Friday, January 26, 2007

TWID Notes Volume 4

This Week in Death brings you: Notes from around the pool! We take you from the shallow to the deep end, and catch you up on all the news you need to know to be a Syms-like educated death pool competitor.

Please accept TWID's sincere apology for our one day delay. The TWID committee was slightly ill this week. Don't worry, had it been serious, it would be one of the headlines...

Suck it up and quit being such a B.B.
Eighty-one-year-old blues legend B.B. King cancelled a show and was admitted to a Galveston, Texas, hospital with "flu-like symptoms," a hospital spokesman said on Friday. King, who is diabetic but otherwise said to be in good health, was admitted to the University of Texas Medical Branch's Acute Care for Elders Unit at about 9:15 p.m. Thursday, hospital spokesman John Koloen said.
Still time to turn in this Papert
US Professor Seymour Papert, who got into a motorbike accident in Hanoi in December 2006, has recovered his strength. Prof Papert's family said that he had been discharged from the hospital in Boston in the US. He is now still undergoing treatment at home. Luckily enough, he will not have any after-effects after the head trauma and now he can speak.
Once, Twice, Three times a Lady Bird
Green cited LBJ's education accomplishments — creating Head Start, launching a federal student aid program and directing funds to elementary and secondary schools — and said they may have been overshadowed by other facets of his presidency. He and the other Texans are feeling a sense of urgency to get the tribute done because Johnson's widow, Lady Bird Johnson, is in poor health.
Looking to reclaim her spot as an angel?
Farrah Fawcett is facing another medical nightmare – she must have surgery to stop her going blind. The former Charlie's Angel began losing her sight after months of painful chemotherapy for intestinal cancer.
Non-points related deaths for the week...

Former Reds pitching coach Vern Ruhle died Saturday night at MD Anderson Hospital in Houston of complications from a donor stem cell transplant for the treatment of multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow. He was 55.

E. Howard Hunt, who helped organize the Watergate break-in, leading to the greatest scandal in American political history and the downfall of Richard Nixon's presidency, died Tuesday. He was 88.

26 days, 4 deaths and counting...
The Commissioner's Council

Saturday, January 20, 2007

TWID Notes! Volume 3

This Week in Death brings you: Notes from around the pool! We take you from the shallow to the deep end, and catch you up on all the news you need to know to be a Syms-like educated death pool competitor.

Please accept TWID's sincere apology for our one day delay. The TWID committee was slightly ill this week. Don't worry, had it been serious, it would be one of the headlines...

I would still rather be Charlie Norwood than Scott Norwood
Georgia U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood could be forced to miss work as he fights through chemotherapy for cancer that has spread to his liver, his spokesman said.

Conte Can't-e Hack it
Guinea's president, Lansana Conte, is unfit for the country's top office, Guinea's Trade Unions have said. They say that his health condition is not good enough to lead Guinea and thus should step down.

Healthy Enough for...... A NEW CAR!
Barker, who turned 83 in December, said he wanted to retire "while I'm still young," and credits his vegetarian diet for his good health. He had a different answer when asked how he's able to maintain his energy. "Booze," he said to a laugh.

And now for something completely different...

Which Came First- the Cancer or the Egg?
A common breed of hens known as ISA browns were genetically modified such that they lay eggs containing certain cancer-fighting drugs, according to a new study published in the upcoming issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Obama's Assassination Chances Rise like his Popularity
Sen. Barack Obama launched a historic campaign Tuesday to become the first black president of the United States and immediately tried to turn his political inexperience into an asset with voters seeking change

It was a big week for non-points related deaths...

He's not First; He's Last
Benny Parsons made a career of beating the odds, rising up from a childhood of poverty in the North Carolina foothills to a job as a Detroit cabbie, and eventually, becoming a NASCAR champion. He died Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C., where he had been hospitalized since Dec. 26 because of complications from his treatment. He was 65.

Pookie Passes on. Three Men and a Baby Live On
Thornton James "Pookie" Hudson, lead singer of the Spaniels doo wop group best known for the 1954 hit "Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight," has died. He was 72.

No Crying in Baseball; Death/ Sobbing Policy Undetermined
Betty Trezza, a pioneering player in the World War II-era All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and a model for one of the characters in the 1992 movie "A League of Their Own," has died. She was 81.

He was Kind of a Big Deal and Had Many Leather Bound Books
Former U.S. Sen. George A. Smathers, a polished, dashing politician who forged friendships with presidents, waged war against communism, resisted civil rights legislation and was an early voice cautioning of Fidel Castro's rise to power, died Saturday. He was 93.

Final "Greetings from Asbury Park"
Former professional wrestler Scott Bam Bam Bigelow has passed away from an unknown cause at age 45. Bigelow, a native of Asbury Park, New Jersey, retired from professional wrestling officially in 2004.

20 days, 4 deaths and counting...
The Commissioner's Council

Friday, January 12, 2007

TWID Notes! Volume 2

This Week in Death brings you: Notes from around the pool! We take you from the shallow to the deep end, and catch you up on all the news you need to know to be a Syms-like educated death pool competitor.

The Rumors of his Death have been Greatly Exaggerated: A TWID Update
Iran's ambassador to the United Nations says there is no truth to reports his nation's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Hoseini-Khamenei, has died.

Farrakhan Farracan't Anymore
Minister Louis Farrakhan, who recently ceded leadership of the Nation of Islam to an executive board because of ill health, has undergone a 12-hour operation, the organization said Saturday.

Maybe Leo McGarry Should go Down and See how he is Doing
THE US intelligence community still believes Cuban leader Fidel Castro is terminally ill and has "months, not years" to live. Though a Spanish doctor visited Castro last month and denied he has cancer, Ross Feinstein, spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said "The bottom line: He is terminally ill.",20867,21023271-23109,00.html

Johnson Stiffens up: He should be Okay
U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) underwent an angiogram this morning at George Washington University Hospital. Senator Johnson's overall medical condition has improved steadily over the past three weeks. The next phase of his recovery is expected to take several months and focus upon rehabilitation and physical therapy.,53584

Seems the Martyrs Brigade may turn to Violence

Additionally, members of Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades threatened to assassinate Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar and Interior Minister Saeed Seyam of Hamas.

Now That's HIP!
Former President George H.W. Bush, 82, has undergone successful right hip replacement surgery, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said Thursday.

Bad News for Than Shwe's Internal Feng Shui
Reports have emerged from sources close to Singapore General Hospital that State Peace and Development Council leader senior general Than Shwe is receiving treatment for intestinal cancer.

"Wind-driven Wildfire?" Sounds like Half of the Captain Planet Team Went too Far
Suzanne Somers' home was one of four destroyed by a wind-driven wildfire that swept through an exclusive seaside neighborhood of multimillion-dollar homes, a spokesman confirmed Tuesday. "My nature is to look at the glass half-full," Somers said in a statement Tuesday. "I truly believe we will learn something great from this experience." The 60-year-old actress and her husband, former game show host Alan Hamel, were out of town when the fire hit, and a Hamel spokesman said the home was a total loss.

This Year's Rules Mean That This Isn't News
Barbaro is bouncing back again. The Kentucky Derby winner is spending hours in his protective sling, needed to deter sudden movement and make the colt comfortable as he fights back from his latest setback from laminitis.,122SPT5.article

And Two Non-Points Deaths to Report...

He will Never Again Ponti-ficate
Carlo Ponti, the prolific Italian producer of internationally acclaimed films such as ``Doctor Zhivago'' and ``Blowup'' and the longtime husband of Oscar-winning actress Sophia Loren, whom he discovered as a teenager in the 1950s and helped build into a star, has died. He was 94.

She Made the M in MILF stand for Monster
Actress Yvonne De Carlo, who starred in films opposite Clark Gable and Charlton Heston but won enduring fame as wife of a Frankenstein monster-like character in the TV series The Munsters, has died at age 84.

We hope you are enjoying TWID, hat tip "The Death Eaters," for contributing. Keep in touch with us!

Friday, January 5, 2007

TWID Notes - Volume 1

This Week in Death brings you: Notes from around the pool! We take you from the shallow to the deep end, and catch you up on all the news you need to know to be a Syms-like educated death pool competitor.

Like Diem on the Duel, he probably shouldn't lift 150 bags of Coffee
Ed Koch was in the hospital on Monday but it wasn't anything serious, just a routine hernia operation. He went into Columbia-Presbyterian early that morning, had the surgery and was asked to stay overnight as a precaution in case of bleeding, because he's been on a blood thinner since a mild stroke in 1987. He was expected to be back at his office the following day.
[The Villager]

Seems like Someone should have just picked "Guinea" this Year
The ailing health of veteran President Lansana Conte has raised fears of a power struggle while economic collapse and rampant inflation have provoked the long-dormant unions into a wave of general strikes this year.

More wood for Norwood, he is Okay!
U.S. Rep. Charlie Norwood was released from a hospital and was in good condition Friday after receiving chemotherapy treatment this week for a cancerous tumor doctors found near his liver. []

It's Official, Castro may never Die
"Regarding my recovery, I have always warned that it could be a prolonged process, but it is far from being a lost battle. I collaborate as a disciplined patient, attended by the consecrated team of our doctors.

Blind Sheik's other Senses are not Heightened
The health of imprisoned Egyptian cleric Omar Abdel-Rahman, known as the Blind Sheik, is deteriorating, renewing fears that his death in prison could trigger an attack on the United States, officials said Thursday.
[Boston Herald]

And Finally... One Piece of Possible Good News for Future Research!
In future years, look for newsmagazines to do roundups not on who died during the previous year, but on who's going to die in the year ahead.

Let us know what you think of our new segment. Feedback keeps us going!

Rest in Peace, Teddy Kollek.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Everything You Need to Know

How Do I Sign Up?
What Qualifies as a Celebrity?
How Do Points Work?
What Happens During the Year?
How Will I Know If One of My Celebrities Died?
No Cost!

Welcome to Death Pool 2008!

Yes it's still the fall, but it's never too early to start planning for next year's Death Pool. To capture the bling and to drink from the glory of the Death Cup (yes, there really is a trophy), you must consider the three PR's: 1. Prepare, 2. Prognosticate, and 3. Pray. Use these months to brush up on your diseases and comb your health watches. This time next year you'll be happy you did.


DP 2007 featured a record 30 teams. Through October 2007, several teams remain in competition to make a last-quarter leap at the coveted Cup. As we look toward 2008, we hope to continue our rapid expansion. This celebration of life is an open invitation with plenty of hors d’ouvres to go around.


How does it work? We’re glad you asked.

You submit a list of 20 celebrities – plus three alternates - that you believe will die during the 2008 calendar year. The deadline for submission is Sunday, December 9 at 1 p.m. Mark it down on your calendar so you don't forget. By turning in your list in advance of the New Year, this will grant the Commissioner's Council (CC) enough time to check on all celebrity picks. Yes, we will be watching you, so choose wisely.

We’re asking for three alternates with your list in case one of your 20 dies between December 9 and the end of 2007. We’ll recruit from the top of your alternates list to replace your fallen soldier. In addition, in case one or more of your picks has been rejected due to failure to meet necessary eligibility qualifications*, we will also then take names from your alternates list. If you require more than three alternates, we will contact you privately to make you aware of the situation.

Be sure, also, to name your squad, and include an easily identifiable shortened name, nickname, or initials by which your friends can recognize you. We will post all team rosters to the death pool blog (see: “What happens during the year?” section for more information) on New Year’s Day, but will not post full names. Therefore, when choosing your shorthand nickname, please make sure that you pick something that either describes or defines you to others. (When in doubt, we recommend using initials.)

*The CC retains all rights to determine eligibility.

How Do I Sign Up?

All it takes is an email before the deadline with a list of the 23 celebrities – the top 20 being your preferred roster and the other three as designated alternates. Please include your team name and nickname at the top. The list should be sent in any readable format to

What Qualifies as a Celebrity?

This is perhaps the hardest aspect of the entire competition. In short, it's someone who is famous in his/her own right for his/her accomplishments during his/her life, and not only famous because of his/her death. We understand that this is extraordinarily difficult to predict while the person is still living, so here are some helpful tips.

People who do not count:

People on death row, unless they die from some other malady such as starvation, suicide or homicide. Those with impending death sentences are deemed too predictable;

People famous for being the oldest living person in a state, country, continent, planet or galaxy;

People famous only on a local level. Obituaries must run inside the mainstream media. Local politicians will not count unless they have made a name for themselves in a larger arena prior to 2008.

Animals. You may not take Murray from "Mad About You.”

Concepts or trends. Disco already died. Communism, terrorism and other "isms" must be left off.

If a terrorist or someone else is announced to have died in another year, but the announcement takes place in 2008, we go by the announcement. For example, if Jimmy Hoffa's body is discovered in 2008, he WILL count.

You may not attempt an act of murder in order to help your chances of winning DP 2008. Also, you may not donate organs to keep someone from the pool alive. If you perform either of these acts, you will be immediately disqualified from competition and all of your deaths for the year will be declared null and void. Use whatever resources you have to your advantage, as long as you are neither the direct cause of death nor continuation of life.

How Do Points Work?

The points system we have utilized in the past greatly rewards those who have taken the more obscure picks that pan out. Multiple participants will be selecting the same celebrities. For every participant who has that person, the value of the celebrity goes down. For instance, there were 30 teams in DP 2007. Former mayor of Jerusalem Teddy Kollek, who died in January 2007, was on only one roster. That team was awarded the maximum value. Had a second team chosen Kollek too, Kollek’s individual value would have been reduced to 15 points (30/2). Lady Bird Johnson, however, was chosen by 10 teams, rendering her worth 30/10, or 3 points, when she passed on.

The only exception to this formula is the amount of points allotted to a "solo shot" (a death picked by only one person). In order to keep the point totals from being skewed by multiple solo shots, we've limited the maximum. For example, this past year (30 teams), a solo shot was worth 20 points. For 2008, we’ll adjust the maximum point total according to the number of participants who sign up. You’ll be informed on January 1st what this year’s scoring system is, including the maximum points total allotted to solo shots.

Note: Percentage points will always be rounded to the hundredth place in order to maximize chaos and fun.

What Happens During the Year?

During the year, the CC will contact you with breaking news to announce when points are awarded. Updated DP Score Sheets will be sent out indicating who died. We encourage you to monitor your rosters from time to time and to inform us if you hear news we haven’t yet reported.

DP 2008 need not be a "set it and forget it" experience. Our goal is to run the most active – and interactive – DP possible. To that end, The Commissioner's Council will be maintaining a blog at which we hope will be a one-stop source of limitless information. The blog will include links to team rosters, updated standings, as well as celebrity birthdays, interest-worthy stories, inside looks at rosters and strategy, and up-to-the-minute health updates and death notices.

Feel free to bookmark the blog or subscribe to it through our RSS feed. It is also a place for you to use our comments section to post feedback, jokes, comments, and general idiocy. Take a look around; by all means, use it as a resource when preparing for DP 2008. The water's always warm in this pool.

We assure you that DP 2008 takes privacy concerns very seriously, and anonymity will be protected in our blogging efforts. Your name will never appear anywhere on the site. Rosters will be posted, but will identify you only through your team name and nickname/shortened name/initials that are included with your roster.

How Will I Know if One of My Celebrities Dies?

The Commissioner's Council will do their absolute best to monitor all chosen celebrities. However, we strongly encourage each participant to periodically "manage" his/her own roster to make sure that a death hasn't fallen through the cracks. If you come across a death announcement or pertinent news item of someone from your roster, feel free to pass it along to This partnership will enable us to better serve you.

I'm Game. How Much Does it Cost?

DP is 100% gluten – and money – free.


What we need from you by the December 9 deadline:
1. Your roster of 20 celebrities along with three alternates
2. Your team name
3. Your nickname (to appear with your roster on the blog; if left blank we will use your initials)

Feel free to pass this literature along to others who might be interested in signing up. All it takes is an email in late 2007, and they're in. Please remember that DP 2008 is not sick, twisted or morbid; it's a religion.

In the immortal words of Ricky Martin:

"Here we go! Ale, Ale Ale! Go, go, go! Ale, Ale Ale!
Arriba va! El mundo esta de pie. Go, Go, Gol!! Ale, Ale, Ale…
Reach for the cup of life. 'Cause your name is on it!"

--The Commish

Gone But Not Forgotten

A running list of deaths from the Death Pool 2007.

Teddy Kollek - January 2

Robert Anton Wilson - January 11

Michael Brecker - January 13

Art Buchwald - January 17

Marcheline Bertrand - January 27

Sidney Sheldon - January 30

Gian Carlo Menotti - February 1

Frankie Laine - February 6

Charles R. Walgreen, Jr. - February 10

Charles Norwood - February 13

Maurice Papon - February 17

Lamar Lundy - February 24

Bruce Bennett - February 24

Eddie Robinson - April 3

Barry Nelson - April 7

Kitty Carlisle - April 17

Tom Poston - April 30

Charles Nelson Reilly - May 25

Huang Ju - June 2

Craig Thomas - June 4

Kurt Waldheim - June 14

Charles Lane - July 9

Lady Bird Johnson - July 11

Tammy Faye Messner - July 20

Rollie Stiles - July 22

Mohammad Zahir Shah - July 23

Bill Walsh - July 30

Oliver Hill - August 5

Brooke Astor - August 13

Phil Rizzuto - August 13

Leona Helmsley - August 20

Luciano Pavarotti - September 6

Jane Wyman - September 10

Robert Jordan - September 16

Deborah Kerr October 16

Joey Bishop - October 17

Paul Tibbets - November 1

Dick Wilson - November 19

Evel Knievel - November 30

Dan Fogelberg - December 16