THE O.B.E. MAIL BAG

This portion of the O.B.E is dedicated to those of you who are among the living. During the course of the year, feel free to e-mail the O.B.E. with thoughts, opinions, and general fun stuff.

This page reads from the top down. Wanna go directly to the most recent postings? Just press this thingy




STALKER'S SISTER:
Just wanted to say congrats on the AP article. And look.......the Stalker wasn't even mentioned in *THIS* one.....

THE GUYS:
Thanks. We told them to put you in it too but you know how the press can be.



ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE:
For the last several weeks I (One Foot in the Grave) was in first place.

Now, just the calendar flipped to 2007, I am in second?

I’m not sure how this could happen?

GoatSucker has not had anyone die recently.

The last FOUR people that died on his roster had already been posted not long after they died.

(I all four of these people on my roster as well)

Are you telling me that in the last few days - he just got credit for Spencer, Brewer, or Brown ?

Elizabeth Bolden – Dec 11
Casey Coleman – Nov 27
Oriana Fallaci - Sep 15
Maria Esther de Capovilla – Aug 27
-------------------------------------------------
John Spencer – July 11
Ken Brewer – Mar 16
Phil Brown - Feb 11
Lou Rawls – Jan 6

THE GUYS:
We sent out an email to the email list regarding this. Check out the OBE News Page of the site. As it indicates, we review all lists at the end of the year to make certain we didn't miss any deaths. Thing is, we missed quite a few in 2007 (five to be exact). Two of them happened to be on Goat's list (Spencer & Brewer). We verified that these guys got AP obits (they did) and had to credit Goat the points. The other three misses didn't affect the main (top end) standings. Our bad for not tracking it better but the picks died and had AP obits regardless. We gotta give the hits.

We really regret not posting these sooner. The problem is, we often miss some of these less notable deaths. Typically, however, we catch them before the end of the year and usually they don't have such an impact on the placement of the top players. We guess the upside of all this is that you are still positioned to win some dough. Just not the first prize.

Obviously we're a little embarrassed and we feel badly for you as we know it's a bit of a let down. We're sorry for that.

ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE:
Oh I see. I didn't get an e-mail.

(I don't believe I am on the e-mail list - please add me if you can). However, I did see it mentioned on the site about 10 mins after my e-mail went out.

Please keep $10 of my winnings as a 2007 donation.

THE GUYS:
Ya know, you coulda been a putz about this and you weren't. We appreciate that a great deal and we won't forget it. Thank you!


KAREN B.:
When did colleen howe die?

THE GUYS:
We don't think she did....yet.



SOUTH PACIFIC VALKYRIES:
I would guess that I’m the “one Death Watcher plays from a U.S. military vessel. We have no idea where he may be at at this point in time.”

I must admit that I like the mystery, so I’ll just say that if there is any inside news on Kim Il Jung being exposed to nuclear radiation or new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe being poisoned by North Korean spies, I’ll be the first Death Watcher to know.

THE GUYS:
Thanks for both your email and your service.



PUTNAM'S TOMAHAWK CHOP.:
Is there a 3rd place payout for 2006? Just curious!

I must admit that I like the mystery, so I’ll just say that if there is any inside news on Kim Il Jung being exposed to nuclear radiation or new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe being poisoned by North Korean spies, I’ll be the first Death Watcher to know.

THE GUYS:
Nope.

PUTNAM'S TOMAHAWK CHOP.:
Bummer. I thought the rules stated there was a $30 payout. I'll tell you what hurt me was the death of some real old person in mid December. That knocked me out of first, then the John Spencer revelaton finished me off. Well better luck this year. THE GUYS:
From the 2006 rules.....

10.0 WINNING THE O.B.E.

The list with the most marked off picks at the end of the 2006 season is the winner. The list with the second most marked off picks will take second place. The first place prize for a single winner will be $250. The prize for the second place winner will be $70. In the event that more than one person wins a place, even after the tie breaking criteria are applied, the prize for that place will be evenly split among the winning entries.

PUTNAM'S TOMAHAWK CHOP.:
I must be getting old. Here are the 2007 rules that state there is. I could have sworn the 2006 rules were the same. Oh well. Thanks anyway.

10.0 WINNING THE O.B.E.

The list with the most marked off picks at the end of the 2007 season is the winner. The list with the second most marked off picks will take second place. The list with the third most marked off picks at the end of the 2007 season will take third place. The first place prize (assuming a single winner) will be $250. The prize for the second place winner (assuming a single winner) will be $70. The prize for third place winner (assuming a single winner) will be $30. In the event that more than one person wins a place, even after the tie breaking criteria are applied, the prize for that place will be evenly split among the winning entries.

THE GUYS:
We added a third prize for 2007. We even discuss it in one of the News mailings. Check it out in the Archives for 2006.

We promise, we wouldn't steal from you (unless you have beer in the frig).


GROOVY GHOUILIES:
This is the Groovy Ghoulies and we hate to tell you there is an error in our listing. I had Ariel Sharon as my alternate pick and my number 13 pick was Cheeta the chimp. I assume that is a legal pick if not I will settle with Sharon. Thanks for your time.

THE GUYS:
We tried to email you repeatedly, but you gave us a crap email address.

We do not allow non-human entries. The rules imply, but do not clearly state this fact. We will change that in 2008. We only had this issue once before and we thought we had addressed it in the rules. Apparently not as well as we had thought. Regardless, we are honoring your alternate to be fair to you. In the future human beings only though.



GRAVEYARD SMASHERS:
On the 2007 Stats page, you're listing Budd Schulberg twice (of which I believe the double-D spelling is preferred as well as the compund form of his profession):

Bud Schulberg, Screen Writer Budd Schulberg, Screenwriter

I can see how you'd miss this, as afterall one's listed right after the other and all ;)

I didn't even pick the dude, and I know it probably won't make a difference, but I'd hate to see someone lose out (outright or via tiebreak) because of a single letter, especially in light of the late lead change at the end of the '06 contest.

On the downside, all your copious stat breakdowns are now off by a magnitude of one. Better retain Elias for a little longer...

Pedantic? Yes. But I feel a little better now. But not much. Keep up the good work in '07!

THE GUYS:
Actually, we appreciate this a great deal! This helps us cleanup an overwhelming database that spits this stuff out year after year. Thank you. We will fix it!



SIX FEET UNDER:
Ummmm…..we did send more than $5….Just for the record… Thanks.

THE GUYS:
Hmm, really. Not to be crass, but how much? Our records show $5. Of course, we're prone to error.

SIX FEET UNDER
Our records show $10.01 US (converted from $11.98 CDN).

THE GUYS:
Ah ha! That explains it. Once you start tossing those Loons around we get all confused. Well, we're actually confused all the time. Anyway, you're right, we're wrong and we're fixing it. It was a clerical error. We need some administrative assistants over here.



XRAY EXECUTIONERS:
Hi, guys.... thanks for your hard work on the lists and statistics...

I think I caught one small error, on the stats page, for those names appearing on one list only, there is the following entry, and it seems to be the same person, with different spelling of name:

Bud Schulberg - Screen Writer - 1
Budd Schulberg - Screenwriter - 1
THE GUYS:
You're the second person to find this. Thanks! We'll tidy up soon.



KIMBERLY:
Please add the alternate that I had submitted: Margaret Thatcher

Thanks & Great job at updating in such an impressively timely manner.

PS ~ Nice article in the Herald.

THE GUYS:
We're not certain what you mean. The alternate is ONLY used if one of your picks dies between submittal and Midnight on January 1, 2007. The Alternate cannot be used to fill in for missing picks or people you pick who already have died. You submitted a list that was missing one pick. That, sadly, means that your list will play one pick short this year.

As for coollist, we quit it. Try signing up for the new mailing list. The link is on the web page.

KIMBERLY:
Sorry, Fellas. My confusion. My husband started his first pool (we're all of five, sound familiar), and he limited the picks to 12. As I had no idea who to pick, I queried the web and found your site, which was the best in this arena and what I used as inpiration. Then I just got sucked in, and threw together my entry for the OBE as I was being wisked out the door to go to a New Year's party (hence I did not clearly process your instructions for the 13 pick limit + an alt). Ah well, live and learn.

THE GUYS:
No sweat. 12 picks can win too!



MIKE:
Sorry guys, you won't get to keep the money and drink yourself silly. We finally got a hit, and a Double Whammy at that.

THE GUYS:
Guess we better return what's left of the Meister Brau then.



MARTHA:
Carlo Ponti, Dead

THE GUYS:
So we've heard.



FIREATERS:
I registered for the email list but the link to confirm it was never sent to my email address. I tried several times with the same results. Is there a known problem with it?

THE GUYS:
The problem is likely that your web service see the email as spam and is filtering it out. You'll need to put us on the Approved" list.

FIREATERS:
I read through my junk mail and have received nothing.

THE GUYS:
Very odd. We've had 69 folk join up and its worked. We'll try to add you manually. See if you get an email within the next 24 hours.

Actually, that won't work because you are already in the pending list. We've deleted you. Now try again. The confirm email may go to your SPAM folder so be sure to look. It goes out pretty quickly (10-15 minutes)

FIREATERS:
I tried again and still received nothing. I guess it wasn't meant to be.

