Dead Pool 6th August 2023

We have a few recognisable faces this week, but sadly no points to award, even though we’ve all been good girls this week… We saw the passing of the ‘worlds oldest man’, José Paulino Gomes, 127, however, because he was unverified he wasn’t listed on the Wiki Obituary Page.

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Paedophile rock star Ian Watkins has reportedly been stabbed at HMP Wakefield. It is understood Watkins was taken hostage by three other inmates shortly after 9am on Saturday morning. A source told the Flying Monkeys that Watkins suffered stab wounds and beatings before eventually being freed by prison officers around six hours later. “He was found by officers after being held hostage and battered on Saturday morning. He’s in a life-threatening condition and there are fears he could die. If he survives, he’ll have been very lucky.” A Prison Service spokesperson said: “Police are investigating an incident which took place on Saturday at HMP Wakefield. “We are unable to comment further while the police investigate.” Watkins was jailed for 29 years in December 2013 with a further six years on licence, after admitting a string of sex offences – including the attempted rape of a fan’s baby. The disgraced singer was arrested following the execution of a drugs warrant at his Pontypridd home on September 21st 2012 when a large number of computers, mobile phones and storage devices were seized. Analysis of the equipment uncovered Watkins’ depraved behaviour. In 2017, the Independent Police Complaints Commission revealed that could have been caught and brought to justice nearly four years earlier if police had properly investigated reports from a series of informants. In a damning report, the IPCC details how South Wales Police missed a series of opportunities to put a stop to the Lostprophet singer’s campaign of abuse against children in the years before his arrest. Officers were found to have made “errors and omissions” and in some instances failed to “carry out even rudimentary investigation” into reports of Watkins’s wrongdoing made by his ex-girlfriend Joanne Mjadzelics and other witnesses between 2008 and September 2012. 

A police dog who won the nation’s hearts after he was stabbed while protecting his handler has died. PD Finn suffered near-fatal injuries in 2016 when he confronted an armed suspect in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, while protecting PC Dave Wardell. Finn recovered and returned to duty, before retiring in 2017. He also appeared on Britain’s Got Talent and a new law in his name was introduced. PC Wardell said he was “broken” after his “hero” dog died aged 14. “I’m devastated,” he said. “I’m completely lost without him. I hope people remember him and that his legacy lives forever.” German Shepherd Finn had been trained by, and lived with, the officer in Hertfordshire since he was a puppy. PC Wardell is in no doubt that Finn, then aged seven, saved his life on that fateful night in 2016. Finn was stabbed in the chest and head and was not expected to survive. PC Wardell was stabbed in the hand. A teenager was sentenced to youth custody for the attack. The assault on the dog was dealt with by the law as “criminal damage”. After a campaign for a change in the law regarding injuries to police support animals was set up, the new Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Act – known as Finn’s Law – was introduced in 2019. A Facebook post released on behalf of PC Wardell and his wife Gemma said Finn died peacefully in his sleep on Thursday. Thin Blue Paw Foundation, a national charity that supports retired police dogs, said Finn left a “huge legacy” behind. “Our thoughts are with Finn’s family at this very difficult time. Finn, your legacy will live on, may you stand down with pride.”   

The pioneering Welsh wrestler Adrian Street, who found fame after leaving his mining community to become a flamboyant fighter, has died at the age of 82. The Brynmawr-raised performer was known for his androgynous appearance and claimed to have taken part in more than 12,000 fights during a career that spanned seven decades – including one contest where he dropkicked Jimmy Savile! Yay!  Street left his home town in the 1950s to seek fame as a wrestler in London, rejecting his family’s tradition of working in coal mines. In the capital he became known for being a heel, specialising in antagonising crowds with his fighting and appearance. He later developed a penchant for flamboyant costumes that challenged social norms and helped sow the seeds for glam rock – often appearing wearing lipstick, with bright dyed hair and wearing a feather boa. After a successful stint on the British wrestling scene he moved to Florida where he ran a wrestling academy, before moving back to the Welsh valleys towards the end of his life. He wrote a series of autobiographies, calling himself the “sadist in sequins” and “merchant of menace”. His wife, Linda, a fellow wrestler, confirmed that Street died on 24th July in Cwmbran after recently undergoing brain surgery. She told the Flying Monkeys her husband was “the kindest, most lovely and loving man I’ve ever known” and “the total opposite to how he behaved on stage”. At one point Street in the 1970s was booked to wrestle Savile, decades before the TV presenter was exposed as one of Britain’s worst paedophiles. Street said that he was delighted with his performance against Savile. “I ripped his hair out of his head … I drop kicked him so hard he landed on his head. I beat the crap out of him. I kicked him and smashed him and stomped on him. I put a submission on him that nearly broke his back. They shovelled him out of the ring and that ended the contest and he never ever wrestled again.” What a man!  

