|Rules||Sequence of Hits||Obituaries||Scoring||Awards|
|It begins in some timezone today, tomorrow or yesterday.|
I will be accepting lists all day in my timezone.
I will create a mailing list of all the entrants and all business concerning the pool will be conducted that way.
The scoring system will be the one created by JD Baldwin.
All picks so far have been vetted by me and a panel of esteemed judges.
You need to inform *me* if one of your picks leaves the building, with an appropriate obituary. (Except in the obvious cases. Please don't send me the Pope's obits)
When I go away on business or vacation, I will appoint a regular member of alt.obituaries to act as host in my absence.
All "hits" will be announced on AO, and there will be periodic updates on scoring.
There will be awards at the end of the year.
Highest score, most hits, fewest hits, that sort of thing. And a special award to the person or persons with no hits at all.
All decisions are final.
No returns or exchanges after today.
No purchase necessary.
While supplies last.
Contest Scoring (With thanks to JD Baldwin)
|Rules||Sequence of Hits||Obituaries||Scoring||Awards|
|Grim Reaper Victim||Day of
|Average Number of Kills-Per-Day||Peak
for the Year
[Kills to Date]
|Garry Betty||2nd||0.5000 Kpd||2.0000||183 [ 1 ]|
|Yvon Durelle||6th||0.3333 Kpd||3.0000||122 [ 2 ]|
|Charles Robert "Bobby" Hamilton Sr.||7th||0.4285 Kpd||2.3333||157 [ 3 ]|
|Magnús Magnússon||7th||0.5714 Kpd||1.7500||209 [ 4 ]|
|John Martin Silvertand||7th||0.7142 Kpd||1.4000||261 [ 5 ]|
|Yvonne DeCarlo||9th||0.6666 Kpd||1.5000||244 [ 6 ]|
|Carlo Ponti||9th||0.7777 Kpd||◄►||1.2857||284 [ 7 ]|
|Robert Anton Wilson||11th||0.7272 Kpd||1.3750||266 [ 8 ]|
|Larry D. Stewart||12th||0.7500 Kpd||1.3333||274 [ 9 ]|
|Michael Brecker||13th||0.7692 Kpd||1.3000||281 [ 10 ]|
|Barzan Ibrahim el-Hasan al-Tikriti||15th||0.7333 Kpd||1.3636||268 [ 11 ]|
|Benny Parsons||16th||0.7500 Kpd||1.3333||274 [ 12 ]|
|Arthur Buchwald||17th||0.7647 Kpd||1.3076||279 [ 13 ]|
|George Armisted Smathers||20th||0.7000 Kpd||1.4285||256 [ 14 ]|
|Emiliano Mercado del Toro Sr.||24th||0.6250 Kpd||1.6000||228 [ 15 ]|
|Griffith Jones||30th||0.5333 Kpd||1.8750||195 [ 16 ]|
|Molly Tyler Ivins||31st||0.5483 Kpd||1.8235||200 [ 17 ]|
|Whitney Lyon Balliett Sr.||32nd||0.5625 Kpd||1.7777||205 [ 18 ]|
|Gian Carlo Menotti||32nd||0.5937 Kpd||1.6842||217 [ 19 ]|
|Frankie Laine||37th||0.5405 Kpd||1.8500||197 [ 20 ]|
|Antonio Pierro||39th||0.5384 Kpd||1.8571||197 [ 21 ]|
|Anna Nicole Smith||39th||0.5641 Kpd||1.7727||206 [ 22 ]|
|Henry Albert "Hank" Bauer||40th||0.5750 Kpd||1.7391||210 [ 23 ]|
|Maurice Arthur Jean Papon||48th||0.5000 Kpd||2.0000||183 [ 24 ]|
|Al Viola||52nd||0.4807 Kpd||2.0800||176 [ 25 ]|
|Ashraf Mahmoud Naffaa Saadi||52nd||0.5000 Kpd||2.0000||183 [ 26 ]|
|Herman Brix (Bruce Bennett)||55th||0.4909 Kpd||2.0370||179 [ 27 ]|
|Thomas Francis Eagleton||63rd||0.4444 Kpd||2.2500||162 [ 28 ]|
|Ernest Gallo||65th||0.4461 Kpd||2.2413||163 [ 29 ]|
|Betty Hutton||70th||0.4285 Kpd||2.3333||157 [ 30 ]|
|Calvert G. DeForest||78th||0.3974 Kpd||2.5161||145 [ 31 ]|
|Taha Yassim Ramadan||79th||0.4050 Kpd||2.4687||148 [ 32 ]|
|Kurt Vonnegut Jr.||101st||0.3267 Kpd||3.0606||119 [ 33 ]|
|Don Ho||104th||0.3269 Kpd||3.0588||119 [ 34 ]|
|Kitty Carlisle Hart||107th||0.3271 Kpd||3.0571||119 [ 35 ]|
|Lobby Loyde||111th||0.3243 Kpd||3.0833||118 [ 36 ]|
|Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin||113th||0.3274 Kpd||3.0540||120 [ 37 ]|
|Jack Joseph Valenti||116th||0.3275 Kpd||3.0526||120 [ 38 ]|
|William Robert "Dabbs" Greer||118th||0.3305 Kpd||3.0256||121 [ 39 ]|
|Thomas Gordon "Tom" Poston||120th||0.3333 Kpd||3.0000||122 [ 40 ]|
|Brad McGann||122nd||0.3360 Kpd||2.9756||123 [ 41 ]|
|Walter Marty "Wally" Schirra Jr.||123rd||0.3414 Kpd||2.9285||125 [ 42 ]|
|Hulon Mitchell Jr. (Yahweh ben Yahweh)||127th||0.3385 Kpd||2.9534||124 [ 43 ]|
|Jerry L. Falwell Sr.||135th||0.3259 Kpd||3.0681||119 [ 44 ]|
|Mark Harris||150th||0.3000 Kpd||3.3333||110 [ 45 ]|
|John Moriarty||152nd||0.3026 Kpd||3.3043||111 [ 46 ]|
|Senator Craig Lyle Thomas||155th||0.3032 Kpd||3.2978||111 [ 47 ]|
|Kurt Waldheim||165th||0.2909 Kpd||3.4375||106 [ 48 ]|
|Ruth Graham||165th||0.2969 Kpd||3.3673||108 [ 49 ]|
|Beverly Sills||183th||0.2732 Kpd||3.6600||100 [ 50 ]|
|Alan George Heywood Melly||186th||0.2741 Kpd||3.6470||100 [ 51 ]|
|Charles Lane||190th||0.2736 Kpd||3.6538||100 [ 52 ]|
|Claudia Alta Taylor "Ladybird" Johnson||192th||0.2760 Kpd||3.6226||101 [ 53 ]|
|Stan Zemanek||192th||0.2812 Kpd||3.5555||103 [ 54 ]|
|John Ferguson Sr.||195th||0.2820 Kpd||3.5454||103 [ 55 ]|
|Tamara Faye LaValley Bakker Messner||201th||0.2786 Kpd||3.5892||102 [ 56 ]|
|Rolland Mays "Rollie" Stiles||203th||0.2807 Kpd||3.5614||103 [ 57 ]|
|Mohammad Zahir Shah||204th||0.2843 Kpd||3.5172||104 [ 58 ]|
|Albert Ellis||205th||0.2878 Kpd||3.4745||105 [ 59 ]|
|Tom Snyder||210th||0.2857 Kpd||3.5000||104 [ 60 ]|
|Ernst Ingmar Bergman||211th||0.2890 Kpd||3.4590||106 [ 61 ]|
|William Ernest "Bill" Walsh"||211th||0.2938 Kpd||3.4032||107 [ 62 ]|
|Ali Akbar Meshkini||211th||0.2985 Kpd||3.3492||109 [ 63 ]|
|Thomas James "Tommy" Makem||213th||0.3004 Kpd||3.3281||110 [ 64 ]|
|Barton Lee Hazlewood||216th||0.3009 Kpd||3.3230||110 [ 65 ]|
|Elizabeth Murray||224th||0.2946 Kpd||3.3939||108 [ 66 ]|
|Maxwell Lemuel Roach||224th||0.2991 Kpd||3.3432||109 [ 67 ]|
|Yone Minagawa||225th||0.3022 Kpd||3.3088||110 [ 68 ]|
|Roberta Brooke Russell Kuser Marshall Astor||225th||0.3066 Kpd||3.2608||112 [ 69 ]|
|Philip Francis Rizzuto||225th||0.3111 Kpd||3.2142||114 [ 70 ]|
|William Francis "Bill" Deedes||229th||0.3100 Kpd||3.2253||113 [ 71 ]|
|Leona Mindy Helmsley||232th||0.3103 Kpd||3.2222||113 [ 72 ]|
|Rose Bampton (Pelletier)||233th||0.3133 Kpd||3.1917||114 [ 73 ]|
|Grace Paley||234th||0.3162 Kpd||3.1621||116 [ 74 ]|
|Hillel "Hilly" Kristal||240th||0.3125 Kpd||3.2000||114 [ 75 ]|
|Jane Tomlinson||246th||0.3089 Kpd||3.2368||113 [ 76 ]|
|Luciano Pavarotti||249th||0.3092 Kpd||3.2337||113 [ 77 ]|
|Jane Wyman||253th||0.3083 Kpd||3.2435||113 [ 78 ]|
|Robert Jordan||259th||0.3050 Kpd||3.2784||111 [ 79 ]|
|Alpha Rex Emmanuel Humbard Sr.||264th||0.3030 Kpd||3.3000||111 [ 80 ]|
|Werner von Trapp||284th||0.2852 Kpd||3.5061||104 [ 81 ]|
|Deborah Kerr||289th||0.2837 Kpd||3.5243||104 [ 82 ]|
|Barbara Joyce West Dainton||289th||0.2871 Kpd||3.4819||105 [ 83 ]|
|Joey Bishop||290th||0.2896 Kpd||3.4523||106 [ 84 ]|
|Ève Denise Curie LaBouisse||295th||0.2881 Kpd||3.4705||105 [ 85 ]|
|Porter Wayne Wagoner||301th||0.2857 Kpd||3.5000||104 [ 86 ]|
|Robert Gerard Goulet||303th||0.2871 Kpd||3.4827||105 [ 87 ]|
|Paul Warfield Tibbets Jr.||305th||0.2885 Kpd||3.4659||105 [ 88 ]|
|Norman Kingsley Mailer||314th||0.2834 Kpd||3.5280||104 [ 89 ]|
|Augustus Freeman Hawkins||314th||0.2866 Kpd||3.4888||105 [ 90 ]|
|Delbert Martin Mann Jr.||315th||0.2888 Kpd||3.4615||106 [ 91 ]|
|Ian Douglas Smith||324th||0.2839 Kpd||3.5217||104 [ 92 ]|
|Roger Bonham Smith||333th||0.2792 Kpd||3.5806||102 [ 93 ]|
|Robert Craig "Evel" Knievel Sr.||334th||0.2814 Kpd||3.5531||103 [ 94 ]|
|Daniel Grayling Fogelberg||350th||0.2714 Kpd||3.6842||99 [ 95 ]|
|Sir Charles Court||356th||0.2696 Kpd||3.7083||98 [ 96 ]|
|Rules||Sequence of Hits||Obituaries||Scoring||Awards|
How sadly appropriate that the first hit of the year on a deadpool that's 100% internet-based, is a man who was well-known in the world of internet access. It's Garry Betty, CEO of Earthlink, a company I've always thought of as the hippie ISP. I don't know why. Maybe because compared to AOL, well, anyone who's ever used AOL can finish that sentence. He was there through the boom, through the bust, and back. His company was end-user friendly and he was a driving force to get wireless internet in cities. How cool is it that he spent 30 minutes at the end of each day calling new customers. Only 30 minutes, you say? You think any of the other internet hotshots spend any minutes talking to new customers? He was a good guy, and what's more, he loved books. He owned 35,000 first editions and 10,000 pulp magazines. As far as I'm concerned, this makes him a candidate for sainthood.
I think the NYC gas leak is making me loopy.
Yvon Durelle fought in what many boxing experts and fans call one of the greatest bouts in the history of the sport -- his 11-round loss to "The Ol' Mongoose," Archie Moore, in December of 1958 for the light heavyweight championship. Durelle knocked Moore down four times, three times in the first round but miraculously, the champion Moore held out and eventually knocked Durelle down in the 11th round.
We can thank Bill for this update and Youtube for the amazing Round One:
During his 90-51-2 boxing career, Durelle won both the Canadian Light-Heavyweight and the British Empire Light-Heavyweight championships, and after his boxing career was over, he moved on to wrestling, often appearing with the legendary Stu Hart in Alberta.
On January 6, 2007, Yvon Durelle, 77, the "Fighting Fisherman" from New Brunswick, lost his last fight. He was out-pointed, it seems, by Raven, who earned a tough 8 points for the hit and 5 for the solo. Total: 13
Ok, here's the thing. There are a few people in the country who know pretty much nothing about auto-racing and Nascar. I'm one of those people. And then there are the rest of you, who know names, dates, races, drivers, pit bosses, sponsors, lap times, crashes, whatever. I can still remember the day that both Earnhardt and Balthus died. Terry Ellsworth and I were both astonished at all the press this driver was getting when this, like, unbelievable painter had also died. So anything I write will either go over the heads of people like me or make people like you laugh at my city slicker ignorance. So I'll keep it simple.
Bobby Hamilton Sr came from a long line of race car builders. One day he decided he was a better driver than the drivers he was building for. He was. And the rest is history. He won lots of races and even more hearts, but lost his life to cancer this week at the young age of 49. From everything I've read on the web and in the facts Bill sent my way, he was a great guy, beloved, in fact, and this is sad news, indeed.
Not to put too fine a point on the obvious, Magnús Magnússon was the Alex Trebek of the UK. Mastermind is an institution in the game show world. There is this very serious black chair, and Magnússon was the Chief Interrogator. (How very quaint.) He would say things like I've started, so I'll finish (if he were interrupted by the buzzer) and he did this for more years than I can imagine anyone being able to do it. I've just been watching some segments on Youtube. And it looks like the answers were a bit more complex than "What is The Sound of Music, Alex?" These contenders (never contestants) really know their specialized subjects, like Buffy, HP Lovecraft, the crossword puzzle. And then you think, sure but those geeks aren't going to know stuff about the Battle of Hastings or Milton. And they do.
