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Dead Pool 19th May 2024

Another short newsletter this week, not a lot going on!  

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Olivia Munn has offered fans a candid health insight following her cancer diagnosis. Earlier this year, the 43-year-old announced to her Instagram followers that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer ten months prior. Just days after doctors confirmed the disease was present in her body, she underwent a double mastectomy. In a heartbreaking post, Olivia revealed she’d ‘only cried twice’ during the ordeal and that she credited Dr. Thaïs Aliabadi for ‘saving her life’. “Dr. Aliabadi looked at factors like my age, familial breast cancer history, and the fact that I had my first child after the age of 30,” the X-Men star wrote. “She discovered my lifetime risk was at 37 percent. Because of that score I was sent to get an MRI, which led to an ultrasound, which then led to a biopsy. The biopsy showed I had Luminal B cancer in both breasts.” Following the initial reveal on March 13th, the mum-of-one has shared another update. Speaking to the Flying Monkeys, Olivia announced she had opted to undergo further surgery as opposed to receiving Lupron or leuprolide injections. This medication, which lowers oestrogen levels in the body, was reportedly causing her to feel intense levels of ‘exhaustion’. “I would wake up in the morning and almost immediately need to get back into bed,” she explained. Meanwhile, Munn announced that she has now had an oophorectomy and hysterectomy, as well as a full double mastectomy. “I took out my uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries!” 

Steve Buscemi is on the mend after he was attacked in Manhattan on Wednesday. The 66-year-old was punched in the face while walking in the Kips Bay neighbourhood around noon on May 8th. The attack left Buscemi with swelling to his face and left eye, and he was treated at Bellevue Hospital. Afterward, his publicist gave an update on his condition. In a statement the spokesperson said, “Steve Buscemi was assaulted in Mid-Town Manhattan, another victim of a random act of violence in the city. He is OK and appreciates everyone’s well wishes, though incredibly sad for everyone that this has happened to him while also walking the streets of New York.” A witness working nearby saw the attack and told the Flying Monkeys, “I saw he was with a woman, and then through the corner of the window I saw him trip and fall backwards. He right away got up and ran in the opposite direction. I didn’t see who hit him.” The NYPD told us, “At this time there are no arrests, and the investigation remains ongoing.” The department released surveillance footage of a suspect and added, “The individual is described as a male with dark complexion, wearing a dark coloured baseball style cap, blue t-shirt, black pants, white sneakers, and carrying a bookbag.” The police department is asking for the public’s help to find the perpetrator. Just weeks ago, Buscemi’s “Boardwalk Empire” co-star Michael Stuhlbarg was also randomly attacked with a rock in Manhattan.

On This Day

  • 1536 – Anne Boleyn, the second wife of Henry VIII of England, is beheaded for adultery, treason, and incest. 
  • 1962 – A birthday salute to U.S. President John F. Kennedy takes place at Madison Square Garden, New York City. The highlight is Marilyn Monroe’s rendition of “Happy Birthday“.
  • 2018 – The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is held at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, with an estimated global audience of 1.9 billion.

Deaths

Last Week’s Birthdays

Grace Jones (76), James Fox (85), Tina Fey (54), Miriam Margolyes (83), Chow Yun-Fat (69), Toyah Willcox (66), Paul Whitehouse (66), Megan Fox (38), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (34), Pierce Brosnan (71), Danny Trejo (80), Debra Winger (69), David Boreanaz (55), Stephen Mangan (56), Janet Jackson (58), Cate Blanchett (55), Sofia Coppola (53), Tim Roth (63), George Lucas (80), Francesca Annis (79), Siân Phillips (91), Greg Davies (56), Harvey Keitel (85), Robert Pattinson (38), Samantha Morton (47), Iwan Rheon (39), Zoë Wanamaker (75), and Mark Heap (67).

Dead Pool 12th May 2024

Some very well known faces on our list this week, however nobody scored a point! This weeks edition is short and sweet, it’s lovely and sunny out there, so go outside! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

  • Jeannie Epper, 83, American stuntwoman (Romancing the Stone, Kill Bill: Volume 2, Wonder Woman). 
  • Susan Buckner, 72, American actress (Grease, Deadly Blessing, The Brady Bunch Hour). 
  • Bernard Hill, 79, English actor (The Lord of the Rings, Titanic, Boys from the Blackstuff). 
  • Ian Gelder, 74, British actor (Game of Thrones, Torchwood, Little Dorrit), bile duct cancer. 
  • Kristin Hallenga, 38, English breast cancer awareness activist (CoppaFeel!), breast cancer. 
  • Dame Shirley Conran, 91, British writer. 
  • Susan Backlinie, 77, American actress (Jaws, Day of the Animals, 1941). 
  • Roger Corman, 98, American film director (The Little Shop of Horrors, Death Race 2000, The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre).

