Friday, August 17, 2007

~ dictionary o' death ~

Okay, bear with me... I get this weekly British gossip email (called "Popbitch"), and this week's was just too oddly entertaining not to share... "Odd" being the operative word. So, I present you, the Dictionary of Death by Popbitch...

The A-Z of death... From Aeschylus to Zoophilia... Popbitch was saddened by the early death of Tony Wilson, so we made a whole issue about death to try and cheer ourselves up. At the very least, here are 187 facts and stories for you to use on holiday this summer. Whenever you need to get rid of those annoying hangers-on around the hotel bar or pool - try one of these. Something should work.


A ~

Aeschylus ~ Ancient Greek playwright, known as the father of tragedy. Perished when an eagle dropped a turtle on his head.

Autoerotic asphyxiation ~ First documented in the 1600s, when it was observed at public hangings that male victims often got an erection when being hung. A phenomenon now known in the S&M community as "breath play", i.e. strangulation for kicks. In 1994 Tory MP Stephen Milligan was found hanged, wearing stockings and suspenders. Autoeroticists are said to bite on an orange during the act so the citrus sharpness keeps them from blacking out. Sadly for Stephen, it seems he dropped his satsuma (or it was pushed!). Friends of Michael Hutchence have claimed he didn't commit suicide. He was hanging off the back of his hotel door having a very special wank.

Autopsy ~ Watch one live:


B ~

Buckwheats ~ Reputedly the most painful form of execution - a bullet up the rectum. Death is very slow and painful. Your lungs fill with blood and your guts gradually fall out of your arse. (see: Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead)

Booze ~ On the day he died Oliver Reed had drunk three bottles of Captain Morgan rum, eight bottles of German beer, and countless whisky chasers. Reed always insisted he wasn't that keen on drinking, but "you meet a better class of people in pubs".

Blue Plaques ~ Fancy one on your house? Apply twenty years after death, so get your friends on the case:


C ~

Chicken ~ 1. On 31st August 1995, six people died rescuing a chicken. The chicken fell into a well in Southern Egypt, and six people drowned trying to rescue it. Only the chicken survived. 2. Sir Francis Bacon contracted pneumonia and died while stuffing a chicken with snow. What a fowl way to go. 3. A chicken sandwich didn't kill Mama Cass. It was heart failure brought on by obesity. FYI: her real name was Ellen Cohen.

Caffeine ~ caffeine death stats:


D ~

Dr Who ~ The first three Dr Whos died in chronological order. This means Tom Baker is next.

Drowning ~ A particular favourite of pop stars. Brian Jones, in his swimming pool; Jeff Buckley went for a swim wearing steel-toed boots while singing along to a radio playing Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love"; Beach Boy Dennis Wilson, got drunk and dove into the sea at Marina Del Rey to retrieve items he had once thrown off his yacht.


E ~

Execution ~ 1. A study in 1990 in the US suggested that in 82% of cases the race of the victim was found to influence the likelihood of getting the death penalty, i.e., those who murdered whites were more likely to get it than those who killed blacks. 2. Texas has executed 399 inmates since 1976. 3. The average time on death row is 10.26 years. 4. The cost of lethal injection drugs per execution, $86.08. 5. To make your own lethal injection you need: Pancuronium Bromide (collapses diaphragm and lungs), Potassium Chloride (stops heartbeat), and Sodium Thiopental (sedates). There is also a popular cocktail by the same name (1 shot creme de noyaux, 2 shots dark rum, 1 shot Malibu, splash orange juice, splash pineapple juice). Do not mix the two up.

Entwistles ~ Peg Entwistle, a depressed young actress, committed suicide in the 1930s by leaping off he Hollywood sign. Strange sightings have been reported since of a sad-looking blonde woman in 1930s attire wandering the area, who vanishes when approached. John Entwistle, no relation, died in a Las Vegas hotel room from cocaine and hookers. The Hard Rock Hotel has kept the identity of the room secret.


F ~

Famous last words ~ "Kurt Russell" - Walt Disney... "I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis" - Humphrey Bogart... "Have they sacked Dominic Lawson yet?" - Auberon Waugh... "I am still alive!" - Caligula, after being stabbed repeatedly by his guards...

