Thursday, 31 December 2009

Overlooked Deaths of 2009: Deleted Scenes Part Two

Continued from part one, below, and the Cracked article, here.

Today: Sean Connery (sort of), Morgan Freeman (sort of) and Darth Vader (sort of), gorilla soap opera stars, dogs old and tall.

August 7: The Tallest Dog in the World.
Gibson, a Great Dane. On his hind legs, he stood seven fucking feet, one inch tall and weighed 180 pounds.


The Legacy:
Breeders try to beat the record until dogs are the size of horses, and they enslave humanity, a la Planet of the Apes. Your next boss is a poodle with Short Man Syndrome.

August 12: The Nazi Wrestler
Who: Karl Von Hess. A professional wrestling ‘heel’ (bad guy) Von Hess’s villain gimmick was that of a Nazi sympathizer. You know, for yucks.

Audiences were so convinced of the gimmick that fans tried to stab, burn, and shoot at him. People get so weird about Nazis.

Pictured: Laffs a’Plenty

This hilarious shtick grew old, and by the early 1960s he gradually stopped wrestling with the WWWF.

Alzheimer’s disease.

The Legacy:
The WWE’s in a slump. Perhaps more racially-charged villains are needed. Throw in a fake Klansman or two, a neo-Nazi skinhead and, we don’t know, a wrester based on Bin Laden. It’s a sound artistic decision for the modern age.

August 18: The Kinky Munitions Analyst
Jack McGeorge: Marine; Secret Service Specialist; Naughty, Naughty Boy.
Some men have secret lives. They climb the ladder in their chosen industry, spend years getting to the highest rank of their field, only to have it all come crashing down when it’s discovered they like hookers, or other men, or, we don’t know, fucking slinkys.

But not Jack McGeorge. He just figured, fuck it, I’m awesome at talking about the weaponization of biological and chemical agents, and I like leather. What are ya gonna do about it, tie me up? I dare ya. No, really, go on, I dare ya. Mmmmm…

McGeorge never lived in the closet. His full name appeared on many leather fancier websites, and talked about his interest in BDSM in the media. In 2002, the Washington Post publicized his part in the BDSM community, and McGeorge offered his resignation to Hans Blix, who refused to accept it. Possibly because at the time, McGeorge may have been wielding a foot-long spiked paddle and a bullwhip.

Complications from open heart surgery. Bet you thought it was gonna be something dirty, didn’t you?

The Legacy:
More politicians coming out about their kink. Cross-dressing congressmen, spanking senators and Twinkie-fucking mayors.

August 28: The World’s Oldest Dog
Who: At the ripe old age of 21, Chanel, American female Daschund, was recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s oldest dog.

In her later years, Chanel wore tinted goggles for her cataracts, sweaters for the cold, and was transported in a stroller, because, at 147 years old, fuck walking.

From being 21.

The Legacy:
Desperate owners resorting to scarves, walking sticks and prosthetic limbs to beat the record with their living cadaver pets.

September 2: Sean Connery, Morgan Freeman and Darth Vader
Who: Tibor Kristóf, Hungarian voice actor.

Kristóf did the Hungarian voices for many popular English-speaking films. He was seen fit to provide the voices for Sean Connery, Morgan Freeman and Darth motherfucking Vader among others, including Tony Curtis, Gregory Peck, Richard Burton, Paul Newman, Gene Hackman, Denzel Washington, Laurence Olivier, Chalton Heston and Charles Bronson. We’re pretty sure that this guy’s voice was so manly, when he spoke all ladies in earshot fell pregnant.

Unknown. Perhaps he went for a swim and the weight of his massive balls pulled him under.

The Legacy:
A nation weeps as the man with surely the sexiest voice in Hungary is bid goodbye.

September 14: The Gorilla King
Titus, a one-Gorilla soap opera. He was observed in his natural habitat from 1974.

After Titus’ father was killed by poachers, another silverback, Beetsme, tried to take control of his group. Beetsme killed an infant female, the rest of the females left in protest and Titus, by now suffering severe daddy abandonment issues, lived with Beetsme in a ‘bachelor group’ for eight years, just Titus, Beetsme and a bunch of dudes.

They were lovers for a while, until five females joined the group and Beetsme decided he was into gorilla vagina again, and drove off the rest of the males, possibly because they still had Polaroids of Beetsme in pink gogo boots.

Beetsme had a slew of hot gorilla ladies, some of whom Titus began to hump in secret. He became the youngest gorilla babydaddy in recorded history, kept up with the secret mating, and in 1991 became top dog. However, Beetsme still subscribed to a ‘bros before hos’ philosophy, so continued to be Titus’ number two man until his death in 2001.

Titus sure liked the man-gorilla-on-lady-gorilla sex. He had so much of it, that by 2004 he controlled the largest gorilla group in the world. However, by 30, his oldest son, Kuryama, was getting all up in his gorilla grills, which led to Titus biting a female after she was caught mating with Kuryama in secret. Who knew gorillas liked to secret-mate so much?

There were some turf wars, the group split into Team Titus and Team Kuryama, then after a year they all reunited, Titus having retired his leadership peacefully. Reports show that Kuryama wasn’t a dick about it.

At 35, after a short illness.

The Legacy:
Fortunately, ‘he who mates most is the leader’ doesn’t happen in the human world, lest our world leaders start to resemble Wilt Chamberlain and Cletus the Slack Jawed Yokel. Although look out for new Primate-based soaps, The Bold and the Baboon-tiful, Apes of Our Lives and One Lemur to Live. (note: I'm pretty sure it was this exact, awful pun, not the length, that got it dropped from the Cracked version)

October 5: The Inventor of the Mouse
René Sommer, co-inventor of the computer mouse.


The Legacy:
This guy invents a gadget that everyone uses every single day, and he gets 89 words in Wikipedia. Meanwhile, Ewoks, a fucking fictional race of teddy bears, get nearly 600. Fuck you, popular culture.

October 19: The Guy Who Just Fucking Lost it One Day
Howard Unruh, American spree killer.

A shy, reclusive guy, Unruh was said to be a ‘Mama’s Boy’ and was the target of teasing from local youths. He never got along with his neighbors. He eventually started a diary, detailing all imagined slights and everything he thought they said about him. After a few names, was ‘retal.’, short for ‘retaliate’. On September 6, 1949, Unruh killed 13 people.

He arrived home from a movie at 3am to find the front gate he had recently built was stolen. He slept til 8am, dressed in his best suit, fought with his mother over breakfast, and went out to do a bit of random killing.

At 88, after a long illness. His last public words were ‘I'd have killed a thousand if I had bullets enough’, showing that decades in a facility for the criminally insane doesn’t take the douchebag out of someone.

The Legacy:
No one steals gates anymore.

A Bad Year for Horses
Who: Every race horse ever.
Cryptoclearance, Gigolo FRH, Summer Squall, Fine Cotton, Alysheba, Beach Towel, Lil E. Tee, Sunline, and Exotic Dancer.

Horse-related complications.

The Legacy: When doing the research for this article, I was shocked at what a bad year this was for racehorses. I learned two things: 1. Racehorses have stupid names, and 2. Don’t be a racehorse.

Read more!

Overlooked Deaths of 2009: Deleted Scenes Part One

So my article was printed in Cracked today. There are a few changes, but you should go check it out.

When doing the research I found waaaaay more deaths that we could possibly include, so today and tomorrow I'll be publishing the 'deleted scenes': the ones that didn't quite make it.

Today: Eagle women, unfortunate coincidences, bastard chimpanzees. Shemales, hipsters, carp.

January 4: The Former President’s Former Cat
India, George W. Bush’s black cat.

