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Dead Pool 25th October 2020

Sad times when a Disney character dies… But what else would 2020 be if not totally crap? At least The Amazing Randi will now be able to annoy proper psychics by haunting their crystal balls from now on, he’d had a long life considering most of his career was based on spoiling magicians secrets and debunking faith healers.  

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Hollywood star Robert Redford, 84, is “in mourning” following the death of his son James at the age of 58. Activist and filmmaker James Redford died on Friday after being diagnosed with liver cancer, his wife Kyle confirmed via Twitter. His famous father’s publicist, Cindi Berger, said: “The grief is immeasurable with the loss of a child.” “Jamie [James] was a loving son, husband and father,” added Berger, who asked for privacy for the Redford family “during this difficult time”. “His legacy lives on through his children, art, filmmaking and devoted passion to conservation and the environment.” Redford’s son James made documentary films, including The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia. His latest film Playing Keeps, which explored the importance of play and downtime in our lives, was given a virtual premiere online at this month’s Mill Valley Film Festival in California. His wife of 32 years, Kyle, shared the news of his death online, alongside pictures of the couple and their two children. She told the Salt Lake Tribune that James had discovered the cancer diagnosis late last year while awaiting a liver transplant. His liver disease had returned two years ago, she added.  

Arnold Schwarzenegger is recovering after undergoing heart surgery. The Terminator star told fans he feels “fantastic” after being given a new aortic valve. The 73-year-old was given a new pulmonary valve in 2018 to replace the one he received in 1997, due to a congenital heart defect. He’s now more machine than human! In a post to social media, Schwarzenegger thanked doctors at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, and said he had been enjoying the local sights since his operation. Photos showed him in a hospital bed with his thumbs up, and other pictures of him exploring the area. “Thanks to the team at the Cleveland Clinic, I have a new aortic valve to go along with my new pulmonary valve from my last surgery,” he wrote. “I feel fantastic and have already been walking the streets of Cleveland enjoying your amazing statues. Thank you to every doc and nurse on my team! Schwarzenegger’s son Patrick commented on the Instagram post, joking: “PLEASE DON’T GO WORK OUT TODAY.”  

Thanks to Paul G. for this little beauty of a story from The Yorkshire Herald but to be taken with a pinch of salt I suppose! A furious row has broken out between a local tattoo artist and his client after what started as a typical inking session left both of them requiring emergency hospital treatment. Furious film fan and part-time plus-size XXXL model Tracey Munter, 23, had visited the ‘Ink It Good’ Tattoo Emporium in Wellgate, Yorkshire last week, to have the finishing touches applied to a double buttock representation of the chariot race scene from the iconic 1959 film, Ben Hur. Tattooist Jason Burns takes up the story. “It was a  big job in more ways than one.”   he told us “I’d just lit a roll-up and was finishing off a centurions helmet. It’s delicate, close up work. The next thing is, I  sense a slight ripple in the buttock cleavage area just around Charlton Heston’s whip, and a hissing sound – more of a whoosh than a rasp – and before I know what’s happening, there’s a flame shooting from her arse to my fag and my beards gone up like an Aussie bush fire.” Jason says he rushed to the studio sink to quell the flames, only to turn round and see Tracey frantically fanning her buttock area with a damp towel. The fire had travelled down the gas cloud and set fire to her thong, which was smoking like a cheap firework. “To be honest”, said Jason, “I didn’t even realise she was wearing one. You’d need a sodding mining licence and a torch to find out for sure. She could have had a complete wardrobe in there, and I’d have been none the wiser.” Jason and Tracey were taken to Rotherham District Hospital accident and emergency department where they were treated for minor burns and shock. Both are adamant that the other is to blame. “I’m furious,” said Jason, “I’ve got a face like a mange-ridden dog, and my left eyebrow’s not there anymore. I don’t know about Ben Hur – Gone With The Wind would be more appropriate. You don’t just let rip in someone’s face like that. It’s dangerous.” But Tracey remains both angry and unrepentant; “I’m still in agony,” she said, “and  Charlton Heston looks more like Sidney bloody Poitier now. Jason shouldn’t have had a fag on the go when he’s doing close up work; there’s no way I’d guff on purpose. He’d had me on all fours for nearly an hour. I can only put up with that for so long before nature takes its course. My Kev knows that I give him my five-second warning, and I’d have done the same for Jason, but I didn’t get chance – it just quietly crept out.” Ted Walters from the South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue service wasn’t surprised when we asked him to comment on what had happened “People don’t appreciate the dangers.“  he told us, “We get more call-outs to flatulence ignition incidents than kitchen fires these days now that people have moved over to oven chips. We have a slogan ‘Flame ‘n fart – keep ’em apart’. Anyone engaging in an arse-inking scenario would do well to bear that in mind in future.” On behalf of the entire Fire and Rescue service, we wish them both a swift recovery.

On This Day

  • 1415 – Hundred Years’ War: Henry V of England, with his lightly armoured infantry and archers, defeats the heavily armoured French cavalry in the Battle of Agincourt.
  • 1854 – The Battle of Balaclava takes place during the Crimean War. It is soon memorialised in verse as The Charge of the Light Brigade.  

