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Derivative Works from Daniel X. O'Neil

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My Father

My father passed away last Thursday.
I am attending his services now, and I will give the full GoogObits treatment to his obituary, but I wanted to make sure I posted it immediately:

Obituary: John J. O'Neil / Addictions counselor and PR man

Monday, January 31, 2005
By Steve Twedt, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

John J. "Jack" O'Neil, a retired addictions counselor and memorable Pittsburgh Post-Gazette letter writer, died of cancer Thursday at his Sewickley home. He was 78.

"He was often called an old curmudgeon, but he was lovable," said his wife, Theodora. "He was very real, and he made numerous friends because he was real."

Mr. O'Neil probably never seemed more real than on those mornings he read something in the newspaper that raised his ire.

"He would leap up from the table and go to the word processor," Theodora O'Neil said. "He could bat out something so fast, I couldn't believe it. The words just flowed from him, especially when he felt strongly about something,"

Often, his entertaining and insightful missives were in response to some other reader's published letter.

In November, for example, he challenged a Post-Gazette letter writer who had called Bob Dylan "the greatest songwriter in history." Mr. O'Neil's response: "Pardon me while I retch."

He further wondered if Post-Gazette editors "are on strike or on drugs" to allow such superlatives in the paper.

"Beethoven wrote his Fifth Symphony almost 200 years ago, and I'll bet that almost 90 percent of the civilized world recognize not only the first three notes of that classic, but every note that follows it. Two hundred years from now, no one will remember how to spell Dylan's name," Mr. O'Neil wrote.

In September 2003, he railed against another writer's objections to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's planned concert for Pope John Paul II. Mr. O'Neil said the writer, who accused the Catholic Church of discrimination against women and gay people, "presents such moronic vituperation and egregious insults I knew I could not reply in kind as I consider myself a member of the human race."

But he could also show his sense of humor. In 1998, responding to a Post-Gazette request for readers to share their turkey disasters, Mr. O'Neil retold the story of a neighborhood Thanksgiving that included a guest who demonstrated his expertise at mixing Manhattans.

"It was quite a sight to see these two young and innocent housewives, who had never had anything more than a Shirley Temple cocktail, sipping their Manhattan -- through a straw, no less," he wrote. The turkey and the two cooks all eventually ended up on the kitchen floor in a chorus of giggles.

But alcohol also played a serious and defining role in Mr. O'Neil's life, from his own problems with it until he stopped drinking in 1973, to his work as a public relations director and addictions counselor at the St. John's Hospital Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation Center, North Side, in the early 1980s.

Mrs. O'Neil said her husband took great pride in his 30-plus years of sobriety and in helping others do the same.

After briefly working as a caseworker on drug and alcohol related cases for Children and Youth Services of Beaver County, Mr. O'Neil retired in 1991.

Before St. John's, Mr. O'Neil, a journalism graduate from Duquesne University, had worked in television and radio advertising, later becoming publications manager for Presbyterian University Hospital.

The Homewood native was a member of the U.S. Coast Guard and served as a radioman on the island of Palawan in the Philippines.

In addition to his wife, Mr. O'Neil is survived by children from his first marriage, Laurie Good of Livonia, Mich., Kevin James of Chicago, Sean Patrick of Columbus, Ohio, