenny, with seven, has won more Olympic golds for Britain than Hoy, who was knighted in 2009. 

Former BBC newsreader Moira Stuart collapsed at her friend Angela Rippon‘s birthday party on Monday night. The birthday party was brought to a sudden halt when an ambulance rushed to her aid at the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane, London, according to reports. Stuart, 74, was reportedly helped by her colleagues including Louise Minchin and Michael Buerk after she fell while standing at the bar among other party guests. A source told the Flying Monkeys that the room was cleared for Stuart after hotel staff called an ambulance to check over the newsreader. Stuart reportedly insisted that she was feeling fine shortly after the incident. An onlooker told us: “Moira took a funny turn when Angela’s party was in full swing. She had been in great spirits on the night and spent time with Angela and Lulu, who was also a guest, at the Hilton. It all happened very quickly and out of nowhere, Moira, who was standing at the bar, had fallen to the floor.” Stuart was among the celebrities at Rippon’s belated 79th birthday celebrations, which she had postponed until she had finished her stint on the Strictly Come Dancing live tour. Pictures taken during the night show Stuart in high spirits as she chatted to Rippon and other guests. Later pictures show her leaving the venue in a taxi. Stuart, who is widely acknowledged as the UK’s first female African-Caribbean TV newsreader, joined the BBC in the late Seventies as a production assistant and then a newsreader for Radio 4 and BBC Radio 2. She went on to present virtually every BBC bulletin, with the exception of the Ten O’Clock News.  

Crystal Palace say manager Roy Hodgson is stable in hospital after he was “taken ill” during training on Thursday morning. Palace cancelled a news conference after the 76-year-old became unwell. It was widely reported on Thursday morning that Palace are set to sack Hodgson, with the club 15th in the Premier League and five points clear of the relegation zone. “Following news that Roy Hodgson was taken ill during today’s training session, we can confirm that he is now stable and is currently undergoing tests in hospital,” the club said on Twitter. “Everybody at the club sends their best wishes to Roy for a speedy recovery.” Everton boss Sean Dyche, whose team are playing Palace on Monday, said: “I wish him well and sent a message out. I briefly spoke to Ray Lewington, so I believe things are OK at the minute. Great guy. Someone I respect greatly. So we are hoping that he recovers. Bigger than the game is certainly his health. I hope he comes through it with no problems.” Danny Murphy shared messages he exchanged with Roy Hodgson after he was rushed to hospital. “I messaged him after the worrying news that he’d been taken ill at Crystal Palace’s training ground and was reassured by his replies. He said he was feeling fine, taking stock and prioritising his health. It was good to hear. At 76, he’s absolutely right to put himself first – and he indicated he’s starting to realise that himself. I’m sure he felt an enormous sense of responsibility in a tough campaign for Palace, but if this is a full stop on his managerial career, he should step away with full peace of mind.” 

On This Day

  • 1930 – Elm Farm Ollie becomes the first cow to fly in a fixed-wing aircraft and also the first cow to be milked in an aircraft.
  • 1957 – Walter James Bolton becomes the last person legally executed in New Zealand.
  • 1977 – The Xinjiang 61st Regiment Farm fire: started during Chinese New Year when a firecracker ignited the wreaths of late Mao Zedong, killing 694 personnel. It remains the deadliest fireworks accidents in the world.
  • 2003 – 192 people die when an arsonist sets fire to a subway train in Daegu, South Korea.
  • 2004 – 295 people, including nearly 200 rescue workers, die near Nishapur, Iran, when a runaway freight train carrying sulphur, petrol and fertiliser catches fire and explodes.
  • 2010 – WikiLeaks publishes the first of hundreds of thousands of classified documents disclosed by the soldier now known as Chelsea Manning.

Deaths

New Zealands Last Execution

Walter James Bolton was a New Zealand farmer who was found guilty of poisoning his wife. He is known as the last person to be executed in New Zealand before the abolition of capital punishment.

Jim Bolton was born in Wanganui and grew up in nearby Mangamahu. He married Beatrice Mabel Jones in 1913, but Beatrice died in July of 1956 after a long and debilitating illness. An autopsy found traces of arsenic in her body, and a police investigation was launched. Bolton was formally charged with her murder in September.

The prosecution claimed that Bolton was having an affair with Beatrice’s sister, Florence, who had moved in to help look after Beatrice, and that Bolton had poisoned his wife with arsenic he possessed for use on his farm. It also alleged that he and Florence had destroyed Beatrice’s diary. Bolton’s defence argued that Beatrice could have been poisoned accidentally, by arsenic entering the water supply. Water on the Bolton’s farm was tested and found to contain arsenic, and traces of arsenic were also found in Bolton and one of his daughters.

Despite this evidence, a jury quickly found Bolton guilty of murdering his wife, and he was sentenced to death. He was hanged at Mount Eden Prison in Auckland on 18th February 1957, aged 68. According to a contemporary newspaper account, his execution was allegedly botched – instead of breaking his neck instantly, he was slowly strangled to death. Shortly afterward, the New Zealand Labour Party won the 1957 New Zealand General Election and in effect, the practice of capital punishment ended with Bolton’s execution. Due to bipartisan support for abolition, the death penalty faced statutory abolition for homicide and most other crimes when Parliament passed the Crimes Act 1961. (The last vestiges of the death penalty in New Zealand – for treason and similar acts – were abolished with the passage of the Abolition of the Death Penalty Act 1989).

But was there enough reasonable doubt in the case for the last state-ordered death to be considered an unjustified murder?

New evidence shows that Bolton made statements to police at the time which were not shared with the jury – admitting he suffered from erectile dysfunction. This would have affected the relationship he may have had with Florence. 

Bolton paid large sums of money for his wife’s healthcare (he even placed her in a private hospital); and was the only member of the family to agree to an autopsy, which then revealed Beatrice’s organs were riddled with poison. 

Ultimately, Bolton may have been the victim of small-town judgement, rather than having been convicted on the evidence to hand. He was probably convicted as much for his sexual morals as for whether he had killed his wife or not… Perhaps Jim Bolton deserved the benefit of the doubt.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Molly Ringwald (56), John Travolta (70), Matt Dillon (60), Cybill Shepherd (74), Dr. Dre (59), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (43), Dominic Purcell (54), Bonnie Wright (33), Lou Diamond Phillips (62), Rene Russo (70), Rory Kinnear (48), Paris Hilton (43), Patricia Routledge (95),  Brenda Fricker (79), Ed Sheeran (33), Christopher Eccleston (60), Elizabeth Olsen (35), LeVar Burton (67), Amanda Holden (53), John McEnroe (65), Jane Seymour (73), Matt Groening (70), Simon Pegg (54), Andrew Robinson (82), Meg Tilly (64), Teller (76), Neal McDonough (58), Stockard Channing (80), Kim Novak (91), Tony Dalton (49), Hugh Dennis (62), Michael Ironside (74), Annette Crosbie (90), Maud Adams (79), Josh Brolin (56), and Christina Ricci (44).


