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Dead Pool 20th June 2021

In the week where Joe Biden’s dog Champ dies at the age of 13, there’s a slight dip in celebrity deaths and news. All this mask wearing must be making a difference. 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

The patriarch of ‘The World’s Largest Family’ with 39 wives, 94 children, 33 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, which adds up to 181 people, has died at the age of 76. The polygamous man from northeast India whose dozens of wives and scores of children had turned his family into a tourist attraction. Ziona Chana’s death was confirmed by Mizoram’s chief minister, Zoramthanga, who offered his condolences on Twitter “with a heavy heart”. Chana reportedly suffered from diabetes and hypertension. Doctors told PTI news agency that Chana’s condition deteriorated at home in his village, Baktawng Tlangnuam. He was admitted to hospital on Sunday evening,  where he was declared dead on arrival. While various local news reports have referred to him as holding the “world record” for such a large family, it’s unclear which global record it is. But world record or not, Chana and his family are a local sensation of sorts, attracting tourists to their village in India’s north-east. The enormous family lives together in a four-storied house called “Chuuar Than Run” or New Generation House, with 100 rooms. His wives share a dormitory near Chana’s private bedroom, according to local media. The mansion is a major tourist attraction in the state, with people from around the world thronging the village to get a peek into the family’s lifestyle. According to Reuters news agency, Chana was born in 1945. He met his oldest wife, who is three years older than him, when he was 17.   

Social-media users without anything better to do are sharing Google Street View images featuring friends and relatives who have since died. It was sparked by a post on the Twitter account Fesshole, who said they had searched the map platform for images taken before their father had died. The BBC’s Neil Henderson shared an image of his late father at his front door. “I have literally hundreds of pics of my dad but the Google Street View is quite affecting, like he’s still around,” he wrote. Another tweeter showed an image of a couple holding hands in the street – his parents, he said, who had died several years ago. One captured a lady just outside her doorway. “My mum creeping outside for a cigarette,” wrote Bernard Baker. Others said just seeing local images taken when their loved ones were still alive made them feel a connection. And some expressed regret images poignant to them had been replaced with more recent photos. Searching through Google Street View for strange objects or bizarre moments captured in freeze-frame has become something of a niche internet pastime. 

Scarface, the world’s most famous lion, has died of natural causes aged 14, in Kenya. The king of animals, and the oldest lion in the Maasai Mara game reserve, was known for the huge scar across his right eye. He had his own Facebook page, and starred in several documentaries, including the BBC’s Big Cats Diary. His passing leaves a 400 square-mile territory up for grabs in the Kenyan reserve. The massive area in the Malaika and Ashnil camp territories was once held by Scarface and his three brothers: Morani, Sikio, and Hunter. They were known as the ‘Four Musketeers’ and headed a pride of nine females with cubs and a few young males.Conservationists said the lion, whose species typically live between 10 and 14 years, had become skinny and sickly in the period leading up to his death. Announcing his death, the Mara Predator Conservation Programme said: ‘At 1 pm local time [on Friday, June 11], Scarface took his last breath. ‘He died in peace without any disturbance from vehicles and hyenas. We were the only vehicle on the scene and by his side, hoping to give him any kind of comfort.’The Mara has lost yet another one of its great iconic males. May his legend forever live on.’ Scarface suffered a series of injuries in his lifetime and was hit by a the spear of a Maasai warrior who was trying to protect his cattle. He received the scar across his eye, earning him the nickname Scarface, during a 2012 territory raid with his brothers when he was just four years old. Vets repeatedly intervened to treat the wound when it opened, preventing infection.

On This Day

  • 1837 – Queen Victoria succeeds to the British throne.   
  • 1893 – Lizzie Borden is acquitted of the murders of her father and stepmother.  
  • 1963 – Following the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet Union and the United States sign an agreement to establish the so-called “red telephone” link between Washington and Moscow.  
  • 1975 – The film Jaws is released in the United States, becoming the highest-grossing film of that time and starting the trend of films known as “summer blockbusters”.  

Deaths

  • 1906 – John Clayton Adams, English painter (b. 1840).  
  • 1974 – Horace Lindrum, Australian snooker player (b. 1912). 
  • 2005 – Jack Kilby, American physicist and engineer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1923). 

Soddor Family Mystery

When fire engulfed the Sodder family home on Christmas Eve, with only four of the nine children inside managing to escape, the awful tragedy rocked their small community. But the apparently fatal blaze soon turned into one of America’s greatest unsolved mysteries as, once the flames had been put out, none of the bodies of the children trapped in the house were found.

At first George and Jennie Sodder assumed that five of their children, aged between five and 14, had perished in the fire at their home in Fayetteville, West Virginia. But they soon realised things were not as they seemed and remained convinced their missing children were still alive for the rest of their lives.

But while the case is marked by odd events and has inspired many conspiracy theories, from kidnapping to the involvement of the Italian mafia, it is still unsolved today. 

Up until bedtime on December 24, 1945, it had been a normal Christmas Eve in the Sodder household, where nine of George and Jennie’s ten children – their eldest was fighting in World War Two – played and exchanged gifts. Youngest children Martha, Jennie, Betty, Maurice and Louis, all asked to stay up later than usual to play, and their mum agreed, as long as they helped take care of the cows and chickens before bed. Around midnight, the phone started ringing and mum Jennie went downstairs to answer it. A woman asked for someone whose name she didn’t recognise, so told the caller she had reached the wrong number. Downstairs, she found the lights and curtains open, with Marion, one of the eldest sisters, asleep on the couch. Assuming the children had neglected to do their chores and had gone straight to sleep in the attic, she headed back to bed herself.

At 1am, Jennie was woke again, this time by the sound of an object hitting the house’s roof with a loud bang, followed by a rolling noise. After hearing nothing further, she went back to sleep. But she woke again half an hour later because of the smell of smoke and found a fire had broken out in George’s office. She woke  him, who in turn woke his four older sons, and the six managed to flee the house. Unable to get upstairs because of the flames, they frantically called the children, but there was no response. As the family desperately tried to rescue their children, a series of odd events would later convince the Sodders something much more sinister had occurred.

First, they tried to call the fire department, but found the line was dead. It was later found that the phone line at the top of their power pole had been cut – even though only an hour and a half earlier someone had managed to phone the Sodder’s home. George then went to grab his ladder to get the children down from the second floor. But the ladder, which was normally resting against the side of the house, wasn’t in its usual place or anywhere else where they looked. So he decided to drive his truck underneath he window and climb on top of it to reach them – but neither of George’s trucks would work, even though both were in good working order the previous day. One of the children, Marion, then ran to a neighbour’s house to phone the fire department but she couldn’t get through to an operator.

