Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon

News item: Investment adviser Bernie Madoff, 70, pleaded guilty Thursday to masterminding the largest Ponzi scheme  in history, fleecing thousands of investors of an estimated $65 billion. The maximum prison sentence he faces is 150 years.

News item: Muntadhar al-Zeidi, 30, the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at then-U.S. President George W. Bush, was convicted of assault Thursday and sentenced to three years in prison for the Dec. 14 incident.  Many Iraqis believe al-Zeidi should be honored as a hero for hurling his shoes at the man who started the Iraq war.

Bread Line suggestion: Put both men in the same cell. Order al-Zeidi to throw a shoe at Madoff for every person financially ruined by the latter man’s Ponzi scheme. That should last about three years. Madoff’s victims would feel a little better and al-Zeidi would be considered a hero in America, too.

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Bread Line bonus: Learn how to play “Six Degrees of Bernie Madoff” – It’s like playing “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”!


A 162-page, single-spaced list of people allegedly swindled by money manager Bernie Madoff was filed late Wednesday with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York. These thousands of people allegedly are victims of the biggest Ponzi scheme in history, through which Madoff supposedly paid early investors with money from new investors.

There are some prominent names on the list, including CNN talk-show host Larry King, Hall of Fame baseball pitcher Sandy Koufax, actor John Malkovich, U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon, World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein – and actor Kevin Bacon.

Kevin Bacon? This means playing Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon just got a whole lot easier thanks to Bernie Madoff’s $50 billion swindle.

Surely you are familiar with Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, a game wherein players link other stars to the prolific actor through six or fewer films. The game is based on psychologist Stanley Milgram’s theory that there are six or less degrees of separation between any two people on Earth.

I hereby propose an updated version of the Kevin Bacon game: Six Degrees of Bernie Madoff. Keep in mind that most of the disgraced financier’s clients probably used a middle man to make their investments with Madoff, so, for example, there likely are two degrees of separation between Bacon and Madoff. I suspect that King’s inclusion on the list makes it possible for practically anyone to be tied within six degrees of separation from Madoff.

For fun, consider how far removed you are from Madoff. I am four degrees of separation from Madoff, if King is two degrees away from him. King recently interviewed former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who I met twice during my journalism career.

The possibilities are endless. Find Madoff’s complete client list on the Internet and start making connections.