Archive for the ‘ News You Can’t Make UP! ’ Category

Beso de Muerte

Linda Christian was an actress of Dutch descent born in Tampico Mexico the daughter of an engineer and his Mexican born wife.  She was born in 1923 and would be 94 if she were alive today.  She died in 2011.

Christian, an actress, was probably most famous as the wife of Tyrone Power and the mother of his children.

She also played Jane in a Tarzan film or two.

Her career was, meh, so so.

Christian married Tyrone Power in Rome at Santa Francesca Romana Church.  Her wedding dress was a form fitting gold damask gown and there were 2,000 Esther carnations decorating the church.

A month after her seven year marriage to Power ended, she took UP with Spanish race car driver Alfonso de Portago.  Never mind that he was married to American Carroll Petrie who had just given birth to Alfonso’s second child and that Alfonso was already dating model Dorian Leigh, who had recently born him an illegitimate son!

At the 1957 Mille Miglia race, Linda was photographed leaning into his car to kiss him before he started the race.

De Portago, 28, took off and promptly crashed killing himself, his navigator Ed Nelson and ten racing fans.

The press labeled the picture “beso de muerte” the Kiss of Death.

Aptly so!

Hope your Monday is a good one!

Breatharian?

The Barbie Doll turns 58 today, it’s not a milestone date, but what the heck, it’s a slow news day.

Barbie is adored by millions and some take it too far.

A few suffer from “Barbie Syndrome,” defined as a desire to have a physical appearance and lifestyle representative of the Barbie doll.

No, that doesn’t mean they want to live in a cardboard box , have a plastic boyfriend, and drive a fake car.

It means they want to look like a Barbie Doll and have the perfect life she’s so often assumed to have.

Ukrainian model Valeria Lukyanova takes Barbie seriously!  She’s had plastic surgery to make herself look like Barbie and hopes eventually to live without eating or drinking at all allowing herself to become a “breatharian.”

We’ll see how that works out, so far she’s made it to vegetarian, and subsists on a liquid diet.

Some people, huh?

Happy Ed Balls Day!

It’s Friday and you may be desperate for a reason to party!

Fear not friends, that’s what I’m here for!

Across the Pond, back in the Mother Country, in Merrie Olde England, it’s Ed Balls Day!

Yeah!

“What did Ed Balls do that was so special he gets his own day?” you ask.

Well, not much really, it was all a simple mistake.

More on that later.

Edward Michael Balls turned 50 this past February, and one might think Ed Balls day would appear on his birthday.

But, no.

He’s a British Labour Party politician who was a Member of Parliament until he was defeated.

That’s not the reason either.

He’s a patron of the British Stammering Association and has admitted that at times and like King George VI before him, he’s had trouble with his speech.

Nope, not that!

He paid a fine for running a red light, he’s admitted to speeding, and he has fessed UP to using his mobile phone while motoring.

He also paid a fine for not stopping after a car accident.

See, aren’t the Brits so polite.

We call that hit and run here in the States, but in the Mother land it’s “not stopping.”

But none of those caused the United Kingdom to celebrate!

April 28, 2011, as a new Twitter user, he was searching the app for a recent tweet about himself and entered Ed Balls into the wrong area and sent a tweet that said simply “Ed Balls.”

The tweet was re-tweeted by thousands, went viral, and the day became Ed Balls Day.

So now, it’s a reason to party!  People bake cakes, send tweets wishing one other a happy Ed Balls Day, stuff like that!

Really, we are desperate for reasons to party!

Happy Ed Balls Day!

La Monte-à-regret

On April 25, 1792, Nicolas Jaques Pelletier was the first person to be executed by guillotine.

Now, this came as a surprise to me as I thought the device had been thought UP much earlier.

Think about it.  The blade de jour had only been used as a means of execution in France for 16 months when it’s most notable victim, Louis XVI was executed.

This, with as much as I’ve read about the Bourbons of France, had never dawned on me.

So, of course, I needed to investigate!

Pelletier was a known criminal, as were all his friends, but on the night of October 14, 1791 he, along with others attacked a passerby on the Rue Bourbon-Villlenueve in Paris and relieved said passerby of his wallet and several securities.

During the robbery the victim was killed.  Pelletier was accused and arrested that same evening when the cries of the victim were heard by nearby gendarmes.

Pelletier’s solicitor called for a fair court hearing, but Judge Moreau, France’s equivalent of a hanging judge, sentenced him to death and a few days later his appeal to the second criminal court was lost;  his sentence was confirmed.

The execution was delayed while the National Assembly debated whether or not decapitation should be the only means of capital punishment.  Other options included breaking at the wheel which King Louis VXI had banned and  fire, as well as other swell methods.

The Assembly decided that decapitation was the only humane way and at the urging of Joseph Ignace Guillotin, a new invention by surgeon Antoine Louis was adopted as France’s device de jour for execution.

Yes, kids, Guillotin didn’t invent the Guillotine as we’ve been taught all along, Antoine Louis did.

On March 23, 1972, the guillotine was decreed the only method of legal execution.

The Guillotine was placed on scaffolding just outside the Hotel de Ville where public executions had taken place for the last seventy years or so.

Thinking a large number of people might show UP for the first ever guillotine execution, the prison warden asked General Lafayette for a contingent of National Guardsmen to ensure order.

About 3:30 that afternoon, Pellleter was lead to the scaffold wearing a red shirt which matched the color of the guillotine.  As predicted by the officials, a large crowd was there eager to see the new invention at work!

The execution moved swiftly, and within seconds Pelletier was dispatched.

The crowd was disappointed, feeling it was too quick and clinically effective, thus not providing the entertainment value of previous executions.

They began changing “bring back our wheel” and “bring back our wooden gallows!”  “Not my guillotine.”

Someone started selling knitted red hats.

Okay, that’s not true…but

…did I mention that public executions in France were a form of family entertainment?

Sorry, should have included that.

Mom would pack a lunch and dad would load UP the kiddos in the cart and off to the Hotel de Ville they’d go for an afternoon of hangings, breakings, and burnings at the stake!

But then, they gave us perfume and dry cleaning, so I suppose we can forgive them, right?

And the metric system…ugh!

In 16 months, the Reign of Terror would take the life of the French King and his Queen, Marie Antoinette and thousands of others.

By this time, public executions were carried out at the Place de la Revolution, a former palace of the king now known as the Palace de la Concorde.

The executions drew great crowds as the heads of the French nobility rolled.  Vendors sold programs listing the names of those condemned to die as well as sweets, sandwiches, and other foods.

Aside from popular entertainment, the guillotine symbolized the ideals of the revolution; Equality, liberty, fraternity.

Prior to the revolution, there were separate forms of execution for the nobility and the common folk.

The guillotine evened things out, so to speak.

The device remained the official method of execution in France until the death penalty was abolished in 1981.

The last guillotining took place in 1977 when child murderers Christian Ranucci and Jerome Carrein were executed in Marseille just prior to the execution of Hamida Djandoubi’s , a torturer-murderer in September.

The device has had many names over time.  La Monte-à-regret, or the regretful climb being one.

You see, regardless of the method, executions back in the day included a climb UP 13 steps.

Dr. Guillotin’s family was so embarrassed by his association with the device they petitioned the French government to rename it.

When their request was refused, they changed their family name.

Dr. Guillotin, contrary to what many believe died in his sleep at the age of 75; he was not a victim of the device he encouraged as a more humane method.

There was a Dr. JMV Guillotin of Lyons who was, indeed, led to the scaffold and executed by the device.

That could have been where that little mix UP came from!

Don’t lose your head today! Okay?