I haven’t read the book yet, but the topic sounds like it would be of interest to WUvies. It's described as the first comprehensive study of the phenomenon of performers who died onstage:
From the comedy magician who dropped dead on live television to the amateur thespian who expired during a play called The Art of Murder, the book is a celebration of lives both famous and obscure, as well as a dramatic and accurate recounting of events leading to the moments they died "doing what they loved."
Bader joined the RAF in 1928, and was commissioned in 1930. In December 1931, while attempting some aerobatics, he crashed and lost both his legs. Having been on the brink of death, he recovered, retook flight training, passed his check flights and then requested reactivation as a pilot. Although there were no regulations applicable to his situation, he was retired against his will on medical grounds.
After the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, however, Douglas Bader returned to the RAF and was accepted as a pilot. He scored his first victories over Dunkirk during the Battle of France in 1940. He then took part in the Battle of Britain and became a friend and supporter of Air Vice Marshal Trafford Leigh-Mallory and his "Big Wing" experiments.
In August 1941, Bader baled out over German-occupied France and was captured. Soon afterward, he met and was befriended by Adolf Galland, a prominent German fighter ace. Despite his disability, Bader made a number of escape attempts and was eventually sent to the prisoner of war camp at Colditz Castle. He remained there until April 1945 when the camp was liberated by the First United States Army.
The idea of nuking hurricanes has been in the news lately. Which made me wonder: how soon after learning of the existence of atomic bombs did people start to speculate about dropping them into hurricanes?
The answer seems to be, immediately. I found the article below about nuking hurricanes, dated Aug 8, 1945 — a mere two days after the bombing of Hiroshima.
Interestingly, the article speculates that the idea may have been inspired by earlier legends about using cannons to dispel waterspouts:
Talk of bombing hurricanes stems from stories of waterspouts being dissipated in the South Seas with cannon or rifle shot, Norton said. He doubts the truth of these yarns.
Parachuting onto the whirling blades of a helicopter is both an unusual and a horrific way to die. It's definitely the worst kind of parachute accident I can imagine. It happened to one young woman — her first time parachuting — back in August 1987.
The Guardian - Aug 10, 1987
Paula Goodayle “who was hacked to death when she fell through the whirling blades of a helicopter during her first jump.”
The Sport Parachutist magazine (Oct 1987) offered some details into the subsequent investigation of the incident. The basic conclusion seems to have been that it was a colossal screw-up to have had students continue to parachute when a helicopter was in the area.
Miss Goodayle was despatched on the second pass, being the third parachutist to exit the aircraft, the parachute deployed normally, the descent was normal until just prior to landing when there was a collision between the parachutist and a helicopter approximately 430 yards from the target cross.
The conclusions of the Board of Inquiry were that Drop Zone Control or Air Traffic Control failed to suspend parachuting when the helicopter was in the area and that the helicopter pilot failed to take avoiding action or clear the area when parachiting was in progress. The Board could see no reason why parachuting was not suspended or why the helicopter was in the area whilst parachuting was taking place.
The recommendations of the Board were that whenever a student parachute programme is in operation, the Drop Zone Controller must have radio communication with parachuting aircraft for the purpose of suspending parachuting.
Back in 1936, interior decorators predicted a popular future for velvet-lined bathtubs.
I can only imagine they would have been a nightmare to clean.
Pottsville Republican and Herald - Dec 4, 1936
Emery County Progress - Nov 27, 1936
Update: Thanks to our knowledgeable readers, Floormaster Squeeze and KDP, for pointing out that Steve Martin had a line in one of his routines about buying a fur-lined sink. I found the clip on YouTube (audio only, unfortunately). The fur-lined sink reference occurs less than a minute in.
November 1969: The fact that Sister Joann Malone of the Order of Loreto was protesting wasn't particularly big news, but the fact that she was wearing a miniskirt as she did so was front-page news.
Sydney Morning Herald - Nov 21, 1969
Decatur Herald - Nov 20, 1969
Her superior, Sister Rose Maureen Sanders, head of the St. Louis province of the Sisters of Loreto, wasn’t too happy about the fashion decision. From a follow-up article:
Sister Rose said she feels that Sister Joanne, from her earnings on speaking engagements, could have paid to purchase a longer skirt.
“I regretted the photo when I saw it in newspapers here and thought her wearing a miniskirt was ridiculous,” said the provincial superior.
“It’s an aberration on her part. Many, many sisters are wearing modern clothes but would not choose a miniskirt. Why do the newspapers print things like that?”
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
Our banner was drawn by the legendary underground cartoonist Rick Altergott.