Firing watch and norts spews: November 29, 2016.

November 29th, 2016

This is an actual ESPN headline:

Jesus, Joseph, and Mary. May the dead rest peacefully, and may the survivors recover and find peace as well.

Recent firings that I missed over the past few days:

Brian Polian out in Nevada, though this is being spun as “by mutual agreement”. The team was 23-27 over his four years, and 5-7 this year.

Ron Caragher out at San Jose State. 19-30 in four seasons, 4-8 this year.

Obit watch: November 28, 2016.

November 28th, 2016

NYT obit for Ron Glass.

Fritz Weaver, noted character actor. He won a Tony for “Child’s Play” in 1974, and was in “Fali-Safe” and the “Holocaust” mini-series, among other credits. (Edited to add 11/29: A/V Club.)

Pauline Oliveros, noted classical composer.

Obit watch: November 27, 2016.

November 27th, 2016

Ron Glass. A/V Club.

Loved him in “Barney Miller”, loved him with Sherman Hemsley in the “I of Newton” episode of the revived “Twilight Zone”, don’t have a damn thing to say about “Firefly” thank you very much.

Your NFL loser update: weeks 12 and 13, 2016

November 27th, 2016

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


The Browns have a bye in week 13, which is why this is a combined update.

After that, they play at home against the Bengals, on the road in Buffalo, at home against San Diego, and on the road in Pittsburgh. Three out of four of these teams are basically mediocre, and the Bengals are bad, so it’s still possible for the Browns to pull out a couple of wins. I wouldn’t bet that way, but it is possible…


November 26th, 2016

Charlie Strong officially out as University of Texas head football coach.

16-21 in three seasons: 6-7 in 2014, 5-7 in 2015, and 5-7 again this year.

Strong ran his program by his personal moral compass whereby players could lose their scholarship by violating one of his five core values, which included being honest and not using drugs. He kicked 10 players off the team that first year and doubled the amount of drug testing that went on under Brown.
Strong won universal praise from UT administrators and parents. That’s a primary reason how he captured consecutive top-10 recruiting classes the last two years. Dozens of recruits’ parents told the American-Statesman they wanted their sons to play for a man of Strong’s character.

That’s pretty much the saddest thing about this: it seems like he is a great guy, and everybody liked him. But his teams just were not performing on the field, and (this is also sad to say) there’s just too much invested in UT football to have three consecutive losing seasons.

The mildly amusing aspect of this is that UT has supposedly already hired Tom Herman, current University of Houston head coach and former Ohio State offensive coordinator. (Hello, my northern relatives who are currently watching the Ohio State game!) This is mildly amusing because earlier in the week ESPN was reporting that UT boosters were pushing hard for Herman. By the middle of the week, the reports were that LSU was going to hire Herman. By yesterday, the reports were that LSU wasn’t going to wait around on Herman and had made their interim coach (Ed Orgeron) the non-interim coach instead.

So almost everybody got more or less what they wanted: UT boosters got Herman, LSU got somebody who is at least familiar with the program, Herman gets a larger paycheck, more prestige, and less family disruption. And Charlie Strong gets a contract buyout (“Strong has two years remaining on a guaranteed contract worth $10.7 million.”)

Obit watch: November 26, 2016.

November 26th, 2016

Scum sucking dictator Fidel Castro is burning in Hell.


Cuban geopolitics is a little outside of my area of specialization (though I did stick a toe in those waters when I was taking “Modern Revolutions” with Dr. Sanchez back in the St. Edwards days). If I see any smart takes while I’m out and about I’ll try to link them here.

Edited to add: Various takes: Tam. Lawrence. Amy Alkon.

Edited to add 2: by way of a retweet from Popehat on the Twitter, the Miami Herald obit.

While I’m thinking about it, can I put in a plug for Stephen Hunter’s Havana? Not that it’s completely historical or anything, but I did think it was a fun book. (And Castro is a pivotal character in it.)

Obit watch: November 25, 2016.

November 25th, 2016

Florence Henderson. A/V Club.

She starred in “Fanny” on Broadway in the mid-1950s, when she was in her early 20s; “The King and I” at the Los Angeles Music Center; “South Pacific” at Lincoln Center; national tours of “Oklahoma!” and “The Sound of Music”; and “The Girl Who Came to Supper” (1963), Noël Coward’s last original Broadway musical.

