Archive for the ‘Clippings’ Category

Art (Acevedo), damn it! watch. (#W of a series)

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

The chief is staying in Austin. And getting a pay raise.

In other news, VonTrey Clark has been deported from Indonesia:

Clark, 32, was handed over to 13 agents of the FBI and was flown to Texas on a specially chartered plane from the bureau.

Oliver Sacks.

Monday, August 31st, 2015

NYT. Michiko Kakutani appreciation. LAT. WP. A/V Club.

“The Oliver Sacks Reading List” from The Atlantic.

I like what Kakutani says, and I don’t think I could say it any better:

The world has lost a writer of immense talent and heart, a writer who helped illuminate the wonders, losses and consolations of the human condition.

Dr. Sacks was a personal hero of mine. Unlike most of my personal heros, I actually did get to meet him once. He probably wouldn’t have remembered it, even if he wasn’t famously “face blind”…

(more…)

Jesus, Joseph, and Mary.

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Mostly a local story, but noted here for people who may have missed it:

Austin police and fire officials spent much of Sunday investigating a fiery crash that left four people dead at the Arbor Walk shopping center.
The accident, reported at 4:53 a.m., happened when a Nissan Altima crashed through a barrier on the Braker Lane off-ramp on MoPac Boulevard, went airborne, caught fire and crashed into a building containing several businesses, including Mighty Fine Burgers Shakes & Fries.

Obit watch: August 31, 2015.

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Noted film director Wes Craven. LAT. A/V Club. NYT.

Dr. Wayne Dyer, author (“Your Erroneous Zones”) and perennial fixture on PBS. Quoted without comment:

Dyer was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia in 2009 but claimed to have treated it with positive thinking, daily exercise and “psychic surgery” performed remotely by the Brazilian medium João Teixeira de Faria, better known as “John of God.” He detailed the controversial treatment in an interview with Oprah Winfrey — for whom he was a friend and frequent guest for more than 30 years — in 2012.

Often promoted as “public television’s favorite teacher of transformational wisdom,” Dyer was a fixture on PBS for almost 40 years and became embroiled in a controversy over complaints beginning in 2006 that he was promoting a specific religious worldview in violation of PBS’ editorial policies.
Michael Getler, PBS’s ombudsman at the time, wrote in 2012 that it was “my sense” that Dyer’s advocacy strayed outside PBS’ editorial standards but that the PBS board disagreed with him.

An Oliver Sacks obit is coming, but his death was kind of personal for me, so I want to take a little more time.

Unintended consequences.

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Part 1:

Two years later, an assessment commissioned by the city finds that the ban is having an unintended effect –- people are now throwing away heavy-duty reusable plastic bags at an unprecedented rate. The city’s good intentions have proven all too vulnerable to the laws of supply and demand.

Part 2:

And in New York City, where heroin goes for about $10 a bag, according to a Drug Enforcement Administration official, a pack of cigarettes costs $12.85 or $10.29, depending on which of the two surveys you consult.

Obit watch: August 26, 2015.

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Legendary Houston surgeon Dr. James “Red” Duke Jr.

Dr. Duke was one of the founders of the Life Flight service. He attended John Connally after the Kennedy assassination. He inspired a short-lived TV series with Dennis Weaver.

Hunting and fishing in the surrounding countryside, he became lifelong friends with another redhead, Willie Nelson. Later, as a doctor, he was given to bursting into Nelson songs without warning.

Edited to add 8/27: NYT obit.

Historical note, suitable for use in schools.

Friday, August 21st, 2015

By way of the invaluable NYT obits Twitter feed, I have learned that today is the 75th anniversary of the assassination of Leon Trotsky. I don’t know what I would have done if this anniversary had gotten past me.

(Technically, I suppose it is the 75th anniversary of Trotsky’s death. Ramón Mercader, or whatever his name was – he seems to have had multitudes – attacked Trotsky on the 20th, but he lingered until the 21st.)

