Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Random notes: April 11, 2016.

Monday, April 11th, 2016

Statesman writer subscribes to LootCrate so he can get a box of pop-culture crap delivered to him every month.
Statesman writer discovers that he really doesn’t like getting a box of pop-culture crap delivered to him every month.
Stateman writer decides, not just to quietly cancel his LootCrate subscription and move on with his life, but to publish a “breakup letter” in his newspaper.

Editors. Where are the editors?

Obit watch: Dr. Charles S. Hirsch, chief medical examiner of New York City from 1989 to 2013.

In 2001, when two jetliners commandeered by terrorists struck the World Trade Center, Dr. Hirsch and six aides rushed downtown to establish a temporary morgue.
When the North Tower collapsed, two aides were severely injured. Dr. Hirsch, thrown to the ground, broke all of his ribs. His cuts sutured by a medical team, he returned to the examiner’s squat brick headquarters at First Avenue and 30th Street, coated in a ghostlike gray soot.

Begun, the “Hamilton” backlash has.

Quote of the day:

“I can recognize a nipple from 600 yards in the background behind a leaf at this point.”

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?

Obit watch: March 13, 2016.

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

I actually didn’t find out Keith Emerson was dead until I sat down to dinner last night and started browsing while I waited for Lawrence. A/V Club. Lawrence. NYT.

Sunny Balzano, owner and bartender of Sunny’s Bar in Red Hook, Brooklyn, died Thursday night. I mention this here, not because of Mr. Balzano’s prominence, but because this is a really, really good obituary for a neighborhood “character” (for want of a better word): it is the kind of thing that the paper of record, when it does it, does it well.

The past is another country.

Friday, March 4th, 2016

They did things differently there.

The San Francisco Chronicle used to give out firearms as subscription premiums.

I am well pleased with the gun, as it is all that is represented to be. I did not expect to get a $100 gun for $13.50.

You could also get a Colt rifle plus a one-year subscription to the paper for $14.50. (“$15 of 1887 dollars would be worth: $362.50 in 2015.”)

Peter Hartlaub for the win:

We were like Leland Yee, but with more follow-through.

(Hattip: Jimbo.)

Well, crud.

Friday, February 26th, 2016

Soldier of Fortune, the notorious magazine chronicling the shadowy world of mercenaries battling it out in hot spots around the globe, is ending its print edition in April after more than 40 years on newsstands.

When I was but a wee lad, one of my uncles came down to Houston for a visit and brought along a copy of SOF. I think he may have picked it up on at an airport newsstand to read on the flight, and since he was finished with it, he passed it along to me.

I devoured it like a fat man attacking an all-you-can-eat buffet, and spent a lot of time and effort after that seeking out the latest issues. I would buy copies from the newsstand in the shopping mall. Or I’d ride my moped over the back roads to the closest Walden Books, which had SOF in their magazine rack. Later on, SOF even managed to penetrate the suburban Houston grocery stores.

But at some point, after I went to college – I think around the time they eliminated the classified ads, too – SOF changed. I felt it was for the worse. They used to run practical articles on subjects of interest to a younger me (for example, the best places to shoot someone holding a gun to a hostage’s head, in order to insure instant incapacitation). The newer SOF seemed to be more interested in geopolitics, and less interested in the “how-to” side of things.

I eventually stopped purchasing it. I’d still glance at copies when I saw them, but I grew up, got a job that didn’t involve being a mercenary, and didn’t really need it in my life any longer.

The teenage boy left inside me will miss it, and might pick up a copy of the last print issue because nostalgia is a moron. The adult me isn’t terribly surprised, and shan’t mourn for too long.

TMQ Watch: December 8, 2015.

Thursday, December 10th, 2015

Instead of snark, and before jumping into this week’s TMQ, we wanted to throw up a link to something we found by way of a retweet from Popehat:

So let me be really clear about what happened to me. From the moment I got my first pair of hockey skates at five years old, I got the living shit kicked out of me every single day. Every day after hockey, no matter how many goals I scored, he would hit me. The man was 6-foot-2, 250 lbs. It would start as soon as we got in the car, and sometimes right out in the parking lot.