Deaths

Last Meals

Edmund Zagorski was an American convicted murderer from Michigan who was executed by the state of Tennessee for the 1983 murders of John Dotson and Jimmy Porter in Robertson County. Zagorski lured the two men into a wooded hunting ground under the pretence of selling them 100lb (45 kg) of marijuana – before shooting them and slitting their throats. 

Zagorski first met John Dale Dotson on April 5th 1983 at a trout farm. Zagorski introduced himself to Dotson and his wife Marsha under the guise of being a mercenary based in Central America named Jesse Lee Hardin. Zagorski convinced Dotson that he would be able to sell as much as 100 pounds of marijuana for around $25,000 as early as April 21st. Following this, the two scheduled a meeting in a wooded hunting ground in Robertson County for 6:00 pm on Saturday, April 23rd 1983. Before he left to meet Zagorski on April 23rd, Dotson was described by his wife Marsha as “somewhat hesitant” and allegedly asked her to call a friend if he failed to return that night. After leaving, he met his friend James “Jimmy” Porter at Porter’s tavern, near the arranged meeting location. Dotson had a change of clothes, a backpack and a revolver. The two men promptly left in Porter’s truck to meet Zagorski. At around 5:30 pm, the owner of the trout farm where Zagorski and Dotson first met heard gunshots coming from the area where he knew the three men had arranged to meet. However, little action was taken as gunshots were common in the area due to deer hunting. Almost two weeks later, on May 6, the bodies of Dotson and Porter were found in that same wooded area. The bodies had decomposed quickly, in part due to a burgeoning heat wave; however it was concluded that both men had been shot and their throats had been slit. Ballistics tests matched a bullet casing found at the scene to a gun owned by Zagorski.  

In late April, days after the murders, Zagorski arrived at a friend’s house in Ohio. The friend in question observed that Zagorski was in possession of numerous items belonging to Dotson and Porter, including Porter’s red Datsun truck, as well as a large amount of money. Zagorski was ultimately arrested on May 26th 1983 following a shootout with Ohio police, during which he shot a number of officers, before he himself was shot, subdued, and arrested. Zagorski was convicted of murdering Dotson and Porter and was sentenced to death by electrocution.  

At around 4pm on November 1st 2018, Zagorski ate a final meal of pickled ham hock and pig tails: he had previously rejected a special last meal. Zagorski was executed by electrocution on Thursday, November 1st 2018, at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, being pronounced dead at 7:26 pm. His last words were reportedly, “Let’s rock”.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Craig Robinson (49), Nancy Cartwright (63), Katy Perry (36), Glynis Barber (65), Kevin Kline (73), F. Murray Abraham (81), Ryan Reynolds (44), Emilia Clarke (34), Sam Raimi (61), ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic (61), Christopher Lloyd (82), Jeff Goldblum (68), Saffron Burrows (48), Bob Odenkirk (58), Derek Jacobi (82), Catherine Deneuve (77), Jesse Tyler Ferguson (45), Andrew Scott (44), Ken Watanabe (61), Everett McGill (75), Kim Kardashian West (40), Viggo Mortensen (62), Danny Boyle (64), Snoop Dogg (49), Sandra Dickinson (72), Rebecca Ferguson (37), Michael Gambon (80), and John Lithgow (75).

Dead Pool 18th October 2020

A distinct lack  of deathly news this week, maybe we’re experiencing a calm before a storm… As we are slowly nearing the end of the year, maybe this is the time to think about next years list. Personally, I keep a notebook of potentials I stumble upon throughout the year, but I usually pick a theme, this year was Star Trek actors, maybe next year will be Sitcom stars from the 80’s or Tory politicians of 2020…. Anyhow, start thinking! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

The Wanted singer Tom Parker has been diagnosed with an inoperable and terminal brain tumour – just weeks before he is due to become a father for the second time. The 32-year-old boy band member announced the news to fans on Monday morning. In a shared message posted on Instagram, Parker and wife actor Kelsey Hardwick wrote: “Hey guys, you know that we’ve both been quiet on social media for a few weeks and it’s time to tell you why. “There’s no easy way to say this but I’ve sadly been diagnosed with a brain tumour and I’m already undergoing treatment.” They continued: “We decided, after a lot of thought, that rather than hiding away and trying to keep it a secret, we would do one interview where we could lay out all the details and let everyone know the facts in our own way. “We are all absolutely devastated but we are gonna fight this all the way. “We don’t want your sadness, we just want love and positivity and together we will raise awareness of this terrible disease and look for all available treatment options. “It’s gonna be a tough battle but with everyone’s love and support we are going to beat this. Tom and Kelsey” Parker said that the diagnosis came after he suffered a series of unexplained seizures. Following a number of tests, doctors broke the news he had a tumour known as a grade four glioblastoma, adding that it was “the worst case scenario”. The singer added that he has already begun radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatment in an effort to prolong his life. I’m still in complete shock, it’s so much to take in,” he said. “I knew something wasn’t right, but I never expected it to be this. You never think this will happen to you.”     

