Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Rocky disappearing story update: once more down the memory hole

Rocky Mountain News editor John Temple replied by e-mail yesterday to Drunkablog's questions about the disappearance of a story from the Rocky website last week. Before getting to Temple's version of The Case of the Missing AP Story, though, it might be helpful to retell an earlier, more frightening tale: The Case of the Disappearing Rocky Editorial That Plagiarized Another Editorial (better title under construction).

Back on July 16 the News posted an editorial by deputy editorial page editor Thom Beal. As was almost immediately noticed by a commenter on the blog RockyWatch, the editorial plagiarized from a piece on the Daily Howler website.

But it was only days later, after other blogs began covering the story, that Temple posted a half-hearted apology that acknowledged only "inappropriately duplicated wording" in the editorial. This weasel wordage was designed to deflect calls (especially vigorous from the blogger Stygius) for an investigation into whether Beal had plagiarized before (which, plagiarists being plagiarists, he likely had). According to Westword (no permalink; scroll to second item), Temple also said he hoped that by avoiding the "p-word" he might avoid legal problems down the road.

Trying to sneak one by

More subtly, in his apology Temple failed to link to Beal's editorial so readers could see the "inappropriate duplication" for themselves. In fact, by then the editorial was inaccessible to online Rocky readers. The Drunkablog, inquiring about this in comments on Temple's blog, received the following tortured explanation:

Actually, the reason I didn't link to the editorial is I couldn't find it on our site. I had to ask our librarian for help. He found it easily. Editorials expire from our Web site after two months. Here's the link to the editorial, which has been available on our site ever since it was published.
Totally weird. And, even more oddly, a couple of days later Temple posted yet another link to the editorial on his blog. From none to two; smells like guilty conscience. In any case, there the matter rested.

Another one bites the dust

Then last week the Rocky ran an Associated Press story on CU's investigation of Ward Churchill that quoted an "expert on academic freedom" from the American Association of University Professors. The Drunkablog, adding his mite to the story, took a closer look at the AAUP and its "general secretary" Roger Bowen, quoting the AP piece but adding relevant info it hadn't included.

Imagine the Drunkablog's surprise then, when, hitting his link to the AP story on the Rocky's website soon thereafter, he found--nothing. Churchill-centric blogger Pirate Ballerina also e-mailed that he'd searched for the story on the Rocky site and come up empty.

Wearily then the Drunkablog found himself once again asking Temple where a piece published on the Rocky site had gotten off to. Yesterday he e-mailed this reply:

This was an update story that we ran on Tuesday. It did come from AP. We expire site update stories at midnight. Our reason is that we are usually publishing a Rocky version that will appear the following day. We don't keep the original because we want the RMN story to be the story of record.

Hope this helps.

A slight fisk

Oh, your reply helps, John. Yes.

Temple: We expire site update stories at midnight.

Have you ever told your readers this, John? Unless I'm mistaken all I've heard of such a policy is in yesterday's e-mail:

Our reason is that we are usually publishing a Rocky version that will appear the following day. We don't keep the original because we want the RMN story to be the story of record.

Noble ambition, to write the "story of record," ain't it? But still, shouldn't we be able to compare the Rocky's story of record with, in this instance, the original AP version, if only to chuckle at how brilliantly better the Rocky's effort is?

But that's another problem, John: even though you "usually" do, in this instance you didn't publish a "Rocky version" or "story of record" the following day, or ever. Instead you left your readers without any story at all. Tough to be a paper of record like that.

So it just seems like common sense that the Rocky should archive every story on its website (even if, as you might point out, any particular story might be available elsewhere).

Archive everything, John. That's what papers of record (should) do.

Update: People will sock me if I don't ask: Mr. Temple, is the Rocky vetting, or going to vet, all of Thom Beal's work for plagiarism? If not, why not? If so, when will its findings be published?

Monday, August 29, 2005

80-year-old mass-communication device still amazes

Sometimes listening to Hugh Hewitt I am compelled to rise from my work and wander helplessly about the office, giggling like an evil clown. Read the transcript of his interview with LAT columnist Tim Rutten if you'd like to do the same.

Update: Yes, mine is a "home office," if by that you mean an "office" in a "home."

Update II: The Drunkablog is despondent that he didn't major in art history lo these blighted decades ago. He would have done his thesis on Doink's sidekick, Dink, a largely overlooked figure in the history of 20th Century art.

Update III: The breakdown of civil discourse accelerates: "Fuck off, you red-nosed bastard."

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Turquoise Lake

Took almost no pics of it. Too tired. There was a "team-building" or "workshop" for liquor store clerks and/or managers in the space next to us, and they brought a full van o'booze to ensure accurate results on the Meyers-Briggs test, which I learned takes 48 hours to administer.

It was not edifying. But the Drunkablog's father-in-law, who is somewhat deaf, said in mitigation that he thought the boys held a church service this morning. He was probably kidding.

Continuing education or religious worship? Liquor store clerks and managers role-played as their customers (4th paragraph).

Oh, here's a picture of the far side of the lake, anyway:

Purty: but it was made by damming a tributary of the Arkansas near Leadville.

Leadville is also home to the long-closed Climax Molybdenum Mine, which has a litte exhibit of old mine equipment across the highway from it:

Cute little 'dozer (l); big ugly mine (r).

According to the Summit Daily News, the mine, after 18 years, may reopen.

Last, almost home, the D-a-W pointed out this sign on Federal near Colfax:

We decided against stopping in for a "look-see." A visit to this Family Fun Center probably earns your family a (court-ordered) visit to the Family No-Fun Center next door:

No package deals, though.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Firm instructions

Darn, the D-bog has all kinds of "scoops," as journalists call them, but they'll have to wait until he and the D-a-W return from beautiful though emphatically unwild Turquoise Lake. If you should hear there was a fatal "boating accident" involving The Drunkablog--well, I don't know. Just go on about your business, I guess.

Great name

Stalin Tafura, son of Nyanhongo.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Can I quote you on that?

Here's an interesting question: are bloggers journalists?

God I crack myself up. Interesting question. Actually it's a question that's been beaten far beyond death. Still, lack of interest by others in (or lack of qualifications for writing!) his posts, though often encountered, has never deterred The Drunkablog. Made him cry, a little, but never deterred.

So let's glance at a recent post (the most recent besides this one in fact, duh) to try to shed light on the question. Did the Drunkablog, in this squib, commit journalism, or was it something else, something not worthy of the name, and the wet-brained one is just a wannabe, undeserving of "sources" or "shields" or "laws" like real musicians--I mean reporters--have.

As you can see (is there any other way to put that? As you can see. How do I know you haven't just this very second taken a red-hot railroad spike and dug your eyes out? When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me), the post is simply an addendum, accusatory in tone, to an AP story the Rocky Mountain News ran the other day about the never-ending (not that there's anything wrong with that) adventures of CU prof Ward Churchill.

Stop with the parenthetical elements, jerk

The post pointed out that the head of the American Association of University Professors, Roger Bowen, whose "expert on academic freedom" the AP quoted, has had some quite cherce things to say about Churchill, including the astonishing claim that the ersatz Indian has "never advocated violence."

Just read the post; all I'll say here is that I can't figure how it wouldn't be considered journalism. Through research I discovered facts that, it's reasonable to say, could be significant to the AP story, and published them. No shoe-leather, no source-working, no Goochville Gazette to pay the cardiac surgeon-like bucks most journalists earn. But journalism all the same.

And look at all the updates to the story. Never mind, don't. But in addition to confusion I think they show that I care about getting the facts right. Isn't that, too, a hallmark of jour--ah, screw it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

AAUP head Roger Bowen: Clueless about Ward Churchill

The Rocky this afternoon: "Expert: High standard for CU in Churchill case."

An expert on academic freedom said today the University of Colorado should be held to a high standard of proof if it tries to punish an embattled professor on allegations of plagiarism.

A faculty committee is investigating research misconduct charges against Ward Churchill, a tenured professor of ethnic studies who first came under fire for likening Sept. 11 victims to an infamous Nazi. . . .

The burden of proof should be a very high standard," said Jonathan Knight, director of academic freedom and tenure programs for the American Association of University Professors.

Knight said his group does not track the number of plagiarism investigations on college campuses, partly because many remain confidential. But he said Churchill's case is unusual in the amount of national attention it has attracted.

"I hope the burden (of proof) is as I have described it, and is not influenced in one way or another by any surrounding events," he said. . . .

Fine, fine. Measured words. But here's the General Secretary of the AAUP (probably not a very good title for the head of an organization like this, huh?), Roger Bowen, on the Churchill case:

The slope is very slippery. Little Eichmanns is indeed offensive to most people's moral sensibilities and Churchill may have been suffering a moral lapse when he wrote those words; or, more seriously, he betrayed his ignorance of history. But the statement itself should not result in an investigation or a termination. Academic freedom also protects his other writings, one of which is a thoughtful attack on "holocaust deniers." Maurice Isserman's recent essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education asks whether Malcolm X--who uttered words as offensive and advocated violence--something Churchill has not done--would be allowed to speak at Hamilton College today. I encourage readers to look at this essay. (From an interview in the Spring 2005 Illinois Academe, "the official newspaper of the AAUP-Il.")

Did you catch that? Bowen says flatly that Churchill has never advocated violence. I'll just link to the man's greatest hit to get you started, but Churchill cognescenti know that he almost always advocates violence; he just fakes being sneaky about it.

More, when Bowen mentions Churchill's "thoughtful attack on 'holocaust deniers,'" he can only mean the article that should be on every Chutchophile's top ten list: "An American Holocaust? The Structure of Denial."

Brief by Churchillian standards (five pages, only 178 footnotes!), it's notable for (a) Churchill's immortal words, "I don't want to be accused of leftwing bias here, especially since I am not by any stretch of the imagination a leftist"; (b) his accusation that his CU colleague, the historian Patricia Nelson Limerick, wrote "a new, revised and very popular 'history of the West' that avoids all references to such uncomfortable events as major massacres"; (c) Churchill's novel theory that Deborah Lipstadt and other historians of the Holocaust ("jewish exclusivists") are committing war crimes:

Denial of genocide, insofar as it plainly facilitates continuation of the crime, amounts to complicity in it. This is true whether the deniers are neo-Nazis, Jewish exclusivists, renowned international jurists or provincial Canadian judges. Complicity in genocide is, under Article III of the 1948 Convention, tantamount to perpetration of genocide itself.

So Bowen is clearly an idiot, and the Rocky's "expert on academic freedom" is the idiot's "director of academic freedom and tenure programs." Not good.

Update: Via View from a Height, it looks like Patricia Nelson Limerick didn't sign the petition signed by 199 other CU professors.

Update II: Here's the URL for the Illinois Academe interview with Roger Bowen. You have to cut and paste because this infrequently published "newspaper," curiously, prohibits linking to or copying from its site:


Update III: John, John, John: Pirate Ballerina says in an e-mail that the Rocky story seems to have been snatched off the website. My search didn't turn it up either, and the above link is already dead, much more quickly than usual. Rocky editor John Temple's greasy fingerprints are all over this one; after all, it wouldn't be the first time he's disappeared a piece. Can anybody besides the Rocky's librarian come up with it?

Update IV: Just left a note on John Temple's "blog" asking him to please get the librarian to find the article. His site is so screwy I put the note in the comments on his stupendous announcement that he now has an RSS feed.

Update V: From Pirate Ballerina: "RMN reporter Kevin Flynn tells us the 'high standard' story missing from the RMN website was an Associated Press story, and that it was removed due to errors apparently unrelated to the AAUP quotes. You can still read the AP story over at the Summit Daily News (registration required)." (Later: Here's what Flynn says: "re: the link to “Expert: High Standards…” that was on the RMN website yesterday. It was an AP story posted only on the web in the afternoon and not published in the paper. It had some errors that were also in the Post piece­mainly [sic] that the remaining 7 complaints are all plagiarism. They are not.")

Now it may be true that "errors apparently unrelated to the AAUP quotes" caused the story's removal (though the Daily News story seems identical to the one the Rocky ran) (Later: it isn't; the "7 complaints" stuff has been removed). Still, why was there no notice in the News that the story was pulled? And what were the errors that made it necessary to do so? Very weird. (Later: Okay, as you can see Flynn specified what at least one of the "errors" was. Still, it's time the Rocky learned that you can't just pull stories with no explanation. Think I'll lie down for a decade or two.)

Monday, August 22, 2005

Witness to history

Does The Atlantic still run those little stories about first meetings between various famous people? Because I have one.

Back in the early 90s a remastered print of Citizen Kane (not this version) was playing at the highly overrated Mayan Theater in Denver, and the not-yet Drunkawife, still soppy with love for her "man" (me) and I went to a Wednesday matinee showing.

We paid for our tickets and entered through the right-side double doors. Close inside stood a tallish, largish, red-faced gentleman in blue blazer and red tie. The ticket-taker. Politely I held out our tickets. Politely he took them, then, apparently recollecting himself, handed them back. Leaning forward conspiratorially he whispered, "The ticket-taker's up there."

Then I recognized him. Ready? It was

Gary Hart

Okay, take a second to catch your breath. (And yes, I know it's not two famous people meeting, but Gary's fame is large and enduring enough for both of us.)

Of course, I kept an eye on Gary all movie. It was easy because even though the theater was nearly deserted, he and his (bald middle-aged male) aide sat seven or eight rows back, dead center. Gary didn't want anyone to think they were hiding in back to cuddle, was my guess. He was probably still a little paranoid after that "Follow me" business.

