Thursday, January 31, 2008

What Do You Want on Your Tombstone?

Many of the selections in this year's death pool should look into what this British man did. That is just so considerate of him.

Makes you wonder if a tombstone is an appropriate birthday gift for one who is dying.

Today is somebody's birthday! Whose Birthday? Singer and Actress Carol Channing's Birthday. How Old Is She? 1,2,3,4... 87! And Never been Kissed By... Death

Carol Channing's name appears on "Remains to be Seen's" roster

  • Chaninng's trademark, poofy blonde hair has always been achieved by the use of wigs, as she's allergic to bleach.

Does that mean all Orthodox Jewish women are allergic to bleach too?

Today is somebody else's birthday! Whose Birthday? American Civil Rights Leader Benjamin Hooks' Birthday. How Old Is He? 1,2,3,4... 83! And Never been Kissed By... Death

Benjamin Hooks' name appears on "The South Shall Rise (from the Grave) Again's" roster

  • Hooks' paternal grandmother, Julia Britton Hooks (1852–1942), graduated from Berea College in Kentucky in 1874 and was only the second American black woman to graduate from college.

She would have enjoyed speaking to Buzz Aldrin.

Today is somebody's else's else's birthday! Whose Birthday? Former Chicago Cub Shortstop Ernie Banks' Birthday. How Old Is He? 1,2,3,4... 77! And Never been Kissed By... Death

Ernie Banks' name appears on "Do Not Resuscitate's" roster

  • Banks holds the Major League record of most games played without a postseason appearance (2528)

It's shocking that that record would be held by a lifetime Cub.

... And Many More!

John Demjanjuk is Lost at Plea

The charges are that he was a Nazi death camp guard. He now faces deportation to either Germany, Poland or his native Ukraine. And John Demjanjuk has a whole other set of problems to worry about, too.

Demjanjuk, 87, is generally in poor health, Ed Nishnic, his former son-in-law, said.
He was under a death sentence in 1986 until it was proven that he was not the infamous "Ivan the Terrible" from World War II. His attorney also once argued that if they deport Demjanjuk to Ukraine then Demjanjuk may be tortured there since there are those who still believe he is in fact Ivan.

The most likely scenario that will develop has all countries rejecting Demjanjuk became of his age and infamy. If that were to occur, he would become a stateless alien and would lose all Social Security benefits. But we wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see Demjanjuk land this season on the mysterious island where Lost is set.


You Can't Plant Decomposition Without Composition

Piet Oudolf takes his gardening extremely seriously. For him, a garden - or even some hedges - is reflective of emotion. It can express a story. However, sometimes the stories are more tragic.

For Mr. Oudolf, in fact, the real test of a well-composed garden is not how nicely it blooms but how beautifully it decomposes. “It’s not about life or death,” he said, admiring the dark, twisting lines of the fennel. “It’s about looking good.”

"He’s gotten away from the soft pornography of the flower,” said Charles Waldheim, the director of the landscape architecture program at the University of Toronto. “He’s interested in the life cycle, how plant material ages over the course of the year,” and how it relates to the plants around it. Like a good marriage, his compositions must work well together as its members age."
The symbolism at play here is immensely powerful. Amid the beautiful and prosperous plants in Mr. Oudolf's garden are also many dead or decomposing ones.
“You accept death. You don’t take the plants out, because they still look good. And brown is also a color.”
However, we don't necessarily agree that brown is the assigned color of death. We tend to side with The Sixth Sense here that the color of death is red.

[New York Times]

Farrah Fawcett Leaks Celebrity Cancer Tape

Is it just me or does Farrah Fawcett spend more time in Germany than the Berlin Wall? It seems, though, that it is to no avail. Things still seem to be cold for Fawcett:

During a party to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Nikki Haskell's StarCaps, Ryan O'Neal told friends his former love had just gone to Germany to treat a huge tumor in her liver.
As the old joke goes, the only thing worse than finding a huge tumor in your liver is finding half a huge tumor in your liver.

How is Fawcett really doing? You can find out for yourself by tuning in tonight to Entertainment Tonight for the beginning of a multiple part series documenting Fawcett's battle with anal cancer. Alana Stewart, Fawcett's best friend, says the series will be an honest "tell all:"
“Farrah took her camera to a doctor’s meeting, because she wanted to be able to remember everything. When we were in Germany meeting with the doctor, Farrah handed me the camera. We documented everything, the good, the bad and the ugly.”
As can be seen from this post's picture... when it comes to Farrah Fawcett, I can not imagine there is too much ugly to document.

[NY Post]

Britney Spears Hospitalized for the First Time in Weeks

For Britney Spears, January started with a visit to the hospital for a mental evaluation, and was subsequently put on suicide watch. So what better way to end the month than, well, replaying the entire thing?

Last night, Britney's new psychiatrist went to her home and felt she was a danger to herself and others -- partly because of her reckless driving and partly because of her "downhill behavior." As a result, the shrink launched a plan (days in the making) to have Britney committed to UCLA Medical Center by calling the cops...

Last night, it all went down according to plan. Cops even used code to minimize craziness in transporting Britney to the hospital. Over the police radio, she was referred to as "The Package."

Before the cops arrived, the shrink told her she was going back to the hospital and she offered no resistance. She said, "Is something wrong?" She made hot chocolate and waited. Her mom, Lynne, got extremely agitated, accusing Sam of engineering the impending commitment. We're told Brit told her to "shut the hell up." She demanded silence, sat on the floor and wrote notes to people who were there as they waited. When emergency personnel arrived, Brit went on the gurney without resistance.
Other relevant info:
During the initial 72-hour stay she cannot be forced to take medication against her will. If, however, she refuses to take the meds, the plan is for the psychiatrist to go to court and have Britney held for an additional 14 days, during which time he could administer proper medications.
I think I'm just gonna copy and store this story so it's ready to be posted again mid-Februrary.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Robert M. Ball Has Dropped

Robert M. Ball, a former Social Security commissioner considered by many as its chief defender and the father of Medicare, has died at age 93.

"Bob Ball left an indelible mark on the Social Security programs and the agency in that he played a critical role in the establishment of Medicare," Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue said Wednesday. "His commitment to Social Security was unequaled, and he will be remembered as a great leader."
You can be any age to qualify for Death.


Heath Ledger is no Rebel; Will he have a Cause?

Heath Ledger died tragically last week at the age of 28. Does this give him "immortal" status? Is he this generation's James Dean?

Consider the wisdom of wikipedia (remember Michael Scott said that "Wikipedia is the best thing ever. Anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject. So you know you are getting the best possible information."):

As with Buddy Holly, Bruce Lee, Marilyn Monroe And Heath Ledger his death at a young age helped guarantee a legendary status.
Consider, too, the statistics...

James De
  • Starred in surprisingly few films (3)
  • 2 Oscar nominations
  • Hunky in a sexually ambivalent sort of way
  • Died in his twenties
  • Looked damn good in a cowboy hat
  • Icon

  • Starred in surprisingly few films (19)
  • 1 Oscar nomination
  • Hunky in a sexually ambivalent sort of way
  • Died in his twenties
  • Looked damn good (to Jake Gyllenhaal) in a cowboy hat
  • Icon?????