On This Day

  • 1851 – Herman Melville‘s Moby-Dick is first published as The Whale.
  • 1867 – United States takes possession of Alaska after purchasing it from Russia for $7.2 million.  
  • 1922 – The British Broadcasting Company (later Corporation) is founded by a consortium, to establish a nationwide network of radio transmitters to provide a national broadcasting service.  
  • 1929 – The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council overrules the Supreme Court of Canada in Edwards v. Canada when it declares that women are considered “Persons” under Canadian law.
  • 1954 – Texas Instruments announces the first transistor radio.  
  • 1963 – Félicette, a black and white female Parisian stray cat becomes the first cat launched into space.  
  • 2019 – NASA Astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch take part in the first all-women spacewalk when they venture out of the International Space Station to replace a power controller.

Deaths

  • 1871 – Charles Babbage, English mathematician and engineer, invented the mechanical computer (b. 1791)  
  • 1931 – Thomas Edison, American engineer and businessman, invented the light bulb and phonograph (b. 1847)  
  • 2007 – Alan Coren, English journalist and author (b. 1938)  
  • 2012 – Sylvia Kristel, Dutch model and actress (b. 1952)

Last of the Space Animals 

As you saw above, today is the anniversary of the first cat launched into space! Félicette was one of 14 female cats trained for spaceflight by the French space program. The cats ‘training’ included having electrodes implanted onto their skulls so their neurological activity could be monitored throughout the flight. Electrical impulses were applied to the brain and a leg during the flight to stimulate responses. Most of the data from the mission was of good quality, and Félicette survived the 14 minute flight, the only cat to have survived spaceflight! A second feline was launched on 24th October, but the mission resulted in a fatality. The boffins don’t like to advertise is that most animals blasted off into space don’t survive. 

Sadly, Félicette was euthanised two months after the launch so that scientists could perform a necropsy to examine her brain. Of the remaining 12 cats that were trained, the fate of 11 is known. One cat’s health was deteriorating after the electrode surgery, so the scientists had them removed. The group adopted her as their mascot and gave her the name Scoubidou, as she had a scoubidou braid around her neck, a popular style at the time. The other nine cats were ‘decommissioned’ at the end of the program. France continued its biological payload research, changing to monkeys. A monkey known as Martine was launched on 7th March 1967 and Pierrette six days later. They were both successfully recovered.

France’s feline biological rocket payloads were preceded by rats and followed by monkeys. According to an article in Space.com on 8th November 2017, the participation of Félicette in the space race, “… was certainly not voluntary, but it was a huge milestone for France, which had just established the world’s third civilian space agency (after the Soviet Union and the U.S.). Félicette’s mission helped bring France into the space race.” Although Félicette’s flight was much less popular than other spaceflights at the time, probably due to  photos of her with electrodes implanted on her skull and the new animal rights movement.

While some non-human animals which traveled in space were celebrated as heroes—the chimpanzee Ham was buried at the International Space Hall of Fame in New Mexico, U.S.A., and the Soviet dog Laika has a bronze monument at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre near Star City in Russia; but for more than 50 years after her mission, there was no monument for Félicette. Then, in 2017 a crowdfunding campaign was started by Matthew Serge Guy to erect a bronze statue of Félicette to commemorate her contribution to science. In April 2019, Guy announced that the statue was to be located in Eastern France at the International Space University. It is 5ft tall and depicts Félicette “perched atop Earth, gazing up toward the skies she once traveled”. Guy wrote in a Kickstarter update, “It’s crazy to think a video I put online has resulted in this. The internet’s an alright place sometimes.” Félicette has since been commemorated on postage stamps around the world.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Zac Efron (33), Jean-Claude Van Damme (60), Pam Dawber (69), Felicity Jones (37), Michael McKean (73), Mark Gatiss (54), George Wendt (72), Eminem (48), Angela Lansbury (95), Tim Robbins (62), Suzanne Somers (74), Peter Bowles (84), Gary Kemp (61), Dominic West (51), Steve Coogan (55), Lesley Joseph (75), Cliff Richard (80), Sacha Baron Cohen (49), Himesh Patel (30), Paul Simon (79), Chris Carter (64), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (31), Hugh Jackman (52), Robin Askwith (70), and Les Dennis (66).

Dead Pool 11th October 2020

Afternoon poolers, not many deaths to report this week, but plenty to read and digest on a boring Sunday afternoon. 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

The UK’s oldest person with Down’s Syndrome has died aged 78, despite his family being told when he was born that he was only expected to live for 12 years. Robin Smith, from Kettering in Northamptonshire, set a new record as Britain’s oldest living person with Down’s Syndrome when he turned 78 on October 9th last year. He lived life to the full and was a massive fan of both Cliff Richard and Elvis Presley. But he tragically died on September 27 at Northleigh Residential Home in Kettering, where he had lived since 1986. Tributes have flooded in from his friends and family, who have described him as a ‘beautiful soul’ with an unforgettable laugh. Workers at the care home said that Mr Smith, who loved yoga and aerobics, ‘lit up a room with his twinkly eyes and cheeky smile’. People with Down’s Syndrome are expected to live until their 50s but the life expectancy was much lower in the 1940s. A Down’s Syndrome Association spokesperson said: ‘Thanks to medical advances and the care and love of those around them, the average life expectancy for people with Down’s syndrome is now between 50 and 60 years, with a small number of people living into their seventies and beyond.’ When Mr Smith was a child, very little was known about Down’s Syndrome and wide-spread ignorance often resulted in children with the condition being abandoned or even killed. Many were sent to institutions where medical conditions associated with the syndrome – such as heart problems – were not properly treated. For this reason, countless youngsters died in childhood.  

