'98 Verde/NYPD Death Pool: Fan mail, flames, miscellany

"Special delivery for Mr. Mongo!"

Below, arranged LIFO, is entertaining or flaming or elsewise interesting electronic Pool-related correspondence. Without the least hint of irony let me assure that I'd just love to receive your comments, observations, criticisms, whatever, concerning our Pool. Do e-mail me via this link.

Date: 12/14/98 12:34 PM
From: Trish Lawless

1. " Where do I sign up to get paid to write crap -- sorry, "criticism" -- like that?"
Hey, you know I'm a big fan of your turns-of-phrase(s), but, uh, don't you kinda, now, if you know what I mean?

Ow! Quit it! That hurts!

2. Would it impress you if I told you I know Bob Goldthwaite, PERSONALLY?

Yes. Very much.

Date: 12/11/98 2:02 PM

Dear Jack, In case I've never told you before, you give great e-mail. I'm waiting for the HW sequel, the working title for which we can only hope is "The Sheep Whisperer," starring, of course, Bobcat Goldthwait and Judy Tenuta. Biner

RE>[Sound of gnashing teeth]
Date: 12/8/98 3:33 PM

dear jack,
thanks for forwarding the updates. i know this sounds nerdy, but i've thought about it and can't quite get myself to speculate for amusement on other people's deaths, no matter how annoying they may be. so i think i will not be officially entering the pool. please don't think that i believe those who do so are evil. i do not. i just think they are morally inferior to me. however, i do so enjoy what we here in legaldom would call "dicta," that is, the side stuff, that i'd appreciate being sent the updates anyway. i particularly liked the news about the french being the smelliest in europe (could we then say, the smelliest anywhere?). so keep up the good work, and do whatever it takes to keep off dan's list.

Non-participation is no problem, you're not a nerd, I always choose to believe the absolute worst concerning the French, and I'm happy to keep you on the mailing list. Also, you're right about the moral inferiority of participants vis-a-vis the rest of humanity.

RE>Ragged claws scuttling
Date: 8/28/98 7:07 PM
From: SMK

Could you hear me just now snorting? gasping? Blowing water out my nose? My newly icky keyboard is fitting testament to your way with doggerel.

woof, woof,



That was great -- can you do Vonnegut or Faulkner next?

See response below to Dan's similar query. I fear I'm just too dumb.

Date: 8/17/98 11:12 AM
From: Alex McCormick

You are a gifted and deeply troubled fellow. And you seem to have a tad much time on your hands. How lucky I am to be on the death pool list.

How I do get flattered.


Nick told Olympia Evan Dando was a silly person and Olympia punched Nick in the nose and it rained.

Well, I think today it's nice and partly cloudy-- no rain. But unfortunately I can report that Evan is alive and doing quite well. And she has to see a "Nic" tonight, former lemonhead, and says that Evan Dando IS a silly person. tomorrow harkens the smell of death-- hey, aren't there a lot of sports things planned for tomorrow? preseason football, golf, car racing, and baseball? maybe there will be an unfortunate incident.

"An unfortunate incident." Oh, I like that, a lot.

Date: 8/14/98 4:44 PM
From: Dan Davis

Did Hemingway just die or something? I didn't have him on my list. (Yeah, I've heard that story about him killing himself back in 1960-- to quote Dale Gribble, "that's what they want you to think!" You probably also believe that Jim Morrison's dead.)

Didn't Margaux Hemingway die relatively recently?
Re: Dale: I was never here.

Anyway, I think Belen's from Vigo, where they didn't have the running of the Bulls.


Nice parody, though. Did you ever read Woody Allen's Hemingway parody, "A 20's memory"? It ends with Gertrude Stein breaking Woody's nose.

Re: Woody: I don't think I've read it, but I'm wondering if I sometime heard the punched-in-the-nose line concerning Hemingway. Hope I'm not too close, or else I will have pulled a Barnicle and I'll have to ask myself for my resignation, then refuse, then waffle a bit before I cave in and reinstate myself after a two-month unpaid leave of absence, and all the while be exceedingly arrogant and unrepentant. Hmm... Actually, I think I could pull that last part off.

