Friday, November 30, 2007

Roger Smith Fails His Final Safety Rating

Former General Motors Corp Chief Executive Roger Smith has died. He was 82. Years. Old.

Smith was appointed chairman and CEO of General Motors in January 1981 and continued at the helm of the world's largest automaker until July 1990. In his tenure, he oversaw a sweeping reorganization of the No. 1 U.S. automaker, and some nice things were said about him:

"Roger Smith led GM during a period of tremendous innovation in the industry," GM CEO Rick Wagoner said on Friday. "He was a leader who knew we had to accept change, understand change, and learn to make it work for us."

However, it was not all roses. He also oversaw what has been called "the biggest catastrophe in American industrial history." In 1984, he tried to replace every mid-size car produced by GM. His plan crashed in a head on collision. He had no airbags. He caused traffic to back up for miles. Yes, he was that guy.

On the plus side, Michael Moore made a documentary about him. I didn't see it, but I imagine we learned that GM's failed plan was a vast George Bush led conspiracy to get car making power back in the hands of Dick Cheney.


We Got No Basketball Team, No Radio Announcers... Our PETS HEADS ARE FALLING OFF!!

The city of Seattle suffered a great loss yesterday when longtime Radio personality Larry Nelson died of lung cancer at the age of 70. Nelson was known as "the soundtrack of the morning" as he hosted the morning show on KOMO-AM/1000 from the 1960s to his retirement in 1997 with a warm, friendly, upbeat but never frenetic approach that drew in generations of listeners. He was also widely known in the Seattle area for his on-air Huskies tailgate parties when KOMO was the broadcast rights holder for University of Washington football.

Up to the last, son Jeff said, his father was providing him with material for his show. "Some of the jokes were delightfully inappropriate," he said. "I'm still trying to get a handle of how to tell them on the air."
Sounds like our type of guy.

[Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

What do Dick Clark and Jaques Barzun Have in Common?

A double dose of birthday for you, as you ponder the possibility that someone is taking out South Korean quarry workers, Munich style...

Today is somebody's birthday! Whose Birthday? Historian Jaques Barzun's Birthday. How Old Is He? 1,2,3,4... 100! And Never been Kissed By... Death

Jaques Barzun appears on 1 2007 Death Pool roster and because we're throwing you this party, we leave you with a little goody bag-

  • In 2000, he finished the 800 page From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life, 1500 to the Present. He has had five more works published since that time
For more on Barzun, check out the Barzun100 blog or this piece from last month's New Yorker magazine

Today is somebody's birthday! Whose Birthday? Entertainment Mogul Dick Clark's Birthday. How Old Is He? 1,2,3,4... 78! And Never been Kissed By... Death

Dick Clark appears on 9 2007 Death Pool rosters and because we're throwing you this party, we leave you with a little goody bag-
  • Clark's career in show business began in 1945 when he started working in the mailroom of radio station WRUN in Utica, New York (which was owned by his uncle and managed by his father). Clark's first television hosting job was on the Cactus Dick and the Santa Fe Riders, a country music program.
... And Many More!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Steve Fossett May Become Victim of the Seven Year Itch

We brought you news earlier this week about Steve Fossett, explorer not-so-extraordinaire, who disappeared while flying his plane in September. Now, I am no explorer. I don't even play one on TV like Bear Grylls. But I think I could guess some of the rules to "How to explore stuff 101." For example, I would put the following somewhere on my list:

  1. Bring a Parachute
  2. Have something (let's say a transponder) to send out a distress signal
Fossett brought neither. And now his wife wants him to be declared legally dead. But what are the rules on that? When can a death announcement be made? Like craps, it's a 7 that changes everything:
"Seven years is simply the line in Illinois after which the basic presumption changes," said Floyd Perkins, a former Illinois assistant attorney general... "Before seven years, anyone who wants you declared legally dead has to offer evidence that you're not alive. But after you've been missing seven years, anyone who wants you declared alive has to offer evidence that you're not dead."
So what are Mrs. Fossett's chances here? In reality it comes down to one basic issue:
If the preponderance of evidence points toward death, then the missing person is declared dead. If it points toward life, the legal waiting game continues, sometimes well beyond seven years.
So Mrs. Fossett might not be up a creek without a parachute after all...

[Chicago Tribune]

With Hyde Gone, It'll Be All Jekyll, All the Time

It is with great pride that The Death Pool announces its first death in a form as old as today's deceased: the limerick.

There once was a Congressman named Hyde,
Who tried to oust Clinton, who lied.
He had an affair,
Vetoed abortion health care,
Regrettably, this morning, he died.

[USA Today]

Go Jayceon, It's Your Birthday. We Gonna Party Like It's Your Birthday

If you thought the Hornets were terrible in New Orleans and Oklahoma City, stay out of Cambodia. Or, at the very least, if you do go to Cambodia, don't disturb a Hornets nest.

Today is somebody's birthday! Whose Birthday? Rapper Jayceon "The Game" Taylor's Birthday. How Old Is He? 1,2,3,4... 28! And Never been Kissed By... Death

The Game appears on 1 2007 Death Pool roster and because we're throwing you this party, we leave you with a little goody bag-

  • Taylor had a short stint at Washington State University on a basketball scholarship. He was kicked out in his first semester because of drug allegations. At the age of eighteen, he began to follow his older half brother, "Big Fase 100", who was the leader of the Cedar Block Pirus. Taylor was shot five times after a failed drug deal in 2001, receiving bullet wounds to the heart, stomach, arms, and leg. The attack put him in a three day coma and while recovering in the hospital, he decided to pursue a career in the rap industry.
... And Many More!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Heart Attack for Hartack. Bill Vetoed.

It's heart disease, actually. But what kind of headline does that make?

(I am sad to admit that that reminds me of an episode of Tea Leoni's "The Naked Truth" when she changes the number of dogs someone owns so the headline can read 'Mary Nine's Nine K9s.' The worst part? That's in my head; It's more detail than the episode summary gives you.)

Bill Hartack, a 74 year old Hall of Fame jockey died in Texas while on a hunting vacation. Hartack was a five-time winner of the Kentucky Derby. He won his first horse race in 1953, at the tender age of 19. But the story of his 1957 win might be the most interesting:

By the mid-’50s, Hartack was widely acknowledged as one of the top riders in the sport. He rode his first Kentucky Derby winner in 1957 aboard Iron Liege, which is perhaps the most infamous Derby in racing history. Iron Liege may have won only because Bill Shoemaker, another major star of his era, aboard Gallant Man, misjudged the finish and eased his horse before the finish line.
You think he knows that no matter where you finish, all jockeys eat from the same oat bag in the sky? "Oat bag, I got my Oat bag..."


Facing Death in Cambodia?

The American Heart Association recommends a number of key steps we all can take to prevent heart attacks: Stop smoking, lower your blood pressure, eat a healthy diet, be physically active, and get regular medical checkups. At least former Cambodian king Norodom Sihanouk is making the effort to prevent more conditions from developing.

Cambodia's King Norodom Sihamoni accompanied his elderly parents, former king Norodom Sihanouk and Queen Mother Norodom Monineath, to Beijing Wednesday. [T]he royals will undergo routine medical tests, and King Sihamoni will return to Cambodia next week, although his parents will stay on for an unspecified time.

Sihanouk, 85, has twice beaten colon cancer and suffers from a range of other ailments including diabetes and high blood pressure. He abdicated in favour of his son in 2004, citing his advancing age and ill health, and has lived in Beijing most of the time since.
For pictures from the royals' departure, see here.


We Celebrate Claude Levi Strauss's Birthday Because it is Functional for the Social Order

It's been a week since our last birthday throwdown. You really should not be hung over anymore.

Here's you birthday invitation, while you consider whether Abraham Lincoln would have been a good Death Pool pick - regardless of his assassination- back in DP '65.

Today is somebody's birthday! Whose Birthday? Anthropologist (not jeans maker) Claude Lévi-Strauss's Birthday. How Old Is He? 1,2,3,4... 99! And Never been Kissed By... Death

Strauss appears on 5 2007 Death Pool rosters and because we're throwing you this party, we leave you with a little goody bag-

  • Strauss is most famous for his structural study of myth, which examines the reasons that disparate societies have such similar myths and superstitions. Look into it. It's worth it.
... And Many More!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bitch is More Trouble Than She's Worth

Hotel operator Leona Helmsley died earlier this year, leaving a portion of her large estate to her dog. Her chauffeur, Nicholas Celea, received $100,000 for his time with Helmsley.

