Needful.

October 31st, 2014

Do you know what Washington, DC needs?

Strict ax control laws.

Add this to the hatchet attack against the cops in NYC, and maybe what we need are tighter regulations for these deadly wood chopping implements. Does anybody really need a high-powered assault ax?

Happy Halloween, everyone!

October 31st, 2014

I don’t have anything quite as spectacular as the FARK Scary Stories thread; heck, I don’t even have any really good scary stories. But:

It was 40 years ago today.

Someone referenced Mike Warnke yesterday on one of the blogs I read. Who is Mike Warnke? He was a Christian evangelist and author; in 1973, he published a book called The Satan Seller about his experiences as a practicing Satanist until he found Christ and got his life in order.

Warnke became pretty popular, especially during the Satanic ritual abuse hysteria of the 1980s. But in 1991, a Christian magazine published a lengthy expose of Warnke; his chronology didn’t fit together, and basically everything he claimed could be disproven. (For example, he didn’t attend a Satanic ritual with Charles Manson; Manson was in prison at the time.) Warnke ended up folding his ministry in the wake of the expose and other press coverage (more about the aftermath here); he went on to start a new ministry and is still touring.

Cornerstone, the magazine that exposed Warnke, had done an earlier article on Lauren Stratford, another figure in the Satanic ritual abuse controversy. Stratford wrote several books, including Satan’s Underground, in which she claimed that she was used to breed babies for Satanic cult sacrifices. As it turned out, not a word of her story was true; Lauren Stratford wasn’t even her real name.

After Stratford was exposed, she started presenting herself as Laura Grabowski. And Laura Grabowski wasn’t a Christian survivor of Satanic ritual abuse; she was a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau who had been experimented on by Mengele himself. As you may have guessed, this was about as true as her SRA claims.

I don’t remember if I’ve ever linked this before – I think the Air Cooled Volkswagen Junkyard of Richfield, Ohio had gone off the web by the time I started this blog – but here you go, one of my favorite Halloween stories.

Obit watch: October 30, 2014.

October 30th, 2014

Col. Jack Broughton (USAF – ret.) passed away last Friday.

Col. Broughton was a former Thunderbird and wrote several books, including Thud Ridge and Going Downtown.

He is perhaps most famous for an incident that occurred during the Vietnam War. At the time, Col. Broughton was vice commander of the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing. One of his pilots approached him after a raid and stated that he might have accidentally hit a Soviet ship with cannon fire while he was bombing Vietnamese anti-aircraft positions located nearby. The next day, the Soviets complained that one of their ships had been bombed; Col. Broughton, in an attempt to protect his pilots, ordered the gun camera film from their aircraft destroyed.

Col. Broughton and two of his pilots were court-martialled for allegedly bombing the Soviet ship. However, the gun camera film was the only evidence of what happened; since it had been destroyed, there wasn’t any evidence that the ship had actually been bombed, and Col. Broughton and the pilots were acquitted on that charge. Col. Broughton was, however, found guilty of “destruction of government property” (the gun camera film, with an estimated worth of $5). His conviction was later overturned due to “undue command influence”.

One observer on the Board for the Correction of Military Records called the court-martial ‘the grossest example of injustice in history.’ As Broughton himself wrote in his book, Going Downtown: The War Against Hanoi and Washington, ‘I found it interesting that in the entire history of the United States flying forces, only one other officer had ever had a general court-martial set aside and voided. His name was Billy Mitchell.’

Here’s a pretty good article reprinted from Vietnam magazine that covers the cases of Col. Broughton and Jack Lavelle. (I’ve also written about the Lavelle case; the linked article is from 1997, and doesn’t cover the more recent developments.)

TMQ Watch: October 28, 2014.

October 28th, 2014

Musical interlude that has nothing to do with this week’s TMQ. We just needed a musical interlude right about now, and we find this particular version of the song haunting. Yes, we’re in a mood.

This week’s column after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

Thank you, folks!

October 28th, 2014

I made a few pennies off of Amazon referrals this month, so thank you, my readers, for making purchases and helping fight off entropy for a little while longer.

I hope the person who ordered Young Men and Fire likes it as much as I did. And whoever ordered the My Little Pony Friendship is Magic 2 Inch PVC Figure Mystery Pack, good for you.

What am I going to buy with my Amazon earnings? Well, I already spent most of them on FloFost. I want to assure you, however, that one thing I will not be purchasing is this:

That does remind me, however: with the holiday season coming up, I need to dig out that Harlequin NASCAR Christmas romance collection and do a “Quaint and Curious” entry on it.

Obit watch: October 28, 2014.

October 28th, 2014

Chivas USA.

“What?”

The other Major League Soccer franchise in LA.

Not to worry, though. In a fantastic example of “it’s not working, do it even harder!”:

On Thursday, the league is expected to announce the formation of a new club that will begin play in 2017. The ownership group of that franchise will be headed by Henry Nguyen, a Vietnamese American venture capitalist, and Mandalay Entertainment CEO Peter Guber, a co-owner of the Dodgers and the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.

Soccer. The next big thing. Any day now.