THE GUYS:
It's odd because you are in the Pending list. This means the Bot thinks it sent you and email is waiting for you to confirm.

FIREATER
I used a different email address and it worked fine. Stupid MSN email. Thanks for all your help.

THE GUYS:
Great!



CARIJA:
Yvonne De Carlo - Tv's Lily Munster and the wife in the 10 commandments movies

THE GUYS:
Yes, that's why we posted the death and sent out the Bulletin.



MARK:
You Guys had asked for help spotting some of the stiffs so here is one I saw tonight:

Michael Brecker, a versatile and influential tenor saxophonist who won 11 Grammys over a career that spanned more than three decades, died Saturday. He was 57.

Brecker died in a hospital in New York City of leukemia, according to his longtime friend and manager, Darryl Pitt.

THE GUYS:
Yes, that's why we posted the death and sent out the Bulletin.



TIME TO GO:
The 2007 list doesn't say which four entries you consider as 'already dead.' Part of the fun is making fun of the 'doh' pics.

Well, here's one that's on the entry list that's already dead:

Roberta Weston - Very Old Lady

She died in JUNE 2006!

By the way, research showed that she was actually 109...

Name: Roberta Weston
SSN: XXX-XX-XXXX
Last Residence: XXXXX XXXXXXX, Cook, Illinois
Born: 9 Aug 1896
Died: 25 Jun 2006
State (Year) SSN issued: Tennessee (Before 1951 )
Finally, about my lists, I'll try to e-mail you less this year, but first the mea culpa:


Unlike in past years, when I was at home on New Year's (and thus had all day to ponder this), this time I was packing up and heading for Florida (yeah, my grandmother was dying herself...) so I mailed the entry in without giving it much thought. Even though I had written somewhere "don't forget Ariel Sharon and Fidel Castro." Yeah, Fidel's toast in 2007...106 of 173 people put him on their list. OOPS! As for Ariel Sharon...I coulda, shoulda put him on the 2006 list, but he didn't die in 2006 anyway, so oh well, so much for 'woulda, coulda, shoulda.' But it would have been far more gratifying to have at least one of these two on the 2007 list. So a big 'DOH' for myself!

P.S. I see at least one person

01 Exoendo Zuzubar
Emiliano Mercado Del Toro (115)
Julie Winnefred Bertrand (115)
Emma Tillman (114)
Thomas Nelson (111)
Lady Bird Johnson
Johnny Lam Jones
David Chatters
Yone Minagawa (114)
Fidel Castro
Charlton Heston
Jack Kevorkian
Tammy Faye Bakker
Edna Parker (113)

Has a record SIX people 110 or older on the list! Hey, I only put 5 supercentenarians on my list! What a creep!

Of course Emiliano was on people's lists in 2005 and 2006, so even if he croaks this year, one out of three is still a loss (less than flipping a coin).

Thomas Nelson might not make the AP, if he died today...yeah that's the risk of picking pics like that...

THE GUYS:
You are correct on several counts.

1) She is dead.
2) We didn't list already dead picks (we did actually, but we deleted it in an update). We've fixed this.
(By the way, they are: Red Skelton, Jan Murray, Elisabeth Israel [one you would never have slipped-up on], and Enos Slaughter.)
3) Fidel and Ariel are likely toast (at least one of them)
4) *_01 Exoendo Zuzubar_* did pick a lot of very old people.

Finally, don't email us less. We enjoy your emails.

TIME TO GO:
I will be out of my office from January 13 2007 to January 18 2007, in part to attend the funeral of my grandmother. It there is an urgent matter (i.e., the death of the world's oldest person), please call me at (XXX)XXX-XXXX.

THE GUYS:
One more thing. Our condolences on the loss of your grandmother who, we sincerely hope, lived to a ripe old age and had a full life. She certainly had an interesting grandson.

TIME TO GO:
78 isn't a ripe old age, but my grandmother was a real character herself. At age 16, she protested the Nazis stealing her bicycle (at the risk of death). Even though she didn't get the bicycle back, she dared to say something while others hid...

Also showing how everybody is somebody, my grandmother was also the personal seamstress for Mrs. Steinbrenner (wife of George Steinbrenner, owner of the NY Yankees) until she retired in 1997.

As for the O.B.E., this is the only death pool I play, because it was founded out of respect (at least for the good guys), not some 'horror-flick' mentality.

THE GUYS:
Well, again our condolences. Also, thanks for the nice words about the Death Watch. We do have respect for some of these folks. Others, of course, we think are just jerks.

THE GUYS (Some days later):
You called it (Regarding Thomas Nelson).



MORGUENOLIA BLOSSOM LEE:
MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM CHILI........



TIME TO GO:
The "world's oldest woman" has died at 115...

However, since the "world's oldest man" was 26 days older, she only gets the silver casket...

I wouldn't be surprised if we get a lot of these out of the way early this year. Stay tuned for more deaths (no I didn't do it).



TIME TO GO:
Today I found out that Thomas Nelson Sr died:

This may be the first "no AP obit" for an "oldest" pick.

In retrospect, the gamble wasn't that far off: had the "oldest" man died first, the second-oldest becomes the oldest and would have gotten an AP obit. But instead Mr. Nelson died first. So, it's not just that someone dies during the year, but the order of the deaths can affect whether someone gets credit or not. So, you can do a little 'moralizing' about risky borderline-celebrity pics.

Hey, if the family had wanted this story on the world stage, it could have happened. But they apparently didn't contact anyone outside the local paper.

I hope you'll still do a posting on the main page (hey, this man sold candy for 90 years and never molested children).



SOUTH PACIFIC VALKYRIES:
Finally, after 2 or 3 years of playing I get my first hit.

I was a little worried I might have to take matters into my own hands.

Let’s all bid Madam Bertrand adieu and welcome Mrs. Emma Tillman to countless 2008 Death Watch lists.



EXOENDO ZUZBAR:
OK, so AP screwed us. There is a story about a duck that was put in the freezer after being shot (I tell no lies), but they can make no mention for the Oldest American? What did Moses Hardy have that poor Nelson doesn't?

However, perhaps the family just hasn't reported it yet, there is still hope, isn't there? If there is a mention sometime soon, you will still be inclined to give us the point, yes?

Everyone just better recognize our skillz, cause trust me, my teammate and I have got the skillz. We would be numero uno right now, you better believe it..... watch out for us :)

In the meantime, give us the strike through on our list, it's the least you could do...

THE GUYS:
If it ends up in the AP it gets the points! However, one of our players works for Guinness (not the beer, the book). He tells us that the family could get an AP obit if they wish but sometimes 2nd, 3rd, etc.. oldest just keep it local.



RHONDA:
Come on guys, they're dropping like flies out there--- Denny Doherty of the Mamas and Papas. I know he's not on anybody's list, but he was famous and he's dead. Two days ago I believe.

THE GUYS:
Come on. If they ain't named Phillips or Elliot from that band, how famous are they?

RHONDA:
Youngstas!

THE GUYS:
Not that young. We guess the point we were trying to make was that if you went into work and said, "Gee, guess who died, Denny Doherty" only that freaky dude who sits in the back and wears the tye dyes to work would know what the heck you were talking about.

RHONDA:
Okay, if you say "Denny" and "Mamas & Papas" in one sentence, most people know exactly who you're talking about. But if you say "Julie Winnifred" or "Emilian Merado Del Toro" and stinking old people in one sentence, most people are just blinking their eyes. But NEVERMIND, he wasn't on the list anyway. Just a shame to ignore someone who contributed so much to the music world.

THE GUYS:
Okay, Okay. You have a point.



TIME TO GO:
Hey, In addition to being old, Emiliano was also the 'oldest man', 'oldest person,' and 'oldest veteran'-- he held three Guinness 'oldest' titles! Did I mention he was a WWI veteran (though he never got past training). Emiliano's secret to long life? Never married and never had children (just kidding).

I think this year we're just going to get all the 'oldest' out of the way at the start (unlike last year, when they came mostly at the end).

Emma Tillman isn't looking too hot right now...

Hey, if they all die at the start they'll be none left at the finish...but I think Yone Minagawa of Japan may make 2008.

One idea for 2008...for people over 100, award points if they SURVIVE the year!

THE GUYS:
Yone is now the oldest we believe. As for your rule change: It's an interesting idea. Perhaps instead we deduct 1 point for those types of picks to discourage them. One would still get the hit but would pay a penalty.



BAKERS DEADLY DOZEN:
I thought that we werent allowed to pick people who became famous just because they died... any moron can go online and type in the names of old people...cmon...lets keep it fair. I thought you had to do something notable in life to be eligible for your lists...just living to a ripe old age isn't notable...its good genes...I hope you guys can fix this and make it a real competition and not just who knows old peoples names...

THE GUYS:
*Here's what the rules say:

"..... a celebrity must have some notability. Since that can be a questionable term, the Guys at the O.B.E define a celebrity as any famous sports, political, entertainment, or other national or international figure whose death is announced in the Associated Press. (Use your heads here....Movie stars are celebrities, movie extras are not; presidents of countries are celebrities, presidents of your local girl scout troop are not; singers and song writers of national or international note are celebrities; the fact that you sing in the shower does not make you a celebrity). We hope you get it. If you pick the truly obscure, you run the risk of not scoring the death as the person may not get an AP report of their death. In addition, you make our job harder and most of the other Death Watchers get really snotty about you too."

