Dead Pool 26th December 2021
Lets start the last newsletter of the year by awarding some points! Well done to Laura, who was the only one to have listed Desmond Tutu, 60 points! Further solidifying her 1st place position with less than a week to go. Goes to show how important it is to get your Big Threes.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Carlos Marín, 53, German-born Spanish singer (Il Divo), COVID-19.
- Sally Ann Howes, 91, English actress (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Brigadoon) and singer.
- Gary Lee Sampson, 62, American spree killer.
- Robin Le Mesurier, 68, British guitarist (The Wombles), cancer.
- Joan Didion, 87, American writer (Run, River, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, The Year of Magical Thinking), complications from Parkinson’s disease.
- Chris Dickerson, 82, American bodybuilder, Mr. Olympia (1982).
- Ray Illingworth, 89, English cricketer (Yorkshire, Leicestershire, national team), oesophageal cancer.
- Desmond Tutu, 90, South African Anglican cleric and civil rights activist, bishop of Johannesburg (1985–1986) and archbishop of Cape Town (1986–1996), Nobel Prize laureate (1984).
In Other News
William Shatner was involved in a car crash in Los Angeles on Tuesday, with the Star Trek legend thought to be unharmed. The 90-year-old, who recently took part in a brief trip into space, was involved in a two-car collision in the Studio City area of LA, according to the Evil Monkeys. He was seen immediately after the incident, wearing a mask as he made a phone call and waited outside one of the cars. The front of one of the vehicles involved in the collision had crumpled, a silver Acura, with officers from Los Angeles Police Department later arriving at the scene. A black Mercedes SUV was also involved in the crash, with its bumper mangled following the incident. The actor was joined by a female companion, who was seen alongside Shatner as he made calls. The James T. Kirk actor recently made history as the oldest person to fly to space, when he launched in Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. Shatner became emotional after landing back on solid earth, with the star saying: ‘Everyone in the world needs to do this. It was so moving to me. This experience has been unbelievable. In a way it’s indescribable,’ he revealed, stating that it was ‘the most profound experience I can imagine. I am so filled with emotion about what just happened, it’s extraordinary. Extraordinary. I hope I never recover from this. I hope I can maintain what I feel now. I don’t want to lose it. It’s so much larger than me. It has to do with the enormity and the quickness and the suddenness of life and death.’ One can only assume he was still slightly sidetracked when he smashed his car!
Boxing ring announcer David Diamante has been left with critical injuries after a motorcycle crash on Wednesday. The 50-year-old, who announced some of the biggest fights of the last few years including Jake Paul’s professional debut, will need to “learn to walk again” after being involved in an accident in New York yesterday. He required five hours of surgery after being admitted to a New York hospital, with nine screws, multiple rods, and cadaver parts placed in his spine as a result of the crash. The ring announcer also suffered multiple broken ribs and damage to his right knee during the crash, which took place on Third Avenue in Brooklyn. Diamante has received hundreds of messages of support after the crash, including posts from Paul, Eddie Hearn and a number of top fighters. The Baltimore native is one of the most renowned ring announcers in the world, and has been called “The Voice of Boxing” by BBC Sport. “It’s going to be a tough road,” Diamante told the Evil Monkeys. “It’s a bad injury and getting better will take some time. This will be a struggle. I’ll have to learn to walk again, and right now there’s a risk of complications. But I have a positive attitude and will be back as soon as possible.” Diamante is famous for his catchphrase “the fight starts now”, and has been signed with DAZN and Matchroom Boxing since 2018. His most recent assignment was Saturday night’s heavyweight clash between Joseph Parker and Derek Chisora at the AO Arena in Manchester, which Parker won by unanimous decision. He has also covered Muay Thai and MMA events, as well as appearing in films and television projects such as 2015’s Southpaw starring Jake Gyllenhal. The boxing announcer was in contact with fellow mic legend Michael Buffer after the surgery, who said that he is expected to make a return to the ring once he has recovered. “I spoke to him today and he’s very optimistic,” Buffer said in a response to a fan on Twitter. “David’s a fighter and has met big challenges in his life. This will be another one! The details will be his to disclose but I’m sure we’ll see him back in the ring again – strong, fit and recovered!” With his extra cadaver parts!!!
Dutch cyclist Amy Pieters is in an induced coma following a fall during a training ride with the national team in Alicante this week. Pieters, 30, lost consciousness after the collision and was taken to hospital by air ambulance. The Dutch national road race champion had surgery to relieve pressure on her brain caused by the fall. She remains in an induced coma, Dutch Cycling said, adding that an assessment would be possible “in a few days”. Pieters recently became the Madison world champion, alongside Kirsten Wild, for the third consecutive year and won stage two of the Women’s Tour in 2021. She also won the Dutch national road race and Nokere Koerse earlier this year. Dutch Cycling added: “At the moment, no further announcements can be made regarding the accident.”
On This Day
- 1862 – The largest mass-hanging in U.S. history took place in Mankato, Minnesota, where 38 Native Americans died.
- 1898 – Marie and Pierre Curie announce the isolation of radium.
- 1941 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs a bill establishing the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day in the United States, because one Christmas Day wasn’t enough.
- 1963 – The Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “I Saw Her Standing There” are released in the United States, marking the beginning of Beatlemania on an international level.
- 1980 – Witnesses report the first of several sightings of unexplained lights near RAF Woodbridge, in Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk, an incident called “Britain’s Roswell“.
- 2003 – The 6.6 Mw Bam earthquake shakes southeastern Iran with a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent), leaving more than 26,000 dead and 30,000 injured.
- 2004 – The 9.1–9.3 Mw Indian Ocean earthquake shakes northern Sumatra with a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent). One of the largest observed tsunamis, it affected coastal and partially mainland areas of Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Indonesia; death toll is estimated at 227,898.
- 1963 – Gorgeous George, American wrestler (b. 1915).
- 1972 – Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States (b. 1884).
- 1977 – Howard Hawks, American director and screenwriter (b. 1896).
- 2001 – Nigel Hawthorne, English actor (b. 1929).
- 2006 – Gerald Ford, 38th President of the United States (b. 1913).
- 2012 – Gerry Anderson, English director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1929).
Most humans have a morbid curiosity about death. What does it feel like? When will it happen? Will I have a chance to devour my favourite KFC Meal before I go? Is a death-row meal simply the nice thing to do for a person about to die, or is it a waste of time and money for a convicted felon, about to receive their just desserts?
The food these killers want to eat is as varied as their crimes. If you’re a long time reader of this newsletter, you will know that sometimes what people eat for their last meals is sometimes insanely elaborate, requiring multiple courses, and other times they simply want a single olive.
For some reason, humanity has throughout history, frequently decided that no matter what horrible crime you’ve committed, if the state is going to kill you, it should at least give you a decent meal. The first known recording of this practice was in the Sumerian Code of Ur-Nammu back in 22nd century BCE. Roman gladiators were also treated to a large feast before they were inevitably slaughtered in the arena, and the Aztecs used to eat the people they sacrificed. No matter how you look at it, death and food have been paired across almost every culture for most of human history.
Many of us have this idea in our heads that death row inmates can get pretty much whatever they want for their last meal. After all, even the most lavish meals probably couldn’t cost more than a couple hundred bucks, and it’s not like anybody will ever need to spend money on this person again. But actually, what criminals are allowed to have for their last meal varies pretty wildly from state to state, and can significantly affect what they ultimately eat.
Inmates are allowed to request whatever they want, but it’s up to the state to decide what they’ll actually get. For example, in Florida, the meal has to be locally purchased and can’t exceed $40. In Virginia, inmates are pretty much limited to whatever is on the monthly cycle. If you want hotdogs, you’d better hope it’s the first of the month. Most prison chefs do their best, but they can be heavily restricted by what they’re allowed to do and what they might have on hand.
Back in 1989, Brian Price was sentenced to 15 years in a Texas prison after sexually assaulting his ex-wife. When he first showed up, the guards asked him what job he’d had on the outside. Being a musician and photographer, they obviously decided to make him a cook. After a couple years of that, Price was put in charge of cooking the meals for death-row inmates. This meant that for 11 years he cooked over 300 last meals for inmates about to die.