Dead Pool 11th February 2024

Welcome all to another weekly round up. Sadly no points to award this week but plenty to read up on.  

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

OJ Simpson invoked Donald Trump after reports suggested he was in hospice care after undergoing chemotherapy for prostate cancer. “Hey X world, hospice? Hospice? You talking about hospice?” the former American football running back – who was acquitted in 1995 of murdering his wife and her friend – said in a video posted to X on Friday. “No, I’m not in any hospice. I don’t know who put that out there,” he continued. “I guess it’s like Donald Trump says, ‘You can’t trust the media.’ In any event, I’m hosting a tonne of friends for the Super Bowl here in Las Vegas. All is well, you know. So take care, have a good Super Bowl weekend.” The Flying Monkeys reported on Friday, citing sources, that Simpson had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and was currently undergoing chemotherapy in Las Vegas. However, when approached for comment, the NFL star’s lawyer directed us to an old tweet shared by Simpson on 30th May 2023, in which he revealed that in “really recent years, I unfortunately caught cancer”. “So I had to do the whole chemo thing,” he said at the time, adding: “I’m over the chemo… I’m healthy now. It looks like I beat it – I’m happy about that.” Simpson didn’t specify what kind of cancer he had been treated for. 

Rick Stein has admitted that he ‘isn’t going to last that  much longer’ after his health woes.  The chef, 77, had open heart surgery at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London last year after struggling with breathlessness. Now 18 months on from the operation, despite describing his future in a matter if fact way, he had said he feels ‘optimistic’ and won’t lose sleep ‘pondering how little life he’s got left’.  Rick’s aorta wasn’t working properly and was advised by doctors to go under the knife. He’s now told the Flying Monkeys: ‘Having had the operation and recovered, the improvement in my health has left me tremendously optimistic. Even though at my age and with the normal realities of life I’m not going to last that much longer. I think as long as you’ve got your health and you’re optimistic generally and enjoying your life, you don’t tend to ponder too much about how little life you’ve got left.’  He said previously of his operation: ‘It was scary before I went into the operation. Afterwards you realise if you had died you wouldn’t have noticed, because you were under the anaesthetic. An operation like that stops you in your tracks and makes you think about who you are. It’s time to review your life. You’ve been through a very life-threatening experience. The surgeon says it’s no more dangerous than the appendix these days, but to have your heart taken out, repaired and put back in, personally I’d say that’s big!’ There was no alternative for a chef who has loved the good life, including lashings of butter, cream and wine in his cooking and travel shows.

King Charles “is doing extremely well under the circumstances” following the start of his cancer treatment, Queen Camilla has said. Asked how the King was doing at an event at Salisbury Cathedral on Thursday evening, she said: “He is very touched by all of the letters and messages the public have been sending from everywhere. That’s very cheering!” Buckingham Palace announced the King’s cancer diagnosis on Monday. It was detected while the monarch was undergoing treatment for an enlarged prostate last month, the Palace said. The type of cancer has not been disclosed, though it has confirmed it is not prostate cancer. The King has stepped back from all public-facing duties while he undergoes treatment, the Palace said. Senior royals, including the Queen and the Prince of Wales will take on his duties for some events. On Wednesday, the King was pictured for the first time since his diagnosis was made public alongside the Queen in a car leaving Clarence House in London to catch a helicopter to Sandringham in Norfolk. Buckingham Palace has said the monarch will continue with paperwork and his constitutional duties during the unspecified treatment. Before the King left London, Harry travelled from the US to visit him. He was seen at Heathrow Airport the following day returning to Los Angeles.

On This Day

  • 1812 – Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry is accused of “gerrymandering” for the first time.
  • 1990 – Nelson Mandela is released from Victor Verster Prison outside Cape Town, South Africa after 27 years as a political prisoner.
  • 1990   Buster Douglas, a 42:1 underdog, knocks out Mike Tyson in ten rounds at Tokyo to win boxing’s world Heavyweight title. 

Deaths

  • 1650 – René Descartes, French mathematician and philosopher (b. 1596). 
  • 1986 – Frank Herbert, American journalist and author (b. 1920). 
  • 2000 – Roger Vadim, French director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1928). 
  • 2006 – Matilda, American chicken and stage magician, oldest known chicken (h. 1990).
  • 2010 – Alexander McQueen, English fashion designer (b. 1969).
  • 2012  Whitney Houston, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actress (b. 1963).

The Sad Demise of Peter Pan

Disney fairy tales don’t often end this way. In March of 1968, a pair of children playing in an abandoned, Greenwich Village tenement in New York City discovered a young man dead on a cot, surrounded by beer bottles and religious handouts. There were no obvious signs of foul play. He had no identification. The body was unknown and went unclaimed.

After failing to locate his next of kin, authorities declared the man dead from hardening of the arteries – a common side effect of longtime heroin abuse – and buried him in a mass, unmarked paupers’ grave on the Bronx’s Hart Island alongside other unidentified bodies and indigent souls who had fallen on hard times. And somewhere, although nobody is sure exactly where, is the final resting place of Peter Pan.

It’s also the final resting place of Bobby Driscoll, who became a household name at the age of 9 with a starring role in Disney’s controversial Song of the South. He won an Oscar at 12, and then, at 16, went on to voice the title role in Disney’s classic animated film about a boy who never wants to grow up. In this case, that boy’s twisted road to manhood ultimately detoured into (and out of) jail, through multiple marriages (and divorces) to the same woman, and finally winding through Andy Warhol’s Factory to a tragic end.

So how to explain a former child star who worked alongside Tinseltown greats like Charles Boyer, Alan Ladd, Roy Rogers, and Joan Fontaine falling so far from a life of lights and Academy awards to become just another indigent in an unmarked grave on Hart Island, where his body remains today? Fifty years after his death, it’s a question that continues to trouble some of his oldest friends.

“He didn’t really recover from being abandoned by Hollywood,” reflects actor Billy Gray, who played Bud Anderson on the classic sitcom Father Knows Best and later befriended Driscoll. “It hit him hard. He was a heroin addict. It was tragic and there wasn’t much you could do about it. He was strong, he had a good intellect and he should have known better. But that was a choice he made, and you couldn’t talk him out of it.”

The only son of an insulation salesman and former schoolteacher, Driscoll was discovered at the age of 5 while getting a trim. “A barber in Pasadena told me I should be in the movies, so one Sunday he invited us out to his home and his son  was there,” recalled Driscoll during a 1946 radio interview. “We found out his son was in the movies, and his son got me an appointment with his agent. His agent took me out to a part.”

It was only a bit role opposite Margaret O’Brien in the 1943 film Lost Angel, but it led to a succession of movies that capitalised on Driscoll’s pert nose and freckled face. Driscoll made nine films in a three-year span before his breakout role as Johnny, a 7-year-old boy who visits his grandfather’s plantation in Song of the South. 

Though the live-action/animated musical (which featured the Oscar-winning “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”) would ultimately represent an embarrassing chapter in Disney’s storied history because of its offensive stereotypes and candy-coated depiction of slavery, it marked the start of a successful relationship between the studio and Driscoll, who became the first male actor to ever secure a Disney contract. “What Disney saw in Driscoll was the perfect, wholesome, all-American kid who dreams of being with pirates and all that, Bobby was Disney’s live-action Mickey Mouse.” explains Hollywood biographer Marc Eliot. 