In Other News

BBC Antiques Roadshow’s Theo Burrell has been hospitalised again as she continues her fight against an incurable brain tumour. The beloved antiques expert shared her concerns over critical scan results after being admitted to the hospital on Wednesday, providing fans with an update on her ongoing health struggle. Theo has kept the public informed about her health since being given only months to live nearly two years ago. Diagnosed in 2022 with grade 4 glioblastoma – an aggressive form of cancer that originates in the brain or spinal cells – the 36-year-old was confronted with a dire prognosis. The BBC personality was initially crushed by the news and worried about the potential spread of the cancer. Despite this, she has received treatments that have successfully reduced the tumour to just 10 percent of its original size, although she still experiences significant side effects like headaches and nausea. Nevertheless, Theo is determined to make a difference by embarking on a daring fundraising challenge. She announced to her Instagram followers: “On Saturday 25th, I’m heading to Aberdeen and abseiling down the King’s Tower, all 131 feet of it! The last time I did anything similar I was 19 – not exactly yesterday! If you can help me raise some funds (all for @braintumourrsch ) I’d be very grateful – link in bio. Thank you.”  

Christopher Biggins has undergone open heart surgery and admitted: “It’s not easy getting old.” The 72-year-old pantomime veteran and TV star revealed he has recently had an operation to repair a valve in his heart and knee-replacement surgery. Biggins told the Flying Monkeys: “I’m like the bionic man. I’ve had a new knee put in and I’ve had a new valve put into my heart. It’s not easy getting old.” The actor, known for his appearance on reality shows including I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! and Celebrity Big Brother, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2010 and admitted he is becoming increasingly aware of his health. He said: “I’ve always been aware of being a big boy – aware of my weight and looking at going on diets.” The theatre star admitted that losing his friends has brought home his own mortality. He said: “As you get older, the things you go to – apart from restaurants and theatres – are funerals and memorial services. It makes you aware that life is very shallow. It’s not easy. You never know when you’re going to go.” Speaking about Dame Barbara Widsors’s death last year he said: “I hope that, when we die, all of us, that we can see for the next 24 hours the reaction of everybody to our death. If she could have seen the reaction to her death she would have been so thrilled. The coverage was unbelievable.”   

Susan Backlinie, the American actress and stuntwoman who played the first shark attack victim in Steven Spielberg’s 1975 film Jaws, has died. Along with being a stuntwoman specialising in swimming work, she was also an animal trainer. In her later life she worked as a computer accountant. Backlinie’s appearance in Jaws took three days to shoot, with Backlinie strapped into a harness while the crew struggled to get the desired effects.Contrary to rumour, Backlinie’s startled reaction and screams of anguish were not due to her being injured by the harness that yanked her back and forth in the water. However, she was attached to a line that was anchored to the ocean floor beneath her, and she was intentionally not warned when she would be first pulled underwater; this helped provoke a more genuine expression of surprise from her initially – but the remainder of her performance was her own as an actress. When Jaws co-star Richard Dreyfuss saw a daily of her performance of being attacked by the shark, he told her it absolutely terrified him. Backlinie also appears in Spielberg’s film 1941 parodying her role in Jaws: instead of being attacked by a shark during a midnight swim, she’s “picked up” by the periscope of a Japanese submarine. The scene has been described as the best joke in what is otherwise widely considered one of Spielberg’s least successful films.

On This Day

  • 1941 – Konrad Zuse presents the Z3, the world’s first working programmable, fully automatic computer, in Berlin.
  • 2008 – An earthquake (measuring around 8.0 magnitude) occurs in Sichuan, China, killing over 69,000 people.
  • 2010 – Afriqiyah Airways Flight 771 crashes on final approach to Tripoli International Airport in Tripoli, Libya, killing 103 out of the 104 people on board. The sole survivor was a 9-year-old Dutch boy.

Deaths

  • 1957 – Erich von Stroheim, Austrian-American actor, director, and producer (b. 1885).
  • 1994 – John Smith, Scottish-English politician, Labour Party leader (b. 1938).
  • 2001 – Perry Como, American singer and television host (b. 1912).

Last Week’s Birthdays

Malin Akerman (46), Rami Malek (43), Domhnall Gleeson (41), Emilio Estevez (62), Rhea Seehorn (52), Ving Rhames (65), Gabriel Byrne (74), Jason Biggs (46), Richard Gadd (35), Tim Blake Nelson (60), Pam Ferris (76), Holly Valance (41), Jadyn Wong (39), Meg Foster 76), Sally Phillips (54), Bono (64), Rosario Dawson (45), Grace Gummer (38), Billy Joel (75), Stephen Amell (43), Vicky McClure (41), David Attenborough (98), Salome Jens (89), Alexander Ludwig (32), Richard O’Sullivan (80), George Clooney (63), Adrianne Palicki (41), and Pippa Haywood (63). 

Dead Pool 5th May 2024

Short and sweet this week, I’m sure you all have better things to do on a bank holiday weekend! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Jeremy Clarkson’s Clarkson’s Farm co-star Gerald has been diagnosed with cancer, with the news being broken to fans in the new Amazon Prime series. The latest instalment of the hit series reveals that Gerald, a cherished member of the farm crew, is battling prostate cancer. Fans of the show have come to adore Gerald, who regularly features in Jeremy and Kaleb’s farm antics, especially for his expertise in construction. In a touching update later in the season, Jeremy shares that Gerald is on the mend following a medical procedure, much to the relief of viewers rooting for his recovery. Jeremy has previously spoken fondly of his bond with Gerald, reminiscing: “It doesn’t matter if you can’t understand what he’s talking about, because he’s usually talking about Manchester United.” He added, “He’s fantastic. We’ve known each other for a very long time. He’s 72, also never been outside the village, but has worked on this farm for 50 years. He’s a great dry stone-waller, which is a dying art.” The dynamic duo of Jeremy and Kaleb found themselves in need of Gerald’s skills this year after they accidentally demolished a significant stone wall during their attempts at ‘unfarming’. 

Former Spandau Ballet musician Martin Kemp has predicted that he will die within 10 years. Kemp, 62, made the admission during a podcast recorded alongside his son, former  Capital Breakfast radio presenter and former I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! contestant Roman Kemp. Back in the 1990s, Kemp was diagnosed with two benign brain tumours, and successfully underwent radiotherapy and surgery to have the growths removed. However, one of the side effects of the experience was epilepsy, which Kemp has lived with ever since. The two Kemps discussed their mortality during the first episode of the new podcast series FFS! My dad is Martin Kemp. In the episode, titled “Death, Martin and Roman”, Kemp is asked by his son how much longer he expects to live. “I’ll be really honest with you, 10 years,” he responds. “I don’t know how long I’ve got left but I will tell you, since I was the age of 34, when I went through all of that brain tumour scare, I spent two years of my life thinking I was going to die. And I think, after that, everything else, every day, every year, every month that I’ve lived, every experience that I’ve had has been a bonus.” Kemp explained that he had been “practically resigned” to the notion that he was going to die, and had been “happy with his lot”. The bassist continued: “I thought: ‘If I go, do you know what? What a life’ and that was back then. So, every year that I live, every month that I’m alive now is like a bonus. “I would be happy if I got to 80, that gives me 18 years. My brain still wasn’t working properly from the operation,” he said. “To the point where sometimes if I wanted to walk left, I would walk right, or like I couldn’t think about putting things in order, or anything like that. Learning lines was just way out there.”  Kemp played bass guitar in Spandau Ballet from 1979 until the group’s dissolution in 1990, later returning for a decade after the band reunited in 2009. 

Mark Steel has shared the triumphant news he is now cancer free as he reveals doctors “saved his life”. The comedian and BBC radio star, 63, revealed he noticed his neck was “looking much bigger than normal” while shaving. He ignored it for two weeks but eventually saw a doctor after his neck continued to get bigger. After hospital visits and a lost biopsy, Mark was told he had cancer in at least two places, with the “primary cancer” in his throat. Mark shared his cancer diagnosis in October last year, and has now been able to reveal the news he is cancer free. In a post on Twitter, he said: “A nice man from UCL Hospital called this week, to say a scan of me showed the cancer I had has all gone. The treatment worked, the cancer bottled it and ran off, the wimp.” He added: “One thing I’ve learned through all this is I don’t recommend chemotherapy or radiotherapy as recreational drugs. I can’t see them taking off in the clubs. UCLH is an amazing place packed with wonderful souls. They’ve saved my life but I reckon this mention on Twitter makes us even. Also, I discovered my son and daughter are magnificent and that I know lots of brilliant people who are beautifully kind and funny and rude. And… lots of you sent me messages which was SO appreciated and I’d marry you all if there wasn’t a law against it. Now I’ll shut up about it, after the ‘my cancer journey’ book and tour and musical. And from now on I’ll be careful not to catch cancer again.” Mark’s pals shared their delight at the update as Janey Godley said: “I’m so happy for you.” 

On This Day

  • 1902 – A stand box collapses at Ibrox Park (now Ibrox Stadium) in Glasgow, Scotland, which led to the deaths of 25 and injuries to more than 500 supporters during an international association football match between Scotland and England. 
  • 1943 – World War II: United States Army Air Forces bomber aircraft accidentally cause more than 900 civilian deaths, including 209 children, and 1,300 wounded among the civilian population of the Belgian town of Mortsel. Their target was the Erla factory one kilometre from the residential area hit.
  • 1974 – Carrie, the first novel by American author Stephen King, is published for the first time with a print run of 30,000 copies.

