Monday, January 30, 2017

Mosque Attacks

One Mosque was burned in Texas, and six people were shot dead at a Canadian mosque over the weekend. These incidents followed in the wake of a week of President Trump's executive orders that are being seen as a "Muslim ban" on travel to the USA.

An early-morning fire on Saturday, January 28, 2017, destroyed a Victoria, Texas mosque that was a target of hatred several years ago and experienced a burglary last week.


Quebec police said six people were killed and an additional eight were wounded in a shooting at a mosque on Sunday, January 29, 2017.

Some of the wounded were gravely injured, said Christine Coulombe, the Quebec provincial police spokeswoman. Those killed ranged in age from approximately 35 to 70 years old, she said. Thirty-nine people were in the mosque at the time of the attack.

Coulombe initially said two people have been arrested. On Monday, police confirmed that only one was a suspect, and the other individual arrested in d'Orleans was an eyewitness.

The Quebec shooter, who killed 6 in a mosque, is a white male student who made right wing & anti-woman remarks on Facebook. Court clerk confirms the name of the suspect in Canadian mosque attack is Alexandre Bissonnette.

Quebec City Islamic Cultural Center President Mohamed Yangui said the shooting happened in the men's section of the mosque.

Local newspaper Le Soleil said it had obtained information that the suspect was a 27-year-old with "a Québec name," and one had an AK-47 automatic weapon in his possession. Police, however, have not released nor confirmed these details.

A witness told CBC's French-language service Radio-Canada that two masked individuals entered the mosque.

"It seemed to me that they had a Quebecois accent. They started to fire, and they they shot they yelled, 'Allahu akbar!' The bullets hit people that were praying. People who were praying lost their lives. A bullet passed right over my head," said the witness who asked to remain anonymous.

Other mosques in Quebec experienced "incidents" throughout the weekend.

Police protection has been increased around mosques throughout New York City.

This is just the beginning.

Saturday, January 28, 2017


Three years ago Jake Kotze posted his Hurt. It's an appropriate time to watch it.

Hurt from seallion on Vimeo.

John Hurt died at his home in Cromer, Norfolk on 25 January 2017, three days after his 77th birthday.

The timing of Hurt's death appears to reflect the anniversary death syndrome, as well as the data about dying around one's birthday.

In 1967, John Hurt began his longest personal relationship, with French model Marie-Lise Volpeliere-Pierrot, sister of fashion photographer Jean-Claude Volpeliere-Pierrot. The couple had planned to get married after 15 years together; however, on 26 January 1983 Hurt and Volpeliere-Pierrot went riding early in the morning near their house in Ascott-under-Wychwood, Oxfordshire; Volpeliere-Pierrot was thrown off her horse and injured. She went into a coma and died later that day.

Sir John Vincent Hurt, CBE (22 January 1940 – 25 January 2017) was an English actor and voice actor whose career spanned six decades. He initially came to prominence for his supporting role as Richard Rich in the film A Man for All Seasons (1966).

In 1979, he played Kane, the crew member of the Nostromo in the Ridley-Scott-directed Alien, out of whose chest a new born creature burst. After Alien, Hurt played the leading role as John Merrick in David Lynch's biopic The Elephant Man (1980). (David Bowie performed the the part 157 times between 1980 and 1981, on Broadway.)

John Hurt was Winston Smith in a film version of Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984). By coincidence, the 68-years-old George Orwell's novel 1984 shot to Amazon's number one spot this week, as after Donald Trump's inauguration and his press spokespersons' use of the phrase "alternative facts" to describe their version of reality.

During the 1990s and 2000s, he worked with fashionable arthouse directors like Gus Van Sant (Even Cowgirls Get the Blues), Jim Jarmusch (Dead Man, The Limits of Control) and Lars von Trier (Dogville, Manderlay) while making regular outings in Hollywood, including Rob Roy, Contact, Hellboy, V for Vendetta and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The Guardian reports his personal favorites during this time were Love and Death on Long Island in which he played an ageing author obsessed with a young man, and The Field, Jim Sheridan’s fable of strife in a remote Irish village.

