Dead Pool 20th December 2020
Afternoon all. Now that Christmas has been cancelled you have even more time to think about your list for 2021. Remember, you need to choose 13 names altogether; 1 Dead Cert, 1 Woman, and 1 Maverick (anyone under 50yo not expected to die). The rules can be seen if you click on this link. You can e-mail your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org With only 11 days to go, you better get your thinking caps on. Between eating sprouts and crying about not seeing your much despised siblings, the time will soon fly by. Tell all your friends if you have any!
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Ann Reinking, 71, American choreographer and actress (Chicago, Fosse, Annie).
- John le Carré, 89, British author (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Night Manager, The Little Drummer Girl), pneumonia.
- Gérard Houllier, 73, French football manager (Liverpool, Lyon, national team), complications from heart surgery.
- Jeremy Bulloch, 75, English actor (Star Wars, The Spy Who Loved Me, Mary, Queen of Scots).
- Donato Bilancia, 69, Italian serial killer, COVID-19.
In Other News
Jeff Bridges has given fans an update on his health while he undergoes treatment for cancer. The 71-year-old actor revealed he had been diagnosed with Lymphoma in October. “Although it is a serious disease, I feel fortunate that I have a great team of doctors and the prognosis is good,” he wrote in a statement shared on Instagram. “I’m starting treatment and will keep you posted on my recovery,” he added. Now, Bridges has revealed that his treatment is progressing well and that he has shaved his head and bought a new puppy. On Monday, the Big Lebowski star uploaded a photograph of himself reclining on a chair on what appears to be the balcony of a beachfront flat. Dressed in a zip-up jumper, Bridges is pictured with a towel on his chest while his puppy lies on top. “Here’s the latest,” he wrote in the caption before listing a series of bullet points. “Feeling good, shaved my head, got a puppy – Monty, had a birthday – 71, man,” Bridges wrote. It’s not clear which type of lymphoma Bridges has, but around 15,000 people are diagnosed with a type of Hodgkin lymphoma in the UK each year.
Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O have been sent to hospital after just two days of filming Jackass 4. The actors and stunt performers, known for their work on previous Jackass films, were reportedly jumping on a full speed treadmill while carrying “band equipment”, including a tuba, when they sustained injuries. Jackass star Bam Margera posted about the incident, saying in a video: “It’s the second day of filming Jackass already and Steve-O and Knoxville were hospitalised by jumping on a full-speed treadmill with band equipment – like a fucking tuba. So yeah, I’m here are the clinic now, taking a piss test. Rock’n’roll, oh yeah – I’ve got the scars too. Yeah man.” The fourth Jackass film was originally due to be released in cinemas next March, but has been pushed back until 2nd July 2021 because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Jackass 4 will be the first film involving the whole Jackass cast to be made since the death of cast member Ryan Dunn in 2011, at the age of 34. Earlier this year, Jackass 3D star Stevie Lee also died “unexpectedly” at the age of 54. Yeah, I was just as surprised as you that Jackass is still a thing, but I suppose if watching a bunch of 50 year olds doing stupid things was boring, Top Gear would have been cancelled years ago.
Ian McKellen has become one of the first prominent public figures to receive the coronavirus vaccine, with the actor getting his injection at a London hospital on Wednesday. The 81-year-old McKellen said he felt “euphoric” after rolling up his wizards sleeve and receiving his first dose, which was made possible by meeting the criteria for Britain’s eligible groups. “I would have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone. It’s a very special day! Anyone who has lived as long as I have is alive because they have had previous vaccinations.” While technically older than the NHS, McKellen still remembered the impact that public health care had on his life, saying he “wouldn’t be alive if it hadn’t been for the NHS.” He went on to note that “we’re all equal under the vaccination.” He went on to ramble a bit and wanting to hug clinicians before he was returned to his home. Great British Baking Show judge and necklace icon Prue Leith, who is 80 years old, also received the coronavirus vaccine this week, allowing herself to be filmed and assuring people that it was a “painless jab.” Two excellent candidates for our game, possibly gambling with their futures if you are inclined to think that way?
On This Day
- 1924 – Adolf Hitler is released from Landsberg Prison. Despite being sentenced to five years, Hitler was granted early release and ended up only serving about nine months. Possibly the worst case of early release parole ever!
- 1946 – The popular Christmas film It’s a Wonderful Life is first released, concentrating on James Stewart’s real life PTSD and suicidal tendencies! Merry Xmas!
- 1955 – Cardiff is proclaimed the capital city of Wales. Yay!
- 1987 – In the worst peacetime sea disaster, the passenger ferry Doña Paz sinks after colliding with the oil tanker ‘MT Vector in the Tablas Strait of the Philippines, killing an estimated 4,000 people (1,749 official).