Deaths

Last Meals

Willie James Pye was an American convicted murderer who was given the death penalty in 1996 for murdering his ex-girlfriend Alicia Lynn Yarbrough after he kidnapped and raped her. Pye acted together with two other people to commit a robbery at the home of Yarbrough’s boyfriend, which in turn led to the murder in 1993. 

Pye, who was convicted and sentenced to death three years after the crime, remained on death row for nearly 30 years before he was put to death via lethal injection on March 20, 2024. His case became a point of controversy due to the alleged inadequate legal representation he received during the trial, which allegedly left out details of Pye’s troubled childhood and other mitigating factors that may have spared his life. Pye was the first death row convict to be executed in Georgia after a four-year moratorium on executions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On November 17th 1993, Pye was involved in the rape-murder of his ex-girlfriend Alicia Lynn Yarbrough (aged 21 at the time), with whom he had an on-again, off-again romantic relationship prior to their final break-up. After their final break-up, Yarbrough ended up with another man, and she had a child, which Pye believed to be his, and he was angered that a birth certificate for the baby was signed with Yarbrough’s lover as the child’s father. On the day in question, Pye, armed with a newly bought .22 pistol, teamed up with two people, 15-year-old Anthony Freeman and 25-year-old Chester Adams, to commit robbery at the lover’s house, but after finding Yarbrough alone in the house with her baby, Pye and his accomplices abducted her and would later rape her at a motel, and also stole her jewellery. Afterwards, the trio drove Yarbrough down a dirt road, where Pye ordered her out of the car, told her to lie face down and shot her three times, which resulted in her death.

Yarbrough’s corpse was discovered on the same day of her murder, and the trio were arrested soon after. Pye and Adams denied their involvement in the crime, while Freeman confessed to the murder and implicated both Adams and Pye. DNA tests would later confirm that the semen found on the victim’s corpse belonged to Pye, which allowed the authorities to charge him as a suspect for Yarbrough’s murder. 

Pye’s lawyers urged for the state to grant Pye clemency and commute his death sentence to life in prison without parole, on the grounds of Pye’s low IQ and troubled childhood and the inadequate legal representation in his trial back in 1996. They also claimed that Pye suffered from foetal alcohol syndrome, as a result of his mother’s alcohol abuse while she was  pregnant with him, which may have damaged his brain and affected his mental responsibility at the time of the killing. Three former jurors who convicted Pye stated that they did not want Pye to be executed, after citing that they would have opted for life without parole had his childhood and low intelligence been revealed during his first trial. However the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles officially turned down his clemency petition in 2024. 

Pye reportedly ordered a last meal of two chicken sandwiches, two cheeseburgers, french fries, two bags of plain potato chips, and two lemon-lime sodas. He was also visited by six family members, a clergy member, and an attorney for the final time before his death sentence was carried out. 

Pye was executed by lethal injection at 11:03 p.m. at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Center in Jackson, Georgia. Pye was 59 years old at the time of his death. Reportedly, before he was administered with a single dose of pentobarbital, Pye accepted a final prayer but he did not make a final statement. 

Last Week’s Birthdays

Henry Cavill (41), Zach McGowan (44), John Rhys-Davies (80), Lance Henriksen (84),  Richard E. Grant (67), Marc Alaimo (82), Michael Palin (81), Adele (36), Will Arnett 54), Christina Hendricks (49), Pom Klementieff (38), Rob Brydon (59), Sandi Toksvig (66), Ben Elton (65), Matt Berry (50), Dwayne Johnson (52), David Suchet (78), Lily Allen (39), David Beckham (49), Engelbert Humperdinck (88), Julie Benz (52), Jamie Dornan (42), Joanna Lumley (78), Uma Thurman (54), Michelle Pfeiffer (66), Daniel Day-Lewis (67), Jerry Seinfeld (70), Kate Mulgrew (69), Willie Nelson (91), Anita Dobson (75), Kirsten Dunst (42), Gal Gadot (39), and Sam Heughan (44).

DeadPool 28th April 2024

A fairly quiet week again, I’d send out the Flying Monkeys, but I’ve misplaced the cage key. 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

  • Terry Carter, 95, American actor (Foxy Brown, McCloud, Battlestar Galactica). 
  • Mike Pinder, 82, English Hall of Fame musician (The Moody Blues) and songwriter (“The Best Way to Travel”, “A Simple Game”).
  • Frank Field, Baron Field of Birkenhead, 81, British politician, MP and member of the House of Lords, prostate cancer. 
  • Marla Adams, 85, American actress (The Young and the Restless, The Secret Storm, Splendor in the Grass). 
  • Maria Feliciana, 77, Brazilian singer, worlds tallest woman 7ft 3in.