Magnús Magnússon died this week at 77. DrunkAsASkunk (the impatient lad who was needling me on AO about doing the update already, and Yersinia Pestis knew about the cancer diagnosis and they were ready at the buzzer with the answer. They get 8 points for the hit and 3 for the duet. Total: 11
All that it remains for me to do now is to thank the authorities here at alt.obituaries for all their great kindness and hospitality to us. Next week, we shall be at alt.obituaries. Until then, from the AO deadpool in alt.obituaries, it's goodbye!
Bet you've heard of the horse Afleet Alex. He nearly won the Triple Crown in 2005. He won a very dramatic Preakness and the Belmont. But the Kentucky Derby? As the announcer always says on those dumb sports documentaries, "It was not to be." Anyway, he had a breeder, like all racehorses have, and this one was named John Silvertand, who gave the foal special feeding from a Coors Light Bottle with a nipple attached. And if John's luck hadn't been lousy when he flipped a coin with his partner as they later split up their foals, he would have also gotten rich off Afleet Alex. Instead of what he got, which was cancer. (Not from the horse.) John Silvertand died this week at 61.
There is no photo finish on this one, as only one horse was running. Newt's Hoots gets 11 points for the hit, plus five for the solo. Total: 16. And he's darned lucky a couple of acceptable obit sources picked up the death. "It was nearly not to be."
**Bill Schenley insisted on writing this update and you'll see why. I originally thought it required some editing as we like to keep these updates respectful, but I just didn't think it fair to diminish his enthusiasm for the subject at hand.**
I watched The Ten Commandments twenty-one times in a movie theater. And if you add in the times I watched it on VHS and DVD, it's probably another twenty-five times.
For two reasons: Sephora and Nefretiri.
When I was 10, I walked to downtown Erie, to the Warner Theater, and sat through The Ten Commandments twice. As I was walking home, a police car pulled over and the cops asked my name. When I told them, they asked me to "hop in." After six or seven hours away from home, my mother had called the police. My oldest sister suggested that I could be having a "religious experience," that maybe I was going to become a priest. This sounded better than a beating, so I went along with that. Although, in retrospect, it *was* a religious experience. I sat trance-like wondering what Yvonne De Carlo looked like naked. What Anne Baxter looked like naked. What Yvonne De Carlo and Anne Baxter looked like naked together. What Yvonne De Carlo, Anne Baxter and me would like naked together. Like Moses, I saw a burning bush.
I watched her as Wah-Tah, Princess Scheherezade, Calamity Jane; as Lola, Maria, Julie and Candy; as Roxy, Amantha and Carmelita. And when she showed up on Bonanza as Lottie, I wished I had a TV in my bedroom.
Sure, Sondheim wrote "I'm Still Here" for her and yes, yes, I know, she was in some other forgettable TV show. But if I spent my days dreaming about Mickey Mantle, I spent my nights dreaming about Sephora.
Yvonne de Carlo died Monday. She was 84. Louisiana Lou had it written on his tablet. So he gets his game off to a good start with this classy solo. He gets 5 points for the hit, five for the solo. Total: 10. Welcome to the game, Lou!
He named her after the brand of cigarettes he smoked. He taught her how to move, how to act, how to dress, how to make the camera (and your leading man) adore you. This is what you think of when you think of Carlo Ponti. You do not think of films like La Strada, Dr. Zhivago, Blow-Up, The Passenger, Cleo from 5 to 7, A Woman is a Woman. These are among the hundreds of films that Carlo Ponti produced for the world of cinema. But some would argue that there was no production of his more significant to the world of cinema than that of Sophia Loren.
Carlo Ponti spent 50 of his 94 years with his lovely, talented wife. But all good things must come to an end. Carlo Ponti died this week in Geneva, Switzerland. And two more deadpoolers arrive on the set to say, places please. Philip and Scubama, from two very different parts of the world, will take their places at the bottom for the moment. They each get 2 points for the hit and 3 for the duet. Total: 5
I'll start off with the announcement of the second death of writer Robert Anton Wilson, who died first on February 22, 1994. Actually, I think Wilson would love it if we were suspicious of either of his deaths. He loved conspiracy theories and his Illuminatus trilogy is the ultimate send-up, written with Robert Shea when they both worked at Playboy. (I met someone last week who worked at Playboy at the same time and he said that every month they got a giant color print, larger than life-size of the centerfold every month and went over it with a jeweler's loupe, so I know there was all kinds of weird shit going on there.) He was the director of the Committee for Surrealist Investigation of Claims of the Normal, which clearly he was not. He was the inspiration for the founding of two religions, Discordianism and the Church of the Subgenius. He wrote something called, "Whoever Controls Princess Diana, Controls the World." He was a nutcase with fans of all stripes, none of whom I can name, but who all know their way around a computer. He requested that his ashes be thrown in Jerry Falwell's face. Sounds good to me.
Robert Anton Wilson, something, maybe even dead, at 74. This particular hit is the second one for DGH and puts him in front of Newt's Hoots (so unbelievably temporarily) and also brings Corby, Buford, Constant Irritant, Ed Varner and Deepstblu into the game. Total: 8 points. Wilson would have approved.
For 26 years, Larry Stewart paid it forward. About $1.3 million worth.
In 1979, after being fired from his job, he was feeling sorry for himself and decided to drown his sorrows in a milkshake at a drive-in restaurant when he noticed that the carhop, who was working for tips, could only afford a thin jacket to protect her from the cold. He realized that no matter how bad he had it, someone else had it worse. He paid for his shake with a twenty...and told her to keep the change.
Over the next 26 years, Stewart would make millions in cable TV and telephone services and every December he would take to the streets and give a chunk of it away. Kansas City, Chicago, Detroit, Washington, DC. Wherever there were poor, working people, he would hand out 100 dollar bills, sometimes in twos and threes, in an effort to make their Christmas a little better. $25,000 one year and $65,000 the next year -- whatever it took. Last Christmas, Stewart gave away $100,000 to the poor. Other Secret Santas -- Santas he had trained -- gave $75,000 of their own money.
But December of 2006 would be Larry Stewart's last year as Secret Santa. He died January 12, at 58. Yes, Raven, there was a Santa Claus and you were the last recipient of his kindness. Naughty or nice Raven gets 14 points for the hit and five for the solo. Total: 19 points. (Thanks to Bill Schenley for finding it in his heart to write about Santa Claus.)
He was one of the most influential players following in the wake of John Coltrane. All the obituaries say his tenor sax was featured on 900 albums, which is a remarkable number and I wonder if it's accurate. If it's based on the Allmusic guide listings, the total credits include re-issues and compilations, so that a single recording might be counted several times. Whatever. His output was prodigious. As was his reputation.
A jazz musician friend of ours had this to say:
"I subbed in Bob Mintzer's band at Seventh Avenue South (owned in part by the Brecker brothers) He made a point of complimenting me, all the while fussing with reeds and fine-tuning his already high-performance machine. He played a solo on 'Invitation' that sucked the air out of the room, and he was still quietly dissatisfied. Never acted the star and no one ever said anything negative about him."
I wasn't all that familiar with his work, but I was familiar with his plight as my husband was one of the tens of thousands of people who responded to the call for bone-marrow typing. But Brecker wasn't lucky in that way. He died this weekend at 57.
When discussing the death of Barzan Ibrahim Al-Tikriti, the half-brother of the late Saddam Hussein, I would have loved to have made the point that here were two people who shared not just the Baath Party but the Bath Toys. But it seems he was much younger than Saddam. So it's unlikely they met under those circumstances as children.
Nevertheless, Barzan Ibrahim Al-Tikriti and Saddam were very, very close. Just like in America, all you have to do to know where the power lies is follow the money. Barzan was the Iraq ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, he was in charge of Iraq's intelligence operations *and* he had the run of the Swiss bank accounts. They were quite a pair. One modeled himself after Stalin, the other thought Nazi Germany had the right idea about how to achieve national goals. Neither brother will be missed.
Barzan Ibrahim Al-Tikriti was hanged so hard, he lost his head. He was either 56 or 57, but it doesn't make a difference. Our champion Acctorp finally gets on the board with a high-scoring hit. 14 points, plus 5 for the solo.Total: 19
In the time since the last N.A.S.C.A.R. driver died, I haven't learned another blessed thing about racing. But this guy sounded pretty wonderful and I think I can do him justice without that knowledge base.
Benny Parsons or BP or "The Professor" was the guy who inevitably takes you to trite expressions like, he was a champion on and off the track. Or that larger than life thing. Professionally, he was one of that acronym's 50 top drivers, its champion in 1973. He was the Daytona 500 champ a couple of years later, and on and on. (That means I didn't bother to look for the other statistics. I just assume they're there.) After he had hung up his helmet, he turned to the microphone and began his second career of shouting out his love for the sport. Everyone who knew or heard him or spent time with him loved him. He was generous with his talents, his knowledge and probably even his dough. He even wrote a blog about his illness so his fans would know how he was doing.
"Hi, I'm Art Buchwald and I just died."
I know that's the funniest thing he ever said. And the suddenly edgy New York Times doing video obituaries? It's a topsy-turvy world, all right. Art Buchwald wants to be remembered as someone who made people laugh. He wants to be cremated and his ashes scattered over all the cocktail parties on Martha's Vineyard. Ha. Ha. He had an impressive life story filled with parental neglect, romantic years in Paris, benders with Bradlee, and inside the Beltway humor. But all the obituaries were in love with his last defiant year when he stopped "battling" his disease and decided to spend the time he had left with his many sycophants. Anyone who was anyone had to pay a pre-shivah call. (Do you still bring ruggelach?) He admitted that he never let facts get in the way of his columns. (Humor, neither.) A little birdy has told me that he stiffed his lawyers when he got his settlement for Coming to America. He dressed up as the Easter Bunny at charity events. And when he was asked whether there was an afterlife, he wrote, if I knew I'd tell you.
Art Buchwald is finding out, as we speak. He was 81. Twenty gamesters accurately predicted that he would not be the master of his own fate. Everyone gets 5 points. Buford, Ed Varner, Deepstblu, DGH, Corby, Constant Irritant, and Yersinia Pestis get themselves another hit. A big welcome to the game to Denise, Erik, Kathypig1, Laurie Mann, Charlene, The Fireball, Excard, Jazz Vulture, Chaptal, Lurker3791, Dead Batteries, Garrett and JD, who can now relax since he was determined to get at least one hit this year. Of note is that Corby and Ed Varner already have four hits. Did they turn pro or something?
George Smathers served two terms in the House and three terms in the Senate. He never lost an election. I wasn't looking forward to this one, because he was 93, and frankly, I don't remember him, but then I see his nickname was Gorgeous George, so he deserves my full attention. Apparently, he had more beauty than brains because he wasn't too into the whole civil rights thing. Didn't think Thurgood Marshall was Supreme Court material. Thought that whole Brown V. Board of Education was a lot of hooey. But he was behind the three day weekend! And the roundup of Communists! And you should have heard what he had to say about Phil Graham's suicide! On the plus side, he predicted the whole Latin America/Florida thing and he really, truly, no shit, was a friend of Jack Kennedy. The man who didn't call Claude Pepper a "shameless extrovert" died this week at 93.
DGH (who's been posting about him non-stop) and The Fireball hit as a team. They get 2 points for the hit and three for the duet. Total: 5. The Fireball moves up about 15 places and DGH, well, DGH is DGH.
Emma Tillman is the world's oldest known person.
Two weeks ago, she was the third oldest known person, at least according to the Gerontology Research Group in Los Angeles.
There are several factors involved in becoming the world's oldest person...but only one clear cut factor...someone else has to die.
This time it was that little angel, Mercado del Toro, 115, who threw himself in front of the bus for Emma. According to the AP, del Toro who was born August 21, 1891, in Cabo Rojo, west of San Juan, PR, was alert at the time of his death.
He was a lifelong bachelor. Say, you don't think...
Jim Farrell of the Hartford Courant wrote that when Mrs. Tillman was told she was now the oldest known person -- she just stared straight ahead. If she was alert, like del Toro, she had to be thinking what you'd be thinking. Fuck. I'm next.
Buford, DGH, The Fireball, Wendy and Kathi are up next. In the deadpool, that is. Welcome, Wendy and Kathi to the game! They each get the bare minimum in this fine game. One stinking point. Well-done.
Griffith Jones had a remarkable stage presence, which is why you're probably not as familiar with him as you think you should be, considering he was 96 years old and had been acting steadily for the last 75 years. His film career was merely respectable and his TV career was negligible. Truly, he was most at home in the theatre. He trod the boards in the West End with folks like Olivier, Redgrave and Coward in the 30's and 40's. He trod the regional boards in the 50's and 60's when London was not calling. And then in the autumn of his years, when he certainly deserved to rest, he chose not to. He joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and for 25 years he trod the boards with a new generation of actors, directors, writers and admirers. For good measure, he made sure to create a couple of board-treaders to carry on his good work, Gemma Jones and Nicholas Jones.
Griffith Jones took his final curtain call this week. He was 96. Philip gets his second hit in a row. (Garrett gets two in a row, as well, if I count his 2006 list in 2007. Tough luck, fella. You going through Garrett's garbage, mate?) He gets 2 for the hit, and 5 for the solo. That's a total of 7. For a very stylish hit.
I had a little correspondence with a former AO'er today who was plenty miffed that Molly Ivins had gotten all this reverential ink while the redoubtable Sidney Sheldon had gotten, well, less. You see, he had asked 12 people he knew who Molly Ivins was and they...didn't...know. But if you go to the NY Times website right now, you'll see that the number one emailed story is Molly Ivins' obituary. Folks knew.
They loved that she had the gall to say whatever the fuck she wanted to say to whoever the fuck she thought needed to hear it. They loved that her page made them laugh and think out loud. Her column was carried in hundreds and hundreds of newspapers. She was on every political website that meant anything to people who care about the mess this country is in. Molly Ivins was alive right up until the end. And you know what I mean.
Molly Ivins just did not want another casserole sent to her. She died yesterday at 62. Because I liked her so much, I'm a little embarrassed to say that I join Newt's Hoots and Bill Schenley in a trio for this hit. We each get 11 points plus one for that trio. Total: 12.
Whitney Balliett was not a household name. Unless, of course, you played jazz or you listened to jazz or you read about jazz. Then you knew without a doubt that he was the only guy in the world who could make you hear jazz with words. Balliett did all this in the New Yorker offices over a 40-year career, writing one extraordinary profile after another of the musical geniuses of the 20th century. In a quick search, I see that almost every jazz obituary has a Balliett quote. And it should be pointed out that he did obituaries very well. Here's his obit for Thelonious Monk.
Whitney Balliett died yesterday. He was 80. I was part of a 5-piece combo for Brecker. But for Balliett, I've got the stage to myself. That's two hits in a row for me. Came this close to getting those extra bonus points for two hits in a day. (Not to worry. The rest of my list sucks.) I get 5 points for the hit. 5 points for the solo. Total: 10.
What an extraordinary life Gian Carlo Menotti led. Composing operas, writing librettos, running festivals, winning prizes. He didn't always have the complete admiration of his peers, but he made opera accessible to the masses. Who among us hasn't sat through a TV viewing of Amahl and the Night Visitors?
As for his famed Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds, he had this to say in 2001. "Fate has blessed me. But if there's one thing I regret, it's this accursed festival. It's robbed too much of my time from composition and from the chance to just be curious about life, art and philosophy. Suddenly there's no time left, and it makes me feel desperate."
My violinist niece remembers her summers in Spoleto a little differently:
"Mostly I just remember that he would come to rehearsals every now and then again with his cane. He was always surrounded by an entourage and would stay and listen for awhile. Very frail, but always very complimentary and warm when addressing us. We did have a big gala the year he turned 90. It was a spectacular over-the-top Italian extravaganza outside in the piazza in front of the cathedral at Spoleto. Women in beautiful gowns. Ricardo Muti, Placido Domingo, Pavarotti, Renee Fleming. I don't even remember what we played, just the pomp of it all. My visiting husband couldn't get a ticket so he dressed all in black and sat on stage with the percussionists!"
Gian Carlo Menotti died this week. He was 95. Now you would think that someone who wrote "Amelia at the Ball" would be on my deadpool list, but you would be wrong. That distinction belongs solely to our favorite Australian player, Philip. He gets 2 points for the hit and 5 for the solo for a total of 7. This moves him away from the "5" pack and up into the middle of the group. Nice work, Maestro.
We had this really clever idea for the update, Bill and I did, for Frankie Laine. We would use song titles, weave them in and out and it would be hilarious and you would think me so funny, and it would travel all over the internet, captured on blogs and whatnot. So here's my problem. I've been staring at Frankie Laine's discography (put together by some lunatic in cyberspace) for a couple of days now, and I can't figure out how to get Sugarbush into a clever sentence on its own, let alone connect it to That Lucky Old Sun AND Muletrain AND Lord, You Gave Me A Mountain AND Cry of the Wild Goose OR any of the hundreds of songs and themes and commercials you all loved when you were little boys and girls. (Mostly boys.) So all I'm going to say is Frankie Laine lived a long time, made a lot of music, had a bunch of fans on both sides of the pond, and will be remembered forever for the theme songs to Rawhide and Blazing Saddles. I hope you understand. At least, that's my desire.
How do you handle a hungry man? If it's Bill Schenley, you give him some well-earned points because he's been waiting three years to get a hit on the blue-eyed soul singer, and Frankie finally came through for him. In years past, Bill would have had a solo, but this year, there was also a hungry woman. We welcome Chipmunk Roasting to the game with a terrific first hit. They get 2 points for the hit and 3 for the duet. Total: 5.
To those of you panting for Ms. Smith's deadpool update, you might as well catch your breath. This ain't it. This is the other kind. Antonio Pierro, bless his soul, lived, I think officially, to almost 111. He's been the world's oldest living WWI veteran for nearly a month now, since Mercado del Toro handed in his rations. He was also the oldest man in the United States. I'm beginning to see a pattern with these alter kockers, as they say in Italian. He didn't have any kids. Neither did Mercado del Toro, who, in addition, didn't have a wife. Makes it easier to concentrate on your own longevity when you don't have to worry about anyone else's. Then again, Pierro remembered to the very end of his life, when the fighting stopped in Europe, a beautiful woman he met in Bordeaux. "Ah, Madeline," he said. "That was my gal." So who knows, maybe there was a little Pierro running around the vineyards after his old man had gone home to his wife. Antonio Pierro is survived by his baby brother, Nicholas, 98.
Antonio Pierro's death yesterday didn't stop all work in my office the way Anna's did a couple of hours later. However, it is still significant on the AO Deadpool, if not as lucrative. Yersinia Pestis is the picker, and he gets his 1 point for the hit and his 5 for the solo. Nice one, YP.
"Reunited, and it feels so good
Anna Nicole Smith and the love of her life, J. Howard Marshall II, are reunited. Apparently, she was much more in love with the Texas oil billionaire than anyone realized. She must have been, since she's spent the last 13 years doing her best to get back to him. Dying in a pool of her own vomit will surely play well with the courts.
Beautiful and built, Anna Nicole traveled a long, winding and bizarre road through her short life starting with the Chicken Shack fry-cook and ending with a chicken-shit shyster (alleged). Long way to go just to end up in the minus column.
Some say that success in politics and in the entertainment industry is often just a matter of Who You Know or Who You Blow. If that's true, Vickie Lynn Hogan was able to navigate both Know and Blow with greased ease. A Playboy model and actress and a spokesbimbo for TrimSpa, she parlayed a lack of talent and two enormous breasts into tawdry tabloid headlines. She turned every mistake, every misstep, every misadventure into a paycheck.
Drunk, doped and disorderly, Anna Nicole Smith left this world about the same as she lived in it, but with a lot less oxygen. She was just 39. Sad. Unless, of course, you had her on your deadpool list, like Denise did and a brand-new player, Sis. Denise and Sis commandeered her last misadventure and turned it into some pretty shapely points. 20 points for the hit, 3 for the duet. Total: 23.
Update courtesy of Bill Schenley.
Next up: More of the Bill Schenley Show.
"When my youngest son was still in single digits, we would play this game. He'd give me a retired Yankee number and I would answer something like
'AlfredManuelMartinBerkeleyCalifornia, FiveSixteenTwentyEight'But every time he said 'Who was number nine?" I'd answer
"HenryAlbertBauerEastStLouisIllinois, SevenThirtyOneTwentyTwo,and he'd say No Daddy, it's Roger Eugene Maris from Hibbing, Minnesota. Then I would explain to my son that Hank Bauer was a war hero and more of a New York Yankee than Roger Maris ever was and that if number nine was retired for Roger Maris, then it surely was retired for Hank Bauer, too.
Man, as a kid, I loved Hank Bauer. He was everything I thought a man was supposed to be. It didn't matter if it was in Guam or Okinawa, the Bronx, Ebbets Field, or County Stadium in Milwaukee, when it was Get-To-Fightin' time, Hank Bauer got to fightin'. When "I" was in single digits, my father, who was good friends with Pirate announcer Bob Prince, would take me to Forbes Field and after the game, we'd all go to the Pittsburgh Athletic Association Club, as did many of the Pirates. The players would look out for me.
Once, when I was playing a pinball game with one of them, another Pirate asked me if I knew who I was playing with. I was a kid. I didn't recognize anyone without a number on their back. The guy said, this is the best right-fielder in baseball. I looked up at Roberto Clemente and said, "You're Hank Bauer??"
So there you have it. Bill Schenley reminisces about his fabled childhood. All because Hank Bauer has died at 84 and Bill had him on his deadpool list, which gives the answer to what happens to childhood heroes after you grow up. Believe it or not, the man who won the Dim Reaper Award last year is in third place this year. He gets 5 for the hit, 5 for the solo. Total: 10. But just for old-time's sake, we're going to give him NINE.
It's an all-too common human error. Papon thought he was protecting his country and upholding its values, but what he was doing was sending children to their deaths. Do it often enough and you can't pretend it's anything other than a crime, for which you should be punished, instead of promoted. You can't blame the French, however. Given his experience, he made a perfect prefect of police during the Algerian troubles. They're still looking for people who disappeared in police hands during this period. I believe he was unrepentant, ('What was one to do?') and of course he lived 96 years, most of it quite free. La vie, c'est comme ca.
It's exhausting and painful maintaining the proper outrage for the fact of this man's life. For this, we will always be indebted to people like Serge and Beate Klarsfeld and Michel Slitinsky, who spent their lives trying to make these monsters pay for their crimes.
INT NITE: MICHAEL'S ROOM IN VILLA
MICHAEL opens the shutters in his darkened room; moonlight fills the room.
He turns, and there, in her wedding slip, is APPOLONIA. A little frightened; but lovely.
He moves to her; and for a moment just stands before her, looking at her incredible face; her lovely hair and body.
Slowly and tenderly he kisses her. Her tiny hands come up to his face; touch his cheek and embrace him.
She lets her bridal slip fall to the floor.
And while you're taking in this romantic scene, you're listening to legendary studio musician Al Viola play that Rota theme on the mandolin. He's even more famous for his guitar work behind Sinatra, who also figures prominently in The Godfather, so they say. Al Viola died this week at 87. Garrett, who knows his West Coast jazz, gets the hit. He earns 5 and 5. And that's one terrific Viola solo, Garrett.
Ashraf Saadi is dead. Not only that, but Ashraf Saadi has been dead for almost a year. Now, if you're like me, you are probably wondering just who the hell is Ashraf Saadi. I don't know. But I'll look him up and get right back to you ...
<50 seconds later>
Ashraf Mahmoud Naffaa Saadi was the Palestinian Jihad Islamic Jenin (regional) commander (whatever that is), and in late February of this year, after the Israeli security police tried to arrest him and two other suspected terrorists, he was shot dead. And, he was only 29-years-old (his age has also been listed as 25, 26 and 27) at the time of his death.
For AO Deadpool player Acctorp, who had him on his list of terrorists-who-just-need-a-good-killin', this means 22 points for the hit and 5 points for the solo. Total: 27.
(Bill al-Schenley wrote this.)
I'm having trouble coming up with anything terrible clever for this update. I've rejected a Herman Brix/Hans Blix mixup! Something about weapons of mass destruction. Similarly, Bruce Bennett/Bill Bennett. I thought of writing it all in Tarzan language, but I wasn't actually sure that was possible. I'll admit it. I wasn't inspired. Maybe next time, when I'm having trouble, I'll look for a volunteer. What do you say?
He was Tarzan. Then he wasn't. For a long time. A very long time. Bruce Bennett died on February 24. He lived 100 years. Giving Philip, Yersinia Pestis, and newcomers James Neibaur and Ray Arthur one masterful point each. Welcome to the pool, gentlemen. Introduce yourselves to Kathi and Wendy.
The 1972 Presidential election was an important one for me because it was my first. I was naive enough to be excited about it, but not so stupid as to think it would go the way I wanted it to. I took a little comfort in the fact that the two places I lived at the time, NYC and Massachusetts, both went for the guys I voted for. One of whom was not Thomas Eagleton, who was removed from the ticket because antidepressants weren't the panacea they are now. One wonders how many of those people on the hill are popping Zolofts before roll call. McGovern says if he had it to do over, he would have kept him, because no one understood mental illness then. Which doesn't really make sense, because if he did it over and kept him, they still wouldn't have understood mental illness. And either way, it still would have been a landslide.
Thomas Eagleton, an otherwise fine senator who did good work, was sure this 18-day event in 1972 would monopolize his obituaries, and he was 1,000 percent right. Eagleton died March 4 at 77.
Newt's Hoots is starting to pull away. The polls say he has a good chance of staying the frontrunner. All he has to do is not say anything stupid. He gets 8 points for the hit and 5 for the solo: Total: 13
Ernest Gallo was a determined man for most of his nearly 98 years. Thunderbird alone makes him one of the most important vintners of the twentieth century. However, his most impressive accomplishment would seem to be his death. He managed to die within a three-day window when a certain magazine's international billionaire issue had already gone to press and couldn't be corrected. So Ernest Gallo is a billionaire very much alive in Forbes. Wouldn't you know it? He's the first guy to take it with him.
Once again, Garrett informs me that he kept him alive until this year, but revised his list. This is getting old, G. Yet your loss is a gain for Chipmunk Roasting, Mark and Ray Arthur who quickly says goodbye to his pals in the wine cellar. They each get 2 points for the hit and 1 for the triple. Total: 3
She couldn't sing, but she did. She couldn't dance, but she did. God knows she couldn't act. Didn't stop her. She wasn't glam, she wasn't really even perky. What she was, was game. In a kind of Fleet's In way. You wanted a goofy specialty number to sing for the troops, she did it. And then some. You wanted her to bounce through a film, she bounced til the cows came home. I started counting the number of times I saw the word energetic in stories on Betty Hutton, and I lost track. She had a good Hollywood thing going for a while. The plots were preposterous, the songs were insane, but the exuberance was off the charts. I suspect that there was energy any time it was required. Any...time. So what went so wrong with her career? At some point, you run out of energy.
Betty Hutton died this week at 86.
Well this time Garrett had a keeper. He was not alone. He, James Neibaur and Busgal each knew that Annie's gun would eventually have to go off. It's the first hit of the year for our new player Busgal and we welcome her to the pool. They each get 6 points, 5 for the hit, and one for the triple. And after a brief stay in the basement with the girls, James N. moves on and leaves Kathi and Wendy behind.
aka Larry "Bud" Melman
For years, there must have been hope out there for the starstruck civil servants of the world. First, there was Calvert DeForest toiling away as a receptionist in a drug rehabilitation facility. Then Harvey Pekar putting in his years as a file clerk in a VA hospital. And suddenly (although it was hardly sudden for either) they were stars of late-night TV. Both achieved fame on Letterman, but only Larry 'Bud' Melman had staying power. Bear suits, hot towels in bus stations, man on whatever street interviews, he was up for anything and we all went along with the silliness, because the best part of late-night TV is the silliness. Still, it was clear that his biggest fan was his boss.
Calvert DeForest who became known as Larry 'Bud' Melman and then went back to being Calvert DeForest died this week at 86. Louisiana Lou and Johnnyb had him on their top 35 list. They each get 5 points for the hit, 3 for the duet. Total: 8. This is Johnnyb's first hit this year. And a very cool one, indeed. Welcome, Jb.
In November of 2006, Taha Yassim was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the death of about 150 residents of the Iraqi village of Dujail in 1982 (you know, back when the United States *liked* Saddam Hussein's Iraq). Then, in, I guess, an effort to promote American-style Democracy, his sentence was appealed, and on February 12th he was re-sentenced to be hanged.
Yassim's execution wasn't as chaotic as the Saddam Hussein execution was, and he didn't have his head ripped off like Mr. Tikriti did, and his hanging certainly was not anywhere near the debacle the AO Deadpool Rules Committee became as to death by execution, but at the end of the day the 68-year-old former Iraqi vice president was still ... dead.
No one knows soon to be dead Middle-Eastern guys like Acctorp, who gets 11 points for the neck-tie party's success and 5 points for the solo. Total: 16.
Pretty much the first thing I did when I heard Vonnegut had died was to go into my son's room and retrieve the books. It would be interesting to find out how many of us boomer parents have moved the paperbacks from the master bedroom to the teenager's room in the hope that they would feel today the way we felt back then. This was the feeling: These books weren't just for anybody. They were for us. He had the voice of the people, and the people were me and my generation. My son did love the books, although he has his own literary heroes, but he didn't mind giving them back to me, because if there's one thing this generation isn't sentimental about, it's disintegrating paperbacks.
I dedicate this deadpool update of Kurt Vonnegut to alt.obituaries and the members of my "karass." Or maybe we're a "granfalloon." I'll leave it to you to decide.
Kurt Vonnegut died this past week at 84. Yes, I had him on my list last year, but I pulled a Garrett and killed him off by removing him. So Chaptal gets himself a well-deserved solo and moves up nicely in the standings. That's 5 for the hit and 5 for the solo. Total: 10. Nice work, Chap.
A Schenley Special Update:
There's Ho, Ho, Ho and Westward Ho. Nappy Headed Ho's, HoHo's and even a poet named Fuk Yan Ho. Then there was Donald Tai Loy Ho, the Chinese, Hawaiian, Portuguese and Dutch singer from Honolulu who died April 14th at 76. Except for HoHo's, I liked the other Ho's better. Most people will remember Don Ho by his signature song, "Tiny Bubbles," but I'll remember Don Ho for the way he butchered an Elvis Presley song called "I'll Remember You."
I'll Remember You
You'd never catch Elvis wearing a lei ...
It's kind of hard to think of anything nice to say about a guy who wears leis and would fuck up a song that badly. Alright, alright ... I'll try. He sang "Tiny Bubbles." Once, he was in the Air Force for a few months. Everyone who met Don Ho thought he was a wonderful person. Ed Varner, Busgal, Dannyb and Erik thought so much of him that they wished him dead. Dannyb makes his 2007 Deadpool debut and that &%@* Ed Varner vaults into third place. Total: 8.
There have been so many wonderful stories about Kitty Carlisle Hart floating around that the two I'll tell will pale in comparison, but I'm not afraid. According to an article in the NY Times Style section last Sunday about her makeup routine, the secret of her lasting beauty was Nivea. "I use Nivea. I swear by Nivea!" Kitty Carlisle Hart exclaims. "I was furious that they wouldn't let me be the Nivea girl." It was, she insisted, the best thing she ever put on her face. "Offstage, she never washes her face with soap, and her makeup takes all of 10 minutes. "Pink cheeks. Hairdo. And very red lips." One beautiful Sunday in Central Park maybe ten years ago, I saw her strolling along, without a care in the world, in a beautiful white pants suit, stopping every so often to greet her fans, who had either heard her sing cabaret, watched her on TV, benefited from her work for the arts, or just fell for the smile on her very red lips.
Kitty Carlisle Hart died this week at 96. And it still doesn't seem possible.
We have three new debuts with this hit, two new players and an old favorite: Mister Selina, Moldy Oldies and the lovely Brigid. Welcome, folks! Joining them are Scubama, Mark, Kentucky Wizard, Busgal (with her second hit of the week) Jazz Vulture, Kathi (leaving her pal Wendy in the basement all alone) and Sis. They each get 2 points.
I had to farm out Yeltsin (thanks again, JD) because I knew nothing. Now I have to write about Oz-rock style guitar, about which I know even less. If ever there was a time for cut and paste, this is it.
Lobby Loyde was a leading figure in Australia's Pub Rock scene. (Wikipedia) He was the godfather of heavy rock in Australia (ARIA Hall of Fame) He had a band called The Coloured Balls and "it was more of an intense go-for-it, sort of grab it by the throat, tear its head off kind of vibe." (Lobby Loyde) He was said to be an influence on Kurt Cobain and Henry Rollins. (No-brainer. That was everywhere.) He died with his family and his favourite black Gibson guitar by his side. ("The Herald Sun" is Australia's biggest selling newspaper, so they know what details sell.)
Lobby Loyde, who I'm willing to bet was *not* one of those people who never smoked a day in his life and still got lung cancer, died this week of the disease. He was 65. The AO Deadpool rock star of 2006, Acctorp, goes to the other side of the world for the solo. He gets 11 plus 5. Total: 16. And he's now breathing down my neck.
He had been a doctrinaire, old-line and hard-line Commie boss, thriving in the very worst days of the Cold War USSR. Then, when reform came, he got out in front of it and destroyed a promising Party career by making waves. Soon enough, the Party itself was rendered irrelevant.
When real democracy came to Russia, he rose to power on a wave of popularity, then expanded and cemented that popularity with a bold move: supporting his old rival Mikhail Gorbachev in the face of a military coup, at substantial risk to his personal safety. Some cynical souls say his "privatization" efforts and use of international aid funds simply benefited a new oligarchy — the new boss more or less the same as the old boss. His own actions (firing the reformer Stephasin in favor of the crony Putin) mostly seemed to confirm the impression.
He was eventually displaced by the next in a line of upstarts, and left office one of the most widely ridiculed and hated men in his country. (His reputation has, they say, been rehabilitated quite a bit since then.) In the end, he apologized rather candidly for his failure to deliver on the promise of his early years in power, which action alone might be said to put him in the top 1% of politicians. In any country.
He was a little strange, and more than a little crude, but there was no denying his brilliance. Sadly, his fate was to become an international laughingstock. The slow decline of Boris Yeltsin's health culminated Monday in his death at age 76. As "obvious" a pick as he was, the 8 points go only to JD [who wrote this excellent update for which I say spasibo], Chaptal, Louisiana Lou and Laurie Mann. Good going, guys.
One night, I was shooting a commercial at JFK.
You're thinking I'm going to tell the Valenti/JFK story. No, I'm talking about the airport, not the formidable Stone (rated R for language) film.
When you shoot at an airport, you do it in the middle of the night. No planes coming in or going out. No passengers. Peace, quiet and action! Everything was going well, the teamsters hadn't run out of donuts, thanks God, when suddenly we were told a plane was coming in, and we had to get out of the way because the passengers would be coming through the area where we were shooting. At 3 in the morning. And what's more, we had to be nice and respectful and not engage them in conversation. It seems on this flight from LA, someone died. I believe they stopped somewhere and removed the body and continued on, much delayed. First off the plane was Jack Valenti. He looked like shit. The story isn't all that interesting (although on-topic) but I tell it because Jack Valenti logged millions of miles shoving his insane ideas down people's throats and some of you may be happy to know that on one of those trips, he sat with a stiff.
Jack Valenti, Johnson Flunky and Hollywood Hitman, died this week at 85. I sleep each night a little better, a little more confidently because he's no longer telling me how to think. Laurie Mann, getting her second hit of the week, is probably feeling pretty good, too. She gets 5 for the hit, 5 for the solo. Total: 10. I believe this is Laurie's first solo. And a nice one it is.
How do you define a character actor? It's someone who can do 100 films and 600 episodes of TV over 7 decades, play any part he's given (doctor, lawyer, reverend, prison guard, man in vet's office) and still be able to sit at Cantor's eating lox and eggs, reading the trades, without ever being celebrity-sighted or bothered for an autograph. THAT's a character actor.
I don't care who you are, or how old you are, you've seen Dabbs Greer. But if you're like me, you never knew his name. But you did sense, somehow, without really being consciously aware of the feeling, that he was making a real contribution to I'm Dickens, He's Fenster. Plus he knew Superman, on and off-screen. It doesn't get any cooler than that.
Dabbs Greer died this week at 90. Thanks to TV land, he will live on forever and our children's children will know Dabbs Greer without ever knowing his name. One of our new (ha) players, Mister Selina, gets the very stylish solo. Mister Selina is very proud of this hit, because Mister Selina, unlike me, does know the names of the actors who play supporting roles in TV flops. He gets 2 points for the hit and 5 for the solo. Total: 7 All that useless information is paying off, MS.
I have such fond memories of a childhood watching To Tell The Truth and What's My Line. To me, these shows were the height of sophistication. The women were always dolled up, the men wore handkerchiefs in their pockets, and they all seemed to have lots of facts at hand, which always made me anxious that these poor contestants would be found out, which was the whole point, of course. These shows seemed important in some way that I didn't completely understand then, but I know now that it was people like Tom Poston and Kitty Carlisle Hart and jewelry like Arlene Francis' diamond heart-shaped necklace that made me feel that way.
Tom Poston, a funny man who went on to less sophisticated roles than that of panelist, died this week at 85. Ed Varner had him all by himself, and gets 5 points for the hit, 5 for the solo, for a total of 10. Ed's hot. He just took second place from Raven and he's leading the league in hits with 6.
The other day, I saw actress Sarah Polley's directorial debut, a film called "Away From Her." She began with wonderful material (Alice Munro story) and got stunning performances out of her cast, Julie Christie and Gordon Pinsent, especially. It wasn't perfect, but it was very well-done for a first-time effort and I walked away thinking, marvelous, that's the start of a great directing career. Brad McGann's first feature film, "In My Father's Den," was a crowd and critical favorite, and won many awards. I'm sure if I had stayed awake on the plane ride from Sydney to LA and actually seen it, I would have had similar thoughts. But it was his first and also his last feature film.
New Zealand filmmaker Brad McGann died in early May at the age of 43. Newt's Hoots is threatening a rout in 2007 with this sad yet stunning solo, and if Anna Nicole hadn't emptied her medicine cabinet down her throat, he might have eventually scooped up another 25 for the youngest hit. But that will not happen. He gets 18 points for the hit and 5 for the solo for a total of 23.
Wally Schirra's last public appearance was at an exhibition of cowboy hats at the Buffalo Bill Memorial Museum. This included his own hat which had drawings of trout and elk and pins from range rides.
It was the last hurrah for Wally Schirra.
The fifth man in space, the only man to fly in the Mercury, Gemini & Apollo missions, has pulled his last prank. He died yesterday at 84.
(Yahweh ben Yahweh)
So one day, after several *vastly* different attempts, Hulon Mitchell Jr., who had also been known as Hulon Shah, Father Mitchell and Brother Love, became known as Yahweh ben Yahweh and created a spiffy new religion. Like just about every other religion, the Nation of Yahweh was based on lies, murder, deceit and treachery. Unlike most other religions, to reach the state of bliss (the Brotherhood) in the Nation of Yahweh, you only had to kill and dismember *one* innocent person, a "white devil." Oh ... and deliver a body part to Yahweh ben Yahweh. Unlike most other religions... that let you keep or dispose of body parts at your own discretion.
ben Yahweh's "Death Angels" were responsible for the murders and mutilation of at least 14 people. Most of them were white, homosexual and homeless alcoholics.
A few days before he was indicted by the federal government in October of 1990, the mayor of Miami pronounced October 7 to be Yahweh ben Yahweh Day. For most *other* people Yahweh ben Yahweh day will be recognized as May 7 ... the day Hulon Mitchell Jr., also known as Yahweh ben Yahweh died of prostate cancer, at 71.
Last September, YbY asked the Federal Parole Board to allow him to "die with dignity."
With a little more "dignity," Newt's Hoots and Acctorp had him on their deadpool hit list, and while they won't get a body part, they will each get 8 points for a very worthwhile hit, and they also get six bonus points to divide evenly between them. Total: 11
(update by Bill Schenley)
Jerry Falwell, who found a level of notoriety in the late 1990's when the tabloid-like breakup with his *roommate* became an international news story, has died at 73.
On a balmy summer eve in August of 1999, Falwell returned to the home he shared in Provincetown with Tinker B. Winky (known to his friends as Tinky) allegedly his long-time paramour, to find Mr. Winky in a state of fragrance delecto with two of his co-workers, Noo-Noo and Dipsy.
Police were dispatched to their home on a domestic disturbance report, and the bitter breakup became an international news item. Falwell accused Winky of being a homosexual because of his purple appearance, and of orchestrating the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Pet Rock, the cheating scandal at the Air Force Academy and Milli Vanilli. The Milli Vanilli charge remains unsubstantiated. Winky denied being purple, stating instead that he was a deep lavender.
When Dipsy was interviewed several years later, he was adamant that nothing happened between him, Tinky and Noo on that summer night in 1999. Nevertheless, at the time of the interview, it was believed that Dipsy was wearing a knit scarf to hide his dipstick.
"Jerry just went ballistic," he recalled. "He was so jealous of all of Tink's friends that he couldn't think straight. I don't believe Jerry really ever got over Tinky." Noo-Noo was unavailable for comment, as he had been recycled to Hoover for spare parts.
In later years, Jerry Falwell became a reclusive, raving, obese madman. He could often be heard shouting "The CIA and the ACLU are plotting to overthrow Sesame Street!" and "The Powder Puff girls are Zionist lesbians plotting to kill Susie Homemaker!" Late last year, he was briefly hospitalized after repeatedly banging his forehead on a table while screaming "Frankenberry is an abortion-monger!"
Falwell is survived by his life-partner: [www.thetoyshelf.com/images/share2.jpg]. They had no children.
There is no confirmation to the rumor that Charlene has been born again in Christ's name, but upon learning of Falwell's death, she was seen looking toward the sky, softly whispering Amen. She gets 8 points for the hit and 5 for the solo. Total: 13.
(Who do you think wrote this? Why, Bill Schenley, of course.)