Concurrently, with the advent of the British commercial-cinema revival, Hurt was called upon for Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and the Harry Potter films (where Hurt appeared as the wand-maker Mr Ollivander in the first film, Philosopher’s Stone, and the final two, Deathly Hallows. He continued to alternate between Hollywood fare – such as Immortals and Hercules – with more considered work: he played Control in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; a centuries-old vampire called Christopher Marlowe in Only Lovers Left Alive, again for Jarmusch; and the guru-like Gilliam in Snowpiercer.


From Aug 10, 2012

Secondary warning: Some of the death scenes are very violent.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Two MLB Players Die In Separate Crashes

Breaking: Authorities in Dominican Republic say MLB players Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte have both died in separate car crashes - AP

Today's sad coincidence of both of these DR players being killed in separate crashes is made all the more strange by one more element: Marte’s final game in the MLB came against Ventura in 2014. Marte struck out in that game, the last of his career.

Crash Details: Ventura

Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car crash in the Dominican Republic early Sunday morning, January 22, 2017. He died in a car accident in the city of Juan Adrián. Ventura was 25 years old.

Jacobo Mateo Moquete, a national police colonel in the Dominican Republic, confirmed in a tweet that Ventura died in the accident. He shared photos from the scene:

Ventura made his debut for the Royals in 2013 and was immediately known for his fastball. He could easily top 100 mph. He took on the nickname Ace Ventura and would go on to play a big part in Kansas City’s AL pennant winning team from 2014 and its World Series championship team in 2015.

Speed Kills

Sadly, Ventura is the third active major league player who has died over the past five months. Former Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident on September 25, 2016.

Crash Details: Marte

Former major leaguer Andy Marte was killed this weekend in a separate car crash, also in the Dominican Republic. He was 33.

ESPN reported that Yordano Ventura, 25, died on a highway leading to Juan Adrian, about 40 miles northwest of the capital Santo Domingo, while Marte, 33, crashed his car into a house 95 miles south of Santo Domingo. Both athletes were said to be under the influence, allegedly according to ESPN's Cristian Moreno.

Marte was killed when a car he was driving crashed into a house along the side of the road. Marte had been in the country playing winter ball.
Metropolitan traffic authorities say Marte died early Sunday morning when a car he was driving hit a house along a road between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles north of Santo Domingo, the capital.
Ventura’s defining moment may have come during Game 6 of the 2014 World Series, when he paid tribute to his countryman and friend, the late St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras, who had died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. Ventura allowed three hits over seven shutout innings that night, helping Kansas City force a decisive Game 7.

Recent Car Crashes Kill MLB Players

Yordano Ventura Hernández was a Dominican professional baseball pitcher for the Kansas City Royals of Major League Baseball. He was twice named to the All-Star Futures Game. Ventura made his MLB debut on September 17, 2013.
Born: June 3, 1991, Samaná, Dominican Republic
Died: January 22, 2017
Current team: Kansas City Royals (#30 / Pitcher)

Andy Manuel Marte was a Dominican professional baseball third baseman. He played in Major League Baseball for the Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians and Arizona Diamondbacks.
Born: October 21, 1983, Villa Tapia, Dominican Republic
Died: January 22, 2017, San Francisco de Macorís, Dominican Republic
Number: 28 (Arizona Diamondbacks / Infielder)

José D. Fernández was a Cuban-born American professional baseball pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball for the Miami Marlins from 2013 until his death in 2016. Fernández was born in Santa Clara, Cuba.
Born: July 31, 1992, Santa Clara, Cuba
Died: September 25, 2016, Miami Beach, FL
Number: 16 (Miami Marlins / Pitcher), 13 (Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp / Pitcher), 44 (Jupiter Hammerheads / Pitcher)

Oscar Francisco Taveras was a Dominican–Canadian professional baseball outfielder who played one season for the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball.
Born: June 19, 1992, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Died: October 26, 2014, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Number: 18 (St. Louis Cardinals / Outfielder)

