Dead Pool 13th November 2022
Even though I’m slightly dying, or maybe I should say, recovering from a short hospitalisation, I still felt I had to get this weeks issue out, too many points and dead celebrities abound! I know, I’m a martyr!
So, with the passing of Dead Pool favourite Leslie Phillips, let’s dole out the points! 52 points go to Shân, Lee, Paul C, Julia, and Martin; and a whopping 152 points go to Fiona, myself, and Paula for listing him as our Certs. Well done everyone!
And since I’m sat on my arse convalescing, I’ve had time to go through everyones lists to correct any misses, so 46 points go to Dave for the passing of Art Rupe last April and a further 50 points for the death of Charley Trippi. Also 71 points go to Lee for the passing of Tom Weiskopf and a further 59 points for Stuart Briscowe who died last August. Rachel also scores 48 points for the death of Laurent Noël from last August. So with all those points awarded, the leader board looks quite different now. Well done everyone!!!
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Leslie Phillips, 98, British actor (Carry On, The Navy Lark, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) and author.
- Bill Treacher, 92, British actor (EastEnders, The Musketeer, Dixon of Dock Green), COVID-19 and pneumonia.
- Pierre Kartner, 87, Dutch musician and songwriter (The Smurfs).
- Dan McCafferty, 76, Scottish singer (Nazareth) and songwriter (“Broken Down Angel“, “Hair of the Dog“).
- Tom Owen, 73, British actor (Last of the Summer Wine, Tottering Towers).
- Garry Roberts, 72, Irish guitarist (The Boomtown Rats).
- Kevin Conroy, 66, American actor (Batman: The Animated Series, Search for Tomorrow, Ohara), intestinal cancer.
- Nik Turner, 82, British musician (Hawkwind).
- Keith Levene, 65, English guitarist (The Clash, Public Image Ltd) and songwriter (“Flowers of Romance“), liver cancer.
- Jim Bohannon, 78, American broadcaster (America in The Morning, Larry King Show, Face the Nation), oesophageal cancer.
- David English, 76, British actor (A Bridge Too Far, Lisztomania), cricketer (MCC) and writer, heart attack.
In Other News
Jonnie Irwin, presenter of shows A Place in the Sun and Escape to the Country, has terminal cancer. The host, 48, kept his illness a secret, but has decided to make the news public after learning the cancer has spread from his lungs to his brain. He said in a new interview that he he hopes it will inspire people to “make the most of every day”. Speaking to the Flying Monkeys, Irwin said: “I don’t know how long I have.” He said he first became aware something was wrong while filming Channel 4 daytime series A Place in the Sun in August 2020. He experienced blurry vision while driving and, “within a week of flying back from filming” he said he was “given six months to live”. “I had to go home and tell my wife, who was looking after our babies, that she was on her own pretty much,” he said, adding: “That was devastating. All I could do was apologise to her. I felt so responsible.” Discussing his decision to come forward with the diagnosis, Irwin continued: “It’s got to the point now where it feels like I’m carrying a dirty secret, it’s become a monkey on my back. I hope that by shaking that monkey off I might inspire people who are living with life-limiting prospects to make the most of every day, to help them see that you can live a positive life, even though you are dying. One day, this is going to catch up with me, but I’m doing everything I can to hold that day off for as long as possible. I owe that to Jess and our boys. Some people in my position have bucket lists, but I just want us to do as much as we can as a family.” Irwin has a three-year-old son named Rex, and two-year-old twins named Rafa and Cormac with his wife Jessica. He said that, while he is unsure how long her has left to live, he tries “to stay positive” and tell himself that he’s living with cancer, not dying from it”. “I set little markers, things I want to be around for. I got into the habit of saying ‘Don’t plan ahead because I might not be well enough.’ But now I want to make plans. I want to make memories and capture these moments with my family because the reality is, my boys are going to grow up not knowing their dad and that breaks my heart.” Irwin also recommended taking out life insurance, stating “that has helped so much”. “When I leave this planet, I’ll do so knowing Jess and the boys are in a house that is fully paid off and there’s a bit of money in the bank for them to live off.”
