Your loser update: week 5, 2017.

October 8th, 2017

NFL teams that still have a chance to go 0-16:

New York Football Giants
San Francisco

Wow. When was the last time there was a team as seemingly jinxed as the New York Football Giants? Not only did they lose to hapless the Chargers, but they also lost Odell Beckham Jr.

It seems like there’s only one thing you can say about this:

Oh my God, it’s a Mirage…

October 5th, 2017

Interesting article from Topic: “The Story Behind the Chicago Newspaper That Bought a Bar”, an oral history of the Chicago Sun-Times Mirage investigation.

I know I’ve written about this before, but briefly: in 1977, the paper and the Better Government Association bought a bar and secretly recorded city employees taking bribes to ignore violations.

Zay: The payoff parade began before we opened. The health inspector, when he inspected us— I mean, the basement just had maggots glistening on the floor. Upstairs it was no better. He shook us down for a few bucks and passed the place.
Pam: I think one of the things that amazed us is that these inspectors sold out public safety on the cheap. They were not taking huge amounts. We were told to leave $10 for one inspector, and $25 for another inspector.

The paper published the results in 25 parts starting in January of 1978.

TMQ Watch: October 3, 2017.

October 4th, 2017

We’ve got nothing clever to start off with this week. This is the kind of week that sucks all the clever out of our strategic clever reserves. Let’s just get into it.

After the jump, about 5,000 words of this week’s TMQ…

Read the rest of this entry »

Obits, firings, and random: October 3, 2017.

October 3rd, 2017

I didn’t feel much like blogging yesterday: what the hell was I going to say that everyone else wasn’t saying better? Plus, I was trying to dig myself out of a backlog at work most of the day, and then I had a doctor’s appointment (at least that went well) and then I went down to the cop shop to help with the CPA class (which had been moved from Tuesday)…

…so I really didn’t get a chance to blog Tom Petty, which was a good thing. First he was dead, then he wasn’t dead and the LAPD knew nothing, and now he’s really dead. What a mess.

I probably would have inserted a musical interlude or three, but really, you’ve heard them all.

John Coppolella out as general manager of the Braves in a “resignation”:

…after an investigation by Major League Baseball revealed serious rules violations in the international player market.
The Braves announced Coppolella’s resignation Monday, citing a “breach of Major League Baseball rules regarding the international player market.” Gordon Blakeley, a special assistant to the GM who was the team’s international scouting chief, also has resigned.

Longtime readers know of my interest in baking bread. I just found out about this: Modernist Bread. From those wonderful folks who brought you Microsoft Windows Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking.

Right up my alley? Perhaps. But not no damn $562.50 worth. Though I’m sure it is beautifully photographed, and if you have that kind of money, good for you. I’ll wait for it to show up at Half-Price Books.

Leadership Secrets of Non-Fictional Characters (part 14 in a series)

October 2nd, 2017

The debate over Hugh Hefner’s legacy is still going on, and likely will continue for a while. I don’t really have a dog in the fight, but I thought this was pretty compelling:

And then, of course, there was Hef, who, whatever one thinks of his media persona, was personally involved in every part of the magazine and fostered a work environment open to all ideas, regardless of the source. “It was a completely non-hierarchical environment, says [former editor Barbara] Nellis. “If you were manning the receptionist desk in the front of the 10th floor at 919 North Michigan and you had a good idea, they were happy to have it.”
Said [former editor] Patty Lamberti: “Hugh called me when he heard I was leaving to say that he was sad to see me go, and I’d done a great job. To get a call like that from Hugh Hefner is one of the highlights of my career. When I left my other jobs, no one in charge ever said goodbye, and they were no Hugh Hefners.”

(Hattip: Amy Alkon.)

Obit watch: October 2, 2017.

October 2nd, 2017

Monty Hall.

“Let’s Make a Deal” became such a pop-culture phenomenon that it gave birth to a well-known brain-twister in probability, called “the Monty Hall Problem.” This thought experiment involves three doors, two goats and a coveted prize and leads to a counterintuitive solution.

I’m not so sure about the “two goats” thing. But I also think that part of the problem with the “Monty Hall problem” is that people aren’t precise in stating the terms of the problem, and that leads to “counterintuitive solutions” based on what people think the terms are.

See also.

S.I. Newhouse, magazine publisher.

Your loser update: week 4, 2017.

