Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

A small dose of the unusual for Black Friday.

Friday, November 27th, 2015

Just in case you’re stuck at work, or have decided to stay home and avoid the rush, here’s a couple of things you might find interesting:

1) Lawrence sent me this link the other day: Showmen’s Rest: Chicago’s Clown Graveyard.

The story behind this is that Showman’s Rest is where many of the dead from the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus train disaster were buried.

The Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus train disaster? Yes: on June 22, 1918, the train carrying the members of the circus was rammed by another train whose engineer had fallen asleep. 86 members of the circus were either killed outright or burned to death in the fire that resulted.

2) A retweet from Popehat led me to look up Count Dante, who I was previously unaware of. Count Dante was “The Deadliest Man Alive!” and the founder of the Black Dragon Fighting Society; he advertised heavily in comic books during the 1960s and 1970s.

Count Dante (really John Keehan; he changed his name in 1967 to “Count Jerjer Raphael Danté, explaining the name change by stating that his parents fled Spain during the Spanish Civil War, changed their names, and obscured their noble heritage in order to effectively hide in America.“) was one of Chicago’s leading martial artists during the 1960s.

He and a buddy were arrested in 1965 for trying to blow up a competing dojo. In 1970, he and some friends went to another competing dojo to “settle a beef with a member”: in the process, one man died.

In 1971 the judge in the case dismissed all charges but not before upbraiding both sides: “You’re each as guilty as the other,” Cooley recalls him bellowing.

Count Dante may also have been involved in a 1974 robbery of $4 million. He died in May of 1975 at the age of 36.

Chicago Reader article, “The Life and Death of the Deadliest Man Alive”. The article is tied to a documentary in progress, “The Search for Count Dante”: film website here.

Obit watch: November 27, 2015.

Friday, November 27th, 2015

Guy V. Lewis, former basketball coach at the University of Houston.

With his signature red polka-dot towel in hand, Lewis was the winningest coach in UH history, compiling 592 victories and making five Final Four trips while coaching such stars as Elvin Hayes, Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler in 30 seasons from 1956 to 1986.

Off the court, he was regarded as a visionary and innovator for putting together the 1968 “Game of the Century” against top-ranked UCLA at the Astrodome and for being one of the first college basketball coaches to embrace racial integration in the South.

TMQ Watch: November 24, 2015.

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

Old man yells at cloud!

This week’s TMQ, after the jump…


Obit watch and random notes: November 24, 2015.

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

I’ve written previously about Ron Reynolds, a state representative and lawyer who was charged with barratry.

Well, it has been a while. The other seven people who were arrested with Rep. Reynolds took pleas, but Rep. Reynolds went to trial. And…?

You’re going down in flames, you tax-fattened hyena!

The Fort Bend County Democrat was convicted Friday of five counts of illegally soliciting clients, or misdemeanor barratry. A six-person jury on Monday rejected his plea for probation, and instead sentenced him to 12 months behind bars and a fine of several thousand dollars.

I’ve also written about Kelly Thomas, who was beaten to death by the Fullerton PD. The city (meaning local taxpayers) is going to pay out $4.9 million to his family, in settlement of their wrongful death lawsuit.

Obit watch: noted elsewhere, but I did want to mention the passing of Ken Johnson, former player for the Houston Astros (and the Colt .45s, their predecessor), and the only pitcher ever to “complete a nine-inning game without yielding a hit and still manage to lose it.”

(Oddly enough, there’s a good explanation of how this happened in the FARK discussion thread.)

Also among the dead: Adele Mailer, Norman’s ex-wife and the woman he stabbed in a drunken rage.

Some guests recalled that the point of no return came when she told her husband that he was not as good as Dostoyevsky.

Norts spews.

Friday, November 20th, 2015

By way of the NYT, we learn of a controversy sweeping the world of curling: “high-tech” brooms.

