The man who convinced Taco Bell to create the hugely popular Doritos Locos Taco died on Thanksgiving, according to Consumerist's Mary Beth Quirk. He was 41.
Updated: “Fast And Furious” Star Paul Walker Dies In Car Accident http://t.co/jLLjsmO2OF pic.twitter.com/TE8vzIoL8Z
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) December 1, 2013
A source close to the actor confirmed the report of his death to Variety.
According to TMZ, Walker was either the passenger or driver in the accident. There was another person in the car, who was also killed, but it is unclear who was driving.
The seventh Fast and the Furious film,
which Walker had already filmed, is scheduled to be released in July of 2014.
UPDATE 12/1/2013: Looks like reports that Fast and Furious 7 was complete were wrong, though Walker's scenes had mostly been shot. The production was on Thanksgiving break. Devin Faraci at Badass Digest writes:
The Hollywood Reporter says that Fast 7 will not be scrapped; the footage Walker used will be shot. The movie - supposedly opening July 11 2014 - has been pushed back indefinitely. The discussion now turns to how to do rewrites that will honor Walker but also allow the film to go on.
This November, the monarch butterflies did not return to central Mexico on the Day of the Dead—which they have done every year, on the same day, forever.
Instead, "They began to straggle in a week later than usual, in record-low numbers," the New York Times says.
“It does not look good,” a butterfly expert said. (By the associative property, butterfly experts are on the verge of extinction, too. Then we will live in a world with no butterflies and former butterfly experts, who will probably just walk around crying, if they don't all commit suicide.)
This makes me feel physically ill. You must read it. Then write or call the President. Demand action, and take action: Get rid of your lawn and plant native species and trees. Tweet the article. Do SOMETHING.
I know the right word is "widower" but everyone turns into a girl when the person they love most dies. Their bodies get small and they make small sounds. They don't know what to do.
Everyone dying turns into a girl too. Their eyes get surprised and wide and they look at you like "What?" but you don't know.
We were all at the hospice to help Julie die. The three of us, her husband Bob and Tony and I, had been there all along, and Brian was coming up from California because we told him we thought it would be soon. Brian had been made a widow too, back in the '90s when Jim died. Julie and Bob had taken Brian out a lot after that, to dinner at a new place every week, to shows and movies, etc. The rest of us had lost people too but only friends or family, not our mate. So if anyone knew what it was like, that would be Brian. Plus, in the past few years, Brian had gotten a new, good life. He'd met a great guy, another great guy we all adored, and he and the guy, Eric, had adopted a kid and moved to California and gotten married.
When people get close their bodies get light, like sticks or wadded-up paper, and you can move their limbs like a doll. Their heads don't, though, their heads mostly stay the same, but heavier somehow, and harder without their hair or only baby hair where it was starting to grow back. You can learn how to move their bodies, you lift them slowly and tell them what you are doing, I'm lifting your arm, your leg, I'm putting my arm behind your back and I am going to pull you up, I'm turning you on your side. But their heads are so heavy, like a rock, but covered with something thin and tearable that you can feel when you lift it up to plump the pillow or change the sheets or straighten the neck, if it is bent, to help them swallow or if they are trying to say something or look at you.
Sometimes you looked away from them and when you looked back their whole face looked like teeth like they were almost already a skull.
A description of what it is and what it means, from the International Transgender Day of Remembrance website:
The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that current media doesn’t perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence.
Here's TDOR founder Gwendolyn Ann Smith's new piece for the Huffington Post, Transgender Day of Remembrance: Rita Hester and Beyond.
And here is the Seattle band Your Heart Breaks playing their trans anthem "Could One Letter Save Your Life" at the Plan It X Fest in Indiana. (For a clearer experience of the lyrics, here's the studio version.)
UPDATE FOR SEATTLE: A Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremony will take place tonight at the Ravenna United Methodist Church, 5751 33rd Avenue NE, at 7 pm. All are welcome.
Gizmodo's Mario Aguilar rounds up the offerings, from humongous gumball machines to "wet floor" signs and beyond....
A chilling, unnerving, depressing longread from Emily Bazelon at Slate:
Stieve got his “material,” as he called the bodies he used for research, from nearby Plötzensee Prison, where the courts sent defendants for execution after sentencing them to die. In the years following the war, Stieve would claim that he dissected the corpses of only “dangerous criminals.” But on that day, Pommer saw in his laboratory the bodies of political dissidents. She recognized these people. She knew them.