Someone at a nearby tavern, seeing the blaze, also called the fire department but again there was no operator to make the call. By then, the surviving family members could only watch as their home – and the five young children – went up in flames.

By the time the volunteer firefighters arrived the next morning – most were overseas serving in the war – the family assumed they had perished inside.

Four days after the fire, George bulldozed the home intending the make a memorial garden for his children, while death certificates were issued for each. But it wasn’t long before the family began to question what really happened.

First, the Christmas lights staying on through the beginning part of the blaze, which would not have occurred if it was an electrical fire caused by “faulty wiring”, as investigators concluded. They also found the missing ladder, which had been moved from the side of the house and hidden in an embankment near the home. A witness also came forward claiming he saw a man at the fire scene taking a block and tackle used for removing car engines – perhaps the reason why Georg’s trucks refused to start. And a telephone repair man told the Sodders that their lines appeared to have been cut, not burned – which could only have happened in the hour and a half between the midnight phone call to the home and the start of the fire. Most significant, however, was when Jennie found kitchen appliances intact in the rubble, and wondered why they had not been burned to ash if their children’s bodies had. She later contacted a crematorium which told her that a two-hour fire at 2,000oF – both hotter and longer than the Sodder’s house fire – would still leave human bones intact.

The parents then began their campaign to find out what had really happened, and the case of the Sodder children became an enduring mystery which would fascinate America for decades. 

One of the strongest theories, which George and Jennie came to believe, was that their children had been abducted by the Sicilian mafia, in retaliation for Italian immigrant George’s outspoken criticism of Mussolini and the fascist government back in his homeland.

Two months before the fire, a travelling insurance salesman tried to sell George a policy, but when he declined he was shocked by the salesman’s response: “Your goddamn house is going up in smoke and your children are going to be destroyed. “You are going to be paid for the dirty remarks you have been making about Mussolini”. Around the same time, a stranger appeared at the home asking George, who owned a trucking company, about hauling work. Walking to the back of the house he pointed to two fuse boxes and said “this is going to cause a fire some day” – even though George had just had his wiring checked by the local power company who pronounced it safe. 

Just weeks before the fire some of the Sodder children had noticed two people in a car watching them on their way home from school and told their parents. But despite the suspicions the family never received any communication from the Italian mafia, who were known for using kidnaps to extort money from victims’ families. When George and Jennie asked for help from the FBI but were refused, they contracted a private investigator called C.C. Tinsley, who discovered that the insurance salesman who had threatened George was a member of the coroner’s jury that had deemed the fire accidental, further adding to the mystery. Tinsley persuaded Morris to go with him to dig up the box, but the ‘heart’ inside was found to be beef liver, untouched by the fire.

Soon after, the Sodders heard rumours that the fire chief had told others that he had buried the beef liver in the rubble in the hope that the family would conclude that their children really had died there and give up claiming they had been abducted. But subsequent hearings failed to find any answers, telling the Sodders their search was “hopeless’ and declaring the case closed. 

Undeterred, they erected a billboard long Route 16 near the scene of the fire, offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of their children. But while George travelled the country to investigate each lead, he always returned home without any answers.

In 1968, more than 20 years after the fire, Jennie went to get the mail and found an envelope addressed only to her. Postmarked in Kentucky with no return address, it contained a photo of a man in his mid-20s with features comparable to those of their son Louis, who was nine at the time of the fire. On its flip side was a handwritten note: “Louis Sodder. I love brother Frankie. Ilil Boys. A90132 or 35.”

One again they hired a private detective, but he failed to find the sender of the letter, and the couple never heard from him again.

In an interview in 1966, George, now aged 71, said: “Time is running out for us. “But we only want to know. If they did die in the fire, we want to be convinced. Otherwise, we want to know what happened to them.” He died the following year, still hoping for a breakthrough in the case.

Jennie lived the rest of her life in isolation, still wearing only black, which she had done since the fire as a sign of mourning, until her own death in 1989. Their quest for answers was taken up by their grown-up children, but all but one of them also passed away without finding any answers. The last surviving Sodder child, Sylvia, now aged 76, is just as convinced as her parents were that her lost siblings didn’t die in the fire. 

The last surviving witness to what happened on that fateful Christmas Eve 74 years ago, she is still hoping she will find the truth before it is too late.

Last Week’s Birthdays

Nicole Kidman (54), John Goodman (69), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (32), Robert Rodriguez (53), Miles O’Keeffe (67), Kathleen Turner (67), Zoe Saldana (43), Aidan Turner (38), Paula Abdul (59), Richard Madden (35), Isabella Rossellini (69), Carol Kane (69), Paul McCartney (79), Will Forte (51), Jodie Whittaker (39), Barry Manilow (78), Arnold Vosloo (59), James Bolam (86), Courteney Cox (57), Helen Hunt (58), Neil Patrick Harris (48), Jim Belushi (67), Ice Cube (52), Will Patton (67), Yasmine Bleeth (53), Boy George (60), and Donald Trump (75). 

Dead Pool 13th June 2021

As footballers fail to die in the late Euro 2020 Championship, we’re also struggling to find notable deaths this week, even India’s Covid disaster seems to have calmed down! Anyhow, plenty of non-football related stories to read, Let’s crack on! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

 In Other News

General Hospital star Kirsten Storms revealed in a series of Instagram stories she received brain surgery. The 37-year-old actress told followers she had an operation earlier in the week to address a growing cyst in her brain. In spite of the harrowing circumstance, Storms was in good spirits and will continue to rest at home. Storms showed some humour by saying there’d be no visual effect to disguise her state post-op. “There really is no filter that’s going to make this better for me right now,” she said in the first video. In acknowledging the shocking reveal, Storms stated this was the first time she publicly talked about her medical issue. “I’ve not really spoken about this much or at all actually. Less than 48 hours ago I had brain surgery, hence the neck brace, it was on the lower portion of my brain,” she said. Storms assured fans that she did not have a bout with cancer: “What they had to drain and remove was not cancer — I want to clarify that right now before the internet goes crazy wild with rumours about this. I had a very large cyst that had split into two and the doctor said it was like so full the pressure was very noticeable when they opened up my skull, sounds so weird,” she explained. For future plans regarding her role on General Hospital, Storms said will be “on the mend for the next several weeks but I will be back at work when this is over with,” and that in her spare time healing she’ll be doing what she loves best – knitting. 