Lucille Ball’s only granddaughter Desiree S. Anzalone has died at the age of 31 following a battle with breast cancer. Desiree had been first diagnosed at the age of 25 and underwent a double mastectomy and chemotherapy treatment. She was in remission but in 2018 learned the cancer had progressed to Stage four and spread to her liver, lungs and bones. Sharing the news of her tragic death, Desiree’s mother Julie paid tribute to her ‘special little girl’ in an emotional statement. Watching her slip away was just, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. No mother should have to watch that,” she added. Desiree was named after her grandfather Desi Arnaz Sr, who was Lucille’s co-star on I Love Lucy and real life husband. Speaking in 2019, Desiree said she felt her actress grandmother would have been proud of her. She said she believed that ‘Lucy and I share the same gumption in regards to my fight with stage 4 breast cancer.’ Sadly, due to coronavirus social-distancing restrictions, Desiree’s mum Julie wasn’t able to see her poorly daughter as much as she’d like to in her final months this year. “The COVID-19 kept us apart,” explained Julie. “I wasn’t able to see her as much as I usually do because she was compromised and I didn’t want her getting sick in any kind of way. “I mean, I saw her, but not as much; we’d hang out every day practically she was here. Plus, she lived with me for a while.” Lucille Ball died in 1989 at the age of 77 after suffering an abdominal aortic aneurysm.   

The woman who became the world’s oldest female skydiver has died, aged 88. Former teacher Dilys Price, from Cardiff, was scared of heights when she did her first jump in her fifties. But she went on to complete hundreds of parachute jumps all over the world, and set the Guinness World Record for the oldest female solo parachute jump. She also founded the Touch Trust charity championing art and creative movement programmes for disabled people. Learning Disability Wales said she “transformed the lives of thousands of people with profound multiple disabilities and people with autism”. In 2018 Ms Price told BBC Wales: “Skydiving is my passion, there you have the ultimate beauty of the sky… you just feel so free.” After taking up the sport when she was 54, she went on to complete 1,139 solo jumps all over the world. She was no ordinary skydiver – with a background in drama and dance, she specialised in air acrobatics and freestyling. The University of Wales Trinity Saint David, where she was an honorary fellow, said she was a “remarkable, amazing and inspiring” woman. Aged 80, the former Cardiff College of Education lecturer set the Guinness World Record for the oldest solo parachute jump (female). At 86 she sold her parachute, but went on to do a tandem skydive with former Wales rugby star Gareth Thomas. She was awarded an OBE for services to people with special needs in 2003, and was honoured for her work at the Pride of Britain awards in 2017. Back in 2018, Ms Price, who went on to model for Helmut Lang, said she wanted to inspire older people to keep active.  She said: “We only get one shot at life”. 

The Trump is back at the White House after a dramatic nine days in which he tested positive for coronavirus, was flown to hospital, was given experimental drugs and made an impromptu drive-by to meet supporters while still sick. But how ill has Trump been and has he recovered? Mr Trump’s doctors said he had a fever when admitted to hospital on 2nd October but by the time the president left hospital on Monday, they said he hadn’t had a fever for 72 hours. This would mean Mr Trump’s 10-day isolation countdown would have begun on Saturday. But just like Typhoid Mary, he’s been spreading it about like nobody’s business! The second presidential debate, scheduled for 15th October, is well within the infection timeframe and the commission organising the event in Miami has said it would now have to take place remotely. Mr Trump has since pulled out of the event saying he was “not going to waste my time on a virtual debate”, knowing full well that he could kill his opponent by just breathing on him. But while Mr Trump is pushing to get back work and onto the campaign trail, among the wider US population, there is evidence that coronavirus patients – especially those in older age groups – take some time to recover from the disease, so there is a glimmer of hope still! 

On This Day

  • 1910 – Theodore Roosevelt becomes the first U.S. president to fly in an airplane.  
  • 1984 – Aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger, astronaut Kathryn D. Sullivan becomes the first American woman to perform a space walk.  
  • 2001 – Polaroid files for federal bankruptcy protection.

Deaths

  • 1721 – Edward Colston, English merchant and politician (b. 1636)  
  • 1961 – Chico Marx, American comedian (b. 1887)  
  • 1967 – Stanley Morison, typographer, known for Times New Roman font (b. 1889)  
  • 2019 – Alexei Leonov, Soviet/Russian cosmonaut and first human to conduct a spacewalk (b. 1934)

Last Meals

Mathias Kneißl, known as Robber Kneißl  was a German outlaw, poacher and popular social rebel in the Dachau district, in the Kingdom of Bavaria. Kneißl became famous for having caused the largest manhunt in Bavaria of the time. Chased by the police, Kneißl became a legendary hero with the rural people because of his witful and artful fight against the authorities. 

