Archive for the ‘Clippings’ Category

Random notes: February 6, 2016.

Saturday, February 6th, 2016

Good news, everyone! Our long national nightmare is just beginning!

“Cop Rock” is coming out on DVD.

I never saw an episode of “Cop Rock”, but I am assured it is horrible: therefore, I have to get the DVDs.

I went back and forth about noting this obit yesterday, but in the end, this paragraph pushed me over the edge:

Ms. Denham plunged into the bohemian life. She modeled by day, posing at camera clubs and doing photo shoots for romance and detective magazines, paperback covers, comic strips and movie posters. For a spread in True Adventures magazine, “Girl Gun Runners of Saigon,” she posed as four different Vietnamese women holding an array of weapons as they took position on a ridge.

“Girl Gun Runners of Saigon”, one of the greatest titles ever. Right up there with “Weasels Ripped My Flesh” and “Coffin’s Got the Dead Guy On the Inside”.

Obit watch: special all UKOGBNI edition.

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

Gordon Goody, one of the Great Train Robbers.

While Mr. Goody was always considered one of the masterminds of the plot, he resented the fact that Mr. Reynolds was most often identified as the gang’s chief architect. (Mr. Reynolds died in 2013.)
“I do take exception to being referred to, as I have been from time to time, as Bruce’s number two,” Mr. Goody wrote. “I wasn’t number two to anybody.”

Richard John Bingham, the seventh Earl of Lucan, also known as Lord Lucan.

Okay, so, technically, he’s been dead since 1999, but this time he’s really most sincerely dead.

Obit watch: January 28, 2016.

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

In great haste, because my lunch is about to end and I’m busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest: former Providence, Rhode Island mayor Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci Jr.

ProJo coverage. I expect I’ll have more to say later.

Crime and punishment.

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

The first three paragraphs of this article push one of my hot buttons, so you might take that into account when considering my recommendation.

However, I really like Kathryn Schulz’s “Dead Certainty”, about “Making a Murderer” specifically, and the general trend of reporters conducting their own “extrajudicial investigations”.

Nearly seventy years have passed since Erle Stanley Gardner first tried a criminal case before the jury of the general public. Yet we still have not thought seriously about what it means when a private investigative project—bound by no rules of procedure, answerable to nothing but ratings, shaped only by the ethics and aptitude of its makers—comes to serve as our court of last resort.

Schulz puts her finger on something that’s bugged me for a while. I’m not proud of this, but I used to watch “America’s Most Wanted”. Sometimes, it reminded me of a scene from “Fahrenheit 451″, where Montag is being pursued and the pursuit is broadcast live on television, complete with a host who sounds a lot like John Walsh.

I don’t have a dog in this fight: I didn’t watch “Making a Murderer” and I didn’t listen to “Serial”. But I think what Schulz says is worth thinking about:

It is largely because of these systemic weaknesses in our judicial system that we find ourselves with a court of last resort. While that court cannot directly operate the levers of the law, it has drawn attention to cases that need review, and innocent people have been freed as a result. Yet in the decades since Erle Stanley Gardner launched his column, none of the forces that put those people in prison in the first place have changed for the better. Nor have we evolved a set of standards around extrajudicial investigations of criminal cases. However broken the rules that govern our real courts, the court of last resort is bound by no rules at all.

Marvin Minsky.

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

NYT obit. 1981 profile from the New Yorker by Jeremy Bernstein.

Dr. Minsky was another of my personal heroes that I never got to meet. I first read about him in the pages of Hackers, which was a Christmas gift from my mother one year (and about which I’ve written before).

Later on, I got interested in AI, which led me again to Minsky by way of The Society of Mind. (Which, oddly enough, I have also touched on before.)

I wish that I had more to say, but I’m struggling to find words right now. (I blame this mostly on allergies.)

Obit watch: January 19, 2016.

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

This was a long long time ago, when I was a professional small child.

My family’s primary car was a Chevy Suburban. I don’t remember what year it was (though I know it was purchased used), but I do remember that it had an 8-track tape player. At the time, my sister and I thought that was pretty cool.

One year, for Father’s Day (I think) my sister and I decided to pool our funds and get another 8-track tape for my dad to play in the car. We went down to Foley’s…

(To give you some idea of how long ago this was:

  • 8-track tape players and tapes were still a thing.
  • Foley’s was still a thing.
  • Foley’s still sold recorded music, including 8-track tapes.


Anyway, we bought Hotel California on 8-track tape. Really, I am not making this up. I’m pretty sure this was my idea, and that I’d heard the title track on the AM radio.

I’m not sure if my dad actually enjoyed the Eagles, or just tolerated them for the sake of his children. (Speaking of which, this is a swell essay by Ken White, if you haven’t read it.) I do know that we played the crap out of that tape, as it was one of the handful we had. (The only others I remember were a tape of trucking songs – probably from Radio Shack – that included “Wolf Creek Pass”, with the track break right in the middle of the song, and “The Muppet Show” album. To this day, a vital part of my brain is occupied with part of the lyrics to “Lydia the Tattooed Lady”, and “Good grief! The comedian’s a bear!”)

All this is by way of saying: rest in peace, Glenn Frey. A/V Club.

Obit watch: January 17, 2016.

Sunday, January 17th, 2016

Catching up on a few from the past couple of days.

Dan “Grizzly Adams” Haggerty, for the record. NYT. A/V Club.