An Indiana mother of two died in July after drinking too much water too quickly, according to her family. Ashley Summers was enjoying a visit to Indiana’s Lake Freeman over the Fourth of July weekend when she told those around her she was feeling dehydrated, light-headed, and felt she couldn’t drink enough water. After consuming multiple bottles of water in a short span, she went home, where she passed out in her garage. Her family rushed her to the IU Health Arnett Hospital, but she never regained consciousness, succumbing to water toxicity. “It was a shock to all of us. When they first started talking about water toxicity. It was like this is a thing?” Devon Miller, Ashley’s brother, told the Flying Monkeys. “Someone said she drank four bottles of water in 20 minutes. I mean, an average water bottle is like 16 ounces, so that was 64 ounces that she drank in a span of 20 minutes. That’s half a gallon. That’s what you’re supposed to drink in a whole day,” he added. “It’s relatively rare,” Dr Alok Harwani, a physician at the hospital said “Now, what we are concerned about is just drinking too much water in a short period of time. Your kidneys can really only clear about a litre of water per hour.” The doctor said it’s a good idea when spending a lot of time outside in hot weather to continue to eat or drink things with electrolytes, like fruit or Gatorade, in addition to plain water, helping maintain the balance of water and sodium in the blood. Clubbers, particularly those on drugs like MDMA, can be susceptible to the condition as they sweat profusely and rehydrate with water over hours of dancing. 

On This Day

  • 1890 – At Auburn Prison in New York, murderer William Kemmler becomes the first person to be executed by electric chair.
  • 1926 – Gertrude Ederle becomes the first woman to swim across the English Channel.
  • 1945 – World War II: Hiroshima, Japan is devastated when the atomic bomb “Little Boy” is dropped by the United States B-29 Enola Gay. Around 70,000 people are killed instantly, and some tens of thousands die in subsequent years from burns and radiation poisoning.
  • 2012 – NASA’s Curiosity rover lands on the surface of Mars.

Deaths

  • 2005 – Robin Cook, Scottish educator and politician, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (b. 1946).
  • 2005 – Creme Puff, tabby domestic cat, oldest recorded cat 38 years, 3 days (b. 1967).
  • 2009 – John Hughes, American director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1950).
  • 2012 – Bernard Lovell, English physicist and astronomer (b. 1913).

The First Use of The Electric Chair

William Kemmler was an American peddler, alcoholic, and murderer, who, in 1890, became the first person in the world to be executed by electric chair. He was convicted of murdering Matilda “Tillie” Ziegler, his common-law wife, a year earlier. Although electrocution had previously been successfully used to kill a horse, Kemmler’s execution did not go smoothly. 

Kemmler was born in Philadelphia in 1860. Both of his parents were immigrants from Germany, and both were alcoholics. After dropping out of school at age 10, unable to read or write, Kemmler worked in his father’s butcher shop.

After his parents’ deaths, he went into the peddling business, and earned enough money to buy a horse and cart. At this point, however, he was also becoming a heavy drinker. In one episode involving him and his friends, after a series of drunken binges, he said he could jump his horse and cart over an eight-foot fence, with the cart attached to the horse. The attempt was a failure, and his cart and goods were destroyed in the incident. He was known to friends as “Philadelphia Billy”, and his drinking binges were very well known around the saloons in his Buffalo neighbourhood. 

On March 29th 1889, he was recovering from a drinking binge the night before when he became enraged with his girlfriend Tillie Ziegler. He accused her of stealing from him and preparing to run away with a friend of his. When the argument reached a peak, Kemmler calmly went to the barn, grabbed a hatchet, and returned to the house. He struck Tillie repeatedly, killing her. He then went to a neighbour’s house and announced he had just murdered his girlfriend. 