Mathias Kneißl was the eldest of six children of a poor innkeeper. In 1886 his father purchased the mill at Sulzemoos Schacher. At age 16 he was imprisoned for the first time, because members of his family were suspected of stock rustling. His father died in 1892 while in police custody. Kneissl then began accompanying his brothers on robberies. 

In 1893 he was arrested for the second time. His younger brother Alois had been shot by police while resisting arrest and died of tuberculosis after four years in prison. Mathias Kneißl was sentenced to five years and nine months in prison. After serving his sentence, he was released in February 1899 and worked as a carpenter in Nußdorf am Inn. After six months Kneißl was dismissed by his master, because his colleagues refused to work with him any longer. Due to his bad reputation, he was unable to find another job, therefore a life of crime was all he had to fall back upon.      

For two years, Kneißl was pursued by the police. After his accomplices were arrested, he continued committing armed robberies on his own. An attempt to arrest him occurred on 30 November 1900 in Irchenbrunn Altomünster. In a massive gun battle, two policemen were injured so badly that they subsequently died. Three months later, in March 1901, Kneißl was captured at Geisen Egenhofen by sixty policemen. During the preceding gunfight, Kneißl was seriously injured by a bullet in the abdomen.

In November 1901 Kneißl was placed on trial at Augsburg. He was charged with two murders, attempted murder, as well as armed robbery and extortion. At his trial, which was followed by the media with great attention, Kneißl reportedly said: “I can suffer no wrong. I cannot bend, I would rather kill myself.” Kneißl confessed to most of the charges, but denied an intent to kill against the two policemen who were shot by him. However, the court found him guilty of murder, premeditated bodily harm with fatal consequences, extortion and for aggravated robbery. The Court then sentenced him to receive the death penalty for murder and 15 years imprisonment on the other charges. Sentenced on a Monday, Kneißl allegedly sarcastically remarked: “Well, that’s a good start of a week.” 

Kneißl was awakened shortly after seven o’clock on the morning of 21st February 1902. Somehow he managed six glasses of beer for his last meal before he was executed via  guillotine.

Strangely enough, a small and charming beer garden called Räuber-Kneißl-Garten has been name after him, which is located behind the Maisach brewery in the town of Maisach, 25km north west from the centre of Munich. The Räuber Kneißl Dunkel (dark lager) named in memory of the infamous bandit is brewed according to an original and ancient recipe from the Maisach brewery. 

Last Week’s Birthdays

Michelle Trachtenberg (35), Joan Cusack (58), Emily Deschanel (44), Claudia Black (48), Jane Krakowski (52), Stephen Moyer (51), Lennie James (55), John Nettles (77), Dawn French (63), Dan Stevens (38), Rose McIver (32), Charles Dance (74), Manu Bennett (51), Martin Kemp (59), Guillermo del Toro (56), Scott Bakula (66), Tony Shalhoub (67), Brandon Routh (41), Chris O’Dowd (41), Brian Blessed (84), Sharon Osbourne (68), Matt Damon (50), Sigourney Weaver (71), Kristanna Loken (41), Chevy Chase (77), Paul Hogan (81), Ardal O’Hanlon (55), Bruno Mars (35), R.L. Stine (77), Soon-Yi Previn (50), Shawn & Aaron Ashmore (41), Tim Minchin (45), Simon Cowell (61), Thom Yorke (52), Ioan Gruffudd (47), Britt Ekland (78), Kate Winslet (45), Guy Pearce (53), Jesse Eisenberg (37), Karen Allen (69), Glynis Johns (97), Clive Barker (68), Neil deGrasse Tyson (62), and Stephanie Cole (79).

Dead Pool 4th October 2020

Welcome poolers! Another week passes, sadly Trump is still alive as we speak, but who knows what will happen… I thought I’d let you know that if you had the prescience to have listed Archie Lyndhurst as a Maverick you could have scored 231 points. 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Trump entered his third day in the hospital today after contracting the coronavirus and falling ill last week, even as confusing and contradictory accounts about his medical condition added to the general lack of concern for the 74-year-old president’s well-being. Seeking to project an optimistic image to the world, President Trump released a four-minute video on Saturday evening from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., to say that he is “starting to feel good” and would “be back soon.”  Even  though he looked like he’d been bitch slapped by Dolly Parton’s untethered tits. Wearing a blue jacket, cuff links and an American flag pin but no necktie, the president looked much paler than he did during his debate in Cleveland on Tuesday with former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Thanking the staff at Walter Reed, Mr. Trump said that he “wasn’t feeling so well.” But that optimism was not shared by everyone close to the president and just a few hours earlier, Mark Meadows, the president’s chief of staff, had offered a darker picture. “The president’s vitals over the last 24 hours were very concerning,” Mr. Meadows said. “And the next 48 hours will be critical in terms of his care.” Many doctors stressed the critical period of time — about seven to 10 days after infection — when a patient’s condition can take a turn for the worse. Some people respond to an infection with an overly exuberant immune response that can worsen their illness and in this case hopefully prove fatal.  