So, as his been the case since we started this thing, we'll use the AP. Otherwise we get into arguments over who we think is famous versus who other's think are famous. However, we've been toying with a scoring change that may make "world's oldest" type picks less desirable.



HUDSUCKER CAP PISTOL LEE:
In all seriousness (and don't call me Shirley), when the OBE C-E-L-E-B-R-I-T-Y death pool become a "Let's put a bunch of old people on our list" death pool? Exactly where is the fun in that? Some might say it is kind of like rooting for IBM or something.

Here's a thought - next year, no oldest living people. Old doesn't mean celebrity, it means old. Otherwise, shouldn't we be waiting for Morgnolia Blossom Lee to kick? What fun is there is googling "Oldest Living People" and then entering these things? Did I miss it where OBE is paying out $100,000 for winning?

It really makes me think of those genteel days when someone actually picked Tad Szulc. At least he did something with his life beside be old. What did he do again?



ELLIS:
Hello guys. hows life?

I am wondering if you are willing to make a rule change.

Not allow people to have the worlds oldest person. Unless they are an actor or someone really famous, they should not be allowed.

I never have a chance of winning, as I do this for fun. I think it is great, but it takes the fun out of playing. We need more long shots like Anna Nicole in the lists.

Thanks folks. No need to respond.......



THE GUYS:
"For the record, there's going to be a rule change next year and folks like Mr. Pierro are going to be a lot less desirable to pick (if they are allowed at all)."

KEN:
Great news! I was getting quite tired of all the damn "oldest guy" picks. Very lame.



EXOENDO ZUZUBAR:
I do not understand you guys sometimes...

You change the rules for this round trying to get people to branch out and find more rare picks....

And then when we get these really good rare picks, you complain about that too?

I know what you're thinking: "This guy isn't a celebrity" - but the bottom line is, 80% of all lists contain "non-celebrities" (as society knows the term). Lists in all these past years have been composed of rarity's like an obscure philanthropist, some unheard of author from Mongolia, or a 90 year old man that was an exceptional water polo athlete in his day - People no one have ever heard of before. Why is it that choosing a super centenarian is somehow being look down upon?

Choosing really old people has been one of the core strategies of this pool since it was started...

Team Exoendo Zuzubar picked about six super centenarians this year, and four last year (I dare say we were one of the first to load up a big percentage of our list with these picks). What's so wrong with choosing these people? I can assure you that some of our super centenarians were harder picks for us (yone mingawa, edna parker, thomas nelson) than for all of the lemmings choosing lady bird johnson, fidel castro, and many other shoe-ins this year (yes, we picked them too).

So these old people die. So what? That's the point of the game... pick people that are likely to die......

And you want to change that? You want to make these picks less desireable?

What's your deal?

THE GUYS:
There is nothing wrong with picking the oldest people in the world, military, state, etc. There is also nothing wrong about picking some generally unknown persons who gets an AP obit. The problem is, in both cases, the picks are not really in the spirit of the term "celebrity" and never have been.

If you were fair to us, you'd indicate that we have long found this a disappointing aspect of the game (see the Tad Szulc affair and countless obits on old folks and no-names). The problem The Guys have is how to better define "celebrity" to avoid this issue while not injecting our own personal bias too deeply into the definition. We've used the AP as it's been the most expedient, objective approach. We've never been in love with it however.

As for the changes to the scoring system. They reward unique picks, yes, but unique does not equal obscure (see Anna-Anna-Anna Nicole). That is what the scoring system should reward, not friggin' Tad Szulc.

So, in the spirit of the pragmatists, we'll fix things where they are fixable and leave them alone where they require more than a six pack's worth of thought. It's much easier to exclude (or penalize) for any pick for which the obituary contains the words "world's oldest" or the like in relation to the deceased than it is to try and parse out every hall of famer from the 1950s, every former senator from 1970 back, etc. (some of whom may be REAL celebrities and others who may just be guys who got AP obits). At times we've gone so far as to think of eliminating all sports and political figures, limiting the entire pool to entertainment alone. But then you think of Presidents, Popes, etc. and even some business figures (think Bill Gates) and you realize that they ARE celebrities. It all sounds so easy when you are playing. Try sitting down and writing a rule that objectively defines celebrity. Key word, "objectively." Good luck.

We have not decided on the rule change yet and it won't affect this year's game so, as the saying goes, don't get your panties in a knot. Whatever we decide, the game will go on and, we hope, will maintain the fun it always has had.



EXOENDO ZUZUBAR:
If you ever change the rule though you should call it the Exoendo clause (cause we had 6 super centenarians this year... 0_0 )

I'm not mad or anything, there are plenty of celebs out there that are terminally ill.

You know, someone on the supreme court once said (or I could be pulling this out of thin air) that they could not define pornography, only that they knew it when they saw it. I guess that's the same thing with celebs.

Here is my objective definition of what a celebrity is:

--Someone who is widely known in a particular region and is or was in the public eye at large.

i.e. Phyillis Whitney is not a celebrity. Ask anyone on the street who that person is. See how many can tell you she's a very old american mystery writer.

THE GUYS:
Take some time to think about that definition and you'll see how it's not really possible to objectively apply it.



STU:
MAURICE PAPON (2/17/07) - Pardon me, but do you have any "Grey Papon"



MR. WEST:
Why are you so proud to flaunt your ignorance, you judgmental, anal-retentive, nitpicking little faggots? Who do you think you are, anyway? The condescending, arrogant, obnoxious shit you so generously spew is nothing short of sickening... One day someone will come along and screw your fucking heads into the sidewalk. You snidely put others down to elevate yourselves like frustrated, ugly, tit-twisted bitches -- yet, you have no idea how apparent it is to anyone with a brain that you're nothing more than cocksucking human refuse. Shit has more value in this world than trash like you.

Best wishes to you and yours, you fucking rejects!

THE GUYS:
We're not certain whether it was the "nitpicking little faggots" part or the "frustrated, ugly, tit-twisted bitches" part that we liked better. We'd respond further if we could find an iota of content in your love note. Alas, we're at a loss.



EDDIE:
Although I am somewhat late for inclusion in this years events I found myself looking for these celebrity death things after the Large Breasted Gold Digger caught Avian Flu and fell off the Tree of Life.

I like this site here too It isn't as funny as what you guys have but I found it to be a great research tool and they were quick at posting Anna Nicole's death!

I guess I'll enter the fray next year!

I wonder if you guys get celebrities other than ????????? playing the game?

THE GUYS:
Glad you like the site. As far as we're concerned, all our players are celebrities. Uh, not that we want them to die or anything.



STU:
Brad Delp once sang 'Well I'm takin' my time, I'm just movin' along You'll forget about me after I've been gone"

Who is he again?



JEN:
TWO hits! Hooray! I'm tied for second place with about 50 other people. Bring it home, Brooke Astor. Bring it home.

THE GUYS:
Brooke hasn't brought it home in about 75 years.



SOUTH PACIFIC VALKYRIES:
Crazy Ray Jones: A one of a kind mascot and a one of a kind O.B.E. pick.

THE GUYS:
Yup and yup.



MOM:
Hey Guys - Realizing that you are in fact, the next thing to God, but I am a little perplexed as to your ability to forcast the death of Calvert DeForest and Wilford Jones to take place on March 24, 2007, when in fact, it is now only March 21, 2007. I am more impressed than ever.

THE GUYS:
Uh, oops.



DAVID:
I don't believe it is 3/24/07 yet, are we anticipating a couple deaths?

THE GUYS:
More than a couple



PHIL:
I know it might be late, but you gotta post the obit for the great singer from the band Boston: Brad Delp. Also, Richard Jeni was definitely famous enough to feature at Celebrity OBE. You also probably know that singer Luther Ingram died on Monday the 19th, and the legendary director Stuart Rosenberg (Cool Hand Luke, Brubaker, Amityville Horror ) died last Thursday the 15th of March. Keep up the good work--go to this site a lot.



GO FISH:
Guys, Hi. I am heading out of town for a few days, so please be on the lookout for qualifying death notices in the news about Ransom 'Ram' Myers, a renowned biologist and author from Canada that Fortune Magazine once named one of the 10 most influential people in the world. He died yesterday, according to his university's website.



JIM:
I run a small contest, 60+ teams in Colorado. Runs tax time to tax time. Death and taxes, eh. But just wanted to let you know that June Callwood died this morning. Since people chose her for my 2007 pool that starts Monday, they get to use an alternate.

Like your site, was just helping people do some last minute research.

THE GUYS
Thank you very much. Hope to see you play the O.B.E. Next year.



KEN:
Well, the deadliest shooting rampage in American history, right here in Blacksburg. Suck it, Texas-clock-tower-sniper-guy!

WE'RE NUMBER ONE!! WE'RE NUMBER ONE!! WE'RE NUMBER ONE!!

THE GUYS
This doesn't happen very often, but we find ourselves at a loss for words.



STU:
First Don, then Danya. Boy am I in the mood for Ho-Ho's now.

THE GUYS
Yeah, well if you believe Santa Claus, there's still one more coming.