Kemmler’s resulting murder trial proceeded quickly. He was convicted of first-degree murder on May 10th. Three days later he was sentenced to death, destined to be the first person executed in an electric chair under New York’s new execution law replacing hanging with electrocution.

It was determined that his sentence was to be carried out at New York’s Auburn Prison via the new electric chair, a device invented in 1881 by Buffalo, New York, dentist Alfred Southwick. After nine years of development and legislation, the chair was considered ready for use. 

The plan to carry out Kemmler’s execution via electric chair drew the situation into the AC/DC “war of the currents” between George Westinghouse, the largest supplier of alternating current equipment, and Thomas Edison, whose company ran its equipment on direct current. The alternating current that powered the electric chair was supplied by a Westinghouse generator surreptitiously acquired. This led to Westinghouse trying to stop what seemed to be Edison’s attempt to try to portray the AC used in Westinghouse electrical system as the deadly “executioners’ current”, supporting Kemmler’s appeal by hiring lawyer W. Bourke Cockran to represent him. The appeal failed on October 9th 1889, and the U.S. Supreme Court turned down the case, titled In re Kemmler, on the grounds that there was no cruel and unusual punishment in death by electrocution! 

On the morning of his execution, Kemmler was awakened at 5:00 a.m. He dressed quickly and put on a suit, necktie, and white shirt. After breakfast and some prayer, the top of his head was shaved. At 6:38 a.m., Kemmler entered the execution room and warden Charles Durston presented Kemmler to the 17 witnesses in attendance. Kemmler looked at the chair and said: “Gentlemen, I wish you all good luck. I believe I am going to a good place, and I am ready to go.”

Witnesses remarked that Kemmler was composed at his execution; he did not scream, cry, or resist in any way. He sat down on the chair, but was ordered to get up by the warden so a hole could be cut in his suit through which a second electrical lead could be attached. This was done and Kemmler sat down again. He was strapped to the chair, his face was covered and the metal restraint put on his bare head. He said, “Take it easy and do it properly, I’m in no hurry.” Durston replied, “Goodbye, William” and ordered the switch thrown.

The generator was charged with 1,000 volts, which was thought to be adequate to induce quick unconsciousness and cardiac arrest. The chair had already been tested; a horse had been electrocuted the day before. Current passed through Kemmler for 17 seconds. The power was turned off and Kemmler was declared dead by Edward Charles Spitzka. Witnesses noticed Kemmler was still breathing. The attending physicians, Spitzka and Carlos Frederick MacDonald, came forward to examine Kemmler. After confirming he was still alive, Spitzka reportedly called out, “Have the current turned on again, quick—no delay.”

In the second attempt, Kemmler was shocked with 2,000 volts. Blood vessels under his skin ruptured and bled, and some witnesses claimed his body caught fire. The New York Times reported instead that “an awful odour began to permeate the death chamber, and then, as though to cap the climax of this fearful sight, it was seen that the hair under and around the electrode on the head and the flesh under and around the electrode at the base of the spine was singeing. The stench was unbearable. Upon autopsy, doctors had found the blood vessels under the cap of his skull had carbonised and the top of the brain had hardened. Witnesses reported the smell of burning flesh and several nauseated spectators tried to leave the room.

The execution took approximately eight minutes. The competitive newspaper reporters covering the Kemmler execution jumped on the abnormalities as each newspaper source tried to outdo each other with sensational headlines and reports. The New York Times ran the headline: “Far Worse Than Hanging”. Westinghouse later commented “They would have done better using an axe”.

Kemmler is buried in the precincts of the prison where his execution took place.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Michelle Yeoh (61), M. Night Shyamalan (53), Geri Horner (51), James Gunn (57), Mark Strong (60), Loni Anderson (78), Meghan Markle (42), Billy Bob Thornton (68), Lee Mack (55), Barack Obama (62), Evangeline Lilly (44), Stephen Graham (50), Martin Sheen (83), John C. McGinley (64), John Landis (73), Mamie Gummer (40), Steven Berkoff (86), James Hetfield (60), Sam Worthington (47), Edward Furlong (46), Kevin Smith (53), Jason Momoa (44), Adrian Dunbar (65), Daisy May Cooper (37), Michael Biehn (67), Emilia Fox (49), Wesley Snipes (61), Dean Cain (57), and J.K. Rowling (58).

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