The first person cured of HIV – Timothy Ray Brown – has died from cancer. Mr Brown, who was also known as “the Berlin patient”, was given a bone marrow transplant from a donor who was naturally resistant to HIV. It meant he no longer needed anti-viral drugs and he remained free of the virus, which can lead to Aids, for the rest of his life. The International Aids Society said Mr Brown gave the world hope that an HIV cure was possible. Mr Brown, 54, who was born in the US, was diagnosed with HIV while he lived in Berlin in 1995. Then in 2007 he developed a type of blood cancer called acute myeloid leukaemia. His treatment involved destroying his bone marrow, which was producing the cancerous cells, and then having a bone marrow transplant. The transfer came from a donor that had a rare mutation in part of their DNA called the CCR5 gene. CCR5 is a set of genetic instructions that build the doorway that human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) walks through to infect cells. Mutations to CCR5 essentially lock the door and give people resistance to HIV. After the treatment, levels of HIV in Mr Brown’s blood fell to undetectable levels and he no longer needed anti-retroviral therapy. He was in effect “cured”. But the leukaemia, that led to his HIV cure, returned earlier this year and spread to his brain and spinal cord. “It is with great sadness that I announce that Timothy passed away… surrounded by myself and friends, after a five-month battle with leukaemia,” his partner Tim Hoeffgen posted on Facebook. He added: “Tim committed his life’s work to telling his story about his HIV cure and became an ambassador of hope.” Mr Brown’s cure was too risky and aggressive to be used routinely – it remains principally a cancer treatment. The approach is also too expensive for the 38 million people, many in sub-Saharan Africa, thought to be living with an HIV infection.    

Brian May has described recovery as a “long climb back” after suffering a heart attack earlier this year. The Queen guitarist previously said that he was “very near death” after being admitted to hospital in May. Doctors discovered that three of his arteries to be blocked and in danger of stopping the blood supply to his heart. “It is a long climb back,” May, 73, told The Dead Pool of his health. “I’ve had complications due to the drugs I’m on, one of which was a stomach explosion that nearly killed me.” May, who still performs with Queen + Adam Lambert, admitted that he had been baffled by the heart attack, which was a symptom of an arterial disease. “I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t have high cholesterol and I was exercising through the tour, so why did it happen?”, he questioned. “At least I now have a heart that is working far better than it was.” May initially told fans about the incident after admitting to ripping his buttock muscles while gardening. “In the middle of the whole saga of the painful backside, I had a small heart attack,” he said. “I say small – it’s not something that did me any harm. It was about 40 minutes of pain in the chest and tightness and that feeling in the arms and sweating.” May said he turned down open heart surgery and instead opted to have three stents put in.  

Elvington Airfield has struck again! The former RAF base near York, famously the scene of Richard Hammond scraping his head into the concrete whilst driving a jet powered car upside down. He suffered serious brain injuries when he crashed at almost 300mph, some might say he made a full recovery. Back to this week though, Zef Eisenberg, a millionaire fitness firm founder was killed attempting a British land speed record. Motorsport UK said the 47-year-old’s Porsche 911 Turbo S “went out of control at high speed at the end of a run” on Thursday. Guernsey-based Mr Eisenberg was involved in a “near-death” 230mph crash at the same airfield in 2016. Mr Eisenberg has now left behind his partner Mirella D’Antonio and two children. Sports nutrition firm Maximuscle said it was “devastated” at the news of the Mr Eisenberg’s death, who had “worked tirelessly” on his “brain child” during his ownership of the company before it was sold to pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline in 2011 for  £162m. Mr Eisenberg ran the Madmax Race Team, which attempts speed records with motorbikes and cars. Before his previous crash, in which he suffered 11 broken bones including his pelvis, he had set other speed records at the airfield. He returned to racing in 2017, despite concerns he would never walk again, now he’ll never se his wife and children again.  

On This Day

  • 1883 – First run of the Orient Express.  
  • 1927 – Gutzon Borglum begins sculpting Mount Rushmore. 
  • 1957 – Sputnik 1 becomes the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth.

Deaths

  • 1226 – Francis of Assisi (b. 1182)  
  • 1669 – Rembrandt, Dutch painter and illustrator (b. 1606)  
  • 1947 – Max Planck, German physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1858)  
  • 1970 – Janis Joplin, American singer-songwriter (b. 1943) 
  • 1989 – Graham Chapman, English actor and screenwriter (b. 1941)

Of Funerals and Pythons

Graham Chapman was an English comedian, writer, actor, author, and one of the six members of the British surreal comedy group Monty Python. In his personal life, Chapman was openly homosexual and a strong supporter of gay rights, and was in a long-term partnership with David Sherlock. He was an alcoholic during his time at Cambridge and the Python years, but quit drinking shortly before working on Life of Brian and remained sober for the rest of his life. 

In 1988, Chapman made a routine visit to a dentist, who found a small but malignant tumour on one of his tonsils, leading to both being removed via a tonsillectomy. The following year, the cancer had spread into Chapman’s spinal cord, where another tumour was surgically removed. Chapman had several chemotherapy treatments and surgeries during the final months of his life, but ultimately the cancer was declared inoperable. According to his brother, Chapman was visibly upset by the death of his mother that July, by which time he was terminally ill. Shortly afterwards, Chapman filmed scenes for the 20th anniversary of the first broadcast of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, the final time he appeared on television. 