The budding star made four movies for Disney, including Treasure Island, Peter Pan, and So Dear to My Heart – which, together with his role in The Window for RKO Pictures, earned Driscoll the Juvenile Academy Award in 1950. 

By the time Driscoll voiced Peter Pan at 16, however, he no longer had the impish face that kept him gainfully employed as a youth. He was just another teen boy with a bad case of acne. In today’s world, it’s a familiar and predictable narrative—a star who began his or her career on the Disney lot grows up and out of the squeaky-clean confines of the studio. But contemporary actors like Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez willingly left the Mouse House; Driscoll didn’t have a choice when the studio unexpectedly dropped its golden child in 1953. 

“When Howard Hughes bought RKO, he, in effect, became the owner of the Disney studio,” explains Eliot. “He controlled the money and he hated Bobby Driscoll. He hated Hollywood kids. He thought they were precocious, weren’t real, and were incredibly annoying. He didn’t want Bobby Driscoll to be with Disney anymore.” 

The split was devastating. “The way I understand it, it was a rather rude dismissal,” says Gray. “I heard that he was informed that he was no longer under contract through them by driving up to the entrance and being refused entrance into the studio. That was his notification that he was no longer needed there.” 

Though his big-screen career fizzled, Driscoll found fairly steady work in TV shows like Dragnet and Rawhide and attempted to settle into a life of domesticity with Marilyn Jean Rush, a 19-year-old he met in Manhattan Beach. After eloping to Mexico five months after they met, the young couple had one son and two daughters before splitting for good three years, two marriages, and two divorces later. “I became a beatnik and a bum,” Driscoll said in the 1961 magazine article. “I had no residence. My clothes were at my parents house but I didn’t live anywhere. My personality had suffered during my marriage and I was trying to recoup it.”

While hanging out on Los Angeles beaches, Driscoll befriended a group of young Hollywood turks like Gray, Robert Blake (Baretta), Dean Stockwell (Quantum Leap), and Russ Tamblyn (West Side Story). “We used to play pool together,” remembers Tamblyn of their days living and carousing in Pacific Palisades. Driscoll also engaged in a more dangerous form of recreation – heroin. “It wasn’t a secret,” says Gray. “He liked heroin. That’s just the way it was.” 

Driscoll was arrested multiple times for drug possession,  assault, burglary, and check kiting before he was finally committed for drug rehabilitation at Chino Men’s Prison in 1961. “I had everything,” he said in an interview after his sentence. “Was earning $50,000 a year…working steadily with good parts. Then I started putting all my spare time in my arm. I’m not really sure why I started using narcotics. I was 17 when I first experimented with the stuff. In no time at all, I was using whatever was available…mostly heroin, because I had the money to pay for it.” 

No one seems to know how the then 31-year-old Driscoll spent his final days in New York City and why he ended up in an abandoned apartment where those kids found his body. Unlike the celebrity missteps that are chronicled hourly on news sites and social media today, Driscoll’s demise happened in complete and total silence. 

Driscoll’s mother, Isabelle – who had not heard from her son in years – found out about Bobby’s death nearly a year and a half later after placing advertisements about his disappearance in New York newspapers. It would take even longer for word to reach the public at large, as news of the Disney star’s passing only surfaced four years after the fact, during the rerelease of Song of the South in 1972. 

Regrettably, Driscoll’s children will never see the exact spot where their father was laid to rest: Burial records from 1961 through July 1977 that had been kept in the old hospital were destroyed by a fire. “He’s somewhere on the northern part of the island, we just don’t know where.” 

Last Week’s Birthdays

Jennifer Aniston (55), Natalie Dormer (42), Damian Lewis (53), Taylor Lautner (32), Thomas Turgoose (32), Sheryl Crow (62), Chloë Grace Moretz (27), Elizabeth Banks (50), Keeley Hawes (48), Laura Dern (57), Robert Wagner (94), Philip Glenister (61), Holly Willoughby (43), Rose Leslie (37), Tom Hiddleston (43), Ciarán Hinds (71), Michael B. Jordan (37), Joe Pesci (81), Ziyi Zhang (45), Mia Farrow (79), Mary Steenburgen (71), Nick Nolte (83), Seth Green (50), John Williams (92), James Spader (64), Deborah Ann Woll (39), Ashton Kutcher (46), Chris Rock (59), Eddie Izzard (62), Kevin Whately (73), Jennifer Jason Leigh (62), Michael Sheen (55), Charlotte Rampling (78), Christopher Guest (76), Tony Jaa (48), and Raymond Lee (37).


Dead Pool 4th February 2024

With the tragic passing of Jonnie Irwin, let’s dole out some points! 100 points go to Julia, Christine, Lee, Paula, Abigail, Dave, Rachel, Mark K, and Ian. The following who had him as their Cert get 200 points! Well done to Myself, Laura, and Mark W. Well done everyone! Amazingly I’m in joint second place, but I’d like to assure you that I have not been cheating, even though I hold the reins to the Flying Monkeys. 

If anyone would like to donate towards the running costs, this will be the last week I’ll be leaving it open. We’re 85% of the way there, so roughly about £20 short of the target. Thank you all who have donated so far, you’re all wonderful people! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

A Bollywood star and model who lied about her death says she is ‘proud’ of the ill-advised publicity stunt, saying it has helped raise greater awareness around cervical cancer. Poonam Pandey, 32, was announced as having died from the disease on Friday, in a social media message to her 1.3 million fans posted by her management team. The Instagram post read: ‘This morning is a tough one for us. Deeply saddened to inform you that we have lost our beloved Poonam to cervical cancer. Every living form that ever came in contact with her was met with pure love and kindness.’ The news was confirmed by her manager Nikita Sharma, who told local media: ‘Poonam Pandey, the beloved actress and social media personality, has tragically passed away this morning due to cervical cancer, leaving the entertainment industry in shock and mourning. Sharma also highlighted the ‘critical need for increased awareness and proactive measures against preventable diseases like cervical cancer’. News of her death was reported in media outlets around the world. But just a day later, the actress  set the record straight with a video revealing she was still alive! Apologising to her fans, Pandey said: ‘Yes, I faked my demise. Extreme, I know. But suddenly we all are talking about cervical cancer, aren’t we? I am proud of what my death news has been able to achieve. Unlike some other cancers, cervical cancer is entirely preventable. The key lies in the HPV vaccine and early detection tests. We have the means to ensure no one loses their life to this disease. Let’s empower one another with critical awareness and ensure every woman is informed about the steps to take.’ Pandey, from Kanpur, India, garnered considerable notoriety when she vowed to strip for Team India if they won the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011. She made her Bollywood debut in the film Nasha in 2013, in which she played the lead role of Anita – a tempestuous drama teacher who engages in a disastrous romance with a teenage student.   

Shannen Doherty is holding out hope as she undergoes different treatments for stage IV brain cancer. During the latest episode of her “Let’s Be Clear” podcast, Doherty, 52, explained how recent results influenced a positive outlook on her health. “I’m not gonna say what it is, I’m on a new cancer infusion, and after four treatments, we didn’t really see a difference and everybody wanted me to switch, and I just kinda was like, ‘We’re gonna keep going with this and see,’” she told her radiation oncologist Dr. Amin Mirhadi on the podcast. “And yeah, after the sixth or seventh treatment, we really saw it breaking down the blood-brain barrier.” Doherty called her body’s response to the new treatment a “miracle,” adding, “For me, that happens to be a miracle right now. That I sort of rolled the dice and said, ‘Let’s keep going.” After receiving support from her medical team, Doherty chose to continue the infusions. “That it’s actually breaking down that blood-brain barrier is actually a miracle of that drug, a miracle of maybe God intervening and saying, ‘I’m gonna give her a break,’” she added. “Sometimes you’re looking for miracles in all the wrong places, and they’re right in front of your face.” The blood-brain barrier is “a protective network of blood vessels and cells that filters blood flowing to the brain.” This barrier “makes it hard for some substances — such as anticancer drugs — to enter the brain. It prevents many chemotherapy drugs from reaching brain tumour cells in large enough amounts to destroy them.” Based on Doherty’s insight into her treatment, the new infusion is seemingly getting past the blood-brain barrier and properly entering the brain. Doherty revealed her cancer diagnosis in 2015, and after two years of chemotherapy, she was in remission. The cancer returned in 2020 as stage IV breast cancer. In November 2023, the Beverly Hills, 90210 alum confirmed that the cancer has spread to her bones. “I don’t want to die,” she told the Flying Monkeys that same month. “I’m not done with living. I’m not done with loving. I’m not done with creating. I’m not done with hopefully changing things for the better.” 

Baywatch star Nicole Eggert has expressed regret over her decision to get breast implants at the tender age of 18, following a sombre diagnosis of breast cancer. Diagnosed with  stage 2 cribriform carcinoma in December 2023, the 51-year-old actress confessed she believed she was going through menopause when she experienced distressing symptoms including gaining significant weight and enduring intense pain in her left breast. Nicole, renowned for her role as Summer Quinn on the popular TV show Baywatch from 1992-1994, decided to have breast implants whilst in her teenage years due to the pressure of having to wear a bathing suit for her role. Sharing her thoughts with the Flying Monkeys, she voiced her remorse about the hasty decision she made during her youth. “It was a stupid 18 year old decision.”, she confessed. Continuing her story, she says: “I look at all these younger girls doing it and think, ‘God, leave your bodies alone! But when you have to put on that one-piece and it’s like you’re so flat that it’s like pleating – you got pleats across the front…” she expresses. “You’re like, ‘What is this?’ Nothing you can do. You can’t stuff it with anything. You can’t do anything.” Nicole, who’s had various breast augmentation surgeries since the show ended, had one of these procedures showcased on the E! reality programme, ‘Botched‘. She went on that show in 2015 to reduce her breast size. Now a single mum of two, she’s focusing primarily on her cancer diagnosis. Speaking to the Flying Monkeys, she said: “I think that experience definitely hindered me a bit and my mental health and my self-awareness and how I felt about myself. I think it was damaging and made me very insecure and just not comfortable in my own skin.” To diagnose her cancer, Nicole underwent a mammogram and three biopsies, but it’s unknown whether the disease has spread or metastasised to other parts of her body. Following surgery, she’ll receive chemotherapy and radiotherapy as recommended by her oncologist.

On This Day

  • 1703 – In Edo (now Tokyo), all but one of the Forty-seven Ronin commit seppuku (ritual suicide) as recompense for avenging their master’s death.
  • 1789 – George Washington is unanimously elected as the first President of the United States by the U.S. Electoral College.
  • 1999 – Unarmed West African immigrant Amadou Diallo is shot 41 times by four plainclothes New York City police officers on an unrelated stake-out, inflaming race relations in the city. 
  • 2004 – Facebook is founded by Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin. 

Deaths

  • 1983 – Karen Carpenter, American singer (b. 1950).
  • 1987 – Liberace, American singer-songwriter and pianist, (b. 1919).
  • 2018 – John Mahoney, English-American actor, voice artist, and comedian (b. 1940).

Last Week’s Birthdays

Gabrielle Anwar (54), Natalie Imbruglia (49), Alice Cooper (76), Jim Jefferies (47), Isla Fisher (48), Aimee Lou Wood (29), Morgan Fairchild (74), Nathan Lane (68), Warwick Davis (54), Paul Mescal (28), Gemma Arterton (38), Brent Spiner (75), David Jason (84), Shakira (47), Michael C. Hall (53), Sherilyn Fenn (59), Ronda Rousey (37), Harry Styles (30), Minnie Driver (54), Jonathan Banks (77), Justin Timberlake (43), Dexter Fletcher (58), Marcus Mumford (37), Olivia Colman (50), Christian Bale (50), Gene Hackman (94), Vanessa Redgrave (87), Phil Collins (73), Jordan Prentice (51), Heather Graham (54), Tom Selleck (49), Oprah Winfrey (70), Marc Singer (76), and Tim Healy (72).


Dead Pool 28th January 2024

A surprisingly deadly yet pointless week, with loads to  read. We also discover that the kid from The Exorcist is now old enough to collect her pension, or would be if they hadn’t changed it! (The Bastards!).

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Morrissey is “receiving medical supervision” after cancelling two arena gigs at short notice. The former frontman of The Smiths, 64, had been set to play a pair of dates in Southern California this week, but the venues announced that “unforeseen circumstances” had led to the cancellations. In a statement shared to social media, a spokesperson for Morrissey revealed that the singer was getting medical care after suffering “physical exhaustion”. “He has been ordered to rest for two weeks, and he will remain in Zurich,” wrote Donnie Knutson. The concerts had been set to take place at the Honda Center in Anaheim and Kia Forum near Los Angeles on Friday and Saturday respectively. It has not yet been announced whether the performances will be rescheduled for later dates. Morrissey is still expected to perform seven planned performances in Mexico and South America next month. During his last show in Los Angeles, Morrissey walked off stage at the city’s Greek Theater after just 20 minutes, with a bandmate telling the audience: “Sorry, but due to unforeseen circumstances, the show is not going to continue. Very sorry. We’ll see you next time. Apologies.” This week’s cancelled shows would have seen the British artist perform his 2004 album You Are the Quarry in its entirety, to mark the 20th anniversary of the record. Back in August, Michael Imperioli, star of The Sopranos, claimed that Morrissey had been “abandoned” by the music industry, comparing him to late Irish musician Sinead O’Connor. Following O’Connor’s death last year, Morrissey shared a comment on his personal website, lamenting the singer’s treatment by media. “She was dropped by her label after selling seven million albums for them. She became crazed, yes, but uninteresting, never. She had done nothing wrong,” he wrote. “… You praise her now ONLY because it is too late. You hadn’t the guts to support her when she was alive and she was looking for you.”  