Andújar Cedeño Donastorg (August 21, 1969 – October 28, 2000) was a Major League Baseball (MLB) shortstop from 1990 to 1996. Born in La Romana, Dominican Republic, he played for the Houston Astros from 1990 to 1994, the San Diego Padres in 1995, and in 1996 played for the Padres, Detroit Tigers and Houston Astros again. His brother is former MLB player Domingo Cedeño. Four years after he last appeared in the major leagues, Cedeño was died in an automobile accident on October 28, 2000, while heading to his home in La Romana, Dominican Republic. It took place after a game between the Tigres de Licey and the Azucareros del Este in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. While on his way home, the Mercedes Benz he was driving collided with a truck, killing him instantly.
Born: August 21, 1969, La Romana, Dominican Republic
Died: October 28, 2000, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Friday, January 20, 2017

Bad Start for Gorillas in 2017

On May 28, 2016, a three-year-old boy climbed into a gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden and was grabbed or protected (depending on your reading of what occurred) by Harambe, a 17-year-old Western lowland gorilla. Fearing for the boy's life, a zoo worker shot and killed Harambe.

Zoo Miami's aging "matriarch" gorilla, Josephine, was euthanized on Wednesday, January 18, 2017, just before reaching the age of 50. She was reportedly the grandmother of male silverback, Harambe, who was killed in Cincinnati after a young boy fell into his enclosure.

Josephine, 49, was born in wild and arrived at the Zoo Miami in March 1983. She gave birth to a male gorilla named Moja in 1984. He was later moved to Gladys Porter Zoo in Texas, where he fathered several gorillas including Harambe, the Miami Herald reported.

The world’s oldest known gorilla, Colo, died on Tuesday, January 17, 2017, at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio, at the remarkable age of 60. Colo was born at the Columbus Zoo on December 22, 1956. She was the first gorilla born in a zoo.

Some background about the relatives of Harambe:

Along with his two half-siblings at the Cincinnati Zoo, Harambe has 12 other half-siblings and a full brother.
According to the Gorilla Passion Project, Harambe was born on May 27, 1999 at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Texas to parents Moja and Kayla. Both of his parents are now deceased. Moja, originally from the Metro Miami Zoo, died suddenly at the Gladys Porter Zoo to heart disease. Kayla died in 2002, due to chlorine poisoning, at the Texas zoo as well.
Harambe’s one full sibling, a brother named Makoko, died in the same 2002 chlorine poisoning incident as Kayla. In January 2002, a container of dry chlorine tablets was accidentally placed near a space heater in a building housing 11 gorillas, reports The Brownsville Herald. The tablets accidentally became wet, creating toxic fumes that ended up killing four gorillas: Kayla, Makoko and two of Harambe’s half-siblings, Caesar and Uzuri.
Two of Harambe’s other half-siblings are also deceased: Pearl who died of unknown causes before she turned 1 and an unnamed baby who was miscarried.
Born in 1998, N’zinga is Harambe’s oldest living half-sibling. She resides at the Gladys Porter Zoo, where he was born, with four more of Harambe’s half-siblings: Bangori (Born 2004), Samantha (Born 2005), Margaret (Born 2007), and Tracy James (Born 2012).
The two remaining half-siblings reside at zoos other than Cincinnati and Gladys Porter. Iwa “Pele” Rafiki, born in 2002, currently lives at Tampa Busch Gardens, and Megan, born 2005, lives at the Dallas Zoo. Source.

Melbourne Attack

#BREAKING:  Eyewitness of #MelbourneAttack says driver shouted "Allahu Akbar". Assumed terrorist drove car into crowd near the Bourke Street Mall. At least three (some reports say five) killed, including a baby, and over 20 injured. January 19, 2017, local time.

The thin man was hanging out the car window screaming, "Allahu Akhbar, Allahu Akhbar, Allahu Akhbar!"

Apparently tentatively identified as a Greek male who has converted to Islam. May have Kurdish ties, as well.

The attack reminds commentary observers of the attacks in Nice and Berlin, and the ongoing series of car rammings of groups of people in Israel.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Death, Immolation, and the Inauguration

Death may be knocking on the doorsteps of Donald Trump's Inauguration as the 45th President on Friday, January 20, 2017.

It appears to be a time when the unexpected may surprise those who wish to have things so well-ordered and planned.

