July 13, 2015
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 Kirbyâ€™s Dream Land series for Nintendo.
June 12, 2015
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 ...
March 12, 2015
February 27, 2015
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March 29, 2014
An Alabama native who put down deep roots in Hampton Roads, Jeremiah Denton served one term as a senator from his home state before returning to Virginia where he was a local fixture for many years.
A successful lawyer, a professor and political activist, he served as chairman of the presidential commission on the merchant marine and founded a Christian charity (The National Forum Foundation) that lobbied successfully for welfare reform and assisted in humanitarian and peacekeeping endeavors throughout the world.
A lawyer politico and lobyist, if not for the faith based charity, that bio would have be the sort of life today's ruling class would aspire to.
However, Jeremiah Denton had other rather more august accomplishments that still get under the skin of a certain type of individual.
Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star (3)
Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze Star Medal (V)
Navy Commendation Medal (V)
Combat Action Ribbon
Prisoner of War Medal
Jeremiah Denton was an accomplished naval aviator and commanded the US Navy's attack squadron VA-75 off of USS Independence. On 18 July 1965 he and his co-pilot were shot down over North Viet-Nam, Cdr. Denton was captured and placed in the P.O.W. camp known to American Servicemen as The Hanoi Hilton.
In 1966 he was forced to give a television interview. While parroting the propaganda that his sadistic captors instructed him to convey, he blinked...rather a lot.
In Morse Code to be precise.
In this way he not only confirmed to US officials and the public that American Servicemen were being tortured, he earned himself "special"attention from his captors. Jeremiah Denton was one of the group of US officers who were known as the Alcatraz Gang, men who were especially defiant and were singled out for particular abuse. He endured this while helping his men maintain their morale for nearly 8 years.
Then, in 1973, after getting clobbered in yet another attempt to invade and conquer South Vietnam, the North Vietnamese signed the Paris Peace Accords. As part of the Treaty the North Vietnamese swore to acknowledge South Vietnam's right to exist and US POWs including Denton, were released.
Jerimiah Denton, a after a period of recovery in Norfolk Naval Hospital, continued with his military career Commanding the Armed Forces Staff College and Pensacola Naval Airstation before retiring a Rear Admiral. He then proceeded to do all the other things mentioned above.
In the meantime, while, the US signed a treaty to come to Saigons aid if the North invaded again, however, Congress passed the Case-Church Amendment which broke the treaty and deprived the Vietnamese of US Assistance. The Communists fell upon the South like wolves and killed over 500,000 people whose crime was believing the US would keep its word. Over the next several years other nations that depended upon US military assistance to fight off the communist onslaught Laos and Cambodia fell and became abattoirs....
This, however was not for any lack of courage or effort by Denton and his fellow servicemen.
The left of course never forgave him for his service and as recently as 2004 he was barred from speaking at Independence Day celebrations.
Well, Jerimiah Denton, who faced hell for eight years is unlikely to have suffered much from those whose great moment of courage was avoiding service. He was a bit eccentric, but lived a full, good life and the Law Firm he and his son founded continues to serve the People of Virginia Beach. He lived his life in and out of service with considerable honor and we as a society are diminished by his loss.
One of the great ones has passed.
November 19, 2013
It looks like Creigh Deeds, a member of the Virginia Senate has been stabbed, apparently by his own son, who then committed suicide.
Deeds, a Democrat, ran against McDonnell for the governorship in 2009. I'm no fan of many of his views but he's been a colorful and passionate member of the Virginia General Assembly who has fought stridently for what he believed to be right.
This is a particularly awful thing to happen to any human being. It's not just the terrible physical wounds, but the fact that he's got to deal with the emotional agony of having to bury his son even if he pulls through. I can't even get my head around it. Send condolences and prayers to state senator Deeds, who is in a terribly dark place this evening.
UPDATE: Fellow Virginian R.S. McCain has lots more.
September 22, 2013
Mr Yamauchi ran the company from 1949 until 2002.
In that time, he took what was a small-time collectable trading card company and built it into one of the most recognisable - and successful - video games brands today.
His achievement was remarkable, as was his foresight. He not only recognized the potential for video games, ge picked the right people to develop them and gave them sufficient creative freedom to succeed. Getting his games into the US Arcade market at a time (the early '80s) that there was considerable antipathy towards all things Japanese was no mean feat.
It's hard to get ones head around the impact he had.
His story gets more remarkable still...
The article mentions that he made mistakes and encountered setbacks in the shaky postwar economy. However he learned from them and, most remarkably, after paying off the debt those setbacks incurred, never went into debt for a business venture again.
Even today, Nintendo carries no debt.
July 18, 2013
He'd been involved in cons for a mind blowingly long time, having attended his first World Con in 1953.