Alabama has carried out the first execution of a death row prisoner in the US using nitrogen gas, an untested procedure which the prisoner’s lawyers had argued amounted to a form of cruel and unusual punishment banned under the US constitution. Kenneth Smith, 58, was pronounced dead at 8.25pm on Thursday evening at an Alabama prison after breathing pure nitrogen gas through a face mask to cause oxygen deprivation. The execution took about 22 minutes. Alabama claimed that the new nitrogen gas method was “perhaps the most humane method of execution ever devised”. But eyewitness statements from reporters present in the death chamber suggested that Smith’s death was anything but humane. Marty Roney of the Montgomery Advertiser reported that between 7.57pm local time and 8.01pm, “Smith writhed and convulsed on the gurney. He took deep breaths, his body shaking violently with his eyes rolling in the back of his head.” Roney’s report continued: “Smith clenched his fists, his legs shook … He seemed to be gasping for air. The gurney shook several times.” The Rev Jeff Hood, Smith’s spiritual adviser, was at Smith’s side for the execution, and said prison officials in the room “were visibly surprised at how bad this thing went. What we saw was minutes of someone struggling for their life,” Hood said. It appeared that Smith was holding his breath as long as he could,” the Alabama corrections commissioner, John Hamm, later told a press conference. The White House declared the execution “very troubling”, with press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre saying on Friday afternoon that Joe Biden has “deep concerns about the death penalty and whether it’s consistent with our values”.  

Sarah Ferguson was seen smiling and greeting well-wishers outside King Edward VII’s Hospital in London following her skin cancer diagnosis. The Duchess of York, 64, gave a brief update on her health in Marylebone after she left the hospital on Wednesday. After visiting her consultant dermatologist Catherine Borysiewicz, she told well-wishers: “I’m fine, thank you.” Fergie’s skin cancer diagnosis came only six months after she underwent a single mastectomy for breast cancer. In July last year, the duchess had an eight hour operation where she had one of her breasts removed after the disease was discovered in a routine mammogram. After her visit to the hospital, the duchess stopped to talk to members of the public before being led away by her driver. A spokesperson for the duchess has said that Fergie is “very resilient” and is determined to carry on following the second medical diagnosis. On Sunday, the spokesperson announced: “Following her diagnosis with an early form of breast cancer this summer, Sarah, Duchess of York has now been diagnosed with malignant melanoma. Her dermatologist asked that several moles were removed and analysed at the same time as the Duchess was undergoing reconstructive surgery following her mastectomy, and one of these has been identified as cancerous.” Throughout both cancer diagnoses the duchess has encouraged women to keep getting checked for any forms of cancer. A friend of Fergie’s spoke fondly of the duchess stating: “She is simply amazing, always looking for the positive in any situation and rarely thinking of herself. She is going to beat this disease, just like she faced her breast cancer diagnosis, with bravery and good humour and working out a way she can use her experience to help others.” The duchess released her own statement on Instagram thanking everyone who sent messages of support following her diagnosis. She stated: “Naturally another cancer diagnosis has been a shock but I’m in good spirits and grateful for the many messages of love and support. I am incredibly thankful to the medical teams that have supported me through both of these experiences with cancer and to the MARYLIFE Clinic for taking gentle care of me in the past weeks, allowing me time for recuperation.” The news comes at a time when King Charles is recovering after surgery on an enlarged prostate and Kate is recuperating after abdominal surgery.  

Josef Fritzl, our favourite Austrian who raped and held his daughter captive in the basement of his family home, has won his bid to be moved from a prison psychiatric unit. Fritzl, 88, who was pictured for the first time in 15 years on Thursday morning while being driven to court, was reportedly close to tears on hearing the decision by a panel of three female judges at Krems regional court, in Austria. It comes after his lawyer Astrid Wagner announced he was applying for early release from jail on the grounds of old age and dementia, paving the way for his eventual move to a nursing home. He has been in a prison for “mentally abnormal” inmates since his conviction in 2009 for incest, rape, enslavement, coercion and the murder, by neglect, of his newborn son. “He was a bit close to tears as he said once again that what he did was a terrible thing, and that he feels incredibly sorry for these people and that he wishes that he could undo it,” Ms Wagner said. Despite suffering from dementia, the rapist was able to follow proceedings. It followed a psychiatric assessment that he no longer posed a threat of reoffending, according to reports. From regular prison he can request to be released from prison altogether. Ms Wagner said she planned to submit such a request next year. “His everyday life will remain similar. Prison is prison,” Ms Wagner said, adding that he would continue to receive psychotherapy.   

A British base jumper has died after his parachute failed to open as he plunged to the ground from a tower block in Thailand. Nathy Odinson, 33, from Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, illegally climbed to the top of the 29th floor in an apartment building in the coastal resort of Pattaya, on Saturday night before falling to his death. Horrifying footage shows the tattooed daredevil counting down ‘three, two, one, see ya’ before leaping into the night sky – only to go into a deadly tailspin with the small parachute flailing through the air. Mr Odinson can then be heard landing in a tree before hitting the ground with a sickening thud. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene. Tourist police in Pattaya were alerted to the accident at 7.30pm and rushed to the condo building in Tambon Na Klua in Bang Lamung district of Chonburi province and found Odinson’s body on the ground. A round blue parachute was found on his body and was not fully deployed. Traumatised security guard Kanet Chansong, 33, said: ‘I heard the sound of the tree and I thought it was a fallen branch hitting the ground. ‘A woman screamed so I walked over and realised it was person. They were dead. I saw that they had jumped from the building.’ Mr Odinson was a regular daredevil and had performed skydives and base jumps around the world. He ran a ‘sky photography’ company and took customers on private skydives. 

On This Day

  • 1591 – Execution of Agnes Sampson, accused of witchcraft in Edinburgh.
  • 1896 – Walter Arnold of East Peckham, Kent, becomes the first person to be convicted of speeding. He was fined one shilling, plus costs, for speeding at 8 mph (13 km/h), thereby exceeding the contemporary speed limit of 2 mph (3.2 km/h). 
  • 1922 – Knickerbocker Storm: Washington, D.C.’s biggest snowfall, causes a disaster when the roof of the Knickerbocker Theatre collapses, killing over 100 people.
  • 1958 – The Lego company patents the design of its Lego bricks.
  • 1986 – Space Shuttle program: STS-51-L mission: Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrates after liftoff, killing all seven astronauts on board.

Deaths

  • 1547 – Henry VIII, king of England (b. 1491).
  • 1996 – Jerry Siegel, American author and illustrator, co-created Superman (b. 1914).
  • 2009 – Billy Powell, American keyboard player and songwriter (b. 1952).

Windy Witch

Agnes Sampson was a Scottish healer and purported witch. Also known as the “Wise Wife of Keith”, Sampson was involved in the North Berwick witch trials in the later part of the sixteenth century.

Sampson lived at Nether Keith, a part of the Keith Marischal barony in East Lothian, Scotland. She was considered to have healing powers and acted as a midwife. The indictment against her indicated that she was a widow, with children. 