When I tell people the insane details of my childhood, they have the same two questions.
Why in the hell would anyone do this to their own son?
And then …
Why in the hell didn’t anyone put a stop to it?

Please go read this now, if you haven’t already. This week’s TMQ will be here when you return…

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105 years ago today.

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

At 1:07 AM on October 1, 1910, a bomb went off at the Los Angeles Times.

The bomb was planted in an area full of volatile chemicals and near natural gas lines. The explosion and fire killed 21 people, most of whom burned to death.

At the time, there was a massive struggle between “labor” and “capital”; Bill James, in his book Popular Crime, suggests that we came close to a second Civil War during this period. The bombing of the Times was only one part of a great war, which included the assassination of Frank Steunenberg (more about that in the future), the Haymarket riot, and the Wall Street bombing.

The Times of the time was strongly pro-capital and anti-union, which made it a target. Three men – Ortie McManigal and the brothers J.B. McNamara and J.J. McNamara – were charged with the bombing. McManigal rolled on the McNamara brothers, who were members of the iron workers union.

The labor movement engaged Clarance Darrow to defend the McNamara brothers. He agreed to do so, but warned them that he would need a boatload of money ($350,000 in 1910 dollars) to a proper job. The unions painfully raised the money.

The problem was that the McNamara brothers were pretty much guilty. Darrow is supposed to have told them, “My God! You left a trail of evidence a mile wide!” Ultimately, Darrow pled both brothers out in order to avoid the death penalty.

This case came pretty close to destroying Darrow. The plea bargain alienated him from labor, cutting off a large source of his income. In addition, Darrow was charged with two counts of jury tampering for actions during the case: I’ve written about that before. It took a while for Darrow’s reputation to recover.

Historical article with photos from the LAT.

Wikipedia on the bombing.

Howard Blum’s American Lightning: Terror, Mystery, the Birth of Hollywood, and the Crime of the Century is a very good book on the bombing and the aftermath.

TMQ Watch (for real): September 15, 2015.

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

That’s a 74-word lead with a parenthetical clause and a double hyphenation. Welcome to Tuesday Morning Quarterback.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. Welcome back to TMQ Watch. After the jump…

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TMQ Watch: September 15, 2015.

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

For the past few days, Gregg Easterbrook has been hinting at a “major announcement” about the future of Tuesday Morning Quarterback.

Today was the day. And where did TMQ fetch up?

Would you believe the New York Times?

We almost didn’t believe it either, but, yes, TMQ is now under the purview of the paper of record. We’re not sure how we feel about this yet. But having just finished Public Editor Number One, we are hopeful that Easterbrook will be subject to fact checking, editorial guidance, and possibly even a corrections process; and, that if need be, the current NYT public editor can pull back on the reins and yell “Whoa!”

Does this mean that TMQ Watch will continue? Indeed. We would have already written up a TMQ Watch for today. However, we got stuck into a situation at work. We will not go into details except to say that we were busy all day (including lunch). Our plan is to curl up tonight with about four ounces of Canadian Club 10 Year Old Reserve, some fizzy water, and a copy of Carry On, Jeeves.

So new TMQ Watch tomorrow, probably late afternoon would be our guess.

Random notes: July 15, 2015.

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

The Shep turned himself in to the Detroit PD. (Previously.)

Correction: July 13, 2015
An earlier version of this article misstated Modern Farmer’s new “it” grain. It is sorghum, not quinoa.

Obit watch: June 18, 2015.

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Nelson Doubleday Jr., heir to the Doubleday publishing empire and former owner of the New York Mets.

I was going to let this go by, but there were a couple of things in the NYT obit that tickled my fancy:

Mr. Doubleday was an avid outdoorsman, fond of practical jokes and not particularly bookish. He enjoyed playing golf; hunting at his plantation near Beaufort, S.C.; sailing the world on his yacht, Mandalay; and heading off to annual pheasant-hunting trips in Somerset, England. In the 1960s and ’70s, he invested in two hockey teams, the California Golden Seals and the New York Islanders. On his daily drive into Manhattan, he chatted with a group of fellow CB radio enthusiasts who called themselves the Cuckoo’s Nest Convoy. His handle was Bookworm.