I Can Haz Veronica Mars?

Filed under:Cool,Sad,Television — posted by Anwyn on November 13, 2007 @ 11:02 am

Well, no, I can’t, not really. Late, lamented show of mine, whither your tightly paced plots and even tighter dialogue? Your stars lost to Heroes and Moonlight and Private Practice, your writer and creator lost to … Big Shots, at least for a couple episodes, which almost makes me want to watch … almost.

But I can have this: Twelve minutes or so of what would have been the S4 pilot, with Veronica working at the FBI–school’s out, and not just for the summer. I guess this was the last-ditch effort to shake up the format enough to appeal to the execs. Alas, alas that it did not succeed. I’m not so sure about it in the long term, myself–skipped right over the rest of her college years to join what would almost certainly have been a shaky representation of the Bureau in the realism department? I don’t know. But this is right up to usual VM standards. Sigh.

Where did this come from? Who let him/her put it on the web? I don’t suppose it can do any harm, but neither do I suppose we’ll get a Mars movie out of it. Still, as ten minutes of nostalgia … it works for me.

(Via Whedonesque.org.)

Another Dancer’s Parent Passes

Filed under:Sad,Television — posted by Anwyn on November 6, 2007 @ 7:47 pm

Marie Osmond’s father has died, age 90.

Condolences to the entire Osmond family.

Between the death of Jane Seymour’s mother, Jane’s food poisoning, Marie’s faint, and now this, it is a season of strange coincidences.

This One’s for Rachel Lucas

Filed under:Sad — posted by Anwyn @ 12:18 am

Such a sad story: A Vancouver police dog shot dead in the line of duty by a suspect who allegedly told friends he wanted to “kill a cop.” His distraught handler said at the memorial service, as reported on the TV news, “He found the bad guy, and he took a bullet that I’m certain was meant for one of those officers that was out there.”

“Dakota, thank you for being a great partner, a friend, companion, police dog,” Evans said. “Thank you for protecting my fellow officers and me. Thank you for being a warrior and thank you for dying a hero. Dakota, you were a good boy.”

It’s hard to see the police all choked up.

“I Think You’d Be Better Off Talkin’ About This Movie”

Filed under:9/11,Jerks,Sad — posted by Anwyn on September 14, 2007 @ 5:51 pm

James Brolin blithely put his foot all the way into it and seemed in no hurry to try to retract it when he wished radio hosts “Happy 9/11” on Tuesday. As AP says, he does indeed exhibit stunning stupidity, along with gracelessness, tactlessness, and uselessness, but I think he was also getting a lot of pleasure out of yanking chains. Over 9/11. Prig Prick.

Copilot Polehinke and Widow of Jeffrey Clay Sue … Everybody

Filed under:People in Court,Sad — posted by Anwyn on September 7, 2007 @ 8:55 am

James Polehinke, copilot of the Comair jet that crashed on takeoff from Lexington last year, and Amy Clay, widow of captain Jeffrey Clay, have filed lawsuits against the FAA, the maker of the airport charts, the Lexington airport, and a company involved with the lighting at the airport, AVCON. Yet another article describes the defendants as the FAA, the airport, the chart maker, and construction company Tetra Tech rather than AVCON.

The NTSB report assigned the largest portion of blame to the pilots, saying they failed to notice “clues” that they were on the wrong runway.

The FAA, by its own regs, should have had two controllers but had only one, who had his back to the strip and did not see Comair 5191 lining up on runway 26 rather than 22 as had been directed. I don’t see how the NTSB let FAA off as lightly as it did.

According to a news release from the airport, NTSB cleared them entirely:

A spokeswoman for the airport, Amy Caudill, said in a news release that the NTSB’s investigation found that neither the airport board nor its employees were responsible for the crash, and FAA inspections found that the airport’s signs and markings met FAA standards.

The chart maker declined to comment. I assume charts are issued to pilots by the airline, but the airline can only issue the charts it receives from the maker. The question would seem to be, were these charts provided according to the conventional update schedule and the construction/renovation to the runways took place after they were issued, with no regs in place to insure issuance of new charts, even outside the ordinary bureaucratic schedule? Or were they late even according to the usual schedule?

And now we come to the crux of the matter: Runway lights.

The lawsuit says AVCON Inc., of Orlando, Fla., was responsible for runway lighting at the airport that was “so erratic, haphazard and/or improper that many commercial pilots, including the pilots of Flight 5191, could not rely on or expect the lighting for the runways and taxiways to comply with applicable laws, rules, regulations procedures and orders.”

Perhaps that is true. But the damning information is that the runway they were directed to was edge-lit, if not center-lit, and the runway they lined up on was not lit at all. Polehinke and Clay may win the lawsuit because the simple fact that the main runway was not center-lit goes to the idea that the lighting system as a whole was faulty. But though it may gain them a technical point in court, the bottom line is that professional pilots ought to know better than to take off from an unlit runway in the dark.

The controller, Christopher Damron, an FAA employee, failed to give taxiing and takeoff instructions that detailed the unusual conditions at the airport and failed to check the location of the plane before allowing it to take off, the suits claim.

While a suit against the FAA should win on the grounds that there should have been two controllers, the single controller in the tower cannot be faulted if he specified “runway 22” and the pilots lined up on runway 26. It is unfortunate, to say the least, that the two runways were within 40 degrees of one another (the runway numbers refer to the compass direction of takeoff or landing, so runway 22 is at 220 degrees, or roughly southwest, and 26 is at 260 degrees, or almost due west).

The NTSB cited the pilots’ failure to note “clues” that they were on the wrong runway. While the notion that pilots should have to rely on “clues” rather than correct information and clear indicators to get them to the proper runway is frightening and spurious, the fact remains that they should notice, whether they have to or not. And the inescapable fact is that a darkened runway is surely one of the biggest clues of all.

Update: Commenter Buck, below, is my father as well as a retired Comair pilot, and he helped me slap the AP’s wrist last year when they were so busy publishing sensationalism that saddled F.O. Polehinke with more than his fair share of blame. He has a couple of points I need to highlight:

Most airports the size of Lexington’s do not have runway centerline lighting. Centerline lights are required only for runways which have an ILS approach with lower than standard visibility minimums.

That will be an important point in the suit against AVCON and could moot my theory that they may win that one. If the lights on the main runway were standard, it will be that much more obvious that they ignored the lit runway in favor of the dark one.

You seem to say that the NTSB completely cleared the FAA of blame in the accident, but the news release you quoted cites only the airport board and its employees as free from responsibility for the accident.

I haven’t read the NTSB report either, but the news accounts agree they assigned primary responsibility to the pilots, whereas at the time of the accident I would have said there was plenty of blame to go on both the pilots and the FAA–thus my comment that NTSB seemed to let the FAA off lightly, but no, they were not held blameless.

I doubt that most pilots, especially airline pilots who might work as many as seven or eight flights a day, would even look at his airport chart when operating at an airport with which he is familiar.

This does not surprise me, but it does cast the suit against chart maker Jeppeson in a new and distasteful light. Since I doubt there’s much chance of anybody proving anything about the charts in court other than whether or not they were outdated, I’m guessing Jeppeson may take a hit. It’s been reported ever since the accident that the charts were indeed incorrect. So we may see a company who was both responsible (for not having a correct chart) and blameless (in that the pilots may not even have looked at the chart at all) taking a hit to save face for the pilots.

What a mess.

RIP Pavarotti

Filed under:Music,Sad — posted by Anwyn on September 6, 2007 @ 11:50 am

Great voice, silenced.

By coincidence I had just ordered a recording of his Turandot, inspired by The Bean’s sudden interest in opera after hearing some Carmen on the radio and by the amazing rendition of “Nessun Dorma” by the amateur on Britain’s Got Talent.

The discs arrived yesterday. We’ll be listening to Pavarotti today. RIP.

In the Land of the Prairie Gods

Filed under:Mothering,Sad — posted by Anwyn on August 30, 2007 @ 5:32 pm

So I saw this over at Dawn Summers’s, moused over the link and saw it was to someplace called “indychannel,” hazily thought “independent” for “indy” … and then saw that the story took place in Lafayette. Alas, “indy” did not mean “independent” at all.

“So I approach the car, and the windows came down and there’s a toddler on his knees, controlling the steering wheel,” Barrett told 6News’ Jennifer Carmack on Thursday.

Barrett said she saw Holly Schnobrich buckled in the front passenger seat, and the 3-year-old was crawling in the back.

Lafayette, Indiana. Where the engineers go to school but where most of them aren’t born and raised … except this guy. If he’s driving at five, he should do fine.

Holly Schnobrich told investigators that she let Weston drive because she was too impaired to operate the vehicle, police said.

According to a probable cause affidavit, she admitted taking the prescription painkiller Percocet and vodka.

“(Schnobrich) informed the officer that she took Perocet not for pain control … but she took it when the children acted up,” Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Pat Harrington said.

My heart bleeds for the kids in Child Services, but I devoutly hope to all the PGs (who must have been watching over this child) that Prosecutor Harrington fixes it so that that wreck of a “mother” never gets the chance again to ruin those bright kids.

Weston said the incident won’t stop him from wanting to drive in the future.

“I want to be a race car driver when I grow up,” he said.

Update: Over to you, Gib, for the funny closer.

Whither the Muslim Mothers?

Filed under:It's the Jihad,Mothering,Priorities,Religion,Sad — posted by Anwyn on July 7, 2007 @ 3:01 pm

One line from this Telegraph article that Allah linked in his round-up of coverage about the Glasgow/London bombing attempts really jumped out at me, emphasis mine:

By the time he had graduated from medical school in the Iraqi capital in 2004 his views – already so hardline that reportedly his mother would not dare remove her headscarf in his presence when he was a schoolboy – had become positively toxic because of the US and British invasion.

“He” refers to Bilal Talal Abdulla, 27, being held by the police after the failed attack.

Why aren’t these boys taught from an early age that they’d better fear their mothers more than Allah? Why is it that she feared his reaction even as a schoolboy so much that she did not “dare” remove her headscarf? Surely he was not strong enough, as a schoolboy, to harm her. We know one answer–in a culture that murders women for being raped or for breaking their marriage vows, we can assume that most of them cannot stand up to their husbands and thus will not to their sons, either. Thus the sons are raised as the ultimate expression of the spoiled brat–“Don’t offend me or I will throw a tantrum that will result in your death.” Even in a more moderate form it involves riot violence defended as a natural consequence and a mistaken notion that they have the right to control the speech and behavior of others.

Obviously, also, there are many hardline mothers, or grandmothers, out there who believe in the cause as much as their sons do. But why don’t the more reasonable mothers care enough about their sons’ lives to do everything in their power to halt their progress down this deadly path, possibly to end in suicide bombing? Maybe it’s because they’ve spent years thinking their sons will kill them if they get out of line while the boys’ hardline education at the hands of religious extremists teaches them to do so. What a horrible cycle.

Mothers and feminists should be making common cause to break it. But it’s hard to expect that out of feminists who don’t view motherhood as important in the first place and who spend much of their time, like the hardline Muslims, working to control the behavior and speech of others who offend them. Muslim mothers need to be able not only to speak up but to consistently raise their sons in such a way as to prevent their sons’ departure down the path that will end in their deaths and the deaths of innocents. Western women need to find ways to support them in doing so.

“Damn, Damn, Damn, Damn”

Filed under:Sad,Television — posted by Anwyn on May 17, 2007 @ 4:50 pm

Veronica Mars is cancelled. And apparently CW head Dawn Ostroff doesn’t know what the $#@& she’s doing:

12:47: The press conference is over. I tackle Dawn just as she tries to escape and I ask her to level with me. Is Veronica dead? “Veronica Mars is over, but we’re talking about something else. I don’t know if it’s going to be anything. I’m being honest with you. It could come back in some form, but I don’t know what form that would be.” She confirmed that the deadline to make a decision is “somewhere around” the June 15 date I referred to previously.

So “being honest” is the excuse for dangling uncomfirmed nonsense. Show creator Rob Thomas reacts:

No one has talked to me about a new, non-Veronica project. All my writers have been offered jobs elsewhere, and I believe they will now all accept these jobs. Very, very, very sad day around the VM offices.

“I assume that anything Dawn would be talking about in the realm of a Rob-Kristen project would involve a new from-scratch pilot as they don’t have me in a deal, and they’ll lose Kristen in a couple of weeks.”

I really don’t care if one of them is lying about whether anybody talked to Thomas about something new; it’s simply abysmally stupid of a head of network to talk about these uncoalesced potential things and put that out there to people who are invested in watching a TV show–and then she looks ten times as bad when the head of the show says he has no frackin’ idea what she’s talking about. Just say it’s over.

Save Lileks (Bumped)

Filed under:Priorities,Sad — posted by Anwyn on May 10, 2007 @ 9:15 pm

How to run a newspaper: Make Dave Barry cover school board meetings.

No?

Then I guess we’ll just have Lileks cover whatever local beat happens to be vacant.

What is the Star Tribune thinking about? Having James Lileks cover news is like having James Taylor play rhythm guitar–it’s a necessary job and I’ve no doubt he’s up to it, but it seems an incredibly short-sighted waste of talent.

