Monday, November 22, 2004

Most Dangerous Cities in America

Morgan Quitno Corp released their "Most Dangerous Cities" list. Detroit fell one spot from 1st to 2nd. Camden, NJ overtook Detroit for the coveted spot. The rankings look at the rate for six crime categories: murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary and auto theft. It compares 350 cities with populations of 75,000 or more that reported crime data to the FBI.

Most Dangerous Cities, 2004

1. Camden, NJ
2. Detroit, MI
3. Atlanta, GA
4. St. Louis, MO
5. Gary, IN
6. Washington DC

Least Dangerous Cities, 2004

1. Newton, MA
2. Brick Township, NJ
3. Amherst, NY
4. Mission Viejo, CA
5. Clarkstown, NY

If metro areas are considered rather than cities proper, Detroit reclaims its crown. Also, the St. Louis police failed to report to the FBI more than 5,000 crimes last year; with these figures included, St. Louis overtakes Atlanta for the number 3 spot.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Famous and Almost Famous Little People

With the demand for dwarf actors and a constrained supply of them, a handful of dwarfs -- to use the Tolkien plural -- play a plurality of roles in movies and TV shows.

Kenny Baker: R2D2 (Star Wars), Dufflepod (Voyage of the Dawn Treader), Nelwyn band member (Willow), Goblin Corps (Labyrinth), Parody Commendatore (Amadeus), Fidgit (Time Bandits), Plumed Dwarf (Elephant Man).

Jack Purvis: Golg (Silver Chair), Dufflepod, Jeremy/Gustavus (Baron Munchhausen), Nelwyn band member, Goblin Corps, Dr. Chapman (Brazil), Teebo (ROTJ), Wally (Time Bandits), Chief Ugnaught (ESB), Chief Jawa (Star Wars).

Warwick Davis: Professor Flitwick (Harry Potter), Marvin the Paranoid Android (Hitch-hiker's Guide), Oberon (Ray), Wald/Pod Race Spectator/Mos Espa Citzen (Episode I), Pechet (Prince Valiant), Grildrig (Gulliver's Travels), Glimfeather (Silver Chair), Reepicheep (Voyage of the Dawn Treader), Willow Ufgood (Willod), Goblin Corps, Wicket (Battle for Endor, Ewok Adventure, ROTJ).

Verne Troyer: Mini-Me (Austin Powers), Griphook (Harry Potter), Band Member (How the Grinch Stole Christmas), Baby Joe (Mighty Joe Young), Wee Waiter (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), Wrestler (My Giant), Alien Son (Men in Black).

Tony Cox: Marcus (Bad Santa), Shonte Jackson (Me, Myself, and Irene), Vohnkar Warrior (Willow), Preacher (Beetlejuice), Dink (Spaceballs), Willy (Battle for Endor, Ewok Adventure, ROTJ).

Nelson de la Rosa: Majai (Island of Dr. Moreau).

Hervé Villechaize
: Tattoo (Fantasy Island), Nick Nack (Man with the Golden Gun).

Shari Weiser: Trollog (Babes in Toyland), Hoggle (Labyrinth).

Peter Burroughs: Nelwyn Villager (Willow), Goblin Corps, Ewok, Additional Performer (Dark Crystal), Dwarf (Flash Gordon).

Danny Blackner: Short Stack Stevens (Muppet Treasure Island), Goblin Corps, Ewok.

Malcom Dixon: Nelwyn Band Member, Goblin Corps, Ewok, Additional Performer (Dark Crystal), Strutter (Time Bandits), Dwarf (Flash Gordon), Oompa Loompa (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory).

Anthony Georghiou: R.O.U.S. (Princess Bride), Goblin Corps.

Rusty Goffe: Nelwyn Villager, Le Muff (History of the World: Part I), Dwarf (Flash Gordon), Kabe/Jawa/GONK Droid (Star Wars), Oompa Loompa.

Angelo Muscat: Oompa Loompa, Butler (The Prisoner), Chumblie (Dr. Who).

Marcus Powell: Horseflesh (Time Bandits), Midget (Elephant Man), Rycar Ryjerd (Star Wars), Oompa Loompa.

