Good afternoon everyone! A rather benign week for the listed, however plenty of news and potential for 2021, with four months to go, some of the newsworthy celebrities might hold on ’til January for us to list them.
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Ben Cross, 72, English actor (Chariots of Fire, Star Trek, First Knight), cancer.
- Chi Chi DeVayne, 34, American drag queen (RuPaul’s Drag Race), pneumonia.
- Frankie Banali, 68, American drummer (Quiet Riot, W.A.S.P., Heavy Bones), pancreatic cancer.
- Fredie Blom, 116 (claimed), South African longevity claimant
- Jack Sherman, 64, American guitarist (Red Hot Chili Peppers).
In Other News
Veteran radio DJ James Whale has revealed he has cancer in his kidney, spine, brain and lungs. The 69-year-old us that he received the diagnosis two weeks ago. It comes 20 years after he had one kidney removed because of a tumour. “It’s in my remaining kidney,” he said. “I’ve got a couple of small lesions in my lungs. I’ve got it in my spine. I’ve got it in my brain.” Whale has hosted a nightly evening phone-in show on TalkRadio since 2016. But the often controversial and confrontational host has been absent for the past month. He told us that he went to the doctor when he started forgetting names on air. “The woman looked worried and she said, ‘I’m so sorry. I’ve got really, really bad news for you. I’m afraid 20 years ago you had kidney cancer. Well, it looks like it’s probably come back. You’ve got a tumour on your kidney.’ “And I thought, ‘OK, well, 20 years later I’ll have to do all over again.’ And then she said, ‘I’m sorry. Sadly its spread. You’ve got small lesions in your brain and your lung, in your spine, in your pituitary gland.’” He said he already had the tumour in his pituitary gland. He has been on immunotherapy and hormone replacement treatment, and is already feeling the benefits. “I haven’t got a proper prognosis yet because it’s very early days, but this immunotherapy is a very new way of treating cancer – it gets the immune system to attack the tumours,” he said. “I’m probably going to be on tablets for the rest of my life but I’ve gone from being like a little shrunken, old man in the chair who’s not eating and could hardly walk up the stairs, to where I can run upstairs.” A drove of hateful fascists, including TV hosts Piers Morgan and Charlotte Hawkins, fellow TalkRadio presenters Julia Hartley-Brewer and Ian Collins, and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage were among those sending well wishes. After his initial experience of cancer, Whale set up the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer in 2006, which merged with Kidney Cancer UK in 2015. Whale’s wife Melinda died of lung cancer two years ago.
A singer recorded his final moments alive before his car was hit by a train in a live stream. Tavy Pustiu, 29, was regarded as one of Romania’s rising music stars before his life was tragically cut short. In the live-stream of the horrific accident, Tavy films himself listening to music in a car which his wife is driving. He jigs along to the beat and looks at the camera as the vehicle approaches a level crossing in the city of Ploiesti, in Romania’s Prahova County. The musician looks jovial and smiles at his wife, who is seen scanning the crossing for any oncoming trains. But she fails to spot one speeding right towards them. The final moments of the video capture the singer screaming in terror when he realises the danger he is in. Tavy died on the scene and his wife – who has not been named – remains in a critical condition and is on life support at the Prahova County Hospital. A local police spokesman in Prahova over said: “As a result of a collision between a train and a car on the level crossing a 29-year-old man who was the passenger in the front of the car was declared dead and a 24-year-old woman who was the driver was injured. “The accident happened because of non-compliance with the rules at the level crossing.” The train had been travelling between Maneciu and Ploiesti Sud and police said that it had been complicated for firemen to remove the pair from the wreckage. Pictures from the scene of the crash show the pair’s white car stuck underneath the front of the train. Just one month before his death, Tavy had posted on Facebook saying: “One day, the wrong train will take you to the right destination.”
A South African who was thought to be the oldest man in the world has died at the age of 116. Fredie Blom’s identity documents showed he was born in Eastern Cape province in May 1904, although that was never verified by Guinness World Records. When he was teenager, his entire family was wiped out by the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. He went on to survive two world wars and apartheid. Mr Blom told the BBC in 2018 that there was no special secret to his longevity. “There’s only one thing – it’s the man above. He’s got all the power. I have nothing. I can drop over any time but He holds me,” he said. Mr Blom spent most of his life as a labourer – first on a farm and then in the construction industry – and only retired when he was in his 80s. Although he gave up drinking many years ago, he was a regular smoker. However, a coronavirus-related lockdown imposed by the South African government reportedly meant he was unable to buy tobacco to roll his own cigarettes on his 116th birthday. Mr Blom’s family said he died of natural causes in Cape Town on Saturday. “Two weeks ago oupa [grandfather] was still chopping wood,” family spokesman Andre Naidoo told us. “He was a strong man, full of pride.” But within days Mr Blom shrank “from a big man to a small person”, he added.