Within that final bullet point lies the question. Will Heath Ledger achieve "icon" status? In the accelerated age of the Internet , will the ever present media coverage change the way cult figures take their shape? Chris Epting, author of James Dean Died Here, thinks Heath Ledger is the litmus test:
"Heath Ledger is one of the first Dean-esqe people to die in the Internet age, so his death will be the testing ground to see how long the Net will fan the flame. It will be interesting to see: Will he be immortalized or will the next big thing totally supplant him in a couple of weeks?"
Why would the internet culture cause Heath to not fall in alongslide Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Bob Marley, Jim Morrison, John Belushi, John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, and Tupac Shakur, to name a few?
"There's something mystical, some magic about them because (pre-Internet) not everyone knew everything about them when they were alive," says Lynn Bartholome of Monroe Community College
Already the swirling media will be putting this theory to the test. There are already reports of a purported Heath Ledger tape to be aired tonight on Entertainment Tonight:
According to Perez Hilton, Entertainment Tonight has exclusively obtained a video of Heath Ledger doing drugs. The tables at the party are filled with drugs, one person who has seen the tape tells us. Ledger also talks about his drug use and other not so pretty things are seen. “I used to smoke five joints a day,” Heath reveals. And that’s not the only thing. It’s being reported that Ledger also battled addiction to heroin, cocaine, alcohol and prescription pills.
The question remains: Icon or no?

Ironically, in this age of immediate media, only time will tell if Heath Ledger will be the next James Dean or the next William Hung. We already know that "he bangs..."

[USA Today]

Louisa Horton Hears a Death Knell

It's been a bad week for artists with famous relatives...

Louisa Horton Hill, a stage, film and television actress and former wife of "The Sting" director George Roy Hill, has died. She was 87. Horton, who used her own name professionally, died at Lillian Booth Actors' Fund Home in Englewood, N.J., on Friday, her daughter-in-law, Sandy McCormick Hill, said Tuesday.
Horton made her film debut in 1948's "All My Sons" opposite Burt Lancaster and Edward G. Robinson. Other movie credits include the 1976 film "Swashbuckler," starring James Earl Jones and Robert Shaw.
[Denver Post]

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Illness Defeats Truman-Daniel

Margaret Truman Daniel, former President and First Lady Harry and Bess Truman's only child, died this morning in Chicago at the age of 83. She was one of the eldest surviving children of an American president, second only to John Eisenhower, the son of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Daniel achieved much notability of her own accords, as well. She was the author of mystery novels, many of them set in Washington; books on the White House; and biographies, including books on her father and her mother. Through it all, though, she stayed humble:

“How can anybody be pretentious about something that is temporary?” she said in a 1980 article in The Star. “… It never entered my mind that I or my parents were special people. We just weren’t.”
The Truman presidential library is saying that Daniel suffered a brief illness and was on a respirator for the past several weeks. But, I, for one, can't help but wonder if this wasn't someone extracting his revenge...

[Kansas City Star]

Work of Survival

Luckily Charles Townsend never went to work. He only was on a speaker phone. Otherwise he may have been in jeopardy of being a sad statistic. Surprisingly he didn't seem to care about Sabrina, Jill, and Kelly becoming part of this growing trend.

Today is somebody's birthday! Whose Birthday? Actor John Forsythe's Birthday. How Old Is He? 1,2,3,4... 90! And Never been Kissed By... Death

John Forsythe's name appears on "The South Shall Rise (from the Grave) Again's" roster

  • Forsythe was nominated for Emmy awards three times between 1982 and 1984 for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for his work on Dynasty but each time failed to win.

Not much of a "Dynasty" for Mr. Forsythe, eh?

... And Many More!

Leukemia's Offense too much for Larry Smith's Defense

Larry Smith, who led Southern California to the Rose Bowl three times and won 143 games with Tulane, Arizona, USC and Missouri, died at the age of 68, after a long bout with chronic lymphatic leukemia. Smith began his football life playing at Bowling Green State after transferring from West Point. His first coaching job was at Miami of Ohio under the tutelage of mentor Bo Schembechler.

At Arizona, Smith's number one goal for his players was to have fun, although his emotions often overshadowed that:

"Larry was part of a great tradition at University of Arizona and helped so many young student-athletes be successful playing football and later in life. His love for college football was as big as the emotion that he wore on his sleeve," Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood said.
Considering the sleeves on his normal coaching attire, that is a lot of emotion.


Investing in His Future, Al Copeland Still Frying It Up

Restauranteur Al Copeland has a nose for the food business. Although he's been sick of late battling a rare form of cancer, last week Copeland reoopened Al Copeland's Cheesecake Bistro in New Orleans for the first time since Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.

This was the 7th of Copeland's restaurants to reopen since the storm. He has another 7 to go. It's been a long road to recovery, but they're halfway home. As for Copeland himself, his son says:

"He is still actively involved in the design of the products," he said. "There isn't a food product on any of our menus that hasn't been approved by him personally."
That sounds to us like both a recipe and prescription for success.

[New Orleans Times-Picayune]

A Familiar Refrain for Wallace: Tick, Tick, Tick...

I'm Student of The Game. These stories, and Andy Rooney, today, on The Death Pool. [Cue music]

Mike Wallace underwent triple-bypass heart surgery over the weekend. Wallace, 89, took his first steps yesterday, just two days after undergoing the procedure in Manhattan, reportedly at Lenox Hill Hospital.

"Mike is recovering nicely," a CBS News spokesman said yesterday. He quoted Wallace's doctors as describing the surgery as "a great success." It's unclear if the surgery was planned or if it was done immediately after a checkup revealed a problem.
It's too early to say for certain, but I'm sure we can expect to see Wallace back in action, lobbing softball questions at celebrities and politicians, very soon. [Cue music]

[NY Post]

Monday, January 28, 2008

He Took His Cut, and Now 2 People Hope He Takes His Seat

One of the main reasons for birthday posts on BDPE is to give recognition to some people's picks that aren't necessarily in the news all that often. Therefore, we thought it best to spread out Ernie Harwell's birthday post from his "Alive and Loving It" post. What's that? We didn't do that for Paul Newman? Ummm well, oh hell. Just be happy that there's a birthday post on a day when there are no birthdays.

Friday was somebody's birthday! Whose Birthday? Former Detroit Tigers Broadcaster Ernie Harwell's Birthday. How Old Is He? 1,2,3,4... 90! And Never been Kissed By... Death

Ernie Harwell's name appears on "Grateful(ly) Dead's" and "M'h By You Buddy's" rosters

  • Harwell called Bobby Thompson's "Shot Heard 'Round the World" for NBC TV. His call of "It's gone!" was not preserved or recorded for posterity.

"It's Gone!"? Seriously, that was the best he could come up with?

... And Many More!

Reactionary Christodoulos Finally Settles on a Position

Greece's Orthodox Church leader, Archbishop Christodoulos, who eased centuries of tension with the Vatican but angered liberal critics who viewed him as an attention-seeking reactionary, died Monday at his home of cancer, church officials said. He was 69.

Christodoulos, who headed the church for a decade, was first hospitalized in Athens in June before being diagnosed with cancer of the liver and large intestine.

He spent 10 weeks in a hospital in Miami but an October liver transplant operation was canceled when doctors discovered the cancer had spread. He refused hospital treatment in the final weeks of his life.
The ancient Greeks believed that "at the moment of death the psyche, or spirit of the dead, left the body as a little breath or puff of wind." That means that Christodoulos is now accompanied by the Gods of the wind - Boreas, Zephyr, Notus and Eurus.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Latter-day Saint Gordon B. Hinckley Reaches End of Days

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

President Gordon B. Hinckley of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints died this evening. He was 97.

He began his career in the 1930s as a missionary defending the faith on a soapbox in London's Hyde Park and lived to see the country's first viable Mormon candidate for president. Through it all, Hinckley worked tirelessly to gain acceptance for his church on the world's stage.

"We are not a weird people," Hinckley told Mike Wallace in a 1995 "60 Minutes" interview.
Congratulations and 9 points awarded to, Deep Sleepers, Grateful(ly) Dead and Daddy to Be Dead Mates. The Rosters and Standings have been updated.

[Salt Lake Tribune]

Stephen Stills is so Healthy and Happy, He's Practically Glowing

Previously on "Life with Stephen Stills..."

