Dead Pool 30th April 2023
In the week where blow jobs have been proven to cause throat cancer, we also have points to award! With the death of Harry Belafonte, 54 points go to Fiona and Jamie. Well done both of you!
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Len Goodman, 78, English ballroom dancer, television presenter, and coach (Strictly Come Dancing, Dancing with the Stars), bone cancer.
- Kate Saunders, 62, English author (Winnie-the-Pooh: The Best Bear in All the World), journalist and actress (Angels), cancer.
- Peter Martin, 81, English actor (Emmerdale, The Royle Family, Brassed Off).
- Dale Meeks, 48, English actor (Emmerdale, Byker Grove), heart failure.
- Harry Belafonte, 96, American musician (“The Banana Boat Song“, “Jump in the Line“), actor (Odds Against Tomorrow), and civil rights activist, heart failure.
- Jerry Springer, 79, British-born American television host (The Jerry Springer Show, America’s Got Talent), pancreatic cancer.
- Barbara Young, 92, English actress (Coronation Street, I, Claudius, Last of the Summer Wine).
In Other News
Barry Humphries is said to have secretly battled cancer in the years before his death. The legendary entertainer, who was best known for his alter ego Dame Edna Everage, died a week ago at the age of 89. It was originally reported he was in hospital due to complications with hip replacement surgery following a fall at his home. But now it has emerged that while he was admitted, doctors discovered his cancer was more advanced than they thought. Back in 2021, Barry revealed he had been diagnosed with Extramammary Paget’s Disease (EMPD), a form of skin cancer, after noticing something unusual on his testicles in the shower. The slow growing disease is a pre-invasive form of skin cancer that looks similar to a patch of eczema and is most common in people over 60, according to the NHS. Although Barry had surgery on the affected area three years ago, it is thought he was still battling the disease at the time of his death. Sources close to his family told the Flying Monkeys that after his recent hip operation doctors realised “the extent of the cancer that would end his life within six weeks”. Speaking when he first diagnosed with cancer, Barry explained his health issues in his column for The Oldies magazine. He wrote: “I had the rare Extramammary Paget’s disease, first noticed under the shower – so it was a general anaesthetic and the knife. Ladies sometimes get Paget’s on their breasts, but it rarely – if ever – assails a man’s front botty.” Poking humour at his situation, comedian Barry continued: “The scrotum is very forgiving. These comforting words were recently uttered by a distinguished surgeon before he deracinated a nasty excrescence in a dark part of my anatomy.” Further details surrounding the comedian’s death came to light as his family and friends gathered at a private funeral for the star on Friday. Reports claim guests were only given 24 hours’ notice to attend the service, which was held at the Bowral estate of his long-time friend, artist Tim Storrier in the New South Wales Southern Highlands. It is thought the funeral was held earlier than expected as Barry’s wife of three decades, Lizzie Spender, is flying to London this weekend. Film director Bruce Beresford said: “It was a small affair, just family and close friends. It was very touching, very warm. Everybody was either related or a great friend of Barry’s.” No speeches were made, but excerpts from some of Barry’s favourite poems were reportedly read, including three verses from The Heart of a Friend by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. As well as wife Lizzie and his children, Oscar, Rupert, Emily and Tessa, Barry’s close friend, British comedian Rob Brydon is thought to have attended, as well as writer Kathy Lette and Scottish journalist Andrew Neal. Barry was cremated earlier in the week. It is not known if any public service, such as a stage funeral, will be held in Australia at this time.
Micheal J. Fox has opened up about his thoughts on mortality, death and Parkinson’s disease in a candid interview where he discussed living with – and realising he would die with – the condition. The 61-year-old Hollywood star makes the heartbreaking acknowledgement that he doesn’t expect to reach his 80th birthday due to the disease. Michael was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s back in 1991 when he was just 29-years-old – and he went public with the news nine years later. After decades of campaigning, raising funds and awareness of the condition, Michael is set to appear in a number of interviews to discuss how he has experienced life with Parkinson’s. A preview of his CBS Sunday Morning interview has shown him stating: “My life is set up so…I can pack Parkinson’s along with me if I have to.” The actor goes on to explain that the disease made him reassess his approach to life and states: “You don’t die from Parkinson’s. You die with Parkinson’s.” He goes on to explain that those suffering from the disease at risk of injuries, like falling, choking, or getting sick with a cold which can in turn prove fatal. Heartbreakingly, he added: “I’ve been thinking about the mortality of it… I’m not gonna be 80.” Earlier this week, Michael explained to the Flying Monkeys that the work his Michael J. Fox Foundation does has been aiming to improve the lives of others at risk of the disease. He highlighted that his teams are working to devise new ways to detect and treat Parkinson’s. He said: “The idea of a biomarker… a way to identify the disease before the disease is present. “By the time I was diagnosed, I had a little twitch in my pinky but…with this, we can identify the disease really early and help progression and essentially cure ahead of the game.” He did explain that he does struggle with his own condition. He told the outlet: “I’m not going to lie, it’s getting hard, it’s getting harder. “Every day is tougher. But, but that’s — that’s the way it is.”