The cat lived with the bushes for nearly two decades, first in the Texas Governor’s Mansion in Austin, and then at the White House.

Being a black cat named India came with some controversy: in 2004 protestors in the Indian state of Kerala burned an effigy of Bush in unfortunate-cat-name-induced rage. Though the cat was actually named for Ruben ‘El Indio’ Sierra, a Texas Rangers baseball player from when Bush owned the team.

Cause of death unknown. And we’re certainly not saying that it was anything to do with Bush’s rage about having to move out of the White House sixteen days from India’s January 4th death. Nor are we inferring that it was a kitty suicide when India realized she’d have to move back to Texas.

The Legacy:
Black cats remain unlucky. The Obama’s puppy, Bo, sleeps with one eye open.

January 13: The woman with the army of eagles

Joan Keene, aka The Eagle Lady.
Keene was a former rodeo trick rider who lived in Homer, Alaska.

Shortly after she moved to Alaska, she saw two bald-headed eagles and tossed some leftover fish to them. A decade later, she was feeding over two hundred of the big guys, stockpiling fish scraps donated from local companies. And if she ever caught wind of a dead moose on the highway, that fucker’d be sliced up and on the specials board at Chez Eagle Diner by lunchtime.

Every day, she would drive a forklift from her job at a fish processing facility, deliver it to her motor home and then cut up the freezer-burned fish into fist-sized chunks for the eagles. If it was still frozen, she’d take an axe, chainsaw or motherfucking blowtorch to it. All up, it was three hours in the day, and about 50,000 pounds of fish a year, for some snooty, ungrateful guys in tuxedos.

Stock Photo.

In 1986 she told the Anchorage Daily News ‘I don't know if anyone else would do this. My motorhome smells like fish. My yard is fish. My truck is fish. I am fish. It gets kind of gross sometimes, especially when you're handling a lot of slimy carcasses’. And fellas, she was single.

Respiratory condition. Whether it was caused by Bird Fancier’s Lung (no, really, it’s a thing) is unconfirmed.

The Legacy:
Since Alaska hates nature and everything about it, straight after Keene died the city of Homer passed a law prohibiting feeding predatory birds.

January 18: The Robot from Lost in Space
Bob May, the man inside the ‘bot (the voice of the robot died in 2004). He appeared inside the robot for all 83 episodes, but sadly, not in the 1998 movie, as he no longer fit inside the suit. But in the good ol’ days, he loved the suit so much that he called it a ‘home away from home’ and wore it all day while filming. During lunch, through smoke breaks, and possibly through giving groupies a seeing-to in his trailer [citation needed].

Congestive heart failure.

The Legacy:
We’re cheated of his possibly-robosexual memoires, Deep Inside the Robot.

February 12: 9/11 Steering Committee Member Dies in Plane Crash
Beverley Eckert, advocate for those affected by 9/11.

Commuter aircraft accident

The Legacy:
There’s no joke here, we just thought it was a very, very unfortunate coincidence. Like how Sylvia Plath’s 47-year-old biologist son committed suicide on March 16 this year. Death has a morbid sense of humor sometimes.

February 16: The Biggest Jerk to Ever be Called ‘Chimpanzee’
Travis, a male Chimpanzee actor with an axe to grind. Possibly because his owners named him ‘Travis’.

Travis appeared in many commercials and TV shows, including a TV pilot starring Sheryl Crowe and Michael Moore (which we assume was called The WTF Hour).

You think monkeys are cool? They’re cunts. ‘Oh, look, Travis is feeding the horses/brushing his teeth/playing baseball’ you hear. You don’t hear, ‘Oh, look! Travis bit and then tried to drag a woman into the car with him in 1996, oh, look, it’s 2003 and Travis is running after a man in a car, blood on his monkey mind.’

Shot, after attacking Charla Nash, a friend of his keeper, who lost her eyes, nose, face and fucking hands.

The Legacy:
A new law prohibiting people from owning exotic pets of Travis’ size.

February 20: Another Type of Presidential Pussy for Clinton
Who: Socks the Cat, pet of the Clinton family during Bill’s time in office.

This year was a bad one for ex-president’s cats. Socks was the principal White House pet until they acquired Buddy, a Labrador. Socks ‘despised Buddy’ and when Clinton vacated the White House, they took Buddy with them, and Socks stayed with Clinton’s secretary.

Cancer, at age 20.

The Legacy:
A 1998 book by Hilary Clinton, called Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids’ Letters to the First Pets, in which we see over 50 letters children have written to the President’s fucking pets. Kids are retarded.

March 29: Lorne
Andy Hallett, the crooner who captured the hearts of nerds and fanboys worldwide with his portrayal of Lorne in the TV series Angel.

Originally the PA for Joss Whedon’s wife, the couple were so blown away by his voice that Joss wrote a character for him on his new show, Angel.

Congestive heart failure.

The Legacy:
Scores of nerds flock to LA karaoke bars to drink to Lorne’s memory. In return, karaoke bars forced to purchase instrumental versions of Once More with Feeling for their new regulars. Old regulars forced to listen to off-key versions of I’ll Never Tell on a loop.

June 23: I Am My Own Patient
Jerri Nielsen, an American physician stationed at the South Pole.

Nielsen developed breast cancer at a time when her station was physically cut off from the rest of the world. So she did what anyone would have done: operated on herself to extract tissue samples for analysis.

When it was confirmed as breast cancer, she underwent self-administered chemotherapy. She went into remission and was brought back to the United States.

Several years later, the cancer came back, and she eventually died form complications from a brain tumor.

The Legacy:
With the cost of healthcare growing, her autobiography Ice Bound: A Doctor’s Incredible Story may make a handy how-to guide for home procedures.

June 30: The Spy Who Shagged Me
Shi Pei Pu, spy and shemale.
A Chinese opera singer, Shi had a 20-year long affair with a French Embassy worker, Bernard Boursicot. Shi convinced Boursicot he was a woman, even going as far as buying a ‘son’ from a poor villager.

When Boursicot first met Shi, he was dressed as a man. Shi told him he was actually a woman, forced to live as a man to satisfy his father’s wish for a son. Their sexual relationship was maintained ‘quickly and in darkness’, and Boursicot was convinced Shi was a woman. Boursicot arranged for Shi and their ‘son’, Shi Du Du, to be brought to Paris, where Shi was busted for being a spy. And having a penis.

When the story broke, Boursicot slit his throat, but survived.

After a long illness.

The Legacy:
More men insisting on having sex with the lights on. All the way on.

July 13: King of the Hipsters
Dash Snow, Artist and Trustafarian.

Snow was heir to a limitless fortune, and as such was able to flee his parents in his early teens to live on the streets. Some of Snow’s more infamous pieces feature newspapers splashed with his own semen, and Polaroids of his hipster friends getting fucked up.

Also, he named his daughter Secret Magic Nico.

Drug overdose.

The Legacy:
The art world can’t decide whether he was the Kurt Cobain or Paris Hilton of contemporary American art. Either way, fellow hipsters are going to have to try even harder to be shocking in their never ending exploitation of sex, drugs and violence. Sorry, Vice Magazine.

July: Britain’s Favorite Fish
Benson, ‘Britain’s biggest and best-loved carp’. Known as ‘The People’s Fish’, she was voted Britain’s Favorite Carp in 2005, in a tough and incredibly boring poll. Britain loved her so much, that she was caught 63 times over 13 years. Because to the British, ‘love’ means hooking you by the lip and forcing you up by the spike, to half drown in air, before hurling you back to your home. They’re romantic like that. Also, she was named for a suspicious hole in her fin that looked like a cigarette burn, but was probably just more British ‘love marks’.