Chapman died on 4th October 1989 in Maidstone Hospital. At the time of his death, he was being visited by Sherlock, brother John and his sister-in-law, and fellow Pythons Palin and Cleese, the latter of whom had to be led out of the room to deal with his grief. Peter Cook had intended to visit, but arrived too late and was visibly shaken by the news. 

The five surviving Python members had decided to stay away from Chapman’s private funeral to prevent it from becoming a media circus and to give his family some privacy. They sent a wreath in the shape of the Python foot, with the message: “To Graham from the other Pythons with all our love. PS: Stop us if we’re getting too silly”. The Rolling Stones also sent a floral arrangement, saying “Thanks for all the laughs.”  

A public memorial service was held at St. Bartholomew’s on 3 December, two months after his death. The service began with a chorus of the hymn “Jerusalem” sung in Engrish with a mock Chinese accent. Cleese delivered a eulogy to Chapman with shock humour that he believed Chapman would have appreciated, and later became the first person at a televised British memorial service to say “fuck”. Palin also delivered a eulogy to Chapman, as did Idle, quipping that Chapman had decided to die rather than listen to Palin once again. Idle led the other surviving Pythons and Chapman’s close friends and family in a rendition of the song “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life“, from Life of Brian, and later closed his remarks by saying: “I’d just like to be the last person at this meeting to say ‘fuck’.” 

Ten years after Chapman’s death, his ashes were first rumoured to have been “blasted into the skies in a rocket” with assistance from the Dangerous Sports Club. In a second rumour, Chapman’s ashes had been scattered on the mountains of Snowdonia, Wales, where he had visited regularly as a climber.

Week’s Birthdays

Melissa Benoist (32), Dakota Johnson (31), Alicia Silverstone (44), Christoph Waltz (64), Susan Sarandon (74), Liev Schreiber (53), Sarah Lancashire (56), Nick Mohammed (40), Alicia Vikander (32), Denis Villeneuve (53), Lena Headey (47), Neve Campbell (47), Clive Owen (56), Seann William Scott (44), Gwen Stefani (51), Tommy Lee (58), Greg Proops (61), Avery Brooks (72), Sting (69), Ian McNeice (70), Brie Larson (31), Julie Andrews (85), Zach Galifianakis (51), Randy Quaid (70), Monica Bellucci (56), Kieran Culkin (38), Omid Djalili (55), Ian Ogilvy (77), Erika Eleniak (51), Ian McShane (78), Mackenzie Crook (49), Luke Goss (52), Naomi Watts (52), Hilary Duff (33), Hana Mae Lee (32), Jeffrey Jones (74), Brigitte Bardot (86), and Dita Von Teese (48).

Dead Pool 27th September 2020

Strangely enough, only one of us guessed that Jackie Stallone would depart us this year, so Vic is the only recipient of points this week, 52 of them in fact! Well done Vic!! That only leaves five of us who haven’t scored yet this year, which includes myself :/ 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

A Massachusetts man has died after eating an excessive amount of black liquorice, doctors said this week. The unusual case was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine and details the death of a 54-year-old construction worker. The man collapsed inside a fast-food restaurant and was taken to a hospital, where he died the next day. Doctors discovered he had dangerously low potassium, which led to heart rhythm and other problems. Doctors wrote that the man had maintained “a poor diet, consisting primarily of several packages of candy daily,” which threw his nutrients out of whack. One doctor cited in the study described the man’s diagnosis as, “Metabolic, renal, vascular, and cardiac toxic effects from apparent mineralocorticoid excess due to liquorice consumption.” The problem, according to a report from the Associated Press, lies in the consumption of glycyrrhizic acid, a sweetening compound found in black liquorice and in other foods containing liquorice root extract. It can deplete potassium levels, cause high blood pressure, and imbalance electrolytes. “The key message here for the general public is that food containing liquorice can potentially be hazardous to your health if eaten in large quantities,” said Dr Neel Butala, a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, who contributed to the case study. “I don’t think people realise it. It’s not labeled that way.” In 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration published a warning about the dangers of black liquorice consumption, advising that eating only two ounces of black liquorice a day for two weeks could lead to an irregular heart rhythm and may require hospitalisation. With Halloween coming up next month, perhaps this new study will serve as a reminder to enjoy candy in moderation. 

If you noticed, this week was all about cows, especially in the North of England. Yet another pensioner has died after being charged by cows, meaning two people in northern England have been killed in such circumstances this month. Malcolm Flynn was walking along the Pennine Way near Thirlwall Castle and Gisland in Northumberland when the animals stampeded. The 72-year-old from Carlisle was so badly injured during the incident that he died at the scene. The tragedy occurred just 10 days before popular school teacher David Clark was killed by a herd of cows while walking his dog near Richmond in North Yorkshire. Some 98 people have been killed by cows in the UK over the last 20 years, according to the government’s Health and Safety Executive – 22 members of the public and 76 farm workers. In the vast majority of public deaths, a dog is the trigger. It is advised that if you are charged, let the dog go and walk calmly away in the opposite direction, most likely you will survive and the dog will outrun the cows for later collection. Or just avoid fields with cows in, not all rights of way are worth it. 

