Archive for December, 2012

Monday morning coming down.

Monday, December 31st, 2012

My plan is to do one post covering all of today’s NFL firings, and to update it whenever possible throughout the day.

So far:

Gene Smith is out as general manager of the (2-14) Jacksonville Jaguars. Khaaaaaaaaaaan!

Andy Reid. Eagles. Everyone knew it was coming.

According to the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, the Jets have fired general manager Mike Tannenbaum, but plan to retain Rex Ryan as coach. That’s a “WTF?”item.

The Cleveland Browns have canned coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert.

Various sources are reporting that Romeo Crennel is out as head coach in Kansas City, but the team plans to keep Scott Pioli as general manager. There’s nothing official from the team yet. (Edited to add: the KC Star reports that this is now official. And “Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said in a statement that the entire football operation will remain under review and no final determination has been made about Pioli’s job status.”)

Edited to add and bumped: Lovie Smith gone as head coach of da Bears.

Chan Gailey out as head coach of the Bills.

Edited to add: Reports are that Norv Turmer and AJ Smith are out in San Diego, but I have not seen anything official yet. (Edited to add: official now.)

Edited to add: FARK has an official “Black Monday” thread going. You are, of course, welcome to comment here as well.

Edited to add: Ken Whisenhunt out as coach and Rod Graves out as general manager of the Arizona Cardinals. (ETA2: and a whole bunch of offensive coaches as well.)

Edited to add: I think everyone who’s going to be fired today, has been. So let’s wrap this for now with a fitting musical interlude.

Edited to add: Mike Munchak retains his position as head coach, and Ruston Webster stays general manager, in Tennessee. But Mike Reinfeldt is out as chief operating officer.

And Jim Schwartz stays coach of the Lions, but three of his assistants got kicked to the curb.

Two quick items.

Monday, December 31st, 2012

This is an actual headline on the Dallas Morning News website, as of 9:48 AM today:

Dallas police officer on leave over rap video has car burglarized while visiting husband’s grave

And I said, “Whaaaaaaaaht?” (Short item, but worth clicking through to read. The headline, while odd, is an accurate summary.)

Today’s NYT has a follow-up story about Ryan Freel, whose death was previously noted here. Of interest:

  • His stepfather ups the concussion estimate to 15, “10 as a professional ballplayer”.
  • “His former wife witnessed a winter league game in Venezuela in which he smashed through an outfield wall and had to be hospitalized with a concussion.”
  • “Freel’s former wife said she found no fault with his teams or their medical staffs, concluding that they diagnosed his condition properly and insisted that he abide by the stipulated recovery period.”
  • It looks like he will be tested for signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

TMQ watch: December 25, 2012.

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Yes, we admit it. We’re lazy and evil. Also, we got a little behind with the holidays. This is the first chance we’ve had to post this week’s mini-TMQ watch for this week’s mini-TMQ.

Before we start, though, we do want to note that is currently reporting the firing of Andy Reid as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, but it does not sound like the team has made an official announcement. Yet. Monday is the usual “blood in the streets” day for NFL firings.

After the jump…


Obit watch: December 29, 2012.

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

Jean S. Harris, former headmistress of the Madeira School.

Of course, those of you who were alive and aware of your surroundings in the early 1980s know that’s not why I bring up the late Ms. Harris. For those of you who don’t recall, she became notorious after shooting her lover, Dr. Herman Tarnower (a cardiologist who’d become very rich after publishing The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet).

Ms. Harris and Dr. Tarnower had been long-time lovers, but Dr. Tarnower started dating his younger assistant. Eventually, Ms. Harris snapped; she claimed she drove to Dr. Tarnower’s to kill herself, Dr. Tarnower tried to get the gun away from her, and she accidentally shot him twice in the struggle.

Unfortunately, Dr. Tarnower had four bullet wounds, not two. Ms. Harris was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 15 to life. She did 12 years before Governor Mario Cuomo granted her clemency.

While she was in prison, she became known as something of an activist for better treatment of women prisoners:

She counseled fellow female prisoners on how to take care of their children, and she set up a center where infants born to inmates can spend a year near their mothers. Then, after her release in 1993 following a grant of clemency by Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, she set up a foundation that raised millions of dollars for scholarships for children of women in prison in New York State.

She also tutored her fellow prisoners and worked in the prison library.

Edited to add 12/30: Longer and more detailed obit from the LAT.

More news from the Things That Suck Department.

Friday, December 28th, 2012

I don’t subscribe to that many gun magazines.

I should subscribe to SWAT, and will when finances are better and I get around to it; right now I buy it on the newsstand. I like Claire Wolfe’s and Louis Awerbuck’s columns, and I’m also loyal to people I like. I get American Rifleman with my NRA membership. I subscribe to American Handgunner because I like a lot of the content: Taffin, Ayoob, Conner and Smith specifically. Plus, the editor of AH did me a great personal favor several years ago; he wouldn’t remember, and the story is a long one, but I feel a great deal of loyalty towards the magazine and Roy Huntington.