Undetermined. At the time of her death, she weighed 64 pounds. Some allege she was accidentally poisoned (or ‘over-loved’) by anglers using uncooked nuts. Others say complications with pregnancy, as she was carrying 300,000 eggs at the time, the filthy whore.

The Legacy:
Britain must find a new fish to inflict their love on.

More tomorrow!
Read more!

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Cracked - Want Moar?

I'll have an article appearing at in a few days. I'll let you know when it's up.

Also! If you like it, stick around: I'll have the 'deleted scenes' (ie the points that didn't make the cut - it was a fairly big article) up the day after it hits.

Oh, also-also: Happy Christmas. Read more!

Friday, 25 September 2009

I have a show coming up for the Fringe Festival. It promises to be made of awesome. Attend!

Get tickets here.

Also, this!

Read more!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Hot Tip: FIlm Edition

Our long-suffering Tech Manager Chris Goodes has a movie out at the moment: Red Cliff.

Go see it! Originally it was two movies totaling five hours, but the US/Australian release is one 2.5-hour film. It loses a lot, and the first half feels like a trailer, but see it at the cinema for the big screen 'oooh!' factor and see the better versions later. It

Reports that some explosion sounds for this Chinese big budget war epic were recorded at a bonfire in Nutfield (near Hurstbridge) are ridiculous and true. This was cross-posted to my other blog, too. What? I want the word out. Read more!

Friday, 10 July 2009

Gendermash Performance!

Next Friday, I'll be performing as part of GENDERMASH #4 at Gasworks theatre!

I have four minutes, but the line up looks ace and it sounds like it's going to be lots of fun. Chack it out!

The more is a lie. Have some cake. Read more!

Monday, 1 June 2009

Undercover (3077 words)

Comedy Festival is over for another year! Now while I try and write my Fringe show, here's something I wrote back in 2005. It was going to be published in a magazine but then they chickened out and had me do a different piece on a similar topic instead. All's well that etc.

So this is pretty long, an educational piece abut Islam that came out of me wearing a burqa for a week, and talking to a few converts to Islam. Looking back, it's a little preachy - I can see how much my style has improved in the last four years*, but I hope you like it. Enjoy.

* This means that by 35 I should be upgraded to at least a 'passable' writer. Woo!


I never thought the sight of me buying chicken wings would make a child cry. Well, ok, maybe it’s crossed my mind before, but only during ‘Lisa becomes a large, porcupine-like monster’ daydreams. But apparently there’s a much simpler way to scare the average Australian child: wear a burqa.

Before we begin, a quick note on terminology: most Muslim women in Australia choose only to wear an hijab, a headscarf that covers a woman’s hair and neck. You’ve undoubtedly seen them around. The term ‘hijab’ can also be used, in a broader sense, to mean any modest Muslim dress. A woman who dresses modestly is known as an ‘Hijabi’.

‘Burqa’ is the common term applied to the full Muslim womens’ dress in which only the eyes and hands are visible; it’s a full headpiece that covers a woman’s hair, face, neck and shoulders. There’s a more common two-piece dress, similar to a burqa: a larger hijab (reaching from head to mid-elbow, covering everything but the face) worn with the full niqab, which is a veil for one’s face with a small slit for the eyes. I wore a combination of hijab and full niqab, with a heavy, shapeless black floor-length robe, for a week, to gauge public reaction. And quite an unexpected reaction it was…

A friend once told me about her scapegoat theory. It went thus: A succession of migrant races have been subjected to prejudice in Australia: European ‘Wogs’ in the fifties and sixties, Asians in the seventies and eighties and Arabs since the nineties. So, for every twenty years, there’s a new scapegoat in Australia’s unfortunate tradition of xenophobia. It’s a major ideological problem, but it seems that though white Australians are more accepting today, we still haven’t completely embraced the idea of a multicultural society.

Most migrants from the Middle East are Muslims, i.e., followers of the Islamic faith. It’s difficult to pin down ‘Islamic Culture’ since Muslims come from many different countries. Look at it this way: a Mexican Catholic and an Irish Catholic would have different cultural and social ideas that may affect how they interpret their religion. This is where some of the inaccurate clichés about Muslims start.

Coming from an agnostic family, my knowledge of other religions is superficial at best… or, at worst, downright ignorant, wallowing in a pit of my own stupidity (‘Sure, I know Buddhists don’t have Easter, but they do celebrate Christmas; don’t they? I saw it on The Simpsons!’). Most people I know aren’t much better. We were never taught about non-Christian religions at school, (Buddhism, Judaism, Taoism, Islam, Hinduism…) and most of us were christened/baptised for tradition, or as part of a Christian faith we’ve long since abandoned. We may not have religiously diverse social circles, and instead derive most religious knowledge from the media and neglect to seek out a more representative source. Am I just part of an ignorant minority? Well, from things people told and asked me during my week as an Hijabi, I’m thinking no. I guess the majority of people don’t care enough to do their own research. Which is fine, since work is hard and Alias starts in ten minutes. However, I think a little understanding of other Australians’ beliefs would go a long way.

Three months ago, what I knew about Islam could almost fill a post-it note. If the post-it note was freakishly small. My Middle Eastern friends weren’t practicing Muslims, and normally religion doesn’t interest me. (A bad experience at Godsquad during my brief stint as a Christian teenager saw to that). When speaking with friends and family, I found their ideas about Islam were often similar… and inaccurate. While talking to Muslim people about their faith, I found that Islam is like any religion: the followers have varying ideas about the faith and what is ‘right’. Jessie, an Australian Muslim convert, told me that ‘Islam is very much like Christianity’, something I found surprising, but came to agree with as I researched further.

With regards to religious beliefs, the main difference is that while Islam recognises Jesus as a prophet and holy man, Muslims do not believe he is the Son of God. ‘God is not human; he is a divine being. So he can’t have a ‘Son’, because he doesn’t have a wife’ Jessie argues. ‘We also believe there was holy a man after Jesus: Mohammed. He was born around six hundred years after Jesus. His contemporaries were literate and Mohammed’s teachings could be written down, verbatim, as he spoke’ I’m not saying that Islam hasn’t been misinterpreted over the years; far from it. However, their holy book, the Koran, has remained completely unedited and unchanged, since its inception. Quite different from the New Testament, wherein Christ’s teachings were paraphrased several years after His death, by many authors, then reinterpreted for ideological and political benefit over centuries.

There are different forms of Islam: Sunni and Shi’ah (the majority of Muslims are Sunni Muslims). The everyday practices and customs of these two types are basically the same. However, there’s controversy between the two because both believe in a different successor to the Prophet Mohammed, the founder of Islam, therefore a different lineage of ‘holy’ or ‘blessed’ people (kind of like a pope). Like Protestants and Catholics, or Simon and Garfunkel, Shi’ah and Sunni don’t get along.

The biggest difference between the average practicing Muslim person and a typical non-Muslim Australian is that the former is, most likely, more religious. Fundamentalist Catholics and Born-Again Christians who follow their religion by the letter are similar to a typical Fundamentalist Muslim, despite the differing beliefs and practices. And, since Catholicism and Islam are both old religions, tenets originally based in common sense and kept to hold society together, are now considered archaic with respect to gender roles and homosexuality. From my research, Islamic ideas can seem dated, and not necessarily something I’d support in contemporary society; but they’re frequently more practical than Catholic ideas on the same issues. Example: Aisha, a Muslim convert, told me that Mohammed said divorce and birth control are seen as ‘the most horrible of accepted practices’. It’s unfortunate when a marriage breaks down, or a couple isn’t able (for health, financial or other reasons) to have children, but what can you do? To paraphrase Mohammed: You gotta be rational, and making two people who can’t stand each other stay together isn’t necessarily the best plan. Fundamentalist Catholics suggest otherwise.