When they show the highlights of my life, baseball will be well-represented. Working with Joe D. figures prominently after the births of my children. But there were quieter moments with the sport over the years, in particular the hours I spent with Mark Harris' novels about The New York Mammoths. He had a wonderful voice for the game. I loved Henry Wiggen and his teammates. I even went to the very first showing of Bang The Drum Slowly when it opened in New York. By myself. Marilyn, too, has memories of Mark Harris. She gave me permission to tell a story about working with him when she was at Esquire. They were doing something with "The Southpaw," maybe an excerpt, and had commissioned an accompanying illustration from someone really good. But maybe someone not so familiar with the game. She tells me that the illustration was of a righty, and they ran it anyway, and I wonder now couldn't they have flopped the pitcher?
Mark Harris died this week at the age of 84. He who gave me so much pleasure in my youth, has given me a solo in my old age. I get 5 points for the hit and 5 for the solo. Total: 10. I move into 4th place with Acctorp, whose A name is better than my A name. I'll fix the columns the next time. I'm working on it with Brad, but I'm a slow learner.
John Moriarty was an Irish philosopher and poet who sought the rebirth of Christianity. No, wait, don't go away!! It's not what you think. His was a literary pursuit that was inclusive of all religions and mythologies and he knew full well what a hellhole the world had become. He wandered around for a good deal of his life teaching and exploring and even gardening, but finally had a great need to find the other kinds of roots, cultural and spiritual, in Ireland. Towards the end of his life, he got down to the creation of his books, eight in thirteen years. His writing was compared to Yeats and his lectures and storytelling, much of which was on the radio, were enthralling, as well. And even though our religious health is not what he would have desired, the technology gods are smiling down on us. You can download a podcast of his RTE radio interviews and listen for yourself.
John Moriarty died in June at 69. His death was noted on AO, but a good obit was not posted. There is one at the Guardian. Even that one took two months to appear.
Craig Thomas was not my kind of senator, but he certainly stuck to his convictions. He was a marine and a farmer and he proudly wore his cowboy hat for official photographs. He never swayed from a conservative agenda as he represented Wyoming in the House and Senate. He supported business and farmers, and opposed abortion and taxes. The National Rifle Association gave him their highest grade, an A, and he took it with him to his grave. He was a FOD, and now I read they're thinking of replacing him with the WOD. Imagine that. Another Cheney in public office. Just what we need.
At the moment there are 99 men and women still breathing in the US Senate. Republican Senator Craig Thomas died this week at the age of 74. Acctorp, Deepstblu and The Fireball were at his deathpoolbed. They each get 8 points for the hit and 1 for the triple. There is much shifting in the standings, with Acctorp making his mid-season run for the Moxie. (Two players have yet to hit at all.)
Kurt Waldheim was the United Nations Secretary General and the President of Austria. These facts would have been enough to render his place in history respectable were it not for the fact that he concealed a few biographical facts like wartime service during which he heiled Hitler with the rest of them and put his Johann Hankoch on a whole bunch of papers that sent people to their miserable deaths. Did it matter? Was his election ever in jeopardy? Not on your life. All the anti-Semites came out of the woodwork to make sure he didn't suffer for following orders.
Naturally, this complicity meant that Waldheim would live to a nice old age. 88, to be precise. And a handful of gamesters wished him certain death. That would be Chipmunk Roasting, Kentucky Wizard, Lurker3791, Mark and Scubama. They each get 5 points. I wish it could have been more.
She was an evangelist's wife, which generally means she was behind the scenes. Ruth McCue Bell Graham kept the homefires burning while her husband spiritually advised a succession of presidents in need of spiritual advice. She still managed to write a dozen books and develop a life-long relationship with crimewriter Patricia Cornwell, and raise 5 kids. Ruth McCue Bell Graham died this week at 87. This is big news. But there's bigger news.
Somewhere out there are at least two souls, one ghostwriter and one copy editor, who chose not to read the many obituaries of Beverly Sills. Who would want to be reminded of one's complicity in one of the great misprints in publishing history. I went to abebooks to see if there were any copies for sale and there are puhlenty. Starting at about 75 bucks, you can get a signed first printing of the first edition of "Bubbles: A Self Portrait," which has the remarkable opening sentence, "When I was only three and still named Belle Miriam Silverman, I sang my first aria in pubic."
It certainly seems as if there are more references to this howler on the web than there are to her years as the opera world's most significant power-broker. From a feminist pov, this is certainly unfortunate. On the other hand, if you want to be taken seriously, maybe you shouldn't call yourself, or your memoir, "Bubbles."
Beverly Sills, the great soprano and even greater champion of the arts, died this week at 78. Laurie Mann hit the high notes with this sparkling solo. She gets 8 for the hit and 5 for the solo. Total: 13. Brava, Laurie!
As a surrealist, George Melly quite enjoyed having dementia. As a jazz singer, he quite enjoyed imitating Bessie Smith, which, for a Jewish lad, must have been a frightening and hilarious sight to behold. And that, of course, was the essence of George Melly. He had an appetite for the stuff of life that few would admit, let alone, act upon. Invite him to a party and he either showed up sartorially splendid, or naked. He wrote art books, he wrote cartoon strips, he wrote raunch. He had catholic tastes in the sex department. He wouldn't have known how to self-censor if his life depended on it. You could say that his music (dixieland/music hall) was the type that the English tolerate more than Americans. The same might be said of his behavior, which was always out of line with accepted norms. What the hell, it was always out of line with accepted abnorms. Read the English obits. Take note of those adjectives. It's unlikely you'll see all of them in one obit again.
George Melly, jazz singer, writer, surrealist and consummate lunatic died this week at 80. Corby, Corby, Corby. How did you come up with George Melly? Sweet. 5 points for the hit. 5 points for the solo. Total: 10. And he moves into 5th, displacing me.
It remains to be seen how many times he took the Staten Island ferry from the house across the street to Broadway and 42nd Street looking for love on the stage. Perhaps the grand old man, really a gentleman at heart, was acting on impulse. But as the dark shadows (side by side with temperatures rising) made their way out of the storm, the thin man became one of the most prolific actors of the twentieth century. He did it the old-fashioned way. For heaven's sake, he played them all, a swell guy, a maverick, the doctor, the new principal, even the occasional bad guy trapped by g-men. Along the way, he went looking for love and got hitched to the girl next door. The odd couple took the long way home to their love nest (she was a 5th Avenue girl) and they began living their lives one day at a time. There was even a blessed event, right after the honeymoon. With his ticket to paradise, he's probably no further than one mile from heaven. He made a date with an angel just before dawn last week (at 102) but not before leaving us with a going away gift (or several hundred).
Charles Gerstle Levison never had to look at Broadway through a keyhole or worry about getting locked out of a film studio. He got in through the employees entrance at every studio lot from New York to LA. He wasn't living in a big way. He wasn't riding high. No one would call him the show-off. But he never played second-fiddle. Thanks for everything, Charles. You can't take it with you. But we who are young will look after it for you. Only the best for you.
Come closer, folks. Was he the people's choice? Lane had one foot in the grave when the year started for Buford, James N, Laurie Mann, Ray Arthur, Scubama, The Fireball and Yersinia Pestis. They all come out for the points. Alas, it's only one for the road. As for the columns, I'll fix it (1934) later.
Whoever it was that said Claudia Taylor was as "purty as a lady bird," must have been reading her face in Braille, with mittens on.
Lady Bird Johnson, who died this past week at 94, was never pretty. Not on the outside and not on the inside.
And she gets no points for supporting her husband, one of the United States' most despicable presidents, in one crooked, rigged and stolen election after another. No points for counting out loud in her Texas/Alabama drawl the money in the suitcases dropped off at Lyndon Johnson's office. No points for cackling across the South about civil rights while blacks lived in abject poverty on her own property.
Her biography touts a hard-working woman who made her own fortune, and her standard bearers conveniently forget that her "fortune" was jumpstarted by her corrupt husband. As a protegée of FDR, Lyndon Johnson and his bird-faced wife both bathed in corruption at the highest levels. They not only bathed in it, they swam in it, from the late 1930's.
LBJ retired from the Oval Office as one of the wealthiest presidents in US history and his association with Brown and Root and subsequently Halliburton has been akin to the bubonic plague not only in this country but around the world. Through it all, Ladybird Johnson smiled her crinkly smile and spent the money. Yes, yes, I know, she beautified America by having billboards pulled down along US highways. She had her miserable husband replace [this] with [this]. For every dogwood tree and rosebush she had planted, her husband planted a thousand of [these]. Claudia Alta Taylor Johnson was a hot AO Deadpool pick. Constant Irritant, Corby, Dead Batteries, Deepstblu, Erik, Jazz Vulture, JD, Kathi, Kathypig1, Kentucky Wizard, Lurker3791, Mark, Ray Arthur, Sis, and Wendy had her all field-dressed and ready to go; and me ... I had her on my wish list for 40 years. We all get two points ... and the rest of you ... get the bonus. Oh yeah, and she gets no points at all for allowing, without condemnation, her sleazy fucking husband ... to tarnish the Silver Star.
Lyndon and Claudia's [legacy].
Penned by Bill Schenley.
Stan Zemanek was a right-wing, abusive beast. Now before you think I'm being unduly harsh, let me explain. He was a radio star in Sydney who was well-known for his poisonous call-in shows, and he was a panelist on a popular TV show called Beauty and the Beast. Over the course of his career, he wandered up and down the dial making enemies, and not even the news of a brain tumour changed people's opinions of him (Tumour Removed, Zemanek Still Malignant was a lovely headline I found.) He said of American shock jocks Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh that they were pussycats compared to him.
Now they're alive, compared to him. Stan Zemanek died last week at the age of 60. Aussie Philip (it probably irritates him that I do that but I do love the global nature of our game, and I believe he's the sum total of the global nature of our game) and reigning champ Acctorp turn their radios down for Zemanek. They get 11 points for the hit and 3 for the duet. Total 14. Well done, mates.
John Ferguson was one of the toughest players ever to lace up skates in the NHL. He played eight NHL seasons between 1963 and 1971, all with the Montreal Canadians, and he helped them win the Stanley Cup five times. In those eight years in a Montreal Canadian's uniform, he collected 1214 minutes in penalties, along with 145 goals and 158 assists.
His first NHL fight started 12 seconds into his first game, which was against the Boston Bruins (and Tom Green). Not only was he considered hockey's unofficial heavyweight champion, he once tried to fight Canadian heavyweight boxing champ George Chuvalo but the Montreal Canadians would not allow the fight to take place.
They say the 68-year-old "Ferggie" never lost a fight on the ice. Maybe not. But on July 14th he lost a brutal two year battle with prostate cancer. Acctorp continues his end-of-the-year surge as he gets 11 points for the hit and five more for the solo. Total: 16.
I wish I had written this line, but I saw it in the Globe and Mail.
"Eyelashes are at half mast today for Tammy Faye."
The woman who could have easily been known as Maybelline Messner. The woman who watched every one of her husbands go to jail. The woman who thought eyes were so significant she took her friends' glasses when they died. The woman who was such a media whore, she spent her final hideous moments on earth with Larry King. Lordy, that Tammy Faye was a good soul. I know this because all the newspapers tell me that this is so because she liked gay people. All I know for sure is that with her death at 65, she graciously offers up 11 big ones to a pewful of AO Deadpoolers. They are, in alphabetical order, Acctorp, Bill Schenley, Buford, Charlene, Chipmunk Roasting, Corby, Denise, DGH, DrunkAsASkunk, Ed Varner, Erik, The Fireball, Garrett, Jazz Vulture, Kathi, Kentucky Wizard, King Daevid, Laurie Mann, Mark, Newt's Hoots, Raven, Ray Arthur and Scubama. Welcome to the pool, King Daevid!
Roland Stiles, who was thought to be the oldest former major league baseball player, has died. He was 100. I wonder if Billy Werber felt a cold wind, howling, "Batter up," blow across his soul.
His major league career was a brief one; parts of three seasons that totaled 85 games, still, he could call Rick Ferrell, Goose Goslin, Heinie Manush, Rip Collins, Dolly Gray and Rogers Hornsby his teammates, and he pitched to baseball's greatest player, Babe Ruth.
Stiles once said of the time he pitched to Babe Ruth, "I had a great game against him. I held him to three hits." Rollie didn't fare as well against the alt.obituaries deadpoolers, as he gave up, not only three hits, but the ghost as well, to Ray Arthur, DGH and Yersinia Pestis, who each get one point for the hit and one point as a bonus. Total: Two
Thanks to Bill Schenley for this update.
Nothing made Muhammad Zahir Shah happier, I suspect, than the bloodless coup that deposed him. For he was then able to go frolic in Europe for the rest of his long life as the former King of Afghanistan. A title and adjective he liked very much, as he was a reluctant king. For a good deal of his reign, there was no occasion he was willing to rise to, unless it was ceremonial. He very much preferred tennis and duck-hunting to affairs of state. Late in his reign, its true, he decided to effect some change. Wouldn't it be nice if there was some democracy under my rule, he thought. And some freedom of press? Or even free elections? He tried, really he did, but nothing ever quite worked out and in 1973, when he was being treated for a volleyball injury in London, he was overthrown back home and so went to his villa in Rome to set up a new volleyball net. Zahir Shah was allowed back home to be old and sick and to die, and that he did last week at 92.
The man who invented REBT, Albert Ellis, believed that there was entirely too much whining in psychotherapy. In fact, he believed there was entirely too much psychotherapy in psychotherapy. So he came up with a gimmick -- uh I mean an approach -- called rational emotive behavior therapy which is really get-over-yourself therapy. He very wisely felt that people have the ability to understand their own nutsiness as well as having the capacity to change it, and not take years on the couch to accomplish the task. He also very wisely bought himself a townhouse on East 65th, from where he dispensed all his wisdom in well-attended workshops (sexual liberation was a popular topic) at the Institute for Rational Living. Albert Ellis wrote 75 books with titles like "How to Live with a Neurotic" and "How to Stubbornly Refuse to Make Yourself Miserable About Anything -- Yes, Anything." And you thought Dr. Phil was a trailblazer.
The man who had good instincts for Manhattan real estate lived a very lively and cantankerous 93 years. He never retired. Newt's Hoots and Philip lie down on the couch for this classy hit. They get 2 points for the hit and 3 for the duet. Total: 5. (There are Kleenex, if you need them.)
The scoring should be all fine now, thanks to Bill and Buford. And I've instituted a new look to the scoring table which will ease your sensitive eyes. Thanks again to Bill for this. If you have any questions or complaints, direct them to those two guys. And I'm home.
