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Dead Pool 14th April 2024

Surprisingly, no points to hand out today, I could have sworn a couple of you had O.J.  

Next weeks issue will be dependent on whether WWIII has kicked off yet… 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

  • Lori and George Schappell, 62, American conjoined twins. 
  • Joe Kinnear, 77, Irish football player (Tottenham Hotspur, national team) and manager (Wimbledon), complications from vascular dementia
  • Peter Higgs, 94, British theoretical physicist, discoverer of the Higgs boson, Nobel Prize laureate (2013). 
  • O. J. Simpson, 76, American football player (Buffalo Bills) and actor (The Naked Gun, The Towering Inferno), prostate cancer. 
  • Roberto Cavalli, 83, Italian fashion designer and inventor. 
  • Eleanor Coppola, 87, American filmmaker (Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, Paris Can Wait, Love Is Love Is Love). 

In Other News

Jackie Chan has responded to fans who were left “concerned” about his health following the release of a new photo of the star. The renowned actor and martial artist is known for his fitness, and was seen with grey hair at a recent event in Sichuan, China, sparking concern on social media once it went viral. Now, the Rush Hour star, who just turned 70, has responded to worries about his health, and revealed the reasons behind his appearance – which he admitted had frightened even his close friends. “Not so long ago, a lot of friends saw some recent photos of me on the internet, and they were all concerned about my health,” he wrote in a post on Instagram celebrating his 70th birthday on Sunday. “I want to take this opportunity to let everyone know, don’t worry!” He shared that he had donned the new look for a forthcoming role, but did not confirm any further details. “It’s just a character appearance for my latest movie. The character requires me to have white hair, white beard and look old. Over the years, I’ve always been willing to try new things for a movie, no matter if it’s a challenging stunt or a breakthrough appearance for a character.” He went on to reflect on his long career in the industry and turning 70, adding: “Especially for us stunt people, we don’t know how lucky we are to be able to grow old.” The Police Story star was born in Hong Kong, China, and appeared in a number of low-budget action movies before making his big break in Hollywood in the 1980 film The Big Brawl. He was awarded an honorary Academy Award in 2016 for his contributions to the film industry. The actor concluded, “I’ve been in the entertainment business for 62 years and I cherish every moment because I’m lucky I’m still filming today.”   

The world’s oldest conjoined twins Lori and George Schappell have died at the age of 62. Lori and her transgender twin George passed away on Sunday at a hospital in Pennsylvania due to undisclosed causes, per their online obituaries. The siblings, who had partially-fused skulls and shared 30 per cent of their brains, defied doctors who said they wouldn’t live past the age of 30. The twins had previously made headlines after George, formerly Dori, came out as transgender. Lori was able-bodied but George, who had spina bifida, was confined to a wheelchair which his twin pushed around. He had enjoyed a successful career as a country singer but Lori pursued her interests elsewhere as a trophy-winning ten-pin bowler. She also worked at a hospital laundry for several years during the ’90s, arranging her schedule around George’s gigs, which took them around the world to countries including Germany and Japan, according to the Guinness World Records. The twins lived independently in a two-bedroom apartment in Pennsylvania where they took turns practicing their separate hobbies. They alternated whose room they slept in and also showered separately by using the shower curtain as a barrier as one stood outside the bath. The pair appeared on numerous shows including Jerry Springer, The Maury Povich Show and The Howard Stern Radio Show. In the past, when asked if the death of one would necessarily mean the death of the other, Lori said at the time: ‘No, it would not. That’s another misconception.’ George, then Reba, explained in the 1997 documentary: ‘If it’s caught early enough, we could both be rushed to the hospital and then in an emergency, quickly be separated to save the other one.’ Elaborating further on whether they had ever wished to be separated, he said no: ‘Would we be separated? Absolutely not. My theory is: why fix what is not broken?’  

The mystery around Kate Beckinsale’s health continues as the Underworld actress has deleted all posts related to her hospital stay from her Instagram feed. For several weeks, the 50-year-old shared cryptic photos where she could be seen lounging in her room but as eagle-eyed followers have spotted, all posts related to the star’s health woes have been deleted. As she seemingly takes a break from the online platform, her comments have also been limited, although reasons for the change have been left unclear. The actress’ social media activity sparked concern in March, 2024, as she unveiled her health ordeal by sharing a string of shots where a teary-eyed Kate could be seen in a hospital gown with a large black bow in her hair. Her post was relayed on Instagram as she paid tribute to mothers around the world on Mother’s Day, including her own, Judy Loe. She refused to respond to worried fans who asked her for an update. “Thank you to those that love us and support us when it’s shit and try to make sure there are some bits that aren’t”, she had then penned. “And for looking after our dogs when we can’t, and lead us to remember happy things when we can’t. And turn up when we are sick and sit with us. And send balloons and check in and pull us out of wells with love.” A handful of days later, Kate still kept details around her health issues shrouded in secrecy as she continued to post from hospital to honour her late father, Richard, who passed away in 1979 as well as her stepfather, Roy Battersby, who drew his last breath at the age of 87 in January, 2024. After celebrating Easter in her hospital bed with a pair of festive socks, Kate posted photos while receiving a visit from pal Jonathan Voluck and seemed in good spirits as they wore peanut headbands while smiling at the camera. But, once again, she failed to mention why she’d been hospitalised. On April 9, 2024, the actress added fuel to the fire by posting and also deleting a photo of her mother Judy with a black eye. Fans grew increasingly frantic as she captioned: “My mum is hurt. Everything in me just wants me to scream. That soft, beautiful face, the unfairness of yet another fucking blow, this time to the face, hands, knee. As I am twisting my guts up to rail at this, she dresses in delicate purple to jauntily complement and has managed not to break a single bone. No one is stronger, no one terrifies me more in her fragility. Please mind, if you can. Minding helps.” But when faced with questions about her health, particularly as fans remember she had suffered from a ruptured ovarian cyst in January, 2019, Kate denied that she was being treated for a ruptured cyst or endometriosis. 

