Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

World’s Most Corrupt Police Departments.

Friday, February 16th, 2018

Coming up on the Justice Network.

(Well, they need to do something, now that those jerks have dropped the midnight Sunday “Most Shocking”.)

(Seriously, Justice Network: was anyone asking for a three hour block of “Rescue 911”? And why are you also airing another three hour block of “psychic” frauds?)

(But I digress.)

I’ve written before about the criminal Philadelphia police department. Latest development:

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office last year secretly compiled a list of Philadelphia police officers with a history of lying, racial bias, or brutality, in a move to block them from testifying in court.

Of course the list is secret.

The list was intended only for internal use, as a guide to determine when a potentially tainted officer’s testimony should be used. Under the office’s policy, front-line prosecutors were instructed to get top-level permission before calling such an officer. Prosecutors, according to sources, did not want to release the list out of concern for the officers’ privacy rights and the broad impact it might have on past convictions involving the officers.

As the article notes, this isn’t unheard of: Seattle is cited as an example, and I seem to recall hearing that the LA district attorney’s office had a similar list. (Edited to add: link to recent coverage of the LADA list. Additional. Denton County has a list, too.) It seems to me, though (and if there are any legal experts out there, please correct me if I’m wrong) that the places that have these lists of problem officers also have a lot of other police related issues, too.

And as a by the way, you know who created the list? Seth Williams.


I’ve been sort of negligent in covering the ongoing Baltimore Gun Trace Task Force cases. To be honest, I’ve been a little busy, things have me down, and the most recent trial got pretty widespread national coverage. (Spoiler: two detectives were convicted on Monday.)

As you would expect, now that there’s convictions, there’s also weeping and wailing from the politicians. Which usually isn’t interesting, but:

State Del. Bilal Ali of Baltimore called for disbanding the police department entirely, citing Camden, N.J., as an example where the police force was rebuilt. He said the corruption and wrongdoing highlighted in the trial is an “ongoing experience” for many residents, and have not been sufficiently addressed by the consent decree or other efforts at reforms.

(Previously on Camden.)

My first thought: if you disband the Baltimore PD, where is David Simon going to get material for season six of “The Wire”?

My second thought: if you were going to disband a police department for being corrupt and out of control, B’more would not be my first choice. In order, I think I’d take Chicago, New Orleans, and Philadelphia before Charm City.

Nostalgia is (kind of) a moron…

Thursday, February 8th, 2018

Back when I was a small child, I loved “Emergency“.

Now that I’m an adult, and have the chance to work from home some days, I can watch the show on one of those retro TV networks. And you know…I hate to admit this…and maybe it is just the episodes I’ve caught…but it’s not as good as I remember it.

There are two episodes that I recall, but haven’t seen come round yet: one where Dr. Brackett and the paramedics have to do emergency field surgery on a guy who fired a grenade round into his gut, and another where the paramedics may have to do a field amputation to rescue a man trapped by a building collapse. (I don’t remember if they actually took the guy’s leg off or not.)

What brings this to mind? About six months ago, Collin County (where Plano is) realized they had a problem: there’s a lot of construction going on, and with that, a lot of potential for workers to become badly trapped by construction accidents. Collin County firefighters worked with a local hospital (Medical City Plano, also a Level 1 trauma center) to develop something called the “pre-hospital amputation team” in case it was ever needed.

Last week, it was.

Firefighters called Gamber on their way to the accident scene. He summoned trauma surgeon Al West, who arrived by helicopter 41 minutes after the accident.
He carried a black plastic toolbox that held everything he would need to free Palma: a saw, scissors, clamps, dressings. This was the first time in his 20 years operating on trauma patients that he wouldn’t have a sterile operating room.

Firefighters held Palma’s body so he wouldn’t fall after the amputation and West began cutting above the right knee. The machine had already partially severed the leg and West cut the remaining tissue. Palma’s left leg was also injured — with a fracture and muscle damage, tests would later show.

Ten minutes after West arrived, Palma was free, said Vetterick, a former flight medic, who supervised the 20 or so firefighters working with the doctors near Main Street and Independence Parkway.

The guy’s still in critical condition, but expected to live. The doctors say there’s about a 75% chance he’ll be able to walk normally with a prosthetic leg. Here’s his GoFundMe, if you feel like kicking in a few bucks for the family.

Hattip: SwiftOnSecurity.

TMQ Watch: January 30, 2018.