Traditional Muslims pray five times a day. ‘Some people think it’s excessive, they ask us why we pray so much,’ Aisha says. ‘It’s based in trying to keep Allah (God) in one’s every day life. I mean, it’s easier to stray, or to not follow [Islamic practices] if you’re acknowledging Allah only once a week, or less’.

‘Most of the guiding principles in Islam grew from ideas that are just common sense.’ says Jessie. ‘Like Jewish people, we don’t eat pork, because pig meat isn’t as healthy, and is more prone to disease than other meats. We eat Halal meat because meat prepared this way [bled completely, and that hasn’t come into contact with any other meats] is just healthier.’

* * *

The first day I wore my Hijabi outfit, I was a little anxious. What if shop assistants refuse to serve me? I thought. That was my first misconception to be dispelled. A recurring trend I noticed was that all shop assistants were extremely helpful and friendly towards me. Well, except the Coles checkout chick, who’s always there. She just disaffectedly looked straight through me like she does everyone; bless her overworked clerky heart. It made for a nice rest from the staring.

Usually I was treated like big-spending Mr. T in a ‘Chunky-Gold-Accessories R Us’ store. Even at a certain store I often frequent, the surly cashier was transformed from her default ‘bothered by the presence of customers’ to ‘bubbly, “may I help you?”’ type. Aisha also notices this while shopping. ‘It’s so strange!’ she says of the consistency of the response. ‘Perhaps it’s the shop assistant’s way of letting you know they’re ok with you, and your religion? I’m not sure.’ I was commenting on this phenomenon to a friend, who thought about it and replied, ‘aha! They [shop assistants] must think you’re an Afghani migrant, and that you come from a wealthy oil family!’ I inwardly cringed at the underlying bigotry and disregarded my otherwise-intelligent friend’s theory. Not just because it brought up the problem of religion verses culture again. I just don’t think the shop assistants care how wealthy you are if you’re buying a scone at Baker’s Delight.

So shop assistants were friendly. Not so with other shoppers. They had a slightly more colorful reaction…

I live above my mother’s jewelry store in a busy shopping district. During business hours, the only exit is through the shop. So I spend time in the shop with her almost every day. As I walked into the shop on the second day of my project I noticed two women examining a ruby ring, Mum pointing out its qualities while one of the women tried it on. ‘Mu-um, I need safety pins; tell me you have some? The stupid one I had broke and I can’t find any more!’ I whined. The women looked up at me and did a double take before smiling politely at Mum, handing her the ring and quickly walking out. ‘Weird,’ I said as mum re-polished the ring she was ‘this close to selling’. She thought I’d scared off her prospective customers.

We were laughing about this, Mum behind her desk and me leaning on the other side of the counter near the door. Then, while talking about the previous night’s episode of Friends, we noticed the shop had been awfully quiet. Mum pointed out three people hovering at the front window, looking at the stock but not coming into the shop. Many people just browse the front window while waiting for the tram, etc, but these particular people kept peering into the store, then idly scanning the front window again. They looked like they were waiting for something. ‘Hey,’ Mum asked, ‘can you get me some coke from the kitchen?’ I went to the room behind the shop, and sure enough, as soon as I disappeared, the group came in. I retrieved Mum’s drink and went back into the store, whereupon the people, who were quizzing Mum about the price of a bracelet, quickly thanked her and left. Mum looked at me. ‘I love you; but you’re bad for business at the moment. Leave now’ she instructed. I went upstairs and hid in my room until my friends came to pick me up for Uni.

Another fear: What if people abuse me? This fear wasn’t as much mine, as my father and brother’s. Being the typical overprotective, melodramatic father, the first time my dad saw me as an Hijabi, he sighed deeply and looked at me as if I was killing him. He moaned something about me getting ‘stabbed by a crazy in the street’. He thought my obvious Islamic appearance would instigate rage in some psycho, and it would have a stabby/bloody conclusion. But this is coming from the man who worries about me walking the four metres from a taxi to my front door at night, so it was to be expected. It’s his job to worry; he loves me. I’m not sure if the same goes for my little brother, though…

My brother Kane is eighteen months my junior. And he wouldn’t have a piece of my experiment. I mean; he wouldn’t even talk about it. When Mum told him about it, he just said, ‘No. This is stupid. She’ll get spat on. This will end badly’ and left it at that – a silent protest towards me putting my safety in jeopardy. I think the protest evolved to simple stubbornness, though, because even long after I finished the ‘practical’ part of the experiment, he still wouldn’t have a bar of it. I used all sorts of sly tricks to slip it into the conversation:
‘Hey Kane, something funny happened to me at work – ’
‘Were you wearing the Muslim thing?’
‘Yeah, but – ’
‘Nope.’ he would bark, turning back to the TV.

Why did my father and brother automatically assume people would take me so badly? During the week, I was never openly abused, or treated with too much hostility. However, I did get quite a few suspicious looks. Why are there more negative feelings towards Muslims than, say, practicing Catholics? If they are so similar, why this hysterical fear in the media about Muslims and Arabs? Is it that dreaded ‘T’ word, ‘Terrorism’? Paedophiles in the Catholic Church are in the extreme minority. We know that, despite the funny-but-so-very-wrong jokes we make. And every person who worships Allah isn’t a candidate for suicide bombing. In every religious community (including atheism), there are people who are unstable, or who value ideology over human life. There’s the clichéd movie priest who does ‘God’s work’ and bloody wackiness ensues. Many Christian terrorists, like the Oklahoma Bomber, Timothy McVeigh, believed they were doing God’s work. So why when an extremist group misinterprets Islam (or their holy book, the Koran) and does something monstrous, does the ‘terrorist Muslim’ stigma grow?

‘Jihad’. Ok, what are you thinking? Ooh, terrorists imposing their oppressive beliefs onto others; it’s all bad. But how did the term ‘Jihad’ become ‘holy war’? The word literally means ‘to strive’ or ‘to struggle’. ‘The concept of Jihad is actually really simple’ says Jessie. ‘It’s a defensive thing, not an offensive one. If you’re happy just sitting around, doing your thing, and someone approached you and told you that you couldn’t follow your personal beliefs anymore, then you should fight to defend those beliefs. It’s got nothing to do with inflicting war.’

* * *

During my Hijabi week, I met three different women who had converted to Islam. They were all intelligent, assertive, attractive people. They certainly weren’t repressed by sexist or overbearing husbands. Their stories were similar. ‘When I was a teenager I used to drink, smoke, go out and everything’ Jessie told me. ‘I just… never really enjoyed it, you know? Then I met [my future husband]. We’d just talk about stuff, and he’d tell me about his religion. It all seemed really logical. So I did some extensive research and decided I wanted to convert.’

Aisha is the same. ‘I just didn’t like where society was going… [and] during the last year of my psychology degree, I started asking myself questions about who I was, and why we were put on this planet. I found my questions were answered in Islamic teachings.’

Contrary to popular belief, Australian Muslim women don’t cover themselves just because their husbands demand it. When going out, Aisha wears a similar garment to mine, with only her eyes visible. ‘Actually,’ Aisha says, ‘my husband doesn’t like it. He says it’s too modest. But I feel that if you’re going to be dedicated to a religion, or a cause, you have to give it your all.’

Aisha and I noted the similarities between the reactions we received whilst wearing the hijab and niqab. For example, everybody stares. Everybody. People under sixty tend to stare briefly, then quickly look away, or give you a patronising ‘I’m ok with this’ smile like you’re in a wheelchair (which, I suppose, is better than the glares). People over sixty, just keep on staring. I tried not to giggle when I saw many an old man staring, and I could just tell they were thinking, ‘no, bugger this, this looks weird, so I’m gonna look. I’ve lived too damn long to be polite.’ Women often glare (for the sisterhood of feminism, I suppose) and men giggle or comment to each other nervously. The only one to treat me exactly the same way was Mum’s guard dog, (our spoilt-brat five-year-old 75-kilo Rottweiler, whom I adore). When I came down to the shop on my first day as an Hijabi, I said hi to him. I was expecting him to bark at this black-clad stranger; instead he walked up to me, sniffed my shoe, and pushed me with his head in the direction of the kitchen to get his food.

While wearing the hijab, I had several friends make nervous jokes about terrorism in that matey, ‘hey I’m ok with all this’ way that proves they’re really not comfortable with such an obvious display of Muslim culture. I got so sick of ‘hey, is that a bomb in your pocket…?’ jokes. Also, many of my friends wanted me to subvert the stereotype of the solemn, mysterious burqa-clad unsmiling woman by drinking, smoking, swearing or dancing around while wearing the hijab. Out of respect for Islamic culture, I didn’t do any of these things. And out of respect for the fact that I’m an easily-led idiot, I vowed to do all the above later on while in a polar bear or penguin suit. But I’ll keep you posted on that one.

A friend of mine with political-correctness anxiety confided: ‘it’s just that it all looks so… I don’t know, foreign? Like the headdress and their practices and everything. And everything we see of the Middle East, their home, is bad. Conflict, wars, oppression.’

While researching my experiment, I spoke to many Muslim people. Their natural humour warmed me, and definitely affected the way I saw the experiment and how I later analysed it in this piece. When I bought my Hijab, the Muslim shop assistant laughed and told me my idea was ‘awesome’. Every Muslim person I spoke to was so funny on the subject of bigotry. Not in a defense-mechanism, if-I-don’t-laugh-I’ll-cry kind of way, but in a genuine, understanding, ‘I’m happy with the way I live my life, and in time, people will probably accept that’ kind of way.

It’s a simplistic point of view, and it’s difficult to kill prejudices and bigotry, but if the same people who yell ‘get back to your own country!’ to Australian-born Muslim converts actually knew about Islam and Muslim people, then perhaps the media would have to find something else to scare us with (genetically mutated surly wombats, perhaps?) and I wouldn’t have to sweat it out on a 30-degree day wearing heavy black synthetic material just to try and get an understanding of cultural bigotry.

Read more!

Monday, 16 March 2009


1. Come to my comedy festival show!

2. I have a new website, and it's so awesome it makes me cry unicorn sweat:!

w00t. w00t is all. w00t. Read more!

Saturday, 24 January 2009

The Best Celebrity Fights to the Death in 2008, Part Four

Part One, Part Two, Part Three.

The fourth and final instalment after the jump!

The Fat Guy and the Hogg

Date: October 8

Who Died: Norman Hogg, Baron Hogg of Cumbernauld FSA Scot, Scottish Labour politician, cancer. José Luis Garza Rodríguez, one of the world's heaviest people, heart failure.

Though weighing 452 kilos, Garza isn’t as interesting as Manuel Uribe Garza, the other morbidly obese Mexican bloke come good who tried to help him lose weight. He used to weigh 520 kilos, now weighs 360 as of October, but continues to lose weight. Dig this wiki entry about his wedding, snip:


After four years together, Uribe, who hadn't left bed for six years, married Solís from his bed. ‘I am proof you can find love in any circumstances. It's all a question of faith. I have a wife and will form a new family and live a happy life’.

He was transported to the civil wedding on his specially-reinforced four-poster bed, draped with cream and gold and adorned in bright sunflowers, on the back of a truck. Donning a white silk shirt with a sheet around his legs he waited to greet Solís as she walked down a flight of stairs wearing a strapless ivory dress and a tiara before 400 guests. Discovery Channel's My Big Fat Mexican Wedding documentary will be the third TV show featuring Uribe.

What Really Happened: Anyway, back to our two fight to the death-ers. Obviously a fight broke out when Norman Hogg misheard Garza's claims that he, himself was the biggest Hogg. Boom boom!

Battle of the ‘Bama Lovers

Date: November 2

Who Died: Terence D. Tolbert, American political operative, Nevada state director for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, heart attack. Madelyn Lee Payne Dunham, maternal grandmother of Obama, cancer.

Born and raised in Harlem, Tolbert’s middle school was named after him in November 2008, as a memorial.

Dunham was a tough cookie. You’d have to be: if a man has the tenacity and intelligence to become president (without his dad paving the way first, of course), then imagine the debates about curfew once puberty hit.

What Really Happened: Two days before the election and stress levels were at an all-time high in the Obama camp. But who loved him most? Tolbert kept claiming it was him, but Dunham, who raised Obama from the age of 10, begged to differ. Tolbert wouldn’t let up, but Dunham was a fan of swift, brutal punishment: after a painful birth she named her only daughter Stanley, for Christ’s sake.

The cruel irony is that they loved him ‘most’ equally, but now they’re both dead, the title goes to a Jamal Greenbaum, a honkey hipster living in Detroit, who will tell you within five minutes of introduction that all his friends are black, after forcing you to partake in a needlessly complex handshake/high five greeting.

The Fallout: A scragfight erupts when 46 meaty but well-groomed thirtysomething women have the same debate about Bill Clinton.

Dictator’s Grandson V Dictator Thief

Date: November 2

Who Died: Domenico Leccisi, Italian politician best known for stealing the corpse of the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini from an unmarked grave, heart and respiratory disease. Joseph Alliluyev, Russian cardiologist, grandson of Joseph Stalin.

What Really Happened: The League of Dictator’s Offspring finally got to Leccisi.

The Fallout: The League of Dictator’s Offspring reveal themselves, and have to beat off the Marvel Comic offers with a two metre replica of Hitler’s only testicle. ‘Come on, it’ll be fun to be a super villain in your very own comic book!’ Stan Lee whines, thinking of his inevitable cameo in the movie version.

Hawaiian Shirts and Child Actors

Date: December 22 and 23

Who Died: Alfred Shaheen, textile industrialist credited with popularising the Hawaiian shirt, complications from diabeties. Manuel Benitez, child actor wanted by the FBI, shot by police.

Shaheen was originally from New Jersey, which might explain his fashion taste. His family moved to Hawaii when he was 16, and at 26 he opened his garment business. By 29, in 1952, his business began silkscreening Polynesian and Asian designs onto silk, cotton, and rayon for Hawaiian shirts and other garments. But the 80s hit his business hard, with their ‘fluro leopard print OR NOTHING’ ideologies. He closed shop in 1988.

Benitez went by the stage name Mark Everett. His roles included parts in Pee Wee's Big Adventure , Galactica 1980 and Highway to Heaven. He’d not done any major acting work since 1988.

He met his girlfriend in 1996, had a child with her and never told her he was a former child actor. To support the family, he did odd jobs, including selling drugs. In 2004 his girlfriend tried to leave him, he tried to abscond with their son while she was asleep. She woke up, they fought, he beat her to death with a dumbbell in front of their three-year-old. He fled, and in 2008 took part in the awesome-sounding El Monte restaurant standoff, which was actually just him locking himself in a restaurant threatening to kill his son, now seven, if the police didn’t leave. It didn’t work out for him. (The son was shot in the thigh, but fine).