Only Fools and Horses actor, Patrick Murray, 66, shared his doctors are “optimistic” despite the fact that his cancer has “unfortunately” come back. He is best known for portraying Mickey Pearce in the hit series. Having previously been diagnosed with lung cancer, he was given the all-clear last year. He took to Twitter to reveal the update, as he shared his bid to stay upbeat despite the diagnosis. He shared: “I have been trying to avoid this tweet for a while, but I owe it to my friends to keep you updated. Despite all the wonderful efforts by the medical and nursing teams at Medway, Guys, and Kings College hospitals, the lung cancer has returned. I thought I had a painful groin strain a couple of months ago, unfortunately that turned out to be the cancer getting into my pelvis and leg bones.” He continued on the status of the cancer: “It has also entered my lymphatic system.” However, Patrick went on to share some better news: “I had radiology treatment last week and my oncologist is fairly confident this will stop the leg pain, and I will be up and about again. Another positive is my consultant. He is confident that the chemo will keep things in check for months and even years. His optimism comes not from kindness of which I know he has in spades but advances in cancer medicine.” He ended the long message by thanking his fans for their support. He added: “I am feeling positive with my good wifes awesome support . Luv’n’Hugs.”
On This Day
- 1661 – King Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland is crowned in Westminster Abbey.
- 1985 – Coca-Cola changes its formula and releases New Coke. The response is overwhelmingly negative, and the original formula is back on the market in less than three months.
- 2005 – The first YouTube video, titled “Me at the zoo”, was published by co-founder Jawed Karim.
- AD 303 – Saint George, Roman soldier and martyr.
- 1616 – William Shakespeare, English playwright and poet (b. 1564).
- 1850 – William Wordsworth, English poet and author (b. 1770).
- 1983 – Buster Crabbe, American swimmer and actor (b. 1908).
- 1998 – James Earl Ray, American assassin of Martin Luther King Jr. (b. 1928).
- 2005 – John Mills, English actor (b. 1908).
- 2007 – Boris Yeltsin, Russian politician, 1st President of Russia (b. 1931).
- 2011 – John Sullivan, English screenwriter and producer (b. 1946).
The White Death
Simo Häyhä, often referred to by his nickname, The White Death, was a Finnish military sniper in World War II during the 1939–1940 Winter War against the Soviet Union. He used a Finnish-produced M/28-30 (a variant of the Mosin–Nagant rifle) and a Suomi KP/-31 submachine gun. He is believed to have killed over 500 enemy soldiers during the Winter War, the highest number of sniper kills in any major war. Because of this, he is often regarded as the deadliest sniper of all time.
Häyhä estimated in his private war memoir that he shot around 500 Soviet soldiers. The memoir, titled Sotamuistoja (War memoirs), was written in 1940, a few months after he was wounded, and described his experiences in the Winter War from 30th November 1939 to 13th March 1940. Hidden for decades, the memoir was discovered in 2017.
Häyhä was born in the Kiiskinen hamlet of the Rautjärvi municipality in the Viipuri Province of southern Finland near the border with Russia. He was the seventh of eight children in a Lutheran family of farmers. He was a farmer, hunter, and skier prior to his military service.
Häyhä joined the Finnish voluntary militia Civil Guard at the age of 17. He was successful in shooting competitions in the Viipuri Province; his home was reportedly full of trophies for marksmanship. He was not keen to hog the spotlight, and accordingly in group photos from his youth he usually stood at the back, until his later successes forced him to take centre stage.
In 1925, at the age of 19, Häyhä began his 15-month compulsory military service in the Bicycle Battalion. However, he did not receive formal sniper training until a year before the war in 1938.
According to Major Tapio Saarelainen – who met Häyhä several times and has written five books about him, including his biography – Häyhä was able to estimate distances with an accuracy of 1 metre up to 150 metres. Saarelainen notes that during his Civil Guard training, Häyhä once hit a target 16 times from 150 metres away in just one minute. “This was an unbelievable accomplishment with a bolt action rifle, considering that each cartridge had to be manually fed with a fixed magazine that held together five cartridges.”
All of Häyhä’s kills were accomplished in less than 100 days, an average of five per day at a time of year with very few daylight hours. His kill count as a sniper was based on his own reporting, with the confirmation of his comrades, and only those who were verified to be dead were counted. No count was taken when several snipers shot at the same target. Enemy soldiers killed with a submachine gun with Häyhä as a group leader were not counted.