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un is looking noticeably slimmer in the latest images released by state media last week, prompting speculation about his health, after disappearing from public view for more than a month. The experts closely following North Korea and its leaders said that Kim Jong-un may have lost a significant amount of weight. The analysis in the report said the length of the strap past the buckle on the Swiss company watch worn by Kim Jong-un in his latest pictures appear longer, indicating a slimmer wrist. Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said if he has intentionally lost weight to get healthier, then it “likely improves his position at home. If the sudden weight loss is due to a health condition though, the jockeying for his succession may already be happening behind the scenes, and that volatility could be trouble for the outside world,” said Mr Narang. The health of the North Korean leader has been a matter of intense interest among the experts and foreign intelligence agencies including South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS), as there have been a few instances of him disappearing for weeks from the public eye. Earlier, experts assessed that he is at high risk of cardiovascular disease. His family reportedly has a history of heart issues as well. In November 2020, the NIS had reportedly told South Korean lawmakers that they believed Kim Jong-un weighed about 140 kilograms.  

A 28-year-old British woman who was attacked by a crocodile in Mexico over the weekend is no longer in a coma, her twin sister has said. Melissa Laurie and her twin Georgia, from Berkshire, were swimming in the Manialtepec lagoon, Oaxaca, when the incident happened. After being rushed to Ángel del Mar hospital in the resort of Puerto Escondido, Melissa was put into a medically-induced coma and later developed sepsis when her bite marks became infected. She was attacked “three or four times” by the animal according to witnesses, before her twin Georgia managed to fight it off. “Georgia has terrible bite marks on her body”, their mother, Sue Laurie said. Georgia found her sister face down in water in the Manialtepec Lagoon, 16 km away from the popular surfing resort, and dragged her to safety. The crocodile attacked them both again but Georgia was able to fend it off and swim to the boat with her sister. The two are currently still at the Mexican hospital. Their father Sean told the us that Georgia “kept punching it in the head. They were swimming after dark in the bioluminescent waters when Georgia heard Melissa cry out. She called for her but she didn’t reply. She could hear other members of the tour group but did not hear anything from her sister. At the time we didn’t know if her injuries were life-threatening or not. She had water on her lungs and she had been coughing up blood. So we don’t know if she had a punctured lung or not.” The twins’ older sister Hana, 33, claimed earlier this week that her siblings’ tour guide had taken them to a spot where swimming was not recommended. She told us: “They asked if the water was safe and were told it was, and evidently that’s not the case. They’re not naive people, Georgia and Melissa are experienced with animals, Georgia’s a great diver, which is how we think she’s managed to save her life.” The tour guide was arrested by the Guardia Civil after fleeing from the lagoon, according to the local police.  

Continuing with the ‘being eaten alive’ theme, an experienced lobster diver survived being caught in a humpback whale’s mouth near Provincetown, Massachusetts on Friday morning. Michael Packard was searching for lobsters on the ocean floor on his second dive of the day, approximately 45 feet below the surface, when he said he felt a bump and then he was in total darkness. “All of a sudden, I felt this huge shove, and the next thing I knew it was completely black,” Mr Packard told us following his release from the Cape Cod Hospital. At first the 45-year-old thought that he was in the mouth of a great white shark, which are common in the area. But when he realised that he hadn’t suffered any obvious wounds from sharp teeth, he determined that he was in the mouth of a whale. “I realised, oh my God, I’m in a whale’s mouth and he’s trying to swallow me, and I thought to myself OK, this is it, I’m gonna die!” Mr Packard said that his thoughts then went to his wife and sons, whom he feared he would never see again. He estimates that he was in the whale’s mouth for 30 to 40 seconds. Mr Packard was able to continue to breathe, as he had his regulator in his mouth, but could feel the whale “squeezing with the muscles in his mouth” the whole time. Mr Packard said: “It was happening so fast, my only thought was how to get out of that mouth, and I realised, there was no overcoming of a beast of that size. He was going to do with me what he wanted to do.” Luckily, fate was on Mr Packard’s side. He said he could tell that the whale didn’t like having him in its mouth. “All of a sudden he went up to the surface. He just erupted and started shaking his head, and I just got thrown in the air and landed in the water and I was free.” He added: “I just floated there. I couldn’t believe I got out of that.” Josiah Mayo, a crewman from Mr Packard’s boat, saw the whale burst to the surface and spit out Mr Packard. Mr Mayo retrieved Mr Packard from the water before calling the shore by radio, and speedily returning to the Provincetown Pier. An ambulance met Mr Packard at the pier and took him to Cape Cod Hospital; he was released Friday afternoon, having sustained some bruising and soft tissue damage to his legs whilst in the whale’s mouth. Jooke Robbins, the director of Humpback Whale Studies at the Centre for Coastal Studies in Provincetown explained that what happened to Mr Packard was most likely an accident, caused by a somewhat clumsy, juvenile whale. She said that as humpback whales feed, their mouths open and billow out in a parachute-like manner, obstructing their vision, which is likely what led to Mr Packard becoming trapped in the whale’s mouth. She added that humpback whales are not known to be aggressive, especially towards humans. 

On This Day

  • 1495 – A monk, John Cor, records the first known batch of Scotch whisky. 
  • 1974 – The Heimlich maneuver for rescuing choking victims is published in the journal Emergency Medicine. Before this day, people just choked to death. 
  • 2001 – Nepalese royal massacre: Crown Prince Dipendra of Nepal shoots and kills several members of his family including his father and mother. Prince Harry has admitted that he has thought about a similar attempt. 
  • 2004 – Oklahoma City bombing co-conspirator Terry Nichols is sentenced to 161 consecutive life terms without the possibility of a parole, breaking a Guinness World Record. 

Deaths

Last Meals

William G Zuern was executed by the State of Ohio for the murder of a Hamilton County sheriff’s deputy working as a corrections officer in the county jail. Zuern spent 19 years and 7 months on death row, with lawyers fighting his death sentence. His execution occurred on the day before the 20th anniversary of the crime for which he was condemned. 

In May 1984, Zuern, who was awaiting trial for the murder of Gregory Earls, was incarcerated at the Community Correctional Institute in Hamilton County, Ohio. In the latter part of the month, Zuern had a conversation with another inmate about corrections officers’ failure to give Zuern his full five minutes of telephone time. During the conversation, Zuern expressed general hostility towards the officers, saying “somebody should do something to them sons of bitches”. The inmate had also observed Zuern sharpening a straightened portion of a hook from a metal bucket over the course of three days and informed a corrections officer that Zuern either had a knife or a shank. 

On June 9th 1984, another inmate informed a sheriff’s deputy that he and Zuern had argued the day before and that Zuern said he was going to kill him. The inmate also said that Zuern had a homemade knife which he had sharpened on his cell floor. That evening, officers went to search Zuern’s cell, among others. Before the officers arrived at Zuern’s cell, Zuern received word from another inmate that the officers were coming to search his cell. 