What Really Happened: Hawaiian shirts are the staple for fat party guys and precocious Parker-Louis-esque child actors. Think Zac from Saved by the Bell. Perhaps Shaheen was approaching former child actors to bring back the look, and he bumped into Benitez at the El Monte shopping strip. Wrong place, wrong time.

The Fallout: Disney television issues a ban on Hawaiian shirts, fearing that their provocative open-flower designs might give their starlets… ideas.


Date: December 24

Who Died: Ai Iijima, Japanese media personality. Cause of death still unknown: murder, suicide, heart attack and accidental overdose are all possibilities. Christine Maggiore, HIV-positive activist, pneumonia.

Iijima led a troubled early life. She was raped in her early teens, had an abortion, ran away from and made a living working in karaoke establishments, snack bars, Ginza hostess clubs and in enjo kōsai (paid dating).

She entered the entertainment business in her late teens, appearing on late night television programs wearing g-strings, short skirts, and even appearing topless with saline breast implants. Her stage name was chosen by a fan survey. She was also a popular ‘adult film’ actress. Japanese TV is once again proved to be a billion times better than ours. They have topless porn star teens, we have Late Night with Hot Dogs.

Post porn, she released a single and appeared on talk shows. She had her own manga series about time travel. In 2000 she wrote a semi-autobiographical book, Platonic Sex. In 2004 she participated in AIDS awareness campaigns in Tokyo. In 2007, at 34, she retired from showbiz, commenting that she wanted to set up a business marketing condoms to women.

Maggiore founded ‘Alive & Well AIDS Alternatives’, an organization questioning the link between HIV and AIDS. It also supports HIV-positive pregnant women who want to avoid taking anti-HIV medication.

An AIDS denialer, in May 2005 her three-year-old daughter (Eliza Jane) died from a strain of pneumonia stemming from… untreated AIDS.

Via wikipedia:

Consistent with her belief that HIV was harmless, Maggiore had not taken medication to reduce the risk of transmission of HIV to her daughter during pregnancy, and did not have Eliza Jane tested for HIV during her daughter's lifetime.

What Really Happened: A debate about AIDS turned violent… and was more funny in my head before typing it out. Hm. I’m an awful person.

The Fallout: I go outside to look at that rainbow again, but god’s taken them all away until I stop making fun of dead people. DAMN YOU, MIGHTY LORD! YOU’RE POSSIBLY JUST A HUMAN CONSTRUCT BUT STILL SO VENGEFUL!

Bonus! Three things I discovered while researching this article:

1. A lot of Korean Soap stars killed themselves this year. Here are just three.

2. There is a wikipedia entry for the Munchkins from the Wizard of Oz movie, the actors lovingly categorised into ‘Dead’ and ‘Alive’.

3. Some people… think this article is dead serious. The emailer’s text is pasted here in italics, my response in bold:


I have an interest in knowing more about this entry you wrote. Could you tell me more about this Grits Gresham item?

Thank you.

[name withheld]

Sure. What would you like to know?

Thank you for responding.

I am curious about your reference to Alex and Grits and what was meant by: [the ‘What Really Happened’ part of the Grits Vs Wildstein, big cat hunting entry]

What was the 'fatal fight' to which you refer? Was it just your humorous euphemistic linking of the ire of Alex or do you believe there was some actual connection between Grits , Alex and Jocelyn?

Thank you.

It was a joke, I was fairly certain that such a preposterous notion would have been looked upon as such.

Just to clarify, the whole 'fight to the death' angle of the article is obviously fiction, dreamed up by me. You know that, right? Every circumstance in the article was taken from the fact that they died on the same day, that's the only link.

(I didn’t get a response)

Read more!

Monday, 19 January 2009

The Best Celebrity Fights to the Death in 2008, Part Three

Part One, Part Two.

The third and penultimate instalment after the jump!

Horse V Environmentalist

Date: May 3

Who Died: Eight Belles, thoroughbred racehorse, euthanised. Charles Caccia, Canadian environmentalist and politician, stroke.

What Really Happened: You can love animals and the IDEA of them having a tranquil habitat, but regardless, some can be real jerks. This horse was so fucking full of herself – for placing only second, mind you – that even this campaigner for nature felt the need to headbut it right in its long, smirking face.

The Fallout: Race horses realise they might have to start checking their attitude at the door – but they still won’t stop talking loudly on their mobile phones while in the cinema. Fucking douchebags.

Inventors Collide!

Date: May 4

Who Died: Colin Albert Murdoch MNZM, New Zealand pharmacist and veterinarian, cancer. Fredric J. Baur, American chemist and food storage technician.

Murdoch invented the tranquilizer gun, the disposable hypodermic syringe and the child-proof medicine container, among another 46 patents in his name. Baur invented the Pringles can.

Baur requested some of his ashes be buried in a Pringles can. The rest of his remains were placed in an urn buried along with the can, with some placed in another urn and given to one of Baur's grandchildren; the worst posthumous birthday present ever.

What Really Happened: At the anual inventors convention:
‘I’ve helped stop escaped, dangerous yet endangered tigers in their tracks, without killing them!’ ‘Well, I've prevented fat people from reaching their pudgy fist further into the bag of chips!’ a scuffle broke out, beakers went flying…

The Fallout: The next Annual Global Inventors Convention (AGI-con), is heavily policed by burly security guards, who keep exchanging incredulous glances at each other over the scrawny, stooped frames of genius, vengeful killers.

Rugby Player Vs Lady Wrestler

Date: May 9

Who Died: Judy Grable, the Barefoot Contessa, cause of death not yet determined. Jack Gibson, rugby player, commentator and coach.

When Grable was 13 she entered the world of professional wrestling. (Remember how angry you were when you got your first period?)

What Really Happened: First, Rugby, if you don't know, is basically a bunch of guys made of fat and muscle tearing each other apart while a ball rolls past. This is a sport where the players have to tape their ears lest they get ripped off. So this was just a case of two butches having at each other, possibly because it was Friday and they were bored.

The Fallout: The war rages on. Which war? Keep reading.

A Triad of Strange

Date: June 27

Who Died: Madam Marie, fortune teller, 93. ‘Sasha’ Gabor Sarközi, Norwegian porn actor, heart failure. Uga VI, mascot of the University of Georgia, bulldog; heart failure (also).

Madam Marie worked on the Asbury Park (New Jersey), boardwalk from 1932 until 2008, telling fortunes for people including Judy Garland (‘you will die cold, alone, drugged, busted yet fabulous’?) and Bruce Springsteen (‘The girl you pluck out of the crowd to dance with you in your film clip will end up being more successful than you’?).

Sarközi started his ‘acting’ career at 38, an age at which most pr0n actresses have been retired for about a decade. He became quite popular because of his physical similarity to Burt Reynolds and Sean Connery. THINK ABOUT THAT.

Besides working in the porn industry, Sasha Gabor worked as a musician, pilot, writer, and as a Burt Reynolds- and Sean Connery-look-alike. He also spoke eight languages: Norwegian, English, Hungarian, German, French, Russian, Spanish and Portuguese. That’s one well-rounded stunt cock.

Though a mascot by trade, Uga was issued an official student identification card for the University of Georgia. He travelled in an air conditioned dog house and sat on bags of ice at games, since bulldogs are susceptible to heat stroke (and Georgia is so humid). Take THAT, inner city kids who can't get a scholarship and can't afford student accommodation.

What Really Happened: A fortune teller, a porn star and a bulldog. The latter two died of heart failures. I’ll leave this to your sick, sick minds. I’m going outside to look at a rainbow.

The Fallout: You realise the depths of ugliness your mind is capable of. I'll meet you at the rainbow when you're done scrubbing your brain clean.