When Helmsley died last August and left $12 million to her tiny Maltese, Trouble, the last will and testament only reinforced the urban legend that she didn't care much for humans. It came as little surprise that there would be hostility towards the dog. But death and kidnapping threats seem a little extreme.

"I think the reaction was really quite bizarre," Helmsley's longtime friend John Codey told Early Show national correspondent Tracy Smith. Codey is in charge of the pampered pooch and her trust fund. He said he was alarmed by the number of threats and estimates that Trouble received about 20 or 30.

"'I'm gonna kill the dog,'" he said people threatened. "'I'm gonna kidnap the dog. I need the $12 million.'"
We can't help but wonder if Codey had supervised Helmsley the way he does now that pooch if she could have avoided that whole tax evasion problem way back when. "Pay your taxes like a good girl. Atta girl. You're the best employer in the whole, wide world."

[CBS News]

Mostly Dead or All Dead? Sadly, Miracle Max Was Unavailable for Comment

Whether you're Jewish or not, being an Agunah really sucks. Peggy Fossett is kind of sick of it, and is trying to take action:

The wife of millionaire adventurer Steve Fossett, who disappeared while flying his plane in September in rugged Western terrain, asked a court Monday to declare him legally dead. The request was a step toward resolving the legal status of Fossett's estate, which according to court papers is "vast, surpassing eight figures in liquid assets, various entities and real estate," LoVallo said.

Fossett, 63, disappeared Sept. 3 after taking off in a single-engine plane from an airstrip near Yerington, Nev., heading toward Bishop, Calif. Fossett was on a pleasure flight and not looking for a dry lake to use as a surface on which to set the world land speed record, as was initially reported, according to the petition filed on behalf of Peggy V. Fossett. He did not have a parachute, nor did he take a watch that had a transponder and could have sent out a distress signal, the petition said. There was a transponder aboard but no signal was received. With winter closing in, a rescue effort that involved dozens of planes and helicopters was officially suspended after more than a month of searching. The National Transportation Safety Board concluded in a preliminary report that the plane was destroyed in a fatal accident.

If she still has trouble getting the pronouncement, I recommend calling Meinhardt Raabe.

[Houston Chronicle]

Life's a Sport; Death's the Final Whistle

Dr. James Robert Cade was not just a co-inventor of the sports drink Gatorade. He was also a University of Florida professor.

Gatorade has become a boon for UF, generating $150 million in royalties for the university and helping to establish UF as a premier research institution.
His colleagues remember him as a multi-faceted individual committed to furthering education.
Dr. Jim Free, who worked under Cade in the creation of Gatorade, said Tuesday that Cade was first and foremost a kind man who made it his mission to spread knowledge.

"His contributions were so multiple that it's just hard to cover them," Free said. "His main contribution is that he was a very nice, decent, generous person, and that he was dedicated to education. He was a real educator, a real researcher and a real academician and held a real place of honor at the University of Florida because he spent his whole career there teaching and doing his research. The things he's accomplished have been amazing."
Along the way, Cade became somewhat of a legend. He's one of the subjects of Darren Rovell's "First in Thirst: How Gatorade Turned The Science of Sweat Into A Cultural Phenomenon." And in his later years even found his way onto the boob tube. But way back in 1966, the Florida Times-Union summarized the Gatorade kick with this headline: "One Lil' Swig of That Kickapoo Juice and Biff, Bam, Sock — It’s Gators, 8-2."

Cade had an insatiable curiosity that couldn't be quenched by any sports drink.

[Tampa Bays 10]

I Wonder If These Guys Do The Scrooge McDuck In Their Death Pool

If they are not taking the Scrooge McDuck plunge, they should have watched more Disney afternoon. They obviously don't know the sheer, ecstatic joy of swimming through coins. Trust me- they have enough money to do it.

Alan Buerger is profiled in the Wall Street Journal as a pioneer in "Life Settlement" policies. What is that, you ask? Buerger leads a pack of people who buy life insurance policies off the living.

How about an example: Let's call the guy Stephen. Stephen needs some spare cash, so he sells his mother's $2 million life insurance policy to Buerger, who continues to pay the yearly premium, for 205,000 up front. Now, let's realize that this isn't a hypothetical -

Stephen Ellis needed cash, quickly, when he went over budget on a new house he was building. So the 48-year-old mortgage banker from Annapolis, Md., started shopping two policies, with a combined death benefit of $2 million, that he had taken out on his 75-year-old mother. Mr. Ellis had been paying $35,000 a year for the policies, he says, but the insurer would have paid him virtually nothing to cash them out... A small firm offered $205,000. He accepted. "I didn't really look at it as morbid," says Mr. Ellis, who supports his mother financially. "I thought, 'Wow what an incredible way to put a value on this.'" His mother has been in poor health but approved of the sale to benefit him now rather than later, he says. She was unavailable for comment.
I think i would hate to be a fly, but if I had to be one, I would have wanted to be the fly on their wall to overhear that conversation. "Look, mom... I'm going to sell your life insurance to someone who is financially invested in your imminent death... but before you complain, check out these beautiful granite countertops. In a house like this, you could die happy. Not you! One. One could die happy. I totally care whether you live..."

[Wall Street Journal]

Sean Taylor Sacked By Intruders

Kevin Everett's injury earlier this season reminded us that there are many risks inherent in being an NFL Player. This is not supposed to be one of them:

Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor died early Tuesday, a day after he was shot at home by what police say was an intruder. He was 24.

"It's a tremendously sad and unnecessary event. He was a wonderful, humble, talented young man, and had a huge life in front of him. Obviously God had other plans" family friend Richard Sharpstein said.

Keith Richards is Using Drugs!

It wasn't too long ago that we brought you news of Keith Richards slurred acceptance speech at the Scream Awards. To be honest, its probably been 60 years since Richards gave an un-slurred speech, but this one was more rambling than The Allman Brothers' Man. Shockingly, it seems, it was not due to cocaine:

Reports now claim his slurred speech could be a side effect of the medication he takes daily to prevent seizures. He takes Dilantin, which slows down nerve impulses in the brain. He has been taking this medication ever since undergoing brain surgery after he fell from a coconut tree in Fiji 18 months ago.
To review: He put the lime in the coconut and it shook him all up. He put the lime in the coconut and it didn't make him feel better.

[Malaysia Sun]

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Astor Theatre Show Must Go On

Did you hear what happened to Anthony this week? It turns out that Anthony was in cohoots the whole time with his mother's lawyer as part of a plot to swindle money out of her.

Brooke Astor’s son and one of her former lawyers have been indicted on criminal charges stemming from the stewardship of her financial affairs and the handling of her will, according to people who have been briefed on the situation. Her son, Anthony D. Marshall, 83, and the lawyer, Francis X. Morrissey Jr., have been told to surrender to authorities on Tuesday morning, according to those briefed.

Prosecutors had been exploring, among other issues, whether Mrs. Astor was subject to undue influence related to millions of dollars in money and property transfers in the last several years that benefited Mr. Marshall, who had his mother’s power of attorney. The prosecutors have also been examining whether those transactions were in the best interest of Mrs. Astor or if they were larcenous.
Will Anthony cop a plea at the last minute? If not, how many years in prison will he be sentenced to? Or will Mr. Morissey come clean? These questions and more will be answered tomorrow, at the courthouse.

[New York Times]

Heavyweight Catfight to Take Place in Italy, with a $44 Million Purse

Women be shoppin! You know what else women be? Gossips. But remember, kids, be careful who you talk about, otherwise you can end up on the wrong side of a big-ass lawsuit:

Luciano Pavarotti's widow has sued two friends of the late tenor for $44 million, claiming their comments about her marriage were defamatory, her lawyer said Monday. Nicoletta Mantovani filed the lawsuit last month after warning that speculation about the state of her marriage to Pavarotti would not be tolerated, her lawyer said.

Pavarotti died September 6 of pancreatic cancer at age 71. Soon after, friends close to the tenor told Italian media that he had been unhappy in the marriage, and that Mantovani was fighting his grown daughters from an earlier marriage over his estate. "Since the comments did not cease -- and were, in fact, reiterated -- Mantovani had no choice but to file the lawsuit," lawyer Anna Maria Bernini said, confirming weekend reports in the small daily L'Informazione, based in Pavarotti's hometown of Modena. "She is doing it to protect her sense of respectability -- privately for the sake of her daughter and the memory of the maestro, publicly for her image and any future professional activity," Bernini said.

