[Five Deadly Everythings]

Love and death in Robert Munsch’s “Love You Forever”

Posted in news stories, sincerity is dying, writers by Jef on November 18, 2010

Pretty big story when it came out that beloved children’s author Robert Munsch was depressed and addicted to alcohol and cocaine. Shocking, as much as these things can be when dealing with people who give insanely manic live performances (Chris Farley, Robin Williams).

What really got me though is the back story to Munsch’s classic Love You Forever book and its popular refrain, as recounted in the November issue of the Walrus.

In the late 70s, early 80s, Munsch and his wife endured the still-births of two children, Sam and Gilly. Munsch at this time was still unaware of his bipolarity, and turned to drinking to help cope with his grieving.

Ann Hui for the Walrus:

Sitting in front of an audience in Guelph five years later, [Munsch] slowly started to make up a story. It wasn’t perfect yet, but the chorus was “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.” It didn’t go over well, but he decided at that moment to write a book about it, and that the book would be the babies’ tombstone. He went backstage and began to cry.

Munsch reading Love You Forever:


One twin is dead, but which one and why?

Posted in 8 million ways, news stories by Jef on November 16, 2010

Considering my thing with twins and doppelgangers, you can see why this gets me:

Two twin sisters go to a shooting range. They spend over an hour firing small caliber guns. Both of them get shot. One goes to the hospital, the other goes to the morgue. The surviving twin sister was shot in the head and can’t be questioned. The police have no idea which twin is which and can’t contact the family. They aren’t searching for a suspect, or even launching a homicide investigation. All seems to suggest that the sisters shot each other.

Which, even if the answer, still leaves mystery in the air.

Doug Hamilton, the owner of the range, says the women were using small caliber guns and they were shot nearly simultaneously.

He believes the women were recreational shooters, and said the shooting was not an accident.

“It was a deliberate shooting,” Hamilton said.

When asked why, he said, “From what I know of the things I cannot tell you.”


King Tut’s grandmother is kind of cute

Posted in monsters, news stories, photos steal souls, the history books by Jef on September 24, 2010

I finally got around to reading National Geographic’s feature on the “family secrets” of King Tut. The famous Egyptian king has been popping up a lot lately due to a bunch of new exhibits (took my mom to the AGO’s earlier this year; if you missed it, you really missed out) and new insights into his life gleaned from genetic testings. Yes, looks like he had malaria, and his club foot was likely the result of inbreeding. Doesn’t look like he was murdered though, which was previously the most popular theory on his too-young death.

The DNA tests have also established a family. More inbreeding. The mummy previously referred to only as “Elder Lady” (on left) has been revealed to be Tut’s grandmother, Tiye. His only grandmother, since Tut’s parents, we now know, were brother and sister, Tiye’s offspring. Evidence also suggests that maybe Tut himself indulged in some of the ol’ incest — two mummified children are likely to be his and his half-sister’s.

You can read Zahi Hawass’s story here, but I encourage you to seek out the September issue print version because Kenneth Garrett’s photos are lush in a way only Nat Geo’s glossed pages can capture. I was particularly drawn to this photo of Tiye, still with her beautiful reddish hair flowing behind her, left hand forever clenched in a sign of queendom. She stayed fly, that Tiye.

Was Ian Flemming right about MI6’s license to kill?

Posted in books, mob deep, movies, news stories by Jef on September 22, 2010

According to Keith Jeffery’s new book, The Secret History of MI6, the answer is no. MI6 did not hand out licenses to kill. But that doesn’t mean Ian Flemming’s tales of super spy James Bond were that far off.

From the Star:

The first-ever official history of MI6 reveals that Britain’s foreign spy agency debated assassinating Nazi leaders, landed a spy wearing a wetsuit over his tux at a casino by the sea … but also wrangled with other government departments and had to make do on a shoestring budget.

Ace spies included “Biffy” Dunderdale — a friend of Flemming — whom Jeffery says shared with Bond an affinity for fast cars and fast women.

Also this:

More happily for spy buffs, Q — the gadget-making super-scientist from the Bond films — is based on reality. After World War II, MI6 researchers worked on silent weapons, knockout tablets, safecracking tools and exploding filing cabinets that could destroy secret documents at short notice.

Gotta love how it all makes MI6 sound like just a bunch of bumbling Inspector Gadget type blokes. Her majesty’s secret service, of course, held the power to censor the book’s content.

