Saturday, July 18, 2009

113 year old WWI vet (world's current oldest man) just died

In Britain.

Apparently quite lucid and passionate about peace up to the very end.

I'm always fascinated by stories like this; these are the real time travelers, you know? He lived in three centuries; he was around when airplanes were first being invented and cars were just starting to edge out the horse and buggy.

ETA: My favorite stories are the world's oldest verified person ever, Jeanne Chalment, who lived to be 122.

In 1965, aged 90, with no living heirs, Jeanne Calment signed a deal to sell her former apartment to lawyer André-François Raffray, on a contingency contract. Raffray, then aged 47, agreed to pay her a monthly sum of 2,500 francs until she died, an agreement sometimes called a "reverse mortgage". Raffray ended up paying Calment more than the equivalent of $180,000, which was more than double the apartment's value. After Raffray's death from cancer at the age of 77, in 1995, his widow continued the payments until Calment's death.

...In 1985, Calment moved into a nursing home, having lived on her own until age 110.[1] Nevertheless, she did not gain international fame until 1988, when the centenary of Vincent van Gogh's visit to Arles provided an occasion to meet reporters. She said at the time that she had met Van Gogh 100 years before, i.e. in 1888, as a thirteen-year-old girl in her uncle's fabric shop, where he wanted to buy some canvas, later describing him as "dirty, badly dressed and disagreeable", and "very ugly, ungracious, impolite, sick".

...Calment's remarkable health presaged her later record. At age 85, she took up fencing, and at 100, she was still riding a bicycle.

She gave up smoking at the age of 117, only five years before her death.[11] Though she relapsed for a year she finally gave up smoking at the age of 119 years (blindness made it difficult for her to light a cigarette, and she was reluctant to ask others for help).[citation needed] When asked on one occasion for her prescription for a long life, she mentioned garlic, vegetables, cigarettes, red wine, and avoiding brawls[citation needed] On another occasion, she ascribed her longevity and relatively youthful appearance for her age to olive oil, which she said she poured on all her food and rubbed onto her skin, as well as a diet of port wine, and nearly 1 kilo of chocolate eaten every week.

I can't find the interview I thought I remembered of her at 120, where the interviewer asks her what she thinks the future will be like and she answers, "Court" ("short").

Also, Gertrude Baines, the world's current oldest living documented person. Her father was born into slavery, and she voted for Obama last year.

Aside from her arthritis and inability to walk, Baines is very healthy.

...Baines currently lives at the Western Convalescent Home in Jefferson Park, Los Angeles.[2] She lived on her own until she was 105. According to, she enjoys "simple pleasures" of eating a diet of bacon and eggs, and watches shows like The Price Is Right and Jerry Springer.

Baines is a daughter of a man born into slavery and granddaughter of Peter and Avey (or Avie) Ann Bains, former slaves.

Baines cast a vote for Barack Obama in the 2008 U.S. presidential election. The only time she voted before was for John F. Kennedy.


Comrade PhysioProf said...

I've been thinking about this dude all fucking day.

Nick said...

Was he the last remaining WW1 veteran?

belledame222 said...

I think not the very last, but one of the last. ...Maybe the last. How old would you have to be to be a WWI vet now? -calculates- Well, there were kids going off before the age of 18, so if you figure 13 as a floor, someone coming in toward the very end of the war...they'd still have to be over 100. So, maybe.

belledame222 said...

and if there are others of that age, they may not be on the public register.

littlem said...

I think I read about Ms. Baines on her last birthday. Just from her voting record alone, IMO someone should put her in charge of something.

(bd, I emailed you. Thank you. x)

Anonymous said...

amazing stuff thanx :)

Anonymous said...

I truly believe that we have reached the point where technology has become one with our lives, and I am fairly certain that we have passed the point of no return in our relationship with technology.

I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Societal concerns aside... I just hope that as technology further develops, the possibility of downloading our brains onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's one of the things I really wish I could experience in my lifetime.

(Posted on Nintendo DS running [url=]R4[/url] DS NePof)

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