STU:
13. MITCH MILLER - Gasp along with Mitch.

I just read your picks. This one really got me laughing.

THE GUYS:
Mitch liked it too we hear.



RICHARD:
I really enjoy your Web site and read it often!

However, in reading your description of Kurt Waldheim today I noticed what I believe is a mistake. You write the following incomplete sentence: "But we're pretty certain that most of you would agree that having a dude who was involved with war crimes committed in the Balkans during World War II." I would think you would want to end that sentence with something like, "... was not a good idea for the head of the U.N." or something like that! :-)

Again, I really enjoy your site: Please keep up the good work!

P.S. -- Also, this is a minor point, but the word "its" in the preceding sentence ("And others of you may think its the best thing since sliced bread.") should be "it's."

THE GUYS:
Actually we were going to end the sentence "...was a stroke of genius that, to this day, we applaud." However, we were so busy giving one arm salutes as we typed the damn thing that we left off the end of the sentence. Aw crap, we'll just go with your ending.

RICHARD:
You guys are great!



HEINOUS:
Ruth Graham is deceased.

I'd normally just assume you guys were busy (or shitfaced) and wait it out, but since you sent out a couple of other stiff-notices since she croaked, I figure you might have missed it.

THE GUYS:
Maybe, just maybe, we were busy GETTING shitfaced. Chew on that one Heinous.



RACHEL:
I notice you're behind a few deaths (Ruth Grahm, Beverly Sills, I think some others)...everything all right? I'm sending my well wishes.

THE GUYS:
We run a web site where you guess if people are going to die and you want to know if we're okay? Come on.



LARRY:
What's Boots Randolph - chopped Liver?

THE GUYS:
Come on. The guy was from Paducah, Kentucky. Hardly a cultural center. Really. Sheesh. We bet you couldn't name one other person who even remotely impacted the world of music who came from Paducah, Kentucky. Alright, alright. There was that Presley dude.

As for Boots being chopped liver, clearly not. He was simply footwear before it became a billion dollar market.

LARRY:
You're kidding me - right?

No impact on the world of music!?

Remember Elvis's mid-60's rocker "Return to Sender"?

That's Boots Randolph leading off with the gorgeous sax intro.

Remember Al Hirt's mega hit Java?

You can hear Boots Randolph's sax in that one, too.

And there are many other hit oldies that showcased Boots handiwork.

You see, Boots was a very popular recording session musician during the sixties, and I would imaginge that he probably got first dibs on most recordings where a sax was needed.

Of course, Boots also had that hit of his own "Yakety Sax".

Check it out and write it up, please.

THE GUYS:
Larry, Larry, Larry.... Reread our initial reply. WE WERE KIDDING DUDE. That having been said, Boots (as great a Sax guy as he was) just doesn't pass the water cooler test. If we've got to "check it out," chances are the goner ain't a celebrity.



DR. FS:
Don’t want to be a pain, but I noticed that per the points on the entries page, I should have a total of 5, but the standings show me at 4.

If I’m mistaken, please let me know... I’m still getting the hang of this. Thanks for your help!

THE GUYS:
Fixed.



DANNY:
I must have missed something but I have 4 deaths but only 3 points – didn’t see how that could happened on the rules page.

Thanks for the contest and any clarification you give me.

THE GUYS:
Apparently, we've messed up somewhere. That will be fixed shortly.



EXOENDO ZUSUBAR:
Just wanted to let you know that we should have 5 deaths and 5 points, don't know why it says 4 deaths 3 points. I don't think that is even possible to have more deaths than points. Oh well!

THE GUYS:
Yeah. Somehow the database went loopy. To be fixed shortly.



DR. N.V.P.:
Did Stan Zemanek get an AP notice? He tabbed out about 2 weeks ago. I know he's all over the European news agencies, but I don't know if that helps me. Does APAustralia count in this arena?

THE GUYS:
Yes, updates tonight.



TRANNSFIXUS SED NON MORTIMUS:
I read about Florence Finch dying in April 2007, but we haven’t received credit……what gives!?

THE GUYS:
We haven't seen an AP obituary on this one.



BOYZ FROM THE BURBS:
Surprised that there's not anything yet about Tammy Faye Messner (aka Tammy Faye Baker). Suspect you're cooking up something big, maybe even bigger than her eyelashes! Look forward to the result.

THE GUYS:
You're surprised. Well, its summer. There are vacations. There's trying to excel at one's PAYING job. There's beer. There's the Harry Potter book. There's beer. And finally, if its not too redundant of us, there is beer. And thank God for that!



BOYZ FROM THE BURBS:
Surprised that there's not anything yet about Tammy Faye Messner (aka Tammy Faye Baker). Suspect you're cooking up something big, maybe even bigger than her eyelashes! Look forward to the result.

THE GUYS:
You're surprised. Well, its summer. There are vacations. There's trying to excel at one's PAYING job. There's beer. There's the Harry Potter book. There's beer. And finally, if its not too redundant of us, there is beer. And thank God for that!



MOM:
Freakin Potter kid better not die. I didn't pick him!!!!!!!!



DR. N.V.P.:
So if you guys have sobered up enough to respond to email and update the dead folk, then your probably good for a suggestion on the old foggie issue.

Lots of death watchers have complained about the "oldest" picks. I've defended the practice myself, but it really has gotten out of hand. (Oldest Guatemalan lesbian can only be right around the corner.) Lots of death watchers have also complained about the Tad Szulcs of the world. Rightfully so in my book. It occurs to me that if you're gonna adjust the scoring to discourage "oldest" picks, then you might do it such a way as to not reward obscurity either; which is what the current system does. Perhaps you could come up with a scoring system based entirely upon age. Picking someone to die who's in the prime of their life is more impressive than picking a blind, deaf, and bed-ridden Asian chick. Picking someone to die that everybody knows is much more fun than picking an obscure Romanian disident. [Exploding, reloading, this quest never ending until I give out my last breath!]

If it were me, which thankfully it isn't, I might do it something like this:

>100=1pt
80-99=2pts
50-79=3pts
30-49=4pts
0-29=5pts


You could also set a good taste lower limit if you felt so enclined. I know I sure felt bad about picking that little girl last year. Maybe less than 16 is only worth 2pts or something. I'd personally keep the AP system, but leave out the obscurity factor. Picking a race car painter that nobody has ever heard of is great; you get a pick crossed out--but no bonus points.

Just a thought.

BTW, are yall's references to Meisterbrau a joke, or does it refer to something different up there than it does down here? I read one of those a while back and thought to myself, "so the guys drink Meisterbrau. Must be pretty good. I'll check it out." Thankfully I looked online before I went to purchase. Maybe I'll just stick to my Sierra Nevada instead of taking suggestions from yous guys.

THE GUYS:
Your scoring system is not such a bad idea. However, it would make our heads hurt more than normal. Some pools we know of actually score using the formula: 100-age of departed so that over 100 causes a negative score. That solves the "oldest" part. The celebrity part is far more difficult. As for the current scoring, it's not designed to reward obscurity (though we know it does), it's designed to reward creativity and luck (for example an Anna Nicole Smith pick).

Now the Meisterbrau comments. Sometimes a beer that tastes like cold piss-water is just what you need. Especially when you're almost broke and getting the DTs. Given our druthers' however, there are plenty of finer brews we'd drink (and do). In other words, yeah, we're joking. If you want to engage in beer talk, at least one of us could go on for hours about quality brews and the brewing process. If you want some quality brews, try one of the Samuel Smith line (I enjoy the Nut Brown a great deal). For something really different delve into the Belgian beers. Or, if you like there is a nice line of US brewed Belgian style beers out of Cooperstown, NY brewed by Brewery Ommegang. The Rare Vos is a personal favorite. Want a smooth, heady pint full? Do the Bodington's in the nitrogen capsule pub can. Lovely. Crap. I gotta go, time for a beer.

DR. N.V.P.:
I suspect geography complicates a common frame of reference insofar as beer goes. Being from Texas, most of my beer comes from the West. Colorado is cranking out alot of fine brew but I don't figure ya'll get much of it up there. If you ever get a chance to check out Arrogant Bastard Ale, it's great (and will really light you up). SS nut brown is a lovely beer. Unfortunately it's pretty pricey down here. 'Bout 10 bucks a 4-pack, last I saw. As for the Belgian stuff, just drank a Stella, a beer I'm pretty fond of.

Just looked over the stats, and I suppose ya'll are probably right. I recognized about 85% of the 1 and 2 picks and they all seem like reasonable, creative picks. It's just the unavoidable 15% that suck. Having said that, being the oldest living person on Earth sure seems like a more noteworthy thing than getting stranded in Cuba right before the Beard takes over. Cest la vie, I suppose. Now I want to go and get hammered, dammit.



JEN:
Well it looks like Brooke brought it home after all.



GO FISH:
Hi guys: The caberet singer and songwriter died on Wednesday, 8/15, according to these obits.

