David Crosby–R.I.P.

One of may favorite groups back in the day was CSN&Y…..sad news from the music world….David Crosby of that same group has died….age 81….

David Crosby, a singer-songwriter and founding member of two hugely influential and successful folk-rock groups—the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young—has died. He was 81. His family announced his death Thursday, saying only that it came after a long illness. Crosby had remained active on Twitter up until Wednesday, Variety reports, when he joked about heaven, posting, “I heard the place is overrated… cloudy.” And he’d released an album, Live at the Capitol Theater, last month. Crosby, who contributed to both groups’ intricate and sublime harmonies, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame twice, once with each band.

Crosby grew up in Los Angeles. His father, Floyd, was an Academy Award-winning cinematographer, per Rolling Stone. He took a brief spin at college, then pursued a music career, starting as a solo act in folk clubs. He joined a band in 1964, when the Beatles had made bands all the rage, that already included Roger McGuinn and Gene Clark. Two incarnations later, the Jet Set were the Byrds, to which Crosby added his signature harmony on such hits as “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Turn! Turn! Turn!” As a songwriter, he was overshadowed by McGuinn and Clark, who fired him in 1967 as tensions in the band escalated. They gave him a list of reasons, including his songwriting, and said he was impossible to work with. “All of which is partly true, I’m sure, sometimes,” Crosby later said, adding, “But it was a drag.”

At Joni Mitchell’s house a few months later, Crosby ran into Stephen Stills and Graham Nash. They sang a song together three times, learning how their voices could best blend in harmony. “When we sang that third time,” Nash later said, “my life changed.” The first Crosby, Stills & Nash album came out in May 1969 with three songs written or co-written by Crosby: “Guinnevere,” “Wooden Ships,” and “Long Time Gone.” The record was a hit, and the group began a tour after adding Neil Young. Their second concert ever was at Woodstock, in front of an audience of almost 500,000. In his memoir, Crosby wrote: “For that one moment we did something that tells you what’s possible with human beings. … Woodstock was a time where were was a prevailing feeling of harmony.”

His voice and his music will be missed….in memory of his music…..

You will be missed….and thank you for great memories.

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Falling Russian Syndrome

There has been an uptick of a dreaded disease that is running rampant through Russia’s ‘High Society”…..a situation that started during the dark days of the Covid outbreak in Russia.

I wrote about it before in the early days……

Those Russians And Windows Are Back!

The disease has struck again…..

It’s been a while since the murky death of a Russian oligarch or other high-profile exec has made headlines, but this month saw that streak broken. Per the BBC, 65-year-old sausage magnate Pavel Antov, who’s topped Forbes‘ list of the richest Russian businessmen, was found dead Sunday at a hotel in Rayagada, in the Indian state of Odisha—apparently after a fall out of a window, according to local cops. The Jerusalem Post notes Antov, who’d just celebrated his birthday, was discovered lying in a pool of blood.

A local police superintendent suggests Antov died by suicide, as he’d been “depressed” over something that had happened at the hotel just two days earlier: His friend Vladimir Budanov, a 61-year-old Russian businessman who’d accompanied him on the trip, had been “discovered unconscious” in his own hotel room, surrounded by wine bottles, per the Daily Beast. He later died at a nearby hospital. Budanov was said by Indian and Russian officials to have died of either a stroke or heart attack. As is often the case in these mysterious Russian deaths, Antov’s past included alleged criticism of the Russian government: The BBC reports that in June, he’d reacted to a Russian missile attack on a Kyiv neighborhood, posting on WhatsApp, “It’s extremely difficult to call all this anything but terror.”

Antov later denied he was the one behind the post, which was deleted, claiming someone else had posted it and that he was a “patriot of my country” who supported President Vladimir Putin and his invasion of Ukraine. WION reports that an investigation is ongoing, and that “they are probing all angles in this case, including an accidental fall.” The Beast notes there’ve been more than a dozen strange deaths of Russian businessmen this year, often executives in the gas and oil industry. One of those deaths happened over the same weekend that Antov and Budanov died: Alexander Buzakov, head of Russia’s Admiralty Shipyard, died “suddenly and tragically” on Saturday at age 66, his cause of death unclear.

How far will this go?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Halloween–2022

Today is the day we set aside of observe some pagan ritual that we have re-labeled as Halloween.

In that vain I would like to offer up a ‘spooky’ post in honor of this day.

Have you wished you could somehow access the thoughts of your dead loved ones?

If so I have a post for you……

On its face, it’s not that strange that James Vlahos can talk to his father, John, any time he wants to on the phone. He can ask him about his favorite sports team when he’s curious. Or when he wants to ask him what his favorite song is. When the feeling strikes, Vlahos can just shoot his dad a message to see how he’s doing. Whatever it is, his dad is always quick to respond—sometimes with a straightforward answer, and sometimes with a joke.

But here’s the thing: Vlahos’s dad is dead. He passed away in February 2017, due to stage-4 lung cancer. The person Vlahos can chat with today on his phone isn’t his father exactly. It’s an AI chatbot that father and son created after the family learned about John’s terminal diagnosis.

“We knew we were going to lose and were scrambling to find ways to remember him,” Vlahos told The Daily Beast. “Meanwhile, I was working on a book about conversational AI, so I was learning about all of these ways that we can teach computers to talk in human-like ways.”

Vlahos came to the idea rather suddenly. Instead of simply recording John’s memories and stories on audio or video, he could have a more interactive way to revisit his father’s memories and personality through the same AI technology he was already exploring. “That was what gave me this idea that I could make this memory-sharing chatbot that I came to call Dadbot,” Vlahos said.

 

He went on to pen a story about Dadbot for Wired in 2017. Then word started to spread. Emails and calls came in from people from all over the world who were dying or who had dying loved ones that wanted to create similar chatbots of their own. Would you make a Mombot for me? Would you make a Dadbot for me? This became the inspiration for HereAfter AI, a web app created by Vlahos that lets you “preserve meaningful memories about your life and interactively share them with the people you love,” according to its website.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/chatbots-by-james-vlahos-and-hereafter-ai-are-letting-you-talk-to-the-dead

Interesting, eh?

I do not need this ‘service’ for I was close with my father and knew full well what his thoughts were….he was a screaming bigot, he was also commenting on the female anatomy….and those were the main themes of his thoughts.

Check it oit and tell me your thoughts.

Happy Halloween

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–26Sep22

I have written many times about the rate and the causes of the suicides by our veterans. It appears that the numbers are higher than have been reported in the past.

The number of US military veterans who have died by suicide could be far higher than the Department of Veterans Affairs has reported, a new study indicates. America’s Warrior Partnership, which works to eliminate veteran suicide, found that in eight states, the number of suicides was 1.37 times higher than reported for 2014 to 2018. If that rate holds throughout the nation, the number of veterans dying by suicide each day would be about 24; the VA’s reported average for that period was 17.7, per NBC News. “We’re not pointing fingers at anyone,” said Jim Lorraine, the nonprofit’s president. “We’re just saying it’s sobering to look at the numbers.”

The VA bases its count on information provided by the counties where the person died, per Stars and Stripes. The new study, which took four years, went further to gather details about the veterans, working with the Department of Defense and checking state records. Other states could not release relevant data because of confidentiality restrictions, the preliminary report says. The VA’s process, missed veterans about 18% of the time, the study said. The University of Alabama and Duke University worked with the nonprofit. “It’s not the VA’s fault, Lorraine said. “The issue is the counties.”

Veterans Affairs released a statement defending its process. “We take every step possible to make sure that our veteran suicide data is accurate, because the first step to solving this problem is understanding it,” said press secretary Terrence Hayes. Loraine said he hopes more states will take part in the next phase of the study. Broader collaboration would improve the accuracy of the data, as well as prevention methods, he said. The VA’s 2020 report said more than 46,000 US adults died in suicides in 2018, more than 6,000 of them veterans. Another organization has found that suicide has killed four times as many US veterans as combat so far this century.

This problem should be far more important to the government than it is….we asked these people to give their all and then we put band-aids on their wounds instead of giving them the help they deserve.

For a damn change do something besides giving our veterans platitudes in place of adequate health care.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thoughts–21Sep22

Russians seem to be falling out of the sky about as regular as rain.

Doctors falling out windows….executives falling to their deaths and now a Putin ally has joined the club.

An executive helping to oversee development in Russia’s Far East has become at least the ninth Russian businessman to be found dead since the start of this year. Ivan Pechorin, an aviation director with the Corporation for the Development of the Far East and the Arctic (KRDV), fell from his private yacht near Russky Island in the Sea of Japan on Saturday, days after attending an economic forum in nearby Vladivostok, a major center of Russia’s Far East, per Newsweek and the Daily Beast. Also in attendance at the forum was President Vladimir Putin, who gave the keynote speech, per Insider. Pechorin was considered an ally of Putin, who, according to the Mirror, personally selected him for his role.