The man who inspired Tom Hanks’ blockbuster film ‘The Terminal’ died after suffering a heart attack in the Parisian airport he called home for 18 years, officials revealed. Mehran Karimi Nasseri lived in Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport from 1988 until 2006 – first in legal limbo and later by choice. He had recently returned to the airport and taken up residence in Terminal 2F after several years in a shelter in Paris. Police and a medical team were called to the terminal on Saturday amid reports Mr Nasseri had suffered a heart attack. He could not be saved, an airport authority said. Karimi Nasseri, believed to have been born in 1945 lacked residency papers when he first arrived in France, meaning he was stranded in the airport. Year in and year out, he slept on a red plastic bench, making friends with airport workers, showering in staff facilities, writing in his diary, reading magazines and watching passing travellers. Staff nicknamed him Lord Alfred and he became a mini-celebrity among passengers. His saga inspired The Terminal starring Tom Hanks, and a French film. ‘Eventually, I will leave the airport,’ he told The Associated Press in 1999, smoking a pipe on his bench, looking frail with long thin hair, sunken eyes and hollow cheeks. ‘But I am still waiting for a passport or transit visa.’ Mr Nasseri was born in Soleiman, a part of Iran then under British jurisdiction, to an Iranian father and a British mother. He left Iran to study in England in 1974. When he returned, he claimed he was imprisoned for protesting against the shah and expelled without a passport. Later investigations suggested he was never, in fact, banished from Iran. He applied for political asylum in several countries in Europe. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Belgium gave him refugee credentials but he said his briefcase containing the refugee certificate was stolen in a Paris train station. French police later arrested him but could not deport him anywhere because he had no official documents. He ended up at Charles de Gaulle in August 1988 and stayed. Further bureaucratic bungling and increasingly strict European immigration laws kept him in a legal no-man’s land for years. When he finally received refugee papers, he described his surprise, and his insecurity, about leaving the airport. He reportedly refused to sign them, and ended up staying there several more years until he was admitted to hospital in 2006, and later lived in a Paris shelter. Both France and Belgium offered Nasseri residency throughout the years but he reportedly was upset they listed him as Iranian, rather than British, and wanted them to address him by his preferred name; Sir Alfred Mehran. Those who befriended him in the airport said the years of living in the windowless space took a toll on his mental state. The airport doctor in the 1990s worried about his physical and mental health, and described him as ‘fossilised here’. A ticket agent compared him to a prisoner incapable of ‘living on the outside’.
On This Day
- 1947 – The Soviet Union completes development of the AK-47, one of the first assault rifles.
- 1970 – Bhola cyclone: A 150 mph tropical cyclone hits the densely populated Ganges Delta region of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), killing an estimated 500,000 people in one night.
- 1985 – The volcano Nevado del Ruiz erupts and melts a glacier, causing a lahar (volcanic mudslide) that buries Armero, Colombia, killing approximately 23,000 people.
- 2015 – Islamic State operatives carry out a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris, including suicide bombings, mass shootings and a hostage crisis. The terrorists kill 130 people, making it the deadliest attack in France since the Second World War.
- 1974 – Karen Silkwood, American technician and activist (b. 1946)
- 2020 – Peter Sutcliffe, English serial killer (b. 1946)
Inside the world of Wikipedia’s Deaditors
Wikipedia is pretty sick, isn’t it? Imagine the world before you could do a quick “Wiki” search – life must have been inconvenient, dissatisfying, maybe even frustrating. Pub chats, quick curiosities, proving points to your flatmates halfway through a discussion, all left up in the air. Libraries are useful, but they’re just not at our fingertips. Nor are their books updated in practically real time.
At 5:30pm on September 8th 2022, for instance, the Queen’s Wiki page had a huge increase in “edit conflicts”, the term given to an instance where two or more people edit the same page at the same time. In fact, there were hundreds of edit conflicts. Note the time. The BBC announced her death on the news at 6:30pm. This means Wiki’s “deaditors” were already scrambling to update her Wiki page an hour before the beeb. Now that’s quick.