Can you do a James Joyce parody next week? Or e.e. cummings? Aren't they dead?

re: cummings: there. i've parodied cummings.

Re: Joyce: No way, too hard for me. Smithy of my subconscious race and all that... I wouldn't have a prayer of doing it justice. (Really, I didn't have a prayer of doing Hemingway justice either. Those declarative sentences are just easier.)


Date: 8/14/98
From: Mike Sullivan

Superb missive, Jack, but don't forget that Dominic was better than his brother Joe.

Okay, Okay...
Date: 8/14/98 3:44 PM
To: Jack Spellman
From: Gay Chanley

So you made me laugh out loud this time-- and more than once at that.

I was going to write you a note to find out what you thought about Barnicle. After last week's blast, I guess what I ought to ask is what do you really think about Barnicle?

Peace. love and apperitfs for all.

The Globe utterly wussed out and backed off canning Barnicle. He's taking a two-month unpaid vacation and will resume his column in October. Meanwhile, he's still on the NewsHour as one of their regional commentators. I understand that for his next appearance he's preparing a piece called "The Seven Words You Can't Say on PBS" which he will present in his newly created persona of the Hippie-Dippie Weatherman.

Date: 7/13/98 2:30 PM
From: Theresa Hitchens

Of course, you recognize that the French victory in the World Cup means they will become even more arrogant (if that is possible), placing Paris on the State Department list of destinations to which travel should be avoided at all costs.....

Re: Neutrinos
Date: Mon, 8 Jun 1998 19:24:03 EDT
From: Thombear@aol.com

My understanding is that the Bob Hope announcement was made on the floor of the House after either Congressman Archer or Armey, I always get these guys confused, told an Arizona Congressman the news. (I wonder if it was a setup.) The Arizona Congressman made the announcement because he saw the Hopester as a veteran and he was pushing for legislation to somehow honor Bob Hope. The report was immediately picked up by ABC radio and sent out over the airwaves. (My thoughts went back to Chris Wallace skulking around G.W. Hospital after Presidente Reagan was shot and reporting that he had a source, an orderly it turned out, who had reportedly confirmed the President was already dead. Insert your own joke here.)

Date:5/29/98, Time:3:32 PM
Re: Haiku mania

Dear John,

I am sending your idea regarding India-Pakistan to the State Department. God knows the Clinton strategy has failed so far -- and after all, isn't the missile game simply about "mine's bigger than your's"?



Date:5/29/98, Time:3:32 PM
Re: Haiku mania

By the way, even my wonderfully sweet wife is now as corrupt as the rest of us. Upon seeing the CNN reports on Phil Hatman's death, this compassionate woman's first thought was, "How many points is this one worth?"

Happy Summer - Ed

RE>Haiku mania : 5/29/98

my trash-talking haiku reply:

Bob Hope's on my list
when he croaks, I get points, too
Give it up, suckers.



FWD>"Can't stop laughing" or, "Haiku, back at you"
Date: 5/29/98 5:08 PM
From: MSull@manu.com

You've outdone yourself!
Jack, you are the writing king
Thoughtful, funny too


Date: 5/29/98 4:46 PM
From: John M Kerr

I can't believe i'm even in this race..... I forget who I voted for...

Glad I'm your hero. Everybody else is still in denial.

Reply to: FWD>RE>Doomsday Davis, Part Deux
Date: 4/24/98 8:35 PM
From: Andrew Bowers

It would seem that next year Dan could offer, for a price, to leave one's name off his list-- and retire to... wherever it is Real-timers go after work.

Date: 4/20/98 5:38 PM
From: Gay Chanley

I have finally figured out how to access the web site which I must say left me practically prostrate. [okay, not quite prostrate, but still mightily amused]. The photo of Sinatra was too good. I was also honored to have my alias appear as the caption to a famous people photo.

The only problem was that my laughter drew my young and impressionable daughters to the room where I was asked to explain what a death pool is. AJ intervened and gave me one of those "whatever you say better not be the truth" looks--and so I obliged. In the future I will be visiting the site only very late at night.

I look forward to this week's commentary especially since I know that you have material.

I appreciate the kind words. I'm working on a good euphemistic reply for the girls, but can't come up with one. What did you tell them?

Part the First

Date: 4/20/98 6:29 PM
From: thitche@atpco.com

Hey! Kookaburra (correct spelling) is a BIRD not a tree!! Don't you people watch Barney, for heavens sake!!!!! And so many of you in Public TV and all.



My agreement with Hannah is that I will watch Barney with her under the condition that I'm allowed to sleep through it.

Part the Second

Date: 4/21/98 9:44 PM
> From: Thombear

I'm not a PBS er though I work for the government. By the way, watch out for the Teletubbies. Samuel is in stitches everytime the Baby sun crosses the sky. Hey Jack, do you guys caption that show? Hey Theresa, how's things in scandal land?

I'm living in deep, deep fear of TeleTubbies. Hannah's caught an occasional nanosecond's worth of promo when I've been slow on the remote, and perks right up with questions at the sight: "What's that?!" "Uh, nothing..." NOTHING BUT SATAN! LOOK AWAY, HANNAH! LOOK AWAY!

Don't know whether we caption it. Don't want to know. Want to hide my head deep in the sand.

Part the Third

Date: 4/22/98 12:11 PM
From: thitche@atpco.com

Tom, Jack

Teletubbies, I can tell you, will be even more Satanic than Barney. I watched a few minutes of it (very cute baby with British accent) and was mesmerized myself (obviously, subliminal messages going on here). Beware!!!!

Tom, As for scandal-land, we are over the -- I hesitate to say it -- hump, here, I believe, with Paula being thrown out of court despite the new hairdo.

Date: 4/10/98 8:15 PM
From: Dan Davis

>April 5 was a Black Sabbath indeed, as drummer
>Cozy Powell, 50, died in a car crash.
I'll bet Carl Palmer from ELP sabotaged his brakes for taking his place in "Emerson, Lake & Powell."

>Saturday is Family Day, however, and the taps
>will be open
and they'll be flowing on Easter Sunday, too. Do we get a prize for picking the nearest date in the Lou Piniella suicide watch? Or the day when a teammate murders Heath Slocumb?

I believe that, in a strict legal sense, offing either Piniella or Slocumb would be considered a mercy killing.

> So far as I know, Sparky Lyle's okay.
but Dick Radatz looks like hell. I haven't seen Jim Willoughby, Tom Burgmeier or Reggie Cleveland lately, either.

Date: 4/9/98
From: JS

Not sure of the point count on this one, but I will report with a heavy heart the end of the pizza brick after 10 years of faithful service. It had developed a suspicious crack a couple of pizzas ago, and tonight it finally broke in two, giving its all in the line of duty. The brick saw a lot of pizzas and loaves of bread in its career. Thanks a lot, fella.

Noooo! Why oh why is it the best of us who go young?

Date: 4/3/98 5:21 PM
From: SMK

I have a question. Just who counts as a celebrity? If your death makes the news, does that in itself qualify you (and therefore make you eligible for the pool)? The only one of the people you metioned who counts in my book as a bonafide you-know-what is Bella Abzug. If I had known we could pick from third- or even 11th-string ill/aged "celebrities" such as that Sobek guy, my list mightta looked a lot different, and I'd be in first place by now. huff, puff.


Huff me no puffs: I stated at the get-go (and believe me, I wasn't lying) that my standards concerning definition of celebrity are decidedly low. My feeling is that if someone's sufficiently big a name to make the New York Times or Boston Globe (Sobek made them both), I'll accept that choice. I think there are a number of truly obscure picks throughout the various lists in play (e.g., Dustin Diamond, Eddie O'Brien, Richard Pimental), and the hat covering my balding pate is off to those who invested the time/research/thought into coming up with them. No doubt next year we'll see even more esoteric choices. Win the date-of-first-Pool-death sub-pool, and you can devote an entire (free) list to ten doddering Grade Z flashes-in-the-pan!

From Dan Davis: 4/3

My guess for the first points: May 17th.

I never made a guess for a tiebreaking catastrophic event, and it's too late to use my prediction of "Titanic" winning best picture and best director, so I'll have to come up with a new one: there will be a violent revolution in Africa. (Not counting any that have already broken out. Still ought to be like fishing in a barrel.)