Racehorse V Gorilla

Date: August 19

Who Died: Jumoke, western lowland gorilla at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Powell, Ohio, complications from an earlier miscarriage. Genuine Risk, 1980 Kentucky Derby winner and first filly to ever finish in the money in all three American Triple Crown races.

What Really Happened: When Jumoke gave birth to a son who wasn’t breathing, she actually gave him mouth to mouth, saving his life. She’s a nice-guy gorilla. But as we previously learnt, racehorses are arrogant fuckers.

Gorillas are down to Earth and frankly, won't take their shit. So perhaps these two were dining at the same fancy restaurant for famous animals, and the racehorse (after too much hay-flavoured champagne) was being obnoxious to the waitress and fellow diners, carrying on, whinnying and what not. She was all, ‘Oh, I’m only the second filly to win the Kentucky Derby, I have a boat named after me, I’ll get free breadsticks if I fucking want them’. So the gorilla confronted her... honestly, it ruined the birthday dinner of the well-known sparrow at the next table.

The Fallout: Nothing. Racehorses still park in wheelchair spots, because ‘they’ll only be in and out in five minutes, ten tops’. Fucking supercilious, cuntish jerks.

Rugby Player V Wrestler Redux!

Date: August 30

Who Died: Killer Kowalski, who I talked about in my Cracked Article. Brian Hambly, another Australian rugby player.

The Fallout: The decades-long feud between American wrestlers and Australian rugby players is finally uncovered.

Stay tuned for the fourth and last installment, next week!

Read more!

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

The Best Celebrity Fights to the Death in 2008, Part Two


The second instalment after the jump!

Geek V Nerd

Date: March 4

Who Died: Leonard Rosenman, Academy Award and Emmy Award winning film, television and concert composer, heart attack. Gary Gygax, co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons, abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Rosenman is responsible for the music on some of the geekiest movies ever: Fantastic Voyage, The Lord of the Rings (1978 version) and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home among many others. He also did the music for the Twilight Zone TV series. Gygax is responsible for some of the best scientists and mathematicians of our time missing uni exams and failing, thanks to all-night D&D tournaments.

What Really Happened: A miscommunication about which armour reigns supreme, and all of a sudden it was beard pulling and black t-shirt tearing from here to their mothers’ houses.

The Fallout: A new RPG, Geek V Nerd, in which Dweeb trumps Spazz, but Nerd trumps Dweeb. Unless Dweeb has plus ten Smug Points, won by formidable knowledge of physics or XKCD, extensive comic book collection, anime knowledge or a high WOW level.

Kill or Be Killed or Both

Date: March 10

Who Died: Richard Biegenwald, New Jersey serial killer, respiratory and kidney failure. William Richard Bradford, serial killer, cancer.

Biegenwald killed at least nine people (likely more) when he was between the ages of 18 and 43. He set fire to the family home at five, at eight was drinking and gambling, at nine he had electroshock therapy. He went to a ‘State Training School for Boys’ (a kiddie prison), visiting his mother occasionally to steal from her. At 11, he set himself on fire on one of these visits. At 16, he graduated eighth grade and left kiddie prison to attend high school, which he dropped out of after a few weeks. He went to Nashville and stole a car. He was returned to his mother in New Jersey, stole another car and robbed a grocery store, shooting the shopkeeper dead. He went to jail for 16 years (released early for good behaviour). Life outside went: odd jobs, attempted rape conviction, conviction dropped, got married, killed a girl, then another, a friend of his wife’s was shown the bodies, she dobbed him in, police arrested him and seized his weapons, drugs and… puff adder, more bodies were uncovered, he went back to jail.

Bradford, on the other hand, pretended to be a photographer. After his arrest, police found pictures of 54 different women in modelling poses. Police believe that the other women were also killed by Bradford, and the photos depict their last moments alive. This is creepy yet unconfirmed.

While on bail awaiting a rape trial, Bradford met a barmaid at LA bar ‘The Meet Market’ (yes) and lured her to a remote campsite. He took pictures of her, then strangled her, slicing off her tattoos (so she wouldn’t be identified), removed her blouse and dumped her in an alley.

Shortly afterwards, he lured his 15-year-old neighbour to the same campsite, took pictures then strangled her, leaving the body there and covering her face with the barmaid’s blouse.

During the trial he fired his lawyer. Bradford then acted as his own counsel, but offered no evidence or arguments of his innocence, instead opting to close with the implication that there were more murdered women still undiscovered: ‘Think of how many you don't even know about. You are so right. That's it.’ In jail, he wrote some poetry. Five days before his execution, he started professing his innocence, and in 2006 the LA police department released the headshots found in his house. The vast majority of the women remain unidentified, though one was discovered decapitated in Malibu in 1978.

What Really Happened: After an administration error dropped Bradford’s first name from the prisoner database, cellmates started debating who was the creepiest Richard B, and both decided to defend their honour. But considering how kill-happy these desperadoes were, it could have easily been because of a debate about the benefits of setting one’s watch a few minutes early.

The Fallout: A CSI: Miami episode has already been done (an actress on the show, Eva LaRue, has identified her sister as being number three on the headshot list the police released). Perhaps CSI can also do an ep on Biegenwald, about some guy who from the age of five just keeps fucking up.

Two holocaust survivors from Auschwitz battle it out

Date: March 7

Who Died: Leon Greenman OBE, British anti-fascism campaigner and survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, pneumonia. Julius Paltiel, one of twenty-six Norwegian Jews who returned from Auschwitz.

What Really Happened: Actually, this one’s too tasteless even for me.

The Fallout: Lisa starts feeling very bad about her choice in feature article topics.

Panda V Muscle Man… Part One

Date: April 1 & 2

Who Died: Taotao, China’s oldest living Panda at the time of her death at 36, brain thrombus and a cerebral hemorrhage. Péter Baczakó, Hungarian Weightlifter, cancer.

Baczakó was a gold medal Olympian, winning the middleweight division at Moscow in 1980 (and bronze in the light at Montreal in 1976). He was also diagnosed with muscular dystrophy and spent his last months wheelchair-bound.

What Really Happened: I think we all know. Baczakó tried to show the world he was still number one. Female giant pandas can weigh up to 100 kgs. Do I really need to spell it out? He tried to lift the panda. He did, but dropped her, crushing him and killing her.

The Fallout: A deadly new record to break.

The Manly Actor V the Doco Maker

Date: April 5

Who Died: Charlton Heston, actor and gun enthusiast, pneumonia. Alex Grasshoff, American documentary filmmaker, complications from bypass surgery on his leg.

In 1969 Grasshoff won an Oscar for his documentary Young Americans. But the Academy then found out the film had been shown first in October 1967, making it ineligible for the 1969 award (which only honoured films first shown in 1968). In a move of enviable dick bureaucracy, the Academy revoked the award, the only time in history this has happened. Grasshoff was nominated for another documentary in 1974, but didn’t win. Dick move, academy. Dick move.

What Really Happened: Though Heston only won one Oscar, in 1960 for Ben Hur, he was fiercely protective of the Academy’s reputation. And a move from initially being a moderate Democrat, to conservative in his later life, shows a decline in his capacity for logic. As the decades wore on, he felt the need to protect the good name of the Oscars. But Grasshoff was ready for him, with his makeshift imitation statue on hand…

The Fallout: No one bad mouths the Oscars every again. Until the next one. Though afterwards, they sleep with one eye open for the ghost of Heston.

Also, just for a second think of the ghost of Heston, all coming at you, sinewy and vengeful.

Record Producer V Mister Chicken Dance

Date: April 9

Who Died: George Butler, American jazz record producer, complications from Alzheimer's disease. Bob Kames, American musician, prostate cancer.

