Archive for the ‘Clippings’ Category

Obit watch: November 23, 2014.

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

Marion Barry: WP. WP 2.

NYT for an alternative point of view.

Obit watch: November 20, 2014.

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

I wanted to wait until the media had a chance to do fuller roundups of Mike Nichols and his career.

NYT. LAT. The Dissolve.

Man, what a career.

“Think of the extreme FUN!”

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Clif Bar, the people who make Clif Bars, gives out sponsorships to various athletes. There are a whole bunch of sponsored athletes in various sports, including mountain climbing.

Recently, the Clif Bar folks decided they were going to stop sponsoring five of those athletes. Four of them are mountain climbers, and one is a BASE jumper. According to the company:

Over a year ago, we started having conversations internally about our concerns with B.A.S.E. jumping, highlining and free-soloing. We concluded that these forms of the sport are pushing boundaries and taking the element of risk to a place where we as a company are no longer willing to go. We understand that some climbers feel these forms of climbing are pushing the sport to new frontiers. But we no longer feel good about benefiting from the amount of risk certain athletes are taking in areas of the sport where there is no margin for error; where there is no safety net.

One of the funny things about this is that several of these climbers were recently featured in a documentary, “Valley Uprising”; Clif Bar was a major sponsor of the documentary.

The NYT has more coverage of this issue, including quotes from the athletes in question.

This is an interesting debate, at least to me: Clif Bar isn’t saying “don’t do this stuff”; they’re saying “we won’t sponsor you to do stuff that we think is too far out on the edge”. And you can sort of understand that they don’t want to be associated with some guy who reduces himself to a thin red smear while BASE jumping. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem (from what the NYT is saying) that there’s any shortage of companies that are willing to step in where Clif Bar left off. On the gripping hand, if everyone free-soloed a rock, would you? Does it matter that other sponsors are stepping in; isn’t Clif just taking a moral stance? But if it is a moral stance, what about this documentary? Should they still be attaching their name to it?

I’ve got no idea. I just think it is an interesting debate.

Obit watch: November 14, 2014.

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Gus Vlahavas, owner of Tom’s Restaurant in Brooklyn.

Noted here because this is a great example of the kind of obit the paper of record does well. Also because there’s a lot of dust in the room:

Mr. Vlahavas lived for Tom’s, almost literally so. To make sure he arrived promptly at 5 a.m. to fire up the grill, he bought a brownstone around the corner at a time when few people were moving into the neighborhood. His dedication was reciprocated by the loyalty of his neighbors, who by the 1960s were mainly blacks from the American South and the Caribbean, who replaced the Irish, Italians and Jews. During the blackout of 1965, when rioting erupted, local people formed a human chain to protect Tom’s.
“All my neighbors, my black American friends, they all held hands around the store, 70 of them,” Mr. Vlahavas told The Daily News in 2009. “It made me feel terrific because these people were very thoughtful and kind enough to protect me,” he continued. “This doesn’t happen every day in anyone’s life.”

Also among the dead: Jane Byrne, former mayor of Chicago.

Administrative and other notes: November 5, 2014.

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Happy Guy Fawkes Day. While you’re out and about, please remember poor Guido, the last man to enter the Houses of Parliament with honorable intentions.

It seems kind of fitting that that the holiday falls today. Beyond that, I don’t have much to say about the elections for reasons of time and inclination. Battleswarm is a good place to go if you’re looking for that.

I will be updating the contact pages on this site, but I’m going to wait until after the runoffs are over, everyone is sworn in, and they actually have pages to link to. If this does get past me for some reason, please yell at me until it gets done.

I’m going to avoid my usual “what China needs” snark here, because this is a little scary: Brittney Griner attacked in China by a man with a knife.

Griner sustained a small cut when she was attacked by a man while boarding a bus after practice Monday in Shenyang. The man, who followed the players onto the bus, also stabbed one of Griner’s teammates. She was wearing two jackets and wasn’t injured because the knife didn’t go through.

How did Peter Siebold (the other Virgin Galactic pilot) survive a bailout from 50,000 feet without a pressure suit? Bonus: quotes from Bob Hoover. The Bill Weaver story is also touched on briefly: a fuller account can be found here.

Things may be slow from Thursday until Monday. We will see.

Headline of the day.

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Unexpected Complexity in a Spider’s Tiny Brain

For more information on the crack spider’s bitch, contact the Canadian Wildlife Service in Ottawa.

Obit watch: November 3, 2014.

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Tom Magliozzi, of “Car Talk” fame. NPR. Preliminary LAT obit. A/V Club. Car Talk.

A long time ago, I was a huge fan of “Car Talk”. My Monday nights were not complete without listening to the latest episode, and I tended to get cranky if that schedule was interrupted. (Kids, ask your parents about the time before podcasts.) I even – hold on to your hats, folks – donated money to our local NPR station at one point so I could show my support of “Car Talk”. (Oh, yeah. Like you never did anything stupid when you were young.)

Then our local station changed the schedule around so “Car Talk” was on at an inconvenient time, and I kind of dropped away from it. Then Tom and Ray started taking truly idiotic political positions (for example, advocating a federally enforced limit on horsepower to weight ratios) and I stopped being a “Car Talk” fan. As a matter of fact, I began to find the show grating. Not quite “I’d rather listen to Prairie Home Companion” grating, but grating enough. And frankly, I don’t understand why it is still on the air, since it has been nothing but re-runs since 2012. (Actually, I think I do understand why: I guess it brings in the bucks at pledge time.)

On the other hand, 77 is too damn young. Alzheimer’s sucks. I do kind of want to hear the tribute show. And he had a great beard.


Friday, 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!

Friday, 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.

Thursday, 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.)

Obit watch: October 28, 2014.

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Chivas USA.


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.

Headline of the day.

Thursday, 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.”)