Starting Five

1. Pilot Terror

Asiana Airlines Flight 214: It could have been much, much worse. Or, with more attentive pilots, much better.


As the carcass of Flight 214 lies on Runway 28 of the San Francisco International Airport like a beached whale, here are a few takeaways:


1) “Too low and too slow.” That’s the initial word. Yes, pilot Lee Gang-guk was making his first landing in a Boeing 777 at SFO, but it is not as if he is an inexperienced pilot overall. And, of course, there is only one way to accrue experience. That’s not the problem. The problem is, if the air speed on approach was, as NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman told Matt Lauer on Today, “significantly lower” than the minimum mandatory airspeed of 137 knots, then WHY? Four crew members and nobody noticed? Or was there a problem with the instruments? I’m guessing the former. We’ll see.

(By the way, notice how there’s an NTSB to investigate air crashes? Because if it were left to Asiana Airlines to investigate itself, I’m guessing that “pilot error” would be a very inconvenient, i.e., expensive, conclusion to be drawn.)

Hersman: NTSB’s top gun.

2) Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, 43, was supposed to be on board this flight –along with a few other FB execs and her own family members– but she switched to a United flight out of Seoul and landed 20 minutes before the crash. Sandberg apparently switched to United in order to take advantage of frequent flyer miles. Sandberg is a billionaire. Which only proves that everybody likes a deal.

3) Had you visited the website of the San Francisco Examiner, the paper of record in the Bay Area, on Saturday night, you would have seen that the main story on the crash was written by “Wire Report.” Even today’s story, which is linked above, has a byline from The Associated Press. Where are the paper’s reporters?

4) Investigators say that the pilot attempted to abort the landing and execute a “go around” two seconds before impact. Oops. I’ve been involved in two “go arounds”, one at this very airport on this very runway. Scary events. My “go around” at Chicago’s O’Hare was launched about, I’d guess, five seconds before we were due to touch down. I think they call it “go around” as if to remind you that you only go around once.

5) I’ve landed at SFO, on that very pair of parallel runways, dozens of times. So have you perhaps. Have you ever approached from any direction other than south –as the Asiana Airlines flight did? I have not. Why do I ask? Why have a seawall at the end of the runway to prevent planes from skidding into the drink if they nearly never land from north to south, which is the only time such a seawall would be in use? I’m sure someone has an answer to this, but I do not.

6) As cable and local news stations continue to flounder and fall behind the times, Twitter continues to ascend in the NEWS NOW department. I’m a waiter who had just finished my daily swim at a gym 2,500 miles away when I saw a tweet from @StefanieLaine, a passenger on another flight on the tarmac at SFO, who first brought the crash to my attention. I posted a tweet on the crash at 11:46 a.m. Pacific time. Within 25 minutes I had posted both Laine’s and passenger David Eun’s photos, plus a short video from someone else. I constantly checked both CNN’s and MSNBC’s websites. Nothing was up. Nor was anything on the local San Francisco station’s sites, nor on

Stefanie Laine’s pic, as it appeared on Twitter. News orgs would catch up half an hour later.

No one’s asking for a story here. Just a large banner declaring BREAKING NEWS, etc. I’ve written it before so I’ll write it again: Twitter is to the internet what the internet was to the computes. It changes everything. It may not be the world’s most accurate news source, but it is the world’s most immediate.

At about 12:20 p.m. Pacific time, I tweeted, “As dozens of news producers contact Stefanie Laine and ask her to follow for a DM” and Laine actually retweeted it. I’ve never met Laine. That’s the power of Twitter.

David Eun: At the intersection of Twitter and history.


7) First deadly plane crash involving a commercial airliner that seats more than 100 passengers in the United States since November of 2001. Of course it’s tragic that two Chinese teenagers died (out of 307 passengers and crew), but it is now being reported that one of the two may have died after being struck and run over by a fire engine responding to the crash. No better way to illustrate the relative safety of air travel.

8) Meanwhile, a prop plane crashed on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska yesterday, claiming the lives of all 10 people on board. The flight was either taking off or landing.

8) Gravity. Still undefeated.


2). Murray wins Wimbledon

Great Scot! Murray becomes the 77th consecutive non-Englishman to win Wimbledon’s Gentlemen’s Singles title.

It’s the All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, not the All-Britain Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club.

We say this not to rain on Glasgow native Andy Murray’s parade -bully for him and his persistence. It’s been a long and dogged climb for Murray, who has never had the talent of Nadal, Federer or this year’s top seed, and yesterday’s second-place finisher, Novak Djokovic.

Instead, we say this to note that it is convenient for the English to include their neighbors to the north as countrymen at times like this (I’ve seen Braveheart, you’ve seen Braveheart; we all know the story), and use the term “British.” As in, “Andy Murray becomes the first Brit since Fred Perry in 1936 to win the men’s singles title at Wimbledon.”

Wallace: Shanks for the memories.


But at other times, such as when it comes to selecting a World Cup roster, they refer to themselves as England. Which sort of sucks for the United Kingdom– and the rest of us–, since the best footballer on that island is Gareth Bale of Wales, who will be unable to compete for England in Brazil next summer. And Wales will fail to qualify for the World Cup.


3. Penultimate Fighting Championship?

MMA: Where fighters literally go toe to toe

Chris Weidman knocked out Anderson Silva in the second round of the featured bout of Ultimate Fighting Championship 162, leading anyone I follow on Twitter under the age of 35 to go slack-jawed. Those of us old enough to remember watching Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard and –yes– Muhammad Ali wonder, If something can take place 162 times (in less than 20 years), is “Ultimate” (“last in a progression or series”) truly the most accurate modifier for it?

4. Guitarist for Nirvana? Check. Special Forces? Check. Jason Everman is not Everyman.

Everman, directly behind Cobain. Put up the $606.17 to record “Bleach.” Was never repaid. Album has sold 2.1 million copies.

In Nirvana — a band with a lead singer so famously tortured that he would commit suicide — Jason Everman was kicked out for being a head case.”

An absolutely is-this-really-true? profile of Jason Everman, a former guitarist for Nirvana and then bassist with Soundgarden who then became a Special Forces soldier. I can’t add anything beyond that other than it’s a mesmerizing read. Thanks to Richard Deitsch for informing me of this story. It was in the weekend edition of The New York Times, but who can afford that?

You hold a rifle just like you hold a guitar…kinda.


5. “I Beheaded To World Cup 2014”

da Silva

Can you red card an entire nation?

Referee Otavia da Silva expels Josenir dos Santos Abreu during a match in Maranhao, Brazil.

Abreu attacks da Silva, who defends himself with a knife and fatally stabs Abreu.

A mob of friends and family of Abreu storm the field, stone da Silva to death, quarter him and decapitate him, placing his head atop a post.

Enjoy World Cup 2014, everybody!

(Posting this NSFP –Not Safe For Phyllis — photo here.)



Asik reacts to news that Howard is about to take his job as Houston’s starting center.

Houston center Omer Asik, who started all 82 games for the Rockets last season and who finished 3rd in rebounding and 11th in field-goal percentage, wants to be traded after Houston acquires Dwight Howard. DH finished 1st in rebounding and 2nd in FG %, it should be noted. So nobody in Houston thought to massage Asik’s ego before chasing after Dwight? We saw this coming when on Friday we tweeted, “I’d rather have Omer Asik than Josh Smith” and then Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead agreed with us on Twitter, and THEN Asik himself retweeted the exchange.


It’s been more than two weeks since Bill Simmons said on nearly live television, “I wanted to say about ‘The Decision’ –” and then the screen went black. Simmons has yet to state what he wanted to say. If only Bill had a forum of some sort to express his views.


A minor Twitter skirmish erupts between SI’s “Media Circus” columnist Richard Deitsch and Clay Travis’ biggest fan. It all began when Deitsch took exception to a comment by the BBC’s John Inverdale on Wimbledon Ladies’ Singles champ Marion Bartoli’s paucity of pulchritude. Deitsch tweeted that he’d expect that from a local sports radio guy, which appeared to encourage Travis to bait Deitsch by replying that he could not wait until SI’s editors assign Deitsch to pen a profile on him. Deitsch retweeted that SI only covers “national figures” and that perhaps “you should contact The Tennessean.”

Ultimate Slap-Fighting Championship 162.


Los Angeles Behind The Times

Sondheimer: Apparently loves the ghetto girls.

Still nothing from Bill Plaschke, T.J. Simers or Bill Dwyre on the resignation of Michael Sondheimer from UCLA. Simers never needs an excuse to head to Westwood — or USC’s Heritage Hall –to stir up the poop, so where is he now? Could it have anything to do with the fact that Sondheimer’s brother is a colleague of theirs on the sportswriting staff?

Also, has anyone done a FOIA request for Sondheimer’s emails at his UCLA computer?

There’s being an alleged pedophile. Then there’s being an alleged pedophile AND having a job that for decades puts you in contact with high school teens, male and female. And then there’s a university that operates via state funding that may very well be attempting to sweep this mess under the rug. Now more than ever we need LA-based SportsbyBrooks to return.


Philadelphia Eagle rookie QB Matt Barkley marries college sweetheart Brittany Langdon on the same weekend that Washington Redskins’ second-year quarterback Robert Griffin III marries HIS college sweetheart, Rebecca Liddicoat. Even in July RG3, Heisman Trophy-winner and NFL Rookie of the Year, overshadows his NFC East counterpart.


Irony Alert: The Newseum in Washington, D.C., is “struggling mightily to cover its costs”, reports the Associated Press.









2 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING! July 8

  1. SF Chronicle, not Examiner is the paper of record in sf. I wasn’t checking but I’m sure they had plenty of coverage at Examiner is a free daily now and hasn’t been a competitor of the chronicle for 20 years or so

  2. Examiner has more history to it, but it’s a free daily now. Chronicle has a larger circulation — it’s what I think of as San Francisco’s paper.

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