Other story highlights: if she wins, Mantovani plans to "donate" everything to "charity" (quotes very much mine). Also, from the Italian names are fun to say department, the two women sued: Franca Corfini Strata, wife of the singer's dietician, and Lidia La Marca, wife of conductor Leone Magiera.


Dracula - Dead and Loving It

You can do a lot of good in this lifetime, even Vampires can. One man took his modern-day role as Count Dracula and turned it into a calling. He led bloodsucker fests, actually blood drives organized in cooperation with the Red Cross. This is in contrast to the spirit of the original Dracula, who possessed a dark and evil soul, as described by author Bram Stoker.

Ottomar Rodolphe Vlad Dracula Prince Kretzulesco, an eccentric German antiques dealer who became a modern-day Dracula after he was adopted by a descendant of the man who spawned the Dracula legend, has died, Romanian news agencies reported Sunday. He was 67.

Kretzulesco, born Ottomar Berbig, met Ekaterina Olympia Kretzulesco, a childless descendant of Vlad the Impaler III, in the 1980s. Vlad the Impaler's cruelty inspired the bloodsucking Dracula of Bram Stoker's 1897 novel.

Kretzulesco apparently wanted to continue the family line and was impressed by Berbig's black curly hair and bushy mustache, which she said gave him a Transylvanian air, and she legally adopted him, the private NewsIn agency reported.
He is survived by Frankenstein, Godzilla, King Kong, the Blob, the Mummy, the Wolf Man and the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

[International Herald Tribune]

Hurricane Herbert Downgraded to Tropical Storm Death

The creator of the five category hurricane rating system, Herbert Saffir died Wednesday at the age of 90. A structural engineer, Saffir created his scale in 1969 — laying out for the first time what kind of damage could be expected from an approaching hurricane. It has since become the definitive way to describe intensity for storms that form in the Atlantic and parts of the Pacific. Before the scale, hurricanes were simply described as major or minor.

Despite devoting much of his life to thinking about and preparing buildings for hurricanes, Saffir acknowledged earlier this year that his own home was not completely protected from a storm with hurricane shutters. He had done studies on the glass in the windows and found it was relatively shatterproof, he said. At the same time, he told The Associated Press, "I confess I only have partial shutters."

Old McPresident has Alarm, I-L-O-I-L-O

The Fiji economy is poised for a strong 2008. But the republic's president will be entering the year a bit weaker, still grappling with the Parkinson's Disease for which he's been receiving treatments outside the republic.

The President Ratu Josefa Iloilo left the country last week for Australia for medical reasons, says interim Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Mr Sayed Khaiyum who did not want to elaborate on Ratu Josefa's medical condition said there was no need to appoint anyone to act as President. He said Ratu Josefa would be away for a week and there was no need to appoint anyone to act as he was still capable of carrying out all presidential duties.
[Houston Chronicle]
[Fiji Times]

Despite Hanging Around and Hanging Around (and Having Alligator Blood), Illness Finally Gets Rid of Him

I know when you see the name Vladimir Kryuchkov, you think you remember someone by that name playing for the Red Wings. Not quite. This guy had a job just as glamorous. And now he's dead.

The Soviet Union's former KGB chief Vladimir Kryuchkov, one of Russia's most influential hardline spy masters, has died aged 83, Russia's foreign intelligence service said on Sunday. Kryuchkov was fired as head of the KGB in 1991 for taking part in a failed coup against Mikhail Gorbachev that hastened the collapse of the Soviet Union. He died in a Moscow on Friday after a long illness...

Krychkov rose swiftly through the KGB after serving in Hungary to become head of its first department, the Soviet Union's foreign intelligence service, from 1974 to 1988. As Moscow's chief spymaster, he was a key supporter of the 1979 military intervention in Afghanistan and one of Moscow's most influential hawks.

I wasn't alive back then, but I would love to know what Soviet "doves" were like.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Biggs Wants to Take It to the House

Astronaut Neil Armstrong famously spoke in 1969 from the moon about a small step for [one] man, one giant leap for mankind. Now there's a Biggs improvement to report in the mobility of one of the world's most famous and elusive criminals.

Ailing jailbird Ronnie Biggs is hoping to be freed soon as he battles back from a string of serious health problems. The 78-year-old Great Train Robber is currently being nursed at Norwich prison after being hit by strokes, heart trouble and high blood pressure. Biggs also has to be fed through a tube.

But he can now walk 100 yards without help and can communicate with signs and alphabet boards. And worried relatives claim he should now be released to spend his last days as a free man.
It may be a while before this jailbird goes down and out.

[The People]

What's in Your Wallach?

We don't know if we should rely on information from the NY Post's Page Six. But there's a rumor worth mentioning:

"We hear that Eli Wallach, 92 - who was so beautiful in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" - is in Lenox Hill Hospital.
[NY Post]

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Eunice Hopes to Buck the Trend of Dead Kennedys

Some Kennedys have fallen to fate. Others are battling tonight in Massachusetts to reverse the curse.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the 86-year-old sister of President John F. Kennedy, who founded the Special Olympics and championed the rights of the mentally retarded, has been hospitalized. Shriver was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital on Nov. 18 and was in fair condition Saturday.

Shriver is also the sister of Sen. Edward Kennedy and the mother-in-law of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who said in June that she was recovering from a series of strokes. Schwarzenegger said that the family had been told that Shriver would never talk again, but that she proved the doctors wrong.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Kennedy Curse Claims Another

Though I think he's not related to those Kennedys. In any case, it had been 208 days since an active Major League Baseball player died. Time to reset that counter:

Major league pitcher Joe Kennedy died early Friday morning while at home with his family in Florida, agent Damon Lapa confirmed to The cause of Kennedy's death could not immediately be determined, Lapa said. Kennedy, 28, compiled a 43-61 record in seven major league seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, Colorado Rockies, Oakland Athletics, Arizona Diamondbacks and Toronto Blue Jays...

... He started the 2007 season with Oakland, was claimed off waivers in August by Arizona, then designated for assignment before being signed by the Blue Jays on Aug. 29.
You know what? Given the state of pitching in the league, it's still possible someone offers him a 2-year deal.


Long Die The Queen!

There are a few ways in which royals differ from us. They throw great 60th anniversary parties, rose petals are sprinkled at their feet, they get recognized at Madison Square Garden, and Reggie Jackson tries to kill them in Los Angeles. There's another big difference:

Queen Elizabeth II's undertakers always keep a special coffin ready in case a member of the royal family dies suddenly abroad, the inquest into the death of Princess Diana heard Thursday. "We have what we call a 'first call coffin' which is used," he added.
I hope the "first call coffin" is not actually their first call in case of an emergency. I mean there should be at least some emergency button they press before it gets to that point.

Picturing the queen from 0:28 - 0:31 makes life worth living. Having an airtight coffin you can call into use makes life worth dying.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Flatley a Long Way from Flatlining

After facing some health problems last year, Michael Flatley is back on the dancefloor.

Irish dancer Michael Flatley has battled back onto the stage after he was struck down with a mystery illness last year. The 'Lord Of The Dance' star gave his first live performance on TV show 'Dancing With The Stars' on Monday night - his first since being hospitalised due to the ailment which targeted his immune system last December.
We can't help but ask: We can dance, we can dance. Everybody taking the chance. Safety dance. Is it safe to dance?

[Ireland On-Line]

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Nicholson's Not Dead but I Heard His Agent is

Celebrity publicist Paul Wasserman, the music industry giant known as "Wasso" whose clients included the Rolling Stones, the Who, Linda Ronstadt, Bob Dylan and Neil Diamond, has died. He was 73.

During his four-decade career, Wasserman represented Lee Marvin, Dennis Hopper, Jack Lemmon, Jack Nicholson and George C. Scott. He also publicized such films as "Cat Ballou," "Easy Rider," "Annie Hall" and "Star Wars."

But an investment scheme ended his career in 2000. Wasserman was jailed for using the names of famous clients like Nicholson and U2 to swindle some of his closest non-celebrity friends.
[International Herald Tribune]

Dole Addresses Die-Hard Supporters

Planning a nice extended weekend with your family? Table's set, food's coming out of the oven, family members gathering around the table to sit down for the annual feast. Before passing your great aunt Millie the mashed potatoes she requested, be sure to heed Bob Dole's advice:

Thirty percent of Kansans 65 years and older live alone. Family members often are asked to make decisions on behalf of loved ones who have become seriously ill without having a complete understanding of their preferences.