On This Day

  • 1865 – U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is shot in Ford’s Theatre by John Wilkes Booth; Lincoln dies the following day. 
  • 1912 – The British passenger liner RMS Titanic hits an iceberg in the North Atlantic and begins to sink.
  • 1958 – The Soviet satellite Sputnik 2 falls from orbit after a mission duration of 162 days.This was the first spacecraft to carry a living animal, a female dog named Laika, who likely lived only a few hours.
  • 1986 – The heaviest hailstones ever recorded, each weighing 1 kilogram, fall on the Gopalganj district of Bangladesh, killing 92.
  • 1999   – A severe hailstorm strikes Sydney, Australia causing A$2.3 billion in insured damages, the most costly natural disaster in Australian history. 
  • 2003 – The Human Genome Project is completed with 99% of the human genome sequenced to an accuracy of 99.99%.

Deaths

Last Meals 

A Missouri man who murdered his cousin and her husband in 2006 has been executed by lethal injection despite clemency appeals by prison staff.

Brian Dorsey, 52, shot Sarah and Ben Bonnie after they agreed to help him with debts he owed to drug dealers.

The couple’s four-year-old daughter was at the home during the fatal attack. 

Dorsey nearly faced ‘surgery without anaesthesia’ to find a vein to inject the lethal drug due his obesity. Currently there is no guidance on how far the execution team can go to find a suitable vein, leaving open the possibility of an invasive “cutdown procedure,” Dorsey’s attorneys said. 

The procedure involves an incision that could be several inches wide and several inches deep. Forceps are used to tear tissue away from a vein that becomes the injection point.

However, the procedure wasn’t required and he was pronounced dead at 18:11 local time on Tuesday, according to a news release from the Missouri Department of Corrections.

Advocates for Dorsey argued that he had reformed during his stay in prison and that he did not have adequate legal defence during his trial.

The US Supreme Court rejected two bids to delay the execution. The governor also rejected a request for clemency, saying in a statement on Monday that Dorsey “punished his loving family for helping him in a time of need”.

Missouri Governor Michael Parsons also cited prosecutors’ claims that he sexually assaulted his cousin’s body after killing her. Lawyers for Dorsey reject the allegation, saying it was never proven at trial.

Dorsey turned himself in to the police three days after the attack. He confessed and pleaded guilty.

He is the first inmate executed by Missouri this year, after four people were put to death in the state in 2023.

Lawyers for Dorsey argued that he had become a model inmate in the last 17 years, one who worked as a prison barber giving haircuts to staff, and was remorseful for his crimes.

They said he was suffering drug-induced psychosis at the time of the attack, two days before Christmas, and that his lawyers faced a financial conflict of interest during trial.

At the time, the Missouri Public Defender Office’s paid court-appointed lawyers a flat fee of $12,000 per case. A low sum, given the thousands of hours normally needed in capital justice murder cases.

They argue his lawyers rushed him to take a plea deal that did not ensure that he would not be given a death sentence.

Former Missouri Supreme Court Justice Michael Wolff wrote to the governor saying the payment system, which has since been changed, has “undoubtedly influenced everything”.

Mr Wolff wrote that executing Dorsey “will dishonour our system of capital punishment”.

A petition signed by more than 70 correctional officers argued his sentence should be commuted to life in prison due to good behaviour.

“The Brian I have known for years could not hurt anyone,” one officer wrote in the petition. “The Brian I know does not deserve to be executed.”

In his final statement before his death, Dorsey again apologised to his victims and their relatives.

“To all of the family and loved ones I share with Sarah  and to all of the surviving family and loved ones of Ben, I am totally, deeply, overwhelmingly sorry,” he wrote.

“Words cannot hold the just weight of my guilt and shame. I still love you. I never wanted to hurt anyone. I am sorry I hurt them and you.”

Ahead of the execution, relatives of Dorsey’s victims called his sentence being carried out “a light at the end of the tunnel”.

Dorsey “was a close family member who was given a safe haven to get him out of a bad situation and turned this helping hand into the ultimate betrayal of a loved one”, according to a statement from Sarah Bonnie’s family. 

According to the Missouri Department of Corrections, before his execution he ordered his favourite foods, which included two cheeseburgers, two large French fries, two orders of chicken strips and a sausage, pepperoni, onion, mushrooms and extra cheese pizza.

The execution was carried out by a single dose of the sedative pentobarbital at the state prison in Bonne Terre.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Adrien Brody (51), Anthony Michael Hall (56), Sarah Michelle Gellar (47), Robert Carlyle (63), Julie Christie (84), Rob McElhenney (47), Peter Capaldi (66), Bokeem Woodbine (51), Ron Perlman (74), Peter Davison (73), William Sadler (74), Edward Fox (87), Jennifer Morrison (45), Saoirse Ronan (30), Claire Danes (45), Shannen Doherty (53), Andy Garcia (68), Ed O’Neill (78), Nicholas Brendon (53), David Letterman (77), Milly Alcock (24), Tricia Helfer (50), Matt Ryan (43), Jeremy Clarkson (64), Charlie Hunnam (44), Daisy Ridley (32), Haley Joel Osment (36), David Harbour (49), Steven Seagal (72), Peter MacNicol (70), Kristen Stewart (34), Elle Fanning (26), Dennis Quaid (70), Mark Pellegrino (59), Cynthia Nixon (58), Robin Wright (58), Katee Sackhoff (44), Patricia Arquette (56), and Dean Norris (61).

Dead Pool 7th April 2024

Lets award the points!!! Stu and Lee both had the worlds oldest man down as their Cert, so  136 points each and 36 points goes to Dave, who strengthens his grip at the head of the league table. Well done all of you! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

In late March 2024, weeks after Buckingham Palace announced King Charles is suffering from an unspecified form of cancer, celebrity gossip magazine In Touch Weekly published an article allegedly offering specifics on his diagnosis. Citing anonymous sources, the article claimed he has pancreatic cancer and only two years to live. One source reportedly told In Touch Weekly some people close to the British monarch believe his cancer “is worse than they’re making it out to be,” while another allegedly told the publication Charles “is not only battling pancreatic cancer… but has a mere two years to live.” Obviously this rumour is unproven, the alleged sources in the In Touch Weekly article were anonymous and, therefore, we were unable to to independently verify their claims. Searching the Royal Family’s website and Google, there was no evidence of the Palace revealing Charles’ specific form of cancer. No reputable news publications substantiated the rumour – which, if true, would be eminently newsworthy. 