This was a special week in January 1989 called "Palach Week." It marked the beginning of the end of Communism in Czechoslovakia, and the Velvet Revolution. There is a powerful documentary made in 2014, Agnieszka Holland’s Burning Bush (image above is from that film) that chronicles those times. The title has many meanings, of course.

Self-immolations have a way of changing the course of history, as the form of protest is so powerful, radical and shocking.

The Burning Bush

Concidentially, another kind of Bush may be important in the midst of this upcoming very political American weekend.

On Wednesday, January 18, 2017, the 41st President George H. W. Bush was admitted to the intensive care unit at Houston Methodist Hospital to address an acute respiratory problem stemming from pneumonia. Bush underwent a procedure to clear his air passages. His wife Barbara, furthermore, was hospitalized as a precaution.

The 36th President Lyndon Baines Johnson died on January 22, 1973, two days after Richard Nixon was sworn in for this 2nd term. Johnson's death disrupted Nixon's "celebration" of the start of what would be his shortened term, and LBJ's state funeral was held on January 25, 1973.

In an era of wall-to-wall media, the death of George H. W. Bush would be an auspicious beginning for Trump's first term.

Immolations 2017

Two reports of self-immolations (suicides by fire) in which both people lived surfaced yesterday. One is directly related to Trump's assuming power.

On Tuesday night, January 17, 2017, a man set himself on fire outside the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
DC Fire and EMS received a call at 9:23 p.m. about an individual trying to place himself on fire.
"We did arrive and did find a male adult with burns and we transported that patient to an area hospital with potential but not life-threatening burns," DC Fire and EMS Department spokesman Vito Maggiolo told CNN Wednesday. The man attempted to start the small blaze outside the Trump hotel but was burned badly in the process and taken to a hospital for treatment.

The 45-year-old man, who has not yet been identified, said the act was in protest of the President-elect's looming inauguration, Daily Mail reports said.

Witnesses described how he yelled 'Trump' several times as 'flames ran up his back' before lying down in the street.

Also on Tuesday night, January 17, 2017, another self-immolation occurred, this one in Nashua, New Hampshire. The Union Leader reported:
Officials said a pair of passers-by came to the aid of a man who tried to immolate himself in a city parking lot Tuesday night, using jackets and snow from the ground to put out the fire.

Police and fire said they received the report of the unidentified man on fire just before 10:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the Headlines store at 37 East Hollis St.

According to a press release from the Nashua Fire Department, the man had just purchased gasoline from a nearby gas station, poured it over his head and ignited himself.

The Fire Department said the man suffered burns over at least 20 percent of his upper torso, but was conscious and breathing. He was taken to Southern New Hampshire Medical Center.

January 1969

In my book Suicide Clusters (NY: Simon and Schuster, 1987), I revisited how Prague and immolations were keys in overturning Communism. Here is my summary from a later work.
Jan Palach, a student at Charles University in Prague, startled passersby by pouring a liquid over his body at about 3 P.M. on January 16, 1969, and then setting himself ablaze. The twenty‑one‑year‑old student chose the statue of Wenceslas, the Czech hero saint, as the site of his protest in Prague. Palach had left a note declaring that he belonged to a group whose members planned to self‑incinerate themselves, one every ten days, until the Soviet troops departed. Palach's protest and death three days later got worldwide media coverage with others following his lead.

On January 20, 1969, crowds of people waving the Czechoslovak state flags, black flags and enlarged photographs of Jan Palach, gathered at the spot of Palach’s suicide. In the Philosophical Faculty building, the clocks were stopped so they showed the exact time of Palach's death (3:15 P.M.). Josef Hlavaty then self-immolated himself just as Palach had. Two days later, on January 22, Miroslav Malinka killed himself through suicide by fire, and Blanka Nachazelova suffocated herself with coal gas. On the day of the Palach funeral, Hlavaty died. 
In the next well-publicized suicide, Jan Zajic, an 18-year-old student at a vocational school in Sumperk, set himself on fire on February 25, 1969. Before his death, he gave his friends a poem about Palach and four letters, in which he described himself as “Torch no. 2.” He did it in Prague in the passageway of a building on Wenceslas Square, as he was trying to run to the statute, but he fell in flames and died there. He said he decided to immolate himself after seeing that life was returning to its old routine despite Palach's action.