You may not be familiar with Mr Gear. However, if you are on the east coast and are in any way involved with cosplay at sci-fi or anime conventions, you probably owe something to Marty Gear.
In the '80s he helped to organize the Balticon costume contest and over the years built it into a truly impressive affair. He assisted in organizing costume contests at other other cons as well including Dragon Con, Anime USA, Katsucon and he chaired Costume Con3, having succeeded in convincing its backers via the example of Balticon that a costume convention was viable on the east coast. Mr. Gear organized the first chapter of the International Costumers Guild chapter in 1991.
He was always charming and professional. He will be greatly missed.
July 07, 2013
We're over two decades behind where we ought to be.
Doug Englebert died last Tuesday and it is a testament to how screwed up our media is that I learned of his passing from XKCD.
Englebert was one of the greatest computer pioneers of all time.
After returning from service in the Philippine theater of operations in WW2 he studied electrical engineering and worked for NACA. He then worked on computers at Ames, and with Hewlett Crane developing magnetic core memory. In 1962 he put together a hand picked team of researchers at Stanford's Augmentation Reasearch Center.
Between 1962 and 1968, he and his 17 person team developed, amongst other things, the computer mouse, cursor (which he called a "bug") hypertext, instant messaging, video instant messaging, audio files, dynamic file linking, keyword searching, modern computer word processing and the hyperlink.
Here follow this "hyperlink" to the video of his 1968 demo of the fruits of their labors at the 1968 joint computer conference. watch the whole thing. It's 90 minutes that changed the world...just a bit slower than it ought to have.
It was all there...all of it was demonstrated except cat videos and pr0n and it was demonstrated in 1968.
May 10, 2013
In 1953 he did an expanded adaptation of Ray Bradbury's short story "The Foghorn" which became The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms. That film spawned the whole giant atomic monster genre of the 1950's including a Japanes film that was in some ways a re-imagining of the Harryhausen film...I seem to recall it began with a "G".
Harryhausen brought much magic to the screen in a series of modestly budgeted but exquisitely produced films in the the 50's and '60s, and was still doing effects work into the early '80s.
He did a tremendous amount to popularize fantasy films. His creations were top flight effects in their day and even now can be remarkably effective.
He also had a reputation for being a perfect gentleman at conventions. Another of the greats has left us. He will be missed.
April 08, 2013
She was born the daughter of a grocer and lived her childhood in a modest apartment over his store. In a nation defined by class, she rose from this to become the longest serving Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in the 20th century and the only woman to hold that office ever.
She had the moral courage to face down Argintina when that nation seized the Falkland Islands in 1982. She did this over the opposition of many of her advisers who thought the task hopeless or not worth the effort. That last bit sums up what the west faced in the late '70s and early 80s, a sense of utter hopelessness and helplessness. Thatcher fought back against that tenaciously. She helped pull not just her nation but a good chunk of the west out of that destructive malaise.
With Pope John Paul and Ronald Regan, she was one of the three western leaders absolutely instrumental in helping to win the Cold War without the apocalyptic hellfire we all dreaded.
Economically, her time in office offered her nation a respite from the slide into perdition it was on. On her watch the UK surpassed France in economic activity and has maintained that lead since. Perhaps even more importantly, she was able to articulate the wisdom of her views on these policies most eloquently.
Thatcher was an advocate for the Common Market, but she developed a deep skepticism of the EU and particularly the Euro. This view was not shared by many in her cabinet and was widely mocked, but events of the last few years seem to have proved her to be frighteningly prescient.
Thank you Lady Thatcher. The world is better for your having lived in it.
February 02, 2013
I certainly didn't agree with him on a lot of things, but he was a likeable character who seemed to be decent and principled.The nations political discourse is much diminished by his loss. Additionally, it should not be forgotten that long before his entry into politics he was serving his country at the Battle of the Bulge.
Godspeed Mayor Koch. May you rest in peace.
UPDATE: The NYT has released a video interview with the late Mayor that he'd asked not to be aired until after his death.
January 31, 2013
December 26, 2012
Another of the great ones has passed.
August 26, 2012
No one, least of Armstrong, would say the Apollo program was a one man show. But at several key moments, its success or failure was on himAt each of those moments he delivered. He then spent 40+ years not tarnishing that legacy. What a loss but we were blessed to have had him
Both Gemini 8 and Apollo 11 nearly ended in disaster, but Armstrong's cool head saved them both.
His death is a grim milestone....of the12 men who walked on the moon, one third are now dead.
There is pressure to hold a state funeral for him. I think that is certainly appropriate as he is a greater hero and gentleman than many of the Presidents so honored. However, a more fitting way to honor him is to ensure that we become a space-faring civilization.
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