Both of the times Mike the Musicologist and I have gone up to Tulsa, Haggerty was a “special guest”. I thought about getting an autograph and maybe even a photo with him – if nothing else, as a present for my brother – but somehow, in all our wanderings around the show (and remember, it is a huge show) we never made it past where he and the other guests were sitting. I kind of regret that now…

Noted Austin public radio personality Paul Ray died on Friday. Statesman. KUTX.

Those Darn Episcopalians!

Friday, January 15th, 2016

Credit on this is due to Lawrence, who sent me a link yesterday. I also mostly stole the title from him.

I’m not Episcopalian (or Anglican) and, while I don’t talk about my religion here, I am fascinated by the way various religions work (or don’t work, as the case may be). The link Lawrence sent me pushed my hot buttons, but to be honest, I had to re-read it a few times before I felt like I understood it.

So the archbishop of Canterbury apparently called a big meeting of the archbishops of the Anglican Communion. As I understand it, the Anglican Communion is sort of the governing body of the Anglican churches. This may be a poor analogy, but it seems like you can think of the archbishop of Canterbury as the Pope of the Anglican church, with the other archbishops sort of being the equivalent of their Catholic counterparts. (But there’s a lot more democracy and fellowship involved.)

In this case, the meeting was of what the church calls “primates”, which (again, if I understand correctly) are basically the archbishops who head up the regional Anglican churches in the Communion.

Results of this meeting leaked out yesterday, and the Primates were forced to issue a beautifully written statement:

Today the Primates agreed how they would walk together in the grace and love of Christ. This agreement acknowledges the significant distance that remains but confirms their unanimous commitment to walk together…
This agreement demonstrates the commitment of all the Primates to continue the life of the Communion with neither victor nor vanquished.

But what did they actually decide?

It is our unanimous desire to walk together. However given the seriousness of these matters we formally acknowledge this distance by requiring that for a period of three years The Episcopal Church no longer represent us on ecumenical and interfaith bodies, should not be appointed or elected to an internal standing committee and that while participating in the internal bodies of the Anglican Communion, they will not take part in decision making on any issues pertaining to doctrine or polity.

The Episcopal Church is basically the branch of the Anglicans in the United States. The Communion is stripping them of their ability to participate in decision making, and seems to be saying the American church is not “in full communion”.

Why? What brought this on? Three words: same-sex marriage.

The traditional doctrine of the church in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds marriage as between a man and a woman in faithful, lifelong union. The majority of those gathered reaffirm this teaching.

The NYT summarizes these developments.

I’m kind of torn by this, even though I don’t have a dog in the fight. On the one hand, I support same-sex marriage. On the other hand, I also support the rights of churches and individuals to make their own decisions based on their faith. I’d violently oppose any governmental effort to force the Episcopal Church to allow same-sex marriage, but if they reached that decision independently, that’s their choice.

It’s more…curious to me than anything else. I had it in my head that the Anglican Communion, and especially the archbishops of Canterbury, were extremely liberal. If anything, I would have expected the communion to go in the opposite direction and allow same-sex marriage in all the churches.

And I’m wondering if this will cause an even bigger split:

The archbishop of Canterbury permitted the participation at the gathering this week of Archbishop Foley Beach, who leads the Anglican Church in North America, a breakaway group formed in the United States and Canada to protest the moves there to ordain gay bishops and recognize same-sex marriages. The Anglican Church in North America counts just over 100,000 members.

I’d welcome discussion of this here, especially from Anglicans/Episcopalians who want to correct my misunderstandings of the church or doctrine.

Quick notes: January 14, 2016.

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

Obit watch: Lawrence Phillips, former Nebraska running back, first round draft pick of the St. Louis Rams, and current prison inmate.

Phillips went to prison in 2008 on a sentence of more than 31 years after he was convicted of twice choking his girlfriend in 2005 in San Diego and of driving his car into three teens later that year after a pickup football game in Los Angeles.

He was also suspected of having killed a cellmate. His death is believed to have been a suicide.

Well. Chip Kelly is the new coach of the San Francisco 49ers. This should make Gregg Easterbrook’s head explode.

Obit watch: January 13, 2016.

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

William Del Monte passed away on Monday at the age of 109.

Mr. Del Monte was the last known survivor of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

There’s only room for one and here she comes, here she comes…

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

I sort of shoved the Bowie roundup to the back of the fridge yesterday, mostly because I felt the coverage had become over-saturated. But I still feel obligated to do something for the historical record.

NYT, which contains links to their extensive coverage. LAT coverage. I know I’m probably being provincial in not linking to a UK paper, but honestly I don’t know which of them is trustworthy these days; if I have any readers in the UKOGBNI who are willing to drop links in comments, please feel free to do so.

Interesting piece from TechDirt about Bowie as music technology visionary.

The A/V Club ran a quick obit, and followed up with a longer “For Our Consideration” piece that’s mostly okay except for the last sentence. Death isn’t “a guise”, and Sean O’Neal should be ashamed of himself for saying that.

I’ve never called myself a Bowie fan, and never spent money to see him live. But when I think about Bowie, I keep thinking about how much of his music I really enjoyed: “Heroes”, “Major Tom”, “Ashes to Ashes”, “Putting Out the Fire”…

It isn’t a great recording, but it is a great song.

Violates my rule about Christmas music, but I think I can make an exception in this case.

Firings watch (and unrelated note).

Monday, January 11th, 2016

Lionel Hollins out as coach of the Nets. The team also “reassigned” General Manager Billy King.

I’ve known about David Bowie for a grand total of five minutes at this point. I want to wait a few hours for the smoke to clear before I post an obit roundup.