By the autumn of 1590, Scotland was aflame with witch hunts, and many of those sent to trial were questioned by the King himself. Agnes Sampson was accused by Gillis Duncan and arrested along with others, and questioned regarding her role in a storm raising. She was put to torture and confessed and her body was shaved to reveal a “privy mark” or witches’ mark. These proceedings were described in the 1591 London publication Newes from Scotland:

This aforesaid Agnes Sampson which was the elder Witch, was taken and brought to Holyrood Palace before the Kings Majesty and sundry other of the nobility of Scotland, where she was straightly examined, but all the persuasions which the Kings majesty used to her with the rest of his counsel, might not provoke or induce her to confess any thing, but stood stiffly in the denial of all that was laid to her charge: whereupon they caused her to be confined away to prison, there to receive such torture as hath been lately provided for witches in that country: and for as much as by due examination of witchcraft and witches in Scotland, it has lately been found that the Devil does generally mark them with a privy mark, by reason the Witches have confessed themselves, that the Devil doth lick them with his tongue in some private part of their body, before he doth receive them to be his servants, which mark commonly is given them under the hair in some part of their body, whereby it may not easily be found out or seen, although they be searched: and generally so long as the mark is not seen to those which search them, so long the parties that has the mark will never confess anything. Therefore by special commandment, Agnes Sampson had all her hair shaven off, in each part of her body, and her head “thrawen” (constricted) with a rope according to the custom of that Country, being a pain most grievous, which she continued almost an hour, during which time she would not confess any thing until the Devil’s mark was found upon her privates, then she immediately confessed whatsoever was demanded of her, and justifying those persons aforesaid to be notorious witches. 

According to the Newes from Scotland, Agnes Sampson confessed to causing the storm that drowned Jane Kennedy on 7th September 1589 when ferry boats collided during a sudden storm on the Forth. She had made a charm by sinking a dead cat, to which her companions had attached parts of a dead man, into the sea near Leith. The same charm raised the storm and weather effects that threatened the king on his return voyage from Denmark in 1590.

Agnes Sampson used the phrase “contrary wind”, and this frequently appears in contemporary correspondence describing voyages, but Agnes Sampson used it in a special sense. She said that the king’s ship experienced “a contrary wind to the rest of ships, then being in his company, which thing was most strange and true, as the King’s Majesty acknowledges, for when the rest of the ships had a fair and good wind, then was the wind contrary and altogether against his Majesty”. The rest of the fleet were able to sail ahead, 

while the king’s ship alone was becalmed or driven back.

This weather condition was perhaps not uncommon in the Forth, in May 1583 a ship belonging to James Gourlay carrying Manningville, a French ambassador, was driven back to Burntisland by a “contrary wind”.

Agnes Sampson was interviewed by James VI, who was sceptical of the material in the confessions, however she told him things about the conversation he had on his wedding night with Anne of Denmark in Oslo, that she could not have known: 

Item, the said Agnis Sampson confessed before the Kings majesty sundry things which were so miraculous and strange, as that his Majesty said they were all extreme liars, where at she answered, she would not wish his Majesty to suppose her words to be false, but rather to believe them, in that she would discover such matter unto him as his majesty should not any way doubt off. And thereupon taking his Majesty a little aside, she declared unto him the very words which passed between the King and his Queen on the first night of their marriage, with their answer each to other: whereat the Kings Majesty wondered greatly, and swore by the living God, that he believed that all the Devils in hell could not have the same: acknowledging her words to be most true, and therefore gave the more credit to the rest which is before declared.

James VI had not been convinced of Sampson’s guilt prior to this last confession, but afterwards changed his mind. On 27th January 1591 the  charges of witchcraft against her were drawn up with fifty three points or “articles of dittay” (that is, articles of indictment).

Agnes Sampson was taken to the scaffold on Castlehill, where she was garrotted then burnt at the stake on 28th January 1591.

Edinburgh Burgh treasurer’s accounts itemise the cost of Agnes Sampson’s execution, giving the date of the purchases as the 16th January 1591 and the cost as £6 8s 10d. Scots. Robert Bowes wrote that her execution took place on 28 January 1591.

The naked ghost of a bald Agnes, stripped and tortured after being accused of witchcraft, is said to roam the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Will Poulter (31), Ariel Winter (26), Elijah Wood (43), Alan Alda (88), Frank Darabont (65), Rosamund Pike (45), Alan Cumming (59), Bridget Fonda (60), James Cromwell (84), Patton Oswalt (55), Frank Miller (67), Scott Glenn (85), Deep Roy (75), Ellen DeGeneres (66), Matthew Lillard (54), Mischa Barton (38), Kristen Schaal (46), Nastassja Kinski (63), Ed Helms (50), Michael Ontkean (78), Adrian Edmondson (67), Ewen Bremner (52), Gil Gerard (81), Olivia d’Abo (55), Diane Lane (59), Linda Blair (65), and Phil Wang (34).


Dead Pool 21st January 2024

We have a winner! Dave has correctly guessed that Joyce Randolph would pass away in 2024, so he gains 51 points! Which shoots him to first place by one point! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

King Charles III is set to attend hospital next week for treatment for an enlarged prostate. Buckingham Palace said the King’s condition is benign but he will undergo a “corrective procedure”. The 75 year old’s public engagements will be postponed for a short period of recuperation, the Palace said. The announcement comes shortly after it was revealed the Princess of Wales is in hospital after undergoing abdominal surgery. It is unusual for medical updates about two senior royals to be released on the same day, but it is understood it was necessary because the King had to cancel engagements scheduled for Thursday. He had been due to meet foreign dignitaries and cabinet members in Scotland on Thursday, but those meetings have been cancelled on medical grounds. It is also thought the King was keen to share his diagnosis with the public to encourage other men who may be experiencing symptoms to get checked. “In common with thousands of men each year, the King has sought treatment for an enlarged prostate,” the statement said. Benign prostate enlargement – which is non-cancerous – is common in men over 50 and is not usually a serious condition, according to the NHS website. Around one in three men over the age of 50 will have some symptoms of an enlarged prostate, which is a gland that sits just below the bladder. While it is not usually a serious threat to health, it can cause symptoms and problems, including difficulty passing urine or emptying the bladder. The condition does not mean the patient has an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. While it is unclear what corrective procedure the King will undergo, there are a few ways of managing it including surgery, lasers and even a steam treatment. The announcement from Buckingham Palace was the second significant piece of health news about senior royals to emerge on Wednesday. The Princess of Wales will spend up to two weeks in hospital recovering from abdominal surgery on Tuesday. Her procedure was planned and successful, Kensington Palace said. Further details about her condition were not disclosed, but it is understood not to be cancer-related. Details about the health of senior royals are rarely disclosed, so it is striking for two updates about two separate figures to be released on the same day. Buckingham Palace does not routinely provide a commentary on health conditions and releases limited information on the occasions when it does provide public updates.  