The corporation, which the Russian government has instructed to develop energy and mining resources in the Far East and Arctic, said it learned of “the tragic death of our colleague” on Monday, per CNN. That same day, Pechorin’s body washed ashore about 100 miles from Vladivostok amid a search, per Insider. The 39-year-old had fallen from his yacht, which was reportedly traveling at full speed near Russky Island (not to be confused with an island of the same name in the northern Kara Sea) two days earlier, according to local media reports. One Russian news outlet, Baza, has claimed Pechorin and others aboard the boat were intoxicated at the time, the Daily Beast reports.

He’s the second KRDV executive to die unexpectedly this year. In February, the corporation’s director, Igor Nosov, died of what Russian media described as a stroke. He was 43. Numerous other individuals tied to Russia’s energy sector have died by suicide or under mysterious circumstances since the start of this year, including Alexander Subbotin, Sergey Protosenya, Vladislav Avayev, and Yuri Baranov. Earlier this month, Ravil Maganov, chair of the board of directors of Russian oil company Lukoil, died in a fall from a hospital window. KRDV said the death of Pechorin, in charge of aviation accessibility in the Far East, was an “irreparable loss.”

Fascinating stuff!

A Falling Russian Syndrome!

This guy could have lived nicely elsewhere but he decided to jump….why?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Queen For The Day

Today’s big story will be the burial of Queen Elizabeth II…..with that her era of influence will end and the new day of King Charles III will begin…..

Since I am not a big fan of any monarchy I thought I would post a couple of articles about the death of the Queen…..

Ukania’s longest reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, finally yielded the royal sceptre to her eldest child, who will become King Charles III. Charles’s wife Camilla will now become Queen Camilla.

The next few days will see an unparalled excess of Ruritanian/Ukanian flummery, probably the only thing Ukania is good at these days— parades with mounted soldiers and carriages; gun salutes on the banks of the Thames; special programming on radio and TV; flag-bearing crowds congregating outside the royal residences; everyone, from the new king to the archbishop of Canterbury, decked out in their finest regalia, and so on.

This will also be a rare-old-time for paparazzi and the court correspondents of the tabloids. Will Meghan Markle and Kate speak to each other? What will the reprobate Prince Andrew be up to? Which of the royal offspring will misbehave and how?

The Queen Is Dead

There is more….

On 8th September, 2022, a 96-year old woman died. Nothing unusual there. On average, 1,679 people die in the UK every day. But this time round, everyone from the British Kebab Awards to The Prodigy made gushing sycophantic statements. Britain’s idiot prime minister in waiting Liz Truss, called the deceased “among the world’s greatest ever leaders”.

As Britain was sent into 10 days of enforced commemoration, the madness also spread to Germany Chancellor Olaf Scholz called her a “role model and inspiration for millions”, while Berlin mayor Franziska Giffey said that the “power of her great personality has always fascinated us Berliners.” Brandenburger Tor was lit up in the colours of the Union Flag in her honour.

Even John Lydon, who as Johnny Rotten once wrote; “God save the queen. She ain’t no human being. There is no future In England’s dreaming” got involved. He posted the following message on social media: “Rest in peace Queen Elizabeth II. Send her victorious From all at johnlydon.com”.

The Queen is Dead. Republic Now!

I doubt if the reporting will end with the burial….but it will be for this blog.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

12 September–Sabra And Shatila

Forty years ago today a massacre of women and children was committed by the Israeli army and the world just shrugged…..

I have written about this massacre several times….but for those too damn lazy to use the ‘search’….let me remind everyone…..

Forty years ago, during the week of September 12, we were working in a Palestine Red Crescent Society facility, Gaza Hospital, in Sabra Shatila camp in West Beirut. As health care workers, we were trying to heal the wounds and repair the mutilated and destroyed bodies of those injured by Israel’s Invasion of Lebanon in June 1982. We had been working there following the evacuation of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), mediated by US Middle East envoy Philip Habib. Crucial to the evacuation agreement was the protection of the civilians left behind after the evacuation of the PLO, and Israel’s undertaking not to invade and occupy Beirut. With the guarantee of protection by the multinational peace keeping force, thousands of displaced civilian war victims returned to Sabra Shatila to rebuild their homes and lives.

Unknown to these people who returned hoping to pick up and mend their shattered lives, the multinational peace keeping force left West Beirut on 11 September 1982. On the evening of September 14, 1982, we became aware that the President-elect of Lebanon had been assassinated. Around the break of dawn on the following day, we heard planes flying low into Beirut. Within hours, sounds of heavy artillery and machine guns could be heard close by. It continued all day and soon the periphery of the camp was hit relentlessly. We went to an upper floor of the hospital where we watched as flares went off, lighting areas of the camps, followed by gunfire. As hours passed, we hectically received and tended to the thousands of camp residents who fled to us or were brought into the hospital seeking emergency medical care, safety, and security. The hospital ran out of food, water, medication – and blood for the wounded.

Remembering the Sabra Shatila Massacre, Forty Years Later

The world should never forget this atrocity….or the unprovoked attack on the USS Liberty in 1967…..

My one question is….why is Israel allowed to act as they do with disregard for human life?  Why?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

The Queen Is Dead–Long Live The King

The news of the day is that Queen Elizabeth II has passed…..and Charles becomes king…..

Queen Elizabeth II’s 70-year reign is over. Buckingham Palace said Thursday that the queen has died at age 96. The news came after members of the royal family were summoned to her side at the royal Balmoral estate in Scotland by doctors concerned about her health. Elizabeth’s 73-year-old son, Prince Charles, will now become king, with his son Prince William second in line.

  • The statement: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon,” the palace announced, per the BBC. Referring to Charles and Camilla: “The King and the Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”
  • Her life: For a timeline of highlights from her life and reign, with photos, see Metro. She was crowned queen at age 27 in 1953 following the death of her father, King George VI.
  • Big picture: The AP sums things up: “Since assuming the throne after the death of her father on Feb. 6, 1952, Elizabeth has been a symbol of stability as Britain negotiated the end of empire, the dawn of the information age and the mass migration that transformed the country into a multicultural society.”
  • Big picture, II: “There is no analogous public figure who will have been mourned as deeply in Britain—Winston Churchill might come closest—or whose death could provoke a greater reckoning with the identity and future of the country,” per the New York Times. “Elizabeth’s extraordinary longevity lent her an air of permanence that makes her death, even at an advanced age, somehow shocking.”
  • No Meghan: One notable absence as the royal family was gathering at Balmoral: that of Meghan, wife of Prince Harry. The pair, who no longer have royal duties, were already in the UK for a series of engagements. However, Harry was traveling to Balmoral alone, reports the BBC. On the other hand, Prince William also traveled there without his wife, Kate, who was remaining behind in Britain for the time being because it was the first day of school for their children.
  • Failing health: Buckingham Palace has been relative sparse with details about the queen’s health, but it had been in decline over the last year. She recovered from a bout of COVID earlier this year, though the palace said it left her exhausted, per the Times. Elizabeth also had been using a cane of late as her mobility diminished.

And now for a few words from King Charles III……as well as a few others….

The new king of England’s first formal statement is, not surprisingly, about his mom. “The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family,” wrote King Charles III in a statement posted by Buckingham Palace. “We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.” He added that he and other members of the royal family will be “comforted and sustained” by that knowledge.

At Glamour, Kathleen Walsh likes the tribute. “There’s no easy way to say goodbye to a beloved mother, so I can only imagine what it’s like to have to publicly mourn your mum the queen.” In the US, presidents and first ladies, both current and past, were paying their respects as well, per the AP and the Daily Mail:

  • Biden: “Queen Elizabeth II was a stateswoman of unmatched dignity and constancy who deepened the bedrock Alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States,” said the statement from the Bidens. “She helped make our relationship special.”
  • Trump: “Melania and I will always cherish our time together with the Queen, and never forget Her Majesty’s generous friendship, great wisdom, and wonderful sense of humor,” said a statement from former President Trump. “What a grand and beautiful lady she was—there was nobody like her!”
  • Obama: “Back when we were just beginning to navigate life as President and First Lady, she welcomed us to the world stage with open arms and extraordinary generosity,” Barack and Michelle Obama said in their statement. “Time and again, we were struck by her warmth, the way she put people at ease, and how she brought her considerable humor and charm to moments of great pomp and circumstance.”
  • Clinton: “We will always be grateful for the kindness she showed us through the years, particularly during our visits to Buckingham Palace in 1995 and 2000, and for all she did to deepen the Special Relationship,” said former President Clinton, referring to himself and Hillary. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Royal Family and all the people Her Majesty inspired throughout her lifetime of service.”
  • Bush: “Laura and I were honored to have known her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” wrote former President George W. Bush. “She was a woman of great intellect, charm, and wit.” He added that “spending time at Buckingham Palace, and having tea with Her Majesty—and her Corgis—is among our fondest memories of the presidency.”
  • Carter: “Rosalynn and I extend our condolences to the family of Queen Elizabeth II and the citizens of the United Kingdom,” said Jimmy Carter. “Her dignity, graciousness, and sense of duty have been an inspiration, and we join the millions around the world in mourning a remarkable leader.”

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–01Sep22

I remember back in the early days of the global pandemic and doctors were falling out windows, Russian doctors that is….well since those days there have been many Russians high placed that have met with untimely ‘ends’…..and we can add yet another one to the list.

What’s not being disputed is that the chair of one of Russia’s largest oil producers has died after falling out of a hospital window. What’s murkier, however, is what led to Ravil Maganov’s demise—what CBS News notes is the sixth death this year of a big-name Russian energy exec under eyebrow-raising circumstances. On Thursday, Russian state news agency TASS reported that the 67-year-old Lukoil chairman died by suicide after plummeting from a sixth-floor window, noting that Maganov had been in the hospital—IDed by the BBC as Moscow’s Central Clinical Hospital—for treatment after a heart attack. “In addition, he was taking antidepressants,” TASS added.

However, two sources who say they knew Maganov well tell Reuters they don’t believe he would have taken his own life. His employer, meanwhile, announced in a statement that Maganov had died “following a serious illness.” Lukoil, which is Russia’s largest private company, has taken an unusually assertive stand against the Russian invasion of Ukraine, pleading in a March statement for negotiations and the “soonest possible end to armed conflict.” The company’s former president, oligarch Vagit Alekperov, stepped down in April after the UK and the EU sanctioned him over the Russian-led war.

Other energy company bigwigs who’ve recently died under mysterious circumstances include former Lukoil board member Alexander Subbotin, who was reported in May as having been found dead in a basement on the outskirts of Moscow, supposedly after receiving a shaman’s “treatment” involving toad poison. A month earlier, Sergei Protosenya, a former manager for Novatek, Russia’s largest liquefied natural gas producer, was found dead, along with his wife and daughter, in a villa in Spain. Local police say he killed his family, then himself. One person who might be feeling uneasy at the moment: Nail Maganov, Ravil’s brother, who heads up another Russian fuels firm, Tatneft, headquartered in the Tatarstan region.

There sure are a lot of ‘unexplained’ suicides in Russia (wink wink)…..

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–26Jul22

Occasionally I write about stuff that happens in my state of Mississippi…..this one is just disturbing on so many levels…..

The police chief of a small city in Mississippi is out of a job after an audio recording leaked in which he boasted of killing 13 people on the job and used racist and homophobic slurs, reports USA Today and the Washington Post. The board of aldermen in Lexington voted 3-2 to fire chief Sam Dobbins last week, reports WLBT, after the audio was made public by the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting. Dobbins is white, while an estimated 80% of Lexington’s 1,600 residents are Black. Among the lines in the recording causing controversy:

  • “I’ve killed 13 men in my career, justified,” he said. “In my line of duty, I have shot and killed 13 different people.”
  • “I shot that n—– 119 times, OK? … The vehicle was shot 319 times, but he was hit 119 times by me.” Dobbins suggested he “saved 67 kids in a school” with this shooting in a cornfield, though the Post notes it’s unclear what he is referring to.
  • “I don’t talk to f—ing queers, I don’t talk to f—ing fa—-s.”
  • “You’re going to get some s— in the streets, and there’s only going to be one man fighting for you, and it’s going to be me, OK? Don’t ever ruin that, all right, because these other n—–s, they’re [unintelligible]. I don’t give a f— if you kill a motherf—er in cold blood. I will articulate to fix the f—ing problem, and I’m the only man in the business here that’s smart enough to do it.”

The recording was secretly made in April by Robert Lee Hooker, a Black officer who resigned last week. Regarding his claims of killing 13 people, Dobbins (before being fired) told the MCIR, “that’s something we don’t discuss, period.” Of the slurs, he said, “I don’t talk like that.”

This guy is an idiot….it is that simple.

Can you believe the stupidity?

I wish just once something good would happen in my state….instead of the stream of crap from idiots.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”