Back by Popular Demand

People have been telling me that they miss being able to comment, so I decided to turn the comments back on. I’ll just have to deal with the spam. As the Iron Duke of Wellington said, “Publish and be damned!”


Further proof that August is the Official Month of Death: the world’s oldest person, Maria Capovilla, died on August 24 at the age of 116. The previous title holder, Jeanne Calment, died on August 4, 1997* at the astonishing age of 122. Elizabeth Bolden, the world’s current Official Old Lady, is bucking the trend by actually being born in August (1890!) and still being alive. She must be relieved that there are only 3 days left in the Death Days of August.

*Jeanne had the last laugh. In 1965, aged 90, with no living heirs, Jeanne Calment signed a deal, common in France, to sell her condominium apartment “en viager” to lawyer Fran?ois Raffray. Raffray, then aged 47, agreed to pay a monthly sum until she died, an agreement sometimes called a “reverse mortgage”. At the time of the deal the value of the apartment was equal to ten years of payments. Unfortunately for Raffray, not only did she survive more than thirty years, but he died first, in December 1995, of cancer, at the age of 77. His widow had to continue the payments.

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