“Emily in Paris” star Ashley Park revealed on Instagram Friday that she went through a major health scare at the start of the new year after a case of tonsillitis turned into critical septic shock, infecting several of her organs. The actor and singer who appears in the popular television series said she was on vacation in December for the holidays through New Year’s when she fell ill.  “I hesitated to share what’s been happening as I’m still in the throes of recovery…but I now know I’m safely on the other side of the worst,” Park wrote alongside photos of her in a hospital bed. “As I sit here processing and recovering from the first few weeks of 2024, the only word I can think of is grateful.” Sepsis is a deadly condition that occurs when the body improperly over-responds to an infection, Dr. Anthony Fiore of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the Flying Monkeys.  “It can be so deadly because it can lead to organ failure and death because of lack of blood flow and inflammation associated with it,” Fiore said. The condition is also time-sensitive, the longer a patient with sepsis takes to get medical treatment, the more likely it is to be fatal. Symptoms of sepsis include shivering, extreme pain, disorientation and shortness of breath. The infections that most often lead to sepsis include lung infections, urinary tract infections, gut and skin infections.  While many people can recover from the condition and go back to their normal lives, others experience long-term complications if one or more of their organs are too damaged by the infection.  In her post, Park detailed that she spent time in the ICU and several hospitals with severe pain. She thanked the medical staff that helped treat her, her family and team, and most of all her boyfriend and “Emily in Paris” cast-mate, Paul Forman, who was with her throughout the ordeal.  “You calmed my fears and held me through ambulances, three foreign hospitals, a week in the ICU, scary ERs, countless scans and tests and injections, excruciating pain, and so much confusion all while we were alone on the other side of the world far from those we know,” the 32-year-old wrote. At the end of her post, the actress assured fans that she is getting better, writing, “I’m healing and I promise I’m gonna be okay.”

On This Day

  • 1793 – After being found guilty of treason by the French National Convention, Louis XVI of France is executed by guillotine.
  • 1968 – A B-52 bomber crashes near Thule Air Base, contaminating the area after its nuclear payload ruptures. One of the four bombs remains unaccounted for after the cleanup operation is complete.
  • 2017 – Over 400 cities across America and 160+ countries worldwide participate in a large-scale women’s march, on Donald Trump’s first full day as President of the United States.

Deaths

Last Week’s Birthdays

Geena Davis (68), Emma Bunton (48), David Lynch (78), Rainn Wilson (58), Tom Baker (90), Bill Maher (68), Katey Sagal (70), Dolly Parton (78), Tippi Hedren (94), Kevin Costner (69), Jason Segel (44), Dave Bautista (55), Mark Rylance (64), Jane Horrocks (60), Jim Carrey (62), Zooey Deschanel (44), James Earl Jones (93), Kelly Marie Tran (35), Lin-Manuel Miranda (44), John Carpenter (76), James May (61), Kate Moss (50), Natasia Demetriou (40), James Nesbitt (59), and Claudia Winkleman (52).


Dead Pool 14th January 2024

After last weeks points extravaganza, this week seems little bit of a let down. Never mind though, the Flying Monkeys are out and about, ready to reap a few names for next week.  

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Baywatch star Nicole Eggert has revealed that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer at 51 years old. In an interview with the Flying Monkeys she revealed that she was diagnosed in early December with stage 2 cribriform carcinoma breast cancer. She first noticed the symptoms after she gained 25 pounds in a three-month period. Nicole was also experiencing a lot of pain in her left breast in October, and she found a lump during a self-exam. “It really was throbbing and hurting. I immediately went to my general practitioner and she told me I had to immediately go get it looked at,” she said. “But the problem was, I just couldn’t get an appointment. Everything was booked. So I had to wait until the end of November to get it done.” Finally, she was able to get a mammogram and three biopsies on her breasts. “This journey’s been rough for me,” Nicole said. “This hasn’t been a breezy sail through life.” However, she always tried to keep a positive outlook, saying: “I always read inspirational quotes and corny stuff, but it gets me through.” Nicole plans on having the cancer surgically removed. Regarding the lump, she said: “I can definitely feel it. It’s there. It needs to be taken out. So it’s just a matter of do I have to do treatment before the surgery, or can they perform the surgery and then I do the treatment after.” The actress isn’t quite sure what her next steps are because she doesn’t know if the cancer has spread. “I have panics where I’m like, ‘just get this out of me,’” she said. “You sit there and it’s in you and you’re like, every second that passes and it’s inside of me, it’s growing, and you’re just like, you just want it out.”  

Sven-Goran Eriksson has revealed he has “at best a year left to live” after being diagnosed with terminal cancer. Eriksson collapsed while on a 5km run last year, which prompted doctors to investigate. They told the 75-year-old he had suffered a stroke, and subsequently discovered advanced pancreatic cancer. “They don’t know how long I had cancer, maybe a month or a year,” the former England manager told the Flying Monkeys. “Everyone understands that I have an illness, that is not good. Everyone guesses it’s cancer and it is. But I have to fight as long as I can. I have maybe at best a year, at worst a little less, or at best maybe even longer. You can’t be absolutely sure. It is better not to think about it.” Eriksson had been working as a sporting director for Swedish side Karlstad and stepped back from his role. He said he is trying to maintain a positive mindset. “You can trick your brain. See the positive in things, don’t wallow in adversity because this is the biggest adversity, of course, but make something good out of it.” Eriksson added: “I was fully healthy and then I collapsed and fainted and ended up at the hospital. And it turned out that I had cancer. The day before I had been out running five kilometres. It just came from nothing. And that makes you shocked. I’m not in any major pain. But I’ve been diagnosed with a disease that you can slow down but you cannot operate. So it is what it is.”  

Roger Daltrey is more than ready to die. In fact, he reckons he’s ‘in the way’. The London-born musician and co-founder of The Who, 79, has had his fair share of health woes in the past, having contracted viral meningitis while touring America in 2015. After falling ill, he said he saw the ‘exit sign’ and genuinely didn’t believe he’d make it through, which appears to have shifted his attitude toward death. ‘I didn’t think I was coming back and I thought about my life,’ he said. Daltrey added in a new interview with the Flying Monkeys: ‘My dreams came true so, listen, I’m ready to go at any time. My family are all great and all taken care of. You’ve got to be realistic. You can’t live your life forever.’ He added that ‘people my age, we’re in the way. There are no guitar strings to be changed on this old instrument.’ Daltrey also admitted that he would ‘consider’ joining the assisted dying organisation Dignitas should ill health make him a ‘burden’ on his loved ones. He praised 83-year-old TV icon Dame Esther Rantzen, who revealed her stage 4 lung cancer diagnosis last year and who has since spoken about the option of assisted dying should her treatment fail to improve her condition. ‘I think she is incredibly brave to raise the subject and I’m kind of there too, so I have thought about it,’ Daltrey said. Clarifying that he is not ill himself currently, he added: ‘No, but if I became a burden on everyone I’d consider it. A good friend of mine, a lovely woodsman called Tom, he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer. If I had stage 4 pancreatic cancer I wouldn’t have chemo. I’d take the morphine and go down.’ Daltrey recently announced that 2024 would be his final year as curator of Teenage Cancer Trust after 24 trailblazing years. The music star will continue as a Teenage Cancer Trust Honorary Patron, following his tireless fundraising and advocacy for the charity for nearly a quarter of a century.