Stephen Stills, angrily: "Because I have cancer, damn it. That's why!"
Graham Nash (to Larry King, in low tone): "I don't know how to say this, Larry. Stephen has prostate cancer... He'll have surgery on his birthday."
CNN: Steven Stills has successful prostate surgery
Stephen Stills, angrily: "Because my name is Stephen, damn it. That's why!"
And Now: The tear jerking finale of "Life with Stephen Stills..."

Three weeks later, Stephen Stills has successfully emerged from his prostate cancer surgery, and he recently spent the day with CSNY band members Neil Young, Graham Nash and David Crosby for the world premiere of "CSNY: Deja Vu," a documentary about their 2006 Freedom of Speech tour.

How will they avoid further battles with cancer? Neil Young has the answer:
"And we are, a special service to our crowds, to our audience, we're going to have the entire place radiated wherever we play so that nobody gets cancer," says Young, who had a health scare in 2005 when he suffered a brain aneurism. "It's going to be the glow-in-the-dark tour."
In that case, it might be time for concert goers to stock up.

"Life with Stephen Stills..." is brought to you by the letters C, S, N, and Y and the number 63.

[Winnipeg Sun]

Viktor Schreckengost, Influence on American Life, Dies

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

Viktor Schreckengost, a Clevelander who ranked as one of the leading industrial designers of the 20th century, died Saturday night at age 101.

Nowacek said his father-in-law had suffered from congestion. But added: "I'd say (he died) more of being 101 of anything else.

"We've been reaching out to personal connections and the predominant sense is yes, sadness," Nowacek said. "But the feeling that has been expressed most often is an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the influence and guidance and his example... . That's very, very present people."
Congratulations and 24 points awarded to Oldies But Goodies. The Rosters and Standings have been updated.

[Cleveland Plain Dealer]

It's Suharto Say Goodbye

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

Former dictator Suharto, an army general who crushed Indonesia's communist movement and pushed aside the country's founding father to usher in 32 years of tough rule that saw up to a million political opponents killed, died Sunday. He was 86.

"He has died," Dr. Christian Johannes told The Associated Press, adding that he died at 1:10 p.m.
Congratulations and 18 points each awarded to and Last Call. The Rosters and Standings have been updated.

[Yahoo! News]

Saturday, January 26, 2008

When Time Ran Out...

On his birthday, we have some more Paul Newman news to report:

Reports that film legend Paul Newman has undergone a secret operation to save him from cancer are unfounded, according to the actor's representative. Newman said: "I'm being treated for athlete's foot and hair loss... maybe the doctors know something that I don't!"

Today is somebody's birthday! Whose Birthday? Actor Paul Newman's Birthday. How Old Is He? 1,2,3,4... 83! And Never been Kissed By... Death

Paul Newman's name appears on "Do Not Resuscitate's'" roster

  • For his strong support of Eugene McCarthy in 1968 (and effective use of television commercials in California), Newman was 19th on Richard Nixon's enemies list. He has said that this is one of his life's proudest achievements

I had always thought his proudest moment was Newman Own's expanding to pasta sauce from only salad dressing.

... And Many More!

Ariel Sharon is Half Man, Half Machine

The Associated Press allowed readers to send questions in to their writers hoping to learn more about big news stories. What was left unanswered by their news coverage, the AP filled in with a quick round of Q and A. Naturally, since the AP is the ultimate source when it comes to matters of celebrity life and death, one reader took this opportunity to ask about Ariel Sharon and his heath status.

Steven Gutkin, Chief of Bureau, AP Jerusalem, replied:

The 79-year-old former Israeli prime minister has been in a coma since his massive stroke on Jan. 4, 2006. He breathes on his own — unconnected to machines — and receives nourishment via a feeding tube. Medical staff move him around to maintain circulation and avoid bed sores. His eyes are often open. Family members are often by his side.

A close confidante of Sharon's says the former leader's vital signs are near perfect — an indication he could go on for a while in his current state. He is not expected to regain consciousness. AP staffers periodically check with family members, doctors and former aides for updates on Sharon's health.
Ariel's family just wants him to wake up. Up where they walk. Up where they run. Up where they stay all day in the sun. A part of that world.


George Habash -i's Heart Overheats

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

George Habash, founder of the radical Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) movement, died on Saturday at the age of 80. Habash was hospitalized five days ago due to a heart condition, and he was following events in the Palestinian territories until the last hours of his life.

Habash's PFLP was known for its policy against negotiations with Israel, and was famous for airplane hijacks in the 1970's. Hamas's official Mohammad Nazzal said Habash's death was a huge loss for the Palestinian cause:

"We had our ideological differences, but Dr. Habash shared Hamas' opposition to the peace deals the Palestinian Liberation Organisation signed with the Jewish state as a sell-out of Palestinian rights."
Congratulations and 24 points awarded to Famous Last Words. Rosters and Standing have been updated.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

The President, an Actor, and a Reverand

Since these people are not dead, they don't need to worry about the Richmond County, Georgia deputy coroner stealing their presents.

Today is somebody's birthday! Whose Birthday? Former President of Venezuela Rafael Caldera's Birthday. How Old Is He? 1,2,3,4... 92! And Never been Kissed By... Death

Rafael Cadera's name appears on "Deep Sleepers'" roster

  • In 1996, the astrologer José Bernardo Gómez, predicted the death of Caldera. He was later arrested by the Venezuelan Political Police.

"Deep Sleepers" must have spoke to Dionne Warwick before making his roster picks.

Today is somebody else's birthday! Whose Birthday? Actor Ernest Borgnine's Birthday. How Old Is He? 1,2,3,4... 91! And Never been Kissed By... Death

Ernest Borgnine's name appears on "I Am Ready to Meet My Maker's", "TIREMAN422's", and "Grateful(ly) Dead's" rosters

  • Since 1999, Borgnine has provided his voice talent to the cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants as the elderly superhero Mermaid Man, where he is once again paired up with his McHale's Navy co-star, Tim Conway, who voices Mermaid Man's sidekick Barnacle Boy.

I still think his role as Manny in "The Single Guy" was overlooked.

Today is somebody's else's else's birthday! Whose Birthday? Televangelist and former faith healer Oral Roberts' Birthday. How Old Is He? 1,2,3,4... 90! And Never been Kissed By... Death

Oral Roberts' name appears on "The Kick the Bucket List's" and "They Are Now as Cold as Ice's" rosters

  • From the late 1980's to 1992 Roberts maintained a residence in the exclusive St. Andrews Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida. Roberts would commute via private jet from his base in Oklahoma to Boca Raton airport for weekend visits to his golf club retreat. Most of the other residents of St. Andrews were Jewish, and since Roberts was identified by his first name of Granville when he was visiting Florida his presence went mostly unrecognized.

You mean to tell me Jews don't recognize televangelists with universities named after them?

... And Many More!

We Talkin' Bout Malpractice

Why do bad things happen to good people?

While we can't answer phiosophical questions about life and death, we try to reveal the practical reasons for people's deaths. Or at the very least what gets listed by the coroner as the cause of death. And then there's medical malpractice which goes and throws off the entire system.

We rely on doctors to care for celebrities when they're sick. But sometimes even doctors can make mistakes. As was the case for John Ritter says his family.

Early next month, in response to a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Amy Yasbeck and Ritter's four children, a Los Angeles County jury will be asked to decide: Did Ritter have to die?

Lawyers for the plaintiffs fault the care Ritter, 54, received from two doctors -- one who interpreted the results of a body scan he had in 2001, the other who treated him the night he died. Defense attorneys say their clients did nothing wrong and that Ritter would have died no matter what doctors did.
We don't envy the position these doctors are in now, having to publicly justify why the medicine and procedures they prescribed were the correct courses of action at the time. It'll surely be an emotional trial for Yasbeck and her kids. What is conclusive, according to all sides, is that Ritter is dead.

Know who's not dead? Former football player Ron Springs. Yet his family is in a similar position at the complicated juncture between medicine and law.
The unexpected turn in Springs' promising and much-publicized recovery led his wife to file a medical malpractice suit Tuesday against two doctors who Adriane Springs says caused brain damage to her husband during a routine surgery to remove a cyst.

"My husband was doing so well after the kidney transplant," Adriane Springs said. "This is just a very tragic outcome."
Even though she's filed the lawsuit, Ms. Springs is still hoping that her husband will someday wake up again.
Adriane Springs is not giving up hope, saying that she rebuffed a neurosurgeon who broached the idea of taking her husband off his medication.
Proving medical malpractice, from what we've read, is a difficult process. It also costs an exhorbitant amount of money to pursue.

We think we can resolve both of these cases using simple logic. At the root of the word "malpractice" is "practice." Now, at the time of Ritter's collapse, he was practicing his part at rehearsal for the television program "8 Simples Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter." Springs, on the other hand, was not at football practice at the time he went into his coma.

Therefore, in our expert opinions, Ritter's suit should stand up while Springs' should be denied. Next case.

[Los Angeles Times]
[ABC News]

Fidel Castro is the Brett Favre of Foreign Rulers

There are many reasons for this:

  1. They both attended Universities - Brett to "of Mississippi." Fidel to "of Havana."
  2. They both potentially throw missiles - Brett with his right arm. Fidel in the midst of a Cuban crisis.
  3. Brett lives in Green Bay. Fidel has been converting Cuban agriculture towards greener methods of organic farming.
  4. Ben Stiller has trouble pronouncing both names in their native tongues
But there is one overriding reason: Like Favre, Fidel Castro thought he was ready to call it quits in 2006. In a newly crafted letter that appeared on the front page of state newspapers, Fidel Castro says:
"When I fell gravely ill the night of the 26th and dawn of the 27th of July, I thought that would be the end... And while the doctors fought for my life, the head aide of the Council of State read at my urging the text and I dictated the necessary arrangements."
Castro, of course, has not been seen in public since July 31, 2006 immediately following his intestinal surgery. He is recovering in an undisclosed location and his condition and exact ailment are carefully guarded secrets.

Brett Favre on the other hand is out there for anyone to see.

[International Herald Tribune]

Chocolate Spruengli Rolls Over

Does chocolate cause acne? No. It causes death.

Rudolph R. Spruengli, heir to a Swiss chocolate empire and head of the world-renowned Lindt & Spruengli business for more than two decades, has died at the age of 88, his company said Wednesday.

"I always had the impression that my ancestors were looking over my shoulder and that motivated me my whole life long," he told the Zurich newspaper Tagesanzeiger in an interview to mark his 80th birthday.

Widely dubbed "the chocolate king" and the "patriarch" because of his autocratic style, Spruengli also had a reputation for fending off potential challenges to his supremacy from other family members -- including from his own two sons, Luzius and Rudolf.

"The firm is more important than the family," he once declared.
They say that "[d]uring his conquest of Mexico, Cortez found the Aztec Indians using cocoa beans in the preparation of the royal drink of the realm, "chocolatl", meaning warm liquid. In 1519, Emperor Montezuma, who reportedly drank 50 or more portions daily, served chocolatl to his Spanish guests in great golden goblets, treating it like a food for the gods."

Now when Spruengli eats his chocolate he quite literally has both the gods and his ancestors looking over his shoulder.

[FOX Business]

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Two Thumbs Up May Soon Be All Roger Ebert Has Left

Movie critic Roger Ebert goes into surgery Thursday that he hopes will free him of complications from previous operations related to his bouts with cancer, Chicago Sun-Times media columnist Robert Feder reported.

Quoting from a blog entry Ebert is expected to post on Wednesday, Feder reported that some movie reviews in the Pulitzer Prize-winning critic's absence will be written by Jim Emerson, editor of his Web site,"On Jan. 24, I'll have another surgery, which I hope will solve some problems I've still been living with," Ebert's entry said. "I'll be in a hospital for a while (nothing like last time, I trust!). I have written a lot of advance reviews, Great Movies and even Answer Man columns for use during my absence. I plan to return full-time as soon as possible."
It's been over five years since Ebert was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Since having that cancer successfully removed, however, he's faced several surgeries for cancer of the salivary gland and had an artery burst. A tracheotomy in 2006 has also left him with voice difficulties, requiring him to speak through a computerized voice system.

We have to think that the surgeon performing this operation will finish up with his patented line "This surgery is closed."

[Editor & Publisher]

Newman's Own Body Feels The Sting of Surgery

Only one website seems to be reporting it, and their source is "National Enquirer," but if you believe "Men in Black," tabloids are the best investigative reporting on the planet. But go ahead, read the New York Times if you want to.

According to Showbiz Spy,Paul Newman has undergone a secret surgical procedure to combat a life threatening cancer diagnosis. Says one "insider close to the star":

“He initially was having trouble breathing and a hard time walking... He’s bounced back now but he’s not a well man and people in his company are trying to keep this very quiet.”
Newman himself has a slightly different version of his health situation:
"As you can see, I’m doing okay. I feel pretty good for an old salt. Of course I have days when I feel more aches and pains than others but overall I’m hanging in there.“It’s all this good hometown food I eat that keeps me going."
You have to be wary with Newman. He has hustled before. But even he admits that compared to young salt, he is not doing well.

I guess, salt could have done worse... much much worse.

[Showbiz Spy]

Ernie Harwell Loooong From Being Gone

Retired baseball announcer Ernie Harwell turns 90 on Friday. We know what that means: His friends will take him out Friday night to celebrate. Ninety shots of alcohol - one for each year successfully lived through - seems like a lot to us, especially since it can kill you. But Harwell says he doesn't drink at all.

"I don't drink alcohol because I don't like it that much and I don't want to expend all my calories on it. It's sort of an empty kind of thing as far as nutrition is concerned.
So how does he plan to begin his birthday celebration on Friday? The same way he starts every day. Exercising.
First, he will do 50 whirling dervishes -- a stretching maneuver in which he fully extends his arms and alternately turns his upper body to the left and right as fast as he can. Then he will do about 25 lunges and 25 deep squats. Then he will jump rope for about 300 repetitions. "Or maybe about 30 more, to figure I counted wrong -- for good measure, as they say," Ernie says.

Then he will get on his back and pull his knees to his chest, then do about 50 sit-ups, then stretch his back. After that, he will do deep breathing and -- still on his back -- pull his knees to his chin several times. This won't be a onetime demonstration of feisty fitness, meant to show himself just what he can do on his 90th birthday. He does this series of exercises to start every day
Whew. We're exhausted from just thinking about that exercise regimen. Jack LaLanne would be proud.

Harwell's announcing career goes as far back as Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb and Connie Mack. He even remembers how cold the 1935 World Series was. Today he's active in historic preservation efforts of Tiger Stadium as well as a spokesman for Blue Cross Blue Shield.

What's it like to be around Ernie Harwell as he turns 90?
It's a little like being that photographer who expressed a wish to Winston Churchill when the former British prime minister celebrated his 75th birthday. "I hope, sir," the photographer said, "that I will shoot your picture on your 100th birthday."

"I don't see why not, young man," Churchill replied. "You look reasonably fit and healthy."
As was noted when he retired in 2002, Harwell missed two games in his entire 55-year career, neither of which due to illness. Leave your birthday wishes for Harwell here.

[Detroit Free Press]

To Drink or Not to Drink...

Yesterday, we brought you the story of a man who was beaten to death for not drinking. Today we bring you the story of a man who died from drinking too much. You really can't win can you?

Hopefully a birthday will cheer all you alcoholics out there up.