Mmm... fish.

Date: 3/18/98 7:31 PM
From: ECoates652

Five asterisks for ten bucks is a bargain any shopper would be proud of, thank you... I'm not sure Lorraine would want me to pass this along, but one day last week she came into work all excited, practically pumping her fist in the air. She happily informed me that Kirk Douglas had died and she was the first one on the board! I hadn't heard the news yet, so I congratulated her(!) and turned on the radio, only to find that it had been Lloyd Bridges, not Kirk, who bit it. I didn't have the heart to tell her, but then I didn't want to listen to her gloat all day either. I let her down easy, but I never saw anyone so disappointed to learn someone was still alive. What in God's name have we done? If Bob Hope dies from complications after falling and breaking that ski-lift nose of his, does it count as a skiing accident? Just wondering.


Kirk rather than Lloyd is an easy enough mistake to make -- how many aging Hollywood patriarchs are we supposed to keep track of? As for Hope's nose... Hmm, maybe if a Marine helicopter flew into it...

Snail mail dated 3/9/98


Never have so many sat on the Reaper's home side. This is fun. Any suggestions on dealing with some minor guilt feelings about rooting for celebrities to die? P.S. Lorraine suffers from no such guilt... She figures better them than her. This check is for my pick, Tom B's pick, and Lorraine's three. Happy Death Watch.

Ed Coates

Guilt? We don't feel no stinkin' guilt! Lorraine's right, for one thing; for another, remember that wishing doesn't make it so, or else the Red Sox, powered from my mental energies alone, would have won the '86 Series; and finally, just as it is true that A does not cause B just because B follows A, so it is that Frank Sinatra will not have finally keeled over because so many of us have for so long so avidly anticipated the event.

Date: 3/13/98 10:57 PM
To: Jack Spellman
From: Thombear

I tried to access the page dude and was unable. I got a message indicating it was no longer in service. Do I have to be a tripod member to access the page? By the way, you missed J.T. Walsh, actor, URI grad, who died about a week ago.

You do not have to be a Tripod member to see the page. I'm not sure what caused Tom's difficulty, but suspect it was temporary and that the site is reachable. Check out the Update for Friday March 20 for more on J.T. Walsh.

Date: 3/16/98 9:48 AM
To: Jack Spellman
From: thitche@atpco.com


HEY! Your Webpage is a bust, buster -- it won't let me link back with email to you, for one thing. Secondly, where are the pix? You gotta get some mug shots of Frankie, Ronnie, Boris etc. at least. Really, if you need Adam's and my $4 bucks so badly, we happily will pony up at last simply to do the Pool justice on the Web....

Finally, I also want to note that it saddened me to find that Jack Lord had caught his last wave -- this may have been mentioned in earlier spamming that I missed while in Europe. Trivia question: can anyone besides me (ancient crone that I am) remember Jack's first TV series?..........Stony Burke, rodeo cowboy, a childhood favorite of mine that led me to follow his migration to Hawaii. By the way, reruns of Hawaii 5-O are a big draw on German TV....


Settle right down! Sheesh! The e-mail-linking difficulty has been fixed (I think). The pix/graphix will come fairly soon. Bear in mind that such stuff involves actual labor at my (notably indolent) end.

Date: 3/11/98 10:26 AM
From: MSull@manu.com

Jacko, two comments on the new death pool Web site:

1. You've shamed me into ponying up my $2. E-mail me your snail-mail address and I'll send it on. I will, of course, expect the speedy installation of my Roger Maris-style asterisk on the participants page.

2. It is, and shall always remain, "Fudgsicle," not "Fudgicle." Sheesh!


From: FY
Take my name off. I don't want to get phone calls from upset fans of Christian Slater.
I think you're just trying to get your name into "Entertainment Weekly."

From: Theresa Hitchens
Dear John,
Thanks for cheering up my Monday !!!@@@###$$$
Some people are very sick, it's all I can say.
However, I did like the Lipinski quote and it is TRUE.