On This Day

  • 1907 – An earthquake in Kingston, Jamaica kills more than 1,000 people.
  • 1969 – USS Enterprise fire: An accidental explosion aboard the USS Enterprise near Hawaii kills 28 people. 
  • 1973 – Elvis Presley’s concert Aloha from Hawaii is broadcast live via satellite, and sets the record as the most watched broadcast by an individual entertainer in television history.

Deaths

Last Week’s Birthdays

Jason Bateman (55), Kevin Durand (50), Faye Dunaway (83), Mark Addy (60), Grant Gustin (34), Carl Weathers (76), Dave Grohl (55), Orlando Bloom (47), Natalia Dyer (29), Ruth Wilson (42), Liam Hemsworth (34), Michael Peña (48), Bill Bailey (59), Howard Stern (70), Jason Connery (61), Rachel Riley (38), Jemaine Clement (50), Evan Handler (63), Rod Stewart (79), Imelda Staunton (68), J.K. Simmons (69), Joely Richardson (59), James Acaster (39), Michelle Forbes (59), and Amber Benson (47).


Dead Pool 7th January 2024

What a first week for the Pool! I don’t think I remember so many points dropping so soon!

So, as we have now determined that Derek Draper was the first of the year, I can award 94  + 50 points the following: Myself, Julia, Lee, Laura, Paul G & Ian; and an amazing 194 +50 points to Debbie, Nickie, Dave, Rachel who had him as their Cert. 

Let’s not stop there! With the passing of Glynis Johns, I can award 50 points to myself, Rachel, Paul C, Nickie, Ceri & Abi; and 150 to Mark for having her as his Woman. 

So we’re already up to a flying start, those flying monkeys didn’t disappoint us! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Michael Bolton has revealed that he was diagnosed with a brain tumour late last year. The Grammy-winning 70-year-old pop singer, who has sold more than 75 million records worldwide, explained he underwent “immediate surgery” and is now “recuperating”. He will be taking a break from live performance. Writing on Facebook, Bolton said: “Just before the holidays, it was discovered that I had a brain tumour, which required immediate surgery. Thanks to my incredible medical team, the surgery was a success. I am now recuperating at home and surrounded by the tremendous love and support of my family. For the next couple of months, I will be devoting my time and energy to my recovery which means I’ll have to take a temporary break from touring. It is always the hardest thing for me to ever disappoint my fans or postpone a show, but have no doubt I am working hard to accelerate my recovery and get back to performing soon. I am beyond grateful for all the love and support you have so generously shown me through the years. Know that I’m keeping your positive messages in my heart, and I’ll give you more updates as soon as I can.” Unfortunately for Bolton, male brain tumours are usually the result of having stupidly long hair for years. Although he cut his locks in 1988 the residual strain on his brain left a lasting toll. Lets wish him well for the next year as nobody has him listed.  

I thought I’d share this tale of Rob McElhenney leaving his fans feeling sick after closing 2023 with a picture of his extreme ‘allergic reaction’. The 46-year old star of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia appeared unrecognisable as he took to Instagram to share his favourite memories from the past 12 months. Alongside photos of his Wrexham AFC endeavours with pal Ryan Reynolds, the actor uploaded a shocking pic that saw his face complete swollen and deformed. “Aside from that slight allergic reaction to the nuts, 2023 was one of the best years of my life,” he wrote. “Thank you to the people and places that made it possible. My life is full of love and joy because of you. So excited for 2024. I’ll stay away from the nuts.” Rob’s followers reacted in shock, meanwhile, with one user responding: “Rob this made me almost drop my phone. My son screamed.” Another commented: “Can somebody confirm that the first picture is real and not from some scene he was doing. That is insane.” A third added: “That first slide can’t be real…is it real?? I really impressed and/or horrified.” And a fourth penned: “Oh my word sir I am so happy you are ok. Avoid all nuts please…you are a national treasure and we need you around.” Sadly, however, the father-of-two’s appearance was the result of some highly impressive prosthetic work for his comedy series. The behind-the-scenes shot was taken during filming of the sitcom’s 16th series, which sees Rob’s character Mac suffer a major reaction to peanuts, which worsens throughout an episode.  

Comedy star Bob Mortimer has shared how his health recently took a rapid decline and 2023 became the ‘worst year ever’ for his physical condition. The 64-year-old television star is best known for his work with fellow comedian Vic Reeves, as part of their Vic and Bob double act, and his Gone Fishing series with actor Paul Whitehouse. The two pals, who both suffer from heart conditions, chat candidly while fishing at various locations across the UK. In their most recent episode, Bob admitted the past 12 months have been ‘very unhealthy’ for him after being struck down with shingles – a skin infection caused by the same virus as chickenpox. Bob has had rheumatoid arthritis since childhood and also underwent triple bypass surgery in 2015. On the show, Bob explained that his health issues have caused the muscles in his body to wither and now he can no longer exercise like he once could. He estimates that as much as 80 percent of the muscles in his legs have been lost due to his illness, and fears he may never run again. Sitting on the banks, Bob explained: “It’s been a very, very, very unhealthy year for me Paul with my shingles… And you know what – it was worse than my heart period.” Nine years ago, Bob had triple bypass surgery, when his heart stopped for 32 minutes. He discovered that 95 percent of his arteries were blocked. Addressing the changes to his body and muscle mass, Bob continued: “The muscles I’ve lost, I’ve lost… But other ones can compensate for it, you know what I mean? I can make the other muscles stronger but I have a terrible feeling I’m never going to be able to run again and you know that I used to like to run Paul.” In September 2023, Bob had to drop out of co-hosting Gone Fishing after he was incapacitated by shingles – with Lee Mack stepping in. A source said: “While it was nothing serious, producers thought it might be fun to bring in one of the lads’ friends to give Paul company.” 

On This Day

  • 1927 – The first transatlantic commercial telephone service is established from New York City to London.
  • 1928 – A disastrous flood of the River Thames kills 14 people and causes extensive damage to much of riverside London.
  • 2015 – Two gunmen commit mass murder at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, shooting twelve people execution style, and wounding eleven others.

Deaths

Last Week’s Birthdays

Nicolas Cage (60), Jeremy Renner (52), Linda Kozlowski (65), Erin Gray (58), Kate McKinnon (39), Rowan Atkinson (68), Eddie Redmayne (41), Norman Reedus (54), Nigella Lawson (63), Bradley Cooper (48), January Jones (45), Clancy Brown (64), Shea Whigham (54), Diane Keaton (77), Robert Duvall (92), Vinnie Jones (58), Marilyn Manson (54), Emma Mackey (27), Graham McTavish (62), Julia Ormond (58), Matt Frewer (65), Florence Pugh (27), Mel Gibson (67), Victoria Principal (73), Sarah Alexander (52), Tia Carrere (57), Kate Bosworth (40), Cuba Gooding Jr. (55), and Frank Langella (85).