Monthly Archive: April 2008

Wes Anderson, Almost 40

Filmmaker Wes Anderson — the quirky director of Rushmore and The Darjeeling Limited — enters the last year of his 30s today. He’s 39.

Thank You, Diane Rosenschein!

Diane, you are truly a faithful reader and a goddess of proofreading. Never stop sharing!Those thank-you checks should clear customs any day now.

Barbaro’s Fifth

Late, great racehorse Barbaro was born five years ago today. Barbaro won the 2006 Kentucky Derby, but two weeks later he shattered his leg while running in the Preakness Stakes, the second race in the Triple Crown. Despite state-of-the-art treatment, he died in January of 2007 of laminitis. That’ the same crazy horse-hoof illness that got Secretariat.

Nebraska Rebel

Interesting story in The New York Times today about Ernie Chambers, the senior senator in Nebraska’s legislature. He’s being forced out by term limits after nearly 40 years in the legislature.

Happy Semiquincentennial, James Monroe!

It’s the semiquincentennial of President James Monroe, born on 28 April in 1758.Monroe is remembered for a lot of things (including, endlessly, the Monroe Doctrine). But at Who2 HQ we tend to think of him as the first non-Founding Father president.

Edward R. Murrow +100

Happy 100th birthday, Edward R. Murrow.You stud.

Snipes and Taxes

Yikes! Actor Wesley Snipes given three years in prison for not paying his taxes.

Wallis Simpson, Inspirational Thinker?

Yesterday we were chatting about Wallis Simpson, the somewhat slippery woman for whom King Edward VIII gave up his crown.

Guy Trundle Mania

Guy Trundle, Guy Trundle, Guy Trundle!Seductive king-buster Wallis Simpson died 22 years ago today. The anniversary is just a convenient excuse to shout “Guy Trundle” — the most deliciously seedy name in the history of romantic scandals.

We Missed It: Ivan Dixon

Actor Ivan Dixon died last month, says the LA Times. We missed the story until just now.Dixon played “Kinch” on the series Hogan’s Heroes. But he had a fascinating (if less-heralded) career after that.On the trivia front: That Times obit says he also was the stunt double for Sidney Poitier in The Defiant Ones.

Clinton Wins Pennsylvania

Hillary Rodham Clinton has won the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania. With 99% of precincts reporting, she leads Barack Obama 55%-45%. See the final numbers at PennLive.

Pennsylvania Primary Results

Pennsylvania’s day to vote has arrived. Here are a few places to look for results and breaking news:The combined political news page of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily NewsPrimary coverage from The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (and the paper’s Early Returns blog)

John Muir and ‘Stickeen’

Naturalist and adventurer John Muir was born 170 years ago today, in 1838.Muir was an early explorer of California (on foot, incidentally) and was the force behind the creation of Yosemite National Park. He’s also the guy on the California quarter. (As an aside, see our own cranky take on quarters and heroes.)

Peachfuzz Guitar Heroes

New profile: The Jonas Brothers, a trio of musical brothers aged 16, 18 and 20. If you haven’t heard of them yet, you will: They’re on the Disney Channel’s ‘A’ list now. Opening for Miley Cyrus on tour last fall helped push their album Jonas Brothers to platinum status, and they have a made-for-Disney Channel movie in the High School Musical mode, titled Camp Rock, due out in June.

Mr. Irrelevant

Is it OK to borrow that name from the NFL?Sean Preston has been tapped by President Bush to be head of Housing and Urban Development… for the next eight months.

30 Million Hours for Jack

British parents spend 30 million hours a year “agonising” over baby names, according to a new survey.The current hot names? Grace, Ruby, Jack and Thomas.

New Site: Interview Listings

“…This is a quality which most great actors have, it’s a strange sort of personal unique style that goes into everything they do — like when Albert Finney sits down in a chair and drinks a bottle of beer, and, well, it’s just great and you think ‘God, I wish I could drink a bottle of beer like that.'”That’s director Stanley Kubrick, being interviewed by Terry Southern in 1962.

The Great Bill Holden, +90

Actor William Holden would be 90 years old today. He was born in 1918, along with Nelson Mandela and former First Lady Betty Ford (both of whom survive; Holden died in 1981).

Albright’s ‘Memo to the President Elect’

“While UN ambassador, I wrote memos to President Clinton when I thought that the normal decision-making process needed a jolt. The papers were returned with Clinton’s comments scribbled on the side of the pages; at times, I felt as if I were back in school when I looked to see what the president had to say. Often, I didn’t learn much because Clinton’s writing is so tricky to decipher.

Thomas Richard Haden Church McMillen Quesada?

What is the real name of actor Thomas Haden Church?Frankly, we aren’t sure.We had just updated Church’s profile to include his role in the new movie Smart People when it occurred to us to double-check the alphabetization of his last name. We have him under ‘C’ for Church, but we had the sudden thought that it could be ‘H’ for Haden Church instead.

The Pope’s Itinerary

Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Washington, D.C. today for a six visit. The Pope will celebrate masses in both Nationals Stadium and Yankee Stadium during his trip.

Gapper: Rembrandt

Who2 has 3124 profiles (at last count), but we don’t quite have everyone in the world. Yet.And every so often we discover a “gapper” — somebody you’d think should have been among the top 3124 personalities in world history, but who somehow fell through the gaps until just now.

Did Amelia Earhart Send “Love to Mother”?