Funeral songs ~ In 2006, the most popular song at funerals was "Goodbye My Lover" by James Blunt. The most popular song to commit suicide to is "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen.

Food ~ King Henry I died in 1135 of "a surfeit of lampreys". The King of Sweden in 1771 died after a meal of lobster, caviar, sauerkraut, kippers and champagne, topped off with 14 servings of his favourite dessert. In 2002, US President George W. Bush almost choked to death on a pretzel.

February ~ The first week of February spells danger for pop stars. Richie from Manic Street Preachers vanished on 1st February 1995. Sid Vicious overdosed on 2nd February 1979. Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper died in a plane crash in Iowa on 3rd February 1959, and Karen Carpenter died of heart failure brought on by anorexia on 4th February 1983.


G ~

Graves ~ Weirdest graves we've seen: 1. Pipe organ: (scroll down) 2. Tents (explorer Richard Burton): 3. Sitting room, complete with family:

Gifts ~ All the death-themed gifts you'll need:


H ~

Harry Potter (SPOILER ALERT) ~ How they died, in order: Charity Burbage, Hedwig, Mad-Eye Moody, Rufus Scrimgeour, Gregorovitch, Bathilda Bagshot, Ted Tonks, Wormtail, Grindelwald, Dobby, Dolahov, Crabbe, Fred Weasley, Remus Lupin, Tonks, Colin Creevey, Severus Snape, Nagini, Bellatrix Lestrange, Yaxley, Voldemort...

Hollywood ~ Read the stories, and take the tour:

Hemingway ~ In 1961 Ernest Hemingway purchased the weapon he used to commit suicide at Abercrombie & Fitch, which was then a firearm supplier. He rested the gun butt of the double-barrelled shotgun on the floor of a hallway in his home, leaned over it to put the twin muzzles to his forehead just above the eyes, and pulled both triggers.


I ~

Ironic deaths ~ Jim Fixx, author of The Complete Book of Running, died whilst jogging... Jerome Irving Rodale, founding father of the organic food movement, died in 1971, on the Dick Cavett Show, while promoting his health books... Dr. Alice Chase, author of Nutrition for Health, died of malnutrition. Dr. Robert Atkins, inventor of the Atkins diet, died clinically obese. Allen Carr, author of The Easy Way to Stop Smoking, died of lung cancer.


J ~

Javelin ~ Oops. Nearly:


K ~

Kangaroo ~ Aborigines used to send kangaroos into villages to wreak havoc before they invaded. Something like this:


L ~

Last meals/Last words ~ "I did not get Spaghetti-O's. I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this." -Thomas Grasso, before his execution in 1995... The last prisoner executed in USA, Lonnie Johnson (a black man who killed two white men), made no last meal request. On 24th July, he was the 19th man executed in Texas this year. More last meals:

Lefties ~ On average, right-handed people live seven years longer than their left-handed counterparts. And over 2500 left-handed people are killed every year by household objects intended for right-handed people.


M ~

Armin Meiwes [Cannibal] ~ Meiwes was the German computer techie who ate his friend Bernd-Jurgen Brandes in 2003. He first cut off the penis and flambeed it with garlic for the two of them to share. Sadly after all that, Mr. Brandes wasn't feeling very hungry. Two years later another German, Ralf M, was inspired to kill his friend, Joe, but he couldn't face eating him and put most of his body in the fridge (except the bits he gave to his cat).

Monkey Suicide ~

Mummy ~ Mohammed al Fayed wants to be mummified on death and placed in a glass mausoleum on the roof of Harrods. Before claiming he was murdered by Prince Philip, presumably.


N ~

Necronautics ~ The International Necronautical Society Inspectorate think death is just another land to conquer and inhabit. Much like Tunbridge Wells:

Nosophilia ~ Sexual arousal by the knowledge that a partner is terminally ill. Nosophiliacs can often be found staking out cancer support groups to find fresh meat.


O ~

Obituary ~ euphemisms: "Free spirit" = unemployable... "Vivacious" = drunk (female)... "A character" = drunk (male)... "Fun loving" = drank more than worked... "Down to earth" = born working class... "Utterly carefree" = senile...