On April 4, 1969, in another square, this time in the southeastern Bohemian city of Jihlava, Evzen Plocek, 40, set himself on fire. At least 26 people attempted suicide between January 20 and the end of April 1969, with at least seven of these dying by fire in Czechoslovakia, Scotland, and Hungary after Palach's death. Reports of seven other fatal self-immolations came from India, Pakistan, England, and the United States. ~ The Copycat Effect, (NY: New York, 2004).
Self-immolations, exactly 20 years later, in 1989, set off the overthrow of the Iron Curtain throughout the Eastern Block.

The self-immolations in the Arab Spring changed the political landscape, once again.


“Hold on—that’s a trash fire. Over there is Trump’s Inauguration speech.”

The above (by coincidence) is The New Yorker's Daily Cartoon (by Tom Toro) for January 18, 2017.


During a live report on [January 19, 2017's] Thursday’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on the Fox News Channel, a young man protesting in Washington, DC claimed to have started a fire in the street, “Because I felt like it. And because I’m just saying, ‘Screw our president.'”

Monday, January 09, 2017

McDonald's, The Donald, and a Dingo: The Darkness of the Golden Globes

During the 74th Golden Globes, Jimmy Fallon did a strange sync introduction for Michael Keaton. Meanwhile, Meryl Streep's appearance tied into a linked death in Australia (discussed at the end, below).

As to Jimmy Fallon's roundly criticized opening, no one but Fallon may be sure why he used some of the dots he connected, but it went something like this:

(Note how the Golden Arches appear as if wings behind Keaton.)

Fallon said:
Our next presenter stars in the new movie The Founder about McDonald's
-> McDonald's
-> Donald Duck
-> Ducktails
-> Tailspin
-> Spinoff
-> Off road
-> Abbey Road
-> bringing you back to the Beatles
-> Beetle Juice, Beetle Juice, Beetle Juice
-> Say my name, say my name
-> Three times
-> Only going to say it once

Donald Duck

Duck tails (tales)

Tailspin (Tale spin)



Abbey Road



Beetlejuice/Michael Keaton/Batman





"Meryl Streep was honored at the Golden Globes for a lifetime of notable work, and she took the opportunity to make a sustained attack on US President-elect Donald Trump.
In a nearly 6-minute address while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award, the actress denounced Trump's campaign rhetoric and criticized him for mocking a disabled reporter," as CNN reported.

Streep and Trump's tweet response ("Meryl Streep is overrated") was the worldwide news coming out of the Golden Globes. 

But on the other side of the world, a strange death sync occurred.

Michael Chamberlain, the father of baby Azaria, who was snatched by a dingo at Uluru (near the base of Ayers Rock) in 1980, has died at the age of 72.

The disappearance of Azaria prompted one of Australia’s longest-running legal court cases, in which Azaria's parents were both imprisoned for a few years. It was the subject of the 1988 film A Cry in the Dark (known in Australia as Evil Angels), starring Meryl Streep as Azaria's mother Lindy. Michael Chamberlain was played by Sam Neill.

Meryl Streep's acting in Evil Angels/A Cry in the Dark led to many nominations, including by the AACTA (now AFI) Awards, Academy Awards, Cannes Film Festival, NY Film Critics, and Golden Globes. She won the AACTA, Cannes, and NY Film Critics awards for Best Actress for her role in the movie. Sam Neill was nominated by AACTA for playing Chamberlain, for which he won as Best Actor.

As one review of A Cry in the Dark noted, at the time it was released:
Helping to whip up the hysteria were newspaper and television reporters. The parents were faulted for not having seemed more distraught immediately after the baby disappeared. The public wanted more tears, more visible signs of grief and torment. The Chamberlains were noticeably ''different,'' possibly because they belonged to what the reporters referred to as a ''cult.'' There were even suggestions the baby had been the victim of a ritual sacrifice. ~ The New York Times
As shared by one correspondent:
Interesting that the original movie was called Evil Angels, and that Sam Neill's [who played Chamberlain in Evil Angels] first major starring role was as the Antichrist in Omen 3.