The Who2 Blog

Virginia Tech Shooter Named

The University of Virginia has named the student accused of killing 32 people on campus yesterday: Cho Seung-Hui.According to a news release posted on the university’s website, Cho was 23 and was “enrolled as an undergraduate student in his senior year as an English major at Virginia Tech. Cho, a South Korean native, was in the U.S. as a resident alien with a residence established in Centerville, Virginia.”

Jackie Robinson, +60

15 April 2007 is the 60th anniversary of the day Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in American baseball. On this day in 1947, Robinson started at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers in Ebbetts Field. That made him the first African-American to play in baseball’s major leagues in the modern era. (Robinson’s line for his first game: 0-for-3 at the plate, one run scored, and he helped turn a double play in Brooklyn’s win ovef the old Boston Braves.)

Don Ho Gone

Entertainer Don Ho died Saturday, of heart failure in Waikiki. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin has a fine recap of his life and career.

Obit of the Day

“Richard S. Prather, Author of Naked Mysteries, Dies at 85.”That headline tops a very funny obituary in today’s New York Times (registration required). In what must be its most entertaining obituary of the year so far, the Times describes Prather as a “hugely popular mystery writer of the 1950s and ’60s whose novels were known for their swift violence, loopy humor and astonishing number of characters with no clothes on.”

S.E. Hinton, Staying Gold (Plus Two Years)

We’ve been sweating the birth date of S.E. Hinton, the celebrated author of the 1967 novel The Outsiders and other books for what used to be called “young adults” and now are often called “tweens.”Hinton is not a public person by any means, but she’s particularly coy about her birthdate. Many sources say 1950 or 1948; others say 1949 or even 1951. A letter from reader Sebastian Collins (a 1948 proponent) prompted us to dig into the matter somewhat deeper.

Groundhog vs. the United Nations?

Punxsutawney Phil has made his annual Groundhog Day prediction, and it’s a shocker: spring is almost here. The ageless groundhog failed to see his shadow (according to his official site) for only the 14th time since 1886.

Letter of the Day!

A short gem, from Who2 user H.S.:To: suggestions@who2.comWhy not have a few not-so-famous people on Who2.com? I am not so famous, but I have a colorful background of accidents and incidents. H.S.

Punxsutawney Phil, Centenarian?

With Groundhog Day looming, we have received a delightful letter from Mr. Ben Hughes of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Mr. Hughes is one of the official handlers for America’s top-dog groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil.Here is what Mr. Hughes had to say:”A correction on your Punxsutawney Phil information.

‘Scooby-Doo’ Designer Dies

In December we reported the death of Joseph Barbera, of the Hanna-Barbera animation studios. Now comes the sad news of the demise of Iwao Takamoto, the Hanna-Barbera animator who designed Scooby-Doo. Takamoto was 81 when he died on Monday of heart failure.

Ramen Inventor Goes to Noodle Shop in the Sky

Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant ramen noodles, has died of a heart attack in Japan. Ando was 96. Plucky to the last, he made a new year’s speech at the corporate offices of his company on Wednesday before returning home and falling ill.

Happy Birrrrthday to Ullllrich

January 1st marked the 523rd birthday of Ulrich Zwingli, Who2’s unofficial mascot. Zwingli, you’ll recall, was the Protestant Reformer who survived bubonic plague, had a secret marriage at age 38, and still ended up playing Avis to Martin Luther’s Hertz. Plucky to the last, Zwingli was wounded in a Catholic-vs.-Protestant wrangle and then put to the sword when he refused a Catholic confessor.

Notes on Rocky

Rocky Balboa opens tomorrow — the sixth film in Sylvester Stallone’s series about the rugged Philadelphia boxer with the broken nose. Thirty (count ’em) years have passed since the original Rocky won the Academy Award for best picture and best director of 1976. A few random Rocky notes:

Yabba-Dabba-Deceased

Joseph Barbera, creator of Scooby-Doo and Fred Flintstone, has died at age 95. His partner Joseph Hanna died in 2001, and Hanna-Barbera is now part of Time-Warner.

Keeping An Eye on St. Nick

Google Earth has just announced a new gadget that “tracks” the travels of Santa Claus over the days leading up to Christmas Eve. The downer is that you must download both Google Earth and the Santa-tracking program (though they’re free), but on the upside, you get a flyby of Santa’s workshop at the North Pole and a peek at whimsical presents hidden around the world. It’s a nice gesture.

World’s Tallest Man Saves Dolphin

Strange but true (and wonderful): the world’s tallest man, a 54-year-old Mongolian herdsman, saved two dolphins at a Chinese aquarium by reaching into their stomachs and pulling out wayward chunks of plastic. The BBC reports that Bao Xishun is 2.36 meters, or 7 feet 8.95 inches, tall. Here’s a further story (with a fine photo) from CBS News.

Fun New Profile

Milton Bradley, creator of The Game of Life and founder of the Milton Bradley Company, maker of Yahtzee and Chutes and Ladders. Who knew he was born way back in 1836? Or that Abraham Lincoln nearly broke his heart?

Jeane Kirkpatrick, U.N. Bulldog

Jeane Kirkpatrick, a conservative bulldog for Ronald Reagan at the United Nations, has died at age 80.

The Day Nobody Was Born

December 6th is a special day at Who2.com: it’s the only day of the year on which nobody in our database was born. That’s 2843 famous people (and counting) and none of them born on December 6th.The 6th has been the lone holdout for a couple of years now. Even February 29 is well represented by rapper Ja Rule and Mother Ann Lee of the Shakers, among others.

Disney at 105

Animation pioneer Walt Disney died 40 years ago, but were he still living he’d be 105 today. Disney was born the same year as jazz great Louis Armstrong and chemist Linus Pauling. They both outlived him, but they were all outlasted by romance novelist Barbara Cartland, also of the class of ’01, who lived to the ripe old age of 100.Happy birthday, Walt!