- 1968 – John Steinbeck, American novelist and short story writer. (b. 1902)
- 1995 – Madge Sinclair, Jamaican-American actress (b. 1938)
- 1996 – Carl Sagan, American astronomer, astrophysicist, and cosmologist (b. 1934)
Last Friday, child killer Alfred Bourgeois became the tenth inmate of 2020 to be executed by the federal government since the Trump administration ended a 17-year hiatus on executions earlier this year. An administration which has insisted it stands for law and order is doing all it can to bring ‘justice to victims of the most horrific crimes’ before Joe Biden, who has pledged to attempt to phase out capital punishment, takes over the reins on January 20th. Trump has scheduled more executions than any president for at least a century, after reinstating the death penalty in July. His administration has already carried out more than double the number of executions America had seen over the previous three decades. Not only that, in the last weeks of his presidency, Trump’s administration is encouraging officials to use execution methods that are widely condemned as barbaric.
His Justice Department recently published new rules expanding permissible execution methods to include electrocution, poison gas, hanging and even death by firing squad if lethal injection is unfeasible or the necessary drugs are not available. The wording also suggests that if the state where the crime was committed does not have the death penalty, a judge can designate another state to carry out the execution.
So many of Trump’s boasts — from his ‘record’ inauguration crowd to his ‘record’ economy — have proved to be hollow, but he looks certain to enter the record books for the number of executions he can pack into his last months in office. Most presidents spend this time finding people to pardon, but Trump — determined to execute ten people in a year, more than any president in this or the last century — seems set on doing the opposite.
When convicted killer Orlando Hall was executed last month, it was the first federal execution during a ‘transition period’ between one president and the next since 1889.
The federal system’s preferred execution method is lethal injection, usually by a dose of a cocktail of drugs that first sedates the prisoner and then stops the heart. However, a spate of cases of condemned prisoners apparently suffering in agony after being injected prompted the drugs’ makers to refuse to supply them and juries to be more hesitant about demanding the death penalty. The Trump administration has tried to get round drug shortages by using a single one — pentobarbital, a widely available sedative often used to euthanise pets — for executions, after all, what’s good enough for Fido is good enough for a rapist! Whatever the public’s misgivings about pentobarbital, they’re nothing on the widespread disgust among activists that the U.S. may now, once again, shoot, hang or electrocute people.
Nine states still authorise the electric chair as an execution alternative, eleven permit lethal gas, while three have hanging and three have death by firing squad on their books. Death penalty experts say that given the locations of the current inmates of federal Death Row, the most likely of these gruesome alternatives to end up being used would be electrocution, as 17 prisoners committed their offences in states that have it as a back-up execution method. Lethal gas would be the next most likely. Oklahoma is the only firing squad state with prisoners on federal Death Row but it’s a last resort there, only to be used after the three other options have been ruled out.
The U.S. remains the only country in the world to use the electric chair, but Tennessee is the only state that still uses ‘Old Sparky’ regularly. Since 2018, five men have died there, strapped to a wooden chair, a metal skullcap-shaped electrode covering the head and another electrode attached to an ankle. They are then given two lengthy jolts of 1,750 volts. Although death should be instantaneous, it is a notoriously grisly spectacle — sometimes with flames several feet long leaping from the condemned man’s mask-covered head as his over-heating body swells and turns bright red. Experts say it isn’t painless, chiefly because the current sends the muscles into uncontrollable and agonising spasms.
The firing-squad method started to be used in the mid-19th century. The convicted person is usually hooded and strapped to a chair, with a white cloth pinned over the heart which either five or eight riflemen must shoot at simultaneously. Up to three of the squad will be firing blanks so that none of them can be certain they discharged the fatal bullet.
Lethal gas, allegedly a humane method, was first adopted by Nevada in 1922 and last used in 1999. The prisoner is seated inside an airtight room and hydrogen cyanide gas is pumped in. Again, unconsciousness and death should be painless, but witnesses have reported seeing eyes popping and skin turning purple.
Opponents of capital punishment, who say that more than 70 per cent of the world’s countries have abolished the practice — including every close ally of the U.S. — had hoped America might soon follow suit. But it certainly won’t while Trump is in the White House.
Trump’s enthusiasm for capital punishment is hardly new, going back at least as far as 1989, when five young black and Latino men were arrested for the vicious rape of a woman in New York’s Central Park. Mr Trump paid for a full-page advert in the New York Times that demanded ‘Bring Back The Death Penalty. Bring Back Our Police!’ In the event, the five served their prison sentences only to be exonerated after a fellow inmate confessed.
There are currently 52 offenders on federal Death Row, most of them at Terre Haute, Indiana, each one crossing their fingers that they’ll be spared until Binden takes power in January.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Jonah Hill (37), Jenny Agutter (68), Nicole de Boer (50), Lucy Pinder (37), Annie Murphy (34), Jake Gyllenhaal (40), Kristy Swanson (51), Alyssa Milano (48), Jennifer Beals (57), Richard Hammond (51), Sarah Paulson (46), Milla Jovovich (45), Katheryn Winnick (43), Eugene Levy (74), Bill Pullman (67), Laurie Holden (51), Ernie Hudson (75), Bernard Hill (76), Krysten Ritter (39), Miranda Otto (53), Billy Gibbons (71), Michelle Dockery (39), Don Johnson (71), Charlie Cox (38), Helen Slater (57), Garrett Wang (52), Vanessa Hudgens (32), Natascha McElhone (51), Miranda Hart (48), Ted Raimi (55), and Vicki Michelle (70).