Friday's the day we indulge in a curious fascination with coffin dwellers, mummies, cadavers, bloodsuckers, skeletons and monsters stitched together from assorted, dismembered body parts.
Then we move on to trick-or-treats.
Don't think it hasn't crossed your mind. You see a face from an old movie or TV show or hear a voice on the radio and you wonder "dead or alive?" David Niven, dead or alive? Dead. Della Reese, dead or alive? Alive. Phyllis Diller dead or alive? Alive. Er, well, sorta.There are any number of websites out there devoted to the dead and the undead.
There's Dead People Server (www.dpsinfo.com/dps/index.html), a database of interesting celebrities "who are long dead or newly dead."
There's CelebrityDeathBeeper.com, a site where you register to get notified ("beepered") the instant a celebrity dies.
At www.stiffs.com you can enter a pool to pick famous people who you believe might die soon (major points for anyone who picked Fred "Rerun" Berry last week!).
Want to know the resting place of famous people around the world? Go to www.findagrave.com.
Perhaps the most professional site is Who's Alive and Who's Dead (www.wa-wd.com) a site that keeps track of, duh, who's dead and who's not. According to David Carson, the site manager, the fascination with dead/undead is normal.
"There is nothing morbid about wanting to know whether someone is alive or dead. What could be considered morbid by some is maintaining or visiting a website centered on death, but that depends entirely on how the information is presented, and I don't think my presentation is morbid at all," Carson writes in the sites' FAQ. "You will never see unfunny expressions like `pushing up daisies,' for example, on this site. I seek simply to report a commonly sought type of information in a straightforward, no-nonsense fashion. What could be morbid about that?"
So let's play the dead-or-alive game, with apologies to wa-wd.com.
Soupy Sales and Nipsy Russell? Both alive.
Sugar Ray Robinson and Sugar Ray Leonard? First dead, second alive.
Clayton Moore and Dudley Moore? Both dead.
Maureen O'Hara and Maureen O'Sullivan? First alive, second dead.
See if you can figure out some others -- click on the .
And when you're done, check the .
The 'Who's Whos' lists of 'Who's Dead?'
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