(screencap via)

America and the Afghan rug trade

Posted in *dead*, news stories by Jef on July 23, 2010

From the Danger Room:

The Pentagon and the Interior Department are about to issue a year-long, no-bid, $7 million contract to Adelphia, New Jersey’s Tremayne Consulting to turn Afghanistan’s storied, broken carpet business into an international powerhouse.

It’s yet another sign of how deeply the American war effort is, um, interwoven with Afghanistan’s economic fortunes.


Sakineh’s execution just further than a stone’s throw

Posted in human rights, news stories by Jef on July 10, 2010

Last week saw a victory of sorts. International outrage pushed the Iranian government into staying Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s execution by stoning. She still, however, faces a death penalty for alleged adultery, this after already five years in jail and 99 lashes.

Irshad Manji in the Globe and Mail:

None of us should settle for this shallow response. The fact is, Iran’s regime lies about stoning. At the World Economic Forum in 2005, I publicly confronted the country’s then vice-president, Masoumeh Ebetakar, about this hideous practice. She assured me that Iran proclaimed a moratorium on it. Yet human rights watchdogs continue to document cases of the brutality.

A website with petition has been created to spread awareness about Ashtiani and to continue pressure on the Iranian government. Visit www.freesakineh.org.

Creepy 91-year-old woman lives with dead, not with death

Posted in *dead*, news stories by Jef on July 8, 2010

Meet Jean Stevens, a 91-year-old from Pennsylvania — still the creepiest sounding state, next to New Jersey — who couldn’t live with the deaths of her husband and twin sister and so dug up their corpses, fixed them up real nice, and got on with her daily life. Comparisons to Norman Bates in Psycho are warranted, but it should be noted that she DUG THE BODIES UP, and hence is a little creepier in my book. Still though, not as disburbing as watching Vince Vaughn trying to act in Psycho 2.0. WHYY the masturbating scene, movie gods? WHYY.

Newsreel after the jump:


A porn star, a samurai sword, and a cliffhanger

Posted in *dead*, news stories by Jef on June 6, 2010

Best. Lede. Ever:

A porn actor wanted for allegedly murdering a co-worker with a samurai-style sword was in police custody Saturday after falling from a cliff edge following a dramatic standoff.

Some stories just have it all.

Cage fighter rips out friend’s heart during bad shroom trip

Posted in 8 million ways, news stories by Jef on May 31, 2010

Above: Not amused

Today’s example of Why You Should Only Do Shrooms with Cool-Headed People You Deeply Trust (i.e. Never With Cage Fighters, OK? Not Even the Soft-Spoken Good Hygiene Types like GSP): Jarrod Wyatt, a 26-year-old mixed martial artist with a 1-0 record, drank some shroom-laced tea with a couple of his buddies, began “acting strangely,” then cut open his friend’s chest and took his heart out.

According to the coroner’s report, Taylor Powell was alive at the time his heart was removed. Wyatt’s other friend, Justin Davis, left the scene to alert police to Wyatt’s odd behaviour and did not witness the event.

From the Daily Mail:

Justin Davis told police he returned to the flat to find Wyatt naked and covered from head to toe in blood.

He noticed an eyeball lying in the middle of the floor and saw Powell’s mutilated body.

A lawyer representing Wyatt has claimed the wild mushrooms caused him to act in such a violent way and had not (sic) control over his actions.

‘My client was trying to silence the devil,’ said James Fallman.

So yeah, whatever your “bad trip” story is, I think it’s fair to say you’re being a tad dramatic about it.

Sidenote, autopsies are funny:

According to an autopsy Powell, 21, bled to death after his heart was ripped out.

I can see how that makes sense technically, but the quest to be technical about everything can be a slippery slope. Can someone bleed to death if they don’t have a heart to pump blood? Whatever the technical reason for death was, I say we chalk this up to HAVING YOUR HEART RIPPED OUT and call it a day.

The chili pepper so powerful it will fight terrorism

Posted in *dead*, food, news stories by Jef on March 23, 2010

The Indian military has been conducting tests on bhut jolokia aka “ghost chili” — a naturally occurring hybrid pepper so freaking potent it clocks in at over 100 times the strength of the strongest jalapeno pepper and holds the Guiness World Record — thinking it could make a good weapon to use against terrorists. The result? A chili GRENADE.

From the Star via Associated Press:

“This is definitely going to be an effective nontoxic weapon because its pungent smell can choke terrorists and force them out of their hide-outs,” R. B. Srivastava, the director of the Life Sciences Department at the New Delhi headquarters of the DRDO said.

That’s hot. Assuming the terrorists don’t learn to coat themselves in candle wax, I’d say they’re on to something.