Perhaps unsurprising for a sport that has something in common with a household chore, the issue involves fabric — specifically, something called directional fabric. The use of this material in broom pads is the latest escalation in an arms race among manufacturers seeking to help the world’s best curlers guide their 44-pound stones along a sheet of ice as if they were controlled by joysticks.


Many, but not all, of the sport’s top competitors signed an agreement last month to shun the newest brooms. But with few regulations on the books and Olympic qualifying tournaments underway this month, the World Curling Federation stepped in Wednesday and issued new rules that set severe restrictions on the types of brooms that can be used.

It is not going back to hog’s hair, but it is close — banning waterproofed fabric and “stiffening” inserts, and requiring all brooms to be available for purchase at a retailer.

“a retailer”? Like a grocery store? Or like a curling specialty shop?

(Steve’s Curling Supplies sells both the Balance Plus and the Hardline.)

Wednesday was the 30th anniversary of Joe Theismann’s leg injury, and the WP ran a story tied to that.

“The pain was excruciating,” he said. “I’ve had people come up and say ‘Did it hurt?’ And my suggestion to anyone, if you want to know what it felt like, go hang your foot over a curb and let somebody drive a car over it and you’ll get an idea of the severity of it. But the amazing thing about the human body is it hurt tremendously in an instant, and then from the knee down, my leg went completely numb.

Speaking from recent bitter personal experience, this.

So they’re lifting me off the stretcher, and my right leg just drops down like a wet noodle. And I turned to the attendant, I said ‘Excuse me, can you just pick up the rest of me please?’ Didn’t feel a thing. Did not feel one thing.

(Also, I love the detail about the black and white TV with the coat hanger. The ER at Brackenridge has cable TV, so at least you’ve got something to distract you. If you happen to be conscious.)

TMQ Watch: November 17, 2015.

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

You know what we miss from the new, tighter, TMQ?

We’ll tell you. After the jump, this week’s TMQ


Failure to launch.

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

And we have our first firing of the NBA season (I think):

Kevin McHale is gone as head coach of the Houston Rockets.

McHale was fired just 11 games into his new four-year, $16 million contract extension. He leaves with the best winning percentage of any coach in franchise history, having taken the Rockets farther last season, to the Western Conference Finals, than any coach in 17 years.

McHale was 193-130 overall.

(By the way, Philadelphia is 0-11.)

TMQ Watch: November 10, 2015.

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

We’re running behind again, this time due to Time-Warner issues and other things. In case you were wondering, we are still a bit gimpy, but our hand is steadily improving.

Let’s go ahead and jump into this week’s TMQ


Quick random notes: November 10, 2015.

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

Mike Thomas out as athletic director at Illinois.

The Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow trial stated yesterday.

On one occasion, Hasib said, Chow told an agent, who clandestinely tape-recorded his comments, “I don’t commit crimes myself, but I know a lot of people who do.”

More from the LAT.

My mother was complaining last night that the authorities were being awfully close-mouthed about the shooting of Judge Kocurek. I figured they were playing things close to the vest because the investigation was ongoing.

Well. Well well well. Well.

Austin police said Monday night that it is aware of the arrest in Houston of a person of interest in Kocurek’s shooting and that the person is being detained on unrelated charges, but declined to comment any further citing the ongoing investigation.

In the village, the quiet village…

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

…the Lions fired everyone.

Okay, technically, they just fired Tom Lewand (team president) and Martin Mayhew (general manager).

Ford said she informed Lions coach Jim Caldwell there would be no changes to the coaching staff.


These moves come a little more than a week after the Lions fired offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and offensive line coaches Jeremiah Washburn and Terry Heffernan.

TMQ Watch: November 3, 2015.

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

Yes, we’re back, but we’re still gimped up. Let’s just jump into this week’s TMQ


Rearrange the deck chairs.

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

Ken Whisenhunt out as head coach of the Tennessee Titans.

The team was 3-20 during his tenure, 2-14 last season, and 1-6 (with six losses in a row) so far this season. They also lost to the Texans on Sunday, which may have been the proverbial straw…