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018

Ah, the week between the end of the playoffs and the Superb Owl: or, as we like to call it, “the most boring week in sports”.

What does TMQ cover this week? Would you believe there’s almost nothing about television shows?

After the jump, this week’s TMQ


Obit watch: January 20, 2018.

Saturday, January 20th, 2018

Paul Bocuse, one of the great French chefs.

I don’t have my copy of Alice Let’s Eat in front of me, but I remember Trillin quoting Bocuse: “Without butter, without cream, there is no point to cooking.” Bocuse was 91.

Dorothy Malone, Texan and retired actress. She was in Douglas Sirk’s “Written on the Wind” (and won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress). She also played Constance McKenzie for four out of five seasons of the “Peyton Place” TV series. (She was written out after season four.)

Dorothy Eloise Maloney was born on Jan. 30, 1924, in Chicago and grew up in Dallas, one of five children of Robert Ignatius Maloney and the former Esther Smith. Two of her sisters died of polio in childhood, and a brother was fatally struck by lightning in his teens.

Stansfield Turner, former CIA director.

Peter Mayle, author. I never read A Year in Provence but from the description it sounds a lot like a French version of Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.

Obit watch: January 14, 2018.

Sunday, January 14th, 2018

Some more from the past couple of days:

Keith Jackson, legendary announcer.

Edgar Ray Killen is burning in Hell.

David Toschi passed away a week ago Saturday. FotB RoadRich mentioned this to me in the middle of the week – he saw it on a low-rent cable channel – but I had a lot of trouble finding a good obit. I couldn’t find the actual obit on SFGate: I was only able to get at an version.

Anyway, “David who”? He was a famous San Francisco PD detective. He was one of the lead investigators on the Zodiac killings.

He was removed from the case after revelations that in 1976 he had sent several letters praising his own work to a San Francisco newspaper writer under fake names.
“It was a foolish thing to do,” he acknowledged at the time.

I don’t remember where I picked up this detail (maybe in the version), but that “newspaper writer” the NYT doesn’t name? Armistead Maupin, who was working as a reporter for the SF Chron at the time.

But that wasn’t the only reason he was semi-famous, at least among us common sewers connoisseurs:

Mr. Toschi was a personality in the police department even before his involvement with the Zodiac case, so much so that Steve McQueen had borrowed from him for the fictional police officer he played in the 1968 movie “Bullitt.”
“They literally were filming in my dad’s office,” Ms. Toschi-Chambers said. “My dad took off his jacket, and Steve McQueen said, ‘What is that?’ And my dad said, ‘That’s my holster.’ And Steve McQueen told the director, ‘I want one of those.’ ”

(I wonder what that holster was: and if it’s out of production, how much do vintage ones go for? There’s a discussion on, but I can’t judge how accurate it is.)

Clint Eastwood also drew on Mr. Toschi for his portrayal of the title character in “Dirty Harry,” Don Siegel’s influential 1971 movie about a San Francisco police inspector, Harry Callahan, who hunts a psychopathic killer. Mr. Toschi, though, was bothered by Callahan’s penchant for administering his own brand of justice. He is said to have walked out of a screening of the movie, which was released when the Zodiac investigation was in full swing.

(Damn shame. He missed out. And I still haven’t seen “Zodiac”.)

Edited to add: this might lead to a longer post later, but: there are certainly worse hobbies in the world than engaging in Steve McQueen cosplay. Though I will concede that could get expensive quick, especially if you go full “Bullitt” and start looking for a Mustang.

Obit watch: January 8, 2018.

Monday, January 8th, 2018

A roundup of obits from the past couple of days:

John Young, Gemini, Apollo, and Shuttle astronaut. NASA.

Jerry Van Dyke, noted television actor (“My Mother the Car”).

Peggy Cummins. She’s mostly forgotten now – she stopped acting in the 1960s – but she was the female lead opposite John Dall in the famous 1950 noir film “Gun Crazy”.

Start with a badass, end with a badass: Ulrich Wegener, founder of the German Border Protection Group 9 (aka Grenzschutzgruppe 9):

The unit, also known as GSG-9, was created after the September 1972 attack on the Summer Olympics in Munich, when Palestinian militants kidnapped 11 Israeli athletes. Ill prepared for terrorism, and lacking a tactical sniper team, the German police botched an attempt to rescue the athletes, who were killed, along with one police officer and five of the eight kidnappers.

One of his first accomplishments: Lufthansa Flight 181.