The crazy thing about Brian Price, the chef who prepared over 300 last meals, is that he himself was a prisoner. In fact, virtually all final meals are prepared by other inmates. It’s not like a prison will pay extra to hire a fancy chef to prepare a meal for convicted criminals sentenced to death, when they’ve got so many able-bodied inmates on hand.
Although there will always be exciting and lavish requests for last meals, most requests border on the juvenile. When looking through lists of last meals, the choices these criminals made can be depressingly basic. One meal was nothing but Coke and Cheez-Doodles, while another was merely a cheeseburger. For example, Timothy McVeigh ordered just two pints of ice cream, and Gary Heidnik ate nothing but two slices of cheese pizza and two cups of coffee.
Generally speaking, inmates in America tend to be lower-class and poor. In particular, death row inmates skew towards the most impoverished when compared to other incarcerated criminals. Their socio-economic status can play out in the food they request for their final meals. Although Hannibal Lector might enjoy a fine Chianti with his meal, poorer inmates are less likely to even know what fine dining would look like.
This can mean lots of fast food request or meals that are heavy on bulk, even if they’re not particularly tasty.
According to Brian Price, the press doesn’t always report exactly what meal an inmate gets. For example, once a newspaper reported a prisoner got 24 tacos and 12 enchiladas, but they actually only ate four tacos and two enchiladas. Now, that’s still plenty of food, but it probably doesn’t come off as exciting when an inmate eats a normal-portioned meal.
After all, who wants to read the headline: “Inmate Eats Regular Last Meal”? Nobody.
If you’re going to get the death penalty in America, you might as well go out like a true American, chomping down on fatty foods. It turns out that the most requested foods are fried chicken and cheeseburgers. It’s possible that prisoners are just looking for a taste that reminds them of simpler times. Something high in fat will certainly make them feel good.
There is one curious thing that appears to happen with all last meals, that’s never been fully explained. After a last meal is prepared, it is covered and brought to the inmate. There isn’t much written on why the meal is put under a shroud, but it’s likely to help protect the privacy of the prisoner. Prisoners’ faces are also typically covered before an execution, both to protect onlookers from the nastiness of death, and to keep the person being killed a bit more calm. Maybe there is some sort of parallel there with the food as well.
Anybody who has done something more than 300 times probably knows what they’re doing. That’s why the last-meals chef, Brian Price, decided to release a recipe cookbook detailing the more than 300 last meals he prepared during his tenure as a death-row chef. The book, Meals to Die For, is one of the many resources available when trying to find recipes and information about how to cook morbid, terrifying meals at home.
Texas is far and away the state most likely to sentence a convict to death. That’s extremely unfortunate for criminals with a complex palate, because in 2011, Texas abolished last meals entirely.
The problem was that Lawrence Brewer, a self-described white supremacist, ordered such a ridiculously lavish meal, that it called attention to what some lawmakers thought was “nonsense.” Brewer ordered a meal that included: “two chicken-fried steaks with gravy and sliced onions; a triple-patty bacon cheeseburger; a cheese omelet with ground beef, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and jalapeños; a bowl of fried okra with ketchup; one pound of barbecued meat with half a loaf of white bread; three fajitas; a meat-lover’s pizza; one pint of Blue Bell Ice Cream; a slab of peanut-butter fudge with crushed peanuts; and three root beers.” Shockingly, he did not eat a single bite of it.
State Senator John Whitmire was so mad about the huge meal, he vowed to get rid of the entire idea altogether. Sadly for the Texans on Death Row, Whitmire was successful.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Jared Leto (50), Kit Harington (35), Temuera Morrison (61), Sissy Spacek (72), Helena Christensen (53), Annie Lennox (67), Ricky Martin (50), Alison Sudol (37), Finn Wolfhard (19), Harry Shearer (78), Ralph Fiennes (59), Vanessa Paradis (49), Samuel L. Jackson (73), Kiefer Sutherland (55), Jane Fonda (84), Steven Yeun (38), Julie Delpy (52), Tom Payne (39), Jonah Hill (38), Jenny Agutter (69), Phil Donahue (86), Nicole de Boer (51), Lucy Pinder (38),