A teenager had to be taken to hospital due to a suspected brain infection, after bursting an enormous pimple on his nose. Justine Seit, had burst the huge zit sitting on his nose, however, he soon became ill with an infection in Negros Oriental province, the Philippines. Burning up with a fever, the boy was taken to hospital on March 30th. The 17-year-old was put on oxygen whilst doctors conducted a CT scan to investigate whether the infection had reached his brain. After being prescribed antibiotics, Justine’s condition started to improve and the pus was drained from his boil-like pimple. His relieved mother Monaliza Marcos said: “To everyone, especially the teenagers, my advice is not to fiddle with pimples on your face because the infection might spread to your brain. The doctors have taken a sample from the pimple for analysis. I’m so grateful my son was able to recover from his sickness.” Doctors have warned against popping pimples in the ‘danger triangle’ area of the face. The region, also called the ‘triangle of death’, is marked by the corners of the mouth to the bridge of the nose. The network of veins in this area provides channels through which facial infections can spread toward the brain. Several years ago, a teenager was blinded by a mystery illness sparked from squeezing a seemingly harmless nose spot. Mary Ann Regacho, 17, suffered severe facial swelling after simply popping a pimple on her nose. The youngster originally thought the growth was a simple spot caused by hormones after she gave birth to a baby boy at age 16. But, when she squeezed the spot, Mary said it grew painful days later before it started spreading across her face. The teenager, from Nueva Ecija, in the Phillippines, said it was “like a balloon inflating”.

On This Day

  • 1933 – Prohibition in the United States is repealed for beer of no more than 3.2% alcohol by weight, (Now celebrated as National Beer Day in the United States).
  • 1955 – Winston Churchill resigns as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom amid indications of failing health.
  • 1969 – The Internet’s symbolic birth date.
  • 1983 – During STS-6, astronauts Story Musgrave and Don Peterson perform the first Space Shuttle spacewalk.

Deaths

  • AD 30 – Jesus Christ (possible date of the crucifixion (b. circa 4 BC).
  • 1739 – Dick Turpin, English criminal (b. 1705).
  • 1891 – P. T. Barnum, co-founded The Barnum & Bailey Circus (b. 1810).
  • 1947 – Henry Ford, founded the Ford Motor Company (b. 1863). 
  • 2001 – David Graf, American actor (b. 1950). 
  • 2015 – Geoffrey Lewis, American actor (b. 1935).

Last Meals 

The US state of Oklahoma has carried out its first execution for 2024, giving a lethal injection to a man convicted of a double murder.

Michael Dewayne Smith was 19 when he killed Janet Moore and Sharath Babu Pulluru during a drug-fuelled crime spree in Oklahoma City in 2002. 

When offered the choice of what to order for a last meal, Smith made the unusual decision to reject the chance to place an order. He instead ate some of the remaining foods he’d had from the prison canteen. When asked if he had any last words, Smith, 41, said: “Nah, I’m good.” 

He is the 12th person to be executed in Oklahoma since the state resumed carrying out death penalties in 2021.

The nearly seven-year hiatus came after a series of problems arose during executions.

In 2014, a condemned prisoner writhed in apparent pain for 43 minutes before dying from a heart attack. The next year, a prisoner being executed told witnesses “it feels like acid” and “my body is on fire”.

Smith’s murders were committed while he was already on the run for a shooting death a year earlier.

Janet Moore was killed when he went to her house looking for her son, who Smith believed to be a police informant.

In a separate attack, Sarath Babu Pulluru was killed when Smith mistook him for another convenience store clerk who had made comments to a local newspaper about Smith’s criminal gang. Pulluru was shot nine times before being doused with lighter fluid and set on fire.

Smith died within minutes of receiving the lethal cocktail of three drugs, according to reporters who witnessed it at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester.

He was pronounced dead at 10:20 ET on Thursday, the Department of Corrections confirmed to the Flying Monkeys.

Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond released a statement after Smith was declared dead, saying: “I am grateful that justice has been served.” 

The family of Janet Moore also released a statement declaring that “justice has been served”   and thanking authorities for pursuing the punishment over the past 22 years.

“It does not go unnoticed or in vain, as we were constantly reminded this is justice for a loss that has caused a ripple for generations to come,” the family wrote.

Sharath Babu Pulluru’s family said in a statement that Sharath “will forever live in our hearts”. 

Last Week’s Birthdays

Russell Crowe (60), Francis Ford Coppola (85), Jackie Chan (70), Paul Rudd (55), Michael Rooker (69), Zach Braff (49), John Ratzenberger (77), Billy Dee Williams (87), Lily James (35), Hayley Atwell (42), Mitch Pileggi (72), Pharrell Williams (51), Robert Downey Jr. (59), Natasha Lyonne (45), Hugo Weaving (64), Graham Norton (61), Amanda Bynes (38), Eddie Murphy (63), Alec Baldwin (66), Paris Jackson (26), Pedro Pascal (49), Michael Fassbender (47), Jesse Plemons (36), Emma Myers (22), Linda Hunt (79), Penelope Keith (84), Mackenzie Davis (37), Asa Butterfield (27), Annette O’Toole (72), Ali MacGraw (85), and Michael Praed (64).

Dead Pool 31st March 2024

Been a while since someone scored, it must be time to send out the Flying Monkeys! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Arnold Schwarzenegger has shared some health news. The Terminator star and former California governor revealed on his Arnold’s Pump Club podcast that he has been fitted for a pacemaker after having undergone three open-heart surgeries. “Last Monday, I had surgery to become a little bit more of a machine: I got a pacemaker,” he said. “First of all, I want you to know I’m doing great! I had my surgery on Monday, and by Friday, I was already at a big environmental event with my friend and fellow fitness crusader Jane Fonda,” he continued. “Nobody would ever have thought I started the week with a surgery. I want to thank my whole team at the Cleveland Clinic. All of the doctors and nurses took amazing care of me and made the surgery as painless as possible,” he added. Schwarzenegger initially underwent two open-heart surgeries in 1997 to replace his pulmonic valve and aortic valve. Normally lasting 12 to 15 years, he underwent surgery to get both replaced again in 2018 and 2020. The actor also added a bit of levity. The photo he shared shows a reclining Schwarzenegger with a red wire running out of his ear into what looks like a Looney Tunes version of a time bomb resting on his chest. Of the “pacemaker,” he wrote sarcastically, “you can only see it if you’re really looking for it.”  

Pope Francis skipped the traditional Good Friday procession at Rome’s Colosseum to ‘protect his health’, the Vatican said, making a last-minute decision that added to concerns about his frail condition during a particularly busy period. Francis had been expected to preside over the Way of the Cross procession, which re-enacts Christ’s Passion and crucifixion, and composed the meditations that are read aloud at each station. But just as the event was about to begin, the Vatican announced that Francis was following the event from his home at the Vatican. “To conserve his health in view of the vigil tomorrow and Mass on Easter Sunday, Pope Francis will follow the Via Crucis at the Colosseum this evening from the Casa Santa Marta,” a statement from the Vatican press office said. While Francis had also skipped the event in 2023 because he was recovering from bronchitis and it was a particularly cold night, his decision to stay home this year suggested his plans had changed suddenly. The 87-year-old Francis, who had part of one lung removed as a young man, has been battling what he and the Vatican have described as a case of the flu, bronchitis or a cold all winter long. For the last several weeks he has occasionally asked an aide to read aloud his speeches, and he skipped his Palm Sunday homily altogether. The decision to stay home appeared to be very last-minute: Francis‘ chair was in place on the platform outside the Colosseum where he was to preside over the rite. His close aide, Monsignor Leonardo Sapienza, was on hand and moved the television screen around on the platform so Francis would have a better view of what was going on inside the Colosseum itself. But at 9.10pm, five minutes before the official start of the procession, the Vatican press office announced on Telegram that he wouldn’t attend. The chair was quickly taken away. In addition to his respiratory problems, Francis had a chunk of his large intestine removed in 2021 and was hospitalised twice last year, including once to remove intestinal scar tissue from previous surgeries to address diverticulosis, or bulges in his intestinal wall. He has been using a wheelchair and cane for over a year because of bad knee ligaments.  

The Who musician Roger Daltrey has reflected on his generation after reaching a milestone age, stating: “I’m on my way out.” Daltrey, who has been the frontman of the rock band since 1964, stepped down as the curator of the annual Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT) gigs, which take place at Royal Albert Hall, weeks after his 80th birthday on 1st March. He has now reflected on his decision to end his time as the event’s curator, suggesting it stemmed from a desire to “be realistic” about his future. Writing in a “backstage diary” for The Times, Daltrey said: “I have to be realistic. I’m on my way out. The average life expectancy is 83 and with a bit of luck I’ll make that, but we need someone else to drive things. I’m not leaving TCT – I’ve been a patron since I first met the charity’s founders, Dr Adrian and Myrna Whiteson, more than 30 years ago – and that will continue, but I’ll be working in the back room, talking to the government, rattling cages.” Daltrey said he had concern “about how many words” he had to remember ahead of recent shows he performed, and admitted to feeling nervous beforehand. “On at 8.40pm and I’ve got to say I really feel it tonight,” he wrote, adding: “We haven’t done anything for seven months and this winter’s been brutal. I’ve been in hibernation. For the whole of January, I lost my voice completely. I live like a monk and if I went on tour for a week I’d be fit as a butcher’s dog again, but tonight, for the first time in my career, I think, ‘Blimey, this is hard.’”

On This Day

  • 1889 – The Eiffel Tower is officially opened.
  • 1990 – Approximately 200,000 protesters take to the streets of London to protest against the newly introduced Poll Tax.
  • 1998 – Netscape releases Mozilla source code under an open source license.

Deaths

  • 1837 – John Constable, English painter and educator (b. 1776).
  • 1855 – Charlotte Brontë, English novelist and poet (b. 1816).
  • 1913 – J. P. Morgan, American banker and financier (b. 1837).
  • 1993 – Brandon Lee, American actor and martial artist (b. 1965).
  • 2002 – Barry Took, English comedian, actor, and screenwriter (b. 1928).
  • 2016 – Ronnie Corbett, Scottish comedian, actor and screenwriter (b. 1930

Death by Balls – Part 2

Death by Yoga Ball: For centuries, yoga has provided physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being to those who commit to it. But in this freaky case, yoga – more specifically, a yoga ball – led two women to their untimely deaths.

Khaw Kim-sum, an anaesthesiologist and associate professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, is serving a life sentence in Hong Kong for murdering his wife, Wong Siew-fing, and 16-year-old daughter, Lily. The 53-year-old from Malaysia purportedly wanted to get rid of the women so he could continue his affair with a student.

Kim-sum filled an inflatable yoga ball with poison gas and placed it in the trunk of the family’s yellow Mini Cooper. The gas leaked out and killed Siew-fing and Lily, who were discovered by the roadside in their locked car.

The women were pronounced dead at the same hospital in which Kim-sum worked. A postmortem examination concluded that they had died from inhaling carbon monoxide. During the trial, witnesses revealed that Kim-sum told them he planned to use the gas on rabbits. He had told police that he had intended to use it to get rid of rats in his home. The professor also suggested that his daughter knew the ball contained carbon monoxide gas and may have been trying to commit suicide. 

Death by Racquetball: Very little was reported about a man who died while playing racquetball. While the vigorous sport is notorious for causing heart attacks, it was not a heart attack that killed this player.

This story was reported in a South Florida Sun-Sentinel article about bizarre deaths. An unnamed man was playing racquetball with his wife. On a return, the woman struck her husband in the side with the ball. The man had no idea that the strike had ruptured his spleen, and he continued playing. A short time later, he haemorrhaged to death.

Ruptures to the spleen are most often caused by a direct blow to the abdomen. The symptoms – pain and bruising – do not always appear immediately.  

Death by Cricket Ball: Cricket players wear helmets, but the helmets do not protect everything. During a cricket match between South Australia and New South Wales, 25-year-old Phillip Hughes was struck by the ball. The ball hit the unprotected area just below Hughes’s left ear. He immediately collapsed, was rushed to the hospital, underwent surgery, and was placed into an induced coma.

The “sport-related blunt-force cerebrovascular injury,” a vertebral artery dissection, led to a haemorrhage. Hughes died two days later, just three days shy of his 26th birthday. Improvements were made to the cricket helmet, but the added guards do not protect the vulnerable area of the neck on which Hughes was struck. A review concluded that the incident was purely accidental, and any changes made to improve safety during the review period would not have prevented it. 

Death by Hurling Ball: Harry Byrne, age 13, died on the playground at St. Kieran’s College in Ireland. The student was hit in the head by a sliotar, or hurling ball, during a lunchtime break. He was rushed to the hospital but succumbed to his injury.

Hurling is a tradition in Ireland, where it is common to see “young lads walking up and down the street with hurleys in their hand, not mobile phones.” The hard, solid hurling sliotar is about the size of a tennis ball. It features a cork core covered by stitched leather and has a mass between 110 and 120 grams.

Hurling is a big deal at St. Kieran’s, and students strive to make the school team and go still further afterward. Young Mr. Byrne was a talented hurler who had won two under-14 championship medals. The school described the incident as a “freak accident” that occurred while the children were playing normally.

Death by Football: Allie Brodie, age 18, had just started her freshman year at the University of Alabama when tragedy struck. While soccer football during a student ministry retreat for her Christian sorority, Brodie was hit in the head and suffered a severe brain injury.

The freshman’s symptoms got progressively worse in the days following the soccer game. She underwent two brain emergency surgeries and spent weeks in a medically induced coma. She was diagnosed with a rare condition she’d had since birth: a tangle of abnormal blood vessels in the brain that divert blood away from normal brain tissue. The soccer ball triggered internal bleeding in the young woman’s brain.

Brodie remained in the coma but later died from complications of the resulting pneumonia. 

Death by Golf Ball: A freak accident on the course led to the death of Australian golfer Rod Gurney in 2021. The 69-year-old was struck in the head by a ball hit by a fellow player. Gurney was attended to at the scene by paramedics but declined to seek additional medical treatment. Over the next few days, however, his condition worsened, and he was admitted to the hospital, where he died.

“Although this death was tragic and sudden,” said his family, “we are heartened to know that he passed doing something he loved.” 

Last Week’s Birthdays

Ewan McGregor (53), Christopher Walken (81), Richard Chamberlain (90), Rhea Perlman (76), William Daniels (97), Daniel Mays (46), Warren Beatty (87), John Astin (94), Céline Dion (56), Norah Jones (45), Eric Clapton (79), Ed Skrein (41), Lucy Lawless (56), Brendan Gleeson (69), Christopher Lambert (67), Marina Sirtis (69), Elle Macpherson (60), Eric Idle (81), Thaddea Graham (27), Vince Vaughn (54), Julia Stiles (43), Lady Gaga (38), Dianne Wiest (78), Orla Brady (63), Nick Frost (52), Quentin Tarantino (61), Nathan Fillion (53), Julian Glover (89), Mariah Carey (55), Fergie (49), Keira Knightley (39), Jennifer Grey (64), Martin Short (74), Diana Ross (80), Lee Pace (45), Sarah Jessica Parker (59), Richard O’Brien (82), Paul Michael Glaser (81), and Elton John (77). 

Dead Pool 24th March 2024

Alas, no points to award this week, perhaps we need to send out the Flying Monkeys?!

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

The Princess of Wales has been diagnosed with cancer and revealed her illness to the world in a personal and deeply moving video message. Kate Middleton disclosed that the cancer was discovered while she underwent major abdominal surgery at The London Clinic at the start of the year. The 42-year-old princess said she needed to recover from surgery before she could start “preventative chemotherapy”, as advised by her medical team. “This of course came as a huge shock, and William and I have been doing everything we can to process and manage this privately for the sake of our young family,” she added. The news is another cruel blow to the royal family with King Charles and the future queen now both fighting cancer at the same time. The King paid tribute to his “beloved” daughter-in-law after the news broke, and said he was “so proud of Catherine for her courage in speaking as she did”. Speculation has swirled for weeks about Kate’s medical condition, with ceaseless rumours and wild conspiracy theories spreading online. Sitting on a garden bench, Kate explained she had needed time to come to terms with the news and tell her children before informing the wider world. She said: “It has been an incredibly tough couple of months for our entire family, but I’ve had a fantastic medical team who have taken great care of me, for which I am so grateful. In January, I underwent major abdominal surgery in London and at the time, it was thought that my condition was non-cancerous. The surgery was successful. However, tests after the operation found cancer had been present. My medical team therefore advised that I should undergo a course of preventative chemotherapy and I am now in the early stages of that treatment.” Praising her husband as “a great source of comfort and reassurance”, Kate said: “It has taken me time to recover from major surgery in order to start my treatment. But, most importantly, it has taken us time to explain everything to George, Charlotte and Louis in a way that is appropriate for them, and to reassure them that I am going to be OK. As I have said to them, I am well and getting stronger every day by focusing on the things that will help me heal; in my mind, body and spirits.”  

The husband of Coronation Street actress Julie Goodyear has said she is “slowly fading away” following her dementia diagnosis. Scott Brand told the Flying Monkeys that he missed his “fun-loving wife”, and said it was “extremely painful” to watch her deterioration. Goodyear, 81, played the leopard-skin-loving barmaid Bet Lynch in the soap. Brand was speaking up in conjunction with a new Alzheimer’s Society campaign, which the couple are backing. The campaign features a TV advert, voiced by the actor Colin Firth, entitled The Long Goodbye. It focuses on the brutal reality of the disease and how it causes people to “die again, and again, and again”. Brand, 55, publicly shared news of Goodyear’s diagnosis last summer. Sharing an update on her condition, Brand said: “I miss the fun-loving wife that Julie had always been – the larger-than-life personality that brightened up everywhere she went, and the smile that lit up every room. All of this is now slowly fading away and it’s extremely painful for me to watch this deterioration.” Brand said his wife now struggles to recognise people, and said he missed the daily joys of being in a couple. “Not being able to spontaneously go out as husband and wife, holding hands as we stroll along, going for meals together and going shopping – all these losses for me symbolise the long goodbye.” Goodyear starred in Coronation Street from 1966 to 2003. Thanks to her performance, Bet Lynch became one of the ITV soap opera’s longest-serving and best-loved characters. Her clothing and glamorous looks were trademarks, but Brand said his wife had now lost interest in her appearance. “Julie has always been extremely glamorous, going nowhere without her make-up,” he said. “But now the lipsticks and make-up go unworn, and clothes are no longer of interest, especially the leopard print.”  

A man was thought to be ‘brain dead’ and given just a four percent chance of survival after trying to pull out an ingrown hair. Steven Spinale was diagnosed with sepsis in 2022 and was left fighting for his life. The dad ended up in a medically-induced coma and had to undergo open heart surgery. Aged 36 at the time, Steven was ‘pretty sick’ for a month of so before with doctors unable to figure out what was wrong with him, according to his sister Michelle. All they could work out however was that the bloke ‘was bleeding internally from somewhere’ – but Michelle says this ended up being ‘the smallest worry’. Steven had tried to remove an ingrown hair in his groin, which became infected. Sepsis can be triggered by an infection in any part of the body and is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the immune system overreacts and can cause multiple organ failure and death. “He was turned away at numerous hospitals who thought he was making it up. He started vomiting blood and they still sent him home,” she said. “The next day, my sister had to call 911 because he couldn’t breathe.” It was then found that he had a ‘rare bacteria that was ravaging through his body and shutting down all his organs.’ Steven’s body was drove to sceptic shock and he was hit by a number of conditions in hospital as Michelle wrote that he caught influenza A and had double pneumonia. She added that the sepsis had reached his heart and he also suffered a ‘small stroke’. Steven was placed in a medically-induced coma as his family were told he had just a four percent chance of surviving. And incredibly, after a number of treatments, he woke after a month with no brain damage. In late November 2022, a positive update was issued on Steven that although he had a ‘long road ahead of him’ he was ‘steadily on his way’. 

On This Day

  • 1199 – King Richard I of England is wounded by a crossbow bolt while fighting in France, leading to his death on April 6th. 
  • 1944  – World War II: In an event later dramatised in the movie The Great Escape, 76 Allied prisoners of war begin breaking out of the German camp Stalag Luft III.
  • 1989 – In Prince William Sound in Alaska, the Exxon Valdez
  • spills 240,000 barrels of crude oil after running aground.
  • 1999   – A lorry carrying margarine and flour catches fire inside the Mont Blanc Tunnel, creating an inferno that kills 38 people. 
  • 2015 – Germanwings Flight 9525 crashes in the French Alps in an apparent pilot mass murder-suicide, killing all 150 people on board.

Deaths

Death by Balls

How many types of balls can you name? How many of said balls have killed someone?

We all know that sports can be dangerous, especially for the athletes who participate in them. You can certainly find stories of players who have passed on while playing their beloved sport, from football and boxing to racing and Olympic luge. And even people simply exercising can find themselves injured. However, what happens when the equipment they use becomes deadly?

Whether merely spectators or the result of more nefarious reasons, over the next two weeks we will cover ten strange deaths caused by the balls used in these various activities.

Death by Baseball: Linda Goldbloom was enjoying the ninth inning of a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles when she was struck by a foul ball. An unidentified San Diego Padres hitter swung at a 150 Km/h pitch to send the ball over the protective netting behind the home plate and into the 79-year-old woman’s head. According to a coroner’s report, Goldbloom died four days later from head trauma. An estimated 1,750 fans are struck by foul balls every season, but Goldbloom’s death was the first in nearly 50 years. While many of the injuries are serious, only two other deaths by foul balls, one in 1943 and another in 1970 have been reported.

Thanks to the “Baseball Rule,” American major league baseball teams cannot be held liable for the injuries inflicted on spectators. As long as the team offers some protected seating in the areas where foul balls are most likely to cause injuries (e.g., the netting that hangs behind home plate), it has met the standard of reasonable care. Most MLB tickets even feature a disclaimer warning that fans sitting outside the protected zone do so at their own risk. 

Death by Exercise Ball: Baba Yanyan was in her stroller on the street when something fell from an apartment building. A metal ball, one that is used for hand and wrist exercises, fell eight stories and struck the child in the head. Yanyan died hours later in the hospital.

Police were unable to identify the owner of the metal ball despite a door-to-door investigation of the apartment building’s 121 households. Without recompense for the criminal matter, the child’s family took their case to court. Families in the building were ordered to pay a “gift” to the family as compensation. Falling objects from apartment buildings is a persistent problem in China. 

Death by Cue Ball: In 1989, a 23-year-old painter was dubbed “Death Wish” because of his continuously reckless behaviour. He’d smash tumblers on his face, slash his wrists with sharp objects, and swallow things like keys and glass. Local police described the man as “of good health physically but of low intellect.”

One of his favourite tricks involved swallowing and then regurgitating a pool ball. His friends had seen the stunt numerous times and paid little attention when Death Wish attempted it again after a night of heavy drinking. But this time, something went wrong.

Death Wish ran out of the pub, collapsed in the street, and turned blue. His friends were able to get their hands on the ball but could not extricate it. An ambulance team arrived and attempted to insert an airway tube, but it was too late. The pool ball obstructed the throat and prevented intubation. Fifteen minutes after swallowing the pool ball, the young man was dead.

Postmortem dissection revealed a white cue ball lodged firmly in the man’s throat. The cause of death was “suffocation secondary to an impacted foreign body in the throat.”

Every other time Death Wish performed this trick, he swallowed one of the coloured pool balls, which measured 2 inches in diameter. Unfortunately, on that fateful night, the trickster swallowed the white cue ball, which at 1.87 inches is only slightly smaller in diameter but exponentially smaller in volume: the perfect size to lodge in the man’s pharynx. 

Death by Bowling Ball: More than 30 police officers combed the Fort Worth, Texas, area searching for Sida Osman. The 5-year-old boy had been playing in front of his apartment building when he disappeared. His badly beaten body was discovered in a vacant lot the next day.  Another boy, age 14, admitted to beating Sida with a bowling ball because he found the child “irritating.” Prosecutors revealed that the teen struck the boy multiple times before straddling him to deliver a final blow, much like “spiking a football.” The killer wiped his fingerprints from the ball before tossing it into a nearby yard. While Sida’s family was frantically searching for him, the teen reportedly brought friends to the scene to show off his handiwork.

Unfortunately, the murderer was not eligible to be tried as an adult. At a detention hearing, he tearfully confessed as part of a plea deal and was sentenced to 23 years in prison. The first two years of his sentence would be spent in a juvenile detention centre and the remainder in state prison.  

Death by Tennis Ball: Sweden’s Stefan Edberg won the Australian Open twice (1985, 1987), Wimbledon twice (1988, 1990), and the U.S. Open twice (1991, 1992). But before he became one of the world’s best tennis players, Edberg delivered a fatal serve on the court that nearly ended his career.

In the 1983 Boy’s Single Final of the U.S. Open, 17-year-old Edberg delivered a powerful serve that struck linesman Richard Wertheim. The ball hit Wertheim in the groin and knocked the linesman off-balance. He fell backward and hit his head on the court.

One week later, Wertheim died in the hospital of a subdural haematoma. It was the blow to the head and not the injury to the groin that killed the linesman, but Edberg was so regretful that he nearly quit the sport altogether. Instead, the teen ended up winning the ’83 Final and completed the Grand Slam of Juniors.

Wertheim’s family sued the U.S. Tennis Association for $2.25 million, accusing the association of failing to provide adequate safety precautions for umpires. An attorney for the family said that Edberg was a “very prodigious player with a lot of speed,” noting that tennis balls hit by professional athletes have been clocked at speeds greater than 100 miles per hour! 

More next week! 

Last Weeks Birthdays

Jessica Chastain (47), Jim Parsons (51), Lara Flynn Boyle (54), Alyson Hannigan (50), Tig Notaro (53), Kelly LeBrock (64), Amanda Plummer (67), Joanna Page (47), Reese Witherspoon (48), Lena Olin (69), Matthew Modine (65), William Shatner (93), Carter Wong (77), Gary Oldman (66), Matthew Broderick (62), Sonequa Martin-Green (39), Timothy Dalton (78), Jaye Davidson (56), David Thewlis (61), Holly Hunter (66), Ruby Rose (38), Spike Lee (67), Freema Agyeman (45), Theresa Russell (67), John de Lancie (76), Bruce Willis (69), Glenn Close (77), Ursula Andress (88), Harvey Weinstein (72), Brad Dourif (74), Luc Besson (65), and Queen Latifah (54).

Dead Pool 17th March 2024

Here we go again! The week has flown by yet again and more celebrities have been force-choked into the afterlife. Alas no points to be awarded, but plenty to read about. 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

The inventor of karaoke, Shigeichi Negishi, has died at the age of 100. The Tokyo-based entrepreneur was the first person to automate and commercialise karaoke in 1967 when his ‘Sparko Box’ went on sale. Author Matt Alt, who interviewed the entrepreneur in 2018 for his book Pure Invention: How Japan Made the Modern World wrote Mr Negishi’s obituary in The Wall Street Journal, published on Thursday. He also shared photos of the legendary inventor on his Twitter account. Mr Negishi died on 26th January after a fall, his daughter Atsumi Takano told Mr Alt. Karaoke came to Mr Negishi through an “epiphany”, Mr Alt wrote, when an engineer at an electronics company he ran in 1967 heard him singing to himself and told him he wasn’t very good. Mr Negishi, 43 at the time, told the employee to “give me a break,” before thinking: “If only they could hear my voice over a backing track!” And while the invention of karaoke has widely been credited to Japanese musician Daisuke Inoue, who released the ‘8 Juke’ box in 1971, it was in fact Mr Negeshi’s Sparko Box that marked the first singalong machine known to man four years prior. It is recognised as the earliest by the All-Japan Karaoke Industrialist Association, the country’s largest organisation of karaoke manufacturers and retailers, according to Mr Alt. Mr Negishi created some 8,000 Sparko Boxes and placed them at establishments throughout Japan, but his venture was rather short-lived as he “grew tired of the conflict with musicians and the grind of door-to-door sales and maintenance,” Mr Alt said. He left the karaoke business entirely in 1975 and his innovative Sparko Box soon gave way to similar iterations. Now, according to Mr Alt, only one remains, and is kept by Mr Negishi’s family as a memento. Mr Negishi, who has three children, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, never patented his creation. His daughter told Mr Alt: “Truly, the patent never bothered him. He felt a lot of pride in seeing his idea evolve into a culture of having fun through song around the world. To him, spending a hundred years surrounded by his family was reward enough.”  

Christie Brinkley has told fans about her experience undergoing treatment for skin cancer in a new social media post. The American model and actor, 70, shared a post about her health to Instagram on Wednesday, along with pictures of her face, where doctors had operated to remove cancerous cells. In the caption, she shared her positive thoughts about the cancer being detected at an early stage, before quipping that the surgeons had taken great care with her wounds. She wrote: “The good news for me is we caught the basal cell Carcinoma early. And I had great Doctors that removed the cancer and stitched me up to perfection like an haute couture Dior.” The star, who has featured in TV programmes such as Parks and Recreation, Ugly Betty and The Goldbergs, went on to reiterate the importance of SPF and regular checkups to her followers. “The good news for you is that all of this can be avoided by being diligent with your sun protection! I got serious a bit late so now for this ole mermaid/gardener, I’ll be slathering on my SPF 30, reapplying as needed, wearing long sleeves and a wide-brim hat. And doing regular total body check-ups…that is a MUST!” Brinkley noted that she was “lucky” that her cancerous spot was picked up early, as a doctor noticed it by chance while examining her daughter. “It wasn’t my appointment so I wasn’t going to say anything but at the VERY end I asked if he could just look at a little tiny dot I could feel as I applied my foundation. He took a look and knew immediately it needed a biopsy! He did it then and there! So make your own good luck by making that check-up appointment today. And slather up my friends!” In the accompanying images, Brinkley is seen with an incision close to her hairline, then later with a bandage covering the cut area.  