In order to avoid this situation, older adults -- all of us, actually -- should discuss our end-of-life wishes with family members and health care providers well before the onset of serious illness.

As our families come together for the holidays, it is a good time to tell our family members what our wishes are. Having these conversations is the best way to protect our independence and our quality of life at the end of life.
Only then can you really say that your grandmother's stuffing is to die for.


Ian Smith Passes Zimbabaway

Ian Douglas Smith, former Prime Minister of Rhodesia has died at the age of 88. Smith became prime minister of white-ruled Rhodesia in 1964 and remained in office until a guerrilla war forced him to accept a ceasefire and political settlement in 1979. In 1965 he led 270,000 white Rhodesians in a unilateral declaration of independence from Britain rather than accept moves to black-majority rule.

"Smith will not be mourned or missed here by any decent person because he was an unrepentant racist whose racist stance and opposition to our independence caused a war, and he was responsible for a lot of deaths and suffering," Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga told Reuters.
If he would have only looked to the cookie.....

[Toronto Star]

Stan the Birthday Man Musial

Some good news to start the day, while hoping Michael Vick is not setting social standards for Baltimore County animal groomers:

Today is somebody's birthday! Whose Birthday? Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Stan Musial's Birthday. How Old Is He? 1,2,3,4... 87! And Never been Kissed By... Death

Musial appears on 1 2007 Death Pool roster and because we're throwing you this party, we leave you with a little goody bag-

  • Musial shares the same birthday and birthplace as current Cincinnati Reds outfielder Ken Griffey, Jr. In fact, statistician Bill James once called Griffey "the second-best left-handed hitting, left-handed throwing outfielder ever born in Donora, Pennsylvania on November 21.
For a full story about Musial's life and happy 87th, see the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Raabe Among Munchkins to Get Star

As they say in Hollywood, there are no small parts, only small actors.

Almost 70 years after "The Wizard of Oz" premiered at Grauman's Chinese Theatre, a few of the film's Munchkins made a grand entrance there to receive the Hollywood Walk of Fame's 2,352nd star Tuesday. Seven of the surviving little people who played the inhabitants of Munchkinland in the classic 1939 movie attended the ceremony, arriving in a horse-drawn carriage and trailed by a marching band.
Among them was Meinhardt Raabe. Raabe is famous for uttering the line, "As coroner, I must aver, I thoroughly examined her. And she's not only merely dead, She's really most sincerely dead."

[San Jose Mercury News]

You're Looking Swell, Dalai...I Can Tell, Dalai

Tenzin Gyatso may not be a name you're familiar with, but soon it might be. Gyatso is currently serving in the role of the Dalai Lama. He's started to think about the future and in turn has begun to consider a successor for his post.

"If the Tibetan people want to keep the Dalai Lama system, one of the possibilities I have been considering with my aides is to select the next Dalai Lama while I'm alive," he told Japan's Sankei Shimbun in an interview published Tuesday.

The Dalai Lama, a Nobel laureate with a wide global following, keeps a rigorous schedule at age 72, but Tibetans have increasingly voiced worries about what happens when he dies.
This report conflicts with comments that the Dalai Lama made on his Web site. There he claimed:
[If] I were to die today, I think the Tibetan people would choose to have another Dalai Lama. In the future, if the Dalai Lama’s institution is no longer relevant or useful and our present situation changes, then the Dalai Lama’s institution will cease to exist. Personally, I feel the institution of the Dalai Lama has served its purpose.
Perhaps his holiness has spent too much time in flip-flops. It appears to have affected his ability to remain consistent.


The Crane Wife Died

(Not you, The Crane Wife)

Patricia Crane, the actress who played Colonel Klink's sexy blond secretary Hilda on "Hogan's Heroes" and married the show's star, Bob Crane, has died at the age of 72. You may know her by her stage name: Sigrid Valdis. That's right, she had a stage name for all her other famous roles:

Her film credits include "Our Man Flint," "Two Tickets to Paris," "Marriage on the Rocks," and "The Venetian Affair." In addition to "Hogan's Heroes," she appeared on other television series, including "The Wild Wild West" and "Kraft Mystery Theater."In 1998, she joined the cast of her son's syndicated weekly sketch comedy radio show, "Shaken, Not Stirred."
I'm sure Crane meant different things to different people, but I'll always remember her as the subject of the famous Hogan's Heroes tag line: Save the Secretary, Save the World. Her death's implications to the fate of the world aren't immediately clear.


Pete Johns, Don Paul, Jeff George Need a New Fourth

(Yes, there is a Pete Johns and a Don Paul. And a Jeff George.)

Anyway, an NFL Hall of Famer went to the great gridiron in the sky:

Jim Ringo, the perennial Pro Bowl center who was a key member of the Green Bay Packers' championship teams in 1961 and 1962 before being traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in a salary dispute, has died. He was 75. Ringo, who had been living in Chesapeake, Va., died Monday after a short illness, according to NFL Hall of Fame President Steve Perry. His wife, Judy, said he had been battling Alzheimer's disease since 1996 and most recently was being treated at a facility in Virginia Beach, Va.

His death came two days before his 76th birthday and nearly a month after the death of his former Packer teammate Max McGee, who died Oct. 21 from injuries in a fall at his suburban Minneapolis home. McGee was also 75. One of the most dominant offensive linemen of his era, the undersized Ringo was drafted by the Packers in the seventh round in 1953 after playing college ball at Syracuse. He played in the NFL for 15 years -- 11 with the Packers and four with the Eagles -- and was named to 10 Pro Bowl teams. From 1954 to 1967, he played in a then-record 182 consecutive games.
I think I speak for everyone when I say I hope he doesn't have a feminist daughter married to fellow HOF'er Bart Starr's son. Otherwise...

[LA Times]

Monday, November 19, 2007

Douglas Backs Out of Event at Last Minute

Veteran actor Kirk Douglas was scheduled to speak this evening in San Diego at the annual Jewish Book Fair. I just received this e-mail from organizers:

To all Kirk Douglas ticket holders, We are very sorry to inform you that due to health issues, Mr. Kirk Douglas will not be able to make his scheduled appearance this evening at 6:00. However, Mr. Douglas is determined to reschedule once his health and his schedule can be coordinated. We expect this to happen in December or January.

As witnessed by Jackie Gmach, San Diego Jewish Book Fair Director, Mr. Douglas was at Costco yesterday for a book signing when flu-like symptoms caused him excessive fatigue and loss of voice. His publicist, Annabelle Stevens, spoke with Jackie and relayed Mr. Douglas’ regret and reinforced his commitment to our book fair and that he will reschedule as soon as possible.

For those interested in gifts for the holidays, Mr. Douglas' book will be available tonight with signed book plates.

We want to reiterate, this is not a cancelled event, but rather a postponed one. For any questions, please call our box office.

Go Ahead, Squeeze All the Charmin You Want

Scoring Update! The points change, death remains the same...

Dick Wilson, famous for his portrayal of grocer Mr. George Whipple in Charmin toilet paper television commercials, died today at the age of 91. As Mr. Whipple, Wilson made "Please don't squeeze the Charmin" a household phrase. Wilson's career spanned nearly 70 years with roles in radio, television, film and theater.

"It is not an exaggeration to say that the Mr. Whipple character, which Dick Wilson portrayed for so many years, is one of the most recognizable faces in the history of American advertising," said Dennis Legault, Charmin brand manager.
According to Charmin makers Procter & Gamble, a 1978 survey found that "Mr. Whipple" was the third best-known American, behind only recently-ousted President Richard Nixon and evangelist Billy Graham.

Congratulations and 20 points awarded to Death is Funny on the solo shot. The Rosters and Standings have been updated.

Long Live the Queen!

Diamonds are forever... (forever... forever.) Forever ever? Forever ever? Ever, ever? Ever, ever? Ever, ever? Ever, ever?...

Well, no, not forever ever. But they are for your 60th Wedding Anniversary, an event celebrated today by the Queen of England, in a ceremony that hearkened back to the good old days of post-World War II England. And the Queen knows how to throw a party: Dame Judi Dench, poetry, Margaret Thatcher, and a candle lighting ceremony. They also commemorated the original ceremony:

The royal couple received more than 2,500 wedding presents, including a textile from Mahatma Gandhi which the Indian leader crafted himself and a casket-shaped crystal vase and cover from U.S. President Harry S. Truman.
Unconfirmed sources say that she received the textile about the time she began her affair with Mohandas. Oh, the passion. The forbidden pleasure... He used to dip his bald head in oil and rub it all over her body. Her words, not mine.


