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.


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).

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