Dead Pool 25th June 2023

Undoubtedly the weeks biggest news was a bunch of men being squished by 6500 psi whilst trying to see a shitty old sunken ship. Quite impressive, my car tyre is only 30 psi. Next week also looks interesting, I suspect there might be a few Russian knobs in line for assassination. 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Amy Dowden has shared an update with fans about her future on Strictly Come Dancing after being diagnosed with breast cancer. In May, the professional dancer, who has competed on the competition series since 2017, shared that she was facing “another hurdle” in her life after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis. Dowden, who also suffers from Crohn’s disease, said at the time that she was staying “positive and strong”, adding: “I’ve got a really good chance of getting back out on the dance floor as soon as possible.” Last week, the 32-year-old underwent a single mastectomy, and is waiting to find out if she’ll need to have just radiotherapy or additional chemotherapy as part of her treatment. Speaking to the Flying Monkeys, Dowden said that Strictly was “leaving the door open” regarding her return to the show. One month before her diagnosis, Dowden had been named as one of the Strictly dancers returning to the series for 2023. “If I only have radiotherapy, I’ll be back on Strictly this season,” the Welsh dancer explained. “Once radiotherapy is done there’ll be nothing to stop me, there’s no pressure but Strictly is leaving the door open. It’s having something to work towards.” Dowden continued: “I’m visualising myself on that Strictly dance floor. Just being back in the  ballroom with the live audience, the adrenaline and the atmosphere. And the support from the whole Strictly family. We can choreograph around me doing things with lifting, putting ­pressure on my arm. You can adapt.” However, Dowden said that she would be involved in Strictly either way, saying: “If I have to have chemotherapy, I’ll be present in some way, even if I’m in a wig. I know amazing hair people with Strictly. Whether it’s on It Takes Two, or being up in Claudia’s area waiting for the scores, I’ll be there.” The dancer, whose mother had breast cancer, learned that she also had it after finding a lump in her breast one day before her honeymoon in the Maldives in April. Dowden married Ben Jones, her professional dance partner, in July 2022. She saw a doctor when she returned, and underwent a single mastectomy in May, with the surgeons removing two tumours, three cancer “specks”, and some lymph nodes from her right breast.  

Human remains have been found in the area of the San Gabriel mountains where British actor Julian Sands went missing more than five months ago while on a hike. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said civilian hikers had contacted authorities on Saturday morning after finding the remains in the Mount Baldy area. The finding comes a week after the search for the 65-year-old actor resumed on 17th June. Efforts to find the actor slowed around mid-February after rescue teams were repeatedly hampered by adverse weather conditions. The remains have been transported to the coroner’s office for identification, the department said. The identification process is expected to take about a week, said the police department. Earlier last week, his family released a statement saying they continued to keep him “in our hearts with bright memories”. “We are deeply grateful to the search teams and co-ordinators who have worked tirelessly to find Julian,” said a family statement, issued on Wednesday by the sheriff’s department. “We continue to hold Julian in our hearts with bright memories of him as a wonderful father, husband, explorer, lover of the natural world and the arts, and as an original and collaborative performer.” Sands, best known for his breakout role in the 1985 film A Room With a View, failed to return from a hike in the Mount Baldy area of the southern Californian mountains on 13th January. A longtime avid hiker and mountaineer, he had set out for a hike on the massive mountain more than 10,000ft high, east of Los Angeles, and that was pounded by severe storms during winter. Since Sands’ disappearance, the sheriff’s department has conducted eight searches and expended more than 500 hours of combined search time. 

Legendary record producer, songwriter and composer Quincy Jones was reportedly transported to hospital from his home on Saturday. The Soul Bossa Nova star is said to have suffered a medical emergency over the weekend, but luckily one that later wasn’t deemed too serious. His representative confirmed that the 28-time Grammy winner suffered a reaction to something that he had eaten. Out of an abundance of caution, paramedics were called to his house. He was taken to hospital to be properly checked over before later being released, according to the Flying Monkeys. His rep added to the publication that the music icon did not loose consciousness throughout the ordeal and that he was in ‘great spirits’. Quincy, who is a father to seven including Parks and Recreation actress Rashida Jones, 47, has the most Grammys of any living artist after taking home his 28th accolade in 2019 for best music film for his documentary Quincy. In his 70-year career the man has won across 10 categories, including producer of the year, album of the year and song of the year. A gifted trumpet player in his early days, Quincy has also worked with the likes of Frank Sinatra, wrote an Oscar-nominated score for Steven Spielberg’s film The Colour Purple and arranged music for singers like Dinah Washington, Peggy Lee and Ella Fitzgerald. He also produced Michael Jackson albums Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad.  

Online gamblers bet hundreds of thousands of dollars on whether the submarine that went missing on a recent expedition to the Titanic, in what online critics called a “dystopian” use of digital finance. Since Wednesday, people wagered at least $300,000 on the fate of the vehicle using the crypto platform Polymarket. On the site, betters buy and sell shares on the outcomes of events using cryptocurrency, and can redeem their shares for $1 each if their guesses are correct. “For the purposes of this market, the vessel need not have been rescued or physically recovered to be considered ‘found,’” reads the description page for the submarine bets. “If pieces are located, but not the cabin which contains the vessel’s passengers, that will not suffice for this market to resolve to ‘Yes.’” One user, asking only to be identified by his first name, Rich, told the Flying Monkeys that he made around $3,250 betting. He argued what he was doing was morally defensible because unlike the regular stock market, it had no impact on the fate of the entity being wagered upon. “My answer would be that markets are fundamentally immoral. There’s no ethical consumption under capitalism,” Rich said. Others weren’t so sure. Social media users racked up thousands of likes criticising such gamblers. “Actually insane,” one commenter wrote. “Imagine making money off of if someone is gonna die or not.” Polymarket defended its offerings on the submarine, arguing that it was a neutral way of calculating the likelihood of a rescue. “If the families were privy to Polymarket, they could use the market as a way to obtain the real-time, unbiased probability of the submarine being recovered,” the company said in an email to Gizmodo. “That is a far more valuable service to them than sensationalist media coverage: with our markets at least they understand the true probabilities.” Bookmakers take bets on nearly everything, from sports to sex tapes, but the industry does have some lines regarding poor taste. According to Betting Gods, a gambling industry tip site, most major bookmakers refused to take bets regarding the death of Queen Elizabeth. “Major bookmakers wouldn’t bet on the Queen dying as it would offend most of its regular customers. Whether they all agree with Britain having a royal family or not, most people would prefer to bet on a variety of other things such as sports,” the site wrote in an article. “When asked the question of why bookmakers won’t bet on the Queen, the spokespeople of all the major bookmakers were unanimous in saying that it was important that people understand where the parameters of bad taste bets can’t be crossed.” 

On This Day

  • 1678 – Venetian Elena Cornaro Piscopia is the first woman awarded a doctorate of philosophy when she graduates from the University of Padua. 
  • 1848 – A photograph of the June Days uprising becomes the first known instance of photojournalism. 
  • 1876 – Battle of the Little Bighorn and the death of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer. 


The Hillbilly from Hell

Ronald Gene Simmons Sr. was an American mass murderer and spree killer who killed 16 people over a week-long period in Arkansas in 1987 and wounded several others. A retired military serviceman, Simmons murdered fourteen members of his family, including a daughter he had sexually abused and the child he had fathered with her, as well as a former co-worker, and a stranger; he also wounded four others. He is the most prolific mass murderer in Arkansas history.

Simmons was sentenced to death on each of sixteen counts, and after refusing to appeal his sentence, was executed on June 25th 1990.  

Simmons was born on July 15th 1940, in Chicago. By the age of seventeen he dropped out of school and joined the U.S. Navy, and was first stationed at Naval Station Bremerton in Washington, where he met Bersabe Rebecca “Becky” Ulibarri, whom he married in New Mexico in 1960. Over the next 18 years, the couple had seven children. During his 20-year military careering both the navy and air force, Simmons was awarded a Bronze Star Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross for his service, and the Airforce Ribbon for Excellent Marksmanship. Simmons retired from the air force and military service in 1979, with the rank of master sergeant. 

In 1981, Simmons was being investigated by the Department of Human Services for allegations that he had fathered a child with his 17-year-old daughter, Sheila, whom he had been sexually abusing. Fearing arrest, Simmons fled New Mexico in late 1981 with his family, first to Ward, Arkansas, in Lonoke County, and then to Pope County near Dover, Arkansas in the summer of 1983. The family took up residence on a 13-acre tract of land 6.5 miles north of Dover that they would dub “Mockingbird Hill”. The residence was constructed of two older-model mobile homes joined to form one large home, neither of which had a telephone nor indoor plumbing, and  was surrounded by a makeshift privacy fence which was as high as 10 feet tall in some places. As a result of the home’s lack of plumbing, Simmons ordered his family to dig three cesspits, one of which would eventually be where he disposed of some of their bodies. 

Shortly before Christmas 1987, Simmons decided to kill all the members of his family. On the morning of December 22nd, he first killed his wife Rebecca and eldest son Gene by bludgeoning them with a crowbar and shooting them with a .22-caliber pistol. He then killed his three-year-old granddaughter Barbara by strangulation. Simmons dumped the bodies in one of the cesspits he had forced his children to dig previously. Simmons then waited for his other children to return from school for Christmas break. Upon their arrival, he told them he had presents for them, but wanted to give them one at a time. He first killed his daughter, 17-year-old Loretta, whom Simmons strangled and held under the water in a rain barrel. The three other children, Eddy, Marianne, and Becky, were then killed in the same way, and subsequently dumped in the cesspit.

Around mid-day on December 26th, the remaining members of the family arrived at the home, as Simmons had invited them over for the holidays. The first to be killed was Simmons’ son Billy and his wife Renata, who were both shot dead. He then strangled and drowned their 20-month-old son, Trae. Simmons also shot and killed his oldest daughter, Sheila (whom he had sexually abused), and her husband, Dennis McNulty. Simmons then strangled his child by Sheila, seven-year-old Sylvia Gail, and finally his 21-month-old grandson Michael. Simmons laid the bodies of his whole family in neat rows in the lounge. Their bodies were covered with coats except that of Sheila, who was covered by Rebecca Simmons’ best tablecloth. The bodies of Trae and Michael were wrapped in plastic sheeting and left in abandoned cars at the end of the lane. After the murders, Simmons drove to a Sears store in Russellville where he retrieved Christmas gifts that he had previously ordered for his family. That night, he went for a drink at a local bar before returning to the home where he spent the rest of the evening and the following day drinking beer and watching television. 

On the morning of December 28th, Simmons drove to a Walmart in Russellville where he purchased a firearm to use in the attack he was about to carry out. His first target was a law firm where he had previously met secretary Kathy Cribbins Kendrick. Simmons had been infatuated with Kendrick, but she had rejected him. After walking into the office, he shot and killed Kendrick. He next went to an oil company office, where he intended to kill the owner, Russell “Rusty” Taylor. Taylor was also the owner of the Sinclair Mini Mart from which Simmons had recently resigned. He shot and wounded Taylor before killing another person in the building named James David Chaffin; Chaffin was the only deceased victim who was a complete stranger to Simmons. Another employee in the building was shot at, though the bullet missed.

Simmons then drove on to Sinclair Mini Mart, shooting and wounding two more people. His final target was the office of the Woodline Motor Freight Company, where he shot his former supervisor twice, wounding her. He then ordered one of the employees at gunpoint to call the police. When they arrived, Simmons handed over his gun and surrendered without any resistance. Over the course of the 40-minute-long rampage, Simmons had killed two and injured four others.  

After his arrest, Simmons underwent a psychiatric evaluation where he was found fit to stand trial. He first went on trial for the murders of Kendrick and Chaffin, and was found guilty, being sentenced to death. He made an additional statement, under oath, supporting his sentence:

I, Ronald Gene Simmons, Sr., want it to be known that it is my wish and my desire that absolutely no action by anybody be taken to appeal or in any way change this sentence. It is further respectfully requested that this sentence be carried out expeditiously.

He next went on trial for the murders of his 14 family members, and was found guilty, again being sentenced to death by lethal injection. As to motive, a family friend told investigators that Simmons’ wife had been saving up money to divorce Simmons when the killings happened. Also, during the trial, Simmons had to be removed from the courtroom after the prosecutor, John Bynum, was punched by Simmons, and Simmons tried to grab a deputy’s handgun, when Bynum introduced a letter between Simmons and his daughter, Sheila, where Simmons expressed anger that Sheila had revealed that he was the father of her child, and that he would see her in Hell. He refused to appeal his death sentence, stating, “To those who oppose the death penalty – in my particular case, anything short of death would be cruel and unusual punishment.” The trial court conducted a hearing concerning Simmons’ competence to waive further proceedings, and concluded that his decision was knowing and intelligent. 

While on death row, Simmons had to be separated from other prisoners as his life was threatened constantly. This was because he refused to appeal his death sentence; the other prisoners believed Simmons was damaging their chances of beating their own death sentences.

On May 31st 1990, Arkansas governor (later President) Bill Clinton signed Simmons’ execution warrant, and on June 25th he died by the method he had chosen, lethal injection. None of his surviving relatives would claim the body, and he was buried in a potter’s field in Lincoln County, Arkansas.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Ricky Gervais (62), Sheridan Smith (42), Iain Glen (62), Erin Moriarty (29), Peter Weller (76), Nancy Allen (73), Joel Edgerton (49), Melissa Rauch (43), Frances McDormand (66), Selma Blair (51), Joss Whedon (59), Bryan Brown (76), Meryl Streep (74), Bruce Campbell (65), Lindsay Wagner (74), Kris Kristofferson (87), Cyndi Lauper (70), Stephen Chow (61), Tim Russ (67), Prunella Scales (91), Chris Pratt (44), Juliette Lewis (50), David Morrissey (59), Lana Del Rey (38), Nicole Kidman (56), John Goodman (71), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (34), Miles O’Keeffe (69), Wendy Craig (89), Zoe Saldana (45), Kathleen Turner (69), Aidan Turner (40), and Paula Abdul (61). 

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