Jeff Conaway RIP

I saw Conaway about four weeks back. We were both at a comics convention in Anaheim, him on celebrity row selling autographed 8x10s for $20 or so, me in the artist’s alley selling my books. I passed by his table a couple times on my rounds. In the last few minutes of the last day of the con, an announcement came over the loudspeaker – Conaway and oneother guest were reducing their prices to $10. Hearing that, I was guessing it had been a tough con for him, and for a moment I thought I should go get something, even though I don’t buy autographs. He was someone who had entertained me (not as a standout, but in Taxi as an able part of a strong cast), and the con had done well for me. But I didn’t. A short while later, when the con had closed and I was packing up,  Conaway passed by my table. Slowly. It was clear that he wasn’t going to be doing much acting in the foreseeable future, that stooped and hobbled figure… and I regretted not having gotten that autograph. I haven’t followed all of his life’s tribulations, and whatever problems he brought on himself, but I wished I could’ve helped.

That may well have been his last public appearance. Had I gotten his signature, it might well have been his last autograph.

May we all find ways to die in comfort.

Published in: on May 27, 2011 at 9:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

In the category of “what a difference a letter makes!”

Dowd was most recently heard from questioning the beautification of the late Pope John Paul II.

Published in: on May 14, 2011 at 2:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Today’s bad CNN RSS feed headline

“Conjoined twins fight for life”

Published in: on May 12, 2011 at 3:17 am  Leave a Comment  

Trump fuddlement

Yes, yes, I’m in a political mood. But my addressing of Mr. Trump’s misunderstandings does not arise from any concern that he will become President, but rather that from his pulpit he may spread the misundertandings themselves. Much as he misunderstood the presidency, he misunderstands the educational system.  His argument basically comes down to saying that if Barry Obama was a poor student at Occidental College, then there is something inappropriate about him being accepted to Harvard Law School.

That suggests the assumption that a graduate school exists to reward undergraduate achievement, which doesn’t hold up in any reasonable amount of light. It may often be seen as having the effect of bestowing some reward, but that is incidental. There are three reasonable selection goals, and which of these (and in what combination) any school is actually seeking is a matter of interpretation. These goals are:

  1. to select students who will gain from the education.
  2. to select students whose admission will serve the institution.
  3. to select students who, through the education they gain, will better serve the world.

So, does Obama fit these criteria? He went on to become a law school professor before launching his career in politics, so 1 seems to be achieve. He served Harvard as president of the Harvard Law Review, which is probably the most prestigious non-athletic student position in higher education, and not something granted lightly, so 2 is achieved. And as for 3, he used his learning to spread education, to organize in the community, and, oh yes, to become the popularly elected leader of the most powerful country in the world. Whatever criteria Harvard Law used, they seem to have been very effective at meeting whatever goals they may have.

Published in: on May 3, 2011 at 3:46 am  Leave a Comment  

YAY! – but reality checks

I’m not much one for gloating when somebody dies, but in this case, I’ll make an exception. The world is better off without Osama Bin Laden, he had plenty of chances to turn himself in peacefully if for some odd reason he had the desire. Not being involved in the administration of justice, I can hope that he felt much pain at the end, although it could ever only be an indetectible fraction of the pain he caused.

Having said that, I feel the need to pull in the reins on some of the memes floating around:

  1. No, this is not an impressive achievement. This is the mightiest nation on Earth taking over nine years to get one man.
  2. No, the credit does not all go to Obama. There was a lot of hard work by likely thousands of people that lead to this. Obama seems to have handled himself well in what decisions he had to make (and did not make his predecessor’s mistakes about waffling on how vital it was to get this guy), but I’ll bet that some of the same people who were making good effort under Obama’s leadership were also trying hard in the days before January 2009.
  3. No, this does not settle the election. Yes, if the election were held tomorrow, Obama would win. If the election were held three days ago, Obama would also win against any announced candidate. The election is almost a year and a half away, and while this may have some lingering boost effect even by then, a metric pantsload of things can happen (or in terms of the economy, fail to happen) between now and then.
Published in: on May 2, 2011 at 8:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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