Butler launched the careers of a number of famous artists, including Harry Connick Jr. Kames ‘developed and popularised’ a version of the polka song ‘Dance Little Bird’, which is a nice way of saying he tweaked it a bit, called it the Chicken Dance and then made weddings for decades to come suck. Though he also owned and operated a chain of music stores called 'Bob Kames Wonderful World of Music', which I kind of love.

What Really Happened: Kames approached Butler about an updated version of the Chicken Dance, possibly ghetto-jam or trip hop inspired. Butler had none or it. Kames pointed out that the Chicken Dance had sold over 300,000 copies in Poland alone. Butler pointed out that this was in 1983. Things got heated. Two old men in pastel-coloured suits and wide ties with diagonal stripes had it out. There were no survivors.

The Fallout: The A & R guy to replace Butler stumbles upon the correspondence between Kames and Butler… and gets Soulja Boy (himself a song-specific dance enthusiast) to record it.

Panda V Muscle Man… Part Two

Date: April 30

Who Died: Ling Ling, once the oldest male Giant Panda in Japan (22), old age. Clarence Ross, American bodybuilder.

What Really Happened: Since he came second for Mr USA in 1949 (he placed first in 1947), Ross has been looking for another way to prove he’s still number one. When he heard about Baczakó’s attempt to lift a giant panda, he decided to give it a go.

Ling Ling’s name actually means ‘darling little girl’ in Chinese. And despite having a mate, Tong Tong, and a stream of other Panda-babes, he never impregnated one. So he actually volunteered to be benchpressed, just to prove he’s still butch as.

The Fallout: The record for ‘bench pressed a panda without killing both self and panda’ remains. When will it claim its next elderly muscle man and ageing panda duo?

Read more!

Monday, 12 January 2009

Hi, Babble Baby Readers!

I have a thought piece in the 'Notes From A Non-Breeder' section of Have a look if you're so inclined: I Don't Like Children. Even Yours.

And welcome to anyone who clicked through to my blog from the byline. Have a look around, why not.

Also, another instalment of Celeb Fights to the Death will be here tomorrow!

Nothing more this time. I do that. Sorry. Read more!

Monday, 5 January 2009

The X Best Celebrity Fights to the Death (we think) in 2008, Part One

Celebrities are different from us. We have jobs where we sit at desks all day; they have a job where they have to sing a pop song every night to thousands of screaming 14-year-olds. On the weekends we stay at home drinking and watching their movies, they’re kite surfing on a beach in Australia and getting rubbed down by beautiful women. Even low-level notoriety changes someone… like how the creator of the slinky left his family to join a cult in Bolivia.

When a celebrity dies, we usually get an information overload: Coroners’ reports, leaked crime scene pictures and suicide notes, tearful ‘my last moment with him’ accounts. But what if it was all bullshit? What if the arrogance that often comes with notoriety led to a heightened sense of honour, and if that honour was ever questioned, led to a fight to the death?

Here are a few well-known people who died on the same day this year, and the real story behind what happened. We think.


Date: January 3
Who Died: Harry L. ‘Butch’ Felker III, former Mayor of Topeka, cancer. Joseph Aaron Lazarow, former Mayor of Atlantic City, New Jersey, cause of death unspecified.

What Really Happened: The year started off slow. Well-known socialites and celebrities alike were recovering from the holidays on yachts and in spas worldwide. But these two had a score to settle, possibly regarding parking restrictions.

The Fallout: Mayor V Mayor becomes a new Marvel comic, with three spinoffs: Commissioner V Commissioner, Comptrollers at War and Ombudsmen Collide!


Date: January 7

Who Died: Jean-Claude Vrinat, owner of the Haute Cuisine Taillevent restaurant, lung cancer. Edward Abraham ‘Bozo’ Miller, Gastronomical Champion of competitive eating, ‘natural causes’.

What Really Happened: the Times UK has called Taillevent ‘one of the grandest traditional establishments in Paris’. With a discounted lunch menu at 80 Euros, ($100 USD), it’s obvious what happened. Bozo came, he ate his fill, he got the cheque, he asked to see the owner… and then things got ugly. Deliciously, fatally ugly.

The Fallout: Once the heroic battle is publicised, a book on the life and times of Bozo Miller is released. This is a man who weighed 300 pounds, ate up to 25,000 calories per day, once ate 1000 packets of potato chips (flavour unspecified) and once drank a lion under the table. Yet he lived until the age of 89, and married a former Princess of the Pasadena Rose Bowl (basically, a beauty queen). Upon the book’s release, we’ll see an increase in competitive eating, alcoholism, and domestic abuse among big cats.


Date: January 10

Who Died: Maila Nurmi, actress known for her ‘Vampira’ character, the inspiration for both Elvira and Booberella. Andrée Marlière, internationally renown ballerina, cancer.

What Really Happened: Who knows what it was about. But considering Nurmi was 85 and Marlière was 73, we can’t help but think this battle would have been way, way hotter had it happened five decades ago.

The Fallout: The vicious, sexy, decades-long feud between actresses and ballerinas is finally brought to light.


Date: February 18

Who Died: Alec Wildenstein, French international art dealer, ex-husband of socialite Jocelyn Wildenstein, cancer. Grits Gresham, American conservationist, sportsman, and actor, complications with pneumonia.

What Really Happened: You may know Alec as the ex of Socialite and Very Scary Person Jocelyn Wildenstein:

It turns out they had a… difficult relationship. When Jocelyn suspected Alec of having affairs, she started the plastic surgery that would eventually make her:

When she confronted him about the affairs, he threatened her with a gun, and was briefly jailed. Once divorce proceedings started, both refused to leave their New York City townhouse, so they divided the apartment (we assume with a sitcom-esque white line drawn straight down the middle). When Jocelyn discovered she now only had one servant and didn’t have access to the private jet, things got really ugly.

Grits, meanwhile, was just your average retired media personality with a love for hunting. He’d hunted all his life, and was once terrifyingly quoted as saying ‘two things were going to happen every day when I was growing up. The sun was going to rise, and I was going to shoot something’.

Being a hunter his all life, he would have bagged a fair amount of game over the years. But there was one trophy left: the big cat.

The fatal fight started when Alec told Grits he was the one who wanted to shoot her first.

The Fallout:

To this day she remains in her natural habitat: the New York socialite scene.


Date: February 24

Who Died:, British Secret Service Agent. Floyd Matthews, America’s oldest living submariner. Cause of death unknown in both cases.

What Really Happened: During WWII, Cornioley’s troops killed over 1000 German soldiers. The Nazis put a 1,000,000-franc bounty on her head. Post-war, this bounty may or may not have been lifted. Matthews, a WWII veteran himself, had access to a submarine: a silent, nautical killing machine. We’re just saying.

The Fallout: Living ex-Nazis remember that they had a few things to tie-up at the end of WWII, get to work lifting any other outstanding bounties with a chuckle and a ‘whoops!’ then decide they’d rather do a crossword puzzle. What? Just because they’re old, doesn’t mean their not jerks anymore.


Date: February 28

Who Died: Joseph M. Juran, management consultant and creator of the misleadingly-exciting-named Juran's Trilogy, stroke at 103 years of age. Philip ‘Flying Phil’ Rabinowitz, South African Sprinter, also stroke, 104 years old.

What Really Happened: Two centenarians, but only one could be... the fastest centenarian. When Juran challenged Rabinowitz that fateful February morn, a fight broke out so vicious that the only sound for miles was the gnashing of teeth and the breaking of hips.

The Fallout: a movie based on the battle, 2 Fast 2 Elderly, released in time for summer 2010.

Stay tuned for the next part, posted soon!

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