March 19th, 2012


Horse Sense

I'm going to put most of this behind a cut, because it will be long and shocking.

It started out like this: Facebook saw that I had included in my history a stint as a summer intern cameraman at KOMO-TV the summer of '69. They suggested I find friends from that gig. The first person who came to mind was Don McGaffin, who came to KOMO as an investigative reporter. THE investigative journalist. For a week or two, Don was conscripted to host the station's daily morning show, which had a small live audience (maybe 30 people) and one special guest. His included Tiny Tim, Dr. Irwin Corey and Shari Lewis. I was one of the cameramen. Don was a Character. And very sharp, and a heck of an interviewer. He showed up roaring drunk at least once, but not on a day he was on the air.

When I was about to go back to school, Don gave me a photo of an AWOL Army draftee he was looking for, telling me the guy had started an underground anti-war newsletter which the soldier somehow was distributing at Fort Lewis. In Fort Lewis. Don was strongly anti-war, knew I was too, and he knew I was on the campus daily newspaper. I don't remember if the newspaper published the photo, but one night I came back from a rehearsal to find the dorm counselor waiting for me. It seems my roommate had parked himself near our room with a bottle of Jack Daniels and a Bowie knife. By the time campus police arrived, he had finished most of the whisky, and apparently he was planning on killing me.

A few nights before, he had seen the photo on my desk, and asked how I'd gotten it. I told him Don McGaffin gave it to me at KOMO. The counselor said the roommate had thought I said "Tacoma" , checked it out, discovered Don had never worked in Tacoma, and figured I was an Army spy trying to trick him into giving up his brother's location. You can't make this shit up. And it gets better. Roommate had been in a mental hospital, and was at the University because the shrinks thought he might be ready to handle the real world.

McGaffin did find the AWOL soldier, did a series of stories on anti-war draftees, and I lost track of him when I left Seattle in 1972.

I wanted to find out what ever became of Don, so I did a search from FB, which sent me straight to the following obituary-cum-memoir by a Christy Diemond, who had met him when she was working as a helper at the Seattle PD's horse patrol, and saw that one of the senior officers was abusing the horses. Don loved stories like that, and loved cleaning up the mess they pointed to. Here's the article. It's long, and worth reading all the way through to get the full impact of what I found next.

Collapse )

The article moved me. I wanted to write to Ms. Diemond and thank her for it, even though it was written 7 years ago. I looked at the Uninformed Consent web page, the organization she headed for years, but it hadn't been updated since 2009. Linked-In had a listing but it was also out of date. A web search for her name produced a shocking article about her in the Seattle P-I:

Collapse )

And looking further, saw that her farm was being sold for back taxes.
Collapse )

So I guess I am not going to be writing to her after all. And am relieved that Don did not live to see this.

Other Than That

It was 9 am team meeting day, and I found that half the stuff was about my projects. We still ended 10 minutes early. The Belgians hardly said a word. They usually don't. I wish they would, they are both delightful guys, I've met one of them and worked with the other via email and phone in the past.

The CEO sent a letter around saying the Google acquisition has been delayed, China wants more time to look into it before they approve. Tomorrow was supposed to have been the deadline. I'm guessing it's a result of China not liking Google.

Spent most of the day trying to get the automation program to jump through simple hoops.Automation guy says "why bother, we already have scripts which do that?" Well, because I want to see how the system works.

Home, instead of going to BASFA I brought the work table back inside and put gaffer's tape on  all of the picture frame mounts because they have a nasty habit of falling off. Low quality frames, sloppily built and not QAed. They were better 3 years ago.

Plans for tomorrow:
Svale library for a talk on NASA's SOFIA project