October 1st, 2017

NFL teams that still have a chance to go 0-16:

New York Football Giants
San Francisco

Sorry, Infidel de Manhatta.

Obit watch: September 29, 2017.

September 29th, 2017

Sergeant Gary Christenberry of the Austin Police Department passed away earlier today.

Sergeant Christenberry was severely burned in an off-duty accident at his home two weeks ago: his death was a result of those injuries. He’d been on the force for 24 years.

Lady Lucan, long suffering wife of the late Lord Lucan.

This may ring a bell for some of you, as I’ve touched on the Lucan case before. Briefly: one night in November of 1974, Lord Lucan allegedly beat his children’s nanny to death, having mistaken the nanny for Lady Lucan. When Lady Lucan came downstairs to see what was going on, Lord Lucan tried to beat her to death as well. She disarmed him, he asked for a glass of water, they spoke briefly, he drove off, she ran to a nearby pub for help…

…and Lord Lucan hasn’t been seen since. Everyone seems to assume he’s dead. He’d be 82 if he was still alive, so there’s a possibility…

Obit watch: September 28, 2017.

September 28th, 2017

For the record: Hugh Hefner.

I feel like Lawrence pretty much said everything I would say.


September 27th, 2017

I was waiting for this to become official. It is now.

Rick Pitino placed on “unpaid administrative leave” at the University of Louisville. This is being described as an “effective firing”:

Pitino may have been put on administrative leave because, under his contract, if he is fired he must be given 10 days’ prior notice and “an opportunity to be heard.”
The contract says he may be fired for a number of reasons, including “disparaging media publicity of a material nature that damages the good name and reputation of the university… if such publicity is caused by employee’s willful misconduct that could objectively be anticipated to bring Employee into public disrepute or scandal or which tends to greatly offend the public.”

Also out: AD Tom Jurich, but his “administrative leave” is paid. More from ESPN.

As I see it, this is only in part fallout from yesterday’s indictments. (And while the university is involved, Pitino and Jurich have not been charged with any crimes yet.) Pitino’s problem is that this was just the latest in a string of issues while he was coach.

In 2010, the coach testified in a federal extortion trial involving Karen Sypher, who went to prison after trying to get money and gifts from him in exchange for silence. The married Pitino admitted to having sex with the woman in a closed Louisville restaurant in 2003.
In 2015, the NCAA launched an investigation into a sex-for-pay scandal organized by former Louisville assistant coach Andre McGee that could force the Cardinals to vacate their 2013 national title and dozens of victories. For that, Pitino would have been suspended for Louisville’s first five ACC games this season. That all came after the school, hoping to soothe the NCAA and temper the sanctions, self-imposed a 2016 NCAA tournament ban.

Could Louisville men’s basketball be facing the death penalty?

I’m going to say “probably not” just because I don’t think the NCAA has the institutional will to impose the death penalty on a large successful program. But it would be fun if they did: much of the NCAA’s operating budget comes from rights fees, especially fees for the men’s basketball tournament. If the federal investigation blows up college basketball, will the explosion take the NCAA down with it?

(Thanks to Lawrence for the heads-up on this.)

Edited to add:

Pitino said he was shocked to learn of the latest allegation, just as he was shocked to learn that his former staffer, Andre McGee, was running strippers into the campus dorm named after the coach’s late brother-in-law to have sex with players and recruits. “Shocked” was a popular word Tuesday when college basketball assistants from Auburn (former NBA star Chuck Person), Oklahoma State (Lamont Evans), Arizona (Emanuel “Book” Richardson) and Southern California (Tony Bland) were charged with taking cash bribes to steer players to financial advisers and agents. Officials at Auburn and USC used the word in statements. Oklahoma State went with the milder “surprised.” Arizona checked in with the stronger “appalled.”

I have to do this. I’m sorry.

TMQ Watch: September 26, 2017.

September 26th, 2017

When we heard about Sunday’s events, our first thought was: Easterbrook is going to be insufferable this week.

In retrospect, “insufferable” may not have been the right word. Perhaps “long winded” is better.

In that vein, and before the jump, we’d like to point you at David French’s National Review piece, “I Understand Why They Knelt”, which is one of the best pieces we’ve read so far on the subject.

After the jump, about 5,600 words of this week’s TMQ…
Read the rest of this entry »

Quote (well, actually, tweet) of the day.

September 26th, 2017

I’m a sucker for a good classical reference.