October 24, 2016

Steven DenBeste 1952-2016

Steven DenBeste has passed away.



I just received word from Steven's brother, graciously thanking me for making the welfare call to the police and confirming that what many of us feared had indeed come to pass.  I did not inquire as to specifics, but Steven had been in very poor health of late, having had a stroke just under four years ago.



Steven was brilliant, a former engineer with a crackerjack mind. His old blog, U.S.S. Clueless was tremendously important in the early days of the 'blogosphere'. It is hard to overstate the importance of U.S.S. Clueless and the brilliance of his analysis. Sadly, that site went down this past week as well, when Steven's server failed. That site was immensely influential to many of us, and I am far from the only person he inspired to blog or helped along.

Bill Whittle once described Steven as 
..brilliant, insightful, inspiring and ALWAYS RIGHT.

Bill, like so many others, was positively impacted by Steven's writings and inspired to do his own. Mr. Whittle also described Steven as one of the most gentle people he had known.

Some years ago, due to declining health and vicious internet trolling, Steven started Chizumatic to focus on less consequential topics, but he continued to be inspirational and influential in his new bailiwick. 

Pete describes it thus:
 Named after a character in Mahoromatic, Chizumatic was one of the oldest anime blogs.......

.....From the beginning, Chizumatic offered a strong editorial voice for the most competent direction and the cutest girls, as well as an excellent understanding of the classical blogging, which Steven brought with him from the political arena. Explanations and WMG were another hallmark. Did you think too that the crow in Haibane Renmei represented Rakka’s dog? We aren’t getting such insights anymore and animeblogging has become poorer for that.
 
 

Steven DenBeste had an overwhelmingly positive influence on the world despite his physical frailty, one out of all proportion to his resources. The world today is undeniably a better place for his having lived, but it is a bit dimmer today with his loss.

He will be sorely missed.

UPDATE:
Others, far more talented and eloquent than I have opined on this sad turn of events. 
Rand Simberg, Dustbury, Aziz, Bill Quick, Neo-Neocon, J.C. Carlton, Ed Driscoll, Ace of Spades, Jim Geraghty, Wonderduck, Suburban Banshee, Paterrico, Cold Fury, and Pixy has a whole other set of links. Sarah Hoyt, being a professional author, summed it up pithily
We shall not see his like again.

It looks like most of the U.S.S. Clueless archives have been saved and others in the comments to this post are working on additional backups. 

Thank you for all you did Steven DenBeste. 

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April 25, 2016

Douglas Holmes Talton: November 19, 1924 - April 14 2016

Uncle Doug spent many his formative years in the crushing poverty that characterized Smithfield North Carolina during the depression era. in 1943 he enlisted in the Navy and received his baptism of fire as a landing craft coxwain at an obscure location known as Omaha Beach where, after the constructive total loss of his first command,  he had an unlikely meeting with his brother John before chaos intervened and he found himself running ammunition to the troops with the landing parties from the battleship Texas. He subsequently served in the Pacific and was one of the first Americans to land in Japan after the surrender. He later was present at tests Able and Baker, where he suffered radiation poisoning. In the following years he served in China during the tumultuous retreat of the Nationalists to Formosa, saw combat in Korea, and as a cryptographer, served in stations as diverse as Japan, England, Italy, and the South Pacific test range where he was present at several Pacific nuclear tests. 

   Retiring in 1964, he served as an analyst for NATO and later in the Merchant Marine. Later still, he captained numerous passenger vessels and private yachts. 
   He was in remarkable health despite his years, but a bit over a week ago he went into the hospital for a simple gall bladder removal and never woke up from the operation. He is survived by his wife, three daughters, five grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
   He definitely did his bit.
    
   The things he, his brothers, and many of his day saw and did were nothing short of epic. The loss of their experience is a tragedy beyond words and their shoes are unlikely to be soon filled. 

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July 13, 2015

Satou Iwata 1959-2015

The president of Nintendo, Satou Iwata has died. 


Iwata was a rarity in the gaming industry: a corporate president whose background was in game programming. He joined the Tokyo-based developer HAL Laboratory fresh out of college in the early 80s, and immediately began working as a programmer, helping to create classic games like Balloon Fight and the Kirby’s Dream Land series for Nintendo.

Iwata not only came up through the ranks from the production end, he also oversaw a vast improvement in the companies fortunes. His background meant that he was also able to integrate the creators input much more smoothly with the corporate decision making process, which probably helped Nintendo immensely. 



He brought a lot of people joy through his efforts and will be missed.  
He was only 55.


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June 12, 2015

Another Great One Passes

As many of you know, Christopher Lee died on June seventh. An exceptional actor who generally played villains, and he was remarkably active into his 90's. Indeed, her started a new career as a heavy metal musician at 88. 


He served with distiction in World War 2 and after the war, hunted Nazi war criminals before starting his august acting career. Cdr. Salamander has much more on that and points us to Christopher Lee's impressively long entry over at Badass of the Week
He's also a 6'5" tall world champion fencer, speaks six languages, does all of his own stunts, has participated in more on-screen sword fights than any actor in history, served for five years defending democracy from global fascism as a British Commando blowing the shit out of Nazi asses in World War II, and became the oldest person to ever record lead vocals on a heavy metal track when, at the age of 88, he wrote, performed on, and released a progressive symphonic power metal EP about the life of Charlemagne ...


Pic Via Bryan Adams/Instagram


A true renaissance man has passed. May he rest in peace. He certainly earned it. 




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March 12, 2015

Terry Pratchett 1948-2015

Sir Terry Pratchett, author of the Discworld series quietly passed away this morning, having fought a battle with early onset Alzheimers, which, in a manner of speaking, he won.  You see, he succeeded in completing his last novel The Sheppherds Crown shortly before his passing. It will be published posthumously. 




Pratchett leaves behind a vast body of work that has brought and will continue to bring joy to millions. He also had a fossil sea turtle named in his honor and a greenhouse full of carnivorous plants, because he was just that awesome a person. 

A great man has passed, but in both his work and his life, he inspired many of the great people to come. 

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February 27, 2015

Damn


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February 06, 2015

On This Day In Sports History

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Another One Taken Too Young

Origa, whose haunting voice graced such productions as Turn A Gundam, Final Fantasty XIII-2  Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Solid State Society, Fantastic Children, and Princess Arete.  passed away  from heart failure in Kanagawa on the 17th. She was only 44.




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February 02, 2015

Monty Oum (June 22, 1981 – February 1, 2015)

Monty Oum has passed away. The creator of  RWBY and Dead Fantasy  died yesterday of a severe allergic reaction he had during a routine surgery. He was only 33.


Oum, who became a renowned 3d animator, was entirely self taught. He got his start doing you tube videos initially using sprites hacked from Final Fantasy and DOA, he quickly improved his skills and began rendering his own characters. After stints at both Midway and Namco, doing combat choreography, he moved to Rooster Teeth where he worked on Red V Blue and put together RWBY, which was an ambitious concept for a staff of 15 people. Oum pulled it off! RWBY was one of Crunchyroll's top rated series when it premiered and this little show developed a solid fan following in the US as well as (perhaps surprisingly) Japan.

Monty and his team learned the quirks of their medium as they went along.  In some ways, their experience was like the early filmmakers and they continuously improved their craft through the first two seasons despite having their production disrupted at one point by floods. 

Monty Oum broke considerable ground in proving that a tiny group of creators can use the internet and CGI to bypass the usual entertainment gatekeepers and produce a real hit. His series was not without faults, but it remained engaging, fun and entertaining. Many of us were eagerly looking forward to the next season. 

Monty Oum, leaves behind a wife and family, but also a legacy of innovation and art. He accomplished more in 33 years than most of us do in a lifetime, and he did it with style. The world is a bit darker today for his passing, but remains more enjoyable for his having lived. 

There is a donation link for his family here.


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August 11, 2014

Robin Williams 1951-2014

He was a great actor, a fantastic talent and one of relatively few thespians to be capable of such astounding range.  He had the ability to be moving and even inspirational in the most unlikely roles, one result being that very young man alive should watch Dead Poet's Society.  One thing not widely mentioned about him is that he was one of the few celebrities who went to the considerable trouble of participating in USO shows in Iraq and Afghanistan, something that in today's Hollywood, speaks to a certain moral courage in addition to his talent.

The world is a less happy place and we are certainly all diminished by his loss. 

I will note that it in no way detracts from or diminishes the immense contributions of this singularly talented entertainer to posit that perhaps, just perhaps, there are certain additional developments currently transpiring that might actually warrant at least some attention from our cable news anchors this evening.

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