THE GUYS:
So far John Wallowitch hasn't gotten an AP obit. The two you sent are from the NY Times and Playbill (they are also the only two we could find online. If you want the hit, we'll need the AP obit (kinda like a Johnny Cochran, just different). GO FISH:
Aussie radio hosts, the world's oldest people, and egghead psychologists get AP obits or mentions, yet a New York cabaret star who wrote thousands of songs and was part of quite a dynamic musical duo team - - whose partner was all over AP when he died a few years ago - - just can't make the grade? Something seems wrong with that. Not with you guys, but with the AP. Wallowitch probably got caught in a bad news cycle the day he died, meaning AP was too busy with other things.



ROB:
I write a weekly column for a gossip blog, A Socialite's Life, and I want to feature your website in my column this Thursday - August 23, 2007.

I was wondering if you had any additional insights on the game, photos, oh, I dunno....anything that might add a little extra personal pizazz to my story.

Ew. That sounded kinda rancid and show-bizy, didn't it? Please forgive me.

Anyway, if you something you'd like to share, please send it my way.

THE GUYS:
Maybe you'd enjoy some of these old photos of us with Frank Sinatra.




MIKE:
Butch van Breda Kolff: Another hit for me. Also, this obit cracks me up. Long Island, New York newspaper feels that his contributions to Hofstra were morre important than the fact that he led the Lakers to the NBA Finals twice.

THE GUYS:
What a narrow view of the world you have. Puh-lease. The Lakers. We're talking Hofstra. We're talking a campus right in the middle of Long Island. We're talking cultural center fella. Dude, Long-F*cking-Island. And we never cuss.

MIKE:
LOL. Actually, I am somewhat embarassed to say that I am an alumnus of said Hofstra myself.



STU:
Any bets on whether the “FOSSETT” is still running?

Oh LOL HA HA HA LOL LOL



WOODEN OVERCOAT CLUB:
A couple of daisy-pushers you may have missed:

Jane Tomlinson, one of my "Wooden Overcoat Club" has just been measured up for hers. She went on 3rd September, and I found an obit on the AP site. The stats page says she is in 2 entries, but I'm damned if I can find the other one!

Another one, which doesn't affect me, but would seem to change the overall leader, is Lee Hazelwood, who fell off the perch on 6th August. Goatsucker has him, which would put him top. I am sure he would have an AP obit, although I haven't checked.

THE GUYS:
Much thanks. It's *_Auditioning for the Choir Invisible_* who also have Jane T.



LESLEY:
You guys know that Sydney Pollack has just days to live, right?

THE GUYS:
Don't we all?



MELARA:
Why aren't you still doing this?

THE GUYS:
Still doing this? We are still doing this. Where ya been?

MELARA:
Huh?

I'll bet your guys that got hold of my credit card and ran over $300.00 on it.

THE GUYS:
You'd bet wrong. We don't take people's credit card numbers. So, out of curiosity, what the hell are you babbling about?

MELARA:
Babbling? Someone got a hold of my credit card number and made either two payments or purchases through Verizon. One for like $299.00 and one for $199.00. Don't know how it happened, but the fraud dept for my cc company called me. I wonder how they pick up on these things? That's all. So, I am wondering why I even got an email in the first place since I have no relationship with Verizon.

THE GUYS:
Well we're sorry to hear that. However, that doesn't explain why you originally sent us an email that read:

"Why don't you do this anymore?"

Which, frankly, we didn't really understand.

MELARA:

I'm sorry. I don't remember that sentence. I think I just equated the Verizon email address to the fraudulent payments. My error. What are The_Guys@verizon? Now I'm curious.

THE GUYS:
http://www.flymetothetomb.com

MELARA:
Now I know who you guys are. The celebrity death watch guys. The site I have hasn't been updated in a long time.



EXOENDO ZUZUBAR:
Don't forget to name your new rule after us . . .it was us that spured most of the debate and it was our list that contained so many wonderful centenarians that dropped like flies. You owe us . . probably.

THE GUYS:
We'll give it all the consideration it's due.



ZIA:
That Alice (Ghostley) chick played "Aunt Clara" on Bewitched. Esmerelda was the mother.

THE GUYS:
While we appreciate criticism and people pointing out that we are wrong... being that our wives so seldom to the same; we have to respectfully grow a set of balls, have a spine, stop being so damn yellow and proclaim out correctness on the matter and thereby, your wrongness.

"That Alice chick," as you so well describe Ms. Ghostley, did indeed play painfully shy, dematerializing and accident-prone witch-nanny Esmeralda. Aunt Clara was the dithering, bumbling aunt played my Marion Lorne who passed away in 1968.

You also seem to confuse the character of Esmeralda with the character of Endora, Samantha's mother. Who was played by Agnes Moorehead.

Basically, you are mistaking Ghostley for Moorehead. Funny, our wives do that too....

ZIA:
You're quite right.....sorry. It was the Esmeralda/Endora thing that confused me. Thanks for replying.



SOUTH PACIFIC VALKYRIES:
I’m trying to toss in a few bucks for next years prize money, but the link to paypal is acting funny.

Could you send me the address that I can send the donation to?

THE GUYS:
We just checked PAYPAL and its A-okay. However, we also take donations at

THE GUYS AT THE O.B.E.
PO Box 343
Middlesex, NJ 08846

Thanks as always



RAVEN:
Long time, no type!! Just wanted to give you a heads-up about one of the stiffs on my list---Werner von Trapp. The Sound of Music he is hearing now is the funeral march.

THE GUYS:
Special for you... A few of OUR favorite things!.....

Raindrops on lilies and etchings on tombstones
Sleek silver caskets and worm ridden old bones
Internet articles in the A.P.
These are the things that make-up O.B.E.

Black colored clothing and fans saying "toodles"
Church bells play death knells and strangers cry oodles
Watchers that picked them then scored only three
These are the things that make-up O.B.E.

When a star dies
Or celeb croaks
When we're feeling sad
We simply remember this swell O.B.E.
And then we don't feel so bad

Cleaning up messes from overdosed rockers
Big fakes whose fast breaks are targets for mockers
Shot gun or car crash? We'll just wait and see
These are the things that make-up O.B.E.

When a star dies
Or celeb croaks
When we're feeling sad
We simply remember this swell O.B.E.
And then we don't feel so bad



13 GHOSTS:
I know you have some hard drive issues, but 13 ghosts' list is all screwed up. It looks like someone went trigger-happy crossing out names of people are aren't even dead yet. I glanced over his list and I realized that Kevorkian's name was crossed out (one of our guys) only to get my hopes dashed via wikipedia. Here are the people who aren't dead yet on 13 ghost's team:

Virginia Davis
Jack Kevorkian
Dolores Hope
Estelle Getty
Harold Pinter
Dan Fogelberg
John Forsythe

Hope that helps, good luck on that computer gentlemen!

THE GUYS:
This was the result of an html coding error. We'll be fixing it shortly.



JOHN:
You gotta get Britney Spears on the list guys. She's on the Monroe, or Anna Nicole path for sure.

THE GUYS:
For a while Britney Spears was on our list, then we saw what a chubby train wreck she became and we scratched her off. Oh, wait a minute. We were thinking of a different list. Sorry.



DEATH BY CHOCOLATE:
You guys do a great job. One question: Is Elizabeth Edwards a celebrity yet, or is she disqualified for being John Edwards' wife? She seems to get quite a bit of publicity on her own even without the cancer thing.

THE GUYS:
We looked Liz up on Wikipedia and what do you think it says:

"Her husband, John Edwards, was a U.S. Senator from North Carolina, the 2004 United States Democratic vice-presidential nominee, and is a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2008 presidential election."

Granted, it first says she's an attorney. But If we asked you about, Liz Edwards the attorney, you'd say, "Who?" or "Do you mean John Edward's wife?" Whereas if we said F. Lee Bailey the attorney, you'd know who we meant. Therein lies the difference.

She is no more a celebrity than Ann Romney. Who? Exactly!

The only reason she is better known than Mitt Romney's wife (Ann Romney) is the fact that she has cancer. As you'll note in the new rules, fame by disease AND fame by relationship are BOTH grounds for omitting a pick. Put them together and, guess what they're still not friggin' celebrities.

Think about it this way, when you're filling out the 2008 entry form and describing Ms. Edwards, how would you do it? If your answer is "wife of..." or "...who has cancer" then it's likely going to fail the test.

We hope this is clear. We've got to feel our way through this new system this year and we're sure to take some crap. However, we simply could not let the game continue to degrade into a "World's oldest" and a "Most obscure" contest and still be able to find it enjoyable.

DEATH BY CHOCOLATE:
Thank you so much. You guys are GREAT. and I accept your ruling -- it will keep her off my next list. But I am an New Hampshire and at this time of year everyone of these people is a local celebrity -- including Ann Romney!



THE KIMMER:
Wow, Guys, love the new rules.

Hey - why not just "internet search" or the like . . .
www.yahoo.com

Happy Halloween!

THE GUYS:
'Cause we like Google.

THE KIMMER:
Then maybe youz should at the "TM" thingy, or at least use the word as a verb.



THE BABY CRUSHERS:
Kudos on the new rules. I picked the Oldest geezers because they were accepted. But I didn't agree with it. Now that you have eliminated them, I think the OBE will be more fun.

THE GUYS:
Much thanks. It's gonna be a rough 2008 entry period no doubt, but long term it's going to make the game better (more fun).



HEINOUS:
I think y'all just made your lives considerably more difficult. Lots of tough calls and lots of bitching about your decisions.

