Archive for the ‘Clippings’ Category

Obit watch: April 22, 2016.

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

Your Prince obit round-up: NYT. Star-Tribune. LAT coverage. WP.

“Poor Lonely Computer: Prince’s Misunderstood Relationship With The Internet” from NPR.

I feel much the same way about Prince as I did about Bowie. I wouldn’t call myself a fan, I never saw him live, but thinking back on it, he turned out a lot of music I like. “1999”. “Little Red Corvette”. “When Doves Cry”. “Let’s Go Crazy”. And every now and then, I’ve been known to spontaneously start singing “She wore a raspberry beret, the kind you find in a second-hand store…” much to the annoyance of my cow-orkers.

And I didn’t realize it until yesterday, but he actually wrote “Manic Monday”.

Also among the dead, according to the A/V Club: Richard Lyons, co-founder of Negativland.

Art, damn it, art! watch (#51 in a series)

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

And speaking of Damien Hirst:

“One of Hirst’s main subjects is the setting-up of giant fish tanks filled by thousands of liters of FA, in which intact biological specimens are immersed, such as zebras, cows, calves, even sharks,” the abstract of the article said, referring to formaldehyde fumes. “It has been found that the tanks are surrounded by FA fumes, constantly exuded in the atmosphere (likely via the sealant), reaching levels of 5 ppm, one order of magnitude higher than the 0.5 ppm limit set up by legislation.”

In other words, some people are concerned that a tank full of formaldehyde with a dead shark in it may be leaking formaldehyde fumes. Shocked, shocked I am.

The museum also provided a statement from Pier Giorgio Righetti, a professor at Politecnico di Milano university in Italy and an author of the paper, saying that the research “was intended to test the uses of a new sensor for measuring formaldehyde fumes, and we do not believe that our findings suggest any risk for visitors at Tate Modern.”

Obit watch: April 5, 2016.

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

Winston Moseley is burning in hell.

If that name doesn’t ring a bell with you, and you think I’m being harsh: Moseley is the man who killed Kitty Genovese.

Mr. Moseley, a psychopathic serial killer and necrophiliac, died at the maximum security Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, N.Y., near the Canadian border. He had been imprisoned for almost 52 years, since July 7, 1964, and was one of the state’s longest-serving inmates.

I apologize for quoting at length from the NYT obit, but there are some interesting things in it that deserve to be called out. For example:

While there was no question that the attack occurred, and that some neighbors ignored cries for help, the portrayal of 38 witnesses as fully aware and unresponsive was erroneous. The article grossly exaggerated the number of witnesses and what they had perceived. None saw the attack in its entirety. Only a few had glimpsed parts of it, or recognized the cries for help. Many thought they had heard lovers or drunks quarreling. There were two attacks, not three. And afterward, two people did call the police. A 70-year-old woman ventured out and cradled the dying victim in her arms until they arrived. Ms. Genovese died on the way to a hospital.
But the account of 38 witnesses heartlessly ignoring a murderous attack was widely disseminated and took on a life of its own, shocking the national conscience and starting an avalanche of academic studies, investigations, films, books, even a theatrical production and a musical. The soul-searching went on for decades, long after the original errors were debunked, evolving into more parable than fact but continuing to reinforce images of urban Americans as too callous or fearful to call for help, even with a life at stake.

(Previously.)

Captured five days later during a burglary, Mr. Moseley confessed to the murders of Ms. Genovese and two other Queens residents: Annie Mae Johnson, 24, who had been shot and burned to death in her South Ozone Park apartment in February, and Barbara Kralik, 15, who had been stabbed in her parents’ Springfield Gardens home the previous July. Both women had been sexually assaulted.
Mr. Moseley was never tried for murdering Ms. Johnson or Ms. Kralik, though he recited details only the killer could have known, the police said. He testified at the trial of Alvin Mitchell, who had already been charged in Ms. Kralik’s murder. The conflicting accounts left a hung jury. Mr. Mitchell was convicted in a second trial.

Well. I wonder what happened to Mr. Mitchell. (I tried a Google search, but “Alvin Mitchell” is too common a name.)

In 1968, on the visit to a Buffalo hospital for treatment of a self-inflicted injury at Attica, Mr. Moseley overpowered a guard, took his gun and fled. In his several days on the loose, he took five hostages and raped a woman before he was finally recaptured by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He received two 15-year terms, to run concurrently with his life sentence.

That’s something I didn’t know. (It is perhaps worth noting that Moseley was originally sentenced to death for the Genovese murder, but had his sentence reduced to life imprisonment on appeal.)

Also among the dead, and one I’ve been meaning to note: Adrienne Corri, actress, perhaps most famous for her role in “A Clockwork Orange”.

Erik Bauersfeld.

Things: April 1, 2016.

Friday, April 1st, 2016

You know something? I still don’t like bullies.