Belated Ellen Albertini Dow Birthday

If you couldn't wish someone a belated birthday why would Hallmark cards have a whole section for it? Hey, sometimes death is pushed off too... The point is - belated is good.

Friday was somebody's birthday! Whose Birthday? Feisty Grandmother Actress Ellen Albertini Dow's Birthday. How Old Is She? 1,2,3,4... 89! And Never been Kissed By... Death

Dow appears on 2 2007 Death Pool rosters and because we're throwing you this party, we leave you with a little goody bag-

  • Dow appears in three episodes of "Golden Girls," but plays a different character in each one: Mrs. Leonard in 1988's "The Days and Nights of Sophia Petrillo"; Lillian in 1989's "Sophia's Choice'; and Sarah in 1991's "Older and Wiser."
You can catch Dow's portrayal of Mrs. Leonard during the upcoming showing of "The Days and Nights of Sophia Petrillo" on Tuesday, November 27 at 1:00 AM on Lifetime.

Friday, November 16, 2007

James Brown Does Not "Feel Good!"

... And not just because he is dead. While some celebrities' estates thrive, and some dead authors continue to sell their printed pages like warm desserts, Brown's bank accounts seem to need the touch of The Hardest Working Man in Money Business.

Much of the money that was supposed to be going to James Brown Enterprise Inc. instead ended up in a company established by a former trustee accused of misappropriating $7 million from the singer.
It seems Brown had a lot more success "Living in America" than dying in it.

I wonder if he is the Godfather of Souls now...

[Yahoo! News]

Deadfest of Champions

Bestdeathpoolever is no stranger to stories about postmortem wage earning, but this royal rumble is about more than just money. Within the past year, three of the most famous contemporary American authors, Norman Mailer, Kurt Vonnegut, and William Styron, have died. If sales are to be the referee of this match, then one of them is getting declared World Champion:
According to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 70 percent of industry sales, Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse-Five" has sold about 280,000 copies since 2006, more than four times the combined pace of six of the most talked about books of the past 60 years: Mailer's "The Naked and the Dead," "The Armies of the Night" and "The Executioner's Song," and Styron's "The Confessions of Nat Turner," "Sophie's Choice" and "Darkness Visible."
So that's it, Vonnegut wins. Of course, Vonnegut would probably object to being included in this granfalloon.

Ooh, I may have just killed this post. So it goes.

[Yahoo! News]

The Old Lefthander Is Rounding Third, Heading Home

It's a classic baseball trivia question. Q: Who was the youngest person to ever play in a major league baseball game? A: Joe Nuxhall. Well, he's no longer so young. In fact, he's dead.

Joe Nuxhall, who was the youngest player in major league history and the beloved "old left-hander" on Cincinnati Reds radio broadcasts, died overnight following a bout with cancer, the team said Friday. He was 79. Nuxhall's health problems multiplied in recent years but couldn't keep him away from the game or the broadcast booth for long. He had surgery for prostate cancer in 1992, followed by a mild heart attack in 2001. The cancer returned last February, when Nuxhall was preparing for the Reds' spring training in Sarasota, Fla. The broadcaster called some games last season even though his left leg was swollen by tumors. He was hospitalized again this week.

...Nuxhall's place in baseball lore was secured the moment he stepped onto a big-league field. With major league rosters depleted during World War II, he got a chance to pitch in relief for the Reds on June 10, 1944. No one in modern baseball history has played in the majors at such a young age -- 15 years, 10 months, 11 days old. He got two outs against St. Louis before losing his composure, then went eight years before pitching for the Reds again.

At the risk of tearing down the proverbial fourth wall here, you should know I thought of that headline before I saw his signature sign-off mentioned in the article.

[Sports Illustrated]

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Holiday Season Brings Out the Host in People

Hosting a show for a long time can be awfully tiring. Just ask Bob Barker.

So we're happy to see Dick Clark on his feet for the third year in a row, after missing his "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" event in 2004 while recovering from a debilitating stroke.

But that's not the only familiar face you'll be seeing again in the coming weeks.

Retirement Living TV announced that Walter Cronkite would be featured on some network segments, capping months of negotiations with the 91-year-old former raising newsman.

Cronkite signed off from CBS News for the last time on March 6, 1981, he has stayed true to his parting words, "old anchormen, you see, don't fade away; they just keep coming back for more."
All three of these men were included this week on a list of "The 50 Greatest TV Icons," compiled by cable's TV Land and the writers of Entertainment Weekly magazine. It will fuel a two-hour special on the network airing Friday at 8 p.m. EST, as well as a feature story in the upcoming issue of Entertainment Weekly.

Take that, Lassie.

[New York Daily News]

If You Prick Him, Does He Not Bleed?

Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliashiv, Israeli leader of the powerful Lithuanian religious movement, served as godfather at a Jerusalem circumcision Wednesday but suffered a deep cut to his hand, when the mohel slipped.

: What, pray tell, sir, is a circumcision?
Rabbi Tuckman : It's the latest craze. The ladies love it! I take my machine here, I take your little thing, I put it through this hole, and then... I nip the tip! Whose first?

I guess Eliashiv lined up at the head of the "godfather" line, and seems to be recovering from the (finger) tip nipping:

The 97-year-old sage received stitches and was declared well. The baby was unharmed. News of the accident had stirred anxiety throughout the fervently Orthodox community at Elisahiv's fate.
So, to review - an Italian Godfathers gets wished that his first child be a masculine child. A Jewish Godfather gets his hand sliced open with a penis knife.


O'Connor v. Alzheimer's [07-1872]

Apparently Sandra Day O'Connor's marriage has a statute of limitations. Reality seems to have ruled in her husband's Alzheimer's favor. The disease has caused him to begin a romantic relationship with a fellow nursing home patient. Apparently, she respects the law of nature as well, and has accepted this development:

John O'Connor, 77, who has had Alzheimer's for 17 years, is having a romance with a woman named Kay, whom he met after moving into an assisted-living center. "Mom was thrilled that Dad was relaxed and happy and comfortable living here and wasn't complaining," Scott O'Connor told KPNX-TV of Phoenix. His parents have been married 54 years.
Damn these activist judges overturning precedent. I don't even want to imagine the implications this has for gay marriage...


Slovenian President Beats the Odds

When Slovenian President Janez Drnovsek found out in 2001 that the cancer in his kidney had spread to his liver and lungs, doctors deemed it incurable. Faced with the prognosis, Drnovsek reevaluated his life and how he was living it.

"When you are confronted with the perception of the end of your life, it’s an opportunity to look at things from a different point of view, to change priorities and establish a distance to this daily existence and all these material developments that you are taught are so important," he said as he sipped black tea in his office.
As his term comes to a close next month, Drnovsek is now one of the most popular public figures in all of Slovenia. When conventional medicine could not cure him, Drnovsek turned to alternative medicine, dabbling with Indian and Chinese healers. In addition to making major changes to his diet, Drnovsek also sought to nourish his soul, leaving Ljubljana for a remote home set in beautiful beech forests south of the Slovenian capital. Despite critics, Drnovsek says that this change of lifestyle has been beneficial to his health.
Drnovsek also has one incontrovertible riposte to those who say he went loopy. Against all odds, and in defiance of every medical prediction, he has not died in office. Indeed, he now claims to be cancer-free: "I am completely healed. I am cured of everything. I can’t prove it beyond being alive. I don’t need confirmation from a doctor. I just know.
[Times Online]

Beware the Ides of November

There are no roster birthdays today so - no goody bags, no birthday songs, no office parties, no grab bags, no ice cream cake... oh, and NO SOUP FOR YOU.

But let's be happy about being without soup, it could've been a lot worse...


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

If They Do the Wave, I'll Be Impressed

Sports fans often live and die with their teams, but the Boca Juniors, Argentina's biggest soccer club, are taking that to a whole new level. A special section of the Parque Iraola cemetery outside Buenos Aires has been sequestered for the Boca faithful. A corner of the locker room, I mean- cemetery, has been reserved for Diego Maradona.

Not surprising, then, that a corner the cemetery has been set aside for Maradona. Boca's most famous player has been awarded a plot free of the charge from the club, although he has made no public comment regarding the gift yet.
Antonio Rattin, Boca's 1960s era star, closed this story so much better than I ever could have: "It's so nice, it makes you feel like staying." It's great to have a place to go when the life referee shows you the red card.