Microsoft has finally killed Internet Explorer! The browser will be finished on 17th August, 2021, the company said. In a blog post, Microsoft explained that the Microsoft Teams web app will no longer support Internet Explorer 11 – the most recent and final iteration of the browser – from November 30th, 2020. The remaining Microsoft 365 apps and services will end support for the browser next year. Replacing the browser is the equally shit Microsoft Edge, the computer giant’s new browser which relies on Chromium open-source software, developed by Google for Google Chrome. That gives Edge more features than Internet Explorer, or you could just use Chrome. The move towards Chromium for Microsoft’s browser, compared to its previous proprietary browser, has larger ramifications for the future of the open internet. Chromium is now the basis of Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Brave, Vivaldi, Avast Secure Browser, and Opera. This means that Google has greater influence when it comes to what features are developed, practices accepted, and which usability concerns are deemed vital.
On This Day
- AD 79 – Mount Vesuvius begins stirring, on the feast day of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.
- 1305 – Sir William Wallace is executed for high treason at Smithfield, London.
- 1966 – Lunar Orbiter 1 takes the first photograph of Earth from orbit around the Moon.
- 1973 – A bank robbery gone wrong in Stockholm, Sweden, turns into a hostage crisis; over the next five days the hostages begin to sympathise with their captors, leading to the term “Stockholm syndrome”.
- 1991 – The World Wide Web is opened to the public.
- 1305 – William Wallace, Scottish rebel commander (b. 1272)
- 1926 – Rudolph Valentino, Italian actor (b. 1895)
- 2005 – Brock Peters, American actor (b. 1927)
William Wallace’s Final Days
The movie ‘Braveheart’ was a blockbuster hit and is based on the life and death of legendary Scottish hero William Wallace as he fought for independence. You already know that the Hollywood version of events was quite different to the reality; even Mel Gibson referred to it as ‘historical fantasy.’ What you may not be aware of is the genuinely grisly nature of Wallace’s death which was far more graphic and horrifying than depicted on screen. He may have lived by the sword, but he died by a variety of other means.
Wallace was captured at Robroyston near Glasgow on August 3, 1305. He was handed over to Sir Robert de Clifford and Sir Aymer de Valence and taken to Carlisle Castle. Rather than executing him immediately, Edward wanted to transport the prisoner to London to show other would-be rebels what happened to those who defied the crown. He was forced to travel another 300 miles to London where a terrible fate awaited him.
There was a show trial in London, but in reality, there was zero chance that Wallace would escape with his life. While his death scene in Braveheart is excruciatingly painful, it was a mild demise compared to what really happened. After the inevitable guilty verdict on August 23, 1305, he was sentenced to die in one of the worst ways imaginable. Wallace was about to be hung, drawn, and quartered.
The English apparently took him from Westminster Hall and stripped him naked. Then they tied him to a hurdle and horses dragged him around six miles to Smoothfield where the pain began. During the journey, bystanders threw excrement and other assorted pieces of garbage at the unfortunate Scot, and he was also beaten with sticks and whipped by the angry mob. In Braveheart, Wallace endures the painful trip to the gallows but he is clothed, and while the crowd throws items at him, he is not struck by excrement. He received the ‘drawn’ punishment for committing treason, but there was much worse to come. Wallace had also been found guilty of robbery and murder, and the sentence for these crimes was hanging. Alas, the rebel didn’t get off so easily so while he was half-strangled by the rope, he wasn’t allowed to die. In Braveheart, we see knives on the table, but we don’t see what happened below Wallace’s waist. In reality, his executioner ‘emasculated’ him; this means Wallace’s testicles and penis were cut off. Next, the prisoner’s intestines were removed and burned in front of him. If Wallace weren’t already dead at this point, the next step would have finished him off. The executioner ripped the Scot’s heart out of his chest; there were instances when a criminal’s heart was still beating when the executioner displayed it to the crowd and declared it to be the heart of a traitor. We don’t know if Wallace’s heart was still beating when it was taken out of his body. The final brutal step involved chopping Wallace’s head off with an axe. After the execution, his body was divided into four pieces and displayed in areas around the country as a showcase of Edward’s power. For example, Wallace’s head was stuck on a pike on London Bridge. The heads of John and Simon Fraser joined that of Wallace on the Bridge later on. Wallace’s limbs were sent separately to Berwick, Stirling, Perth, and Newcastle.
It is often assumed that William Wallace died such a cruel death because of his continued resistance to King Edward I. However, new research suggests that he was targeted because Edward believed Wallace wanted the Scottish Crown. In 2011, historians from Glasgow University found evidence which suggests the English thought Wallace was trying to become the King of Scotland.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Ray Park (46), Charley Boorman (54), Richard Armitage (49), Kristen Wiig (47), Ty Burrell (53), James Corden (41), Dua Lipa (24), Mark Williams (61), Laura Haddock (35), Carrie-Anne Moss (53), Hayden Panettiere (31), Kim Cattrall (64), Amy Adams (46), Ben Barnes (39), James Marsters (58), Andrew Garfield (37), Demi Lovato (28), Misha Collins (46), Ray Wise (73), John Noble (72), Sylvester McCoy (77), David Walliams (49), Melissa Fumero (38), Matthew Perry (51), Jill St. John (80), Jonathan Frakes (68), Diana Muldaur (82), Ian McElhinney (72), Jim Carter (72), Simon Bird (36), Edward Norton (51), Andy Samberg (42), Christian Slater (51), Robert Redford (84), Madeleine Stowe (62), Roman Polanski (87), Denis Leary (63), Robert De Niro (77), Sean Penn (60), Rachel Hurd-Wood (30), and Belinda Carlisle (62).