The regional aspect seems particularly subjective. I have no idea who the governor of New Jersey is, but if they find him hanging from a belt in a cheap hotel room, it's certainly gonna be a national deal. How 'bout the King of Spain? That guys a honest-to-god King and nobody here could name him. Would the now dead Crazy Ray have qualified? Certainly people in Pittsburgh are familiar with him. Probably most of the other NFL cities as well.

I also think the Google search is gonna come back to haunt you. Consider Land of the Lost (I mean if you weren't already). Every person who ever had anything to do with that show has an IMDB listing which will invariably be the first or second hit on Google. Uncle Jack might be a celebrity. Holly? Fuck yeah. But Sleestack number 4 from some episode in season 6? Assistant script writer? One Sleestack had an IMDB listing but he shared a name with 2 more famous people; a photographer with lots of books on Amazon and a former NBA player. Both were listed ahead of him. So does a celebrity have to be the most famous of all people who share his name?

I'm not trying to give ya'll grief about this. It's y'alls game. I'm just pointing out that you've put yourselves in a fairly difficult position. I also wouldn't mind a little more clarification since as we've discussed, the current system does reward obscurity.

THE GUYS:
Well, we were never the ones to duck a hard issue. So we figured, why the hell not.

You raise some interesting things here. Under the new set of rules, we believe the John Corzine, Gov of NJ (hell after that, auto accident of this past year, he may even be a good pick - geeze the Last NJ Gov turned gay while in office, who saw that coming?) Juan Carlos I (Juan Carlos Alfonso Víctor María de Borbón y Borbón-Dos Sicilias), King of Spain just look at that name and yes even, Wilford Jones 'Crazy Ray' would all be potential picks (except Jones - he's dead).

The Google aspect we are used to and understand what is necessary to decipher the difference. And we think your hypothetical makes some vast assumptions. IF someone can do enough research to find that the Sleestack from Ep: II in season VI is ill, and IF that person puts him on the list and IF he does die and IF the AP reports it.... well man, that's a lot of IFs. Yeah it could happen. We are trying to avoid the happenings of the past few years, where people skip the celebrity aspect and go for Guinness clout... The oldest man in Canada, The oldest woman in Madagascar, The Oldest Veteran in Tennessee... where the celebrity is contingent on the words "oldest."

The Guys will be holding a caucus Monday evening and plan on ironing out some better clarifications for the area of so called obscurity.

HEINOUS:
If I might make a suggestion (two, actually). Perhaps y'all could make yourselves available for a pre-screening period in December. If people have questionable picks, maybe render a decision before the final deadline. Who knows, ya might just prevent the evisceration of some ruthless, mean-spirited Unabomber type's list (not me, I'm a nice guy).

Also, I'd definitely recommend expanding on the regional component a little more. "Well he just wasn't famous enough in Alaska" could likely earn you guys some wrath. Especially now that we've established that foreigners (*Juan Carlos de whatthefuckever) count.

THE GUYS:
No pre-screening. You pick 'em and take a risk. If you've got that much doubt about a pick, maybe they ain't a celebrity after all. Bet ya wouldn't have doubts if it was, say, Sting. We know this year may be rough, but it's gonna be worth it. Long term, the lists will just be better and more fun to track.

The regional thing is really designed to eliminate entries like PATRICA OWENS FORDICE. We don't think this one is going to cause too many problems. It's not so much a failure to be known in Alaska we're concerned with, its more the issue of ONLY being known in Alaska.

HEINOUS:
"It's not so much a failure to be known in Alaska we're concerned with, its more the issue of ONLY being known in Alaska." Now that is a damn fine way of putting it. I like that.

I'd like to re-iterate. I've got no real problem with any of the new rules. I'm wholly in favor of what y'all are trying to do. The lists should be better and more fun. I do have a real concern that they're kind of subjective. That's all. Whereas the old (admittedly flawed) way was concrete, it seems like a lot of picks this year will be judgment calls on the part of the Guys.

I had doubts about Corzine, King Whatshisname, and Crazy Ray. They all passed. Along those same lines, would Kirk Fordice have counted?

Sting. He's a celebrity. But since nobody has ever died from a priapism, there's no reason to pick him, is there? You gotta have a reason to think someones gonna kip over AND points count. The tendency is for a death watcher to try push towards the edge of obscurity without going over. Now people like me might want to head the opposite direction due to concerns over validity. If you think about it, a list full of superstars who don't die isn't particularly amusing either.

Anyways, not trying to bitch, just tossing in my observations.

THE GUYS:
Yes, there will be more subjectivity on our part. That's unavoidable. We've always tried to be fair and honest with this game. That won't change. However, we know someone's bound to get pissed-off. As the rules have clearly stated since Day One,"The decisions of the Guys are final and may not be disputed by Death Watchers. The Guys reserve the right to alter, waive, omit, and add rules to the O.B.E. as they deem necessary....Remember that all decisions of The Guys are final (unless The Guys themselves change their minds). The Guys are the judge, jury and, well no, they're not the executioners, but they are the judge and jury. So, if a potential Death Watcher does not trust the judgment of The Guys they should not participate."

None of them have been entered into the 2008 so they may or may not pass. However, we suspect Jon Corzine would. We suspect the King of Spain would. We'll reserve all such judgments until 2008 when we can thoroughly apply the rules.

Points only count for ties, so they're less of an issue than you make them out to be. And point are not really designed to push the obscure, they are designed to reward the creative. We think too many players have mistaken creativity for obscurity. Picking one of the Olsen Twins and hitting is creative. Picking the fourth oldest Latvian Tennis Hall of Famer is obscure. Under the new system the former is rewarded and the later is omitted.

We appreciate your comments and it's exactly some of the points you've brought up that have prevented us from doing this for so many years. But we've increasingly found ourselves wasting hours just trying to figure out who entries are. Then we've had three years where we missed several deaths and only caught these omissions at the end of the year. We missed them because the people had no firggin' name recognition and we glossed right over them in the obits. We've got to fix that.

By the way, although we couldn't find a single instance of death by priapism, we did learn that the recently executed sometimes experience priapism, especially following a hanging.


JORDI:
Where do I find a list of celebrities that currently have cancer, heart disease, aids….etc

THE GUYS:
Uh, Google.



BABY CRUSHERS:
With the new rule about a person who is a relative of a celebrity not counting as a celebrity, I was wondering if Ruby Muhammad counts as a celebrity. According the Web Site I was looking on, she is the Mother of the Nation of Islam. That would lead me to think she is a celebrity in her own right. Am I able to ask you this question? Can you answer it? do you like cheese?

THE GUYS:
We love cheese. You can ask whatever you want. We can answer whatever we want. However, we ain't making judgments on celebrities until they are submitted. We are suggesting people not push the envelope too much and that they think to themselves, "If I've got to ask, are they REALLY a celebrity?" That is not the sole criteria, but its a good place to start your list.

All that having been said, a simple Google search of Ruby turned up a Wikipedia entry, A "Dead or Alive" (great page that tracks the life status of....Celebrities) entry and several other links relating her to her status in the the Nation of Islam.

Point here: Relationship to fame doesn't automatically exclude a person as a celebrity. Heck, every First Lady is a celebrity by nature of the position (which, yes we know is due to marriage but the descriptor changes). They are no longer famous because they married Mr. Soandso. They are celebrities because they are the First Lady. Kevin Federline married Britney Spears. They're both Celebrities. Glenn Close married David Shaw. Glenn's a celebrity, David's not.

BABY CRUSHERS:
Thanks guys. Long live Cheese.



MORGUENOLIA BLOSSOM LEE:
Linda Stein, the onetime co-manager of Ramones, was found dead October 30 in her Upper East Side apartment in Manhattan.

Stein, 62, who was once married to famous Sire Records head/Warner Bros. vice-president Seymour Stein, was found dead in her kitchen.

Initial cause of death is listed as “The Blitzkrieg Bop” to the head.



GO FISH:
Guys at O.B.E.: Please let me know if this message at the stiffs.com message board is authentic and written by one of you?

HERE

If it is, then I have to tell you, I am going to seriously reconsider my participation in your O.B.E. game next year. Zach Love’s actions this year, the past few years, in fact, should not be defended. He has done more to hurt deadpools, creating false trust and a continuing air of what-the-hell-is-going-on?, than any operator of any pool on the web. And, unlike you and every other pool organizer, he has the gall to take a financial profit from it. I understand that he may have run a fine game years ago, long before I became involved in the hobby. But now, there are a number of e-mails being circulated, stating that many of his players are finally tired of it and clamoring for refunds. While I won’t go that far, I will say that I won’t be fooled again by him. It's buyer beware.

Please let me know if one of you indeed wrote the message and, as a group, stand by it.

THE GUYS:
I wrote it (steve). Zach has run a pool that we consider to be the quintessential Dead pool. But not for Stiffs...No O.B.E. The point of my post is this: It's a darn internet Dead pool. No one, and I mean NO ONE, should be taking it so seriously that they are emailing the Better Business Bureau on the guy.

Sorry if that disappoints you.



IAN:
Just thought I would tell you about one you may have missed:

CHAD VARAH, founder of the Samaritans, fell off the perch last week. To the best of my knowledge it was not suicide! Unless the phones were all busy, that is!