Your loser update: week 8, 2014.

October 26th, 2014

For various uninteresting reasons, we actually caught the last few minutes of the London game featuring loser favorites, the Detroit Lions. Rarely has “clown shoes” been a more accurate description.

TMQ’s football gods will be insufferable this week.

The Bears were outclassed, outplayed and outcoached. They had no business being on that field. They offered the most compelling argument favoring a mercy rule. They are the local team most in need of hiring Joe Maddon.

Tell us how you really feel, Steve.

Sounds like the Texans played well. And the Browns somehow managed not to be a factory of sadness this week. As much as I hate Buffalo, the game against the Jets filled me with glee, mostly because watching them struggle makes me even happier than watching Buffalo lose.

NFL teams that still have a chance to go 0-16:

Oakland

I like the Raiders’ chances. Their next three games are against Seattle, Denver, and San Diego, none of whom should lose to Oakland.

Edited to add:

Heh. Heh. Heh.

TMQ Watch: October 21, 2014.

October 23rd, 2014

Pete and Repeat walk into bar in this week’s TMQ, after the jump…

Read the rest of this entry »

Headline of the day.

October 23rd, 2014

Beijing Unsoothed by a Kenny G Visit

(This gives me a chance to repeat Karl‘s joke: “What’s the difference between Kenny G and an Uzi? An Uzi only repeats itself 20 times a second.”)

Obit watch: October 22, 2014.

October 22nd, 2014

Apologies. It was a busy morning and a busy afternoon.

Probably the only Ben Bradlee obit you need to read. I think Bradlee’s legacy and influence (good and bad) will be debated in the coming days. And I note that the WP doesn’t shy away from mentioning “Jimmy” along with Watergate and the Pentagon Papers. But I like this:

Mr. Bradlee’s three years in the wartime Navy had a lasting influence on him. As a young officer, he learned empathy for the enlisted men and developed a style of leadership that he relied on throughout his professional life. As recounted in his memoirs, it combined an easy authority with tolerance for the irrepressible enthusiasm of those under his command. Even as a young officer, he never enjoyed a confrontation and preferred accommodation to the aggressive use of authority.

(NYT obit for another perspective.)

Also among the dead: Nelson Bunker Hunt, of silver fame.

If they actually make this movie…

October 21st, 2014

…I am there, man.

Stephen Frears is (allegedly) going to direct Meryl Streep in a biography of Florence Foster Jenkins.

(“Remembering Florence Foster Jenkins” from the Carnegie Hall website. Just in case you are unfamiliar with “The Glory (????) of the Human Voice“. And yes, you can buy FlFoJenk in MP3 format from Amazon.)

A double handful of food related randomness.

October 20th, 2014

During one of my dinner conversations over the weekend, the subject of “Family Affair” came up for reasons I have forgotten. (I don’t think the initial discussion started out with Anissa Jones, but Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, what a sad death.)

In the course of the conversation, I stumbled across this: The Family Affair Cookbook. I’m sure Ms. Garver is a very nice person, but when I think “Family Affair”, I don’t really think “food”. Then again, the show did go off the air when I was six…

Something else that came out of another dinner conversation: does anyone remember The Magic Pan? Yes, it was a chain (owned by Quaker Oats?!) and I don’t believe there was ever one in Austin. There was one in the Galleria in Houston; I ate there a couple of times, and have fond memories of it.

Googling to see if there were any Magic Pans left (spoiler: no) turned up a few links I want to immortalize for reference purposes:

Magic Pan recipes from Uncle Phaedrus. Actually, the whole Uncle Phaedrus website is probably bookmark worthy; if you’re anything like me, you have to kind of like a guy who combines food and Sherlock Holmes.

By way of Uncle Phaedrus, here’s a file that contains some of the Magic Pan master recipes. Just in case you have a steam kettle and want to make 17 pounds of Beef Bourguignon.

The Crepe Cookbook by Paulette Fono and Maria Stacho on Amazon. (Paulette Fono and her husband Lazlo opened the first Magic Pan in Ghirardelli Square.) I kind of want this (even if it doesn’t have any Magic Pan recipes after 1971) but I don’t want it $43.61 worth. Also, I am still prohibited from purchasing cookbooks.

Crepe Cookery by Mable Hoffman, which is at least more reasonably priced.

The Magic Pan Project appears to be offline.

This guy likes the VillaWare V5225 Crepe Maker. If you want to buy one, more power to you. But there’s no way I’m going to cook $90 worth of crepes. And I’m also a subscriber to Alton Brown’s theory of avoiding single-purpose kitchen gadgets.

Damn. Now I’m hungry, and there’s no way for me to get crepes. I think Crepes Mille may still be on South Congress, but there’s no way for me to get there on my dinner break. Flip Happy Crepes is closed (I really do hope they get the brick and mortar thing figured out.) The Original Pancake House has some crepes, but not a whole lot, and they close at 2.

Anybody got any other crepe sources in Austin? (I am aware of that company that sells pre-made crepes at HEB, though I’m blanking on the name right now.)

(Crossposted to the SDC Logbook, because that’s just the kind of hairball I am.)