At approximately 10:20pm, Officers Joe Burton and Phillip Pence arrived to perform the search and found Zuern lying naked in his bunk. Officer Pence ordered Zuern to get to his feet; he then stood at the door of the cell. Pence unlocked the cell and told Zuern to come out and put his hands against the wall. Zuern lunged at Pence and fatally stabbed him in the chest with the metal shank. The weapon was a long dagger-like piece of metal, approximately seven inches long. One end was sharpened to a point, and the other end was curved into a loop. The shank pierced three holes in Pence’s heart. 

Prior to his execution, Zuern dined on  mashed potatoes and gravy, lasagna, macaroni and cheese, garlic bread, corn, chocolate milk and cherry cheese cake but left this world without saying any final words. 

The 45-year-old died six minutes after two lethal drugs – Pancuronium Bromide to stop his breathing and Potassium Chloride to stop his heartbeat – began flowing into his veins. His death was a peaceful one. His chest heaved several times, and his lips parted with slightly laboured breathing for several minutes before his breathing stopped forever. Zuern’s face and shaved head turned lightly purple before prison officials drew a curtain between Zuern and the witnesses at 10:03 a.m. After a prison doctor performed a quick examination, the curtain was reopened and Warden James Haviland drew a microphone to his mouth and said, “Time of death 10:04 a.m.” 

Zuern’s death was not enough for co-workers and relatives of his victims. “William Zuern Jr. went too easy today. I believe that he should have died the way Phil died,” said Jeff Roush, a Hamilton County sheriff’s deputy who witnessed the murder of his colleague and friend, Phillip Pence. “This case was nothing more than putting a mad dog to sleep,” he said. Rousch was unhappy that Zuern never met his glare. “I think he just cowarded his way out. We just glared at him (during his execution) but he wouldn’t look at us,” he said. Rousch’s thirst for vengeance was shared by Joseph Burton, another coworker who witnessed Pence’s murder, and family members of Zuern’s two murder victims – Pence and Gregory Earls, who Zuern fatally shot. “It was too easy on him. It was too easy,” said Sherry Behler, Pence’s half-sister, after witnessing the execution. Juanita Earls, the mother of Earls, Zuern’s first victim, said after the execution, “My son was murdered by William Zuern. I waited 20 years to see justice done for my son. For that, I’m grateful. He died more merciful than my son and Phillip Pence died. He was an animal.” 

Last Week’s Birthdays

Chris Evans (40), Ally Sheedy (59), Stellan Skarsgård (70), Malcolm McDowell (78), Tim Allen (68), Richard Thomas (70), Mary-Kate Olsen (35), Ashley Olsen (35), Simon Callow (72), Kathy Burke (57), Steve-O (47), Shia LaBeouf (35), Joshua Jackson (43), Peter Dinklage (52), Hugh Laurie (62), Adrienne Barbeau (76), Jane Goldman (51), Elizabeth Hurley (56), DJ Qualls (43), Jürgen Prochnow (80), Johnny Depp (58), Natalie Portman (40), Eddie Marsan (53), Michael J. Fox (60), Griffin Dunne (67), Nancy Sinatra (82), Kanye West (45), Liam Neeson (69), Karl Urban (49), Anna Torv (42), Michael Cera (33), Lance Reddick (59), Bill Hader (43), Helen Baxendale (51), Bear Grylls (47), and Tom Jones (81). 

Dead Pool 6th June 2021

Not many notable deaths this week, so unsurprisingly I won’t be dishing out the points! Time to unleash the flying monkeys!  

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Gone Girl actor Lisa Banes is in critical condition after being involved in a hit-and-run accident. Banes, 65, lives in Los Angeles, but was in New York for the first time since the pandemic to perform two-woman show The Niceties at the Manhattan Theatre Club. According to police, she was on her way to a dinner party when she was hit by a motorised scooter while crossing the road. The vehicle drove through a red light and the driver fled the scene. Police say Banes had the right of way and was “flung” from the road. Banes’s wife, Kathryn Kranhold, revealed that she has traumatic brain injury and is being treated in the intensive care unit at Mount Sinai Morningside hospital. Banes’ credits include Tom Cruise film Cocktail, western Young Guns and the TV shows The Orville, Nashville and Masters of Sex. In Gone Girl, she played the mother of Rosamund Pike’s character Amy Dunne.

Three men were hurt in a fight involving an axe and a Samurai sword on Formby Beach near Liverpool on Sunday. Police rushed to the scene of the incident at around 7.10pm on Sunday evening in Sefton, Merseyside, after receiving calls that three men had been stabbed. A witness told us that the men had met on the beach for an “arranged fight” before one of them reached for a weapon. “The lad who was losing the fight pulled out an axe and hit the other lad with it,” the witness said. “His mate then pulled out a samurai sword and used that too. It was bad.” The injured men were taken to hospital by air ambulance while police closed the beach, which was busy at the time due to the warm weather. Those leaving were asked to give their details to officers. The erudite and educated Detective Superintendent Mark Baker of the Merseyside Police said in a statement: “At this early stage we believe that these incidents are linked, but are keeping an open mind as to the motives behind them. However, we know the community of Formby and beyond will be alarmed to hear about what has happened and will share our determination to find those responsible and remove them from the streets,” he said. The detectives have appealed for information and are also checking the footage from CCTVs installed in the area. They are also trying to gather information from the local community. Glad to to the ancient art of duelling is alive and well.  

Acting and performing legend Dick Van Dyke has shown everyone how he stays fit and healthy at the age of 95. Sitting on the ground in his garden, Van Dyke demonstrated how he does an ab workout with the use of exercise equipment, saying, “I’m 95 and a lot of my friends won’t do these”. (I’m 46 and I won’t either! Ed). While doing sit-ups, the 95-year-old explained: “The stomach is the core of your whole body. If your stomach’s strong, you’re in good shape.” The actor revealed that his workout routine has kept him in shape and allowed him to keep doing what he loves. He said: “So all you old guys out there, listen to me. I’m telling you, you can keep going. I’m still dancing and singing!” The Hollywood legend is best known for his iconic roles in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mary Poppins, including the 2018 sequel Mary Poppins Returns, where he made a cameo appearance. He explained that, for the part, he was offered the choice of different dances to learn but chose the most difficult one to make a point. The actor explained: “They gave me three versions, and I took the hardest one. I said, ‘I want that one. I had to prove I can do it. I was 91, I think.” He also touched on aspects of his personal life and spoke about when he revealed on television in 1974 that he is a recovering alcoholic. Van Dyke explained: “I had friends who said, ‘You’re crazy’. But it seemed to help a lot of people. I got a lot of mail from people who have said, ‘If you can do it, I can do it.’”