Can you tell me why I waited so long to do the Tom Snyder update? Wait, wait, don't tell me. I'll tell you. Today, Phyllis Diller was the celebrity guest on NPR's news quiz show of that name. And to my great surprise, although it shouldn't have been (more on that later) the questions they asked her in the quiz were about Tom Snyder. She only got one multiple choice question right.
Q: What did Tom Snyder say about Larry King?Phyllis at 90, sharp as a tack, as funny as ever, knows a good punchline when she hears one. The other two questions, the one about burping and blaming it on HoJo's and what happened when the Plasmatics blew up his show, those she missed. Still, the host said, it will besmirch her career to only a small extent.
Tom Snyder, smoker, laugher, extraordinary TV personality, died a week or so ago of leukemia. He was 71. At the same time, the announcer on "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" friended me on facebook. Coincidence? Who knows. Carl Kasell, this update is dedicated to you.
So Kentucky Wizard and I were discussing contemporary structuralism and semiotics in the films of Ingmar Bergman. He talked about Bergman's approach to death in terms of both metaphysical and metaphorical allegory, and I argued that one only need look towards examples of holocaust in both modern and medieval society. We went back and forth, he citing Lacan's "Mirror-Stage," me Kierkegaard's "Concept of Dread" and so on and so forth. I have to say KW was most eloquent when expanding on Bergman's depictions of primal and infantile emotions. It was all I could do not to applaud.
That's right. It's a solo. Ingmar Bergman is no more at the age of 89. And Kentucky Wizard wins the prize. For this brilliant example of foreshadowing, helmer KW gets 5 points for the hit, and five for the solo. Total: 10. Boffo at the box office, KW.
It has been written that Bill Walsh wasn't a football coach as much as he was a sociologist with a whistle. The San Francisco 49ers coach felt that in order for his team to win he needed to build a better man before he could build a better football team. One of the first things Walsh did as the 49ers coach was hire Professor Harry Edwards, the former Black Panther who orchestrated John Carlos' and Tommie Smith's gloved protest at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, to create counseling programs geared towards education, financial management and family guidance for his players. Once, in 1987, on the night before the 49ers-New York Giants game, instead of meeting with his coaches, Walsh spent the night arguing the politics and the lasting effect the Vietnam War would have on future generations with Edwards, a politician, a clothing designer, and Admiral James Stockdale.
It was Walsh who created and introduced the Minority Coaching Fellowship program in 1987 to help minority coaches get a foothold into a white-dominated profession.
Bill Walsh will be remembered most for developing what has been called The West Coast Offense (although it was first created by Walsh, with the help of Paul Brown, in Cincinnati ten years earlier), and, according to NFL Hall of Fame wide-receiver Jerry Rice, the legacy of Bill Walsh's West Coast offense will last as long as there is a National Football League. Walsh's coaches have taught it to their coaches and those coaches, in turn, teach it to *their* coaches.
Three Super Bowls, six division titles, twice NFL Coach of the Year, Walsh was elected to the Pro-Football Hall of Fame in 1993. In the end, however, the same disease which took his son in 2002, leukemia, also took him. He was 76.
Ed Varner, The Fireball, King Daevid, Lurker3791, Mark, Newt's Hoots and Raven had their Xs and Os lined up just right. They each score a touchdown with a two-point conversion for a total of 8 points.
(Thanks to B. Schenley for this update.)
Ali Akbar Feyz, 86, who was also known as Ali Meshkini Ardabili and even better known as Ayatollah Ali Meshkini has died. Okay, he's been dead since July 30th, but with all those Iranian names no one at the AO Deadpool staff could figure it out. I don't know why the Mid-Eastern people can't give their kids American names, like ... Bob or Tom. I mean, if the obit had said, for example, "Bob Meshkini has died," it would be so much easier.
Anyway, I guess this Meshkini guy was apparently some kind of big-wig with the secretaries and receptionists in Iran, because his obit said he was, like, the head of the clerical staff ... or something like that. He also once said of George W. Bush and Tony Blair "The mask of deception has been lifted from the face of Bush and Blair. It has become clear that they are both blood-sucking Hitlers," which I thought was a bit presumptuous for him to say considering he was a person who had little more than typing skills going for him.
(Bill Schenley again.)
The godfathers of musical genres are leaving us too soon. This time, it's the godfather of Irish music. I find it difficult to believe, frankly, that anyone takes this title seriously, not even sure what it means, but I know for a fact that Tommy Makem was the real deal. The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem took the country by storm on the basis of one appearance on Ed Sullivan. Makem brought with him to America a wealth of Irish songs taught to him by his mother and delivered in that traditional, rabble-rousing way. Although not *that* traditional. He apparently believed that the definition of a gentlemen was someone who could play the bagpipes, but won't.
Tommy Makem, native son of Ireland, adopted son of New Hampshire, died last week in N.H. He was 74. Acctorp and Ed Varner hit for the duet. They get 8 points, plus 3. Total: 11. Ed Varner is on a tear. This is his fourth hit in 12 days, with no wrestlers in the bunch. And stay tuned, because the deadly duo are (or maybe it's 'is') about to hit again.
No matter what, you gotta' love a guy who writes lyrics like this: "I always did what my mama told me, but I never did vote Republican. No, I never did vote Republican." Man, was Lee Hazlewood a songwriter, or what ...
He was, over a fifty-year career in music, one of the most ingenious, inventive and inspired singer/songwriters, producers and mavericks to have had more fun in the industry than Dolly Parton's guitar. And he recorded just about the coolest "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" you might ever hear. Hazlewood's influence on music has been heard over several generations and it will continue to be heard.
Lee Hazlewood, who looked like he just walked off the set of a porno movie and who gave us the Rebel Rouser, Duane Eddy, and many of Eddy's hits, introduced us to Gram Parsons, recorded duets with Ann-Margret ("The Cowboy and the Lady") and Nancy Sinatra, produced "Something Stupid" with Nancy and Old Blue Eyes, wrote and produced Dean Martin's "Houston," plus a few songs for Martin's son's group, Dino, Desi and Billy, and was a major influence on creepy record producer Phil Spector. Hazlewood, suffering from kidney cancer, was offered "Cake or Death." The 78-year-old passed on the cake.
Acctorp, Deepstblu and that damned Ed Varner not only got the cake but the icing, too. Their boots were made for walking right up to eight points for the hit and one bonus point for a total of nine points. This is Ed's 5th hit in two weeks. He's red-hot.
"Kiss all the pretty ones goodbye
Thanks to B. Schenley for the update.
I don't think Elizabeth Murray would have liked her New York Times obituary (written by Roberta Smith), as it was a bit pretentious and Murray wasn't. Not a bit. She once said in an interview, "Deep down, most artists are on the edge of feeling what they do is absolutely meaningless — and that's the fun of it."
The first of her work was influenced by the Impressionist, Paul Cezanne, and from there you could follow her art through the influence of DeKooning, Picasso, Stuart Davis, Dali, Jackson Pollock, Miro, Warhol, Chester Gould, and, it seems, Ernie Bushmiller, until, together, they all collided on a series of three-dimensional misshapen canvases exploiting line, declamatory colors and a psychological narrative. But irrespective of how one felt about her art, and many critics hated it, Elizabeth Murray was considered one of the most important post-modernist abstract painter/artists of the last fifty-years. She was the embodiment of Modernism.
Elizabeth Murray, who painted coffee cups, shoes and the complex story of her life, died this week at 66 from lung cancer. In his Dis Pair, Chaptal brushed aside the rest of us and painted a solo masterpiece. He gets 11 for the hit and another five in bonus for a total of 16 points. (And with his Rizzuto hit, it was very nearly the first double hit for the year.)
(Wonderful update courtesy of Bill Schenley)
Max made a lot of wax.
By the time he was 20, he had already played with Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker. As one of the drummers most in demand during the fifties, Roach appeared on innumerable sessions, backing virtually all the major players. Along with Kenny Clarke and Art Blakey, he invented modern jazz drumming and was intermittently, over a sixty-year career, the leader of great bands, including the unparalleled quintet he formed with Clifford Brown. To put Roach in the proper artistic and political context, think of his earlier records as the soundtrack for abstract expressionism and the beat novel. Politics and racial pride were never far from his mind. A lifelong supporter of civil rights here and abroad, this was much in evidence on his classic album 'We Insist: Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite' and on 'Straight Ahead' which appeared under his wife Abbey Lincoln's name. I was fortunate enough to have attended a concert in which Roach, who could be the most elegant of drummers, banged on the drums for all they were worth, on his solo piece, "Johannesburg." Something that didn't make any of the obits was the story of a 1965 recording of the Max Roach trio with the extraordinary Philadelphia pianist, Hasaan. It was a wonderful gesture on Roach's part to present this artist, and it remains the only commercial recording anywhere featuring Hasaan.
Max Roach was one of Brooklyn's finest. He died last week at the age of 83. This is my (Amelia) third jazz hit this year. No one joined me on the stage. I get 5 points for the hit and 5 for the solo. Total: 10.
Her obituary stated, "She apparently died of old age." Considering Yone Minagawa went through menopause before I was even born ... No Shit!, she died of old age.
This is the part where I'm supposed to write a cute little bio of Yone ... but I don't have one. She was only known for two things: Being 114-years-old ... and being dead.
But three flippin' cheers for Wendy, who, after three years, just got her first solo. Nice job, Wendy. I mean, who, but you, would'a ever thought a woman who had been around since Moses had a foreskin, was due for the big sleep.
Wendy gets one point for the hit and five for the solo, for a total of six shameless points. No doubt Edna Parker will be on her 2008 deadpool list.
(Thanks to B. Schenley for the update.)
Brooke Astor gave a lot of money away to public institutions that define New York as the cultural capital of the world. But then she re-read 1984, and the vision of a world without access to books convinced her that there was no more important cause than that of The New York Public Library, so from then on, she concentrated her efforts there. It was pretty simple. She loved books and thought that every single person in New York should have equal access to them. No money down. We all remember our first library card, so let's not forget people like Brooke Astor who make sure libraries remain open to all who need and love them. And may all those people who committed elder abuse on her rot in hell without a thing to read.
Brooke Astor finally found peace this week at the age of 105. Her gravestone will read "I had a wonderful life." Charlene, Chipmunk Roasting, Constant Irritant, Dead Batteries, Deepstblu, Kathi, Ray Arthur, Scubama and Yersinia Pestis get as many points added to their scores as hits. That would be one. Still, it's a classy one.
I started writing this update six months ago. I knew Phil Rizzuto was not going to make it to January. Unfortunately, for me, all the good Scooter stories were taken in the hundreds of obituaries that were written about him, both before and after he died.
All I have left is my own Phil Rizzuto story:
In the early to mid-1980s, I promoted a few dozen autograph shows in New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, and one of those shows was with Bobby Shantz and Phil Rizzuto. I spent four hours sitting next to, and listening to his rambling monologue, while he shook hands and signed every kind of baseball memorabilia imaginable. It was great. We talked about baseball, World War II, Vietnam, his wife (Cora), my wife, our kids ... and Italian food. And then he drove home.
The following summer I was at a Yankee game in the Bronx and about an hour before the game started as I was walking in the stands near first base, Phil Rizzuto, who was interviewing Yankee pitcher Marty Bystrom, called out, "Hey, Billy." Okay, I wasn't thrilled with the "Billy" part, but I was impressed that he remembered my name. Anyway, he introduced me to Marty Bystrom, told him how he knew me and then said to Bystrom, "His wife makes the best pasta sauce." Phil Rizzuto never tasted my wife's sauce ... but he remembered that I had told him about her pasta sauce. Pretty cool.
Most people will remember the Scooter as a great Yankee shortstop, as a hall of famer or as one of the best Yankee broadcasters ever. But I'll remember Phil Rizzuto just the way he wanted to be remembered ... as a really, really nice guy.
A couple of days after Luis Polonia had been arrested for sex with a minor (charges later dropped) I heard the Scooter announcing "Polonia has been swinging a hot stick lately." I always imagined the director's eyes rolling during these great moments. And then two fellows from the Village Voice called it poetry. O Holy Cow! was given to me by my friend, poet Jay Rogoff, 15 years ago. It's inscribed, "Now I know I'm the only unpublished poet in America." But that was temporary. Jay's book of baseball poems, The Cutoff, was published the next year, and is in the permanent collection at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
Lord Deedes (Bill) has died at 94. DrunkAsASkunk informed me of Deedes' passing recently although he died in August. I thought I'd wait for today to post his update because today Lord Deedes will be "going out as a soldier" with a memorial service held at the Guards Chapel at London's Wellington Barracks. It won't be the highlight of the season, I'm afraid. They've already hosted the memorial service for Diana, Princess of Wales on the 10th anniversary of her death, and there was the service for Isabella Blow, the fashion designer, at which no one left their hats in the cloakroom. W.F. Deedes was the editor of the Telegraph for many years. He was a cabinet minister. And he was a soldier. He will be remembered in a place not far from where he did his service as a member of the Queen's Westminsters, the territorial army battalion he joined in 1938. He was a member of a special company made up of actors and journalists, known as the 'day squad' because they drilled at noon, perfect for actors and journalists. He lost all his young subalterns near the end of the war in Europe, and it really crushed him. On his return to civilian life, he visited the parents of every one of his young officers who did not come back.
Like any good journalist, he wanted his send-off to be at St. Bride's, the journalist's church, but his family thought it would be too small. The Guards Chapel seats 500 people. I'll bet it was still too small.
DrunkAsASkunk gets 2 for the hit, 5 for the solo and my gratitude for pointing out the passing. Total: 7
"If the client moans and sighs
Leona Helmsley had to have been the direst case any ad agency has ever seen. You see a billionaire. You see a tax evader. You see a plastic surgeon's worst nightmare. All I see is a bad client. And I've seen my share of bad clients. (Not lately. Love you guys. Mwah.) What must it have been like to know you had to present work to this woman? You should see the corporate kaka the agency for those years puts on their website to justify the abuse and cash they took. "I insist on a large cup of great coffee. Shouldn't you?" They actually have this ad on the site because they're proud of it. Good times.