From Liz Cavano: RE>Ella quiere Taco Bell
Porque ella quiere Taco Bell? Tiene mucho hambre? I don't remember enough Spanish to take this line of questioning much further.
Just curious,

From Gay Chanley: Tara Tara Tara
Speaking of Tara, a friend recently professed amazement that Monica Lewinski could be so deeply involved in the recent scandal and still win the gold in figure skating.

From: SMK
thanks for mentioning my name. I don't know any of the other people you mentioned, but that's okay, because in our shared endeavor, I feel a sense of comradery with them. I realize that, in addition to keeping us aprised (and keeping score), your weekly update is building a sense of community, in its own, weird little way.

From Liz Cavano: single ski theory?
Here's a forward of a forward, not quite as timely as when I first got it, but thought you might appreciate it (file under: "future skiing accidents")

Subject: (Fwd) FW: The Single Tree Theory...
>> ~*~ The Single Tree Theory ~*~
>> The recent tragic death of Sonny Bono and death of Michael Kennedy in
>> tree-related skiing accidents has conspiracy theorists abuzz.
>> The ominous parallels can't be denied:
>> *William Kennedy died after skiing into a tree in Aspen, CO
>> *Sonny Bono died after skiing into a tree in Lake Tahoe, CA
>> *An Aspen is a kind of tree
>> *The word "Tahoe" is Native American for "tree"
>> *Bono was interviewed by MTV VJ "Kennedy" at the last Republican convention
>> *Kennedy had a secretary named "Loni"--which rhymes, sort of, with "Sonny"
>> *Kennedy was a socialist who thought everyone (but him) should just "share"
>> *Bono was once married to "Cher"
>> *Kennedy was born into an idolized family yet managed to disgrace himself
>> *After losing family and career in his divorce with Cher, a disgraced Bono managed to recreate himself honorably and rise to the position of idolized Mayor and then Congressman
>> *Kennedy was accused of molesting an underage girl
>> *Bono had a daughter named, ironically, "Chastity"
>> These parallels have led some to suggest the so-called Single Tree Theory: the idea that in fact there weren't two individual trees involved, but rather only one tree that committed both assassinations, alone.
>> But the crucial causal linkage between the two killings remains elusive.
>> Who would have a reason to target both of these men?
>> The obvious answer is the powerful "enforcement arm" of the U.S. Forest Service. Created in the early 50's, the FS recently had its funding questioned by Bono's House Ways and Means Committee.
>> So much for Bono.. But what quarrel could the FS have had with Kennedy, a friend of every government program known to man? When asked for a comment, Forest Service spokesman Bob Woodward responded, "I don't know what the you're talking about."

From: Tom Kenney: RE>Six days, six deaths, no points
I wouldn't come to Chicago real soon Jack. We will no doubt have two weeks of overly sentimental, repetitive homages to Harry. Cubs ticket sales are up, makes you wonder. This story has managed to overshadow the pilgrimage of Archbishop George, a borderline fascist, to Rome to be installed as a Cardinal. (Anything to do with the Catholic Church gets major play in this city. We are still having Cardinal Bernandin death stories. By the way, you missed his mother's death last week.) Big moves by the Bears, looks like Mirer(do career deaths count?) and Salaam are on the outs thank you the ghost of George Halas. Catch you later.

Date: 2/6/98 9:48 AM
From: MSull@manu.com
The Way of All Flesh
By Christopher Buckley
Friday, February 6, 1998; Page A25

Scandal Is Prompting Loyalists to Increase Their Donations and Political Support

New York Times, Feb. 1
Texas Governor George W. Bush announced today that he will seek the Republican nomination in the year 2000, and that he currently maintains "sexual relations with 46 female interns, and not a one of 'em [is] old enough to vote." Standing before a cheering throng of supporters on the steps of the state capitol building, Bush announced that he would run on a platform of education, crime and free love.

Steve Forbes interrupted a discussion of tax policy on the Lehrer NewsHour last night to declare that he "routinely engages" in "wild orgies" with members of his political action committee staff.

William Bennett, while promoting his new bestseller, "The Book of Vices: Great Stories from Aristophanes to Arianna on Creative Degeneracy," said that he is "leaning toward running for president, and as president would name only Sports Illustrated swimsuit models to the Supreme Court.