I haven’t done one of these in a while, so how about a little musical interlude?

This might push a few buttons.

Obit watch: August 21, 2015.

Friday, August 21st, 2015

Brigadier General Frederick Payne (USMC- ret.)

Gen. Payne was 104 when he died, and was the oldest surviving US fighter ace.

During two and a half weeks in 1942, from behind the guns of his Grumman F4F Wildcat flying over the Pacific near Guadalcanal, Mr. Payne, a major at the time, downed three Japanese bombers and two Zero fighters, having already shared credit with another pilot for bringing down an enemy bomber.

Gen. Payne received the Navy Cross, the Silver Star, and the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions.

With Mr. Payne’s death, there are 71 surviving aces, said Arthur Bednar, coordinator of the American Fighter Aces Association.
According to Mr. Bednar, only 1,450 American pilots qualified to be called ace, a distinction reserved for pilots who downed at least five enemy planes in aerial combat during World Wars I and II and the wars in Korea and Vietnam; in addition, six aces are recognized from the Russian Civil War, the Spanish Civil War, the Sino-Japanese War and the Arab-Israeli War. Mr. Payne was credited with five and a half kills.

Art (Acevedo), damn it! watch. (#V of a series)

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

The question of the day is: will we get to “Z” in the series?

Austin police Chief Art Acevedo is a finalist for the police chief of San Antonio Police Department.

(As a side note, I’ve always wondered what Sue Grafton’s going to do with Kinsey Millhone after she gets to “Z”. Two books to go.)

Quickies: August 13, 2015.

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Hugo Pinell died yesterday.

On August 21, 1971, Pinell, George Jackson, and several other inmates attempted to escape from San Quentin. Three inmates and three guards were killed in the attempt.

Pinell received a third life sentence for attacking two officers, slitting their throats, in that escape attempt, and had spent the majority of his time since then in solitary confinement and had participated in a 2013 statewide hunger strike protesting those conditions.

Pinell was killed by another prisoner during a riot.

Noted: Warren G. Harding apparently did father a child with his mistress, Nan Britton.

Also noted: VonTrey Clark was allegedly offering $5,000 for the murder of Samantha Dean. (Previously.)

My great and good friend Joe D. and I have had past discussions about death at the Grand Canyon and at Yosemite (although I can’t find them now). In that light, this is interesting: “Forget bears: Here’s what really kills people at national parks”.

Short version: if you do die at a national park, it will probably be a drowning or a car crash. But statistically, the odds are low that you will die at a national park.

Obit watch: August 10, 2015.

Monday, August 10th, 2015

I was too young to remember Frank Gifford‘s playing days, but I do have fond memories of him from Monday Night Football in the 1970’s.

Interesting bit of trivia:

While at U.S.C., he developed a persona, however modest, beyond the football field, gaining Hollywood bit parts. In the 1951 Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis football movie “That’s My Boy,” it was Gifford who kicked the winning field goal as the stand-in for Lewis. A handsome campus hero, Gifford made his mark in contemporary literature as well, serving as the glittering object of envy for one of his classmates, Frederick Exley, whose 1968 memoir, “A Fan’s Notes,” is a staple of the genre (although the author freely acknowledged that some of it was fiction).

You’re going down in flames, you tax-fattened hyena! (#23 in a series)

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

In great haste, because I’m near the end of my lunch hour and wanted to get this up:

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, the state’s top prosecutor, was criminally charged Thursday in a scheme to leak grand jury material and later cover it up – a stunning blow to a political career that was once on a steep ascent.

By my count, the first mention of her party affiliation occurs 15 paragraphs into the story.

Also charged was Patrick Reese, a member of Kane’s security detail and her driver, who stands accused of aiding the attorney general in the alleged cover-up by sneaking into grand jury files.

(Hattip on this to Mike the Musicologist, who has been doing a better job of watching the Kane mutiny than I have.)