Monthly Archive: October 2008

‘Electoral Projections Done Right’ has already been widely covered this election season. But in case you haven’t seen it, it’s worth a look in this final pre-election weekend.The site aggregates national political polls, with further analysis and commentary by Nate Silver. He’s an analyst for the stats-crunching site Baseball Prospectus, and he applies those same skills to competing polls.

109-Year-Old Daughter of a Slave Votes for Obama

Quite a story from the Austin American-Statesman.”Jones’ father herded sheep as a slave until he was 12, according to the family… Jones says she cast her first presidential vote for Franklin Roosevelt, but she doesn’t recall which of his four terms that was. When she did vote, she paid a poll tax, her daughters said.”And yes, she says she’s voting Obama.

I Once Knew a Man With an Amputated Leg Named Geraldine

Porter’s legs were crushed by a horse in a riding accident in 1937. He named his injured legs “Josephine” (left) and “Geraldine” (right), and for the rest of his life got around with canes and braces. His right leg, Geraldine, was amputated in 1958.From our new profile of songwriter Cole Porter.

George W. Bush In (Silly) Pictures

Britain’s Daily Telegraph has a funny slide show of George W. Bush looking silly.Perhaps The Telegraph has forgotten that they endorsed him four years ago.

Cheery Old Crime-Infested Chekhov

We’ve been reading A Night in the Cemetery, and Other Stories of Crime and Suspense by the great Anton Chekhov… whom we didn’t know until just this minute wrote crime and suspense stories.

Alaska Senator Ted Stevens Found Guilty

“The verdict throws the upcoming election into disarray. Stevens… must now either drop out or continue campaigning as a convicted felon.”More coverage from the Anchorage Daily News.

Happy 150th Birthday, Teddy Roosevelt

President Teddy Roosevelt was born this day in 1858.TR is part of an exclusive Who2 loop: Presidents Who Slugged Someone. Here’s a snippet:

Tony Hillerman, Author of Native American Mysteries, Dead at 83

The NY Times:”Mr. Hillerman’s evocative novels, which describe people struggling to maintain ancient traditions in the modern world, touched millions of readers, who made them best sellers. But although the themes of his books were not overtly political, he wrote with a purpose, he often said, and that purpose was to instill in his readers a respect for Indian culture…”

Phony Presidential Trivia

Here’s a swell new Onion interview with writer John Hodgman.He’s the dowdy “PC” on Apple TV ads, and a regular on Jon Stewart’s show. He’s also the author of the fake-trivia books The Areas of My Expertise and More Information Than You Require.

Did George Burns Live to Be 100?

A reader writes:George Burns: did he make it to 100? I can’t believe his name is not listed. Thanks.Too true: Surprising that we don’t have Burns and Gracie Allen both. We’ve added them to our to-do list for the coming year.Yes, George Burns was exactly 100 when he died in 1996. He just barely made it: He was born on January 20th of 1896, and died on March 9th in 1996. So he got there with 49 days to spare. (1996 was a leap year.)

Photos of Obama in Hawaii

Unexpected photos from The Honolulu Advertiser.Barack Obama, in jeans and flip-flops, takes a brief stroll through the alleys of his old neighborhood. He looks, for a brief moment, like an unknown local. (Notes the story, “Obama appeared solemn when he spotted his traveling press running toward him.”)

Gapper: Harper “TKAM” Lee

The newest gapper for our files: Harper Lee, author of the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Editor Paul Hehn, at the Southern Literature desk, has written a fine new profile. (And dang it, Truman Capote did NOT write her book.)

Gertrude Ederle Is Not 103

…because she died five years ago, along with Warren Zevon and Keiko the whale.Ederle was a lot more famous than either of them in her day. She was the first woman to swim the 35 miles across the English Channel. She pulled herself across in 14 hours and 39 minutes on a summer’s day in 1926. (Top that, Keiko!)

Sunday Leftovers

Just caught up with this obituary from Sunday’s NY Times: Lefty Rosenthal, the gambler who inspired Robert De Niro’s character in Casino. As The Times notes, Rosenthal was never quite the same after surviving a car bomb outside a Tony Roma’s in Las Vegas in 1982.

Sarah Palin: The College Years

The LA Times recaps the college years of Sarah Palin.The full sequence, beginning in the fall of 1982, is: University of Hawaii at Hilo (arrived but never enrolled), Hawaii Pacific University, North Idaho College, University of Idaho, Matanuska-Susitna College (Alaska, one term), then University of Idaho again (graduating in 1987).

Farewell, Mr. Blackwell

“Mr. Blackwell, the acerbic designer whose annual worst-dressed list skewered the fashion felonies of celebrities from Zsa Zsa Gabor to Britney Spears, has died. He was 86.” -The Associated PressHis real name was Richard Sylvan Selzer and he was born in 1922.