Fans of the Amelia Earhart mystery will enjoy this FAQ entry from the Amelia Earhart Search Forum.It’s a detailed account of a 10-word radiogram message — ending “Love to mother” — that many have thought was sent by Earhart from a Japanese concentration camp in 1945. That was eight years after her 1937 disappearance.

Tiger Tackles the Masters

Tiger Woods is the favorite as the annual Masters Tournament starts today in Augusta, Georgia.Golf legend Arnold Palmer hit the ceremonial opening tee shot which went “out of sight,” according to USA Today. (Fog helped.)

Harding’s Duchess

By the time she married Harding she’d already been abandoned by her first husband, Henry “Pete” DeWolfe, and left her baby son, Marshall, to be raised by her parents. She and Harding, a newspaper publisher in Marion, married in 1891 and Florence went to work managing his Marion Daily Star, from balancing the books to spanking the newsboys.That’s a selection from our lively new profile of Florence Kling Harding, the wife of President Warren G. Harding.

Tom Lehrer Is 80!

“I thought he was a tremendous satirist, and one of the darkest comics of the ’50s. People forget that, as well as Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl, Tom Lehrer was being … ghastly. His material, his attitude toward the crowd, fantastic.”

Princess Diana ‘Unlawfully Killed’

A British jury has ruled that Princess Diana was “unlawfully killed” in 1997.The verdict doesn’t equate to murder. The jury determined that Diana and her companion, Dodi Al Fayed, were killed due to the “gross negligence” of driver Henri Paul (who had been drinking) and of the paparazzi who were chasing Diana’s car at speeds over 60 MPH.

Easter Eggs of the Dark Side

We missed this a few weeks ago. Still scary. Who played the Easter Bunny in those films — Kenny Baker?

James Garner, Norman’s Son

James Garner is 80. He was born this day in 1928 in Norman, Oklahoma. The city honored him with a 10-foot-tall bronze statue in 2006.Norman is also the proud birthplace of Vince Gill and Nim Chimpsky.

Battling for the Fiddy Vote

Is 50 Cent switching from Clinton to Obama?”I make mine the fast way, the ski mask way, make money, make money money money,” 50 Cent has rapped, espousing laissez-faire economic policy… Furthermore, 50 Cent is obviously a firm believer in Second Amendment rights.”

Hollywood’s Mount Rushmore

“If Hollywood had a Mt. Rushmore, [Charlton] Heston’s face would be on it… He was a heroic figure that I don’t think exists to the same degree in Hollywood today.”-Publicist Michael Levine, quoted by the AP.This statement got us thinking. If Hollywood did have a Mount Rushmore, would Chuck Heston really be on it? (And where would they put it — next to the HOLLYWOOD sign?)

Charlton Heston Dead

“If you see a little less spring to my step, if your name fails to leap to my lips, you’ll know why. And if I tell you a funny story for the second time, please laugh anyway.”That was actor Charlton Heston in 2002, announcing that he had “symptoms consistent with Alzheimer’s disease.”Heston died Saturday at age 84.

The Clintons Since 2000: $109 Million

“As she entered the Senate and he left the political spotlight, the Clintons transformed themselves into a successful global brand.” – The Washington PostThey paid $33 million in federal taxes and gave $10 million to charity during that period, says the Post.

Death By Chimney

French writer Emile Zola had an unusual death. He died one night in 1902 when the bedroom chimney in his Paris apartment stopped working.Here’s how The New York Times reported it the next day, in a story titled “Emile Zola Dead From Asphyxiation”:

Keith Richards on Aguilera: “Who Is That?”

Keith Richards puzzles it out, courtesy of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.Richards and Mick Jagger star in the new concert documentary Shine A Light. Movie review here. (“Advisory: Keith Richards smokes.”)

Dr. King’s Last Speech

Ever read Martin Luther King’s final speech in Memphis in April 1968?

Duelling Crack-Ups

Transportation roundup: Jerry Seinfeld has trouble with an Italian car; Naomi Campbell with a British plane.

Alec Baldwin is 50

Actor Alec Baldwin, born in 1958. His first job was on the TV soap opera The Doctors in 1980. According to, The Doctors also helped launch the careers of Ellen Burstyn (1964-65) and Jonathan “Number One” Frakes (1977-78).

Putting the Cooper ‘Chute to Bed

The FBI has confirmed that the parachute dug up in Washington last month was not D.B. Cooper’s. But it may be left over from the 1945 crash of a Marine Corsair.

Dr. Demento and ‘Fish Heads’

Dr. Demento, the radio host who brought the world ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic, turns 67 today.Demento said in a 2000 interview that his show’s “all time most requested song is ‘Fish Heads’ by Barnes and Barnes.” Lightly disturbing video follows.

Nixon in ’92!

Speaking of April 1 jokes, the Museum of Hoaxes has ranked the top 100 April Fool’s Day hoaxes of all time.#6 is National Public Radio’s 1992 announcement that Richard Nixon was running for president again. His campaign slogan? “I didn’t do anything wrong, and I won’t do it again.”

‘Chute Not Cooper’s, Says Expert

The parachute dug up in Washington State recently was not used by jumping skyjacker D.B. Cooper, according to the man who packed Cooper’s parachutes.The Associated Press quotes Earl Crossley, who has now examined the parachute: “Absolutely, for sure… The D.B. Cooper parachute was made of nylon. This 1945 parachute was made of silk.”

Flying Penguins Discovered by BBC

The BBC program Miracles of Evolution, hosted by Terry Jones, has announced the discovery of a remarkable colony of Antarctic penguins.The Daily Telegraph has the story.