Jack Kemp told a convention of Baptist Ministers today that the reason he fared so poorly during his 1996 debate with Vice President Al Gore was that he was distracted by a woman "sitting in the front row with empowerment zones like Mount Sinai." The former housing secretary said he will decide whether to run in 2000 after consulting with members of his escort service.

Former vice president Dan Quayle said today that, contrary to his previous statements, he did have an affair with blonde "lobbyist" Paula Parkinson when he was a senator. "I knew Paula Parkinson," he told USA Today. "She was a friend of mine. And Paula Jones is no Paula Parkinson." He added, "Maybe you shouldn't mention this to Marilyn, or she might lock me in the closet again." Quayle said that he would also campaign for "eliminating taxes and withdrawing American troops from Botswana." An aide later clarified that he meant Bosnia.

Patrick J. Buchanan formally entered the 2000 presidential election today, declaring that he has "done more fornicating in the last month alone than the rest of those weenies [the Republican challengers] have since high school." Speaking at a crowded topless bar in Manchester, New Hampshire, Buchanan called for trade barriers, repeal of the assault weapon ban, and subsidies for U.S. condom manufacturers.

Former governor William Weld threw his hat into the presidential ring today, announcing that he has "had" more than 10,000 women. Weld, a classics scholar, noted that many of the greatest Roman emperors had died of heart attacks during orgies or from venereal disease, "and just look at the infrastructure they left behind."

Lamar Alexander and his wife appeared on the program "60 Minutes" last night after the Super Bowl in an effort to dispel rumors that he was not having an affair with a University of Tennessee sophomore. In what political watchers say is an indication that he too will seek the Republican nomination, televangelist Pat Robertson said today on his 700 Club program that he had "gone over the Good Book with a fine-toothed comb, and nowhere does it say that a man can't have a little harmless fun around the office." On the contrary, he said, he had found scripture "clear as neon" that "we are enjoined to take our pleasure in our own vineyards."

Vice President Al Gore's popularity is reported to be plunging amid mounting Republican charges that he has been faithful to his wife.

From Theresa Hitchens
who the hell is dan quisenberry?

From Gay Chanley
While I have been unable to muster an entry in the required time, I beg you Jackie Lee to retain me on the distribution. I fear that I am so out of touch with the celebrity biz that I would have no astonishing, or even amusing, insights to add anyway. I also have a small philosophical quibble with the contest--while I concede that it is possible that a celebrity can depart from this Earth--true celebrity--like say Gary Coleman--will never really leave us. Your contest at least implicitly seems to deny this universal truth.

From Lisa Spadaro: RE>The Final Curtain
What?! What?! What?!
Isn't that considered a "flame"?

From JS: RE>The Next Act
Oh ye of most ghoulish humor, please retain me on your list of those that attend the tasteless but aren't in tune with pop culture enough to contribute. My interest is strictly actuarial, so the only candidate that comes to mind is the Senate's sole remaining Dixiecrat. Among the other aged, our mighty fortress seems a poor choice, though I would be curious to know whether she still rules Lowell Street. Paula, who just noticed this missive in the works, wishes to be retained on the list as well.

From: Liz Cavano: RE>The Final Curtain
Although I'm resisting the impulse to get some more bad karma by participating in the death poll, I'm resisting (I am awfully tempted to nominate those horrifying twins-- Mary Kate and Ashley... maybe next year). Anyway, please spam me with updates so I can share in everyone else's karma challenge.

From: John Kerr: RE>>Boxers or briefs?
Mmmmmmmm......canned ham........

1/8/98 7:00PM
From: Gentry Menzel: RE>>Boxers or briefs?
Just to let you know that the canned ham line is NOT from me, lest I start getting emails. On the other hand, if you LIKE the line, I can point you in the right direction...

From: Trish Lawless: RE>>Product Liability Warning; other matters
"Immortality" - or "Immorality" ? Oh, Jack - sorry, I didn't realize it was you. Never mind.

From: Lisa Spadaro: RE>>Product Liability Warning; other matters
What?! What?! What?!

From: Ed Daly: RE>1998 NYPD/Mike Verde Death Pool
LOL....Man, this is cold

Holy cow! Take me away from here!