Writer Levin Falls Prey to Deathtrap

He wrote just seven novels. But boy were they memorable. Ira Levin penned "Rosemary's Baby," "The Boys From Brazil," and "The Stepford Wives" among others during his career as a playwright and novelist.

Together, his novels sold tens of millions of copies, Westberg said. Nearly all were made into Hollywood movies, some more than once. Mr. Levin also wrote the long-running Broadway play "Deathtrap," a comic thriller.

Combining elements of several genres - mystery, Gothic horror, science fiction, and the techno-thriller - Mr. Levin's novels conjured up a world full of quietly looming menace, in which anything could happen to anyone at any time.
We only hope that, in death, Levin was saved from his stories' characters.

[Boston Globe]

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

If Willie Wonka's Chocolate River Doesn't Get You, Old Age Will

California's first black congressman, Augustus Hawkins, died at the age of 100 on Saturday. To be honest, I've pulled up many pictures of him and I still don't believe that first sentence I wrote. (the black part, not the congressman or 100 year old part). Hawkins sponsored the equal employment section of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act that created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He helped create the Congressional Black Caucus in 1971. Black politicians called Hawkins an inspiration and mentor.

"It was Gus Hawkins who gave us the credibility," said Rep. Diane Watson, D-Los Angeles. "It was Gus Hawkins who gave us the ideas. He has left a sterling legacy."
I guess Michael Jackson is also leaving a sterling legacy.


He Is Survived by Dogbert, Wally, Alice, and Pointy-Haired Boss

Good morning! Some director you've never heard of but would like to pretend you have died last night!

Delbert Mann, who transformed Paddy Chayefsky's classic teleplays "Marty" and "The Bachelor Party" into big-screen triumphs and helped bring TV techniques to the film world, died Sunday. He was 87. Mann died of pneumonia at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, his son Fred Mann said Monday. Mann's 1955 feature version of "Marty" won four Oscars: best picture and director, best actor for Ernest Borgnine and best screenplay for Chayefsky. The low-budget film with mostly little-known actors told the stark, poignant story of Borgnine's 34-year-old Brooklyn butcher who felt he was too ugly to find love. His life is changed when he meets an equally shy but sweet woman played by Betsy Blair.
Fun fact: Mann also directed a prime-time TV movie called "Heidi," that NBC decided to air on November 15, 1968. The older football fans reading this just shuddered. The younger, less informed football fans are encouraged to click here.


Eva, It's Your Birthday; Happy birthday Eva!

Here are some birthday wishes to start off with as you search for the nearest Costco...

Today is somebody's birthday! Whose Birthday? Industrial Designer Eva Zeisel's Birthday. How Old Is She? 1,2,3,4... 101! And Never been Kissed By... Death

Zeisel appears on 1 2007 Death Pool roster and because we're throwing you this party, we leave you with a little goody bag-

  • In1946, Zeisel became the first woman to have a one woman show at the Museum of Modern Art
New York Magazine recently had an interesting look at Zeisel's life.

[Radio Australia]
[New York Magazine]

Monday, November 12, 2007

At Least He's Got an Exit Strategy

Shuffleboard? West Side Story? Applesauce? Poppycock!

Apparently, it's hang gliding that is the new early bird dinner for the active elderly amongst us. And leading the way: The elder of the George Bush's.

Former US President George Bush celebrated the grand reopening of his presidential museum in Texas with a surprise skydive. It was the 83-year-old's sixth skydive and his first since 2004, when he jumped to celebrate his 80th birthday. He said he plans to skydive in 2009 for his 85th birthday.
Those who picked Bush in DP '08 could not have been hoping for this. But who can blame him? Nothing says "grand presidential museum reopening" like skydiving.

[Best Death Pool Ever]

Losers Whine About Their Brain, Winners Go Home and...

As John Mason, Sean Connery had to wonder "Maybe I'm losing my sex appeal." In real life, he has no such conerns. In a list of "Most Envied Bodies," Connery finished in tenth place. Apparently a lot more people than you think want to have the body of a 77 year old. But they wouldn't want his mind:

Sir Sean has revealed he relies on his wife Micheline, 78, to help him remember important facts. "I can never remember dates," he said. "I can be out by ten years. Micheline is my memory."
I think it's fair to assume that in deference to Connery, his brain was shaken, not stirred.


Kanye West's Mom Is Not Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

Dr. Donda West, Kanye's mom, died from surgery complications from a "cosmetic procedure." If that is the full story then this sounds curiously like an episode on Nip/Tuck. Kanye's mom was a professor, published a book, and served as Kanye's manager as well.

Donda West was a major influence on her son's life, as the music producer-singer-songwriter has often acknowledged. She was the inspiration for the song, "Hey Mama," on Kanye West's 2005 album "Late Registration." Among the lyrics: "Hey Mama, I wanna scream so loud for you, cuz I'm so proud of you ... I appreciate what you allowed for me. I just want you to be proud of me."
Kanye is set to eulogize her, featuring Common, Ludacris, John Legend, and Jamie Foxx. Timbaland is rumored to be lending the beats.


Not a Good Year for Former Coaches of the 49ers

Dick Nolan, former coach of the San Francisco 49ers and father of current 49ers coach Mike Nolan succumbed to prostate cancer and Alzheimer's on Sunday. He was 75. Besides for his exploits as a coach in the NFL he was also a hard-hitting safety for the New York Giants, Chicago (this is not a typo) Cardinals, and the Dallas Cowboys.

"He made himself into not just a good player, he was an extraordinary player," former teammate Frank Gifford told the New York Daily News earlier this year. "He didn't have the physical talent to do it all. He just willed himself. He was smart. He was tough -- as good as there comes in that respect."
He will be wearing a suit in his casket.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Epitaphs Tell a Story

Many people request epitaphs to be written on their tombstones after they pass on. In "The Final Word: The Book of Canadian Epitaphs," Nancy Millar studied the growing trend to leave behind a message longer than a simple R.I.P.

"I think graveyards have a root in history. I'm not particularly creepy or any of those sorts of things, I just love them because they tell a story out there."
What say you? What do you want written on your tombstone?

[Yahoo! News]

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Mailer, Voice of the 60's, Silenced

We're sorry to see Norman Mailer go. From what we read about him, we think we'd like to have met him. Just not at a dinner party.

Mailer's personal life was as turbulent as the times in which he lived. In 1960, at a party at his Brooklyn Heights home, he stabbed his second wife, Adele Morales, with a knife. She declined to press charges, and it was not until 1997 that she revealed in her memoir how close she had come to dying.
Mailer's first book, "The Naked and the Dead," was published in 1948 while he was a postgraduate student in Paris. He passed nearly 60 years later in a hospital gown at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan.


Friday, November 9, 2007

...I'm just trying to be a deader person. My Name is Earl.

Well, someone told him to get the hell out of Dodge. Earl Dodge, who was the Prohibition Party's presidential candidate six times, died earlier this week, after collapsing at a Denver Airport. Of course, this may shift the 140 votes he received in 2004 over to Ross Perot. We'll have to see how this plays out in 2008.

It really is kind of impressive though:

He ran for president on the Prohibition ticket in every election since 1984. Howard Lydick, Dodge's running mate in 2004, said the pair planned another presidential run next year. "He firmly believed in the party, more so than many people believe in anything," said Lydick.

If I were a leader of the Whig or Federalist parties, I'd start to worry about these things happening in threes.

[Houston Chronicle]

Richie Tired of Being Pregnant

Nicole Richie has been expecting to release her debut album since 2005. She's been expecting a baby since Spring 2007. Only one of these two projects still excites her.

"Nicole feels like she’s been pregnant for years, not months…She’s being very careless," a source says. "She just doesn’t want to be pregnant anymore. She’s tired of it. The thrill has definitely worn off."
We feel sorry for the bun in this oven, who will have to endure a life with this irresposible mother-to-be. Perhaps we can offer a name for the unborn child: Rich. They'll surely have to hire Professor Keenbean to look after the lad.

[Trans World News]

Happy Birthday!

Unlike Jim Halpert, we are willing to celebrate each of these birthdays individually.

Let's celebrate and be glad we weren't involved in this. I wonder if they're taking the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man into custody... The lesson, as always: If somebody asks you if you're a god, you say... yes!

