Photo: 1962 Cadillac hearse listed for sale on Craigslist at $30,000.
Queen of the Dead – dateline September 19, 2011
• The 108-year-old Steuben Glass company has announced they are closing shop—specifically, their Corning, NY, factory, and their 1950s-chic Madison Avenue shop. Steuben, of course, is responsible for all those paperweights, bowls and other tchotchkes world leaders give one another, and those wedding/bar mitzvah/christening gifts you find in your great-aunt’s apartment after she dies and wonder what you are going to do with. “This is one of America’s oldest handicrafts consumer goods. It’s world famous,” says businessman Leonard Stern. “It would be like France hearing that Baccarat was closing down.” And it is certainly not going to be easy for glass-blowers to find new jobs.
• “Noooo!” cried all my straight female and gay male friends when Welsh hunk Andy Whitfield, 39, lost his battle with cancer on September 11. Whitfield appeared in numerous Australian TV series, but was best-known for the high-camp sword & sandal fest Spartacus: Blood and Sand (2010). He also appeared in the movies Gabriel (2007) and The Clinic (2010) and probably had quite a career before him.
• The last Black Knight of Glin has died! Desmond John Villiers FitzGerald, 29th Knight of Glin, 74, died on September 14. His title dated back to the 14th century, his cozy Glin castle to the 18th century (“The castle is surrounded by formal gardens with clipped hedges, stone urns and busts, a parade of yew trees, a series of follies, and a walled garden that supplies the castle’s kitchen with fresh fruits, vegetables and cut flowers.”). Sadly, his two wives (the first of whom was fashion goddess Loulou de la Falaise) had the temerity to only produce daughters, so there will be no 30th Knight of Glin.
• I realize British tabloids are one step below The Onion for reliability, but I was still diverted by the headline “Gordon Ramsay’s Porn Dwarf Double Eaten by Badger.” It seems the gentleman in question, one Percy Foster, 35, had “just joined the rarefied ranks of celebrity lookalike dwarf porn stars, when tragedy struck.” His badger-nibbled remains were—purportedly—found in a cave in Tregaron, west Wales, “where a planned badger-gassing programme” was under way. Again, this is according to the Sunday Sport, which I suspect makes The Weekly World News look like The Wall Street Journal. But I knew my readers would want to be apprised of the thinning ranks of celebrity lookalike dwarf porn stars.