Today is somebody's birthday! Whose Birthday? Member of the E-Steet Band Danny Federici's Birthday. How Old Is He? 1,2,3,4... 58! And Never been Kissed By... Death

Danny Federici's name appears on "Daddy to Be Dead Mates'" roster

  • Federici started to play accordion when he was seven years old, which he learned from watching The Lawrence Welk Show. When he mastered classical music and polka, his mother booked him at parties, clubs and on radio.

But she neglected to get him a tryout with the "Kenosha Kickers."

... And Many More!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Things Get Darker for Dark Knight Heath Ledger

TMZ is reporting that Academy Award nominee Heath Ledger has died in NY:

He was found dead in his bed in one of his residences in Soho by his housekeeper at 3:35 PM ET today. Law enforcement sources tell TMZ they believe it was not a crime. The 28-year-old actor has a two year old daughter with former fiancee Michelle Williams. He was set to play the Joker in the upcoming Batman film "The Dark Knight."
I guess Jake Gyllenhaal wasn't the only thing he didn't know how to quit


He Doesn't Have a Dream (or Maybe He Does, It's Just Very Different)

These men aren't fond of prohibition.

This man isn't fond of Jews (and blacks and gays, and Asians etc.).....

Today is somebody's birthday! Whose Birthday? Neo-Nazi Leader Matt Koehl's Birthday. How Old Is He? 1,2,3,4... 73! And Never been Kissed By... Death

Matt Koehl's name appears on "Genesis 6:7's" roster

  • Koehl was also previously the leader of the World Union of National Socialists until his bizarre Hitler-worshipping ideology began to alienate the membership.

I though that kind of thing was encouraged. Shows what I know about National Socialists.

... And Many More!

Fictional Death Is Permanent Death, Even in the Star Trek Universe

Death, the final frontier. Or is it? Let's boldly ask what no man has asked before: if your character dies on screen in a "Star Trek" movie, can you be in a later "Star Trek" movie? J.J. Abrams, who is directing the latest one, says no. William Shatner, whose Captain Kirk died in 1994's "Star Trek: Generations" (but is not picked in this year's DP), disagrees:

"The mistake I made was thinking I could make it a spectacular death with what they had written," says the actor, who then dreamed up a story line to bring Kirk back: Spock snatched Kirk's DNA. Shatner wrote the novel The Return in which Kirk is resurrected, and he says it could work in the new film.

Abrams responds, "You and I could come up with dozens of ways, but every way that we came up with felt like it was transparently fan boys trying to get Shatner in the movie."
Personally, I think Shatner should take his own advice.


Monday, January 21, 2008

Hopefully, This Version of "Showgirls" Is Not Rated NC-17

How is 103-year old Doris Eaton Travis, the last surviving Ziegfeld girl, doing these days? Glad you asked...

Three times a week, she dances the fox trot, rumba and swing and is always ready to entertain, which is exactly what she did Friday night as grand marshal of a parade that kicks off the annual Art Deco Weekend in South Beach.

"It's a great honor. It makes me feel that there was some quality in my life," she said of her role in the parade down the famed Ocean Drive.

Travis made her name as a dancer in the chorus line of Florenz Ziegfeld's annual Follies stage show. Which begs the question: what exactly were the Ziegfeld Follies?
Ziegfeld Follies was part Broadway show, part Vaudeville, featuring top entertainers such as W.C. Fields, Eddie Cantor, Fanny Brice and Will Rogers. Beautiful female dancers performed elaborate chorus numbers composed by Irving Berlin and wore costumes by Art Deco designer and illustrator Erte.
Ah, yes. Basically the same way beautiful female dancers make money these days.

[Miami Herald]

Frances Lewine, The Real Life Veronica Corningstone

Frances Lewine, who covered the White House as the first full-time female White House correspondent, in a time when journalism was a boys club, died on Sunday on what would have been her 87th birthday.

She had to overcome a lot of gender bias. "Don't get me wrong, I love the ladies. I mean they rev my engines, but they don't belong in the newsroom," some in her time remarked. Others said, " It is anchorman, not anchorlady, And that is a scientific fact." And some even yelled that it was terrible, before commenting about her beautiful eyes and that her hair smelled like cinnamon.

She also had to overcome her own humble beginnings, and needed some luck:

"When President Reagan was shot, I walked over to CNN that day and asked to help," Lewine said in a 2005 article in a newsletter for Time Warner, the parent company of CNN. "My claim to fame was, I found out what type of gun was used. They paid me $80 for my work."
She always appreciated her place, though:
"I don't understand people who quit," Lewine said in the newsletter article. "We have the best jobs in the world. I have a front-row seat to history. What are you going to do that's possibly better than this?"
Man, I hope I didn't just put the whole blog at risk...


Jimmy Carter is 83; 581 in Dog Years; 91 in Chuck Norris Years

Chuck Norris is the only person who can divide by zero.
Chuck Norris has counted to infinity…twice.
Chuck Norris knows the last digit of pi.
When Chuck Norris adds 4 to 72, it equals... whatever he wants it to.

And Chuck Norris has a simple proof for his algorithm:
1. Serving as president accelerates the aging process "three-to-one" (that's science)
2. John McCain would be 72 when he started his presidency
3. Therefore, in Norris' words:

"If John takes over the presidency at 72 and he ages three-to-one, how old will he be in four years? Eighty-four years old"
Norris' Axiom has great effects for those who picked Jimmy Carter or George H.W. Bush, both of whom are 91 in Norris Years, seven years older than the approximate years counted by mere mortals.

Besides for adding years to Norris worries that McCain, 84 in Norris Years, might die in office. That's why he supports Huckabee, who is only 52 in Norris Years.

It's a good thing that there is a two term limit, otherwise Norris would have to support a different candidate altogether:

And Obama won't even wear a flag pin on his lapel...


An Artist's Death Can Cause a Price Resurrection

Deceased artists' work is worth more than that of living artists. Why is this? Probably because there's no threat of more - or possibly better - art being produced by that man or woman. Whatever exists on the date of his or her death is the extent of the collection forever.

If we were an artist trying to sell our artwork, we'd surely pretend to be dead. Our paintings would sell far better than if people knew we were alive to paint more. In fact, that was the plot to the 1965 movie The Art of Love, directed by Norman Jewison and starring Dick Van Dyke and Carl Reiner - all three of whom are listed on DP 2008 rosters - among others.

Although this idea was played out in film, it's reflective of a real phenomenon that exists in American fine culture even today.

In the last years of his life, Béla Bartók was so obscure that he and his family actually had trouble making ends meet. It wasn't until after he died of leukemia in 1945 that he finally came to be widely regarded as a great composer -- too late for the resulting royalties on his music to ease his earthly lot.
We - along with the WSJ - wonder: What is it about the demise of an artist that so often triggers a reconsideration of his significance?

The so-called "Death Effect" can possibly be explained by obituaries publicizing the person's life, sparking interest in readers. Or perhaps it's a way to connect with the deceased, to show respect or even love, despite having taken them for granted during their lives. You may not have a second chance to taste Aunt Gertie's holiday cannolis, but you can always sample a Shostakovich symphony in order to show a post-mortem appreciation for the man's often overlooked work.

[Wall Street Journal]

We Had a Dream (It Was Stolen)

I understand that Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was a very important figure. However, I can't say that gives other blogs a right to steal our idea of birthday posts (well they don't have the clever titles and snarky comments, but they stole the idea).

Now for those of you who may want to celebrate someone whose birthday it actually is today, we present today's birthday post...

Today IS somebody's birthday! Whose Birthday? Former Governor of Washington Albert Rosellini's Birthday. How Old Is He? 1,2,3,4... 98! And Never been Kissed By... Death

Albert Rosellini's name appears on "Kraut's Picks'", "Live Free or Die Hard's", and "Tomb Raiders Redux (This Time with Candy)'s" rosters

  • The longest floating bridge in the world, which was opened in 1963 and carries Washington State Route 520 over Lake Washington from Seattle to Medina was renamed in honor of Rosellini through an act of the Washington State Legislature in 1988. The bridge's official name is now the Governor Albert D. Rosellini Bridge–Evergreen Point, though it is still commonly known as the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge.