He seems to figure in just one entry, that of my better half - Norwegian Blue (Beautiful Plumage).



LARRY:
You wrote up Chad Varah just because he got an AP obit.?!?

Back in July, Boots Randolph got an AP obit - why didn't you write him up?

I'd wager you that far more people recognize the name of Boots Randolph ("Yakety Sax") and far more know of his work whether they know his name or not (saxophone entro to Elvis Presley's "Return to Sender", other hits, too) - far more know Boots Randolph than Chad Varah or the octagenerians you have written up.

THE GUYS (1):
Your point is well taken, but your reasoning is skewed. We'd counter argument that neither Boots nor Chad are "well known." In fact, we'd wager that if 10 random people on the street were polled on both these names, 9.99 would say, "who?"

However, there is a reasoning for how we chose whom to include in our bulletins; Chad's name was pick on one of our death watchers lists, Boot's was not.

There ya go... simple as that. So next time you casting aspersions about what we do and how we do it, how about asking us a question not formulating a biased opinion and besmirching our good name... huh? Yeah, we're hurt man. Really hurt.

You think this is easy? You think we like playing picky and choosy? No. It's hard on us and now, so are you... someone we always looked at as a friend. Man were we wrong... oh so wrong. Be that way... fine

THE GUYS (2):
No. We wrote up Chad because he was ON SOMEONE'S LIST AND GOT AN AP OBIT! Otherwise, Chad would have passed on without note on our part.

LARRY:
I appreciate your response - it makes sense...

But just for the heck of it, have you ever written up someone's death on the site even though no one entered that name in the contest? Just because you thought that the "community" would appreciate a little more info or insight on that person even though no one thought him or her likely to die that year - or didn't know "the rest of the story" so to speak?

You see it may very well be that not too many of us remember Boots by name - but a lot of us know his work - when we were enjoying Elvis's Return to Sender or Al Hirt's Java or any other number of big hits from the 60's, we were enjoying Boots saxophone, too, probably without knowing it.

My insistence on your entering an obit for Boots on your site is really a compliment to you - I can get my obits any number of places on the web - but your humor is unique and I was looking forward to your final word on Boots.

THE GUYS:
To your first question; yes, absolutely. If that crazy William Arthur Philip Louis Mountbatten-Windsor (aka Heir Apparent Prince William were to kick it tomorrow, we'd write a bulletin/obit and send it out; although his name appears on no one's list.

Now, as for Boots, well, he just doesn't cut the mustard for us. If you just put in Boots into a Wikipedia search, Boots Randolph comes in 7th at a 52.2% match; somewhere behind Ugg, Beatle and Puss. And face it, if you played his biggest hit (Yakkity Sax), more people would associate it with Benny Hill than Boots Randolf (and that's in the US).

Just because we may be familiar with some of his works, does not a celebrity make Boots. We have all heard The Girl from Ipanema; does that make Antonio Carlos Jobim a celebrity? We believe not.

As for our final words on Boots - We'll just say this:

You can find all you need to about Boots, at his "Officially Listed Web Site"

Go there you'll discover the one thing that sums him up - a dead link...



MICHELLE:
There's a Myspace bulletin going around saying that Gene Simons is dead:

Late last night early on November 16th famous KISS frontman Gene Simmons was found dead in his house. “He was found late in the night by his daughter Sophie.” said reporter Russ Burnside.

I can't find anything on it and the last name on ya'lls list is Norman Mailer (11/10). Do you guys know if this is true or not?

THE GUYS:
Rest easy. As of now, we can find nothing to substantiate the rumor about the long tongues one. There was an internet rumor to this effect way back when Jumpin' Gene Simmons passed away back in 2006. But that was a hoax.

However, you may want to have a glimpse at Snopes which will explain the latest rumor that had you fearing that "The Demon" has gone on to Hades.

Hope you are at ease now....



TIME TO GO:
I noticed you changed the rules for next year's O.B.E. 'Celebrity' Death Pool. While I like the Terri Schiavo rule (her death came by a scheduled tube removal), I do question those that are anti-ageist. They forget a few things, and are, really, SICKOS.

A. The O.B.E. started in 1998 in order to honor Frank Sinatra, who at 82 had lived a good long life. Not some accidental, 28-year-old heart attack victim.

B. Each year, as one gets older, the chance of death increases, but even at age 100 the death rate is only about 40%. By age 110 isn't only 50%.

C. EVERYONE has an equal opportunity to pick candidates. Making the list 'anti-obscure' simply makes the results more 'accidental', as it punishes those who may actually do a little research to come up with people likely to die.

D. It eliminates the "'DOH'...I could have sworn that person would have kicked off" cases. In other words, some picked Sarah Knauss at 118 in 1998, but Sarah waited until 1999 to kick off.

E. For those who argued rewarding the 'early' deaths, that's really sick. It's pro-death. I'm not pro-death. I believe in honoring those who have passed on. You only die once, and each year those who die are different people. Is it too much to ask to remember them 'once'?

F. Obscure picks are more likely to not carry an AP obit (Florence Finch). Thus the system is self-limiting: taking higher risks made it more likely to get nothing. But that decision is made by the AP (a third party). If you go through and have to cross out dozens of names, it becomes arbitrary, second-party bias. So, expect a whole new can of worms in 2008.

Look, Bertha Fry, 3rd oldest in the world, barely made the AP...so don't think that if someone sent in a list with everyone over 110, it would fly.

I actually joined simply to help educate people as to how long humans really live. With that mission removed, I may not be participating next year.

Is it time for Time to Go to go?

THE GUYS:
We've always found you to be among our most interesting and enjoyable Death Watchers. We have been especially intrigued by your participation with Guinness (the book, we have participation with the beer too). We agree that the Death Watch is in place to recognize great celebrities and to "honor", in a sense, their memories. However, the pool also is meant to poke fun at the news and the popular culture that idolizes folks like Anna Nicole for the "cult of personality." The most important thing, however, is that the pool was designed to be a CELEBRITY death watch. Not a world's oldest, not a most obscure to get an AP obit. We're looking to try and recapture that.

We have literally wasted days (like 24 hour days) looking up names and trying to track deaths for some of the player picks over the last 5 or 6 years. That takes the fun out of the game for us and for those folks who really want the Joey Bishops and the Zsa Zsa Gabors and not the World's oldest this or that.

We hope you understand and that you continue to participate. Again, we really think you brought something to the Death Watch (from those first silly jibes we made comparing you to your Celebrity namesake to today).



DAVE:
Before i send in my list can i get a ruling on if this guy is legit?

I have him on my list this year and would like to keep him. Its cool if you say no i have others but i don't want to get screwed later.

Oscar Niemeyer

THE GUYS:
If you'll have a look at the 'mailbag' link on the site you'll find the following answer to your primary question:

No pre-screening. You pick 'em and take a risk. If you've got that much doubt about a pick, maybe they ain't a celebrity after all. Bet ya wouldn't have doubts if it was, say, Sting. We know this year may be rough, but it's gonna be worth it. Long term, the lists will just be better and more fun to track.

Hope this somewhat helps...



LARRY:
Okay, I admit it - I am obtuse...

With regard to Drury and Hyde, you led off the obit with "New Anchor."

I am sure that I will kick myself when you explain...

THE GUYS (1):
As one half of the The Guys at the OBE, I have to chime in here. My partner (the Other Guy at The OBE) was the one who wrote the most recent series of obits. I, like you, noticed the obit bylines that you mentioned.

Now, I do not want cast aspersions, but I think that good old Steve is on the sauce again. After John Drury's name, I believe that the byline should have read News Anchor, as Mr. Drury was indeed a News Anchor. As to why he also noted the Henry Hyde was a New Anchor; well again, the juice explains it.

I see that the obits were sent out at 9:40 this morning - and it being Saturday morning, well that explains it. Knowing my partner (as well as I know myself), he probably knocked off work around 3pm yesterday, made a beeline for the local pub and has been there perched on a stool ever since. Now that the pub has wi-fi installed, there is really little reason to leave...

So there you have it, he's off the wagon for like 18 hours and here you are nit-picking. Ever hear the word INTERVENTION? If you are not part of the solution, you are a part of the problem.

THE GUYS (2):
Or stated otherwise:

What you call the disease, I call the cure. Hiccup.


DON:
Your new EXEMPTIONS are good, but I think the other regional CRITERIA isn’t needed and is pretty hard to know who fits in this and who doesn’t.

Very few people in the US would know who Charles Lane was. He wasn’t exactly “famous”. Outside of dead pool competitions, I bet less then 1% of the population would have had any idea who he was if you said his name. How would he pass the Regional test if no one (outside of dead pool research) would have any idea who the man was.

What about retired US senators, congressman, BIG CITY mayors, etc…?

Unless they were outspoken & were in the new frequently, very few people outside their state would know who they are. ARE YOU going to exclude these folks?

I’m not even sure if CURRENT representatives and/or senators would pass your regional test?

Q: Would Michele Bachmann (MN rep) or Amy Klobuchar (MN senator) be kicked out?

What about picks like Meinhardt Raabe ? He is an “OLDEST” – but he is also an actor from a very popular movie.

Q: Would you exclude this pick in 2008?