On This Day

  • 1944 – Commencement of Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of Normandy, with the execution of Operation Neptune – commonly referred to as D-Day – the largest seaborne invasion in history. Nearly 160,000 Allied troops cross the English Channel with about 5,000 landing and assault craft, 289 escort vessels, and 277 minesweepers participating. By the end of the day, the Allies have landed on four invasion beaches and are pushing inland.  
  • 1975 – British referendum results in continued membership of the European Economic Community, with 67% of votes in favour.  

Deaths

  • 1832 – Jeremy Bentham, English jurist and philosopher (b. 1748). 
  • 1948 – Louis Lumière, French film director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1864). 
  • 1961 – Carl Gustav Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist (b. 1875). 
  • 1968 – Robert F. Kennedy, American lawyer, and politician (b. 1925).  
  • 1976 – J. Paul Getty, American businessman, founded the Getty Oil Company (b. 1892). 
  • 2005 – Anne Bancroft, American film actress (b. 1931). 

Children Who Kill

Lionel Tate is the youngest American citizen ever sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. In January 2001, when Tate was 13, he was convicted of first-degree murder for the 1999 battering death of six-year-old Tiffany Eunick in Broward County, Florida.  

On July 28th 1999, Tate was left alone with Eunick, who was being babysat by Tate’s mother, Kathleen Grossett-Tate. While the children were downstairs playing, Tate’s mother called to them to be quiet. Tate came up 45 minutes later to see that Eunick was not breathing. He said that while they were wrestling, he had her in a headlock and the child’s head hit a table. Only Eunick and Grossete-Tate were present when this occurred. 

Tate was convicted of killing Eunick by stomping on her so forcefully that her liver was lacerated. Her legs, feet, and neck all had serious bruises; an example of the amount of force used on her was similar to bruises from that of a speeding car. Her other injuries included a fractured skull, fractured rib, and swollen brain. These injuries were characterised by the prosecution as “similar to those she would have sustained by falling from a three-story building.” In sentencing Tate to life imprisonment, Judge Joel T. Lazarus of Broward County Circuit Court said that “The acts of Lionel Tate were not the playful acts of a child, they were cold, callous and indescribably cruel.” 

Florida Statutes required the jury to convict Tate of first-degree murder even if the jury did not believe that he intended to kill or injure anyone – all that was required was that Tate knowingly abused another child who died as a result, as any intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical injury to a child is child abuse per Florida statutes.  The rule for such convictions is known as the felony murder rule. The sufficient conditions of the felony murder rule were listed by the judge  during sentencing. Therefore, Tate was sentenced to life in prison without the prosecution having to prove that he intended to kill or injure, or realised that his acts are likely to kill or injure, or even that a typical child of his age would or should realise this. 

The sentence was controversial because Tate was 12 years old at the time of the murder, and his victim was 6. He was the youngest person in modern US history to be sentenced to life imprisonment, bringing broad criticism on the treatment of juvenile offenders in the justice system of the state of Florida. 

After the conviction, the prosecution openly joined Tate’s plea for leniency in sentencing and even offered to help in his appeal. The trial judge criticised the prosecution for compromising the integrity of the adversarial system, and said that if the prosecution felt that life imprisonment was not warranted, they should not have charged him with murder in the first place. 

In January 2004, a state appeals court overturned his conviction on the basis that his mental competency had not been evaluated before trial. This opened the way for Tate to  accept the same plea deal he originally turned down, and he was released on one year’s house arrest and 10 years’ probation. However, on September 3rd 2004, Tate was detained and sent to prison for violating the terms of his house arrest when he was found outside of his house and carrying an eight-inch knife! 

Barely a year later, Tate was charged with armed burglary with battery, armed robbery, and violation of probation. Tate threatened Domino’s Pizza deliveryman Walter Ernest Gallardo with a handgun outside a friend’s apartment after phoning in an order. Gallardo dropped the four pizzas and fled the scene. Tate then re-entered the apartment, assaulting the occupant who did not want Tate inside. Gallardo called 911 upon reaching the Domino’s store and returned to identify Tate, but no gun was recovered. 

On March 1st 2006, Tate accepted a plea bargain and was to be sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment in a sentencing hearing in April 2006. Tate admitted that he had violated probation by possessing a gun during the May 23rd violent robbery, but he refused to answer questions about where he got and later disposed of the gun. He was allowed to withdraw his guilty plea for robbery but was finally sentenced to 30 years in prison on May 18th 2006 for violating probation. Tate pled no contest to the robbery and was sentenced to 10 years in state prison. The sentence will run concurrently with his 30-year sentence for violating his probation. Tate is currently imprisoned in the Charlotte Correctional Institution, which is probably a good place to keep him!

Last Week’s Birthdays

Jason Isaacs (58), Paul Giamatti (54), Robert Englund (74), Sandra Bernhard (66), Mark Wahlberg (50), Mel Giedroyc (53), Angelina Jolie (46), Noah Wyle (50), Bruce Dern (85), Russell Brand (46), Sean Pertwee (57), Imogen Poots  (32),  James Purefoy (57), Suzi Quatro (71), Morena Baccarin (42), Awkwafina (33), Jewel Staite (39), Justin Long (43), Zachary Quinto (44), Dominic Cooper (43), Liam Cunningham (60), Dana Carvey (66), Tom Holland (25), Morgan Freeman (84), Brian Cox (75), Jonathan Pryce (74), Amy Schumer (40), Alanis Morissette (47), Heidi Klum (48), Robert Powell (77), Clint Eastwood (91), Lea Thompson (60), Colin Farrell (45), Brooke Shields (56), Tom Berenger (72), and Sharon Gless (78).

Dead Pool 30th May 2021

Quite a few notable names this week and a fun fact, in 1985 Bill Oddie was rescued from drowning by Rainbow star Freddy Marks! Loads of news too, so best get on with it.

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Twenty-one people have died after extreme weather hit a cross-country ultra-marathon across a mountain in northwest China. In weather to dissimilar to what we’re currently experiencing, participants on the 60-mile course were subjected to hail, freezing rain and gale-force winds after a sudden drop in temperatures at the Yellow River Stone Forest in Baiyin city, Gansu province, China’s state-run Flying Monkeys said. The race was brought to an emergency stop at around 1pm on Saturday, but not all of the runners could immediately be located on the high-altitude track. A rescue operation was launched that spanned 24 hours including overnight, and which was concluded on Sunday after the dead bodies of all 21 missing runners were found and transferred away from the site. The search, involving more than 700 people, was made more difficult by the mountain’s complex terrain. A number of elite runners were among the dead, including the well-known athlete Liang Jing, who had recently won a 60 mile race in Ningbo. Pictures and videos of the start of the marathon showed some of the runners wearing just shorts and t-shirts under overcast skies. Several participants of the race posted their videos on WeChat groups, raising SOS alerts and requests for help. The cause of death for most of the runners was believed to be hypothermia. Bayin city mayor Zhang Xuchen apologised as organiser of the event at a news conference. “We express deep condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims and the injured,” he said. Of the 172 people who participated in the race, 151 were confirmed safe. Some were treated for minor injuries and were stable, Xinhua said. Although there was much outrage at the organisers, one has to wonder why anyone would decide to run when one participant said he couldn’t get warmed up after taking a two mile warmup before the race started, stating that it was so cold his fingers were numb.  