Only little people pay taxes, but everyone dies. Even Leona H. did it this week, at 87. What a year for celebrities like this. Sis, part of the amazing duet on Anna Nicole, now comes through with this wild solo in the only deadpool in the world where Amelia stands guard. She deserves the reward she's getting. Sis gets 5 points for the hit and 5 points for the solo. Total: 10. And she doesn't have to show her face. Not even once.
Rose Bampton made her opera debut as a mezzo, as Siebel in Gounod's "Faust," just 20-or-so miles from here (Erie, PA) in 1929. Three years later, in 1932, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Kundry in Wagner's "Parsifal."
I'm not sure if she ever recorded with Elmore James or Billie Holiday, but apparently she was quite the busy little opera singer. She appeared several times with Leopold Stokowski and she sang with "opera immortals" like Lauritz Melchior, Helen Traubel, Rosa Ponselle, Jan Peerce and Ezio Pinza, and I have to tell you, I don't have a clue as to who those people are. I don't know if they are men, women ... or gnomes. I don't even know why I was asked to write this update. The only opera singer I know was Jackie Wilson ... and that didn't work out real well for him. Oh, yeah, she recorded with Artie Toscanini ... and I know who he was. Kind'a.
Rose Bampton, the soprano turned mezzo turned soprano (no relation to Tony) has died at 99. And a good thing, too ... at least for Philip. In another three months and she would have only been worth six points. As it stands, Phil gets two points for the hit and a solo bonus of five for a total of seven points.
Mezzo this, Bampton: [www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2_v2b_S1Go]
"It seems right to dedicate this collection to my friend Sybil Claiborne, my colleague in the Writing and Mother Trade. I visited her fifth-floor apartment on Barrow Street one day in 1957. There before my very eyes were her two husbands disappointed by the eggs. After that we talked and talked for nearly forty years. Then she died. Three days before that, she said slowly, with the delicacy of an unsatisfied person with only a dozen words left, Grace, the real question is — how are we to live our lives?"
That was Grace Paley. Compact in fiction. Expansive in life.
She was a writer's writer, admired greatly by people who were wonderful writers themselves. Just look at the obituaries. She said she read everything out loud as she wrote, and writing the way you speak is pretty much a guarantee your voice will come out on the page. Sometimes the dialogue was overlapping. Like the conversation at a Jewish dinnertable, it seemed familiar but it was absolutely original. And if her body of work was fairly small it's because she had other things on her mind, moral obligations to fulfill. She promised her kids she'd end the war before they grew up. There were writing students depending on her kindnesses. She had leaflets to hand out, for chrissakes. Grace Paley said about herself, all my habits are bad. To which I say, we should all have such bad habits.
I remember reading that a documentary film crew was capturing every square inch of CBGB's. Every particle of dust and ash, every hint of vomit, every stickered and grafitti'd piece of wall. Of course, without Smell-o-Vision, you wouldn't really get the full flavor.
You had to be there.
And here's my story about that.
Towards the end, they were renting it out to people like The School of Rock and I was invited to attend a concert by the parents of a 13-year-old who plays a mean drum. You can only imagine what two hours of LIKE a Rolling Stone sounds like at a CBGB's filled with pre-teens and aging boomers. At some point, like most aging boomers, I had to use the facilities and I made my way to the back. Backstage, I got a little confused, so I asked someone where the toilets were. YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE THE TOILETS ARE?? the guy I asked yelled at me, and then he repeated it for emphasis adding, "YOU'VE OBVIOUSLY NEVER BEEN TO CBGB'S BEFORE IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHERE THE TOILETS ARE!!"
I admit it. I never went. I was and am hopelessly square. I have not done anything untoward in the toilets at CBGB's at any time in my life. And this will be the one post of mine that Google doesn't lose.
Hilly Kristal, world-renowned promoter of other music for uplifting gormandizers, died this week at 75. Acctorp showed up for the set without any entourage. He gets 8 points for the hit and 5 for the solo. Total: 13. Very cool, Acctorp. Much cooler than me.
I will make a slight exception for Jane Tomlinson. Anyone who can run a marathon while on chemotherapy is either taking more of those little nausea-fighting decadron pills than is quite proper, or is one hell of a battler. Four more marathons, two Iron Man contests and several cross-country bike rides later, she was still at war with her disease. She raised a lot of money, won a slew of awards, wrote a couple of books, and got to see her kids grow up. She ultimately achieved what we will all achieve. She lived and then she died. But everything she accomplished up to that event gave her control and goals and made her happy to be alive. She did not think of herself (as I do not think of myself) as a cancer sufferer or survivor. She said, 'I won't say I'm doing this as well as I can because I've got cancer.' I'm doing it as well as I can because I'm Jane." Who knows. She might have agreed with me.
Jane Tomlinson, radiographer, athlete, fund-raiser, died last week at 43. Constant Irritant, Newt's Hoots, and Raven predicted she would cross the finish line this year and therefore are rewarded with a lot of points. 18 plus one for the trio. Total: 19. Newt's takes an even more commanding lead, Raven holds down 4th,and Constant Irritant moves up a bunch of places.
When I first heard that one of the three tenors had died ... I thought, "Oh no, we've lost Frankie Valli" ... then I found out it was just some obese opera singer that no one had ever heard of.
And why the hell do I get stuck with all the little-known opera singers? She'll probably ask Alan Hope to write the update for Pine Top Perkins ... You know, when Pine Top becomes eligible for a Pine Box ...
Anyway, Pavarotti was this really fat guy who made a lot of spaghetti ... and then ate it all. But according to Andrew McKie at the Daily Telegraph, this Pavarotti guy was as famous as Gigli. Although considering Gigli was a box-office bomb, McKie might be a little out of touch with popular culture.
The Telegraph obit goes on to say that "Big Lucy" was quite successful on the television show "Sunday Night at the London Palladium" ... and to that, all I can say is that I'm soooooooo fucking glad I wasn't subjected to British television as a child. I'd rather have root canal than sit through "Sunday Night at the London Palladium."
It does seem, however, that this Pavarotti guy made some money working parades and children's birthday parties (and maybe a creepy Cub Scout campsite, or two): www.debhoeffner.com/portraits/pavarotti.jpg.
So I guess now we'll all be subjected to endless curtain calls by Acctorp, Buford, Charlene, Denise, Ed Varner, Erik, Kathypig1, King Daevid, Lurker3791, Newt's Hoots, Philip, Raven and Scubama, since they were all there for the great tenor's final performance ... they each get 8 points and a complimentary Pavarotti linguini recipe.
450 grams (1lb) of linguini
Update courtesty of Bill Schenley. Like I had to tell you that.
So here she was either legally or cinematically involved with garmento Myron Futterman, demento Ronald Reagan and not-at-all-hetero Rock Hudson. Is it any wonder she got all those Oscar nods? Is it any wonder she gave all her money to the Catholic Church? So much to fake, so much to atone for, don't you think? I liked Jane Wyman. Loved those Douglas Sirk films. The jury is still out on whether they were social commentary or trash, but they did the trick for me when I was seeing them for the first time at an impressionable age. I learned that you didn't have to be gorgeous, have a good haircut or even be that young to get the guy. Smart was enough. Of course the guy was gay, but I swear I didn't know that at the time.
Jane Wyman died this week at either 90 or 93, but either way, it's a long life. James Neibaur, late of alt.obituaries, but very much alive, has gotten himself a solo on one of the grande dames of the silver screen. That's 2 points for the hit and 5 for being all alone for his closeup. Total: 7. Nice work, Jim. Now get back to your training.
Robert Jordan AKA James Oliver Rigney, Jr. may have been the most popular author to get the worst reviews. But boy did he have a loyal following. I lost count of the many websites that summarize the books, follow the online activities, even monitor the romances that flourish amongthe cultish fans. And no wonder. He spoke to the fans in a language anyone could relate to. "The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose in the Mountains of Mist. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning." Phew! Robert Jordan did not finish the 12th volume of WoT, but I'm sure they can get a computer to write it. Or a monkey.
There goes Mr. Jordan at 58, but not before Corby collects the points for another fantastic hit. 14 points for the hit and 5 for the solo. Total: 19
I'm a firm believer in the church of baseball. And, apparently, so was Rex Humbard, who was inspired to build his television ministry after watching the Indians play the Yankees on a store window TV. If God was speaking to him through Mickey Mantle, I can certainly relate. Humbard had lots of music in his cathedral, didn't steal too much money from folks, and his Nielsen ratings were superb. I'll bet he could move runners into scoring position, too.
For preacher Rex Humbard, there was no revival this week. He died at 88. Garrett, one of our left coast deadpool experts, knew that this would be the year Humbard was going to heaven. Garrett gets 5 points for the hit and 5 for the solo. Total: 10. What a cool solo, pal.
From what I can gather, there isn't a whole lot of truth to the way the von Trapp family's life was drawn for the masses. The real-life Werner von Trapp was Kurt, the incorrigible one, for example. Why did his name have to change for the Broadway and film versions of his life? What's the evidence that he was incorrigible? And did he really have to wear drapes for playclothes? These are questions we may never get the answer to. Still, The Sound of Music was one of the highest grossing films ever made, so maybe they had the right idea to swap a little fact for fiction.
Werner von Trapp lived in Austria, Pennsylvania and Vermont. When he left the family business, he became a dairy farmer who also wove beautiful carpets from the wool of his own sheep and he had six little von Trapps of his own. I don't know whether their names got changed for the sake of art or commerce.
Werner von Trapp died this week at 91. Raven (a drop of golden sun + ven) gets the solo, although a group would have been more appropriate, don't you think? That's 2 points for the hit, and 5 for the solo. Total: 7. Nice work breaking a hundred, Raven.
Will you look at that. One of the stars of The Sound of Music is followed by the one of the stars of The King and I. An R&H special.
Ok. So Werner vT wasn't exactly the star, but give me a break. It's the end of the deadpool year. I'm running out of hooks for these. Minutes from now, when you talk about this update -- and you will -- be kind.
But here's the truth. She was an international movie star and I thought I knew a lot about Deborah Kerr. But I had no idea until the obits rolled in that she and the great director Michael Powell were lovers. I didn't know the story of how she came to Hollywood. I had no idea her character in From Here To Eternity was an alcoholic nymphomaniac. I thought she was lonely! It seems that you have to see more than Affair to Remember and The King and I to know Deborah Kerr. Who knew. I will correct that presently.
Deborah Kerr died last week at 86. Philip and Mister Selina get the duet on "The sweet Kerr named desire." They each move up in the standings with just 8 points each. 5 for the hit and 3 for the pairing.
On April 10th, 1912, the Royal Mail Steamer Titanic set sail from Southampton, England with approximately 2,200 passengers and crew. Four days later, the Titanic collided with an iceberg and sank. About 1,500 people died. Among those who died were some of the wealthiest people in the world: John Jacob Astor, Benjamin Guggenheim, Isidor Straus and George Dunton Widener were just a few. And among those who were saved, in what was the biggest news story of the decade, was 11-month-old, second-class passenger, Barbara Joyce West.
95 years later, after a lifetime of shunning Titanic publicity, Barbara West Dainton was in the news once more. Davy Jones had again knocked upon her door, and this time, to the glee of one lone AO Deadpooler, there would be no Lifeboat #10. Charlene, cool as an iceberg in April, gets two points for the hit, and 5 for the solo. Total: 7. This puts her first among women in the deadpool. Which makes sense. Women and children alway go first.
I'm trying to figure out how to account for the following: I was telling my 33 year old nephew about my day at work:
Me: First Deborah Kerr died.
Son of a gun!
How does he know Joey Bishop? I mean I was watching Joey on the Tonight Show and The Joey Bishop Show and on What's My Line, and the celebrity roasts, and all those dreadful variety shows we ate up as kids, when said nephew was still a twinkle in his father's eye. Is it the Rat Pack phenomenon? (Bishop to Sinatra: They know you can sing. Why don't you tell them about some of the good things the Mafia does.) Did he see the original Ocean's Eleven? I just don't know what it says about fame that the man who emceed Kennedy's inauguration ('told you I'd get you a good seat') lives on in the memories of today's youth.
Jo-ey Joey Bishop died last week at 89. James Neibaur, Kentucky Wizard, Laurie Mann, Scubama and Sis got together for our Deadpool 5. They each get 5 points for the hit. You've been a wonderful audience. I'll be here all week.
Here are some interesting facts about Ève Curie Labouisse.
If she was still living where she lived with her husband Henry Labouisse, then this is it: [www.thecityreview.com/sutton/sps1.html] It's one of the city's great luxury buildings designed by Rosaria Candela and oddly enough, one of our other deadpool hits lived there, as well.
Ève Curie was the only member of her family NOT to win the Nobel Prize. Her chief fame comes from writing a biography of her mother, Marie Curie, which won the National Book Award in 1937. Her husband was the widower of a Singer heiress. Among his other accomplishments, he was the director of Unicef for many years. [www.unicef.org/about/who/index_bio_labouisse.html] Even they won the Nobel Prize.
Her step-daughter, Anne, married Martin Peretz and allegedly bought him The New Republic with some of that Singer money. One of her step-grandchildren played bass for The Lemonheads and is a film director. It's all there, folks, on Google. And some of it, I bet, is even true!
Ève Curie Labouisse died this week, not of radiation poisoning or leukemia, but of old age. (Who needs a Nobel Prize?) She was 102. Buford, Charlene, Kathi and Laurie Mann (with her second hit of the week) score small. One point for a long, glorious life.
Whether you refer to him as "The Thin Man from West Plains" or The Wagonmaster," or as one of the first two or three hundred guys who bebopped Dolly Parton, you still have to give Porter Wagoner credit for being the absolutely *worst* dressed man since Liberace out-dueled Dr. Frank-n-Furter in a celebrity death match.
Porter Wagoner, the country and western singer who sang a "A Satisfied Mind" not quite as well as...oh, say, the two or three thousand others who also recorded it [www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwoesyxNOew], died on October 28th from lung cancer. He was 80.
Still, for as much as I personally didn't care for Wagoner's music, I was kind of touched by the way he continued to stare at Dolly Parton's tits as she sang to him just a few weeks before he ran off to the Great Nudie Store in the Sky. [www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQv346eB5Iw]
(Update courtesy of Bill Schenley.)
