Open Thread: Only in This Place, Only at This Time…

… Only in America, as wise man Harry Golden might’ve said. There is so much sadness in this story, and yet it reads like something The Onion spiked as ‘going too far’:

CINCINNATI — Officials at a cemetery that removed a slain Iraq war veteran’s towering SpongeBob SquarePants headstone from her final resting place after they deemed it inappropriate for their traditional grounds were planning to meet with the soldier’s family to explore possible solutions.

The headstone of Kimberly Walker, 28, was made in the likeness of her favorite cartoon character and erected at Spring Grove Cemetery on Oct. 10, almost eight months after she was found slain in a Colorado hotel room.

Despite getting the cemetery’s prior approval of the headstone’s design — a smiling SpongeBob in an Army uniform, with Walker’s name and rank — her family said Monday that cemetery staff called them the day after it was installed to say it would have to come down.

The 7-foot headstone, along with a near-exact duplicate erected for Walker’s living twin sister, have been removed and will not be allowed back up, cemetery President Gary Freytag said Monday…

Walker was found dead in a hotel room in Colorado Springs in February on Valentine’s Day, strangled and beaten to death. Her boyfriend, an Army sergeant stationed nearby, was arrested and charged with her killing.

Walker’s twin sister, Kara Walker, said the family is beyond distraught. A lot of thought went into choosing the gravestones which she said were chosen because her sister loved SpongeBob, even outfitting her entire bedroom with the cartoon character’s decorations….

The Washington Post has a picture at the link, and even in pixilated form it’s… quite eye-catching. Memorialists from the Classical Egyptian dynastic period to the high-Victorian life-sized-weeping-angels era would be envious of the technology that enables such a marvel of stonecutting, and at a price point achievable even by a family of ordinary means! And yet…

Well, even though some of my fondest childhood memories are of picnicing at various cemeteries of historical interest (my mother believed that education should be lived), I’ve always insisted that I want to be cremated, the ashes scattered. (Preferably by throwing them in the faces of my enemies, althought there’s probably EPA regulations forbidding that.)

The Creep’s Come out at Night

A friend of mine from back in my radio days sent this link along via Zuckerberg’s Voluntary Total Information Awareness Network, AKA Facebook, and damned if I have not listened to it five times in a row and had tears the first time:

I figure I saddle you all with so many shitty earworms I might as well share something good.


*** Update ***

Because I care so much:

Open Thread: The GOP Thinks MacAfee Is A Programming Expert

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Okay, let’s see if this can be posted without blowing up everyone’s access, because getting it embedded here has taken me twenty-plus minutes of #FAIL.

Went looking for this because commentor JPL brought up TPM’s shorter:

The House Energy and Commerce Committee asked John McAfee, the tech security guru who went on the lam in Central America last year under suspicion of murder, to examine the troubled rollout of Obamacare’s online insurance website, according to CNBC.

The consultation never occured, but that didn’t stop McAfee from sharing his thoughts with noted right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in an interview posted Tuesday on Jones’s website.

“My advice would be: Throw it away, and start over,” McAfee said. “You cannot fix the system that’s there. It is impossible, the way it is architected, any good programmer will tell you, it’s just not going to work… It will never work the way that it is.”

The committee sought McAfee, who was deported to the United States last December after being detained in Guatemala, to “guide our oversight and review of” the website’s launch, according to an email obtained by CNBC….

Even his meanest critics must concede that President Obama has been fortunate in his enemies.

ETA: As a counter-argument, Billmon links to this guy:

I’m writing this post as a rant. I am tired of hearing people who have never worked in Federal IT try and come forward with ideas about what was wrong about the way was developed. I have one statement for all of you who think you could have done better.

You would have ALL failed miserably.

Federal IT is broken. Hell, all of Federal contracting is broken from what I’ve seen, but I want to focus on the IT side for now.

Before I get started, a quick reminder of my background. My first Federal project was back in the late 90s as the tech lead for the Secretary of the Air Force’s correspondence tracking system. Over the years, I have worked on a multitude of projects and managed many more while I was the Director of Technology Solutions for Washington Consulting . I’ve responded to many proposals and run Federal IT projects through the wide variety of hurdles that they face.

I can tell you right now, I am impressed that even boots up…

Probably deserves a separate post all its own, except I’m not competent to judge his arguments.

Tuesday Evening Open Thread: Uncivil!

I like Alan Grayson, but then, verbal abuse has been a proud part of my peoples’ traditions going back many centuries.


Apart from discussing the proper use of rhetorical overkill and the concommitent application of fainting-couch-fu, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

For A Good Time In Cambridge: Coco Fusco, Junot Diaz, Ian Condry Edition

Hey, all — or at least all of you in reasonable range of Cambridge, MA (Our Faire City).  Day after tomorrow, Thursday, October 24, will see writer, performer and curator Coco Fusco talking at MIT, in an evening moderated by my colleagues, novelist Junot Diaz and Cool Japan majordomo Ian Condry.

The event begins at 5 and 7 p.m in MIT’s Media Lab rm 633. Details and map here.

Fusco’s title, “A Performance Approach to Primate Politics” leads to the meat of her talk — which investigates what “Planet of the Apes” (the original) was really talking about.


Smart people taking on the world at an angle.  Should be fun.

Image: Mori Sosen, Apes in a Persimmon Tree, before 1821