What about Cardinal Francis George? Outside of Chicago and/or die-hard Catholic’s – he isn’t a famous person. He passes the google test – but what about the Regional one?

Q: Would you exclude this pick in 2008?

THE GUYS:
All good questions. First, let us tell you that we are not going to answer any questions about who we will and won't allow prior to the onset of the 2008 O.B.E. As we've said before, if you have doubts, maybe you should consider other picks.

Now, we realize this is going to be a pain in the tail. And we know some people are going to get mad. And we know there's going to be folks screaming how wrong we are. But we couldn't let things continue the way they were going. This pool was turning into the pick the most obscure sick person/oldest person pool. That's no fun.

Note that our criteria includes a simple internet search too. So, we won't be deciding in a total vacuum. Try goggling the folks you mentioned in your questions and you might be able to get a better feeling for which, if any, you might want to consider removing (or keeping).



NAT:
What do you do with Dead Celebrities? Why you Celebrate them!

THE GUYS:
Nat, you kinda worry us.



XRAY EXECUTIONERS:
Happy almost holidays! I think my standing is wrong, I only have 2 dead guys, but you have me listed for three... don't wanna rile up the peanut gallery when the stats are finalized! Too much beer in your accounting dept! Hurrah! {_}> Here's a Guinness Extra for ya! THE GUYS:
Oops. Database is whacked out. Lots of errors. Fixing now. More Beer please.



MATT:
Hey Guys- I'm planning on entering the Game for 2008, and have a question. I'm no stranger to Death Pools, so I'm aware of the many ways any give game can define fame. What I do when looking at a new pool I might join, I read the rules, then check out the lists to see what celebs passed the cut. I see Emiliano Mercado del Toro counted on 36 lists, yet on your rules page it reads:

The following classes of people will not be considered celebrities even if they meet the above criteria. If you enter their names, they will be removed and the alternate will not be exercised.

1) Any pick whose celebrity status is contingent on words such as "World's oldest...," "Oldest Person in..." or any other similar age qualifier will not be considered a valid pick. Yup, read it again. No more friggin' oldest person, man, woman, or hermaphrodite in the world, in Kansas, in Guam, or in any other gosh darn place. Soooo, is this a new rule for 2008, or one that just gets ignored?

THE GUYS:
And welcome to the OBE. We hope your stay is enjoyable. And yes, your assumption is correct. You are comparing the 2007 lists with the 2008 rules. The rule you cite is new for 2008. We are (and have been) trying to refine what is the definition a celebrity (in regards to our pool); thereby restoring the fun aspect of "Celebrity" death watch as opposed to a "famous" death watch or even a "notable" death watch. We believe that the rule change is in the best interest for the game as a whole and bring back the spirit originally intended.

You will find our watch a fun little corner of the web. We have no fees (although donation are gratefully accepted) but do offer cash prizes. We do it for the fun and (ir)reverence. Tell your friends, tell you family, but shhhhhhhh... don't tell our wives.



KIM:
What's up Guys? I wanna put some fuzz in the kitty, but the paypal link ain't wo'kin' . . . what gives!!!

THE GUYS:
If there's one thing we love, it's fuzz in the kitty. We just tested it. It worked ok.

KIM:
Still not working from my end. Guess I'll send you a checque.

THE GUYS:
Weird. We've gotten several donations via Paypal. Maybe some setting on your end.

KIM:
The problem is with the use of the cloaking URL - I was following the Paypal link from the www.flymetothetomb.com address, when I busted out of that to the verizon address all is fine. You'll get your money soon.

THE GUYS:
Ah, the cloaking device. Ya know, when the Romulans used that thing in Star Trek and it never gave THEM a problem. Darn.



MARY WIDOW:
I'd like to enter your death pool, if I may. I will type this email in the format of your entry form and I have signed up for email updates. Please let me know if I need to do anything else (other than donate money; I'll head over to PayPal as soon as I know I'm in). Thank you! This sounds like a lot of fun, you guys sound like a blast, and I like your rules.

THE GUYS:
Thanks Mary!



LARRY:
Umm - "biatch"

Is it --

1) A foreign spelling of the b word

2) An alcohol-induced slip

3) None of the above?

As for Dan Fogelberg and his sad songs --

Right on...I mean who needs the misery...either his songs fall flat, or they connect and then you end up crying in your beer..yuk!

THE GUYS:
Larry, Fella. It's street man. Ya know, kinda like gangsta. Well, actually it's more like suburban white boys trying hard to sound gangsta and falling woefully short. Of course, that's what makes it so funny.



SOUTH PACIFIC VALKYRIES:
I’ve been away awhile defending freedom and democracy and all that rigamarole, so I haven’t been able to keep up with the highly entertaining emails you guys post. I’d like to mention a few that have brightened my day.

1. MR. WEST: “…Best wishes to you and yours, you f**king rejects!”
A. I love this guy! I’m considering adding him to my 2008 list. I hope to hear more insightful thoughts from him in the future.

2. KEN: “Well, the deadliest shooting rampage in American history, right here in Blacksburg. Suck it, Texas-clock-tower-sniper-guy!”
A. I would say the shooter in question may have missed one important shot, two if you include MR. West…

3. MELARA: “Why aren't you still doing this?”
A. Did you guys manage to get her to join in on the fun?

4. HEINOUS: “Would the now dead Crazy Ray have qualified? Certainly people in Pittsburgh are familiar with him. Probably most of the other NFL cities as well.”
A. I will not stand for someone insinuating that Crazy Ray was nothing less than a cultural ICON! As far as HEINOUS’ comparison to Kirk Fordice, I put forth the following evidence;
i. Ray had the AP story covered by ESPN, seen by millions across the U.S., Kirk did not.
ii. Ray had the AP story covered by MSNBC seen by hundreds scattered around the country, Kirk did not.
iii. Crazy Ray wore a way cool costume, Kirk Fordice did NOT.

Again, thanks for the frequent and entertaining time wasting diversion on this great World Wide Web. I am sure the changes will make this a more interesting contest as now we have a chance at actually knowing some of the soon to be departed.

On a side note, I finally got the DONATE link to work. You hear that you other deadbeats, the donate link works, use it.

THE GUYS:
Thank you for a thoroughly amusing email and an insanely generous donation.



KERRY:
With the new rules and their subjective but well-intended definitions, can we get an advance ruling on whether a person qualifies as a celebrity? For instance, I'm assuming that George Steinbrenner, owner of the Yankees, is more than a local celebrity in the Harry Carey mode, given his impact on the entire game of baseball, and his Seinfeld character. I'm inquiring about Georgia Frontiere, owner of the St. Louis Rams. I advocate that her status is beyond St. Louis, given her news-making move of the team from LA, and her chorusgirl to owner history.

THE GUYS:
We are not providing advance rulings. If you are confident in your belief, proceed. If you have doubts, there may be a good reason for that.



CHEFDEVERGUE:
Ummmm, yeah. I went back and re-read the rules, and found that they answered my earlier question. However, I do have another question for you, which may or may not affect this next years' list but which could come into play with future picks.

Assuming that someone was a celebrity in his/her own right, and then by virtue of clean living & good genes manages to live long enough to become the "world's oldest" whatever... do you really mean to say that Queen Elizabeth II will no longer be a valid pick, should she manage to outlive King Abdullah and the two minor potentates? After all, she would then become "world's oldest" reigning monarch, and according this:

"1) Any pick whose celebrity status is contingent on words such as "World's oldest...," "Oldest Person in..." or any other similar age qualifier will not be considered a valid pick. Yup, read it again. No more friggin' oldest person, man, woman, or hermaphrodite in the world, in Kansas, in Guam, or in any other gosh darn place."

and this:

"The following classes of people will not be considered celebrities even if they meet the above criteria. "

Liz is no longer a valid pick using this standards, which seems a tad ridiculous. Please tell me that there is some latitude here, because if one interprets these rules literally, there are a lot of people who are obviously celebrities who are suddenly not celebrities but are instead simply "old people."

THE GUYS:
You question is hinging on the wrong word... try underlining the word "contingent" and see what you come up with. QEII's celebrity is certainly not contingent on her being the oldest anything.



DR. N.V.P.:
Maybe people are waiting to donate until they see what yous guys do their lists.

BTW, I'm real curious to see if Elizabeth Edwards winds up counting. She's definitly a celebrity. She's definitly on a shit-load of lists. She's definitly famous for being someone elses spouse.

THE GUYS:
Perhaps you are correct. So it goes.



HUDSUCKER "CAP PISTOL" LEE:
Thanks for changing the rules for this year's list! I applaud the, "No More Tad Szulc" rules. Like all great leaders, you adapt to change and make life better.

THE GUYS:
Thank You



K.M.:
Love it....keep the faith and keep pumping the new rules!!

THE GUYS:
Thank You



CATHY R.:
Hi guys - Just a quick comment about the new rules. First of all, it is going to make for a great game. However, your statement of, "we should not have to Google to find a celebrity, we should know them" is extremely subjective. You guys might know all of kinds of football players and to you they are celebrities. For me, they might as well be the people stocking the grocery shelves where I shop. That said, it will all come down to the final discretion of "the guys" and should make for a great year, as always.

Happy New Year. Have a keg or two for me.

THE GUYS:
Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!



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