Today is somebody's birthday! Whose Birthday? Politician and Peace Corps Creator Sargent Shriver's Birthday. How Old Is He? 1,2,3,4... 92! And Never been Kissed By... Death
Shriver appears on 1 2007 Death Pool roster and because we're throwing you this party, we leave you with a little goody bag-

  • Shriver is a descendant of David Shriver, who signed the Maryland Constitution and Bill of Rights at Maryland's Constitutional Convention of 1776.
Today is somebody's birthday! Whose Birthday? "Peter, Paul, and Mary" lead singer Mary Traver's Birthday. How Old Is She? 1,2,3,4... 71! And Never been Kissed By... Death
Travers appears on 2 2007 Death Pool rosters and because we're throwing you this party, we leave you with a little goody bag-
  • In 2006, Peter, Paul and Mary received the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
... And Many More!

[Something British]

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Lone Titanic Survivor Remains

She survived one of the most famous disasters in American history. But Barbara West Dainton, believed to be one of the last two survivors from the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, has died in England at age 96.

Elizabeth Gladys "Millvina" Dean of Southampton, England, who was 2 months old at the time of the Titanic sinking, is now the disaster's only remaining survivor, according to the Titanic Historical Society.
We're sorry to see Dainton go. Yet we know that this could mean a reunion for Dainton with her lost love in the afterlife. Her Heart of the Ocean never stopped beating.

Hat tip to Life's a Bitch for sending this one in. We'd like to hear from you too. E-mail us links and we'll cover your stories.

[Yahoo! News]

Paul Newman Now Old Man (Yeah, we went there)

Academy Award winning actor Paul Newman retired back in May of this year. I had assumed he had stepped back on acting to focus on salad dressing and marinades, but apparently some people had other suspicions. Well, Robert Redford is here to say "hogwash." Or declare this "fallacious." Or to call shenanigans. Well, he's here to say whatever it is Robert Redford says in this situation:

Redford tells U.S. chat show host Larry King, "Somebody said recently he retired because his health was going bad and this is nonsense. The guy beats me in badminton. He's hardly (ill) - he's doing fine."
You hear that America? Paul Newman beats Robert Redford in Badminton. Badminton! Nobody takes down the Redford. And Paul Newman just did.

Although, to be honest, Paul Newman taking down the Redford seems highly unlikely. It kind of makes me wonder if he consumed some sort of substance in preparation for the match. I have my suspicions...

Man, I hope Robert Redford's leg is okay...

[Female First]

Are You Ready for Some-- Oh Wait, Wrong Guy. You Could See Why I Made the Mistake, Though

Monday nights can go on with plenty of rowdy friends. As for Western Swing, however...

Hank Thompson, who mixed honky-tonk and Western swing on such hits as "A Six Pack to Go" and "The Wild Side of Life," has died. The country singer and bandleader was 82.Thompson died of lung cancer late Tuesday at his home in the Fort Worth suburb of Keller, said spokesman Tracy Pitcox, who is also president of Heart of Texas Records. He died just days after canceling his tour and announcing his retirement."He was battling aggressive lung cancer," Pitcox said Wednesday in a statement. "He remained conscious until the last couple of hours and passed away peacefully at about 10:45 p.m. on Tuesday night surrounded by his friends and family."
Jeez, first Porter Wagoner, now Hank. Have to imagine Kenny Rogers is the most popular pick to finish the country music trifecta.


Farrah Fawcett Still Charlie's Angel

It's been dicey for Farrah Fawcett in her battle against anal cancer and she has been traveling back and forth to Germany to receive treatments. Now if I don't find plane seats comfortable, I can't imagine what that ride is like with anal cancer.

So for those keeping score at home, there are two issues with Farrah now:
1. Anal Cancer
2. She has to go to Germany.

Hey, her words, not mine:

when asked what the European country is like. Fawcett quipped, "You know, it's filled with Germans."
She then added: They speak a beautiful language.


No Cake For You

There are no roster birthdays today so no cupcakes or goody bags for anybody.

I know... rough day. Tough morning. But at least your not this guy. So start your day right and celebrate that the elephant mob is not making you "sleep with the peanuts"...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Dying In Parliament is a Crime

Looking for a place to die in Great Britain? Better make sure it's not in Parliament or else you could face some trouble with the law.

Queen Elizabeth II's speech in the British parliament Tuesday may have been routine but at least nobody got bored to death. That would have been against the law. Dying in parliament is an offence and is also by far the most absurd law in Britain, according to a survey of nearly 4,000 people by a television channel showing a legal drama series.
Ninth on the list? Entering Parliament in a suit of armour. We wonder if someone were to die in Parliament while wearing a suit of armour if they are prosecuted only for the more severe crime.

[Yahoo! News]

You Want His Health?

You Can't Handle His Health! But he can. In fact, he can recover and then channel it for a movie role. And then he can talk about that to MTV. And go to Laker games. And be awesome at the Oscars. Why? because he's Jack. He's Jack and you're not. He can laugh in the face of illness:

MTV: Your next film, "The Bucket List," could very well have you back in the running for awards.
: It was a difficult thing for me. I wanted to work with [director] Rob [Reiner] and Morgan, but I got a little medical issue before it, and I kind of panicked. I didn't know if I'd have the endurance. I got crazy a little bit. [Editor's note: Nicholson was reportedly hospitalized for a gland infection in 2006.]
: The film is about men facing their mortality. I'd assume those thoughts were all the more front and center for you then.
: I won't say that I didn't use things that I found in my time in the clutches of medical situations. [He laughs.] For sure.

The clutches of medical situations don't stop Jack. He's Jack. God's going to need to order a code red to kill off Jack.


Not Much of an Iron Chef, I Guess

Philadelphia cooking legend Friedman Paul Erhardt, better known as "Chef Tell" has died at the age of 63. Erhardt was one of the first chefs to be featured on television and was also said to be the inspiration for the Swedish chef on "The Muppet Show."

President Richard Nixon was an occasional visitor in his restaurant and in fact helped him on his path to becoming an American Citizen.

Bunny, the chef’s wife of 19 years, said that on one visit in 1986, Nixon asked the chef if he voted. Chef Tell said he could not, as he had been unable to become a citizen. Nixon joked that lack of citizenship was no barrier in Chicago, where noncitizens always voted. The next day someone called to say that the former president had sponsored him for citizenship, and a month later Nixon spoke at the ceremony at which he took the oath of citizenship.

He is also survived by a son, Torsten, and a grandson.

[NY Times]

Cupcakes for All!

Some birthday wishes to start your day as you ponder whether American Gangster should be euthanized....

Today is somebody's birthday! Whose Birthday? Professional Wrestler King Kong Bundy's Birthday. How Old Is He? 1,2,3,4... 50! And Never been Kissed By... Death
Bundy appears on 1 2007 Death Pool roster and because we're throwing you this party, we leave you with a little goody bag-

  • The birthday fact of the day: Recently, King Kong Bundy has turned towards a career in stand-up comedy, seemingly with success.

Today is somebody's birthday! Whose Birthday? Evangelist Billy Graham's Birthday. How Old Is He? 1,2,3,4... 89! And Never been Kissed By... Death
Graham appears on 5 2007 Death Pool rosters and because we're throwing you this party, we leave you with a little goody bag-
  • The birthday fact of the day: Between 1950 and 1990, Billy Graham appeared on Gallup's list of most admired people more than anyone else.

... And Many More!


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

She's a Little Bit Country, He's a Little Bit Rock n' Roll... Dad's a Little Bit Dead

Well, a few weeks after successfully scoring pity points with the Dancing with the Stars' judges by passing out, Marie Osmond probably will make it another week. Why? Well, her dad died.

George Osmond, father of the famous singing family The Osmond Brothers, has died. He was 90. Osmond died Tuesday morning at home, likely from natural causes related to his age as he had not been ill, family spokesman Kevin Sasaki told The Associated Press. Additional details and an official cause of death were not immediately available.
The death was first reported by "Entertainment Tonight's" Web site and was confirmed later by a spokeswoman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which Osmond was a member.
I'll say this: when you have a story reported by "ET" and confirmed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you've really covered your bases.


I Hope This Ends With a Showcase Showdown

Bob Barker gets to tell the Hollywood Boulevard Christmas parade to come on down this year; He's the next conductor. Why would he agree to this? Well, with no more Barker's beauties flocking around him (yes- I am assuming they were employed by CBS and not directly by Bob Barker as his harem), he has no doubt moved on to Vanessa Hudgens. That's right:

Yes, there will be a Hollywood Christmas parade this year. Game show icon Bob Barker and the cast of "High School Musical" will help lead the annual holiday parade.
No word on whether all the reindeer, or Bob himself, will need to be spayed and neutered.


"Good God! That's... That's Death's Music! Noooo! Noooo!"

