Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Real-World Heroes

When a man with a shotgun shattered the glass door of the Capital Gazette newspaper office and began to shoot, Wendi Winters stood up…

Janel Cooley, a survivor of the shooting that killed Winters and four others, spoke about her experience for the first time in an interview with The Capital. She said she watched from under her desk as the 20-year newspaper veteran rose to meet her attacker.

Winters charged forward holding a trash can and recycling bin, said Cooley, a sales consultant. Winters shouted something like, “No! You stop that!” or “You get out of here!” like she was warding off an unwanted dog.

“She may have distracted him enough that he forgot about me because I definitely stood up and was looking at the door,” Cooley said. “I’m sure he wasn’t expecting … anyone to charge him.”

Winters’ colleagues agree she saved their lives. Of the 11 employees in the office during the attack, six survived…

Winters once gave fellow reporter Rachael Pacella the shirt off her back when Pacella spilled gasoline on her clothes before an important interview. She checked in on photojournalist Paul W. Gillespie incessantly after his brother died. Intern Anthony Messenger, who started at The Capital weeks before the attack, said Winters always tried to make him feel comfortable.

From the details her family has of the attack, Winters’ son Phoenix Geimer said, “It sounds like her.”…

Davis has a snapshot in his mind of everyone where they were when the gunman blasted in, he said. Winters was originally at her desk. Messenger said he remembers seeing Winters there with a puzzled look on her face as the attack began.

As Pacella and Davis hid, they heard the same shots Cooley did. Then there was a pause. They thought it was over.

The pause, Davis said, could have been Winters intervening. It gave Pacella time to get up from under her desk, run for the back door and then hide between filing cabinets.

“I think that Wendi doing what she did served as enough of a distraction that maybe he didn’t see us,” Pacella said. “I absolutely think that Wendi Winters saved my life.”

Anthony Bourdain Dead, RIP

Depression is a horrible thing. Apparently, he committed suicide in France. He was a great chef, communicator, and shared the glory that is human culinary ingenuity and tradition. He will be missed.


Folks, don’t ever let your depression make you ignore this wonderful community of jackals and pet lovers. We will help you, hold, and lift you, just reach out.

I’ll  update with links soon and suicide prevention information.


The National Suicide Prevention 24 Hour Hotline is (800) 273-8255



You can also text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. People are standing by, ready to help without judgement.

From Memorial Day 2017 To Memorial Day 2018: The Tally Of The Fallen

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

Those who have died in service to the US from 29 May 2017 to 28 May 2018:

Sergeant Erik M Houck

Sergeant William M. Bayes

Corporal Dillon C. Baldridge

Private First Class Hanson B. Kirkpatrick

Sergeant Jonathon M. Hunter

Specialist Christopher M. Harris

Technical Sergeant David Board

Specialist Allen Levi Stigler, Jr.

Sergeant Roshain Euvince Brooks

Staff Sergeant Aaron R. Butler

Specialist Alexander R. Missildine

Staff Sergeant Dustin M. Wright

Sergeant La David T. Johnson

Sergeant Jeremiah W. Johnson

Staff Sergeant Bryan C. Black

Chief Warrant Officer Jacob M. Sims

Sergeant First Class Stephen B. Cribben

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Lee M. Smith

Sergeant First Class Hughton O. Brown

Corporal Todd L. McGurn

Specialist Avadon A. Chaves

Sergeant First Class Mihail Golin

Specialist Javion S. Sullivan

Sergeant Christina M. Schoenecker

Sergeant First Class Maitland D. Wilson

Captain Christopher Zanetis

Captain Mark Weber

Master Sergeant Christopher Raguso

Master Sergeant William Posch

Captain Andreas O’Keeffe

Staff Sergeant Carl Enis

Staff Sergeant Dashan Briggs

Master Sergeant Jonathan J. Dunbar

Ursula K. LeGuin, Who Walked Away from Omelas

Letter to The Oregonian, published February 1, 2017:

A recent letter in The Oregonian compares a politician’s claim to tell “alternative facts” to the inventions of science fiction. The comparison won’t work. We fiction writers make up stuff. Some of it clearly impossible, some of it realistic, but none of it real – all invented, imagined — and we call it fiction because it isn’t fact. We may call some of it “alternative history” or “an alternate universe,” but make absolutely no pretense that our fictions are “alternative facts.”

Facts aren’t all that easy to come by. Honest scientists and journalists, among others, spend a lot of time trying to make sure of them. The test of a fact is that it simply is so – it has no “alternative.” The sun rises in the east. To pretend the sun can rise in the west is a fiction, to claim that it does so as fact (or “alternative fact”) is a lie.

A lie is a non-fact deliberately told as fact. Lies are told in order to reassure oneself, or to fool, or scare, or manipulate others. Santa Claus is a fiction. He’s harmless. Lies are seldom completely harmless, and often very dangerous. In most times, most places, by most people, liars are considered contemptible. — Ursula K. Leguin

I’m so old, my introduction to LeGuin was a third or fourth printing of the Ace Double Rocannon’s World, which I picked up because I was a major Andre Norton fan. When I discovered sf fandom in college, there were still malefen ready to explain that LeGuin wasn’t really an sf/fantasy writer — just a nice older lady who wrote “safe fairy tales for school librarians”. That was before The Left Hand of Darkness became… canon.

Ursula K. LeGuin, outside category, walked away from the sanitized, “civilized” communities of every literary genre she touched. She never explicitly set out to lead the rest of us away from those settled mental landscapes, but anyone walking with such determination and sparkle will always attract a following among the curious and the discontent…

Read more

Patsy Marie (2009-2018)

She was a good girl. We are heartbroken. That is all I can bear to write tonight.

RIP Bailey, a Good Dog

Horrible news from Tamara this morning, as her beloved Bailey has died in her sleep. I will let Tamara fill you all in when she has more information, but we believe it was due to a ruptured diaphragm that was punctured and repaired during surgery when she was a puppy.

I spoke with Tamara this morning and she is devastated, so please send some good vibes in her direction and keep her in your thoughts.

RIP Gracie- A Good Cat


These are some of my favorite photos of Gracie. She had a good cat life and she had her uniqueness in our house. Gracie was nobody’s cat because she exerted ownership over Grumpy Code Monkey. Every night she would get into his lap (microseconds from his butt hitting a seat cushion), lean into him and gaze up at him with pure adoration.

We got Gracie from a co-worker at the software company we both worked at 16 years ago. She had followed his son home as a kitten and was completely enamored of little boys. Unfortunately, his son was very allergic to cats and we said we would be happy to take her. Whenever we had a little boy over at the house, from a contractor’s son to our nephew, she would follow them around and beg them to be hers.
She was horrible as a bed cat. When she wanted to get up or be let out of the bedroom she would lick Grumpy’s eyes. But she was actually more content to just sleep in the kitchen so she could let us know promptly when her meal was meant to be in front of her.

She was named after Gracie Allen for her wonderful, constant, always on meow and her complete and utter lack of grace when walking the furniture when she was a kitten. Gracie was our last tuxedo and I’m not sure our house looks right without one in it.

This has been a very hard year with losing Mishka, my heart cat, in February and now losing John’s baby just a month after losing one of our best friends to cancer at 49. Even though we don’t comment a ton, the Balloon-Juice community has been a source of sanity and hope for the two of us in this difficult year.

She was clearly such a good girl. I had the pleasure of meeting RonnieRoo and GCM a while back. Hope to do so once again next time I am in town. Give your pets some attention tonight.