Wolf Files: Contemporary Curses

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Ebert, who has struggled with cancer, responded that images of his colonoscopy were more interesting than Brown Bunny.

"I'm certainly not gloating," Gallo told Knight-Ridder news service last August. "I don't believe in black magic, and I don't really believe I could have given him cancer for real. If I had any metaphysical powers, I would heal the sick. I did think it was bizarre that I said it and it happened, but I'm not happy he has cancer."

Ebert, who has twice undergone surgery for cancer, is said to be in good health. He stands by his assessment of Brown Bunny. "I have not seen every film in the history of the festival," he says, "yet I feel my judgment will stand."

The Billy Goat Curse:

When did the Chicago Cubs last win a World Series game? On the day in 1945 when tavern owner William Sianis was kicked out of Wrigley Field for bringing his pet goat to the game.

Sianis, owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, whose "cheeseburger, cheeseburger" workers John Belushi famously parodied on Saturday Night Live, was furious. He had purchased a separate ticked for the goat, as he had many times before. Stadium officials informed him that his goat smelled offensively.

In the years since, the Cubs have been stinking even worse. Sianis sent a telegram to Cubs management promising that Wrigley Field would never again see a World Series game.

Last year, the Cubs came within five outs of winning the National League Championship Series. But the goat returned, some say, in the form of Steve Bartman, a fan who deflected a foul ball that might have been caught, which would have prevented the Florida Marlins' winning rally.