In Other News

The ITV News presenter Rageh Omaar is “receiving medical care” after becoming unwell live on air. Omaar, who is the network’s international affairs editor, was leading Friday evening’s News at Ten programme when he appeared to have difficulty reading the bulletins on the autocue. In a statement released after the programme aired, ITV News acknowledged viewers’ worries and provided an update on the situation. “We are aware that viewers are concerned about Rageh Omaar’s wellbeing,” an ITV News spokesperson said. “Rageh became unwell while presenting News at Ten on Friday and is now receiving medical care. He thanks everyone for their well wishes.” The nature of Omaar’s illness during the broadcast is currently unknown. Across social media, the hashtag #itvnews began to trend in the UK, as viewers shared messages of support and worry for the newsreader. ITV pulled the show from its scheduled re-runs on ITV+1, with a message instead telling viewers that ITV was “temporarily unable to bring you our +1 service. We will resume shortly.” it read. Many on Twitter have admonished others for sharing the footage or Omaar’s broadcast, during which he stumbled over reading some words. Omaar has worked on ITV News since 2013, beginning his tenure as a special correspondent and presenter. Update: Following medical treatment at hospital, he is now recovering at home with his family. The nature of Omaar’s illness during the broadcast still remains unknown.

Harvey Weinstein, the former movie mogul and convicted sex offender, has been hospitalised in New York City, his lawyer said on Saturday. Arthur Aidala, a lawyer for Weinstein, told The Flying Monkeys that Weinstein was moved to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan after he arrived to the city jails from a prison in upstate New York. “They examined him and sent him to Bellevue. It seems like he needs a lot of help, physically. He’s got a lot of problems. He’s getting all kinds of tests. He’s somewhat of a train wreck health wise,” Mr Aidala said. The news comes just days after a New York appeals court vacated his rape conviction after finding the trial judge made “egregious errors” by allowing prosecutors to call witnesses whose allegations were not related to the charges at hand. Weinstein was moved from Mohawk Correction Facility in Syracuse to Rikers on Friday after his 23-year prison sentencing was vacated. The 72-year-old remained in custody due to his 2022 rape conviction in Los Angeles.   

Norway’s king plans to scale back his participation in official duties “out of consideration for his age”, the country’s royal household has said. Officials said the move would see King Harald, 88, make a “permanent reduction” to his public engagements. Harald is one of Europe’s longest reigning monarchs, serving since 1991. But he has battled illness in recent years and was admitted to hospital in Malaysia in February after falling sick while on holiday. He was treated for an infection he contracted while staying on the resort island of Langkawi. He was later fitted with a pacemaker to compensate for a low heart rate. Harald has not been seen in public since his hospitalisation. His son, Crown Prince Haakon, has carried out the king’s duties in his absence. In a statement on Monday, the royal household said “practical arrangements will also be made in the conduct of his official activity”, but offered no further details on what the arrangements would be. Monday’s announcement comes just days after Harald formally resumed his constitutional duties, having taken two months of sick leave after being released from hospital. His official diary listed three separate meetings, including a summit with the head of the country’s armed forces. Last year, the king carried out 431 public engagements. They included chairing cabinet 35 times and holding 110 audiences with leaders such as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Despite his advancing age and ill-health, King Harald has openly ruled out abdicating. In January, he told reporters that he had taken an oath that “lasts for life”. “It’s that simple for me,” he added. “We’re at it until the bitter end.” Despite his health issues, polling suggests that the king remains extremely popular with Norwegians. A survey earlier this year showed that 64% of the population did not want him to abdicate in favour of his son, while some 72% of Norwegians remained supportive of the monarchy. Harald has been known to hold progressive views throughout his time on the throne. In 2016, he made an impassioned speech in support of LGBT equality and refugees, paying tribute to his fellow citizens from “Afghanistan, Pakistan and Poland, from Sweden, Somalia, and Syria,” and saying that Norwegians “are girls who love girls, boys who love boys, and girls and boys who love each other”. 

On This Day

  • 1869 – Chinese and Irish labourers working on the First transcontinental railroad lay ten miles of track in one day, a feat which has never been matched.
  • 1881 – Billy the Kid escapes from the Lincoln County jail in Mesilla, New Mexico.
  • 1923 – Wembley Stadium is opened, named initially as the Empire Stadium.
  • 1945 – Benito Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci are shot dead by Walter Audisio, a member of the Italian resistance movement.
  • 1973 – The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, recorded in Abbey Road Studios goes to number one on the US Billboard chart, beginning a record-breaking 741-week chart run.
  • 1986 – High levels of radiation resulting from the Chernobyl disaster are detected at a nuclear power plant in Sweden, leading Soviet authorities to publicly announce the accident.

Deaths

Gods of Death

Hades, Pluto, and Hel are some of the most well-known gods of death and the underworld from ancient mythology, but nearly all ancient cultures have one. Each death god from around the world represents the unique views different cultures have of death. Let’s have a  look at a few. 