Deep Roy: Oompa Loompa, Mr. Soggybottom (Big Fish), Gorilla Kid/Thade (Planet of the Apes), Droopy McCool (ROTJ), Additional Performer (Dark Crystal), Aura's Pet, Fellini (Flash Gordon), Italian Assassin (Pink Panther Strikes Again).

In Labyrinth and ROTJ: Michael Henbury Ballan, Paul Grant, Andrew Herd, Richard Jones, Peter Mandell, Nicholas Read, Linda Spriggs.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Close/Contraversial Presidential Elections

1800: As a result of confusion over the voting procedure, Democratic-Republican electors cast one vote apiece to Thomas Jefferson and his running mate, Aaron Burr. The resulting tie -- 73 to 73 -- sent the election to the House. Over six days, 35 ballots were cast with Jefferson receiving 8 of the 9 votes needed each time. Finally, on the 36th ballot -- just 15 days prior to inauguration -- the logjam broke and Jefferson won 10 of the 17 votes. This incident prompted the creation and passing of the 12th Ammendment: electors now voted for president and vice-president separately to avoid confusion.

1844: Polk won by 1.41% of the popular vote.

1876: Initial reports showed Democrat Samuel Tilden handily defeating Republican Rutherford B. Hayes, but the results of four states -- Florida, Louisiana, Oregon, and South Carolina -- were contested: each submitted and certified two contradictory sets of electoral votes. In Oregon, the Democratic governor claimed that one elector was ineligible as they were a postmaster and thus held a federal office -- illegal for an elector to hold. In the other three states, fraud and violence caused the Republican governors to give Hayes the votes, but the Democratic legislatures supported Tilden. To solve the dilemma, Congress created a 15-person Election Commission -- 5 from the House, 5 from the Senate, and 5 from the Supreme Court -- to choose the president. The commission split down party lines -- 8 Republicans and 7 Democrats -- giving Hayes the presidency. Democrats threatened a filibuster, but were convinced not to by concessions of removal of federal troops from the South, a Southerner appointed to Hayes' cabinet, and economic considerations -- this officially ended Reconstruction. Despite this compromise, many considered the election stolen by "Rutherfraud" Hayes.

1884: Grover Cleveland defeated James Blaine -- 219 to 182 -- Cleveland's home state of Ohio provided the final 23 crucial electoral votes, won by just 1,100 votes. This marked the first Democratic victory since before the Civil War.

1888: Grover Cleveland won the popular vote -- by 90,596 votes or 0.796% of the total -- but Benjamin Harrison won the electoral college.

1916: Wilson won by 3.19% of the popular vote and 4.33% of the electoral vote.

1960: Kennedy won over Nixon by 119450 votes or 0.1735% of the popular vote.

1968: Nixon won by 812415 votes or 1.11% of the popular vote.

1976: Carter won by 2.06% of the popular vote.

2000: Gore won by 0.516% of the popular vote, but Bush won by 5 electoral votes, 0.929% of the total.

Last Names of VPs

Very few vice-presidents have had the same name as a president who was not that vice-president himself. Two of those who have are vice presidents who went on to be president and have a son who was president as well.

Vice President (Term of Office)

John Adams (1789-97)
Richard Johnson (1837-41)
Andrew Johnson (1865)
Henry Wilson (1877-1881)
Lyndon Johnson (1961-63)
George Bush (1981-1989)

Tickets with the Same First Name

If John Kerry and John Edwards win the election, they will have broken a drought longer than that of the Red Sox: they will be only the second winning ticket with candidates having the same first name.

In 1824, John Quincy Adams and John C. Calhoun won the offices of president and vice-president: the first and only time two candidates with the same first name would win the election.

In 1864, Democrats George McClellan and George Pendleton teamed up to oppose Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. Needless to say, they lost.

In 1916, the Republican candidates Charles Hughes and Charles Fairbanks lost agains Woodrow Wilson and Thomas Marshall. Fairbanks was vice-president earlier during Teddy Roosevelt's second term.

Though not on the same ticket -- as there were none at the time -- John Floyd and John Sargeant were National Republican candidates for president and vice-president, respectively, in 1832.

In an odd turn of events, George Clinton, the Democratic-Republican vice-presidential candidate of James Madison, received votes for both president and vice-president as a small faction of electors disapproved of Madison and voiced their protest by casting their votes for Clinton. Despite this, Madison easily won the presidency.