Monthly Archive: December 2008

John Daly Guesses He Has Been Suspended for Six Months

Wild-man golfer John Daly says he has been suspended from PGA tournaments for six months. He doesn’t seem clear on the details.Well, he’s a fascinating guy. When he’s not losing millions gambling, or getting threatened with a steak knife by his wife, he still plays golf at a pretty high level for a guy who weighs 300+ pounds and surely doesn’t practice much.

Three-State Catfight For the Lincoln Bicentennial

Speaking of the upcoming Abraham Lincoln bicentennial: No surprise that Illinois, Kentucky and Indiana all have special websites for the event.Everyone wants a piece of the old railsplitter.

SuperNerd Becomes Mister 3300

Energy Secretary nominee Steven Chu is Who2’s 3300th profile. His profile went live yesterday.More about this amazing man in a later blog post.

“I Don’t Like Touching Jerry Minor’s Feet!”

We’re getting lots of searches for actress Rebecca Romijn the last few days… presumably looking for this video.That’s her real-life husband, Jerry O’Connell, playing Mr. Romijn.

Bristol Palin Gives Birth to a Baby Boy

Bristol Palin has given birth to a 7-pound, 4-ounce baby boy, according to People and The New York Post.The boy’s name is reported as Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston.

We Are Not Oprah, Part 23

Who2 often gets letters meant for celebrities. Jesse Jackson and The Jonas Brothers seem to be favorites, but by far the greatest number of letters come in for Oprah.

Happy 200th, Impeachable Andrew

Lots of people are talking about the Abraham Lincoln bicentennial on February 12th. But you don’t hear much about today being the 200th birthday of Andrew Johnson.(Well, there will be a cake at a Greenville shopping center.)

Larry Craig Restroom No Longer a Number 1 Tourist Destination

“I think we’ll all be glad when there’s no special interest in that restroom.”So says the PR man for the Minneapolis Airport. “One person had offered to buy the restroom stall for $5,000, Hogan said, but airport officials ‘don’t sell fixtures for novelty purposes.'”

That Didn’t Take Long

Eric Mangini fired as coach of the New York Jets after three seasons.

Richard Feynman Liked to Draw Women

Zorthian agreed to teach Feynman to draw, and Feynman agreed to teach Zorthian physics. The scientific instruction did not continue long, but Zorthian’s influences on Feynman led to the physicist’s life-long involvement in art making.One of 2008’s more interesting art displays: the Pasadena Armory Center’s exhibition on the art of physicist Richard Feynman, as influenced by muralist Jirayr Zorthian.

One Precious Extra Second

The world’s timekeepers are adding one extra second to 2008 — Wednesday at 11:59:59 PM in London, 6:59:59 pm in New York — “to help match clocks to the Earth’s slowing spin on its axis.”What will you do with that precious extra second?

Brady Proposes to Bundchen for Sixth Time

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and supermodel Gisele Bündchen are engaged yet again. Fox Sports has decreed it.

Remembering Harold Pinter: The Nobel Lecture

Direct invasion of a sovereign state has never in fact been America’s favoured method. In the main, it has preferred what it has described as ‘low intensity conflict’. Low intensity conflict means that thousands of people die but slower than if you dropped a bomb on them in one fell swoop. It means that you infect the heart of the country, that you establish a malignant growth and watch the gangrene bloom.

Cavalcade of Shirtless Presidents!

Perhaps you’ve seen the remarkable photo of president-elect Barack Ab-ama, shirtless in Hawaii.The Huffington Post has now created a lovely slideshow of Other Shirtless Presidents.

Timothy Geithner, Younger By a Whisker

We’ve just posted a new profile of Timothy Geithner, nominee for Secretary of the Treasury under Barack Obama.Trivia tidbit: Both were born in August of 1961. Geithner on the 18th and Obama on the 4th.

Madeleine Albright’s Birth Name — Update!

After our earlier puzzlement over the birth name of Madeleine Albright, we wrote to the offices of her consulting firm, The Albright Group, asking for help.That letter has now been answered politely by Jen Friedman, director of communications. She writes:

Crime and Birthday Notes from LA

A hooded burglar stole $2 million in jewels from Paris Hilton’s bedroom on Friday morning.Luckily, when the burglars broke in at 5 a.m., Paris wasn’t home.

Tough Luck, President Taft: It’s Willie Howard Mays

We’ve just had an interesting exchange with Who2 reader Martin Bennett about the birth name of baseball legend Willie Mays. We had it listed as William Howard Mays, Jr., but Mr. Bennett wrote:Willie Mays was my boyhood hero and remains my all-time fave, so I’m writing this kind of in defense of him. You have his real first name as William… [but] he was actually named Willie (Howard Mays Jr.), not William.Upon further review, we think Mr. Bennett is right.

A Jolly Christmas in Pottersville

But if [George had] hung out for a while, had a few drinks in the Indian Club, dropped a couple dimes in the dance hall, maybe checked out the action at the burlesque, he would have gotten a whole new take on the situation. Pottersville has its problems… but compared to the snooze-inducing Bedford Falls, it jumps.Why Pottersville beats Bedford Falls in It’s A Wonderful Life.

“Deep Throat” Has Died

Mark Felt, the Watergate informant known as “Deep Throat” who helped uncover the lies and lawbreaking of Richard M. Nixon, has died. “Secret Tips Toppled Presidency” is how The Washington Post subheads its six-page obituary. The Post also has awesome Watergate story archives.

“Drew Carey Needs to be Fired, the Sooner the Better”

“DREW CAREY! That was terrible!!!!!!!!!!!! What a discrace to the Bob Barker studio.””There is no doubt in my mind that Drew Carey needs to be fired, the sooner the better.””This has shattered my last bit of patience with Drew.

Dr. J. Meets His Daughter

Quite a story from ESPN about Julius Erving and tennis pro Alexandra Stevenson — his daughter from an affair with a sportswriter in the 1970s.

Seven Pounds of What, Exactly?

Boy, this new Will Smith movie, Seven Pounds. The trailer surely is one of the more unsatisfying promos of 2008. And the title ain’t much help.Now I read the review and I still can’t tell what’s going on.

Barack Obama Is Exactly Identical to Reagan, Nixon, Taft, and 39 Others

“Obama emerges as a liberal Reagan who can reunite America.” (Andrew Sullivan)”The similarities between Carter and Obama are considerable.” (NYO)”…arouses memories of a liberal Democratic president whom conservatives remember all too well — Woodrow Wilson.” (Human Events)From Bus Your Own Tray (via Wonkette).

Caroline Kennedy Goes For the Clinton Senate Seat

Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of an American political dynasty, has decided to pursue the United States Senate seat being vacated by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York. The decision came after a series of deeply personal and political conversations, in which Ms.

Charles Dickens and Christmas

A warm-hearted revue by David Perdue.How else would we know that Charles Dickens “had more influence on the way that we celebrate Christmas today than any single individual in human history except one”? Or that Tiny Tim probably had a kidney disease that made his blood too acidic? Or that Ebenezer Scrooge has been played by both Mister Magoo and Scrooge McDuck?

Oh, Dear

Shrek the Musical.Broadway’s getting a “make-ogre.” Har.

Bush Ducks Journo’s Shoes

Forget Poland — President Bush isn’t getting much love in Iraq, either.[Update: Shoe-tossin’ video from the BBC.]

“A Man Comes To the White House…”

Not much love for President Bush at UN climate change talks in Poland…Asked to sum up Bush’s record on the issue, France’s climate ambassador Brice Lalonde chose instead to pass on a story he had heard.A man comes to the White House asking to see Bush. “He doesn’t live here anymore,” he is told. The next two days he comes again asking the same question, and receiving the same answer.

What Was the Relationship of the Lone Ranger to the Means of Production?

That’s the wonderful title of a poem by Amiri Baraka, just profiled by Beat Poet Desk editor Paul Hehn.Baraka is a Marxist, an academic, the former poet laureate of New Jersey, and “has been railing against The Man his entire career, in university classrooms and in essays, poems and plays.”

Still More Bettie Page

Editor Paul Hehn, at the Hollywood Brunette Desk, points out our profile of Gretchen Mol, who played the late Bettie Page in the 2005 movie The Notorious Bettie Page.Here’s a shot of Mol as Paige:

Legally Betty

“At three o’clock the following morning, on April 22, 1923, Edna gave birth to a baby girl. They named the child Betty Mae Page according to her birth certificate, but when she became old enough to write, the spelling changed to Bettie.”Notes on the birth name of pinup model Bettie Page, from Richard Foster’s 2005 book The Real Bettie Page.

Santa Tackles Shakespeare

Jolly old elf Santa has been ahead of steady reader favorite Shakespeare all month on our popularity list.No big surprise in late December, but Santa is showing early strength this year; normally he moves into the top five in the last week before Christmas.

RIP Bettie Page

Raven-haired pinup queen Bettie Page has died age age 85. Pneumonia, alas.Here’s a memorial video from the way-back machine. Good luck to you Ms. Page, wherever you are.

John Kerry Can Retire Today

He has turned 65.That 1943 list has some surprising names: Arthur Ashe? Bobby Fischer?Janis Joplin died 38 years ago, and she’d still be only 65 this year?

Blagojevich: “I Want to Make Money”

Later on November 7, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH discussed the open Senate seat in a three-way call with JOHN HARRIS and Advisor B, a Washington D.C.-based consultant. ROD BLAGOJEVICH indicated in the call that if he was appointed as Secretary of Health and Human Services by the President-elect, then ROD BLAGOJEVICH would appoint Senate Candidate 1 to the open Senate seat. HARRIS stated “we wanted our ask to be reasonable and rather than… make it look like some sort of selfish grab for a quid pro quo.”

Illinois Politics Enters Bizarro World

Are you kidding? Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested at his house by the FBI this morning, possibly in his pajamas, at 6:15 am.The charge: Plotting to sell the state’s U.S. senate seat to the highest bidder. (That’s the seat being vacated by Barack Obama. Blagojevich has total power to appoint Obama’s successor.)

Down Goes De La Hoya

Oscar De La Hoya, age 35, got clobbered over the weekend.

Morrison and Kinison, Wouldabeens

Rock god Jim Morrison wouldabeen hitting retirement age today at 65, and comedian Sam Kinison wouldabeen 55 today, if both hadn’t died young.

Sunny von Bülow Dies After 28 Years in a Coma

In her long, silent years at the Milstein Building at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia hospital, and then at a nursing home on the Upper East Side, doctors said Mrs. von Bülow never showed any signs of brain activity; she was fed through a tube in her stomach. Yet there were always fresh flowers in her room, and photographs of her children and grandchildren sat on a bedside table.Good heavens: Sunny von Bülow has died in Manhattan at age 76.

The Helpful Glory of “Power Moby-Dick”

Meg Guroff of Washington, D.C. has alerted us to her excellent site, Power Moby-Dick, which we’ve now linked from our own Moby-Dick profile.Power Moby-Dick adds helpful definitions and notes right alongside the full text of the book. So next to the famous opening, “Call me Ishmael,” we have the comment “Ishmael: A wanderer, the older son of the biblical Abraham.” And so on. It’s a big boost.

Liza Minnelli Has Never Felt Better In Her Life

The New York Times, 2008: “I just feel like I’ve come through a whole bunch of stuff,” she explained in the living room of her Upper East Side apartment… “But I have never felt better in my life. I feel free. I feel happy. I feel completely solid.”The Larry King Show, 2006:KING: First, let’s check on a couple of things.MINNELLI: OK.KING: How is your health?

Roger Ebert’s “Phantom” Face

“I cannot speak, eat or drink, and have lost a lot more pounds, and, believe me, it would have been a more fun doing it the Pritikin way… Compared to other people, I’m lucky. For example, see how much I’m enjoying myself right now.”That’s thumbs-up movie reviewer Roger Ebert, bravely making the best of a bad situation in a recent blog post.

The Biblical Laws for Riding Shotgun

“If two men declare the seat at the same time and neither agrees to abide in the back, they shall each kill one bullock and offer its head at the altar.”Who knew?

Santa Feels the Pinch

Times are tough all over.On the plus side: Fewer local jobs means more time to make toys, right?

“There’s No Underwear in Space”

Remember the white dress I wore all through that film [Star Wars]? George [Lucas] came up to me the first day of filming, took one look at the dress and said: “You can’t wear a bra under that dress.””OK, I’ll bite,” I said. “Why?” And he said: “Because… there’s no underwear in space.”Excerpts from Carrie Fisher’s new autobiography, Wishful Drinking.

Steven Spielberg, That Sly Dog, Was Born in 1946

Our friends at asked us to take a closer look at the birth year of director Steven Spielberg. Who2 says 1946, but many sources online say 1947. Spielberg himself often led people to believe he was born in 1947. (Even the great Roger Ebert wrote a 50th birthday tribute to the director in 1997.) So which year is correct?

Roman Polanski Wants 1977 Sex Case Dismissed

Thirty years after he became a fugitive to avoid a prison sentence for having sex with a teenager, Academy Award-winning director Roman Polanski asked a judge Tuesday to dismiss the case.

Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2008

It’s the second-biggest traffic-driver of the year on Who2: The annual Victoria’s Secret TV extravaganza. (The biggest traffic-driver is Black History Month, which — thank heavens — at least salvages our reputation as a thoughtful site.)

Happy 73rd Birthday, Woody Allen

Woody Allen was born as Allen Stewart Konigsberg on this day in 1935. (Just a few weeks after Luciano Pavarotti!)

Hillary Clinton Will Be the Next Secretary of State

It will be announced today, says The Washington Post.[Update: Now confirmed.]Clinton will be the third woman to serve as U.S. secretary of state, after Madeleine Albright (1997-2001) and Condoleezza Rice (2005-present).