Hades – Greek God of Death: In Ancient Greek mythology, the Greeks believed many gods ruled over the various elements of life and death. They would often perform ceremonies and sacrifices to earn favour, be it a good harvest, wealth and prosperity, or entrance to the afterlife. Among these gods, Hades, the Greek god of the underworld, ruled over the dead. Often depicted with a somber expression and a beard, Hades was known for his helmet, the Helm of Darkness or the Cap of Invisibility, and his companion, Cerberus, the three-headed dog that guards the entrance to the Underworld. His name means Unseen One, but he is also known as the Giver of Wealth, or Pluton. He is most known for his roles in the mythological stories about his parents, the Titans, and his niece, Persephone. As the god of the underworld, Hades typically remained in his realm and does not appear in as many myths as other gods.

Pluto – Roman God of Death: The foremost of the Roman chthonic (“subterranean”) deities, Pluto was god of the dead and lord of the underworld. A figure of enormous dread and terrible might, Pluto dispensed luck and controlled the fates of all mortals. As commander of the subterranean realms, he was the master of ores, metals, and the precious stones found within them. For this reason, he was celebrated by many as the bringer of wealth. Pluto was the Roman counterpart to Hades, who ruled the underworld of the same name. Pluto lived underground in a gloomy palace, and seemed to have little interest in the world of men. Likewise, Pluto seldom involved himself in godly affairs. He rode a chariot, carried a staff, and was often depicted wearing a warrior’s helm. Pluto was often accompanied by Cerberus, a three-headed hound that served both as his pet and guardian of the underworld.

Hel – Norse God of Death: Hel is a giantess/goddess who rules over the identically-named Hel, the underworld where many of the dead dwell. Her name’s meaning of “Hidden” has to do with the underworld and the dead being “hidden” or buried beneath the ground. Hel is the daughter of Loki and the giantess Angrboda, and therefore the sister of the wolf Fenrir and the world serpent, Jormungand. This makes her part of a highly dangerous and disreputable family. Hel is generally presented as being rather greedy, harsh, and cruel, or at least indifferent to the concerns of both the living and the dead. However, her personality is little-developed in what survives of Old Norse literature. Her appearance is described as being half-black, half-white, and with a perpetually grim and fierce  expression on her face.

Kali – Hindu God of Death: Kali is the Hindu goddess of death, time, and doomsday. She is often associated with sexuality and violence but is also considered a strong mother figure and symbol of motherly love. Kali is most often represented in art as a fearful fighting figure with a necklace of heads, skirt of arms, lolling tongue, and brandishing a knife dripping with blood. Kali’s name derives from the Sanskrit meaning ‘she who is black’ or ‘she who is death’. As an embodiment of time Kali devours all things, she is irresistibly attractive to mortals and gods. 

Anubis – Egyptian God of the Underworld: Anubis was a jackal-headed deity that guided souls and dead kings to the afterlife. There they were judged by Osiris through the weighing of the heart. Anubis would also embalm the dead and protect them. Anubis was one of the most important gods in Ancient Egyptian history. People viewed him with respect as a god of the underworld. He was depicted as a jackal-headed god because jackals were frequently seen roaming around tombs in Ancient Egypt. Anubis was said to have invented the mummification process. In world mythology, gods of death are often associated with evil. However, this wasn’t the case for Anubis. The Egyptian people viewed him as a good, protective deity. 

Ah Puch – Mayan God of Death: Ah Puch is an extremely fearsome deity usually depicted as a skeleton, often with rotting flesh. Ah Puch is the god of death, darkness, and disaster and yet also apparently represents regeneration, child birth, and beginnings. Ah Puch likes to surface at night and skulk around, there is only one way to escape his attentions. Howl! 

Mictlantecuhtli – Aztec God of Death: Mictlantecuhtli was the Aztec god of death who ruled over Mictlan, the land of the dead. Mictlan was where most people would spend their afterlife, regardless of moral standing. His name comes from his status as the ruler of Mictlan, and simply means “Lord of the Land of the Dead.” Mictlantecuhtli was most commonly depicted as a skeletal figure, though reliefs have also been found depicting him as a skull with eyes. He was sometimes shown with his mouth open, ready to receive the setting stars that disappeared during the day. As the Aztec lord of the underworld, Mictlantecuhtli didn’t act as the judge of the dead, Mictlantecuhtli simply tried to maintain order in his domain.

The Shinigami – Japanese Death Gods: In Japanese folklore, the Shinigami are death gods who play an essential role in the afterlife. People believed them to be spirits who guided the dead to the next world. In most cases, they are considered benevolent beings who guide the dead to the afterlife. Though many assume they are look similar to the Grim Reaper, most literature portrays them as something less frightening. They are said to wear black kimonos and have long white hair and can hide in plain sight or be invisible until you are  close to death.

