Peli can’ts.

May 13th, 2015

Monty Williams out as head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans.

When Monty Williams came to the New Orleans Pelicans’ facility Tuesday morning for a meeting with executive vice president Mickey Loomis, he thought the discussion would be about a possible contract extension, league sources said.

So they lied to him like he was Montel Williams?

Obit watch: May 11, 2015.

May 11th, 2015

Conceptual artist Chris Burden.

(Edited to add 5/12: NYT.)

I’ve touched on Mr. Burden and his work before, particularly the notorious “Shoot”. This is one work I was not aware of:

For his master’s thesis, he executed “Five Day Locker Piece,” a durational performance in which he locked himself inside an ordinary school locker measuring just two feet high, two feet wide and three feet deep. The locker directly above contained five gallons of bottled water, and the locker directly below held an empty five-gallon bottle.

Z is for acquittal.

May 8th, 2015

I’ve briefly touched on the whole Zetas/money laundering/horse training affair.

Latest news from the Statesman (sadly, paywalled, but there’s enough there to get the gist): Eusavio Huitron, one of the individuals previously convicted, has had his conviction reversed by the 5th Circuit.

I can’t find any other links, so I’m not clear on why his conviction was overturned. If I do turn something up, I’ll add an update here.

Not going to go there. Wouldn’t be prudent.

May 8th, 2015

What prompts this? Today’s LAT:

Why the police shouldn’t use Glocks

I hate to be a wimp about this, but I don’t have either the time or the need to stress test my cerebral arteries this morning. I’m hoping that someone smarter than I am, like Tam, will take on this dreck: if not, maybe I’ll give it a shot at lunch.

The 4-Hour Suicide Watch.

May 7th, 2015

My brother is a big fan of Tim “The 4-Hour Workweek” Ferriss. I haven’t read any of the Ferriss books: nothing personal, just haven’t gotten to them yet.

But this was linked from the Y Combinator Hacker News twitter, and deserves some linky love:

Some Practical Thoughts on Suicide

Some pull quotes:

Given the purported jump in “suicidal gestures” at Princeton and its close cousins (Harvard appears to have 2x the national average for undergrad suicides), I hope the administration is taking things seriously. If nearly half of your student population reports feeling depressed, there might be systemic issues to fix.

Left unfixed, you’ll have more dead kids on your hands, guaranteed.

This.

It’s easy to blow things out of proportion, to get lost in the story you tell yourself, and to think that your entire life hinges on one thing you’ll barely remember 5-10 years later. That seemingly all-important thing could be a bad grade, getting into college, a relationship, a divorce, getting fired, or just a bunch of hecklers on the Internet.

This, too.

Obit watch: May 6, 2015.

May 6th, 2015

Former Speaker of the House and noted author (“Reflections of a Public Man”) Jim Wright.

Ironic or not?

May 6th, 2015

“Ironic or not?” is a game I used to play with one of my cow orkers at Four Letter Computer Corporation.

During the Great Bobblehead Scandal of 2012, I bought a John Wilkes Booth bobblehead.

I had it on my desk at work until this morning, when I accidentally knocked it onto the floor and…

booth

Yes, Booth broke his ankles. Much like the actual John Wilkes Booth did when he got his foot tangled in the bunting while leaping out of the presidential box at Ford’s Theater.

(Or maybe he broke his leg. Or maybe he didn’t break anything at all in the leap, but his horse injured him later. I’m a little dubious about that story; the evidence for that seems to be “he didn’t run like he had a broken leg”. Well, maybe, but given that he’d just killed the president and was fleeing the scene, adrenaline may have done a great job of hiding a broken leg.)

What really kind of totes my goat is that Booth fell maybe three feet (if that) onto a carpeted office floor. Note to self: don’t buy stuff from “The Bobblehead LLC”.

Ironic or not? Before you answer…

What? What?

May 6th, 2015

An aide to [California] state Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris and two others are accused of operating a rogue police force that claimed to exist for more than 3,000 years and have jurisdiction in 33 states and Mexico, authorities said Tuesday.

This is not an Onion article.

Brandon Kiel, David Henry and Tonette Hayes were arrested last week on suspicion of impersonating a police officer through their roles in the Masonic Fraternal Police Department, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

“The Masonic Fraternal Police Department”. You know what the difference between fiction and the real world is? Fiction has to be believable.