On one table lay Libertas Schulze-Boysen, granddaughter of a Prussian prince. She’d been raised in the family castle, gone to finishing school in Switzerland, and worked as the Berlin press officer for the Hollywood studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. She joined the Nazi Party in 1933. On a hunting party, she flirted with Hermann Göring, commander of the Luftwaffe, the German air force. But in 1937 Schulze-Boysen joined the resistance with her husband, Harro, a Luftwaffe lieutenant. They helped form a small rebel group the Nazis called the Red Orchestra. When Libertas started working for Hitler’s movie empire in 1941, she gathered photos of atrocities from the front for a secret archive. Harro was transferred to Göring’s command center and with other dissidents started passing to the Soviets detailed information about Hitler’s plan to invade Russia. The Gestapo decoded their radio messages in 1942 and arrested Harro at the end of August. They came for Libertas eight days later. Both she and her husband were sentenced to death for espionage and treason.
Now Harro’s body lay on another table in the lab. Pommer could see that he had been hanged and Libertas had been decapitated by guillotine. On a third table, Pommer identified Arvid Harnack, another member of the Red Orchestra who had been a key informant for the American Embassy as well as the Soviets.
What killed him? According to KIRO—and a claim filed by the man's mother—a combination of food allergies and medical neglect.
Around 5:46, a group of inmates arrived to serve breakfast and men began lining up. While others sat to eat, the camera first captured Saffioti at the guard's desk, holding his tray. Saffioti suffered from extreme dairy allergies and took regular pains to protect himself...
The video shows Saffioti apparently discussing his food with the guard, servers and fellow inmates.
He took a few bits of what seems to be oatmeal and then, "within a few minutes, [Michael] Saffioti was back at the guard desk, using his inhaler."
According to the legal claim, he asked to see a nurse. Instead, he was sent to his cell.
Over the next half hour, the video shows other inmates looking in Saffioti's cell as he jumped up and down.
The legal claim says he pressed his call button and was ignored.
About 35 minutes after he ate, a guard found Saffioti unconscious in his cell.
Paramedics were unable to revive him. It was the eighth prisoner death at the Snohomish facility in three years.
Four months later, marijuana was legalized in Washington state.
I had to post it again:
The man who was run over by a Metro bus shortly before 6 a.m. on Monday has been identified as 23-year-old Peter Cooper, according to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Details via the Seattle Times:
The determination of the cause and manner of Cooper’s death is pending further investigation, according to medical examiners.
Seattle police are investigating the possibility that Cooper, who was found dead after being hit by a bus on Capitol Hill, may have been down in the street before the bus got there.
Kelly O has a really good ghost story, from her excellent "Things I Remember About Detroit":
A Talking Cat
Move into a gorgeous brick brownstone called Phillips Manor—hardwood floors, fireplace, four bedrooms. My two roommates and I pay $110 apiece. The three of us are sitting and watching the huge Star Trek–looking TV I scored for $15 at the thrift store. All the remote controls are sitting in plain view on the coffee table. We're watching VH1. The channel changes itself to The New Dance Show—the local, low-budget version of Soul Train. This is the first of many times that the TV switches itself to another station. The radio randomly switches itself, too. And always to a black TV show or song. Seems to be a friendly ghost. Most definitely an African-American ghost. The only other thing living in that house, aside from the three of us, is my roommate's spooky black Persian cat. Always hiding somewhere. Can never pet it. Once, we can't find it for almost a week. My roommate leaves to make a "Lost Cat" flyer at Kinko's, thinking it somehow got outside. Boyfriend is sitting in the living room, and I'm at one end of the long hallway near the bathroom. The cat comes stumbling out of one of the bedrooms and just sits in the middle of the hallway, not moving, staring intently at me. I say, all sweet, "Kiiiii-teee, there you are!" The cat just stares. Then its mouth opens slightly and a very deep man's voice says, "Hello." With that, the cat walks back into the bedroom. Boyfriend says, "Who just said 'Hello'?" Not making this up. I scream and lock myself in the bathroom. For hours.
This website claims to visualize those who are entering and those who are leaving this very brief crack of light between the voids in real-time. But what's interesting about this is it brings to mind a point Vladimir Nabokov makes on the first page of his most Proustian memoir, Speak Memory: The void before is not the same as the void that follows. The void before is the region of possibilities and the one after is only a big and unthinkable impossible. The source of the terror we feel about the second void, and what makes it so impossible, is when we enter it, it not only annihilates the inner world of the individual but also the first void from which he/she emerged. What we always end with is just one void in which nothing ever happened. To die is never to have lived at all.
A man was killed Monday morning after being hit by a Metro bus in Seattle.
The Seattle Fire Department said it happened just after 6 a.m. near 11th Avenue and Pine Street in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. That's near Cal Anderson Park.
The pedestrian was not in the crosswalk.
The SPD Blotter has a few more details. RIP, man.
Music suffers a devastating loss. Flex your mourning muscles as you read this tiny tear in the ocean of Lou Reed eulogies sure to follow over on Line Out.
Lou Reed, a massively influential songwriter and guitarist who helped shape nearly fifty years of rock music, died today. The cause of his death has not yet been released, but Reed underwent a liver transplant in May.
As obsessed as some people say I am with the Seattle Times editorial board, I'm not nearly as obsessed with them as they are obsessed with repealing the estate death:
The Seattle Times urges a “repeal” vote on the advisory vote on the state death tax and “maintain” votes on the four other tax advisory measures on the Nov. 5 ballot.
A) It's not a "death tax." It's an estate tax. The dead don't pay anything. And using that manufactured pejorative label just makes the editors sound silly. And B) Oh Jesus. It's a fucking advisory vote. It's meaningless. How totally fucking pathetic.
Not sure why Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen is so obsessed with the estate tax. I mean, it's not like his estate is going to be worth anything.
Former House Speaker Tom Foley, a Democrat who served Eastern Washington for 30 years, is dead at age 84. Foley famously lost his seat in the Republican wave of 1994, and the House has been shit ever since.
The author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love died over the weekend. He was 62.
Showcasing a collection of ensembles to clothe the dead, the gorgeous and unreal opening ceremony for Mark Mitchell: Burial happened at the Frye Art Museum on a recent dark, cold, hard-raining Friday. Cellist Lori Goldston filled the gallery with a wandering, haunted song, while nine muse-models were strewn like jewels across the floor, lying prone on mirror panels. Among the bodies, the visitors stood transfixed—some cried, some whispered thoughtfully, and others just drifted, as if passing through a sad dream.
Each of Mitchell's works blends impeccable technique with masterful design, and he and his team used natural materials to ensure full biodegradation during "life's ultimate appointment," as he describes it, whatever one's preference: cremation, land burial, burial at sea. Along with goatskin and wool, the garments contain every variety of silk you could imagine—taffeta, crepe, habutai, chiffon, organza, gauze, bouclé—all of it kept impossibly white and draped into flowing pools, or densely wadded into crimping ruffles resembling barnacles, or cut in petal shapes, then carefully steamed and molded and arranged into bouquets.
Last month, Google announced their involvement in a new company called Calico, a biotech company interested in combating the aging process. Dan Primack of Fortune has uncovered more information about Calico:
Calico is considered the brainchild of Bill Maris, the Google Ventures managing partner who once was a biotech portfolio manager at Investor AB. Sources says that Maris looked at the life sciences landscape, and saw hundreds of companies all focused on curing or minimizing various diseases and conditions. In all cases, the goal was either to prolong life and/or improve the quality of life.
What didn't exist, however, were companies focusing on the root cause of so much of this disease and death. Namely, that we all keep getting older. Or, put another way, that our bodies begin to fail on a cellular level – largely due to degradation of our genetic materials.
Now that the entire genome had been coded, Maris wondered if it was possible to actually study the genetic causes of aging and then create drugs to address them (a question that was heavily influenced by talks with futurist and Googler Ray Kurzweil).
It's an interesting story, and you should read it.
Slog tipper Greg sent this Huffington Post article along:
A mere two percent of the counties in the U.S. account for more than half of U.S. executions since 1976, a new study says.
Justice is supposed to be fair, but that's not true, because justice relies on people. Some people are just bloodthirstier than others. Some people are just more racist than others. Some people just want to put people to death. Since 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, southern states have carried out 82% of all the executions in the United States. You're telling me that criminals in the south are that much more deserving of death than in other places in the country? This is barbarism, pure and simple.
Every day, the 2010 bottle cap portrait of Seattle's dear, departed Slats fades a little further into oblivion.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, in rust we trust.
I've had a few long investigative stories that I read this week stuck in open tabs on my computer for a bit. I keep thinking, I've got to put this on Slog. Then trying to post means I'd have to think about the story for more than four seconds, and they're horrible, so I just set 'em aside again. Now that it's afternoon and you've had some time to wake up—maybe you even had a cocktail at lunch—I've decided to just do a Horrible News Roundup. So enjoy! Or whatever the opposite of enjoy is.
First, have you seen Reuters' big investigation into people who trade adopted children on the internet as if they were puppies who just didn't work out? It will blow your mind:
The practice is called "private re-homing," a term typically used by owners seeking new homes for their pets. Based on solicitations posted on one of eight similar online bulletin boards, the parallels are striking.
"Born in October of 2000 – this handsome boy, 'Rick' was placed from India a year ago and is obedient and eager to please," one ad for a child read.
A woman who said she is from Nebraska offered an 11-year-old boy she had adopted from Guatemala. "I am totally ashamed to say it but we do truly hate this boy!" she wrote in a July 2012 post.
Another parent advertised a child days after bringing her to America. "We adopted an 8-year-old girl from China… Unfortunately, We are now struggling having been home for 5 days." The parent asked that others share the ad "with anyone you think may be interested."
Buzzfeed looks into a rape case involving multiple Vanderbilt football players:
It began with a broken door. On the second floor of the Gillette House dorm at Vanderbilt University, a door had been knocked off its hinges and bent in the middle as if it had been kicked open, seemingly the kind of run-of-the-mill collateral damage that results from drunken hijinks on campuses all over the country. But officials reviewing security footage from the night the door was broken saw something suspicious, even sinister. Multiple men went in and out of one particular dorm room. Then Brandon Vandenburg, a highly rated tight end who’d just transferred to Vanderbilt’s football team from junior college, emerged and threw a towel over the hallway camera, and it went dark.
Speaking of rape culture, try the National Journal's "How the Military’s 'Bro' Culture Turns Women into Targets":
Still, Williams was angry. When she told men in her unit about the incident, they said she'd joined a man's military and asked what she expected to happen. "It definitely made me feel guys who were sexually harassing me, who were violating the rules, who were doing the wrong thing—that guys felt they were more important as soldiers because they were men." Williams, now a Truman National Security Project fellow and the author of Love My Rifle More Than You, didn't want to be a victim, so she stopped joking around and came off as unfriendly, she says. It was a lonely decision with potentially steep costs. "It's hard to be in a combat zone when I'm expected to rely on these guys for my life, but [I] no longer felt I could trust them to not sexually assault me if I let my guard down."
After the jump, a video of adorable baby cheetah cubs at the Dallas zoo to cleanse your brain. (But also, saaaaad when they snuggle a big fake mama cheetah!)
The dead person is Elizabeth Sue Sleasman. She was born in 1976. Her life came to an end on August 6th. But she did not leave this world without some final words of warning about drug addiction on her ObitsforLife page...
...I entered the Methadone treatment and stopped using, but unfortunately my drinking habit kept on and I started using again. More recently I was admitted to the hospital because I was vomiting blood - my stomach was raw and the lining split because of crystal meth and alcohol. The doctors glued it together, and tried to get me to go to treatment - I said I would do it myself. I have quit now, but I am dead; don’t wait as long as I did, give your life another chance.
Can't say this is surprising, regardless of who made the final call.
Via Huffington Post:
According to JoEllen Smith of the Ohio Department of Corrections, Castro was found hanging in his prison cell at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio, around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday. Although prison medical staff performed lifesaving measures, he was later pronounced dead at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
At the time of his death, Castro was isolated from other inmates for his own protection.
The influential futurist and science fiction author died over the holiday weekend. GalleyCat published some links to free e-book editions of his work and a radio broadcast of one of his best stories.
Megan wrote about Seamus Heaney's death in the Morning News, but I wanted to put this on Slog:
And I also wanted to note that Heaney's excellent translation of Beowulf alone would've been reason enough to immortalize his name. Heaney came through Seattle a number of times in his career, as this tweet from the Hugo House attests:
Rest in peace, Seamus Heaney. Your memory lives on from your time at Hugo House in napkin form: pic.twitter.com/OVakyhRHqw— Richard Hugo House (@HugoHouse) August 30, 2013
If you'd like to read more about Heaney, the Poetry Foundation is always a great resource. They've published some of his poems online for free, along with audio of Heaney reading his own poems, and articles about his life and work.
The thriller writer died this morning, at age 87. I've read maybe fifteen Leonard novels, and not one of them has been bad. His dialogue was always fun and propulsive, his characters always had rock-solid motivations, and his books always had a sense of adventure to them. He's one of the American greats, for sure. Leonard's 10 rules for writing have been making the rounds on Twitter this morning, and you should definitely read them, if you haven't already. But if you're interested in learning about Leonard, visit the used bookstore nearest you, pick the novel that sounds most appealing—it'll probably cost you about three bucks—and dig in. It won't take long, and you'll have a blast.