The Fabulous Moolah died. Apparently, death hit her with a folding chair when the referee's back was turned. I heard it was a good battle, and she kicked out on a few two counts, but, in the end, Death got the win. I'm not sure if this makes Death the WWE Women's Champion.

I remember her as being bizarre, and USA TODAY backs that up:

“I love old people and I love babies,” she told The State two years before her death. “And if anybody else steps in my way, I’ll just kick (their butt). That’s the way it is.”
I don't even want to know what that actually means.

Goodbye Moolah, but this better not turn out like the last time I heard someone in the WWE was dead.

(Death's Entrance Music)

[The State]

Monday, November 5, 2007

TWID - V for Vendetta Edition

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November. But This Week in Death doesn't terrorize you. It brings you Notes and news covering a week's worth of health and death. We're proud to be the only weekly email you receive with new word on Nicole Richie and Than Shwe. Does nature always win in its battle against Robert Goulet? That's why he comes up here.

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November. But remember, too, the BRAND NEW death pool blog at on over for more news or just to look around. TWID is but just one tributary of its river. Let us know what you think, and any suggestions you might have for the blog. Bookmark or subscribe to its feed. Any blog of ours is a blog of yours.

Winter's setting in... these people better bundle up if they want to stay healthy...

Richie: "The healthy birth of my child is my number one priority." Priority Number Two? Smoking.
Mommy-to-be Nicole Richie is stubbing out media reports that claim she was seen smoking while pregnant. "It's really very sad and hurtful that journalists don't believe in checking facts before writing false and unsubstantiated stories about my health and my pregnancy," Richie wrote in a statement released to "Access Hollywood." "The healthy birth of my child is my number one priority." A report that Richie was smoking while pregnant first surfaced in Cindy Adams' gossip column in the New York Post on Monday. Adams' article claimed Richie lit up on two occasions on the same day — outside DaSilvano and again outside of Nobu. No specific date was given for the incident.

Than Keeps up Erratic Behavior, Makes U.N. Shweat it Out
U.N. envoy Ibrahim Gambari was waiting to see Myanmar junta chief Than Shwe on Monday in pursuit of his mission to end a bloody crackdown on protests against 45 years of military rule, diplomats said. Theories varied widely on why Gambari, dispatched after the junta sent in the troops to end mass protests last week, had not met Than Shwe despite having talks with detained democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi. Than Shwe, 74 and frequently rumored to be in poor health, may be sick, playing hard to get, or even demonstrating his contempt for international opinion, diplomats said. "We were all caught by surprise," one said after Gambari left the junta's new capital of Naypyidaw, 240 miles north of Yangon, on Sunday without meeting Than Shwe, whose government rarely heeds pressure from the outside.

It Seems Her Vertigo was Acting Up Again. Maybe She Went to Spin Class
It was "Liza with a Z," but without 34 pounds, at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall on Saturday night. Liza Minnelli announced the weight loss during an occasionally wobbly performance showcasing her determination to overcome her problems with health and husbands. Minnelli looked thinner than she has in decades. Her face is no longer puffy and, if anything, verges on gaunt. One costume showed off slender legs, and a shimmering black blouse exposing one shoulder cast the 61-year-old Broadway baby in a rather sexy light. Her balance was a concern throughout the show. Minnelli's movement was unsteady, and she joked about needing the director's chair she sat in for a few numbers. Truth be told, her hands did more dancing than her feet. Hip replacement surgery will do that to you.
[Baltimore Sun]

Winter set in already for these few, their bodies are cold...

Knight did not Go Gently; Rage, Rage against the Dying of Light
Evelyn Knight, 89, who began her singing career in Washington nightclubs and emerged as a popular recording star in the 1940s and '50s, died of lung cancer Sept. 28 at a nursing home in San Jose, Calif. Between 1944 and 1951, Ms. Knight had 13 Top 40 hits, including two that reached No. 1. She headlined at posh supper clubs and hotels and was known as the "lass with the delicate air." After recording with Bing Crosby and appearing on network radio and television, she abruptly retired from show business in her 30s, never to return to the spotlight. Ms. Knight came of musical age at the same time as Dinah Shore, Jo Stafford and Peggy Lee, and for a time she was their equal in popularity. She was known for a sophisticated, witty singing style.
[Philadelphia Inquirer]

Burma Police: This is What You Get when You Mess with Us
Khun Sa, the publicity-loving Golden Triangle drug lord who thrived in the region's kill-or-be-killed cauldron of ethnic rivalries and heroin-financed private armies, has died at age 73 in Yangon, Myanmar, according to an officer in the militia he once led. Kon Jern, a commander in the Shan State Army, a separatist group, said in a telephone interview that he learned of the death from one of Mr. Khun Sa's relatives. The cause of death was not known, but he was thought to suffer from high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. News agencies, quoting anonymous sources in Yangon, said he died Friday and was cremated early Tuesday. The country has been closed to outside journalists since Myanmar's ruling junta cracked down on recent anti-government protests. For decades, Mr. Khun Sa symbolized the seeming impunity of heroin traffickers in the Golden Triangle, the area encompassing the northern reaches of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand.
[New York Times]

Oh, Girl, That Death is so Scandalous... I think I'll Sing it Again! Sha Bang, Sha Bop, Bop Bop. Thong Song. Goulet!
Robert Goulet, the handsome, big-voiced baritone whose Broadway debut in "Camelot" launched an award-winning stage and recording career, has died. He was 73. The singer died Tuesday morning in a Los Angeles hospital while awaiting a lung transplant, said Goulet spokesman Norm Johnson. He had been awaiting a lung transplant at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after being found last month to have a rare form of pulmonary fibrosis. Goulet had remained in good spirits even as he waited for the transplant, said Vera Goulet, his wife of 25 years. "Just watch my vocal cords," she said he told doctors before they inserted a breathing tube. The Massachusetts-born Goulet, who spent much of his youth in Canada, gained stardom in 1960 with "Camelot," the Lerner and Loewe musical that starred Richard Burton as King Arthur and Julie Andrews as his Queen Guenevere.

Rumor: Red Spy Dies From White Spy Dropping Piano on Head
Col. Aleksandr Feklisov, a Soviet spy whose long career included directing the intelligence-gathering of Julius Rosenberg, who was convicted of espionage and executed in 1953, and acting as an intermediary between the White House and the Kremlin during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, has died. He was 94. Sergei Ivanov, head of the press service of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, announced the death, said Interfax, a Russian news service. Details of his death were not announced. Mr. Feklisov was an intelligence officer for the Committee for State Security, best known by its Russian abbreviation, K.G.B., from 1939 to 1974, and a contract officer for the service from 1974 to 1986. He described his once-secret activities in a 1997 documentary on American television and in writings that include his autobiography, "The Man Behind the Rosenbergs" (2001).
[New York Times]

In the Long Run, Woodruff Has the Last Lap
John Woodruff, whose halting, come-from-behind victory in the 800-meter run in the 1936 Berlin Olympics astonished the sports world and, along with the gold-medal success of Jesse Owens and other black athletes, helped embarrass Adolf Hitler, died Tuesday in Fountain Hills, Ariz. He was 92. The cause was atrial fibrillation and chronic renal failure, his wife, Rose, said yesterday. Woodruff had earlier lost his legs because of a circulatory ailment. Woodruff was the last survivor of the 12 American men who won track and field gold medals in the 1936 Olympics. Hitler, the German chancellor, had opened the Games confident they would showcase the prowess of German athletes and prove his theories of Aryan racial superiority. He was said to be deeply embarrassed when Owens, Woodruff and three other black athletes came away with eight gold medals.
[New York Times]

This Week Was Somebody's Birthday! Whose Birthday? Some Death Pool Entrants' Birthdays. How Old Are They? 1,2,3... And Never been Kissed By... Death
Happy Birthday to:
October 30: Diego Maradona (47)
October 31: Norodom Sihanouk (85)
November 3: Bob Feller (89)
November 4: Walter Cronkite (91)
... And Many More!!!!!!!!

Paul Tibbets dropped a 20-point bomb on the pool this week, but he did not cause the Top 5 any death, destruction, or radiation damage. They remain...

1. El Esta Adead - 76 points (6 deaths)
2. Yiz-score - 74.3 points (5 deaths)
3. The Ex-Parrots - 62.3 points (6 deaths)
4. Kraut's Picks - 60.9 points (8 deaths)
5. Life's a Bitch - 53.9 points (8 deaths)

With the dawning of, this is set to be the winter of our discontent.

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