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13 Minutes 28 Seconds of Delightful Nothingness


I thought to myself, what is Jerry Seinfeld up to these days?  Walking around with a briefcase full of money?  No.  No he’s not.  He’s getting a coffee.


Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee


D-Day, the Marine Corps, and the Fruits of Belleau Wood


Ever wondered why there are virtually no reports of U.S. Marines at Normandy, the largest and most important amphibious assault ever?  Even though amphibious assault is ostensibly the USMC’s specialty?  This is a fascinating little jaunt through WWII for the buffs:

NRO – Rivalry at Normandy

The Carthaginians


It seems like I miss all the great stuff coming out of my part of East Texas until well after the fact.  In this case, it took a movie release for me to become familiar with the story.

Carthage, Texas is in a lot of ways the deepest of “Deep” East Texas (I was born not too far from there).  It’s a fairly small town, and as you’d expect, pretty conservative both politically and socially.

How then does one explain good, upstanding folks who believe in God, law, and order… advocating in favor of a man that repeatedly shot an elderly woman in the back with a .22 and stuffed her body in a deep freezer?  We’re talking near unanimous support right down to the local Methodist minister.  Okay, so it probably didn’t help that the victim was wealthy, somewhat unfriendly, and generally unloved in Carthage.

Take a look at the really excellent (and now pretty dated) Texas Monthly piece chronicling the events that inspired the recent movie “Bernie.”  It’s an unsettling little exploration into just how much people will overlook in what they perceive to be  “good” people.

Another mildly interesting item to note here is that Matthew McConaughey (who plays exasperated real-life D.A. Danny Buck Davidson) grew up in nearby Longview, Texas.

Texas Monthly – Midnight in the Garden of East Texas

A Collar, Revisited


It’s been a very long while, but most will probably remember the original collar-bomb case.  (We’ll ignore the recent copycat.)  This was the one where the pizza delivery guy sat helpless, cops and TV cameras surrounding him.  He died when the handcuff-like, homebrew bomb around his neck exploded.  The tangled-spaghetti whodunnit that followed, complete with a bank robbery, plenty of crack cocaine, an epic doublecross and way-too-talkative criminals is the stuff of movie scripts.  Enjoy.

Did I mention the corpse in the freezer?  Yeah.  There’s one of those, too.

Wired:  The Incredible True Story of the Collar Bomb Heist

h/t:  Schneier on Security

What If “Let’s Roll” Had Failed?


Almost precisely ten years out, one of the most striking things to me about 9/11 is how much we’re still learning about that day.  Unbelievable stories just keep emerging in the years since one of the worst events in American history.

Ever heard of Lt. Heather Penney?  I had not.  Well, Lt. Penney just happened to be one of the first F-16 pilots in the air on the morning of September 11th, 2001.  Everyone probably remembers that the military had scrambled fighter jets to intercept (and shoot down, if necessary) hijacked planes.  But I was shocked that, at least for some of the aircraft, there was one little problem:  they weren’t armed.

Incidentally, did you know it would’ve taken about an hour to load up a fighter jet that morning?  Or did you know that apparently there were no fully armed and fueled jets ready for scramble above the U.S.’s most sensitive real estate?  (There are, now.)

The lieutenant’s target was the doomed United 93.  Penney and her wingman’s impromptu plan was to take out the 757’s cockpit and tail…  by ramming them simultaneously.  And ejecting at the same moment.  Hopefully.

What we now know of the passenger heroics aboard Flight 93 avoided all that.  But read on for details about what very nearly could have been a possible ending.

Jalopnik:  This woman was going to fly her jet fighter into Flight 93 on 9/11

Washington Post:  F-16 pilot was ready to give her life on Sept. 11 

Note:  Also see this for some interview footage and background on Lt. Penney.

Gimme Shelter Redux


The Dogs of War


And Caesar’s spirit, raging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice
Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war

Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 1

One member of the elite SEAL team dispatched to kill Osama bin Laden last week didn’t get a lot of press.  I’ve only found one mention of this particular commando in any news story.

The commando is a dog.

Enter one of the most arresting photo essays I’ve seen in a while.  Major, major neato-factor, here.  And don’t miss the blurb about a Navy SEAL doing a tandem HALO jump with a puppy dog at 30,100 feet.  It’s a world record.

It’s also supremely awesome.

Foreign Policy Magazine:  War Dog

UPDATE:  Foreign Policy Magazine:  War Dog II