He doesn't even get a day, he gets a stupid bridge. The least the state of Washington can do is actually refer to the bridge named after him by its proper name. I'm sorry, Mr. Rosellini. At least you got to live to see another year

... And Many More!

Suhart... Oh My!

Guess who's back, back again
Suharto's back, tell a friend
Guess who's back, guess who's back,
Guess who's back. Guess who's back.

Want to guess? Okay, I'll just tell you. It's Suharto.

Left for dead ten days ago, Suharto has rebounded better than Wilt Chamberlain. Suharto has begun to move his hands and he has started speaking again. He is still in critical condition but his journey over the last few days is remarkable:

“He is fully conscious, he can follow instructions and answer our questions in a weak voice,” said Dr. Jusuf Misbach. “It’s an amazing accomplishment.”
There is even talk about Suharto possibly making it home, a different resting location from the funeral and tomb that was prepared for him last week, when relatives gathered at his bedside to say farewell.

I hope his coffin won't go to waste.

[New York Times]

Look at All the Lonely People

I've always been afraid of being buried alive, but I never thought it could happen for real. Luckily I live in America and not Chile and my relatives aren't complete morons.

Yes, some of the pool picks look like they are dead, but these people live to blow out some more birthday candles...

Saturday was somebody's birthday! Whose Birthday? Actress Jean Stapleton's Birthday. How Old Is She? 1,2,3,4... 85! And Never been Kissed By... Death

Jean Stapleton's name appears on "The South Shall Rise (from the grave) Again's" rosters

  • In 1982, Jean portrayed Eleanor Roosevelt in a television production of the First Lady's later life. Critics noticed the slight physical resemblance between the two women, which worked to the program's advantage. In 1998, and for a few years afterward, Stapleton took her "Eleanor" characterization to live theaters, now adapted as a one-woman show.

She must've have been really excited to be compared to a "big lesbian mule."

Saturday was somebody else's birthday! Whose Birthday? Actor Anthony Herrera's Birthday. How Old Is He? 1,2,3,4... 64! And Never been Kissed By... Death

Anthony Herrera's name appears on "Blue's" and "Whooa-ooah Dying on the Edge's" rosters

  • Herrera's character on "As the World Turns," James, has been presumed dead three times, committed several crimes and has been in prison quite a few times, only to return and wreak havoc on the town of Oakdale

Sounds like a candidate for the ANS corrolary if I've ever heard one.

Saturday was somebody's else's else's birthday! Whose Birthday? TV and Radio personality Eleanor Mondale's Birthday. How Old Is She? 1,2,3,4... 48! And Never been Kissed By... Death

Eleanor Mondale's name appears on "The Kick the Bucket List's" roster

  • Mondale married and subsequently divorced former Chicago Bear Keith Van Horne.

He won a super bowl and was the second pick in the NBA draft. Why divorce a man like that?

... And Many More!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

John Stewart Dies. Kingston Trio More of a Duo.

John Stewart, who replaced Dave Guard, in 1961 to keep the Kingston Trio, well... trio'd, died in San Diego at the age of 68. Stewart, along with Bob Shane and Nick Reynolds made up the Trio who recorded such hits as "Tom Dooley" and "Scotch and Soda." Stewart also composed the Monkees' "Daydream Believer."

"The world has lost one of its best men, but a man who lived well and made many people happy with his love, his wit and his music," the official Web site announcement said.
Please reread that announcement again. It looks like it was written by George Bush. That's it for Stewart. He's going to throw it over to Steven Colbert.


Marilyn Horne Cancer-Free After Opera-tion

Pancreatic cancer, as far as we knew, isn't beatable. Even opera singer Marilyn Horne used to think so.

"I looked at the doctor and I said, 'Well, that's a death sentence, isn't it?'" Horne says of the news that she had pancreatic cancer, the same disease that killed her friend and fellow opera star Luciano Pavarotti.

Horne began receiving the injections of lab-grown pancreatic cancer cells in early 2007, after surgery to remove the tumor. The vaccine has been genetically modified with an immune-boosting gene to tackle any lingering malignant cells.

In her kitchen, she summed up her approach to her life after a cancer diagnosis. "I don't think it's 'I want to live' — it's 'I'm going to live!'"
Pancreatic cancer is now beatable if you get treated at Johns Hopkins University? Next thing you know you'll be telling us that the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and The Tooth Fairy are all still alive.

[Hartford Courant]

Suzanne Pleshette Dies After Long Illness

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

Suzanne Pleshette, the beautiful, husky-voiced film and Broadway theater star best known for her role as Bob Newhart's sardonic wife on television's long-running "The Bob Newhart Show," has died, said her attorney Robert Finkelstein. She was 70.

Pleshette, who underwent chemotherapy for lung cancer in 2006, died of respiratory failure Saturday evening at her Los Angeles home, said attorney and family friend Robert Finkelstein. She was 70.

"The Bob Newhart Show, a hit throughout its six-year run, starred comedian Newhart as a Chicago psychiatrist surrounded by eccentric patients. Pleshette provided the voice of reason.
Congratulations and 7.2 points each awarded to, Go To Hell, Last Call, Yiz-Score: 2007 DP Champ and Whoaa-ooah, Dying on the Edge. The Rosters and Standings have been updated.


Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Sun Goes Down for Georgia Frontiere

Georgia Frontiere, the St. Louis native who became a hometown hero when she brought the NFL's Rams from Los Angeles in 1995, died Friday. She was 80. Frontiere had been hospitalized for breast cancer for several months, the Rams said in a statement posted on their Web site.

"Georgia Frontiere was the first lady of sports in her native St. Louis," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement that also praised her philanthropy and concern for retired NFL players.

"Our mom was dedicated to being more than the owner of a football team," daughter Lucia Rodriguez and son Chip Rosenbloom said in the team's statement. "She loved the Rams' players, coaches, and staff. The warmth and generosity she exuded will never be forgotten."
As the first lady of sports in St. Louis, Frontiere was married to Rams football. She also married seven men during the course of her life. We wonder if Chicago saved the men of its city some heartache by naming a boat - rather than a woman - the city's first lady.


David Seville and Others Grieve for Al(lan Mel)Vin!

Allan Melvin, a character actor best known for playing Sam the Butcher on "The Brady Bunch," has died. He was 84.

The jowly, jovial Melvin spent decades playing a series of sidekicks, second bananas and lovable lugs, including Archie Bunker's friend Barney Hefner on "All in the Family," and Sgt. Bilko's right-hand man Cpl. Henshaw on the "Phil Silvers Show."

He saw steady employment as a voice actor from the early 1960s to the early 1990s, most famously providing the voice of "Magilla Gorilla" for the Hanna Barbera cartoon of the same name. His other credits include several guest appearances on "The Andy Griffith Show," "Gomer Pyle: USMC," and "The Dick Van Dyke Show."
Those with Ann. B. Davis, "Alice" on "The Brady Bunch," missed it by that much. It's important to remember that women's life expectancy is longer than men's. Tonight, Alice and company weep over their lost ham Sam

[Yahoo! News]

Thatcher If You Can: When She Stops No One Knows

Ever wonder what the death of Margaret Thatcher would be like? We know some of our roster owners think about it regularly. Well, so has one playwright.

Producer June Abbott said: 'We were worried about the title at first, but this work puts Baroness Thatcher's death on a par with events such as the death of Kennedy or of Princess Diana. She provokes such emotion. Ever since I have told friends we are doing this play, I have had to sit for hours listening to the views of people who are still either for or against her.' Abbott said Green's play is funny and looks at the way Thatcher polarised opinion. 'It is about how people are affected by her death in different ways. None of them talk about whether they were for or against her.'

Green says his work is not overtly political. Instead, he says, it is a response to the strongly worded public promises to celebrate Thatcher's eventual death that have been made in the past by left-wing figures such as the actor Ricky Tomlinson or the singer-songwriter Elvis Costello. 'It will be interesting, when she does die, to see what society makes of it,' he said. 'But this play is not an essay or a polemic. I would not even characterise it as anti-Thatcher.'
While we can't tell the living Thatcher what life would have been like had she never been born, one man has attempted to predict what life would be like after her death. Perhaps this minor glimpse into the future will give the Thatcher a newfound perspective on life this season. And depending on reviews of the performance, this may wind up keeping her around for some time longer than she had planned to stay.

[Guardian Unlimited]

Don Wittman Calls It a Life

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

Don Wittman, whose smooth baritone voice called some of Canada's most significant sports, has died of cancer. He was 71.

For more than 40 years, Wittman was a familiar face on CBC television. He did the play-by-play for Grey Cups and Stanley Cups, plus covered curling, golf and track and field. He was a fixture at both summer and winter Olympics.

"He is truly a first-generation television sports legend. He's one of the pioneers of our industry," Scott Moore, executive director of CBC Sports, said in January. "He has done almost everything and done it all well."
Congratulations and 24 points are awarded to It's Always Sunny in Philadeadphia. That's already the second solo shot for IASIP's squad this year. The Rosters and Standings have been updated.

[Canadian Press]

Friday, January 18, 2008

Macedonia's Nikola Kljusev's Mass is Done-ia

Nikola Kljusev (pronounced: Kljusev), who served as Macedonia's first prime minister after the country gained independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, has passed away at the age of 80. Kljusev seems to have been somewhat of a Renaissance man in Macedonia, serving as prime minister and defense minister, but at other times as a researcher, director, professor and dean of the Economics Institute. He is remembered fondly:

"In these moments of grief, we should feel proud that we had Nikola, whose life-long work will be remembered by all in the Republic of Macedonia. We will cherish the memory of him forever," says the letter of condolence that President Crvenkovski sent to the Kljusev's family.
The Macedonian government has declared today a national day of mourning, and in accordance with traditional mourning, let's allow the mountaineers to blow their alphorns as we chant along with Kljusev's name: "Ni-co-la!"

[Makfax Online]

You're a Pal and a Confidant

If only these people had people to thank for being a friend.

Yesterday was somebody
's birthday! Whose Birthday? Emmy Award Winning Actress Betty White's Birthday. How Old Is She? 1,2,3,4... 86! And Never been Kissed By... Death

Betty White's name appears on "Remains to be Seen's" roster

  • On the April 22, 2007 airing of The 2007 TV Land Awards, White starred in a parody of "Ugly Betty", aptly titled Ugly Betty White, in which she played America Ferrera's title character, with Charo playing Betty's sister Hilda and Erik Estrada playing her father Ignacio.

That's not really fair. I mean she was no Blanche, but she was definitely hotter than Dorothy and Sophia. Ummm, did I just say that out loud?

Yesterday was somebody else's birthday! Whose Birthday? Former Ku Klux Klan Organizer Edgar Ray Killen's Birthday. How Old Is He? 1,2,3,4... 83! And Never been Kissed By... Death

Edgar Ray Klillen's name appears on "Genesis 6:7's" roster
  • Killen, the owner of a local sawmill and a former unsuccessful candidate for sheriff, was a marginal character in the Klan until Sam Bowers appointed him "kleagle," or klavern recruiter and organizer, for the Neshoba and Lauderdale County Mississippi klan.
I'm not sure why being an unsuccessful candidate for sheriff would make him an attractive candidate for being kleagle. I mean look at Sheriff Roscoe. You're telling me that's who he couldn't beat?

... And Many More!

All McHale The Executive

John McHale, a former baseball player, and longtime baseball executive, has died today at the age of 87. McHale served as the general manager for the Detroit Tigers, Milwaukee/ Atlanta Braves, and Montreal Expos, but not all at the same time. That would be some sort of record.

McHale's tenure with the Expos was particularly notable, as he served as the first president and executive director of the then-expansion Montreal team. Their fates meet again. Like the Expos, McHale, has gone to a better place:

"Both personally and professionally, John McHale was one of the finest gentlemen I have ever known,'' commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. "He was a longtime mentor of mine... Baseball has lost one of its most respected figures.''
A mentor of Bud Selig? I thought you were supposed to praise people when they died.

[Sports Illustrated]

A Year for Every Square: Bobby Fischer Dies at 64

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

Bobby Fischer, the reclusive American chess master who became a Cold War icon when he dethroned the Soviet Union's Boris Spassky as world champion in 1972, has died. He was 64.

Born in Chicago and raised in Brooklyn, Fischer was a U.S. chess champion at 14 and a grand master at 15. He beat Spassky in a series of games in Reykjavik to claim America's first world chess championship in more than a century.

But his reputation as a genius of chess soon was eclipsed by his idiosyncrasies. A few years after the Spassky match, he forfeited the title to another Soviet, Anatoly Karpov, when he refused to defend it.
Congratulations and 24 points are awarded to I AM READY TO MEET MY MAKER. The Rosters and Standings have been updated.

[USA Today]

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Holy Bloody Nipples! Doherty Running Body, Not Drugs

Pete Doherty is in training for the London marathon and has been wearing his girlfriend's bra because of the injuries sustained running, it has been claimed.

As previously reported, the Babyshambles star is on a serious health drive after quitting drugs and has thrown himself into exercise. According to reports, his lengthy running sessions have played havoc with his chest, prompting the unusual request to model Portia Freeman.

A 'source' explained: "He's doing so well. He's really serious about kicking drugs and this is really testing his will power and giving him a goal. "All that is putting him off are his amazingly sore nipples, but Portia's underwear is really helping."
Personally, we feel that many of the slang running terms could be misunderstood as lingo for drugs or drug-related paraphernalia. These include: Bonk, CoolMax®, DNF, Fartlek, Hash House Harriers, Joints in Motion, Log, (LSD), Sciatica, Slow Twitch, Supplex®, Toebox and Wicking.

We feel that it's nice to see Doherty get his joints in motion after all this time away from running.

[Yahoo! Music UK]

Britney Spears Isn't Dead, But the AP Doesn't Like Her Odds

I think it is well known that many news organizations write celebrities' obituaries ahead of time, hanging on to them until they are ready to be published. (Traditionally when someone dies.) This practice spares an obit writer the task of writing 7,925 words on Gerald Ford in one day. (Actual length, by the way.) The downside to doing this, however, especially in the digital age, can occur when your "ahead of time" obits become public. But usually that embarrassment is reserved for the news organization; after all, I doubt Dick Cheney or Nelson Mandela can really be shocked to learn that their obits have already been written. But what does it say about you when your obituary has been written by the Associated Press and you're 26 years old?

The Associated Press began preparing Britney Spears’ obituary within the past month, has learned. "We are not wishing it, but if Britney passed away, it’s easily one of the biggest stories in a long time," AP entertainment editor Jesse Washington tells Us.

"I think one would agree that Britney seems at risk right now," Washington adds. "Of course, we would never wish any type of misfortune on anybody and hope that we would never have to use it until 50 years from now…but if something were to happen, we would have to be prepared."

Washington also says the AP has a "pretty extensive obituary operation," and that staffers are "constantly adding people."

I can understand the need to be "constantly adding people"; let's face it, there are dozens of ways this sad story can end, and they have to prepare for every death possibility. Tom Brokaw can certainly relate.

[US Magazine]

But I Left the Seat Down

Sometimes when I'm sitting on the toilet I feel as though I am going to die. These people sat on the toilet and died.

Feces look like chocolate which is often used for birthday cake. On that note...