Obit watch: Bill Green. Mr. Green worked as a newspaper editor, public affairs officer for NASA, and university professor at Duke.

He also worked for the Washington Post as their ombudsman from late 1980 to 1981. If you’re thinking, “Hey, that period sounds historically significant.”: yes, yes it was. “Jimmy’s World” was published shortly after Mr. Green became ombudsman, and he conducted the paper’s investigation when it fell apart.

Since it fell off the front page, I wanted to also note here that I updated the “Use of force” post: now with pyramids!

What is the name of this play?

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

No, seriously. What is the name of this play?

Awful damn lot of dust in the air this morning…

Friday, March 25th, 2016

Depression lied to my sister, told her that she was worthless. A burden. Unlovable. Undeserving of life. I imagine these lies were like a kind of permanent white noise in her life — a running narration of how unworthy she was. After years of the lies and the torment, my sister believed that depression told her the truth. In the notes she left for my parents and me, Aletha wrote, “don’t feel sad, I’m not worth it.”
She was so wrong. Depression lies. I have to tell the truth.

The number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).

Obit followup.

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

Lawrence forwarded an obit for Rob Ford from National Review.

I think it’s worth reading, though I may be showing my bias here.

More obit watch.

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

Rob Ford, controversial former mayor of Toronto.

I think there are a lot of jokes that people will be making in the coming days, but this actually kind of saddens me. 46 is too young for anyone to die. And he had his share of problems – whether they were his own or invented by Gawker – but I hope he finds the peace in death that seemingly eluded him in life.

Obit watch: March 22, 2016.

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

There’s a nice tribute in today’s WP to Bob Ebeling, who died on Monday. You may not recognize the name:

In the days before the space shuttle Challenger burned up in mid-air, killing all seven astronauts on board, Ebeling and four other engineers had pleaded with NASA to delay the launch. They had concerns about whether the rubber o-rings on the shuttle’s booster rockets would seal properly in the frigid winter weather. Ebeling even authored an alarmed memo detailing the problems with the rings. Its subject line read, bluntly, “Help!”

For the historical record: Andrew S. Grove.

A couple of random notes: March 16, 2016.

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

How did I not have a “Lovecraft” category before now? Fixed.

What brought this to mind? Anther AP story, this one about the relationship between H.P. Lovecraft and Providence.

Lovecraft aficionados, drawn to Providence, leave trinkets and notes at the author’s gravesite in Swan Point Cemetery. The Lovecraft council has a store downtown and holds conventions and events to celebrate Lovecraft’s work and influence.

When I visited Swan Point on one of my trips, I was told Lovecraft’s grave was the most visited one in the cemetery. This struck me as interesting, because Sullivan Ballou, aka “the guy who wrote the letter from the Ken Burns series that everyone but me loves” is also buried in Swan Point. My recollection is that this was near the peak of “Civil War” mania, but I guess Lovecraftian horror beats banjos and sentiment at least five out of seven days of the week.

Tam has a very nice obit up for Todd Louis Green, noted pistol trainer, class act, and “Archer” fan.

I never got to take a class with him, and I wish I had: I think I would have enjoyed both learning from him, and finding out if he hates Bionic Barry as much as I do.

Imagine a rotting Elvis shopping for fresh fruit…

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

Today’s Statesman ran an AP article on the decline of Elvis mania in Las Vegas. I think this is the original.

Low attendance numbers were also to blame when the Viva Elvis Cirque du Soleil show at the Aria casino-hotel was cancelled in 2012 after a two-year run. That’s a much shorter shelf life than most of its sister shows. The longest-running one, Myste’re, started on the Strip more than two decades ago.

It’s left the Strip’s largest casino operator, MGM Resorts International, without any Elvis-themed shows, attractions or weddings. Rival Caesars Entertainment Corporation still hosts tribute acts and weddings, but a spokeswoman said few of those getting hitched ever choose the official Elvis packages.

Elvis impersonator Ted Payne, 54 said business has slowed dramatically since he started taking photos with tourists for tips just six years ago.

“When I first started out, I wouldn’t get out of a bed unless I (could) make at least $150,” he said. “Now, these days, $50 is a great day.”

Others say the market was oversaturated by Elvis impersonators for so long that the appeal burned itself out here, even as Elvis’ reach grows internationally.

I have no joke here, I just like saying “oversaturated by Elvis impersonators”.

First Liberace, now Elvis. Is there no sense of history in Vegas?

(Subject line hattip.)

Memos from the sports desk.

Monday, March 14th, 2016

Trent Johnson out as men’s basketball coach for Texas Christian University. Story with official announcement from the horribly designed Dallas Morning News site. ESPN.

Hattip on this to Lawrence. And speaking of Lawrence, once again I have taken Gonzaga against the field for $5 with Lawrence.

I know that Gonzaga struggled to get a tournament bid this year, but it seems like they are on a hot streak. I think they might at least be able to surprise Seton Hall…