They seemed to enjoy themselves anyway, laughing heartily at several scenes, the aide always a smidge behind the senator. It was Citizen Kane. Who needs cuddling?

Update: Gary had a little blog.

Peeeeyeeewwww: Somebody's speaking truth to power again

Vernon Bellecourt of the American Indian Movement is representing the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media on Michael Medved right now, decrying Indian names for sports teams and weapons (Apache helicopter, etc.). He just said (I'm paraphrasing) that at least 16 million Indians were killed by "germ warfare" in North America. Paraphrasing again, "It's like the Nazis wiped out the Jews and then said, let's honor the Jews by naming weapons after them." Charming.

Update: Boy, I paraphrased that second Bellecourt quote so faithfully it bore almost no resemblance to what he actually said. He actually said giving sports teams Indian names was like the Nazis wiping out every Jew on earth and then, to honor them, naming a soccer team the "Berlin Jews." Sorry, Vern.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Mumbles at the breakfast table

Billy Bob was in a secret government experiment when he was a little fella, something to do with radiation and evil superpowers. Pretty sure it was a government experiment. No, wait, maybe I just put a little of this stuff in some old meatloaf and fed it to him. That's right, I did.

Venerable blogger cliche: Bwahahahahahaha!

Why, why why: Meat Loaf (two words, initial caps) is funny whereas meatloaf (one word, lowercase) is not.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Drunkablog exclusive! NorthDenverTribuneWatch

In a hardhitting new feature, Drunkablog aims a hairy eyeball at the North Denver Tribune, the biweekly newspaper that claims, implausibly, to have been "Serving Northwest Denver Since 1934."

Today, and every other week, Drunkablog's
NorthDenverTribuneWatch will keep tabs on the venerable Denver newspaper--critically reading its news coverage, opinions, letters, even its ads, and reporting the good--and the bad--news about the paper exclusively for Drunkablog readers.

Last week's Tribune headlines

Good a place to start as any, seeing how the new issue isn't out yet.

  • Aug. 4-17 front page: "NHS returns to big stage." Story hails North High's production of the student-penned One Love: A Hip-Hop Theater Joint ("on the heels of its infamous 2004 near sell-out engagement of Zoot Suit Riots at the Buell Theater."). The young actors, the unbylined reporter says, wrote "a play that would reflect their diversity, love for their individual cultures and love for themselves."

  • Page 2: Second of a three-parter on North Denver's early "Little Italy," a remnant of which, in a Denver holiday tradition, still holds a parade every year on Ward Churchill Appreciation Day.

  • Page 3: Even Cesar E. Chavez has a period after his "E.": "Cesar E. Chavez Park to be named." (Turns out it's just going to be named officially, because it already has a name: Cesar E. Chavez Park.)
  • And finally, the news they tried to hide: "No Wheel Fun at Sloan's this year," at the bottom of page 17:
  • A courtesy hearing was held [by the Denver City Council] during which residents [of the Sloan's Lake area] and boaters decried the proposal to grant Wheel Fun concessionaire Geno Wasilewski a permit to bring paddleboats to the boat harbor area [of the lake]."[. . .]

    Motorboat operators stated concern for the safety of swimmers who might come in contact with motorboats. Joe Anderson, a Sloan's Lake resident and motorboat operator, held up an effigy of a small child with severed limbs as a visual aid to accompany his testimony that motorboats could severely and even mortally injure a swimmer. [. . .]

    The contract was defeated 0 to 11.


  • Do you believe there exists a person called "Wheel Fun concessionaire Geno Wasilewski?"

  • Do swimmers often "come in contact" with motorboats on Sloan's Lake? Swimming hasn't been allowed there for decades. so I'll guess no. Then Joe must be referring to the thousands annually who would inevitably fall out of those rickety paddle boats and bike path buggies, right into the water where their limbs would be severed by his motorboat.

  • But who was going to argue at a city council meeting with a "motorboat operator" who brings an "effigy of a small child with severed limbs" to a city council meeting? No one on city council, that's for sure. "Come, come, Sir," one with courage might have chided, "stop waving that bloody doll haunch around." Instead every one of them acquiesed to the tactics of intimidation and fear. And the North Denver Tribune accepts this unquestioningly. Sickening.

    Update: That's NorthDenverTribuneWatch. N-O-R-T--oh yeah, I just spelled it.

  • Tension mounts as Churchill verdict due

    Nailbiting as CU's committee on research misconduct may release the results of its inquiry into ethnic studies professor Ward Churchill as early as today. Will the Churchill case go on to the next committee? This reporter's out-on-a-limb prediction: yes.

    Way late update: Yes.

    Thursday, August 18, 2005

    A fist cannon for Hunter

    The Rocky reports that Hunter Thompson's ashes are being flown to Aspen, where they will be mixed with fireworks and fired over his ranch. "Based on . . . comments [Thompson made] in a 1978 BBC documentary, fireworks launchers will arc his ashes from a 153-foot structure capped by a double-thumbed, red Fiberglas fist."

    So while the whole ceremony sounds creepy and sad, Hunter will at least be broadcast skyward by the world's greatest powerfist. Dignity, always dignity.

    Update: Drunkablog will link to any decent picture of The Fist.

    Update II: Well no fist, but oooooh: kaboom.

    Update III: Thought he died years ago:
    Ralph Steadman, who illustrated many of Thompson's works, had a different take on the extravaganza. "He'd probably say it wasn't quite big enough," said Steadman. "We want him back. (Saturday night) was a kind of pleading for him to come back. All is forgiven."
    All is forgiven? That sounds strange.

    Where everybody knows your name

    Been re-reading The Executioner's Song, Norman Mailer's wonderful "true life novel" about Gary Gilmore, the death-sentenced Utah murderer who demanded that the state kill him at once, no appeals. Norman's masterpiece, even though he's been smitten with other murderers since.

    What I want to know is, how, in a 1024-page telling of Gilmore's story, Norman managed not to mention the famous Saturday Night Live Christmas carol, Let's Kill Gary Gilmore for Christmas. It was an instant classic. How could he have missed it?

    Update: Normier (as the French call him) holds a peculiar fascination for The Drunkablog. Somebody I knew pretty well was a more-than-peripheral toady to the great man, and was full of his sayings. Once he even got Norman to sign a copy of The Armies of the Night for me. The inscription reads: "To --. Cheers."

    Tuesday, August 16, 2005

    Seebach: Rocky Mountain News not dying

    Rocky columnist Linda Seebach and Hugh Hewitt just had an interesting discussion about Hugh telling several newspaper reporters he would be happy to be interviewed by them, so long as they conducted the interview live on his radio show. The two argued back and forth a good bit about this, but it seems clear that Hugh is just mocking Old Media. Witness this exchange:

    Hewitt: Newspapers are dying.

    Seebach (indignantly): This one [the RMN] isn't.

    Yeah, maybe. Always liked Seebach; she's charming in a Vulcan grandma kind of way.

    Let's Taser the Realtors

    It's pretty cheesy to post stuff like this, but, from today's Rocky Mountain News: Settlement reached with man Tasered in restaurant:

    A 29-year-old father who was Tasered by a stun gun in an Aurora Chuck E Cheese restaurant pleaded no contest today to disturbing the peace. [. . .]

    The plea was the result of a settlement deal reached with the city, which has agreed to pay his attorney's fees and medical costs. The city also pledged to have the case reviewed by a Use of Force Board, which is still in the planning stages.

    Aurora police were called to the restaurant Feb. 27 after employees accused [Danon] Gale, who was at the establishment with his young children, of stealing salad.

    Investigators have since determined that Gale had paid for the salad bar, according to a statement released by the city today.

    When Aurora police asked the father to step outside, he refused. Police have said previously that he could not produce a receipt and became belligerent. Police alleged that Gale shoved one of the officers — an accusation that some witnesses have refuted — prompting police to to use a Taser on him twice. [. . .]

    For some reason the word use here interests me more than the fact that some poor schlub was Tasered in front of his kids at a Chuck E Cheese. For example:

  • "Taser" looks stupid capitalized (scroll down to "Current trademarks that are often used generically"). Like the capitalization of "Realtor," it's just not right.
  • "Refuted" is used as a synonym for "contradicted," a peeve I've petted heavily in recent years. It is not.

  • There's no period after the "E" in "Chuck E Cheese," an obvious and pathetic attempt to draw a parallel to Harry S Truman. Almost everyone else uses a period.

  • Any minute now the "Ballad of the People's Heroic Salad Stealer" (in Korean) will be posted at the Maoist Internationalist Movement site.

    Update: Why aren't Chuck E Cheese's roving cartoon characters trained in cooling out obstreperous dads? Sometimes a gentle sapping by a giant rabbit is simply the right thing to do. No fuss, no muss, no screamin' kiddies.

    Update II: Here are a couple of blogs that mentioned the original story.

  • Monday, August 15, 2005

    Pictures. Yeah, pictures. Yeah? Well up yours too, pal!


    Bridge over the Mississippi.

    Farmhouse in central Illinois.

    Fancier-pantsed farmhouse next door to (that is, a mile-and-a-half from) farmhouse above. These places are WAY out in the country, sevenplus miles from itty-bitty Atlanta, Illinois (population: strange). FarmAid my ass.

    Teapot made (and not from no kit) by one of the literally thousands of sisters my parents had before achieving their dream (me). This and many other easily breakable objects by Rebecca Zweibel can be bought (cheap!) by inquiring at mcwdesigns@insightbb.com.

    Saturday, August 13, 2005

    This is a job for . . .

    Mother Sheehan? Give me a break. Drunkablogistas know who should be in Crawford for that little meet-up with George: Mother Watson.

    Update: Don't get a swelled head: typical drunkablogistas.

    Friday, August 12, 2005

    Dubious wisdom from Arts and Letters Daily

    "You are what you eat, and that includes YOUR BRAIN."-- From Denis Dutton's intro to a New Scientist article, "Eleven steps to a better BRAIN." Look, it'd be nice to stave off senility and all, but this is a dangerous idea. One should never just willy-nilly eat one's own BRAIN, no matter how seductive the command to do so. Instead, a visit to one's doctor is called for.

    (brain-lover's site via the Apostropher)

    Update: Earlier post exhibiting obsession with the sorta sweet, kinda nutty taste of BRAINS (nutritious, too!), here.

    Update II: The Ape review from The Outerfield.

    Update III: Here's an odd-sounding double feature: The Ape/British Intelligence.

    Thursday, August 11, 2005

    Patheticization announced

    I've posted pictures of cool paperback-book covers a couple of times. This fellow patheticizes my efforts.

    (via John Podhoretz sitting in the Corner)

    More easy laughs

    By way of high-school-kid writing, from a survey of participants in a city program that put them in (mostly their first) summer job.

    One question, naturally enough, was, "What would you change about the program?" Lots of "NEWBoss!!" and "Dont have to get up so irly!!!!" of course, but one kid answered, somewhat worryingly, "That we don't go to the fish building." Turned out all the kids went to the fish building last year. No idea what was so traumatic about it for this kid.

    Another question: "What have you learned while working on your summer job? BE SPECIFIC!!!" To which one go-getting young employee replied, "I learned how to pay utilities, make small purchases, and do full audits."

    Update: The D-a-W remembers another: Question: "How will this job help you in the future?" Answer: "This job will help me in the future because I'll understand the behind-the-scenes of running a city."

    Wednesday, August 10, 2005

    "The Splendor of Me"

    This is more of a Betsy's Page thing, maybe, but the Drunkawife insisted. "Darlink," she said. "Zeez are fonny. Put zem on your bog. People laugh! You vant people laugh, yes?"

    Yes. And soon. But here are a few inadvertently funny things supposedly written by 5th and 6th-grade students (introduction by, there is no doubt whatsoever, an elementary school teacher):

    "If you haven't laughed yet today . . . . especially for teachers!!!!!! The following excerpts are actual answers given on history tests and in Sunday school quizzes and . . . collected over a period of three years by two teachers. Read carefully for grammar, misplaced modifiers, and of course, spelling!" (I'm calling my union rep.)
    In the first Olympic games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled biscuits, and threw the java. The games were messier then than they show on TV now. . . .

    Queen Elizabeth was the "Virgin Queen," As a queen she was a success. When she exposed herself before her troops they all shouted "hurrah!" and that was the end of the fighting for a long while. . . .

    Delegates from the original 13 states formed the Contented Congress. Thomas Jefferson, a Virgin, and Benjamin Franklin were two singers of the Declaration of Independence. Franklin discovered electricity by Rubbing two cats backward and also declared, "A horse divided against itself cannot stand." He was a naturalist for sure. Franklin died in 1790 and is still dead. . . .

    That's only a few of them, but there's no link. They're only okay, anyway.

    Thing is, I used to work for a Denver Public Schools program that provided overwhelmed teachers with paper-grading help, and I collected a few beauts myself.

    And mine are real

    Not that the others aren't, but I'm suspicious. Anyway, here's the opening of an essay titled "School Behavior--Down to Earth":

    It is highly obscure in the presence of those who are indifferent. It is scathing and is the subject of acrimony to those who reluctantly use the term. What may it be if inquiring minds want to know? Behold, a realm of mischief, humilation, deception, gibberish, infidelity, and animosity. It is in essence and plausible to many as, school.

    Can't argue the kid's point. The school hallway, by the way, "is where school life begins and neither science nor religion can explain how the student first evolved."

    Here's a girl writing about her boyfriend: "I meat him my freshman year, he cought my attention, as well as my pears."

    Another kid, on King Arthur:
    It is easy to see how Arthur was such a devout Christian in that he would always go into battle with the Virgin Mary displayed brilliantly on his shield. In addition, at the battle of Badin Arthur was found to have carried our Lord Jesus Christ on his shoulders. . . .
    Even Monty Python didn't mention that. Finally, a girl assigned to write about her "personal Grendel." Turned out it was her sister, but not anymore:
    Ever since I can remember, I've been compared to my sister Liz. When will this personal Grendel end? Slowly, but surely, it is beginning to decompose. . . .
    Oh, and "The Splendor of Me" was the title of an essay by a student with few self-esteem problems on the person she most admired. Bet she became a writer.

    Tuesday, August 09, 2005

    To the river!

    Just a month now before your daredevil blogger lodges himself in a "canoe" and paddles crazily down the White Cliffs section of the Missouri River in, inexplicably, Montana.

    This is a new river for our little group, but as always in the wilderness Drunkablog intends to maintain the nature-revering nobility of spirit of Edward Abbey, only drunker.

    The imminence of the trip means, naturally, more posting about it--maybe even, God help you, something about these ginks. A meditation, perhaps. Yeah, that sounds good. A meditation on the meaning of Lewis and Clark to, like, us, today, living in, you know, society. Today. You know? Meanwhile, this will cheer you up:

    Kootchy-koo: 'Cause nobody doesn't like Space Alien Baby.

    Bonus: Here's Space Alien Baby posing with Norman Nevills during the 1940 "Nevills Expedition" down the Green and Colorado rivers.

    His fame shall endure: Trailblazing felon Norman Nevills etches "Nevills Expedition" into an exquisite panel of Green River petroglyphs. Jerk.

    Barry Goldwater was on that 1940 trip. He talked about it in a 1994 interview in the sadly defunct Boatman's Quarterly Review, the journal of the Grand Canyon River Guides.

    Update: Map from the superb Belknap Canyonlands River Guide.

    Update II: A collection of photos from various Nevills expeditions: The Nevills collection.

    Monday, August 08, 2005

    Excitement repressed

    It's Drunkablog's six-month blogiversary. Whoo!

    Oh, sorry: Hoo!

    Here's my first post. Oddly, it's about Ward Churchill*.

    Reaction to Drunkablog in the media has been overwhelming. The New Republic enthused, "Drunkablog will have you up all night talking to a suicide hotline"; The New York Times gibbered, "Drunkablog is riveting my feet to the floor. Help!"; and The New York Review of Books squealed that Drunkablog is "the blog to help you look--and feel--your best!"

    *"Who?" you ask. No. Whoo. Then Hoo.

    Update: In researching this essay Drunkablog ran across a Telegraph column on book-reviewer jargon: Circle of cliches. Laugh-out-loud funny.

    Update II: Whoo-hoo!

    Sunday, August 07, 2005

    Rocky editor to Drunkablog: Would you believe . . .

    In a comment on Rocky Mountain News editor John Temple's blog the other day I mentioned how gratified I was to have taught him at least one thing about blogging, to never ever ever feed the trolls.

    Well, I was way off. They're lining up for Happy Meals under every bridge in town as John responds to this question on the same post (sorry, no permalink):

    Is it just an oversight, Mr. Temple, that your blog post contains no link to the editorial that contained the plagiarism? Apparently not, since the editorial itself seems to have disappeared from the Rocky altogether.

    Awful writer, but Temple responds:

    This is a question posted on my earlier blog item on the Joe Wilson's howlers editorial . . . .

    Actually, the reason I didn't link to the editorial is I couldn't find it on our site. I had to ask our librarian for help. He found it easily. Editorials expire from our Web site after two months. Here's the link to the editorial, which has been available on our site ever since it was published.

    My response to this bizarreness:


    [Y]our explanation is bizarre. [Forthright, ain't I?--ed.]

    You say, first, that you didn't link to the editorial because you "couldn't find it." Oh, okay. So why didn't you ask the librarian to find it for you right then, instead of in response to my comment?

    Then, when you finally did ask the librarian, he/she found it "easily," you say. I'm sure it's gratifying to have such a competent staff, but this says nothing about the fact that neither one of us could find the editorial. And we're not the only ones. Another blogger, Stygius, noticed the same thing (tho he's since updated to include this post with its link to the editorial).

    We all probably did the normal search process several times, too, am I right?

    So the question is not really whether the editorial has been "available on our site ever since it was published" (I'm sure it has), but rather whether it was stashed in some dungeon where only librarians who knew the Ancient and Secret Hand Symbols could find it.

    That's tellin' 'im. And not a word of swearing in it.

    Update: Nice to see that ad for Dealin' f--in' Doug every page view too, John. (Okay, one swear word.)

    Update II: Stygius adds the link to the original Rocky editorial here, not here, where actually he asks what should happen next in the Rocky case, and concludes that all the work of Thom Beal, the writer who plagiarized in the Wilson editorial, needs to be examined; plagiarists tend to have done the dirty deed many times before they're caught.

    We'll see. Doesn't always happen. Did CBS check out Mary Mapes' work from before the forged memos?

    You want something to cry about? I'll give you something to cry about--the ho-quo!

    A knock was heard at the door.

    "Come in" said Mr. Ingalls.

    Mr. Alphonso Jones opened the door and entered.

    "Excuse my late intrusion, gents," he said. "And how did you find the Vivians?"

    "Very well, thank you."

    "They are very high-toned people."

    "I presume so but I am not much of a judge" said Gilbert.

    "Probably," said Mr. Ingalls, "you do not know as many of that class
    as Mr. Jones."

    "Did you find the Montmorencys well, Mr. Jones?"

    "Quite so, thank you. Mrs. Montmorency had a bad cold; but she has quite recovered now. They talk of going to Europe next summer."

    "Do they, indeed? How you will miss them!"

    "To be sure. However, I have many other friends in the first circles whom I can visit."--Shifting for Himself. (1876)

    Update: Can't leave out cover number 4. The little pervert was popular, wasn't he?

    Saturday, August 06, 2005

    Head rolls in Rocky plagiarism flap

    To coin a phrase. Rocky Mountain News editor John Temple said yesterday that a July 16 editorial which "inappropriately duplicated" parts of a Daily Howler post on the Joe Wilson affair did not meet the "standards of the News." Temple quotes one of the offending paragraphs, but once again avoids linking to the editorial itself, or even to his blog post on the matter.

    Deputy editorial page editor Thom Beal, who wrote the editorial, has resigned.

    (via RockyWatch, who points out that Temple sure took his time on this.)

    Update: Corrupt sheriff: Who are you, stranger?

    Stranger: My name is Standards--Standards of the News.

    Update II: "Many more questions": 5280's Friday flap roundup. which has a link to the original News editorial, which means I have to figure out if the News posted the editorial again or I just screwed up in claiming they had removed it in the first place.

    Hey, I'm no reporter. Unless it benefits me. Then, I'm a reporter.

    Friday, August 05, 2005

    Stephen King: Not proud, just rich

    I recognize terror as the finest emotion and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find that I cannot terrify, I will try to horrify, and if I find that I cannot horrify, I'll go for the gross-out. I'm not proud--Stephen King in Danse Macabre (1981).

    So the other day Billy Bob and I were playing Frisbee and he somehow managed to rip a toenail completely out of his paw. It was just hanging by a thread (of flesh, you understand). Billy Bob still wanted to play but I was firm--no more Frisbee with a bloody toenail hanging out of your foot. So he sat down and licked it off. Anyway, here's the toenail (positioned next to special forensic screwdriver for size comparison):

    Billy Bob's toenail: Does family style gross-out get any better than this?

    No. But don't take my word for it. Click on the picture.

    Ex-CU pres Hoffman: "terms of endearment" will haunt me

    The Rocky Mountain News reports on a speech yesterday by recently departed CU president Betsy Hoffman, her first public comments since she stepped down last week. The Rocky's report, by Todd Hartman, while not as lovey as the mash note the Denver Post sent Hoffman the other day (Pirate Ballerina has that one), fails to question Hoffman at all on her explanation of the football and Ward Churchill brouhahas that ultimately cost her her job. Instead, reporter Hartman listens with kindly concern as Hoffman says she

    also regretted giving a deposition [in the football scandal] on a Saturday morning when she was exhausted, a move that led to one of her biggest gaffes, in which she agreed that use of the "C-word," in reference to women, was vulgar, but also said she had heard it described as a term of endearment.

    "I will never again do the second day of a deposition on a Saturday morning when I was exhausted - and the only reason to do it was to get me to say something dumb," Hoffman said. "I allowed myself to say something dumb . . . I allowed myself to get rattled and get angry.

    "It will haunt me for the rest of my life."

    Did Hoffman go out and party that Friday night?

    Because it sounds to this kindly old drunk like she's pleading a killer hangover. Hartman ignores this line of inquiry, possibly overwhelmed by the sheer tragedy of it all:

    The pressures at CU became overwhelming, with what Hoffman called "a perfect storm" of controversy that included the rape lawsuit, an essay by ethnic studies professor Ward Churchill in which he compared Sept. 11 victims to an infamous Nazi bureaucrat, and the struggle to secure sufficient state funding for the school.

    It became impossible to keep various interest groups happy, Hoffman said, in large part because - with so many major decisions strung so closely together - people would forget about actions that may have pleased them and seize on the ones that didn't.

    Stringing major decisions too closely together can indeed cause problems, especially when all the decisions are wrong. And get her use of "interest groups," as if there were no moral issues involved. Hartman doesn't notice. He just notes that Hoffman, who has

    weathered 18 months of relentless coverage, warned that many leaders in the public and private sector "are unprepared for how rapidly the media is changing," and cited talk radio and TV and Internet Web logs, or blogs, as part of a dizzying network that moves too fast for story subjects to get out their side on an issue.

    "Web logs, or blogs." I'm dizzy already. But however daft, Hoffman's speech makes one point clearly: her screwups (except maybe the claim that "cunt" is a term of affection) are not her fault. It's just that somehow common ordinary American citizens are kept from hearing her side of things, and "[o]fficials and institutions 'are tried and convicted in an instant,'" mainly in the nightmare courts of that eldritch cabal of evil, the "blogs."

    The "blogs"

    She cited blogs in particular for changing the civic landscape. Ten minutes after one blogger posted the first report on Churchill's Sept. 11 comments, people were calling Gov. Bill Owens, demanding he order Hoffman to fire Churchill, she said.

    And if you can't understand how upsetting that would be, you're a cunt (endearing! I'm being endearing!).

    But Hoffman emphasized that there's little anyone can do to change the ballooning number of media outlets and opinion mongers. She urged leaders to adapt, rather than simply lament the changing landscape.
    Lamentations, eh? But Hartman manages to end the story on a hopeful note, focusing on Hoffman's limitless future:

    Whether she becomes a university president again, writes a book or shares her recent experiences with other leaders, she has yet to decide.

    Take me now Jesus please take me now.

    "Out of every crisis comes opportunity," she said. "Everything bad that happens you step back and say, 'What have I learned from this experience?"

    Boy, that's too easy for Drunkablog, even.

    Update: The Denver Post's David Harsanyi writes about Hoffman's speech today--Hoffman has excuses, not answers--and mentions something I did not know: Hoffman singled out Charles Johnson's Little Green Footballs in her criticism of those evil blogs. Not smart. Johnson responds to Hoffman in Harsanyi's piece and on his blog: Former CU pres smears LGF.

    Update II: Post title has changed. Old one sucked.

    Thursday, August 04, 2005

    The most annoying commercial on radio

    runs on Los Angeles' KRLA for Forest Lawn Cemetery. If you listen to the station at all you've heard it--the one where "the kid" and "Grandpa," who are surfers, have just finished surfing and now discuss Grandpa's funeral. It has the lines, "You were shredding today, Grandpa!" and, "When the Big Kahuna calls for me, you call Forest Lawn."

    Just typing those lines makes me suicidal. Really, how can I, how can anyone, stand to live in a world where such lines have been written? Humans are scum.

    It's even worse than that. Exposed to writing so disturbed, one naturally seeks emergency mental services and moves on, doesn't one? But what makes this commercial really unbearably awful, so awful each hearing of it literally shortens one's life, is "Grandpa's" voice.

    Look, I can't describe it, but no old man ever talked like that in the long, long history of old men. It's a young man who either has never heard an old man speak or was abused by a series of old men who had recently undergone tracheotomies. Can you surf with a tracheotomy?

    Anyway, here's a link dump of Forest Lawn related junk, because this post sure ain't going anywhere.

  • The Shadow magazine, which has nothing to do with Forest Lawn, but which I hotlinked for the Al Lewis cover. Just lefty bull, and nowhere near as fun as MIM.
  • A mid-level Forest Lawn flak on funeral etiquette.
  • The celebrities buried in Forest Lawn. (It takes a couple of clicks.)
  • The Death Care Book Shop page, currently featuring Forest Lawn CEO John F. Llewellyn's unsettlingly titled A cemetery should be forever: The challenge to managers and directors. Llewellyn is also "a third-generation cemeterian."
  • The slightly strange William Arthurs' eclectic site, with links to all kinds of stuff related to Jessica Mitford's The American Way of Death and Forest Lawn.
  • A New Times (Los Angeles) piece that misspells "cemetery" in its title. The New Times (Los Angeles) is defunct, by the way.

    Update: Yes it scares me that a station I listen to runs commercials for a cemetery. And hair restorers. And Christian thrillers. And gold, gold, GOLD! Somebody help me.
  • Wednesday, August 03, 2005

    Progress seen in fight against river-choking tamarisk

    Well it's a start, anyhow:
    DENVER — Bug scientists in seven states will unleash swarms of hungry Asian beetles tonight on a stubborn tree species that is choking life out of the West's waterways.

    The beetles, no bigger than pencil erasers, should assault tamarisk, also known as salt cedar. The bushy tree sucks up hundreds of billions of gallons of water a year and crowds out native plants along creeks and rivers. It can grow up to a foot a month, to a height of 30 feet. The leaves secrete salt, making nothing else grow on the ground below.

    Tamarisk was imported from Asia in the early 1800s as a garden ornamental and for windbreaks and other soil-stabilization projects. Its feathery pink-and white blossoms are common in creek beds and streams in many semi-arid parts of the West. [. . .]

    It has taken root in more than 1.5 million acres from Mexico to Canada and from the Midwest to the Pacific. For decades, land managers across the West tried to get rid of tamarisk by cutting, burning, bulldozing and spraying it with herbicides. Their efforts — costing up to $3,000 an acre — yielded poor to mixed results. [. . .]

    A canoeist gapes moronically at the tamarisk-infested banks of the Green River in southeastern Utah.

    The article continues:

    That led to the tamarisk leaf beetle, Diorhabda elongata. The insect, native to the same Asian regions where salt cedar comes from, is a voracious feeder that strips the tree of its leaves. Without leaves, there is no growth and no seeds to propagate.

    Best of all, the beetles eat nothing else. While they were tested under quarantine, they "were fed all kinds of things, from broccoli and tomatoes to redwoods and more native plants. They don't go for anything else but tamarisk," says Dan Bean, a beetle scientist in Colorado.

    "Some earlier tests at a dozen sites in California, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, Texas and Wyoming didn't work because of climate and daylight patterns different from the beetles' native habitat. Researchers are studying other strains of the beetle for release in the Southwest, where the tamarisk problem may be the worst."


    Andrew Norton, a bug scientist from Colorado State University who will release beetles along the South Platte River north of here this evening, says the species has undergone more testing than any other bug in U.S. history for controlling plant invaders . [. . . ]

    If successful, the beetle assault will take years to stop the spread of tamarisk, let alone allow native plants to re-establish. Thomas Stohlgren, a U.S. Geological Survey scientist who is mapping the spread of tamarisk, says the tree is moving beyond river zones to small agricultural ditches and even desert springs, "any place it can tap into the water supply."

    A friend who canoed upper Labyrinth Canyon on the Green a few years ago said it was so choked with tamarisk it almost wasn't worth it. It has some incredible petroglyphs though, not least the Anasazis' attempt at a Weekly World News illustration:

    What're you lookin' at, jerkface? Space Alien Baby
    annoys with psychotic stare.

    Update: "Progress seen in fight against river-choking tamarisk?" What am I, the Rocky Mountain News? (Today the RMN has the headline, "Brown eyes diversity." Who are they, Van Morrison?)

    Update: Photo of canoe-wielding 'tard courtesy John W. Doyle.

    Tuesday, August 02, 2005

    Yappy and Crappy

    Neighborhood dogs Yappy and Crappy:



    Yappy and Crappy. Their mission: menace innocent pedestrians. (Totally beside the point, but it's Punt, Pass and Kick season again, isn't it? Goodness, how time flies.)

    Temple of the Damned

    Made two comments on John Temple's blog today. In the first I taunt him mercilessly, in the second I return and taunt him some more over his dishonest blog treatment of The Matter of the Plagiarized Editorial.

    And actually, after reading the comments over just now, I sound like kind of a jerk. (This from the guy who just yesterday ran Temple's picture next to Fred Flintstone's and asked, Separated at birth?)

    I ain't no nice guy.

    Update: Anybody know what Stephen King book that "nice guy" line was stolen from? Correct answers will win a copy of the newly updated Ethnic Jokes for the Corporate Retreat (while supplies last).

    Monday, August 01, 2005

    Spotlight on: John Temple's Rocky blog

    So how is Rocky Mountain News editor John Temple doing with his blog?

    Not so hot. In his 16 or so posts since we last checked in, Temple has: let a reader bash the hell out of Canada (read the response from "Dick Valentine, Living Historian," too); admonished us not to believe every attack on the press; referred and linked to his Saturday column (many times); touted an utterly beside-the-point content analysis of the Denver dailies (Post has more national news! News has more local!); and highlighted a reader's praise for the Rocky's "controversial" decision to run the Doonesbury "Turd Blossom" strip.

    Oh, and defended the Rocky against plagiarism charges. Two weeks ago a commenter at RockyWatch noticed several sentences copied from a Daily Howler piece on Joe Wilson in an RMN editorial. Then the Denver magazine 5280 picked up on it, and the other day RockyWatch exercised its circumspection on the story once again. Good stuff. Go read.

    Now, here's my tiny scooplet to add to the story: for some reason Temple's post doesn't link to the RMN editorial; in fact, the editorial itself seems to have disappeared. Stroke my beard and call me Freud.

    One must reiterate here that Temple's blog is not really a blog at all, at least in spirit. Most of his posts are "Editor's Corner"-type things that would have looked at home (including the sly news management) in a newspaper of the 50s.

    Don't know about his traffic (can anybody tell me how to find out?), but he got only seven comments in July, pathetic even by Drunkablog standards.

    Okay, so what about the Rocky's many other fine blogs?

    Oh yeah, those. Look for yourself. It won't take long.

    Update: I've wrestled with my conscience over this, but no way I can remain a self-respecting blogger and not ask the question:

    Separated at birth?

    (Lady wrestlers from this place)

    Drunkablog salutes: Palmer College of Chiropractic

    When I was 13 or so I found a Readers Digest book on Chiropractic and its huckstering Founder, Daniel David Palmer. It was the first debunking of fake science I'd ever read, and it was eye-opening.

    Unfortunately the book doesn't seem to exist on the internet, except maybe as a reference in a 1963 book on the Chiropractic profession's heroic battle against the Salk vaccine. But it was funny, mocking Chiropractic's factual claims about "subluxation" and the like while quoting The Founder's comical ravings about same.

    Condensed or not, that Readers Digest book did two things: it led me to the popular exposers of capitalist mendacity Vance Packard (note subliminal advertising in the word "condensed") and Jessica Mitford, and it kept me from ever enjoying the ministrations of a Chiropractor.

    It also gave me a permanent soft spot in the head for Palmer College of Chiropractic. So when I drove by Davenport a couple weeks ago, I decided to stop and see the place.

    What is life?

    One thing needs to be established right off: Daniel David Palmer, the Founder of Chiropractic and of Palmer School of Chiropractic (1897), was insane. Check out this letter from "Old Dad" to fellow chiropractors, for example, in which Palmer manages to combine endearing greed with plaintive megalomania:

    I occupy in chiropractic a similar position as did Mrs. Eddy in Christian Science. Mrs. Eddy claimed to receive her ideas from the other world and so do I. She founded theron a religion, so may I. I am THE ONLY ONE IN CHIROPRACTIC WHO CAN DO SO.

    Ye, Old Dad always has something new to give to his followers. I have much new written for another edition, when this one is sold. It is STRANGE TO ME WHY EVERY CHIROPRACTOR DOES NOT WANT A COPY OF MY BOOK.

    And in an autobiographical sketch Palmer shyly reveals himself to be

    . . . the originator, the Fountain Head of the essential principle that disease is the result of too much or not enough functionating. I created the art of adjusting vertebrae, using the spinous and transverse processes as levers, and named the mental act of accumulating knowledge, the cumulative function, corresponding to the physical vegetative function -- growth of intellectual and physical -- together, with the science, art and philosophy -- Chiropractic. It is now being followed, more or less, by 2,000 Chiropractors, and its use is being attempted by several other methods. It was I who combined the science and art and developed the principles thereof. I have answered the time-worn question -- what is life?

    Obviously Palmer had no clue. Yet Ye, Old Dad has a bust on the campus of Palmer College of Chiropractic just the same.

    The other kids called him "Fountain Head" too.

    The Developer

    When Daniel David ceased functionating in 1913, his son, Bartlett Joshua Palmer, "The Developer" of Chiropractic, had already acquired the family business. Bartlett, according to Joshua Lee Smith's anti-Chiropractic At Your Own Risk (1969), had had many problems in life, including a spectacularly non-idyllic childhood:

    While his father was occupied in discovering the cause and cure of human illness, B.J., who was born in 1881, apparently experienced a grim childhood. In 1949 he published a book entitled The Bigness of the Fellow Within, the preface to which was written by Herbert C. Hender, dean of the Palmer School. Speaking of B.J., Hender said:

    The first twenty years of this boy's life were spent in being educated to hate people and everything they did or were connected with.

    His mother died when he was one-and-a-half years old. From then on, he was at the mercy of five cruel stepmothers, each worse than the one before.

    Because of brutality at home, he was often forced to sleep in dry-goods boxes in alleys, often with the weather below zero, curled like a rat in a nest with paper packing, with open face of box backed up against brick walls; under kitchen sinks of hotels; or by boilers of boats on the Mississippi.

    He worked for a time as floor scrubber, window washer, spittoon cleaner, and special-delivery boy for a department store in his home town, getting three dollars per week as salary. He used to take out five cents a week for a bag of peanuts. This was his only luxury, for which he regularly got a beating. . . .

    This is just a beginning of tales he could tell of horrors of his early family and home life [2:xv].

    Only one abnormal spine?

    Apparently things were smoothed over, or something, because Bartlett, after undergoing rigorous (well, absolutely no) training, became a chiropractor just like dad. Unfortunately, his earlier training in hate persisted. As Joshua Lee Smith tells it,

    Matters came to a head in 1906 when B.J. was twenty-four. Father and son were both charged with practicing medicine without a license. The father was brought to trial first -- the reason, says B.J. cryptically, is "best known by local merchants." He was found guilty and went to jail. B.J. was never tried.

    After Daniel David was released from jail, B.J. bought out his business. For the Palmer School B.J. paid his father $2,196.79, plus one normal spine, one abnormal spine, six vertebrae, and Daniel David's choice of any twelve books from the school library. Daniel David Palmer left Davenport, deeply embittered.

    His bitterness increased when, in the same year, B.J. published his first book on chiropractic. Daniel claimed that "most of its contents, which gave the principles of the science and somewhat of the art of adjusting vertebrae, were from my pen.". . .

    In 1911 he returned to Davenport and founded a new chiropractic school, the Universal Chiropractic College, two blocks from the now-thriving Palmer School. Within a year, however, he abandoned this, too, and went to California. . . .

    In July, 1913, the Palmer School of Chiropractic held its annual Lyceum and Homecoming, complete with a parade through the streets of the town. B.J. Palmer rode in an automobile in the parade. Suddenly a ghost materialized on the sidewalk --Daniel David Palmer. Waving a small American flag, he insisted on leading the alumni procession, but was prohibited from doing so by the marshal of the parade, who was a student at the school. An altercation ensued. B.J. drove up in his automobile. Words passed between father and son. What happened after that depends on whom you believe. Daniel David claimed that B.J. struck him with his automobile, and D.D's friends and allies later produced affidavits of witnesses to prove it. B.J. flatly denied it, and produced many more affidavits to this effect than D.D.'s cohorts were able to muster.

    That night Daniel David Palmer left Davenport for the last time. Three months later he died in Los Angeles. He stipulated that his son was not to come to his funeral.

    The executors of the father's estate filed a civil damages suit against B.J., alleging that B.J. had struck Daniel David with his car and that this had contributed to the father's death. After pending in court for several months, the action was dropped without prejudice, and was never reinstated. The Scott County District Attorney also sought a murder indictment against B.J., but two grand juries refused to return a true bill.

    B. J. Palmer: No true bill, not even for running over D.D.'s little American flag.

    Oh, here's B.J.'s wife, Mabel Heath Palmer. Couldn't find a whole lot about her except that she's

    The First Lady of Chiropractic. Stirring quote:
    "He's still moving! Hit him again!"

    Research note: Many of the links in this story, it should be obvious, come from Stephen Barrett M.D.'s excellent site Quackwatch and his related site Chirobase (operated with Samuel Homola, D.C. [!]). Also heavily consulted was physical therapist Paul Lee's The Quack-Files. (And don't miss his blog, Confessions of a Quackbuster.)

    Update: Stuff that didn't fit:

  • A scary chiropractor ad: "Mommy, my ears hurt."

  • A picture: Palmer Mansion in Davenport.

  • A fact: Palmer College tuition, 2003: $7000 per trimester.

  • Another fact: Palmer College has a rugby team.

  • An obituary: Robert Treuhaft, husband of Jessica Mitford and, like her, a truly diehard communist.

  • Update II: The capitalization of the word "Chiropractor" is done here in the same spirit as one capitalizes the word "Realtor."

    Update III: When you read the title of B.J.'s book, The Bigness of the Fellow Within, do you immediately think of Springfield's town motto, "A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man?" Me too.

    Update IV: Initially misspelled Robert Treuhaft's name; corrected now.