Maman Brigette – Haitian and Voodoo Death God: Maman Brigitte is a lwa, or intermediary between the human and divine, of both life and death in Haitian Voodoo. She is always seen drinking rum infused with hot peppers, or sometimes she simply seen eating the peppers. She’s also said to swear frequently, and is associated with black roosters. She’s the partner of Baron Samedi, the male lwa of life and death. She protects the dead, gravestones, tombs and cemeteries. Maman Brigitte use of obscenity is a reminder not to be afraid to tell the truth and speak from the heart. She likes to have fun and is not afraid to say what is on her mind. Maman Brigitte is tough, serious, fun loving, the life of the party, caring, protective, religious, respectful, loud, rowdy and wild. Despite the fact of her rude and foul mouth she is also well spoken and behaves in a regal manner. Even though she has the power over the dead Maman Brigitte is priestess and teacher in healing.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Jessica Alba (43), Penélope Cruz (50), Mary McDonnell (72), Ann-Margret (83), Jay Leno (74), Jenna Coleman (38), Russell T. Davies (61), Giancarlo Esposito (66), Pablo Schreiber (46), Channing Tatum (44), Tom Welling 47), Kevin James (59), Jet Li (61), Joan Chen (63), Melania Trump (54), Renée Zellweger (55), Al Pacino (84), Gina Torres (55), Hank Azaria (60), Talia Shire (78), Djimon Hounsou (60), Jack Quaid (32), Joe Keery (32), Shirley MacLaine (90), Barbra Streisand (82), Rory McCann (55), Dev Patel (34), John Cena (47), Lee Majors (85), John Hannah (62), Gemma Whelan (43), Blair Brown (78), John Oliver (47), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (58), Amber Heard (38), Jack Nicholson (87), and Sheryl Lee (57).

Dead Pool 21st April 2024

Sadly no points to award this week, In fact a quiet week all round! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

  • Pooch Tavares, 81, American singer (Tavares). 
  • Vincent Friell, 64, Scottish actor (Trainspotting, Restless Natives, The Angels’ Share).
  • Derek Underwood, 78, English cricketer (Kent, national team), complications from dementia.  
  • Michael Donovan, 54, English convicted kidnapper (Kidnapping of Shannon Matthews), cancer. 
  • Willie Limond, 45, Scottish boxer and footballer (Albion Rovers), complications from a seizure.
  • Dickey Betts, 80, American musician (The Allman Brothers Band) and songwriter (“Jessica”, “Ramblin’ Man”), cancer and COPD. 
  • Leighton James, 71, Welsh footballer (Burnley, Swansea City, national team). 

In Other News

Shocking footage captured the moment a shameless woman dragged her dead uncle into a bank in a bid to take out a loan in his name. The dead man’s head could be seen swaying back and forth as her niece tried to get hold of his neck at a bank counter in Rio de Janeiro. The Brazilian woman, identified as Erika de Souza Vieira Nunes, can also be seen using her hand to keep her dead uncle’s neck upright as she asked him to sign off a four-figure loan. Pretending to have a conversation with him, she said: “Uncle, are you listening? You have to sign it. I can’t sign for you. “Sign here and stop giving me a headache,” she added as she asked the deceased old age pensioner to hold the pen between his fingers. But her shameless drama was met by a silent response from the dead man. One of the bank workers present at the scene said: “I don’t think this is legal. He doesn’t look well. He’s very pale.” To which Erika quipped: “He’s like that,” before asking her uncle if he is unwell and wants to go to the hospital again. Seeing the ordeal, the bank staff grew suspicious and started filming the pair before calling an ambulance. And her shocking con rumbled soon after the paramedics confirmed Paulo Roberto Braga, 68, had passed away before she shamelessly hauled his body into the bank in a wheelchair. Cops soon arrested Erika for the scam and revealed she tried to take out a loan for 7,000 Brazilian Reais (£2,500), local media reports. Police chief Fabio Luiz confirmed after the arrest Mr Braga was already dead when he was wheeled into the bank. He added: “The investigation is continuing to identify other family members and to find out if he was alive when the loan was arranged and when it dates from.” 

Warwick Davis has announced that his wife of over 30 years, Samantha Davis, died on March 24. “My wife and soul-mate, best friend. Devoted mother. My favourite human. My most trusted confidant and an ardent supporter of everything I did in my career, has passed,” the 54-year-old said in a statement. “Her passing has left a huge hole in our lives as a family. I miss her hugs.” While Samantha’s cause of death has not been shared, Warwick explained that her mobility had become impaired in recent years. He said she was “determined that it would not impact her quality of life and limit what she did and was able to achieve.” Samantha’s death follows her 2019 battle with sepsis. Her health dramatically declined ahead of a family caravan holiday. Warwick previously said: “The next few hours were the longest of my life as I waited on the ward with our children in the empty space left by Sam’s hospital bed. I hoped it would not symbolise a future for us without her.” It’s believed she contracted the deadly bacterial infection, sepsis, after undergoing decompression surgery on her spine. Samantha said: “We went home a week later and suddenly I couldn’t feel my legs. I thought I was still recovering from the surgery so I went to bed, but the next day I felt awful, as though I had been hit by a truck. I stayed in bed all day while Warwick and Harrison went to a family party and the next morning I woke at 4am feeling even worse.” She recalled her deteriorating condition, “As the day went on I couldn’t concentrate, I lay on the sofa and when I tried to get up I collapsed on the floor.” Warwick hopes that following her death, Samantha “continues to inspire through the things she did and that her love, warmth and generosity will be her legacy. She always lived her best life. Although the pain of losing Sammy and being without her is unbearable, I feel so fortunate I was able to be close to her and experience her magic for 35 years.” 