On-stage ~ Tommy Cooper died of a heart attack in the middle of his act on stage. The act that followed him on stage was Les Dennis and Dustin Gee. Two years later during a pantomime in Southport, Gee also dropped dead.


P ~

Psychic ~ 1. 75-year-old Indian seer Punjilal announced that he would die between 3pm and 5pm on Thursday, 20th October 2005. Thousands of pilgrims came to the village of Sabra in Madhya Pradesh state to witness his death. Much to everyone's surprise, when 5pm came and went, he announced he was going to live until he was 90. 2. Colin Fry is a TV psychic who in 1992 found the lights were unexpectedly turned on during a seance, when Fry was apparently seen holding a "spirit trumpet" in the air, which the audience thought was being levitated by supernatural forces:

Pharaoh ~ The pharaohs were buried with their most preciouspossessions. Evidence suggests they were a seriously hedonistic bunch:

Pope ~ Number of popes stabbed, strangled, or poisoned to death in the last three decades of the 10th century: Five.


Q ~

Quack ~ The kind of doctor we all want but only celebrities seem to have on their payroll. Anna Nicole Smith died with 11 different prescription drugs in her system...


R ~

Rasputin ~ Poisoned, shot, stabbed and clubbed but did not die. Was finally drowned. Here's his penis:


S ~

Skeletons ~ Skeleton graves. A bit icky:

Sudden Death Syndrome ~ A disorder of the electrical system of the heart that can lead to the death of apparently healthy people without any warning. It is rarely diagnosed, most cases being written off as accidents. To date, scientists have yet to come up with a cure. Lazy bastards.

Surgeon ~ Dr. Robert Liston, the fastest saw in the west: In one two-and-a-half minute operation he amputated the leg of his patient (who later died from gangrene), sliced the fingers off his assistant (who later died from blood poisoning) and slashed through the coat-tails of a spectator (who dropped dead from fright). The only operation in surgical history to have a 300% mortality rate.


T ~

Toe Death ~ 1. Louis XIV of France died of gangrene in 1715. For some time before his death, when he took his socks off, his toes would come with them. 2. Jack Daniels (of booze fame) died of blood poisoning, six years after hurting his toe when kicking his safe because he couldn't remember the combination. 3. Bob Marley developed a cancerous tumour from a football wound on his right big toe. Danny Baker often claims it was his kick that did it. Worried that it would affect his dancing, Marley refused amputation. The cancer spread and he died four years later.

Tribbles ~ The Star Trek fan's euphemism for death is to "Sleep with the Tribbles".


U ~

United States ~ Eighty percent of people in the United States die in hospitals.


V ~

Vampire of Highgate ~ The Highgate Vampire was said to haunt Highgate Cemetery in the 1970s. Two local exorcists, David Farrant and Sean Manchester, both claimed they could kill the creature. They didn't. The vampire has eluded capture to date.


W ~

Who Next? ~ 1. We called William Hill to get odds on Lindsay Lohan lasting the year. They declined. 2. A review of Pete Doherty's writings on Amazon: "I have ordered 53 of these books as I understand that they are written in his blood. According to my calculations that should use up about eight pints of it and hopefully bring an end to the adolescent dribblings of this smacked-up sub-Dickensian tossclump." 3. Play the death game:

Walt Disney ~ Walt was not cryogenically frozen; he just refused to have a funeral. He was cremated, and his ashes are in a vault.


X ~

Xmas deaths ~ Died on Xmas Day: James Brown, Dean Martin, Charlie Chaplin, and W.C. Fields.


Y ~

Yuri Gagarin ~ Having safely managed to be the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin died in a routine training flight near Kirzhach trying to re-qualify as a pilot. He is buried in the walls of the Kremlin.

Your Death ~ When is it? Popbitch's is 15th February 2050.


Z ~

Zoophilia ~ People who prefer their sex partners to be animals. Kenneth Pinyan (aka Mr Hands) died in 2005 of a perforated colon after an encounter with a particularly well-endowed stallion. There's a new film about it.


Blogger Dr. Death said...

Noticed you linked to my Ghoulpool site -- Thanks!! Be sure to come back to and play the 2008 game....

8:36 PM  

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