Louis Walsh has revealed he has been fighting a rare form of blood cancer. The former X Factor judge was diagnosed with Waldenstrom Macroglobulinaemia. Speaking  on Celebrity Big Brother, the 71-year-old star said he was recovering from a rare cancer, adding that it had been a “reality check”. Louis made the admission in a conversation with housemates Levi Roots and Ekin-Su. Asked about his experiences in lockdown, he replied: “I was sick, and I think nobody knew I was sick. I had cancer – a mild version, a rare one, in my blood. I didn’t even know I had it until I went to the hospital. They checked me and then they found it.” Louis said it affected him mentally. Pointing to his head, he admitted: “It’s just up here, even when I go past a hospital I almost get sick. It’s all gone, I’m fine. It was just the shock of being sick and that word – nobody wants that word. I have it blocked out, a reality check.You see so many people sick and it’s terrible. In my world it was all about pop music and all that. I didn’t think of anybody getting sick or anything like that. And that was like, wow, reality check – you’re in the real world.” Friends of the star told the Flying Monkeys the condition is the reason why Louis has been sleeping so much in the reality show’s house. A source said: “Louis is in remission currently but you can see how frail he is and that he has lost a lot of weight. It’s also the reason why he’s sleeping so much, it all took a lot out of him. The whole experience was the main driver behind signing up for the show. He’d been really ill and just wanted to enjoy life again and thought ‘what the hell’.” The friend said that Louis been suffering the condition in lock-down and received incredible care in Dublin but it left him feeling very isolated. They added: “It’s little wonder he has decided to immerse himself in the Celebrity Big Brother house. It’s almost as a reaction to what has happened. It was quite the ordeal, not least as the cancer is so rare that it took a while to get diagnosed.” It is not known what treatment Louis received, although sufferers often have chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Around 350 people in the UK are diagnosed with Waldenstrom Macroglobulinaemia each year.

On This Day

  • 1891 – SS Utopia collides with HMS Anson in the Bay of Gibraltar and sinks, killing 562 of the 880 passengers on board.
  • 1963 – Mount Agung erupts on Bali killing more than 1,100 people. 
  • 1968 – As a result of nerve gas testing by the U.S. Army Chemical Corps in Skull Valley, Utah, over 6,000 sheep are found dead.  
  • 1985 – Serial killer Richard Ramirez, aka the “Night Stalker“, commits the first two murders in his Los Angeles murder spree.  
  • 2000 – Five hundred and thirty members of the Ugandan cult Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God die in a fire, considered to be a mass murder or suicide orchestrated by leaders of the cult. Elsewhere another 248 members are later found dead.  

Deaths

  • 1947 – Mike, American  chicken, lived 18 months following decapitation (h. 1945). 
  • 2011 – Michael Gough, English actor (b. 1916).
  • 2023 – Lance Reddick, American actor (b. 1962).

Died Laughing 

The mystery of the man who was reported to have died laughing watching the comedy show The Goodies in the 1970’s may have been solved by doctors.  

The episode Kung Fu Kapers is infamous after fifty-year-old Alex Mitchell could not stop laughing for a continuous 25-minute period – almost the entire length of the show – and it was assumed that he suffered a fatal heart attack as a result of the strain placed on his heart.

Mr Mitchell’s death after laughing for half an hour watching The Goodies made headlines around the world in 1975. Later his wife, Nessie, wrote to the show’s stars Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie to thank them for making his final 30 minutes so enjoyable.

More recently, his granddaughter Lisa Corke, 23, suffered a near fatal cardiac arrest at home on the Isle of Sheppey. She has now been diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome which doctors think could have also caused her grandfathers death.

Mr Mitchell’s son Alex, who was 17 at the time, said: “They just thought it was a heart attack. After what happened to Lisa I spoke to my sister, who was with my dad at the time, and my mum… and they said it was as though my dad fainted and started breathing funny. Listening to how Mick [Lisa’s husband] described what happened to Lisa it was almost identical symptoms. That’s when the doctors put two and two together and came up with the idea that actually they think it’s hereditary.”

Consultant cardiologist Dr Pier Lambiase said: “You may find other members of the family that have unexplained deaths and it was put down to a heart attack at the time, but it was actually due to this condition. I would say given the fact that his granddaughter, I believe, had Long QT Syndrome and the circumstances of the death it would be good circumstantial evidence. To be absolutely certain you would have to see if there was an abnormality in the gene that causes Long QT Syndrome found in the granddaughter that is also evident in other members of the family, particularly the individual who passed away.”

Mrs Corke was put into a medically induced coma after she suffered the cardiac arrest in May.

She said: “The doctors know what it is, they know that it is genetic so hopefully they’ll be to find if the children have it, if my brother has it and if my father as well. And hopefully protect future generations in our family.”

A person with Long QT Syndrome suddenly faints or passes out during exercise, or when experiencing intense emotions, such as fear. Symptoms typically begin in young children, but may occur in newborns and can appear as late as middle age.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Kurt Russell (73), Morfydd Clark (35), Rob Lowe (60), Gary Sinise (69), John Boyega (32), Patrick Duffy (75), Alan Tudyk (53), Alexandra Daddario (38), Aisling Bea (40), Jerome Flynn (61), Erik Estrada (75), Jimmy Nail (70), Pollyanna McIntosh (45), David Cronenberg (81), Eva Longoria (49), Will.i.am (49), Ansel Elgort (30), Jamie Bell (38), Michael Caine (91), Billy Crystal (76), Betsy Brandt (51), Quincy Jones (91), William H. Macy (74), Aaron Eckhart (56), Titus Welliver (62), Jaimie Alexander (40), Lesley Manville (68), Liza Minnelli (78), Jodie Comer (31), Thora Birch (42), Alex Kingston (61), John Barrowman (57), and Johnny Knoxville (53).