That mustache. That bottle-black hair. That laugh. And of course, that voice. Everything that was Robert Goulet is all there in those ESPN commercials which somehow I missed the first time around. Whoever wrote those spots knew what he was doing. I have no doubt he watched Goulet on Ed Sullivan, or saw him on stage, or sat in a supper theater, taking notes for that day when it would all come together. I once put a lot of words in a superstar's mouth for a series of tv commercials. I wish it had been as good as this:
Robert Goulet needed a new lung and couldn't hang around long enough to get one. He died last week at 73. I'm happy to report that the deadpool player in dead last kicked a little tush and all by himself. Moldy Oldies, whose only other hit was Kitty Carlisle Hart whose husband Moss directed Goulet in Camelot, gets a whopping 13 points. 8 for the hit and 5 for the solo. Small world among the deadpool hits.
I believe history has very thoroughly justified the action Paul Tibbets took on August 6,1945. Furthermore, the dropping of The Bomb on a Japanese city was hardly something that originated with, or was dependent on, him personally. If you'll pardon the cliché, if he hadn't done it, someone else would have.
That said, I have a hard time imagining doing something like that, however well-justified, and then never — not once in 60+ years — losing a wink of sleep over it. But Paul Tibbets, sleeping *really* soundly since last Thursday, claimed exactly that, and I believe it. As exceptionally competent and driven men usually are, he was an odd duck and say what you will, no knowledgeable person disputes Tibbets' competence. I've seen a lot of WWII nose art, but I never heard of a plane being named after its commander's mother with the exception of Enola Gay. That by itself is weird in a way from which a creative shrink could probably extract a book.
This terrific update was written by JD Baldwin.
He was a head-butting, drink-throwing, penknife stabbing, sitting on people kind of guy. If you rubbed him the wrong way and there were endless ways to rub him wrong, he'd throw a punch. If you were lucky, he'd just throw ten-dollar words. Those were the pre-PC days, when you could actually insult someone on TV over and over again and not have to apologize for it the next day at a press conference. It's why we all loved Cavett. He would throw these people together hoping for some intellectual bullying and with Mailer, we were never disappointed.
Norman Mailer, novelist, journalist, pugilist, surprised us all by actually shutting up and dying last week. He was 84. Dead Batteries, which I know for a fact, is made up of (or comprises) writers, editors, and other artsy-fartsy types, will no longer be running into him at book parties, but they do get 10 points in the celebrated AO Deadpool. Five for the hit, five for the solo. Nice work, guys.
He was a head-butting, civil rights bill-writing, labor-organizing, Full Employment Act kind of guy. If you rubbed him the wrong way and there were endless ways to rub him wrong, he'd write another civil rights bill. If you were lucky, he'd just throw ten-dollar bills at another Federally funded program.
Augustus Hawkins, the former Congressman from South-Central Los Angeles, and who was a champion of the young, the poor, and the unemployed, died last week (November 10th) at 100.
During his 28 years in Washington, Gus Hawkins was instrumental in shaping federal statutes, such as the 1964 Civil Rights Act that created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act, Youth Employment and Demonstration Projects Act, and the Pregnancy Disability Act. He also helped start the "Don't Shop Where You Can't Work" campaign in Los Angeles, which targeted stores in South-Central LA that wouldn't hire African-Americans.
Unfortunately, despite all the good Congressman Hawkins did, there will always be his unpardonable sin: Giving his seat in Congress to Maxine Waters.
At any rate, Death is an Equal Opportunity Employer, and Buford took advantage of that opportunity by casting one of his AO Deadpool votes for the late Congressman. He gets one point for the hit and five points for the solo. Total: 6.
(Penned by Bill Schenley)
Director Delbert Mann, who has died at 87, cut his teeth on live TV, directing, among others, more than a hundred dramas for the Philco Television Playhouse. The one everyone remembers is Marty, and that's because he went on to direct the film (both leads are still alive, by the way) and win an Oscar for it. But unlike other directors of live TV from the 50's, like John Frankenheimer and Sidney Lumet, he never graduated to
making top-notch theatrical features. Perhaps the peak of Mann's career was...
"We never have had a policy in Rhodesia to hand over our country to any black majority and, as far as I am concerned, we never will."
When he was the whip of the ruling United Federal Party, Ian Douglas Smith, who died on November 20th, resigned his seat in protest over a proposed constitution that accepted the British demand for a larger Black representation in the Rhodesian government. Backed by an ultrarightist tobacco tycoon, Douglas Lilford, Smith was instrumental in the founding of the Rhodesian Front Party, which won the national elections in 1962 on a "white rights" platform. Smith became Prime Minister in 1964 and set Rhodesia on the dramatic road, not only toward its break from Britain, but to the inevitable Robert Mugabe.
"My father was one of the fairest men I have ever met, and that is the way he brought me up. He always told me that we're entitled to our half of the country and the blacks are entitled to theirs."
Never mind that Rhodesia was 97% Black.
The UDI, ZANU, ZANU-PF, RFP, ZAPU, NIBMAR, RBW, UANC, FRN, CMC, LHA, KI, ZANU, RF, CAZ, FRELIMO, ZIPRA, ZANLA, ZDF, RSF, and the MDC ... in the end, all of these acronyms add up to millions of Africans who were displaced, raped, robbed, brutalized, tortured, imprisoned and/or murdered. And it began with one-eyed Ian Smith, the "Surrey with the lunatic fringe on top."
"It (Black majority rule) offers a real hope of bringing peace to Rhodesia and of averting the threat of intensifying warfare and bloodshed."
I don't know what the hell Callaghan was thinking, but I know what Buford was thinking when he added Ian Smith's name to his AO Deadpool list: One less psycho ... and five points for the hit with five points for the solo. Total: 10 points. That moves him well up in the standings. He's on a bit of a roll.
(Thanks to Bill Schenley for the update.)
There's a photo of Roger Smith on Michael Moore's website outlined in black with info as to where contributions can be directed. It can't be much fun when the object of your bitter satire stops living. We already know what Moore had to say about Smith's reign at GM, but his apologists say he tried to change the corporate culture. The idiot who's running GM now called him "a pioneer in the fast-moving global industry." The best thing that could be said about him that comes even remotely close to the truth is that he knew what was wrong in the industry and tried to do lots of things to remedy it. As prescient as he was about the global marketplace, most of his choices turned out to be disasters. Some for the company, some for the workers. Not for him, of course. He worked his entire career at GM and I just know his retirement package was swell.
Roger Smith died Thursday at 82. Believe it or not, as of Friday, Moore could not be reached for comment. The only reason this update is prompt is that it's Roger & ME!!! That's right, I, Amelia, had Mr. Smith on my deadpool list. It was kind of a joke, because I also have Mr. Moore. So it's 5 points for the hit, and 5 for the solo. Total: 10. And I don't even drive. Ha.
The sometimes famous and sometimes infamous motorcycle stuntman Evel Knievel has died at the age of 69. Which means he lived about 35 years longer than anyone expected.
From Barstow to Caesar's Palace to the Snake River in Idaho, to Wembley Stadium in London to Kings Island in Ohio and then on to Hollywood and eventually prison, Evel Knievel and his 40 broken bones and his half-dozen concussions, made his life into a bizarre amusement park ride. But what a ride.
He was a motorcycle daredevil, a game-poacher, a hustler and a gambler, a fast-livin', drug-addled, hard-drinking gimme'-another-shot-of-self-esteem-baseball-bat-wielding psychopath who dressed even worse than Elvis Presley. And, according to Evel himself, he was also a swindler, a car thief, a safe cracker, a burglar, an armed-robber, a liar and a cheat and an insurance salesman who, on more than one occasion, went upside his wife's head. And even though he claimed to be a former professional hockey player, there is no record of his hockey career. In the end, like so many other lost souls, Evel Knievel found Jesus.
"There's nothing like the thrill of dropping through a hole in the ceiling and working on a safe."
So I ask you, what was not to love about Evel Knievel?
And, when asked about the age difference between him and his latest wife (she was almost young enough to be his granddaughter), he had this to say:
"I know how it looks, but what the fuck ... If she dies, she dies."
Evel Knievel died in bed.
(Bill Schenley on the update.)
If you liked soft-rock, Dan Fogelberg was your man. I never cared for soft-rock, so I never paid much attention to Dan Fogelberg. In fact, I'm not even sure I'm spelling his name right.
Anyway, I take it, from all the obituaries, this Fogelberg guy wrote a Christmas or New Year's song called "Same Old Lang Syne." All that means to me is that I'll probably be hearing it on the radio within the next few days. That'll be swell.
It appears that old Dan made all his guitar and piano lessons ... but missed a few appointments with his local proctologist. Rock on, Dan. But I gotta' tell you, Dan, that if you think Jimi, Duane Allman, Stevie Ray, Keith Moon, John Lennon or Mike Bloomfield are going to let you in their band .... Think again.
Chaptal, Ed Varner, Erik, Laurie Mann and Wendy all may have missed a few guitar or piano lessons, but they're all wearing their Dancing Shoes because they didn't miss out on picking Dan Fogelberg in the AO Deadpool. They each get 14 points for the hit. He was just 56.
(Update lovingly written by Bill Schenley.)
There once was a Premier from Perth
He tore down railways, was anti-Aboriginal, busted unions and developed the mining industries of Western Australia, which no doubt means he raped the land while filling the coffers of Western Australia. All of this accomplished in 96 years. Philip didn't have to go around the world to pick up this hit. He's already there! Two points for the hit, 5 for the solo. Total: 7. He moves into the top 10. And I write my first (and last) AO Deadpool limerick!
obits penned by ...
0. no one
|Rules||Sequence of Hits||Obituaries||Scoring||Awards|
|Hit On ...|
( Gold )
( Silver )
( Bronze )
|Hit On ...|
|Hit On ...|
|26th||Drunk As A Skunk||29||3||1|
|Hit On ...|
|Hit On ...|
average: 0.00 points per Hit
|Hit On ...|
Before we get to the fun, I'd just like to say that even though the last year and a half were not the best for me, the 2007 AO Deadpool gave me great pleasure. Organizing it, obsessing over it, writing the updates, seeing the website become a beautiful thing ... these were the highlights of my year, pathetic as it sounds. Well, the non-baseball highlights. Ok, enough of that.
So, in 2007 we got publicity in Obit-Mag.com. Last year, we also got our very own website, thanks to the hard work of Buford (aka Jim Daggy). And in keeping with the times, both alt.obituaries and the deadpool are now on YouTube. Ed Varner, who had a great year in the pool, decided to celebrate and surprise us with a video wrap-up of 2007 that's absolutely wonderful, down to the very last shot. Here's the link:
THE MOXIE AWARD goes to Acctorp, who had fifteen hits, three fewer than last year, for a total of 231 points, including the 25 point bonus for having the youngest hit. Once again, he well-outdistanced Newt's Hoots who led for most of the year and finished with 14 hits and 184 points. It appeared that Acctorp would fall to second place this year, but it was not to be. His late find of a handful of hits, one of whom was under 30, led to a valiant end-of-the-year sprint for the gold. Well done, Acctorp. We're sending you an extra-special gift to go with the Moxie.
THE COMPANY OF STRANGERS AWARD. Neither of us can remember what this award was about but Erik has won it for the last two years, so we think it's fitting he win it again. As long as he continues to be strange, he will win the Company of Strangers Award.
And it was Kathypig1 and Lurker 3791 who won the BOBBSEY TWINS AWARD in 2007. Kathypig1 had a total of three hits and Lurker did a little better with five hits, but they matched up with Art Buchwald, Ladybird Johnson and Big Lucy.
THE ONE-HIT WONDER AWARD goes to both Johnnyb and Excard who, conveniently enough, each had one hit. When Excard submitted his list for this year, he called himself the "truly humbled last-place finisher." To which I said, not so fast, Excard ....
If any evidence is needed that the world is an unjust place, you would find it on ???Guest's 2007 deadpool list. In 2007, she kept alive some of the worst pieces of shit who ever lived. She proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that you shouldn't only have bad people on your list. I'm tempted to tell you who they are, but I can't. She's playing them again. Hope springs eternal. So to you, dear ???Guest, we present THE DIM REAPER AWARD. You are the only AO Deadpool player ever to stumble through an entire year without one hit. I hope you're proud.
And who would have guessed that Acctorp would once again win the I WALK ALONE AWARD, by out-stepping his closest rival with his eight solos. As I wrote last year, if we are to have any chance of beating Acctorp in the future, someone is going to have to take him for a stroll in the forest and WALK ALONE on their way out. Does this need to be spelled out?
THE PAINFULLY OBVIOUS SOLO AWARD goes to the Dead Batteries team for sending their Armies of the Night to collect the very naked, and the very dead, Norman Mailer, whose besotted kidneys finally said, Enough!
The RIDICULOUSLY OBVIOUS DEATH AWARD was won by 22 deadpoolers. As tears flowed and makeup ran, Acctorp, Bill Schenley, Buford, Charlene, Chipmunk Roasting, Corby, Denise, DGH, DrunkAsASkunk, Ed Varner, Erik, The Fireball, Garrett, Jazz Vulture, Kathi, Kentucky Wizard, King Daevid, Laurie Mann, Newt's Hoots, Raven, Ray Arthur and Scubama pushed Tammy Faye Bakker Messner's jewel-encrusted gurney down the final, dark hallway.
THE PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD this year goes to the very courageous Charlene So many people wanted Jerry Falwell dead, but only our neighbor to the north had enough of the Right Stuff to cross swords with Jerry's imaginary friend and *win*.
THE SPECIAL THANKS AWARD goes to both JD and Mister Selina for their help with both the rules and the scoring. The other member of the Rules Committee doesn't participate in the deadpool ... so, well, fuck him ... no award for you, Mr. del Fuego.
Little things we loved about the year: Solos like Chaptal's Elizabeth Murray, Moldy Oldies' Robert Goulet and Kentucky Wizard's Ingmar Bergman. Louisiana Lou's trio of deCarlo, deForest and deYeltsin. Busgal always letting me know the exact moment one of her hits moved on the AP. Deepstblu and Yersinia Pestis for having just plain wonderful names. Wendy figuring out how to finish in the middle of the pack. Dannyb finding true love. And the fact that three women finished in the top 10. GO HILLARY.
Thanks for playing our game! On to 2008!
|<-Go Back||2005 Contest||2006 Contest||2007 Contest||2008 Contest||2009 Contest||2010 Contest|