She was a frequent guest on “The Tonight Show” during both Jack Paar’s and Johnny Carson’s eras as host. And in 1962, after Paar left and before Carson arrived, she became the first woman to be the show’s guest host.


November 22nd, 2016

At the weird intersection of book collecting and weapons geekery: a facsimile edition of the I.33 manuscript, a legendary 14th century combat manual.

Only £750. And that’s the cheap edition.

I can think of one person whose wheelhouse this would sort of be in: he’d probably buy two copies and resell one, except this is a little outside of his specialty…

(On a totally unrelated note, the Lame Excuse Books web page has been updated, and a new catalog is in progress. Books from Lame Excuse Books make fine presents for the holidays.)

(Hattip on I.33 to Hognose over at Weaponsman.)

At the weird intersection of gun crankery and entertainment history:

There are two things I enjoy doing when Mike the Musicologist and I go to Tulsa (well, three, but the shopping is really the whole point of the trip, so it doesn’t count):

  • Visiting with folks from the Smith and Wesson Collector’s Association.
  • Visiting the NRA Museum table. Especially if Jim Supica is there.

I didn’t see Mr. Supica this time, but we hung around the table for a bit and I picked up a few postcards, one of which contained the following odd bit of history.

I kind of knew Sammy Davis Jr. was a gun owner and collector (probably from reading his Wikipedia entry). What I didn’t know was that Mr. Davis was a serious fast draw practitioner. Serious.

Photo by way of Gabby Franco's blog, linked.

Photo by way of Gabby Franco’s blog, also linked.

That’s one of Mr. Davis’ Colt Single Action Army revolvers. The rig was custom made for him by the great Arvo Ojala, holster maker and consultant to the stars. Mr. Davis was fast enough that he did his own gun work for many of the TV shows he guested on.

Here’s some vintage film of Mr. Davis at work:

Quoting Gabby Franco:

It was said that in a holster-pulling match with fellow enthusiasts Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, Davis was easily the odds-on favorite.

Mr. Davis and Mr. Martin apparently were not the only fast draw artists in the Rat Pack: according to the back of the postcard (which, sadly, I’ve dropped in the mail and don’t have in front of me), Mr. Davis and Frank Sinatra had a fast draw competition with a new car as the stakes. And Mr. Davis won.

“I was beaten by my friend Mel Torme, who also collects Colts.” !!!!

(And Dr. Brackett too? The earth was full of giants in those days: or, more likely, a lot of these folks learned fast draw as a way to get roles in the endless parade of TV westerns.)

I’ll leave you with a short NRA “Curator’s Corner” video about the Davis gun.

George Patton probably would have disapproved of the pearl grips, but Mr. Davis does not strike me as someone who was in much need of external validation, even from a WWII general.

Public service announcement.

November 22nd, 2016

Partly as a reminder to myself, partly as a warning to any Austin area readers who may not be aware yet:

The weekend of December 3rd through December 5th, MoPac is going to be completely hosed going northbound.

A short stretch of northbound MoPac south of Enfield Road, for the last several months already reduced from three to two lanes, will be closed completely from midnight to 6 a.m. early Dec. 3 and 4, and midnight to 5 a.m. on Dec. 5. During the day and evening on Dec. 3 and 4, starting at 6 a.m., a single northbound lane will be open.

More firings!

November 21st, 2016

Well, really, just one: Jurgen Klinsmann out as head coach of the United States men’s soccer team.

Firing watch.

November 21st, 2016

The drumbeat is getting louder: Charlie Strong is probably out at UT. The only question now is: do they let him finish out the TCU game and any bowl game UT might wind up in, or do they cut ties now? Waiting until after the TCU game gives them more time to line up the ducks…

According to family members, Kliff Kingsbury is also possibly in trouble at Texas Tech, but I’ve seen very little coverage of this.

Your NFL loser update: week 11, 2016

November 20th, 2016

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


Unfortunately, since my last loser update, Philadelphia has managed to win three games: there are no longer any NBA teams that have a shot of going 0-82.

Lawrence sent along this interesting piece from Battle Red Blog that goes into detail about Cleveland’s losing streak. Short version: the author thinks they’ve got a shot at going 0-16, and that this is a good thing. They’ve got high draft choices and are making all the right moves to rebuild.

I’d like for him to be right, but: who have the Browns used their high draft choices on in the past? And how did that work out for them?