Around 2 a.m. on Oct. 18, Somali soldiers lit a fire 65 yards in front of the jet, creating a diversion. As the hostage takers entered the cockpit to see what was going on, Colonel Wegener and his commandos stormed the aircraft. Over the next seven minutes, three militants were killed and the fourth was wounded. Three passengers, a flight attendant and a commando were injured. But all 86 passengers, along with the four surviving crew members, were saved.

Later that night, three members of the Red Army Faction — Gudrun Ensslin, Jan-Carl Raspe and Andreas Baader — were found dead in their cells, having committed suicide, and Mr. Schleyer, the abducted executive, was murdered.

Briefly held by American troops as a prisoner of war, he returned home, to what became East Germany, to finish his schooling.
Caught handing out leaflets critical of the Communist government, he was jailed for 18 months. Upon his release in 1952, he fled to West Berlin, where he went on to join the police.

(I haven’t found a source I consider completely trustworthy for this, but there are reports that Colonel (at the time) Wegener also participated with the Israeli Sayeret Matkal in the raid on Entebbe.)

Obit watch: December 29, 2017.

Friday, December 29th, 2017

Rose Marie.

Originally known as Baby Rose Marie, she is probably best remembered for her “Dick Van Dyke Show” role as Sally Rogers, one of three comedy writers — the others were Rob Petrie (Mr. Van Dyke) and Buddy Sorrell (Morey Amsterdam) — who worked for the fictional series-within-a-series, “The Alan Brady Show.”

I’m too young to remember the “Dick Van Dyke Show” (and oddly, never caught it in reruns).

Sally was witty, wisecracking and independent-minded, but she was also perpetually on the hunt for a husband; though tough as nails, she was not immune to romantic misadventures. Her main significance, though, was that she worked as a comedy writer, a rarity for women at the time. (One inspiration for the role was said to be Selma Diamond, who had written for Sid Caesar in the 1950s.)

Yeah, that Selma Diamond. I did not know this.

She was also seen frequently — from the first episode, in 1966, to the last, in 1980 — on the original version of “Hollywood Squares,” the game show on which celebrities answered questions (and made jokes) to help contestants score X’s or O’s on a giant tick-tack-toe board. There, with her trademark bow in her hair, she flaunted the persona she had perfected: a feisty, witty, outspoken spinster (although she was actually a widow) who refused to grow old without a fight.

This is where I remember her from. And here’s a neat piece of trivia:

In this first phase of her career, she performed with Rudy Vallee, Benny Goodman and Milton Berle, among many others. She had at least one famous friend outside show business as well: Through her father she met Al Capone, who took an interest in her career, often driving her to and from shows. She referred to him as “Uncle Al” in her memoir and quoted him saying, “If you ever need me for anything, tell your father to call me.”

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… (part III)

Friday, December 22nd, 2017

Apropos of nothing in particular (no, really): the complete original Dragnet episode “The Big Little Jesus” is available on YouTube.

Obit watch: December 22, 2017.

Friday, December 22nd, 2017

Legendary sportscaster Dick Enberg.

WP obit for Clifford Irving.

Jerry Yellin. Mr. Yellin and his wingman, Philip Schlamberg, flew what turned out to be the last combat mission over Japan on August 15, 1945. Mr. Schlamberg never came back.

Obit watch: December 1, 2017.

Friday, December 1st, 2017

Jim Nabors.

Firings and obits: November 22, 2017.

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

Seems like the story of my life, firings and obits. Anyway:

Ken Norton Jr. out as the defensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders.

I don’t think this is the dumbest thing I’ve read on ESPN, but I do think it is in the top 10.

…if you are a college football player, try to avoid punching one of your assistant coaches in the head twice.
Because that behavior doesn’t just get you benched: it gets you thrown off the team and expelled from the university.

And now, it gets you charged with aggravated assault.

Bob Stitt out as Montana’s head coach.

Obits, mostly for the record: David Cassidy. Della Reese.

Firings and obits: November 13, 2017.

Monday, November 13th, 2017

Butch Jones volun-told to leave as head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers. He was 34-27 over five seasons, and 14-24 in the SEC. The team is currently 4-6, with all six losses being to other SEC teams.

For the record (I’m a little behind. Sorry.): John “Howard Johnson” Hillerman. You know, I had no idea he was a native Texan…

And speaking of other Texans who have died: Liz Smith, notorious gossip columnist.