“Deaditors”, you ask? Coined by a Wikipedia editor and web developer Hay Kranen, the term refers to the people responsible for making you go “woah, that was quick” when you check someone’s Wiki as soon as you’ve heard they’ve died. Every “is” has been turned into a “was” and the photo of the deceased will have been changed, too (a Wikipedia tradition, for some reason). The death of Queen Elizabeth II is a good recent example of this happening, but these diligent deaditors are always en garde to document history as it happens.
Wikipedia pages are all kept up to date by volunteers, and the operation is funded mainly through donations to Wikimedia Foundation Inc., the parent company for Wikipedia (surely you’ve seen the pop ups asking you to donate?). These volunteers are called Wikipedians, but there’s a few sub-categories within this community of online archiving.
Annie Rauwerda is a recent neuroscience graduate from the University of Michigan, who runs the Depths of Wiki social media accounts. Rauwerda tells me she’s more into “editing or creating pages for unconventional things that are less in the limelight. More boring, evergreen topics, as opposed to current affairs.” This form of Wikipedian doesn’t have a specific name just yet – perhaps we could call them nichepedians. But other types of wikipedians do have defined names. The editor categorisations are technically known as WikiFauna and there’s loads of ‘em: WikiOrcs, WikiKittens, WikiNinjas… we could go on.
When it comes to the deaditors, there’s also a special title given to the person who updates the deceased’s page first: WikiJackal. In the case of the Queen, the quickest of them all was an editor called Sydwhunte, whose edit was the first to be validated at 5:32pm. (The validation here refers to sorting stuff out on the back end of the site; people don’t necessarily check for facts before a change is made on Wikipedia, which does mean “vandalism” occurs from time to time.) Given the magnitude of the event, Sydwhunte’s been getting more kudos from the Wiki community than most, with other editors and users sending congratulatory messages.
Why do these volunteers dedicate so much time to updating pages? It’s fairly simple, really. “If you make small insightful edits, it’s possible that if you’re on a highly trafficked article, your work is going to be read by a ton of people,” says Rauwerda. Plus, we all like the buzz of being the first to do something, don’t we? It’s just like chipping into the Twitter discourse with a fresh, spicy take.
But on Wikipedia you tend to be anonymous, which makes the pursuit of editing its pages a more noble trade. “You don’t get glory. You don’t get recognition beyond a small community of media editors,” says Rauwerda. “You certainly don’t get money. But there are a lot of very smart, selfless people that spend a lot of time writing history in real time.”
One of these is Steven Pruitt, the most prolific (English language) Wikipedia editor of them all. Pruitt goes under the username Ser Amantio di Nicolao, which is borrowed from a minor character in Giacomo Puccini’s opera Gianni Schicchi. He’s made over five million edits to Wikipedia and created well over 30,000 articles, so you’ve almost certainly read his work at some point. Given how prolific his edits are, he’s also dipped across a few categories of wiki editor during the roughly twenty years in which he’s been a volunteer. A true Jack of all WikiFauna, in a Reddit AMA, Pruitt himself said, “Wikipedia’s a free community – it wouldn’t feel right asking for money to edit. It’s a hobby. One that has taken over my life a bit, but a hobby nonetheless.”
And yes, anyone can edit Wikipedia – that’s why we’re told not to rely on it too much for university assignments or whatever. But the people doing so are generally diligent and accurate, updating and creating pages out of the kindness of their hearts. Without them, you’d still be quietly seething after not being able to prove you were right about whatever sparked your last pub debate. Wikipedia, what a wonderful world.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Gerard Butler (53), Whoopi Goldberg (67), Chris Noth (68), Jimmy Kimmel (55), Anne Hathaway (40), Ryan Gosling (42), Wallace Shawn (79), Neil Young (77), Stanley Tucci (62), Leonardo DiCaprio (48), Demi Moore (60), Calista Flockhart (58), Taron Egerton (33), Hugh Bonneville (59), Clare Higgins (67), Neil Gaiman (62), Lou Ferrigno (71), Parker Posey (54), Gretchen Mol (50), Tara Reid (47), Alfre Woodard (70), Matthew Rhys (48), Richard Curtis (66), Gordon Ramsay (56), and Adam Devine (39).