On This Day

  • 1509 – Henry VIII ascends the throne of England on the death of his father, Henry VII. 
  • 1918 – World War I: German fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, better known as “The Red Baron”, is shot down and killed over Vaux-sur-Somme in France. 
  • 1934 – The Surgeon’s Photograph, the most famous photo allegedly showing the Loch Ness Monster, is published in the Daily Mail. 

Deaths

  • 1509 – Henry VII of England (b. 1457). 
  • 1910 – Mark Twain, American novelist, humorist, and critic (b. 1835). 
  • 2003 – Nina Simone, American singer-songwriter, pianist, and activist (b. 1933). 
  • 2016 – Prince, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer, and actor (b. 1958). 

Last Meals

After spending countless years incarcerated and having only prison chow to tide you over, you’d think the majority of death row inmates would have their final meal order all sorted out in advance.

It’s arguably the only thing that people facing capital punishment have to look forward to, as being put to death isn’t the most exciting prospect.

But this bloke’s dietary request should serve as a cautionary tale to any other death row prisoners, as what he asked for was so ridiculous that prison officials refused – and saddled him with a pot of plain yoghurt instead. 

Let’s have it right – who would want to leave this world with just a dairy product on their stomach? I for one, do not.

James Edward Smith, on the other hand, had no choice.

The convicted killer, 37, was slapped with a death sentence after he was found guilty of fatally shooting Larry Don Rohus, while he was robbing an office building in Houston, Texas.

On March 7, 1983, Smith strolled up to a Union National Life Insurance Company branch brandishing a gun and wearing a stocking mask, before he started to demand money.

The employee who he first encountered refused and hid behind a filing cabinet, leaving the district manager, Rohus, to deal with the situation.

Rohus complied with all the demands and began to retrieve money from the cash drawer before putting it in a plastic bag.

He gave the money to Smith and then began walking away – only for the gunman to open fire. 

The 44-year-old was shot twice – once through the heart – and was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

Smith fled the building on foot and was chased down by one of Rohus’ co-workers as well as other Good Samaritans.

Ultimately, the Kentucky-born killer was convicted of capital murder and was sentenced to death by lethal injection.

The former tarot-card dealer – who also confessed to six ‘ritualistic’ deaths at trial which were never proven – even waived his final appeals which could have potentially stalled the process in the hopes of speeding up his execution.

Prior to his first scheduled execution on 11 May, 1988, Smith was quoted as saying: “Life is a temporary situation. The spirit moves on. Death is like eating a prune in the morning. It’s a  natural function.”

He really ran with this take on life and then requested a last meal of rhaeakunda dirt – which is exactly what it sounds like. 

Smith intended to eat the soil as part of a voodoo ritual, which he both practiced and believed in, as he reckoned that it would assist his journey into reincarnation.

Sadly for him, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice turned down the bizarre request because, as you would expect, dirt was not included on the list of approved foods.

After all that rigmarole, Smith ended up getting a last-minute stay of execution – although his death sentence was then rescheduled for two years later.

He again refused his appeals, expressed his wishes to die and his hunger for dirt to be his last meal.

Again, Smith’s strange snack was denied and the last ever item of food he ate on this earth was a plain yoghurt.

Not even flavoured.

Last Week’s Birthdays

James McAvoy (45), Toby Stephens (55), Andie MacDowell (66), Tony Danza (73), Rob Riggle (54), Iggy Pop (77), Jessica Lange (75), Andy Serkis (60), Clint Howard (65), Carmen Electra (52), Veronica Cartwright (75), George Takei (87), Ruth Connell (44), Michael Brandon (79), Nicholas Lyndhurst (63), James Franco (46), Tim Curry (78), Ashley Judd (56), Hayden Christensen (43), Kate Hudson (45), Simu Liu (35), David Tennant (53), Rick Moranis (71), Hayley Mills (78), Conan O’Brien (61), James Woods (77), Jennifer Garner (52), Rooney Mara (39), David Bradley (82), Victoria Beckham (50), Sean Bean (65), Anya Taylor-Joy (28), Gina Carano (42), Claire Foy (40), Ellen Barkin (70), Sadie Sink (22), Emma Watson (34), Seth Rogen (42), Emma Thompson (65), Luke Evans (45), and Maisie Williams (27).