Häyhä’s division commander Antero Svensson credited him with 219 confirmed kills with a rifle and an equal number of kills by submachine gun, when he awarded Häyhä with an honorary rifle on 17th February 1940. On 21st December 1939, Häyhä achieved his highest daily count of 25 kills. In his diary, military chaplain Antti Rantamaa reported 259 confirmed kills made by rifle and an equal number of kills by submachine gun from the beginning of the war until 7th March 1940, one day after Häyhä was severely wounded. Later in his book, Rantamaa credited Häyhä with a total of 542 kills. Häyhä never discussed it publicly, but his own private memoir, discovered in 2017, states a number. He begins by stating that “this is his sin list”, and estimates the total number he shot to be around 500.
Häyhä preferred iron sights over telescopic sights, as they enable a sniper to present a smaller target for the enemy (a sniper must raise his head a few centimetres higher when using a telescopic sight), and can be relied on even in extreme cold, unlike telescopic sights which tend to cloud up in cold weather. Another disadvantage of telescopic sights is that sunlight may reflect off the lenses and reveal the sniper’s position. Häyhä did not have prior training with scoped rifles, and therefore preferred not to switch to the Soviet scoped rifle.
Häyhä dealt with the intense cold by dressing properly with multiple layers of clothing. He kept sugar and bread in his pockets, consuming them for the calories necessary to keep his body warm. His slight stature of 5 ft 3 in assisted him in disguising his position. Hidden in a snow pit, he could lie still and observe the enemy for long periods of time. It was Häyhä’s custom to move, well before daybreak, to the position he had prepared, and stay there until after sunset. He would frequently pack dense mounds of snow in front of his position to conceal himself, provide padding for his rifle, and reduce the characteristic puff of snow stirred up by the muzzle blast. He was known to keep snow in his mouth while sniping to prevent his breath in the cold air from giving away his position.
On 6th March 1940, Häyhä was severely wounded after an explosive bullet fired by a Red Army soldier hit his lower left jaw. After the battle, as he appeared to be dead, he was placed on a pile of dead bodies. A fellow soldier, under orders from his commanding officer, searched for Häyhä, noticed a leg twitching among the pile and found Häyhä alive, although unconscious. He was evacuated by fellow soldiers who said that “half his face was missing”. The bullet had removed his upper jaw, most of his lower jaw, and most of his left cheek.
Rumours of Häyhä’s death spread around in Finland and the Soviet Union. He regained consciousness a week later on 13th March, the day that peace was declared. He read about his own death in a newspaper, and sent a letter to the paper to correct the misunderstanding. He spent 14 months recovering from his wounds and endured 26 surgeries.
It took several years for Häyhä to recuperate from his wound which required lengthy treatments and several surgeries. Although his face remained disfigured, he otherwise made a full recovery. After World War II, he was given a farm in Valkjärvi (“Whitelake”), Ruokolahti. He became a successful moose hunter and dog breeder. In addition to farming, he enjoyed hunting, and his hunting parties over the years included the President of Finland, Urho Kekkonen.
Häyhä was known as a modest man who never boasted of his wartime merits. He rarely spoke of the war and his experiences.[ When asked in 1998 how he had become such a good sniper, he replied simply: “Practice”. He was asked if he felt remorse for having killed so many people. He replied, “I did what I was told to do, as well as I could. There would be no Finland unless everyone else had done the same.”
Häyhä spent his last years in a war veterans’ nursing home in Hamina, where he died in 2002 at the age of 96. He was buried in his home town of Ruokolahti.
Last Week’s Birthdays
John Cena (46), Dev Patel (33), John Hannah (61), Lee Majors (84), Gemma Whelan (42), Blair Brown (77), John Oliver (46), Jack Nicholson (86), Amber Heard (37), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (57), John Waters (77), Sheryl Lee (56), James McAvoy (44), Andie MacDowell (65), Toby Stephens (54), Tony Danza (72), Iggy Pop (76), Andy Serkis (59), Clint Howard (64), Veronica Cartwright (74), Jessica Lange (74), Ryan O’Neal (82), Carmen Electra (51), George Takei (86), Nicholas Lyndhurst (62), Michael Brandon (78), Hayden Christensen (42), James Franco (45), Tim Curry (77), Kate Hudson (44), Ashley Judd (55), David Tennant (52), Rick Moranis (70), Hayley Mills (77), James Woods (76), Eli Roth (51), Conan O’Brien (60), Jennifer Garner (51), Rooney Mara (38), Sean Bean (64), and David Bradley (81).