Monthly Archive: November 2008

A Vote for Franken Is a Vote for the Lizard People

Minnesota Public Radio has an enlightening display of challenged ballots from the Al Franken-Norm Coleman Senate recount.Included is a Coleman voter who also wrote in “Bachmen” (or “Bad men”?) and a Franken voter who wrote in “Lizard People.”(Lizardy hat tip: Swampland.)

Aide Grabs Joe Biden’s Seat

Delware Governor Ruth Ann Minner has named Ted Kaufman to fill the Senate seat of Joe Biden.Kaufman is a longtime aide to Biden. He’ll serve until 2010, when a special election will determine who will hold the seat for the remaining four years of Biden’s term.

Monopoly… the Movie?

Ridley [Scott] is now officially attached to direct this collaboration between Universal and the games manufacturer Hasbro – Hasbro! Jesus wept! – and according to the Hollywood Reporter is planning to give it “a futuristic sheen along the lines of his iconic Blade Runner”. Really? Really?

Supermodel Karolina Kurkova Is Missing Her Belly Button

You know it’s a big story when the Daily News and the Daily Mail are both on the case.”It disappears in photos, so we keep a collection of belly button shots in different positions, and Photoshop them on to her whenever she’s doing a bikini picture.”

What Will Be the Obamas’ Next Church?

As the first African-American First Family, will they be criticized if they choose a black church, or if they don’t? If they choose a white pastor, or if they don’t?Tough choice.[ Update: And if they choose nothing at all? That gets reported, too. ]

Photo from 'What is Madeleine Albright's Real Birth Name?'

What is Madeleine Albright’s Real Birth Name?

Join us now for a fascinating little side-trip into the world of Czech names.The object of our curiosity is former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. We have her birth name as Körbel, but many other sources have it as Körbelová or Korbelová. What gives?

Meet the Designer Who Put the ‘O’ in Obama

Nifty interview with Sol Sender, the guy who designed the campaign logo for Barack Obama. Dude is a little dry, but it’s good to learn how these things happen.

Touch Football (and Tackle) With the Kennedys

“Ted was the big guy with the good hands, the man you wanted on your side. And Bobby was an absolute terrier, flinging himself around the lawn — and into the rose bushes — with abandon. ‘The games were tough if Bobby was playing… For Bobby, it was the Super Bowl. His tenacity — he played very hard.'”And Jack played quarterback for both sides.

Bronx Mowgli Wentz

The latest for your baby name parade.. (Born at the ER to the Stars!)

Attorney General Mukasey Collapses During Speech

U.S Attorney General Michael Mukasey collapsed Thursday night while giving a speech in Washington, D.C.The Los Angeles Times reports that Mukasey “was about 15 minutes into his speech before a packed crowed at the 2008 Annual Meeting of the conservative Federalist Society when he appeared to hesitate, and then dropped to the floor.” This was about 10:20 pm Eastern time.

Super Obama World!

Fun new game lets you battle pigs with lipstick (on ice!) and navigate a “series of tubes.” It ain’t easy.Hey, how many video games did Dwight Eisenhower inspire?

Voters Send Ted Stevens Into the Wild

85-year-old Senator Ted Stevens is out, according to the Anchorage Daily News. Challenger Mark Begich has a lead of 3,724 votes with about 2,500 left to count.Stevens still came within a whisker of being the first U.S. senator ever elected after being convicted of a felony. He’s been a senator since 1968.

75 Years of Yak

Talk show host Larry King was born 75 years ago today.He was the first baby to be born with suspenders instead of an umbilical cord. His first words were, “How did it feel for you to give birth to me just now?”Others born that same year: Johnny Unitas, Yoko Ono and King Kong.

LIFE by Google

LIFE magazine and Google have teamed up to offer “millions of photographs from the LIFE archive” via Google search.

Happy 80th Birthday, Chairman Mouse!

Mickey Mouse turns 80 today. 18 November 1928 is Mickey’s official birthday, according to the Walt Disney Company. That’s the date of the cheerful rodent’s first public appearance in the cartoon short Steamboat Willie (below).

New Yorkers, White Russians, and The Big Lebowski

“The fest wrapped up with the awarding of trophies. The man in the iron lung — who came as the incapacitated father of the brat who steals the Dude’s car — picked up his costume prize with a White Russian balanced on his apparatus, while the furthest-travelled award went to a Jesus from Croatia.”The Guardian on the just-completed Lebowski Fest 2008.

Trillin Talks Texas

Reading that the best barbecue in Texas was at Snow’s, in Lexington, I felt like a People subscriber who had picked up the “Sexiest Man Alive” issue and discovered that the sexiest man alive was Sheldon Ludnick, an insurance adjuster from Terre Haute, Indiana, with George Clooney as the runner-up.I had warned the Texas Monthly crowd that if they were looking for confirmation of their ranking by an objective outlander, someone from Kansas City was not likely to provide it.

OK, Daddy’s President-Elect — Now Go to School

“I think we were just back into the routine. Our hopes are to just to keep the girls moving. It’s like okay, Daddy’s president-elect, okay, we can get to school by 10.”Jovial interview by 60 Minutes with Barack and Michelle Obama. They sure come off as a fun, connected couple.

“I Think He Was Probably in 20 Homes That Day”

William Ayers appeared on the chat show Good Morning America today, talking about the fairly hysterical accusations that Barack Obama “launched his political career” in the Ayers living room.Campaign Boogeyman William Ayers Talks to GMA is how ABC News headlines its story, and it’s hard to tell whether that’s being ironical, aggressive, or just telling it like it is. Perhaps it’s always hard to figure that these days.

Who’s Cooler?

Barack or Vlad? (Or Nic?)

‘The Times’ Is Gaga for James Bond

The Times of London is way, way on the James Bond bandwagon.Dig their giant 007 supersite. The map of Bond haunts is especially terrific. Ditto the reader’s guide to Bond and Ian Fleming.

New Obama Code Names: Mustang and Malibu

I’m still steaming over the nutty code names the Secret Service has given to Barack and Michelle Obama. Renegade and Renaissance? Are you kidding me?Since the Obamas are occupied elsewhere these days, I am taking up the issue on their behalf.

Happy Veteran’s Day

Here’s a salute to the soldiers, sailors, generals, flyboys and even parachutists who got us to where we are today. Thanks, old friends.

Dopiest Secret Code Names Ever?

Renegade. Renaissance. Radiance. Rosebud.Those, says the Chicago Tribune, are the Secret Service code names for Barack Obama and (respectively) Michelle, Malia and Sasha Obama.

Doris and Dorothy Day: Sisters in Confusion

Actress Doris Day and activist Dorothy Day have little in common besides similar names — and the challenges they pose to anyone trying to document the details of their early lives.The trouble spots are Doris’s name and age, and Dorothy’s daughter’s birthdate.

New Profile: The First Dog

By popular demand, we’ve profiled the as-yet-unknown First Dog of the Barack Obama administration.Obama told his daughters Malia and Sasha in his election-night speech that they had “earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House.”This set off a public First Dog Frenzy, with a question about the dog even popping up at Obama’s first press conference on Friday.

‘Trumpet-Lunged’ Billy Graham is 90

Evangelist Billy Graham turns 90 today.”A blond, trumpet-lunged North Carolinian” Time called him in its 1949 article about his breakthrough “Christ for Greater Los Angeles” tent revival.

Happy 21st Birthday, Kevin Jonas

We missed it yesterday amongst the election hoopla: Kevin Jonas, of the teen band the Jonas Brothers, has turned 21.He’s now the only Jonas brother who can legally go out for a Flaming Dr. Pepper after a show. Not that he would, of course.

Obituary First Lines: Michael Crichton

A sampling of opening lines about the celebrated author:”Michael Crichton, who died on Tuesday at the age of 66, was like a character in a Michael Crichton novel.”   -The New York Times”The gone-haywire theme parks of Jurassic Park and Westworld. The breakneck medical decisions of ER. The storm chasers of Twister.

President Barack Obama By the Numbers

Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States. Here’s a by-the-numbers look ahead at this historic event.{ 1 }   Obama will be the first president born in Hawaii. (Small surprise: Hawaii didn’t become a state until 1959. Obama was born in 1961.) { 77 }   Days until Obama’s inauguration on 20 January 2009.

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Bush

Election Day also happens to be the birthday of Laura Bush. She’s 62 on this, her final birthday as First Lady.Mrs. Bush shares a birth year with Patty Duke, Dolly Parton and Gilda Radner.

Where to Vote

Google Maps has a swell tool to help you find your polling place today.They’ll also tell you if state law permits you time off to vote. (Wyoming residents get one paid hour; Kentuckians get four!)

Obama’s Grandmother Dies

Barack Obama’s grandmother has died of cancer in Hawaii. Madelyn Dunham was 86. Details from The Honolulu Advertiser and The Chicago Tribune.

Dewey Defeats Truman!

Polls continue to show a sizable lead for Barack Obama over John McCain. Now pundits are wondering about a replay of the “Dewey defeats Truman” scenario from 1948. For those unfamiliar, here’s a quick recap of that swell old story.