If you’re wondering why so many people are dying of Covid in India, well, this might be one of the reasons. Hundreds of mourners broke Covid regulations to attend the funeral of a “divine” horse that belonged to a religious organisation in Karnataka in southern India — resulting in the authorities sealing off the entire village. On Sunday, in Karnataka’s Belagavi district, hundreds of people were seen flouting Covid safety protocols on distancing, mask-wearing and large gatherings in order to mark the funeral of a horse that villagers considered to be their “guardian deity” against the coronavirus. The local authorities in Belagavi have sealed the entire village of Gokak Taluk where the incident took place, and say it will remain closed off for the next 14 days while villagers are tested and monitored for symptoms. The 24-year-old horse was let loose three days before he died to roam the village freely, in the belief that this would ward off disease and save homes from the second wave of Covid that has devastated India. Authorities said villagers believed they should attend the funeral to give the horse a proper send off and pacify the gods. The horse was made to roam the village to ward off Covid-19 during last years first wave as well, and villagers said there was not a single death as a result of the virus. The horse — who didn’t have a name, in line with religious customs — was brought to Maradi village on 19th May and was let loose that night to roam the village. The religious organisation — locally called a mutt — to which the horse belonged, said that it returned to its shed around 3pm on Thursday. It was found dead there on Sunday. Waste of good glue if you ask me….   

The second person in the world to get the Pfizer-BioNTech jab has died of an unrelated illness. Bill Shakespeare, 81, received his first Covid vaccine in December at University Hospital Coventry shortly after 91-year-old Margaret Keenan. Coventry councillor Jayne Innes, a friend of Mr Shakespeare, said he had died on Thursday and added the “best tribute to Bill is to have the jab”. Mr Shakespeare had worked at Rolls Royce and was a parish councillor. The 81-year-old, who had served his local community in Allesley for more than three decades and was an inpatient on the hospital’s frailty ward at the time of his first jab, said it had been “wonderful”. Ms Innes wrote in a post on Facebook: “Bill will be remembered for many things, including a taste for mischief.” Mr Shakespeare leaves his wife Joy, their two adult sons and grandchildren.  

If like me, you loved the film School Of Rock, it’s really sad to hear that Kevin Clark has died aged 32 after being fatally struck by a car. The former actor, 32, was riding his bicycle around Chicago on Wednesday morning when he was hit. The Cook County Medical Examiner told the website that he was taken to hospital after the incident and was pronounced dead at just after 2am. Police told Chicago Sun Times that a 20-year-old woman was driving the car that hit him and she was issued citations. In the 2003 Jack Black comedy the Clark played drummer Freddy Jones, who was nicknamed ‘Spazzy McGee’. He was just 12-years-old when he landed the role. The film, directed by Richard Linklater, followed Black’s substitute teacher Dewey Finn as he tried to turn his class of uptight private school pupils into a rock group. School of Rock would be his only acting role as he decided to focus on his first love of music. An accomplished musician Clark had had played in a few bands with his most recent project being Jessie Bess and the Intentions. His mother Allison told Chicago Sun Times they had played their first live show on Saturday.   

A mass grave containing the remains of 215 children has been found in Canada at a former residential school set up to assimilate indigenous people. The children were students at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia that closed in 1978. The discovery was announced on Thursday by the chief of the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it was a “painful reminder” of a “shameful chapter of our country’s history”. The First Nation is working with museum specialists and the coroner’s office to establish the causes and timings of the deaths, which are not currently known. Rosanne Casimir, the chief of the community in British Columbia’s city of Kamloops, said the preliminary finding represented an unthinkable loss that was never documented by the school’s administrators. Canada’s residential schools were compulsory boarding schools run by the government and religious authorities during the 19th and 20th Centuries with the aim of forcibly assimilating indigenous youth. Kamloops Indian Residential School was the largest in the residential system. Opened under Roman Catholic administration in 1890, the school had as many as 500 students when enrolment peaked in the 1950s. The central government took over administration of the school in 1969, operating it as a residence for local students until 1978, when it was closed. From about 1863 to 1998, more than 150,000 indigenous children were taken from their families and placed in these schools. The children were often not allowed to speak their language or to practise their culture, and many were mistreated and abused. A commission launched in 2008 to document the impacts of this system found that large numbers of indigenous children never returned to their home communities. Amazing what religion and colonialism can achieve with their superior attitude!

On This Day

  • 1536 – King Henry VIII of England marries Jane Seymour, a lady-in-waiting to his first two wives. 
  • 1588 – The last ship of the Spanish Armada sets sail from Lisbon heading for the English Channel. The expedition doesn’t go well… 
  • 1842 – John Francis attempts to murder Queen Victoria as she drives down Constitution Hill in London with Prince Albert.  
  • 1899 – Pearl Hart, a female outlaw of the Old West, robs a stage coach 30 miles southeast of Globe, Arizona.  

Deaths

  • 1431 – Joan of Arc, French martyr and saint (b. 1412). 
  • 1593 – Christopher Marlowe, English poet and playwright (b. 1564).   
  • 1744 – Alexander Pope, English poet, essayist, and translator (b. 1688). 
  • 1778 – Voltaire, French philosopher and author (b. 1694). 
  • 1912 – Wilbur Wright, American pilot, co-founded the Wright Company (b. 1867). 
  • 1947 – Georg von Trapp, Austrian captain (b. 1880). 

The Strange Tale of Mr Hands

A long time ago, in a farm far, far away, a man died after having sex with a horse on camera at a depraved farm where bestiality was legal. 

Aircraft engineer Kenneth Pinyan, 45, was filmed having the sick tryst with a stallion in 2005 which fatally damaged a part of his large intestine and led to acute peritonitis. James Michael Tait took the disturbing footage of his pal Pinyan, who went by Mr Hands, as part of a twisted group of zoophiles in Enumclaw in the US state of Washington. Unsurprisingly, with Pinyan dead and Tait only charged with trespassing, the state swiftly outlawed sex with animals. 

Charles Mudede was one of the writers behind the 2007 documentary “Zoo”, based on the men’s bizarre tumbles with farm animals.  

