Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Actuaries, Ghoulish Find Happy Medium in Internet's Dead Pools

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Actuaries, Ghoulish Find Happy Medium in Internet's Dead Pools

Article excerpt

I'VE just seen something on the Internet so revolting, so wretched, so tasteless, I had to tell you. That way you can look it up, too.

I'm talking about the dead pools, where people bet when celebrities will die. To find them, start your Internet search with "dead pool." You'll get a deadly long list.

There's the far-reaching Deathpool 2000: "Play the most morbid game of all! Choose whether you think each of the following 200 people will be alive or dead at the last stroke of midnight 1999 . . ." Then you click on DEAD or ALIVE buttons next to the 200 celebrity names. Other dead pools want you to send lists of celebrities. The 200 names in Deathpool 2000 are wide-ranging. Some, like Mother Teresa and Frank Sinatra, are at death's door. Some, like vampire-chronicler Anne Rice, flirt with death. Some seem dead: Jimmy Page, "Led Zeppelin rocker's looked dead since the early '80s." But there is a sporting selection of folks who could fall into death's arms only by accident: Madonna, Dennis Rodman, Brooke Shields. The list had to include Clint Eastwood. His Dirty Harry movie, "The Dead Pool," about the murders of local celebrities, began the dive into dead pools. The Date with Charon Deadpool has a warning that's probably based on the Clint Eastwood movie: "You may not in any way, either directly or indirectly, influence or cause the demise of any personality named in, or associated with, this pool. This will result in your immediate disqualification. Also, you may be opening yourself up to certain legal repercussions . . . It's just not worth it, especially since we're not playing for money!" Many pools don't charge to enter. They also don't give a prize. But if you dig grave humor, there's the Akhu Valhalla death pool of Sextons Local 772. Its prizes total $277, the union chapter number backward. "We can't afford to give out $772, cuz Sextons don't make a lot of money. …

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