Which is pretty much what I told the “Strib’s” Reader Representative, Kate Parry, along with a reminder that if bringing in web traffic is one of the papers goal’s, they couldn’t do worse than to shut down Lileks. If anything he should be writing more in the Trib’s online edition.

If you like Lileks, maybe you’d like to tell the paper something similar. Contact Reader’s Rep Kate Parry here.

Update: Analogies abound. Dave Barry:

This is like the Miami Heat deciding to relieve Dwyane Wade of his basketball-playing obligations so he can keep stats.

Hugh Hewitt, quoted by Michael S. Malone at ABC:

Hewitt, I think accurately, compared it to the New Yorker asking E.B. White to switch to restaurant reviews, the L.A. Times transferring Jim Murray to the county government beat, or — in an analogy especially appreciated by this longtime Northern Californian — to the San Francisco Chronicle asking the late Herb Caen to give up his column and cover the police blotter.

The latter via Ace, who is on fire here discussing a possibility that had uneasily occurred to me, that the paper was punishing Lileks for being a nationally read conservative, but which I decided not to pursue, charitably choosing the lesser of two evils, that the new owners of the Star Tribune just have no idea what the $#@% they’re doing. But Ace’s take makes sense in light of the disgusted, high-and-mighty noises the paper’s editorial staff made over having to run conservative columnists.

Evidently the paper’s left-wing bias is so strong that people routinely call them the Red Star or the Star & Crescent. Just goes to show you a small slice of their irrelevance that even having read Lileks for over a year, I had no idea. Biased hacks.

RIP, Blue Angel

Filed under:Sad — posted by Anwyn on April 21, 2007 @ 9:22 pm

Public, awful death abounds this week.

The crash took place in the final minutes of the air show, said Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Walley, a Blue Angel pilot. The pilots were doing a maneuver which involved all six planes joining from behind the crowd to form a Delta triangle, said Lt. Cmdr. Garrett D. Kasper, spokesman for the Blue Angels. One plane did not rejoin the formation.

Walley said the name of the pilot would not be released until relatives were notified. A Navy statement said the pilot had been on the team for two years — and it was his first year as a demonstration pilot.

“Our squadron and the entire U.S. Navy are grieving the loss of a great American, a great Naval officer and a great friend,” Walley said.

Update: Lt. Cmdr. Kevin J. Davis, in one of his first airshows as a Blue Angel.

Portrait of an American Hero

Filed under:Sad — posted by Anwyn on April 20, 2007 @ 8:36 pm

Liviu Librescu, senior researcher and lecturer in engineering at Virginia Tech, killed while blocking the classroom door from the murderer, was laid to rest today in Israel.

A Holocaust survivor who left Romania for Israel and then the United States. Killed saving the lives of his students. May his memory live forever. May his rest be peaceful and never alone.

With Sympathy and Frustration

Filed under:Priorities,Sad — posted by Anwyn on April 16, 2007 @ 5:38 pm

Deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the worst shooting spree in U.S. history, on-campus or off.

Allah has the huge round-up of the press coverage.

The two sides of the gun-control debate are already at it–more gun control and the gunman wouldn’t have been able to do it; carry policy on campus and the gunman would have been shot before killing so many people. While I consider the first of those two positions dangerous nonsense, until now I would have said sure, I support a university’s being able to allow or disallow otherwise legally owned weapons on campus. I’m not so sure any more.

Even more frustrating to me was the authorities’ decision not to cancel classes in the wake of the first shooting at the dorm, before the rampage in the classroom building. In the middle of Allah’s string of updates is this little gem from ABC:

“According to Dr. Charles Steger, president of Virginia Tech, the administration locked down Ambler Johnston Hall dormitory after the first shooting. But classes weren’t cancelled because it was believed to be a domestic dispute and campus police thought that the shooter had left the campus.”

Hindsight is 20/20, but a domestic dispute involving a fatal shooting in the hive domicile that is a college campus wasn’t reason enough to put out a warning immediately to all on campus? Especially in a place where the “no guns for the law-abiding” policy precludes any opportunity for effective personal or group defense?

When you’ve disarmed the enclosed population by fiat, it’s only right that they all be aware if an armed and dangerous person is present. That’s a basic minimum. All high school, junior high, and elementary school administrations know this–that’s why they lock down if they hear fireworks close enough to campus to make them think it’s gunfire. I pray university authorities never have to learn this particular lesson again.

Cross-posted at Electric Venom.


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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace