Friday, August 21, 2009

Sully and Professional Ethics

Man, I admire this man for a lot of reasons.  He is about as responsible as they come, isn’t he?

Technorati Tags:

Seattle Police Make Arrest in 25 Year Old Case

From Seattle PI Crime Blog writer Casey McNerthney: –( Link)

A 50-year-old man was arrested Friday for an August 1984 cold case that was reopened three years ago, police said.

Gracey, a retired furrier seamstress lived alone in the house and was found in her bed by three neighbors who entered the house after their calls went unanswered.

Officers said DNA linked the suspect to the crime earlier this year. Seattle Police Det. Mike Ciesynski told the Seattle Times the man arrested was Gracey's neighbor and his mother was a friend of the victim.

Seattle police spokesman Jeff Kappel acknowledged the Times article but would not elaborate on the case. Officers said the suspect was arrested at police headquarters.

Gracey's son, Gilbert Bagley, told the P-I in 1984 his mother had been concerned about prowlers and had been burglarized once before. Bagley, who lived in Spokane, died April 26.

Read the 1984 report here.

McNerthney and his colleagues at the Seattle PI Blogs are part of one of the first online-only efforts, and thus far the results have been very good – according to this article in the New York Times:

“Industry analysts called it a long-shot experiment, but Seattle has kept most of the reader traffic it had as a newspaper site. Hearst will not say whether it makes money, but it says that audience and revenue are ahead of projection.”  (Seattle Times Resurgent as Solo Act)  The reference is in an article primarily outlining the great financial results of the Seattle Times, since the PI print version was halted.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Queen Anne Architectural Gem is Offered

If you are interested in architecture check out the article posted below.  If you are interested in Andrew Willatsen, responsible for bringing the Prairie Style of Frank Lloyd to Seattle.  One of the rare Willatsen homes in Queen Anne is the Tracy Strong home on Bigelow.

If you’re interested in the personal history of the home – the experiences and stories about the lives lived there, the extensive restoration by Caty Burt, the recent visit of Tracy Strong Junior, the son of the man that built the home in 1921.   At 93, he clearly recalled many things about the house and the neighborhood, even though he was six at the time.

There are several other interesting items about the property in this article in the Queen Anne News.  You can read the story here.

Any questions, ask me, I am an expert on this home.  It’s my family’s home!  And for those who are interested, but not interested enough to click on the link:

8/19/2009 3:52:00 PM 
Email this articlePrint this article

Historic Hilltop gem goes on the market, The Strong House boasts architectural legacy

‘a simple yet stately family home in the Prairie style’

Jennifer Rice
Special to the News

One of the best things about living in Queen Anne is discovering and rediscovering this neighborhood's hidden gems. The quaint staircases, unique restaurants and abundant parks are all part of what make Queen Anne unique. But the plethora of historic houses residents can enjoy while walking the Hill's charming streets are perhaps the largest contributor to Queen Anne's allure.
A stroll around the "crown of Queen Anne" will take you past dozens of stately mansions, adorable bungalows and, unfortunately, the empty plot of land where the Black House once stood. The Black House at 222 W. Highland Drive, designed by Northwest Prairie­-style architect Andrew Willatsen (1876-1974), was torn down amid controversy in 2004. But if you continue walking around the "Crown," across Queen Anne Avenue, over to 1622 Bigelow Ave. N., you will pass a lesser-known historic hidden gem designed by that same architect that still stands intact. Known as the Tracy Strong House, it's been lovingly restored - and enjoyed by only three families over the past 90 years.
The Tracy Strong House, designed by Willatsen and built between 1921 and 1922, is currently owned by the Burt family. Willatsen was an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright and a major contributor to the development of progressive architecture in the Northwest. He and his partner Francis Barry Byrne are often credited with bringing the Prairie Style to Seattle more than 30 years before Wright's first Northwest commission.
The Burt Family plans to put this home on the market and will host an open house on Sunday, Aug. 23. Open houses and house tours are like "candy" for the closeted architecture fan. It's a rare treat to experience, even if only for a moment, what it's like inside a historic architectural treasure like this one. It's even rarer to hear first-hand what it was like living inside the home almost 90 years earlier. This past June the Burt family got an unbelievable surprise when the original owner's 93-year-old son, Tracy Strong Jr., returned to Seattle for a visit. He spent time with the Burt family and showered them with fascinating tales of what his childhood was like living inside their home long before the Great Depression.
Caty Burt remembers, "It was such a special afternoon and I will never ever forget it. It felt like travelling back in time, and I couldn't believe how much he remembered and how detailed he was about what this street was like in the 1920s. He talked about playing on Bigelow's empty lots, walking to the old John Hay School, and sitting on the front porch for his daily dose of castor oil and orange juice. He told me he still can't tolerate orange juice to this day!
"My kids really enjoyed hearing about the gigantic outdoor Christmas tree they decorated each year. He said it was so big you could see it from Capitol Hill - and even downtown!"
It's hard to imagine Bigelow Avenue with empty lots, but that's just how Tracy Strong Jr. remembers it. And back then a good portion of the land surrounding 1622 Bigelow Ave. was owned by his grandfather, Sidney Dix Strong. Sidney Dix Strong was an outspoken community leader who served as minister to the Queen Anne Congregational Church. His son, Tracy Strong Sr., commissioned local architect Willatsen to build a simple yet stately family home in the Prairie style that took advantage of the site's spectacular view. Tracy Sr. was a social reformer and child welfare advocate. He was responsible for the YMCA's boys' programs, Camp Orkilla, and he went on to become general director of the world YMCA in Geneva, Switzerland. Later career highlights include amnesty work for war prisoners and displaced European families from World War II.
Tracy Strong Sr.'s sister, Anna Louise Strong, was an outspoken activist, local and national journalist, and an elected school board member (who was later recalled due to distrust of her progressive ideals). A prolific writer, Anna Louise maintained friendships with many notable persons, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Leon Trotsky, Lincoln Steffens and Upton Sinclair. Her many books are still available today in the Seattle Public Library. The Andrew Willatsen archives and historical documentation on the Tracy Strong House are available in the University of Washington Special Collections. Inquiries on the sale of this home should go to Randie Nelson at Windermere

Queen Anne resident Jennifer Rice owns up to being a "closeted" architecture fan.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

DNA Evidence Can Be Fabricated – Pretty Easily, It Turns Out

An interesting article was published online in a forensic journal indicating that DNA evidence can be manufactured even without any blood or tissue from the targeting profile.   

The implications for courtrooms is hard to overstate, and in fact the authors of the study are associated with a Tel Aviv genetics lab that is marketing a means for forensics labs to distinguish between faked and genuine samples.  The company, Nucleix uses a molecular technique that allows technicians to tell if a sample has been fabricated.  The technique relies on the fact that amplified DNA — which would be used in either deception — is not methylated, meaning it lacks certain molecules that are attached to the DNA at specific points, usually to inactivate genes.

Abstract for FSI Genetics Article

NY Times Article by Andrew Pollack

Israel National News

Of course, as DNA has become more and more commonly used, and in general it has been regarded as being impossible to fake – and unlikely to be mistaken – it has taken on a huge and pivotal role in adjudicating guilt or innocence in criminal cases.  How many cases in the future will end with reasonable doubt because the results might possibly have been faked?  Absent some system such as that offered by Nucleix, I think there is the potential for a lot of them, to say nothing of the appeals of existing cases. 

I’m going to be looking for more on this topic – especially to hear if other scientists agree with the Nucleix folks about how easy it would be to fake evidence.  Stay tuned.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Seahawks Win First Preseason Game

Preseason is not a time to think much about wins and losses, and early preseason games don’t give me too much of an idea how the team that ultimately opens the regular year is going to look and play by then.  There were a couple things that I thought were encouraging in tonight’s preseason opener in San Diego, won 20-14 by the Hawks in Jim Mora’s first game as the new head coach. 

First, there were no injuries to note.  After the last couple of seasons in particular, when guys seemed to go on the injury  lists just getting from their cars into the practice facility, it was great to get through a game (albeit one in which almost every starter either didn’t play, or did a quick ole and hit the showers) without any injuries.  It may be just an easy and coincidental observation that a number of players commented in various ways about how ‘fit’ they felt already.  Could it be that Mora’s focus on conditioning and physical play is already paying some dividends in the form of fewer injuries?  If so, will it continue throughout the year?  If it is just a coincidence will it please continue all year, Oh Grand Pigskin Deity?

Second, the Charger’s first offensive play from scrimmage was a Seahawk sack of Philip Rivers, and it set a nice tone for the Seahawks defense, which looked to me to be quick, physical and it seemed to me that a lot of the defensive play was occurring at the line of scrimmage, not so much with four to six guys converging to smother a runner three or four or five yards beyond the line of scrimmage.  I think every Seahawk fan would love to see a defensive front that contested the play at the line of scrimmage, and we saw that a lot tonight. 

The Hawks ran the ball often tonight, and though the average gain was unimpressive, it was a clear sign of the new philosophy at work when the Hawks ran the ball thirty-three times and threw it only thirty-five.  The new blocking approach hasn’t gelled yet, clearly, but it will be fun to see what this team can do with a tough defense and a commitment to running the ball, and doing it well.     Overall, it was a nice start to the new era – essentially meaningless I know, but despite that , I admit that I found myself revving up a bit.  Could be that I sensed some encouraging elements in the Hawks play, or schemes, or philosophy, or, I suppose it could just be that the NFL is back and I LOVE that every year just a little more than the year before. 

I will admit that I did miss the sight of Mike Holmgren, and the potential – Vesuvian as well as mad scientist-like that always seemed to be simmering just beneath the surface.  I enjoyed hearing that Mora is just as committed to accountability as Holmgren was, but according to one of the players where Coach Holmgren might see something he didn’t like on the field and go Krakatoa on a player, Mora’s style relies more on visual aids (unless you count volume, an impossibly bright red face and a glare so intense it could be used for welding).  He tends to run video of a play, stop the video and make it clear that he didn’t want to see that type of thing (be it bad technique, missed reads, sloppiness, whatever) again.  In some ways I’d say that approach is even more directly calling a player out than the red-faced tongue lashing.  When done with film and slow-motion replying of the play, Mora makes his point, and uses the entire team to hold the player (and by extension every other guy who might need to learn from the error he’s shown) accountable.  It is a different approach, but it doesn’t sound like a soft one to me.  And the knock on Mora (probably from idiots like me) has often been that he’s a ‘player’s coach’.  The implication in that remark is that the coach is soft and doesn’t hold his players accountable.  I don’t know that this description fits Mora, or if it ever has in this sense.  But if the tone I’ve heard from his players continues, and his means of holding himself, his coaches and his players accountable is in fact similar to what the players have described, I think Coach Mora will put paid to this particular vague and uncertain ‘knock’ on him pretty quickly.

(I think no matter how well any coach does for the Hawks, I will always miss Coach Holmgren much as I still miss Lou Piniella after all these years…)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Footnote to a Nice Little August Mariners Win

Seattle managed to salvage a win today in the fourth game of a four-game series with the Yankees at Safeco field.  Rookie pitcher Doug Fister earned his first major league win with seven innings of three-run ball and the great control (no walks) he’s shown in his minor league career.

If you’re looking for signs of encouragement about the new Mariners brain trust, players…well, just about every tangible and intangible thing you can call to mind or spreadsheet is loaded with such signs.  Are the Mariners developing talent better than in recent years?  YES.  Evaluating talent better? YES.  Managing on the field better? YES.  Showing better defense, situational batting (getting the bunt down, hitting it to the right side, working counts deeper)…YES.  In so many of the ways baseball teams, players and front offices are apt to be evaluated and compared to give fans an idea of whether the team is getting better, the data is showing not just progress but significant progress.  With the exception of offensive production, this is a team  that has done a whole helluva a lot right since this time last year, starting with the hire of Jack Zduriencik, Don Wakamatsu and their respective staffs, and going right down to the players commitment  to hard work, winning attitude and a great clubhouse cohesiveness.  Pitching has been outstanding and the club defense has been brilliant. 


Perhaps the best quick indicator of just how far this team has come in one year, is the little footnote to which I refer in the header.  I witnessed win number 61 last season on the season’s final day, in a stadium full of freakish ‘local’ mascots, kids trying to figure out what sort of super hero mascot these oddballs were, and where the few people watching baseball were rooting for the Ms to lose the game in hopes of securing the top pick in the baseball  draft.  Alas, the Mariners won number 61, avoiding the first overall pick, my kids were able to figure out only 17 of the 20 mascots (even AFTER we read the descriptions in the program).  This season, though the playoffs are a long shot for the Ms, the team won the 61st game more than a month earlier than last year, and the winning pitcher was rookie Doug Fister just one of the many stories that have made this season exciting and encouraging.  Baseball is fun again in Seattle, and anyone who isn’t encouraged about the direction of the club is plain and simply and Eor (and couldn’t they have got Eor from Winnie the Pooh for mascot day last year, instead of recyclable burlap sandwich bag man, just as an example?). 

I can’t wait to see how this season plays out, and I find myself calmly expecting great things from this organization over the next few years.  Yep, here in Seattle, with our own Mariners. 


Sunshine on Discovery Bay

Sunshine on Discovery Bay
As always, the photos we use are either my own, or in the public domain. Please let me know if there are any errors and I'll correct them immediately.