The Tricky Birthdays of the Obama Girls

We’ve posted new profiles of Sasha and Malia Obama, the daughters of presidential candidate Barack Obama and his wife Michelle.Both girls gave us a bit of trouble with their birthdays.

Zac Efron Turns 21 Outside of Nevada

“I’m not going to Vegas or anything like that.”-High School Musical heartthrob Zac Efron on turning 21 this weekend.

Robert Downey Jr. IS Sherlock Holmes

One bit of good news out of the Guy Ritchie divorce chatter: Turns out Ritchie is busy filming a new Sherlock Holmes feature, with Robert Downey Jr. starring as the grand old detective. (Plus Jude Law as Dr. Watson!)

Joe the Ubiquitous Plumber

Two days after the debate, Google News still has 3400+ stories for “Joe the Plumber.” Joe isn’t playing so well in Chicago.One surprise: is not a parked domain that someone set up overnight. It’s the website of a actual plumber in Amarillo, Texas.

The Indy Star Agrees: Bayh Was Birthed in Terre Haute

“You’re right about Bayh’s birthplace and we’ve changed our bio accordingly. As you mentioned, Shirkieville is listed on most of the official sources, but Bayh’s own words provide the correct answer. Good catch.”Thanks to the staff of The Indianapolis Star for that new comment on our blog post, Shirkieville or Terre Haute?

Josh Brolin Likes George Bush

“I told my wife, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I really like the guy.”- Josh Brolin, talking to ABC News about playing George W. Bush in the upcoming movie W.

Levi Johnston Speaks!

Bristol Palin’s boyfriend talks to the Associated Press.

Paul Krugman Wins Nobel Prize

Economist Paul Krugman, known for his twice-weekly columns (and blog) for The New York Times, has won the 2008 Nobel Prize for Economics.The prize comes with the traditional gold medal bearing the face of Alfred Nobel, plus a prize of 10 million Swedish kroner — about 1.4 million US dollars.

Obama’s Page View Edge

If Who2’s 100 Most Popular profiles list is any indicator of electoral votes, Barack Obama has the edge over John McCain. Obama has been a steady #1 for most of the last month, with McCain rarely at #1 or #2.Here’s the top 5 as of 8:00 am on October 8th, the morning after their second debate:1. Barack Obama2. Rihanna3. Sarah Palin4. Martin Luther King, Jr.5. John McCain

That’s a Lot of Words

CNN has the transcript of the second McCain-Obama debate.

Facially-Challenged Hero Caesar Rodney is 280!

Happy 280th birthday to one of Who2’s favorite American heroes: Hard-riding Caesar Rodney.In July of 1776, with the Continental Congress wavering on the vote for freedom from Britain, Rodney made a heroic 80-mile horseback dash to Philadelphia to cast Delaware’s vote and help win the day for independence.

Misty May Injur-ay

Ironical news of the day: Olympic champion and superathlete Misty May-Treanor has ruptured her Achilles tendon while rehearsing a rumba for Dancing With the Stars.Must have been the high heels. Or maybe she was regretting the outfits.

Beatles and Pyramids

Photographer Michael Hughes blends souvenirs with the tourist spots that inspired them.The Guardian has more images.

Only Four and Nearly Forty

It’s only four years since Rodney Dangerfield died? With all due respect (!), it seems longer. He and Ronald Reagan passed out in the same year, after all.Meanwhile, the pink Power Ranger is suddenly nearing 40.

O.J. Simpson is Guilty

O.J. Simpson found guilty on all 12 counts.Sentencing is December 5th and could put Simpson “away for life.”

Sarah Palin Meets ‘Fargo’

Sorry for the political post — the Marge Gunderson reaction shots are just too funny to pass up.

Little Stevie and Big Al

Born on the very same day: Rev. Al Sharpton and the late, great blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan.54 years ago today.

“Being Stupid and Being Frustrated is Not Being a Crook”

The O.J. Simpson robbery trial went to the jury today with those ringing words from his lawyer.It ain’t exactly “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit!” But then, there was only one Johnnie Cochrane.

Wreckage Found — Is It Fossett?

A pilot spotted wreckage of an airplane near Mammoth Lakes last night, reports The Reno Gazette Journal.The wreckage could be the plane of Steve Fossett.

Steve Fossett Crash Site Found?

Has a hiker found the first firm evidence of missing pilot Steve Fossett?An FAA card, a pilot ID, and $1000 in cash were found by hiker Preston Morrow near Mammoth Lakes in California, says the Reno Gazette-Journal.

A Jimmy, a Judge, and a Bear

Happy birthday and warm wishes to President Jimmy Carter. He turns 84 years old today.Carter shares an exact birthday with a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Can you name that judge?