Webster's defines death as "a permanent cessation of all vital functions: the end of life." That's all well and good, but in death there is also a certain rebirth, which we will take to mean: in the news. This is true of most of us; upstanding citizens who otherwise appeared only in community newspaper accounts of Lion's Club Chinese auctions are given a full two-inch treatment in the Obituaries section of his or her local newspaper (e.g., The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette or The New York Times; one can only hope one's family does not scrimp and place the obituary in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review or Newsday).

If a person actually does something in life (rescues a lama from a burning farm, is a popular arts and crafts teacher, etc.) he or she might be so lucky as to win an editorial obituary in the local paper, summarizing his or her achievements (i.e. the llama rescue, the arts and crafts, etc.). Only a lucky few (i.e. actors, politicians, the "Time to make the doughnuts" guy), are lucky enough to merit a newswire release commemorating their deaths.

Death-Watch.com is the result of some friends being bored at work. In those dark days, post-Internet boom and pre-there being any actual work to do (some of us are still waiting), news of a notable death would send shockwave through our email list. Soon it evolved into a sort of morbid game, the "winner" being the first to pass on a notable death; over time, the game grew into something more closely resembling a passion, some might say an obsession.

Somewhat before the start of the second Bush administration, one of the more enterprising/passionate/obsessed of the friends resolved to streamline the process via a Web page. There was some discussion of names, and ownership, and some hard work on the part of the enterprising (passionate/obsessed) friend. The result is what you see before you, designed by one man, "owned" by another, free and accessible to all.