Whimsy: September 2008 Archives

Paul Newman, robocaller

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I didn't care much for his politics, but there was a lot to like about Paul Newman's character and personality. I was tickled by this anecdote, told by Ned Lamont, the left-winger who beat Joe Lieberman in the 2006 Connecticut Democratic Senate primary, about Newman's willingness not only to voice a recorded endorsement call, but to write it and field-test it, too.

Newman was one of Lamont's early supporters and made phone calls and commercials for the upstart candidate.

"At first he just wanted to voice his private support," Lamont said. "He had been public on behalf of a number of candidates . . . and he remembered that a Wall Street Journal columnist had been so outraged they suggested boycotting Newman's salad dressing."

Lamont said a week later Newman changed his mind.

"He called back and said, 'What the hell, let's do it,' " Lamont said, recalling how Newman wrote his own robo-call script.

"It was the funniest thing," Lamont said. "He then called around the state just to test it out and pretended he was a 'robo call.' He called me back up a day or so later and said, 'Ned, two people hung up, I got two answering machines, and the fifth person yelled to his wife - 'It's some quack pretending to be Paul Newman.' "

That anecdote is one of a number of tributes to Newman from his neighbors in Westport, Ct., his adopted hometown of half a century.

Inside the AP Top 25

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If you've ever wondered what goes into a sportswriter's vote in the weekly AP Top 25 college football rankings -- particularly in September when only a few games have been played and the relative strengths of teams aren't as clear as they will be in November -- head over to the blog of Tulsa World sports editor Mike Strain. Each week my sister's husband asks and answers a few questions about his vote that week, such as the easiest and toughest parts of the vote and why he ranked local teams as he did (or why he didn't rank them at all).

This week Mike explains why he moved the Oklahoma Sooners to number 2 and why he ranked Oklahoma State and Tulsa for the first time this season. (OSU barely missed the top 25. TU isn't as close, but Mike wasn't the only voter to think the Hurricane was worthy of a top 25 ranking.)

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Whimsy category from September 2008.

Whimsy: July 2008 is the previous archive.

Whimsy: November 2008 is the next archive.

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