In 2015, Mr Muded told Vice News: “Everyone in Enumclaw is very close to horses. It’s a quiet, rural suburb with a view of the mountains. “Everyone is a horse person, and as you know, the town included all types of horse worship. It was a place where you could fuck horses, and no one would tell. The line was difficult to differentiate between passion and zoophilia unless you were caught. If Pinyan didn’t die, those guys he hung out with would still be fucking horses today and no one would have suspected anything. It was a paradise for a horse fuckers. I’m sure they were so angry because they must have thought, ‘We had it so good!’” 

Pinyan from Seattle died on July 2nd 2005 after suffering from acute peritonitis, which is an inflammation of the tissue that lines the inner wall of the abdomen. Authorities traced Pinyan back from the Enumclaw Community  Hospital to the farm he had travelled from, using traffic CCTV. The horrific injury was caused by a stallion he and Tait nicknamed “Big Dick”, who perforated Mr Hands’ colon at the 40-acre farm. Investigators found hundreds of hours of videos showing men having sex with horses. Pinyan’s purchase of the horse the same year reportedly came as a surprise to his family. 

Washington State passed its first bestiality bill in 2006, prohibiting sexual conduct with an animal that had previously allowed the likes of Pinyan and Tait to have their way with horses. The violation was instated as a Class C felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. 

Mr. Hands’ death sent shockwaves across the so-called zoophilia community where people share a bestiality fetish, Mr Mudede told Vice News. He said: “I think the truth is that they lost a lot: stability, a weekend vacation getaway place, something to look forward to. They lost a community. “When the death happened, they were exposed. They were looked at, they were investigated. It was a major disruption!” Unbelievably those who the journalist interviewed in the making of “Zoo”, suggested Mr Hands was just not strong enough to take being penetrated by his horse “Big Dick”. Mr Mudede added: “I got an impression that they thought Mr Hands was a bit of a weakling. He was an intellectual, he worked for Boeing as an engineer. “They could take a horse-fucking and not have to go to the hospital. He was effete and new to it. They thought he ruined it. If he wasn’t so self-destructive, they’d still be fucking horses on weekends.” Only fools and horses eh? 

Last Week’s Birthdays

Idina Menzel (50), Colm Meaney (68), Mark Sheppard (57), Stephen Tobolowsky (70), Keir Dullea (85), Duncan Jones (50), Harry Enfield (60), Jennifer Ellison (38), Ted Levine (64), Annette Bening (63), Laverne Cox (49), Danny Elfman (68), Carey Mulligan (36), Nonso Anozie (42), Kylie Minogue (53), Michelle Collins (59), Paul Bettany (50), Joseph Fiennes (51), Chelsea Field (64), Jack McBrayer (48), Louis Gossett Jr. (85), André 3000 (46), Denise Van Outen (47), Doug Hutchison (61), Helena Bonham Carter (55), Pam Grier (72), Laurence Fox (43), Bobcat Goldthwait (59), Lenny Kravitz (57), Philip Michael Thomas (72), Stevie Nicks (73), Cillian Murphy (45), Mike Myers (58), Octavia Spencer (51), Ian McKellen (82), Frank Oz (77), Doug Jones (61), Alfred Molina (68), John C. Reilly (56), James Cosmo (73), Jim Broadbent (72), Priscilla Presley (76), Gary Burghoff (78), Tommy Chong (83), Bob Dylan (80), and Eric Cantona (55).

Dead Pool 23rd May 2021

Well done Paul C for correctly guessing Robert Marchand, only 41 points though, but every point counts in this game! Lots to read today, so let’s get on with it! 

Look Who You Could Have Had:

In Other News

Broadcaster Jeremy Paxman has revealed he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The former Newsnight presenter said he was receiving “excellent” treatment and that his symptoms are “currently mild”. “I plan to continue broadcasting and writing for as long as they’ll have me,” he said. The 71-year-old has hosted University Challenge since 1994 and is renowned for his fiercely inquisitorial interviewing style. Born in Leeds in 1950, the presenter joined Newsnight in 1989 and remained with BBC Two’s nightly bulletin until June 2014. Paxman said he would be making no further comment and had written about his diagnosis for the June edition of Saga magazine. Last month, Paxman was seen recovering from a fall, as he was spotted walking with a cane. The presenter had previously written in his Saga column, as per Express, that he’d ‘blacked out beforehand or did so when my nose hit the ground’ as he detailed his fall while out with his Spaniel-Dalmation cross, cheekily putting the blame squarely on his dog and suggesting he ‘must have seen a squirrel and jerked on his lead’. Writing there is a ‘world of difference’ between falling over – which happens to children – and ‘having a fall’ – something the older generation does – he said: ‘To my mind, a life well-lived involves minimum contact with the emergency services. But it’s inescapable when you get older.’ 

Edward Grimes, one half of the Irish music act Jedward, revealed he was admitted to hospital after facing a “life threatening situation”. The singer wrote to fans from his hospital bed last night, stating that he had undergone emergency surgery to remove his appendix. “Just had immediate surgery to remove my appendix,” wrote Grimes. “It was a life threatening and scary situation but I’m grateful the emergency team have operated on me and stopped the agony. I’m healing and on the road to recovery!” In a follow-up post, he wrote: “I’m urging everyone to please take severe pain in the abdominal area serious as I’ve ever experienced excruciating pain like this and knew something wasn’t right. Blood tests and CT scans indicated I needed surgery. I’m grateful it was caught in time.” The musician, who represented Ireland at the 2011 and 2012 Eurovision Song Contests, also revealed he had been watching last night’s Eurovision ceremony from hospital. “Of all times of the year it had to be Eurovision night here alone not watching it with John and my family and dogs,” he added. Last night’s Eurovision saw Italy crowned champions, with the UK finishing in last place with an unsurprising zero points due to entering the shittest song ever.  

The Queen was reportedly left “devastated” after one of her two new Dorgi puppies died over the weekend. Five-month-old Fergus, a mix of Dachshund and Welsh Corgi breeds, was one of the Queen’s newest dogs given to her by Prince Andrew in an effort to boost her spirits while Prince Philip was in hospital. And we all know what happens when a beloved dog dies from watching John Wick! The dog was named in honour of the Queen’s maternal uncle Fergus Bowes-Lyon who died in France during the First World War. Prince Andrew also gifted the Queen a corgi named Muick after Loch Muick, a lake in Scotland. A palace source told us: “The Queen is absolutely devastated. The puppies were brought in to cheer her up during a very difficult period,” they said. “Everyone concerned is upset as this comes so soon after she lost her husband,” the source concluded. The death of Fergus came a little over a month after the Queen lost the Duke of Edinburgh, her husband of 70 years. Fergus and Muick were the first dogs owned by the sovereign that are not direct descendants of Susan, the dog she received for her 18th birthday in 1944. The Queen has owned 30 corgis during her reign.   

Love Island’s Demi Jones has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. The 22-year-old confirmed on social media that after undergoing surgery to have a potentially cancerous lump removed from her neck, she has been  diagnosed with cancer. Demi shared a Macmillan pamphlet on her Instagram stories, which was titled: ‘Understanding thyroid cancer.’ She wrote: ‘Hi guys, I got my results today and unfortunately I have thyroid cancer. The tumour has been removed but I’m now due to have more surgery to remove the rest of my thyroid. I’m staying very positive and I’m a strong girl so I’ll be fine, thank you for your love and support always. I’ll bounce back stronger.’ She added: ‘Check your lumps.’ Demi underwent surgery remove the lump in April, but first noticed it in January 2019. Speaking to us earlier this month, she said: ‘I actually noticed the lump in January 2019. It was my third year at uni and it was while I was writing my dissertation and exams so that just engulfed my life. Then six months later once I’d finished and had my degree, I mentioned it to my mum and she went into panic mode and was like, “What the hell? Why haven’t you said anything?” Went straight to the doctors and apparently it’s very common – 1 in 3 women have a thyroid nodule but they said it looks good, we’re sure it’ll be fine.’ In January 2020, Demi entered the Love Island villa for the winter edition, and after shooting to fame on the show, she began working with brands like Missguided. However, later in the year, she noticed that the lump had grown. Her father’s own cancer battle pushed her to get the lump checked again. She said: ‘When you’re a young girl you’re more worried about boys and going out with your friends than checking for lumps and bumps, but it’s only because it’s something prominent on my neck that I knew it was an issue and unfortunately my dad had a lump and he developed cancer so I knew you need to keep a check on these things.’ When Demi had the tumour removed, she said it was the ‘size of a golf ball’, and would have to wait to learn if it was cancerous. For those of you who don’t know, Love Island is a reality program that dumps a bunch of bed hopping idiots in a luxury villa in Mallorca for viewers to watch the fallout from jealousy and STD’s. The show has produced a considerable amount of controversy, with four people linked to the show having died by suicide. But you know, it’s ‘entertainment’! 

On This Day

  • 1934 – Infamous American bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde are ambushed by police and killed in Bienville Parish, Louisiana. 
  • 1945 – World War II: Heinrich Himmler, head of the Schutzstaffel, commits suicide while in Allied custody.  
  • 1998 – The Good Friday Agreement is accepted in a referendum in Northern Ireland with roughly 75% voting yes.  

Deaths 

Don’t Mention The Bear – Aarrr! 

Allen Minish was alone and surveying land for a real estate agent in a wooded, remote part of Alaska, putting some numbers into his GPS unit when he looked up and saw a large brown bear walking about 30 feet away. 

“I saw him and he saw me at the same time, and it’s scary,” Minish said by phone Wednesday from his hospital bed in Anchorage, a day after being mauled by the bear in a chance encounter.  

The mauling left Minish with a crushed jaw, a puncture wound in his scalp so deep that the doctor said he could see bone, lacerations and many stitches after a 4½-hour surgery. He also is wearing a patch over his right eye and says the doctors are worried about it.  

All that happened during an encounter he estimates lasted less than 10 seconds after Minish startled the bear Tuesday morning just off the Richardson Highway, near the small community of Gulkana, about 190 miles northeast of Anchorage.  

The bear, which Minish said was larger than 300-pound black bears he has seen before, charged and closed the ground between them in a few seconds.  

Minish tried to dodge behind small spruce trees. That didn’t stop the bear. He went through them. As the bear neared, Minish held up the pointed end of his surveying pole and pushed it toward the bear to keep it away from him. The bear simply knocked it to the side and the force of the blow knocked Minish to the ground. 

“As he lunged up on top of me, I grabbed his lower jaw to pull him away,” he said, saying that’s how he got a puncture wound in his hand. “But he tossed me aside there, grabbed a quarter of my face. He took a small bite and then he took a second bite, and the second bite is the one that broke the bones … and crushed my right cheek basically,” he said.  

When the bear let go, Minish turned his face to the ground and put his hands over his head. And then the bear just walked away.  

He surmises the bear left because he no longer perceived Minish as a threat. The bear’s exit gave him time assess damage. “I realised I was in pretty bad shape because I had all this blood everywhere,” he said. He called 911 on his cellphone. While he was talking to a dispatcher, he pulled off his surveyor’s vest and his T-shirt and wrapped them around his head in an attempt to stop the bleeding. Then he waited 59 minutes for help to arrive. He knows that’s how long it took because he later checked his cellphone record for the length of the time he was told to stay on the line with the dispatcher until rescue arrived. 

At one point, Minish managed to give the dispatcher his exact coordinates from his GPS unit, but even that was a struggle. “It took awhile to give them that because I had so much blood flowing into my eyes and on to the GPS, I kept having to wipe it all off,” he said. He said one of the rescuers called him a hero after seeing how much blood was on the ground. 

Rescuers tried to carry him through the woods to a road that parallels the nearby trans-Alaska pipeline to meet an ambulance. That didn’t work, and he said they had to help walk him a quarter mile through swamps, brush and trees. From there, he was taken to a nearby airport and flown to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage by a medical helicopter. He is listed in good condition. 

Before help arrived, Minish said he worried about the bear  returning to finish him off. “I kept hearing stuff,” he said. But every time Minish tried to lean up to look around, he got dizzy from his blood loss. “He didn’t come back, and so I just lay there and worried about it,” he said. 

Minish, 61, has had his share of bear encounters over the 40 years he’s lived in Alaska, but nothing like this. He owns his own surveying and engineering business, which takes him into the wild often. “That’s the one lesson learned,” he said. “I should have had somebody with me.” He had left his gun in the vehicle on this job but said it wouldn’t have mattered because the bear moved on him too fast for it to have been any use. Minish can now add his name to the list of six people he knows who have been mauled by bears in Alaska. “I guess I feel lucky,” Minish said, adding that someone told him he’s better off hurt than dead. “In all honesty, it wouldn’t have mattered either way. You know, if it killed me, it killed me. I had a good life; I’m moving on. It didn’t kill me, so now let’s move on to the other direction of trying to stay alive,” he said. 

Last Week’s Birthdays

Richard Ayoade (44), Joan Collins (88), Melissa McBride (56), Bob Mortimer (62), Ginnifer Goodwin (43), Graham Linehan (53), Naomi Campbell (51), Judge Reinhold (64), Mr. T (69), Noel Fielding (48), Cher (75), Owen Teale (60), John Billingsley (61), Louis Theroux (51), Grace Jones (73), James Fox (82), Tina Fey (51), Miriam Margolyes (80), Chow Yun-Fat (66), Toyah Willcox (63), and Paul Whitehouse (63).