Today is somebody
's birthday! Whose Birthday? Former Heavyweight Champion of the World Muhammad Ali 's Birthday. How Old Is He? 1,2,3,4... 66! And Never been Kissed By... Death

Muhammad Ali's name appears on 5 rosters

  • Ali states (in his 1975 autobiography) that he threw his Olympic gold medal into the Ohio River after being refused service at a 'whites-only' restaurant, and fighting with a white gang. Whether this is true is still debated, although he was given a replacement medal during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, where he lit the torch to start the games.

Ali originally converted to Judaism but was kicked out after word spread of this incident. You don't see Mark Spitz just throwing his gold medals away.

Today is somebody else's birthday! Whose Birthday? Former New Jersey Congressman Peter Frelinghuysen Jr.'s Birthday. How Old Is He? 1,2,3,4... 92! And Never been Kissed By... Death

Peter Frelinghuysen Jr.'s name appears on "They Are Now as Cold as Ice's" roster
  • Peter Frelinghuysen comes from a long line of New Jersey politicians. He was the great-grandson of Frederick T. Frelinghuysen (U.S. Senator), the great-great-nephew of Theodore Frelinghuysen (U.S. Senator), the great-great-great-grandson of Frederick Frelinghuysen (U.S. Senator), and the father of Rodney Frelinghuysen (U.S. Rep.).
They probably just kept the last name on the ballot all those years because it was so annoying to put on that first time.

... And Many More!

Wooden Focused on Personal Health and Wellness Coaching

Former coach John Wooden still remarkably attends UCLA's games. He's aided by a cane and his daughter to maintain his stability. But the attention the coach gets from the crowd is affecting him.

UCLA is asking fans to leave former coach John Wooden alone during home basketball games. The 97-year-old coach is a popular draw at his seat behind the Bruins' bench, with people forming a line to get his autograph any time he shows up.

The "no autographs" request was announced Wednesday by UCLA at the request of Wooden's family. "It all wears on him," UCLA spokesman Marc Dellins said. "He just wants to be able to come and enjoy the games."
In accordance with one of the rules listed in the DP literature, it would be unlawful for any DP participant to attend a game and to harass Wooden. If we can prove that this autograph request ultimately led to Wooden's eventual death, all of that participant's points for the entire year would be declared invalid.

"Goodness Gracious Sakes Alive"--John Wooden.


Linkletter Hosts Seminar on Aging

What's the secret to aging?

It's a question many people grapple with, seeking a definitive answer. In our society, those who reach a certain age are entitled to impart wisdom about life, aging and making the most of your time on earth. Others wish to model themselves off of the older sages and hope to thereby add years to their lives. Art Linkletter has entered the industry with his new book "How to Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life," which he spoke about this week at a lecture.

"The biggest change since I was 50 years old is that people are living longer," he told the audience. "Now we live 30 years longer. Most of you should be dead! I should have died in 1959! But now the doctors can replace anything you've got."

"When I was 30 or 35 years of age, people who were 70 were (seen as) sick or senile or sexless. There were so many myths about aging," he said.
Linkletter's "House Party" featured a segment called "Kids Say the Darndest Things" which would go on to be remade as a television show of its own hosted by Bill Cosby. We think that inside the circle of life, the teacher eventually becomes the student again. For instance, if we were on hand for Linkletter's speech this week, we would have gone over to him afterward and pinched his cheeks. Then we would have looked toward the camera, have smirked with a raised eyebrow, and have appealed for applause from rest of the audience.


Wham-O founder Richard Knerr is Gone-O

Richard Knerr, the man responsible for American classics like the Hula Hoop, Frisbee and other fads, has died at the age of 82.

Knerr, who started Wham-O in 1948 with his childhood friend Arthur "Spud" Melin, died Monday at Methodist Hospital after suffering a stroke earlier in the day at his Arcadia home, his wife Dorothy told the Los Angeles Times.

Knerr and Melin got their start in business peddling slingshots. They named their enterprise Wham-O after the sound a slingshot made when it hit its target.

They branched into other sporting goods, including boomerangs and crossbows, then added toys that often bore such playful names as the Superball, Slip 'N Slide and Silly String.

Here's hoping the UPA does the right thing and lowers all flags at this year's games to half-mast in memory of the man who made it all possible.

[Yahoo! News]

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Fame'es Ames Now in a Box

Joe Ames, member of the 1950s hit singing group the Ames Brothers, died today at the age of 86. Before all those kids with their music and their banging started playing that "rock and roll," Joe, along with Ed, Gene and Vic were one of the most popular musical groups of the day.

A singer with more than a three-octave range, he loved opera and at one point was offered a spot with the Metropolitan Opera's touring company. However, Ames' mother wanted him to sing with his siblings. "Coming from a large family of no real means, his mom thought, 'please stay with your brothers,"' Ames' daughter said. "Because if they made it, that was four kids out of the ghetto."
I mistakenly thought he may have gone on to play another kid out of the ghetto, but it turns out Buddy Lembeck was portrayed by Willie Aames.

[Hollywood Reporter]

Oh, Britney. That's Why Those Tears Come at Night!

There is something missing in her life. And it's not just the hair she shaved off. She is missing something much more than we ever realized. In Touch is reporting that prior to being rushed to the hospital on January 4th, Britney Spears left a suicide note on her bathroom counter:

"The letter was very sad," says a friend. "It was filled with reasons why she shouldn't live, included lines from poems about death. She said in it she was sorry for never making her life what everyone else wanted. She mentioned how lonely and unfair life could be, how peaceful death seems and how your mind would finally be at ease... She went on and on about wanting to just rest in peace."
It's sometimes hard to believe how fast Britney has gone from "I Can't Get No Satisfaction" to not getting any satisfaction.

[In Touch] (hattip Yiz-Score: 2007 DP Champ)

Not Exactly Gaons of Vilna

You would think if someone asked you to identify your child's corpse you would be able to. Then again, major media outlets believed Levi Stubbs to be dead, so I don't know who is what anymore.

I'm pretty sure these people are still alive. But as always, it doesn't hurt to check your rosters...

Today is somebody's birthday! Whose Birthday? American Opera Singer Marilyn Horne's Birthday. How Old Is She? 1,2,3,4... 74! And Never been Kissed By... Death

Marilyn Horne's name appears on "Famous Last Words'" and "BestDeathPoolEver.BlogSpot.Com's" rosters

  • Horne received many honors during her career. A particularly notable one was a New York Times article, penned by then editor of Opera News, Robert Jacobson, in celebration of the Met's 100th anniversary in 1983. Jacobson listed the 100 greatest singers to ever perform at the house. Horne was the only one still actively singing at that time
Today is somebody else's birthday! Whose Birthday? Archbishop of Chicago Francis Cardinal George's Birthday. How Old Is He? 1,2,3,4... 71! And Never been Kissed By... Death

Francis Cardinal George's name appears on "Go to Hell's" roster
  • Cardinal George was one of the Cardinal Electors who participated in the 2005 Papal Conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI. He will be eligible to participate in any future papal conclaves that occur before January 16, 2017 when he will reach his 80th birthday.

Based on the fact that he was selected in a death pool and he broke his hip, I'm going to guess we're not going to have to worry about that 2017 conclave.

Today is somebody's else's else's birthday! Whose Birthday? Former Member of the "Wiggles" Greg Page's Birthday. How Old Is He? 1,2,3,4... 36! And Never been Kissed By... Death

Greg Page's name appears on "Haaaave You Met Dead's" roster
  • Page met Anthony Field and Murray Cook when they were Early Childhood Education students at Macquarie University and combined their music backgrounds and teaching skills to form The Wiggles. When performing with the Wiggles, Page wore a yellow shirt. Like the other Wiggles, Page also had a (good) schtick, which was doing magic tricks.
If he had worn the purple shirt, Jerry Fallwell wouldn't have let him in this Death Pool.

... And Many More!