I also subscribed fairly recently to Precision Shooting magazine, after purchasing it off the stand at my local gun shop for a while. I find it rare when the editor’s column in a magazine is the first thing I want to read, but Dave Brennan always had something funny or profound or wise or silly to say. A lot of the articles may have been a little ahead of where I am now, but I figured they might be useful in the future. And there was always something there for me; a recent survey of scout rifles, for example, or an article on double guns, or a discussion of how to get more accuracy out of a 10/22, or…

Dave Brennan ran a swell magazine, and managed to round up a good stable of writers. If I was allowed only one gun magazine, I would have picked Precision Shooting.

I noticed in the past few weeks that I hadn’t seen an issue since October. I know some magazines do a combined year-end edition, so I wasn’t too worried. But I didn’t see a December issue, and there wasn’t one on the racks when I went to my gun shop. Did my subscription expire? Did the gun shop sell out? I thought I’d check back in early January; perhaps they were just taking the holiday season off.

Various things led me to go out to their website, and, well…apparently, I’m the last person to find out that Precision Shooting stopped publishing in October. It looks like the usual reasons were involved – that is, money.

I’ll miss it. There are a couple of books collecting some of the articles, but it just won’t be the same. Thanks, Mr. Brennan, for keeping things going as long as you did, and good luck.


Friday, December 28th, 2012

Forgot to note this, especially since Lawrence gave me a heads-up:

 Avery Johnson out as coach of the New York Nets.

The team is 14-14, and Johnson was “coach of the month” in November. However, the team is also 3-10 in December, which seems to have motivated the firing.

Speaking of presidents…

Friday, December 28th, 2012

As seen at Blood Bath and Beyond yesterday:

That’s volume III of the “Presidents of the United States” Pez dispenser collection. They also had volume II, but I did not see volume I.

I note volume III specifically because this is the one that includes Millard Fillmore. Yes: a Millard Fillmore Pez dispenser is a real thing that you can buy and not the punchline of a David Letterman joke.

(You can get the Pez Presidents Collector Set Vol III from Amazon, too, along with Volume 1 and Volume II. But as I recall, BB&B’s price for the two sets they had was $12.99, vs. Amazon’s $22. If I was in a better financial situation, I would get all three for my nephews.)

Hey, hey, LBJ.

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Lyndon Johnson’s birth certificate is on display at his presidential library. Insert your own Barack Obama joke here.

Obit watch and random notes: December 28, 2012.

Friday, December 28th, 2012

For the record, your General Norman Schwarzkopf obits: NYT. LAT. WP.

I saw this a few days ago and intended to make note of it, but the holidays interfered. Donnie Andrews has also died.

Andrews was a legendary Baltimore stick-up man and all-around crook, who reformed later in life. Omar Little (of “The Wire”) was based on Andrews:

Andrews appeared on screen as one of Omar’s crew, and died in a shootout scene in which Omar leaps from a four-story building and escapes. Andrews said that really happened to him — but he had jumped from the sixth story.

The NYT would like for you to be concerned about the poor show ponies, who are frequently drugged to make them easier to handle. What makes this interesting, to me, is that yesterday the NYT ran an article praising Tattler’s Jet and his trainer; Tattler’s Jet was running his 460th and final harness race, in spite of an inflamed hoof. So. Running a horse for 14 years and 460 races, good; sedating show horses, bad.

Igor, the President speaks!

Friday, December 28th, 2012

He’s tanned. He’s rested. He’s ready.

He’s the newly redone animatronic LBJ from the (also recently remodeled) LBJ Presidential Library.

And if you think he looks just a little overly tan, well, you’re not the only one.

You’re not helping. Why is that, Leon?

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

Nathan Weaver is a student at Clemson University. He decided that he wanted to help turtles cross the road.

Weaver put a realistic rubber turtle in the middle of a lane on a busy road near campus. Then he got out of the way and watched over the next hour as seven drivers swerved and deliberately ran over the animal. Several more apparently tried to hit it but missed.


“They seem so helpless and cute,” [Rob Baldwin, Mr. Weaver’s professor] said. “I want to stop and help them. My kids want to stop and help them. My wife will stop and help turtles no matter how much traffic there is on the road. I can’t understand the idea why you would swerve to hit something so helpless as a turtle.”

Sounds a lot like Weer’d Beard and ducks.

(Even though it turns out this was on FARK, I wanted to post it anyway to provoke an emotional response from my younger brother, who should update his blog, damnit. Seriously. He loves that scene from “Blade Runner”.)

There was a rumor, about a tumor…

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

The Statesman is reporting the death of Houston McCoy.

Mr. McCoy never got the fame he probably deserved, because that’s the way the media works. He was an officer with the Austin Police Department on August 1, 1966. Mr. McCoy and his fellow officer Ramiro Martinez fired the shots that killed Charles Whitman.

There’s always been some controversy over who actually killed Whitman, and that’s touched on briefly in Mr. McCoy’s obit. I expect to see this rehashed some more in the coming days. Gary Lavergne’s A Sniper in the Tower: The Charles Whitman Murders is considered by pretty much every person I know of to be the definitive account of events before, during, and after; he discusses this issue at some length, and I think comes to a wise and fair conclusion, echoed by Mr. McCoy himself:

From his bed in Menard Manor in 2011, McCoy recounted what he remembered: “I got him but it really doesn’t matter whether I got him or Martinez did. Martinez is a good man, and he was the first police officer on the deck to confront the sniper. There were many heroes that day, police officers and civilians.”