On This Day

  • 1936 – Mrs Wallis Simpson obtains her divorce, which would eventually allow her to marry King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, thus forcing his abdication from the throne.
  • 1962 – By refusing to agree to the firing of a nuclear torpedo at a US warship, Vasily Arkhipov averts nuclear war.  
  • 1992 – United States Navy radioman Allen R. Schindler, Jr. is murdered by shipmate Terry M. Helvey for being gay, precipitating debate about gays in the military that results in the United States’ “Don’t ask, don’t tell” military policy.

Deaths

  • 939 – Æthelstan, English king (b. 894)  
  • 1988 – Charles Hawtrey, English actor, singer, and pianist (b. 1914)  
  • 2013 – Lou Reed, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer, and actor (b. 1942)

The Man Who Saved the World

Vasili Arkhipov was a Soviet Navy officer credited with preventing a Soviet nuclear strike (and, presumably, all-out nuclear war) during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Such an attack likely would have caused a major global thermonuclear response. As flotilla commander and second-in-command of the diesel powered submarine B-59, Arkhipov refused to authorise the captain’s use of nuclear torpedoes against the United States Navy, a decision requiring the agreement of all three senior officers aboard. 

On 27 October 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, a group of eleven United States Navy destroyers and the aircraft carrier USS Randolph located the diesel-powered, nuclear-armed Foxtrot-class submarine B-59 near Cuba. Despite being in international waters, the United States Navy started dropping signalling depth charges, explosives intended to force the submarine to come to the surface for identification. There had been no contact from Moscow for a number of days and, although the submarine’s crew had earlier been picking up U.S. civilian radio broadcasts, once B-59 began attempting to hide from its U.S. Navy pursuers, it was too deep to monitor any radio traffic. Those on board did not know whether war had broken out or not. The captain of the submarine, Valentin Grigorievitch Savitsky, decided that a war might already have started and wanted to launch a nuclear torpedo. 

Unlike the other subs in the flotilla, three officers on board B-59 had to agree unanimously to authorise a nuclear launch: Captain Savitsky, the political officer Ivan Semonovich Maslennikov, and the flotilla commodore (and executive officer of B-59) Arkhipov. Typically, Soviet submarines armed with the “Special Weapon” only required the captain to get authorisation from the political officer to launch a nuclear torpedo, but due to Arkhipov’s position as Commodore, B-59‘s captain also was required to gain Arkhipov’s approval. An argument broke out, with only Arkhipov against the launch. Even though Arkhipov was second-in-command of the submarine B-59, he was in fact Commodore of the entire submarine flotilla, including B-4, B-36 and B-130. 

Arkhipov eventually persuaded Savitsky to surface and await orders from Moscow. This effectively averted the general nuclear war which probably would have ensued if the nuclear weapon had been fired. The submarine’s batteries had run very low and the air-conditioning had failed, causing extreme heat and high levels of carbon dioxide inside the submarine. They were forced to surface amid the American pursuers and return to the Soviet Union as a result. 

Immediately upon return to Russia, many crew members were faced with disgrace from their superiors. One admiral told them “It would have been better if you’d gone down with your ship.” Olga, Arkhipov’s wife, even said “he didn’t like talking about it, he felt they hadn’t appreciated what they had gone through.” 

In 2002, retired Commander Vadim Pavlovich Orlov, a participant in the events, held a press conference revealing the subs were armed with nuclear torpedoes and that Arkhipov was the reason those devices had not been fired. Orlov presented the events less dramatically, saying that Captain Savitsky lost his temper, but eventually calmed down. 

When discussing the Cuban Missile Crisis in 2002, Robert McNamara, the U.S. Secretary of Defence at the time, stated, “We came very close” to nuclear war, “closer than we knew at the time.” Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., an advisor for the John F. Kennedy administration and a historian, continued this thought by stating “This was not only the most dangerous moment of the Cold War. It was the most dangerous moment in human history.” Thomas Blanton, who was then director of the US National Security Archive, said that Arkhipov “saved the world”.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Anna Camp (38), Gwyneth Paltrow (48), Indira Varma (47), Meat Loaf (72), Denis Lawson (73), Avril Lavigne (36), Jim Caviezel (52), Linda Hamilton (64), Olivia Newton-John (72), Lysette Anthony (57), Serena Williams (39), Anne Robinson (76), Will Smith (52), Michael Douglas (76), Mark Hamill (69), Catherine Zeta-Jones (51), Michael Madsen (63), Heather Locklear (59), Felicity Kendal (74), Kevin Sorbo (62), Sven-Ole Thorsen (76), Rosalind Chao (63), Karl Pilkington (48), Bruce Springsteen (71), Tom Felton (33), Billie Piper (38), Sue Perkins (51), Ruth Jones (54), Joan Jett (62), Nick Cave (63), Bill Murray (70), Stephen King (73), David Wenham (55), Alfonso Ribeiro (49), and Ricki Lake (52).