PRINCE RUPERT ZU LOEWENSTEIN RIP

There would be no Rolling Stones as we know them were it not for the brilliant mind of the Bavarian financial whiz, Prince Rupert zu Loewenstein, who died a few days ago at 80. Even though he was no fan of rock music (he actually admitted he preferred the Beatles!) or drugs or stupid excessive behavior, he stuck around as the band’s money manager. He made them tax exiles and master merchandisers and gazillionaires. He kept them out of jail. He babysat them through countless dramas.

No wonder he described himself as a “combination of bank manager, psychiatrist, and nanny.”

Mick got peeved when Rupert wrote his memoir, A Prince Among Stones, in 2013, but I’d wager that after recently losing his girlfriend L’Wren Scott to suicide, he’s feeling this loss very keenly too. Rupert was like a surrogate dad to him for decades.

He knew how to live the life, and he lived it well.

BLAME IT ON THE RATS

 

Rats have done more to change the world than any other creature.

They unwittingly carry the Yersinia pestis bacterium that causes the plague. Like the plague in the Middle Ages in Europe, which wiped out two-thirds of those living there in the mid-1300s. Like the more modern plague that started in China in the mid-1800s and has killed umpteen people around the world for decades.

We’re lucky we live in an era where antibiotics can save you from the Black Death. Not so, researchers have just announced, the Romans who had the misfortune to have lived in the sixth to eighth centuries. That plague pandemic killed over 100 million people. And conclusive DNA evidence has finally proven that what finally brought Rome to its knees wasn’t the early Christians or the barbarian invaders—but the lowly rotten rat.

Plague DNA has been identified thanks to some ancient corpses in Bavaria. It may have originated in Asia, but it clearly crossed the Alps to kill the tribes there.

It still kills, too, for those without access to modern medicine.

Scary stuff, considering that there are probably more rats in NYC than there are people.

Read more in the journal PLOS Pathogens here: http://www.plospathogens.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.ppat.1003349.