In other news…

Law enforcement officials have long focused on Georgia and neighboring states with looser gun laws as the starting point of a so-called iron pipeline of guns flowing north, to New York and other cities, where the restrictions on legal gun purchases are more stringent — and the profits higher for traffickers.

Odd that these places with “looser” gun laws have lower crime rates. Also odd that this is tied to the death of NYPD officer Brian Moore, because…

Early one October morning in 2011, two masked men with gloved hands smashed their way into a roadside pawnshop in rural Georgia, fleeing with 23 handguns.
Four years later, on a street in Queens on Saturday, a man raised one of those guns — a silver, five-shot Taurus revolver — and fired three times at New York police officers. A bullet struck Officer Brian Moore in the face; he died on Monday.

Yes. The gun was stolen, so of course Georgia’s looser restrictions on gun purchases are at fault.

Obit watch: May 4, 2015.

May 4th, 2015

Frank Olivo died last Thursday at the age of 66.

Mr. Olivo’s claim to fame? He was the Santa Claus who got booed and hit with snowballs at an Eagles game in 1968.

Monastra recalled that after his cousin was pelted with snowballs, as a thank-you for his trouble the Eagles’ general manager sent Mr. Olivo a “very nice letter” and “a pair of lousy cuff links.”

(Hattip: Jimbo.)

I haven’t found an obit that I like yet, but various reliable sources are reporting the death of Grace Lee Whitney, also known as Yeoman Janice Rand on the original Star Trek.

Whitney, a recovering alcoholic, spent the last 35 years of her life helping others with addiction problems, often at women’s correctional facilities or the Salvation Army, her family said. They said she was credited with having helped thousands of people successfully complete 12-step addiction programs.

(Edited to add: A/V Club. NYT.)

Finally, and most personally upsetting to me, Ruth Rendell passed away over the weekend.

I got into a conversation with Lawrence a while back about who I would put into the first rank of mystery writers: I need to write up that conversation at some point. Honestly, there are large gaps in my knowledge of Rendell – I haven’t read very much of Inspector Wexford, for example. But the Rendell I have read has made a huge impression on me: I think I would put her into that first rank, even with the gaps.

I want to specifically mention one book of Rendell’s that just blew me away when I read it, and which seems undeservedly obscure: A Judgement in Stone. Rendell pulls off one of the greatest tricks ever in this book:

Eunice Parchman killed the Coverdale family because she could not read or write.

That is the first line of the novel. Rendell has just told you who the murderer was, who was killed, and even why the crime took place. What else is there to tell? She has literally spoiled the entire novel in the very first sentence.

Except she hasn’t. The rest of the novel explains how Eunice Parchman’s illiteracy and ignorance inevitably leads her to shotgun a happy family to death. It is like a train that you see coming, but can’t get out of the way of.

The world is a lesser place for Ms. Rendell’s passing.

Well. Well well well. Well.

April 30th, 2015

The American-Statesman announced Thursday that it is shifting its daily printing and packaging operations to San Antonio and Houston, resulting in about 100 job losses in Austin.

Robert Conquest, call your office, please.

April 30th, 2015

Traditionally, Ukrainian historians have characterized the famine as a genocide, the direct result of Stalin’s forced collectivization and the Soviet government’s requisitioning of grain for export abroad, leaving Ukraine short — and its borders sealed shut. Since Ukraine gained independence, that is what its students have been taught.

But that is not what students in southeastern Ukraine are learning this year. Instead, under orders from the newly installed separatist governments, they are getting the sanitized Russian version, in which the famine was an unavoidable tragedy that befell the entire Soviet Union.

(Harvest of Sorrow from Amazon.)

A poor substitute for content…

April 28th, 2015

…some random crap. I don’t really have anything to say about the riots, except: “It’s Baltimore, gentlemen. The gods will not save you.”

The Carnegie Deli is temporarily closed. Rent dispute? Insect infestation? Nope.

At the Carnegie Deli, however, Con Edison said about half of the gas that the utility was delivering to the building was being diverted before the meter and, therefore, not showing up on the deli’s bills.

Obit watch: Jayne Meadows, noted actress, sister of Audrey “Alice Kramden” Meadows, and Steve Allen’s wife.

Edited to add: Crap! And I completely forgot the original reason for this post. My friend Erin Palette goes to the Taurus booth at the NRA Convention, and gets treated like something scraped off the bottom of a shoe. Hilarity ensues.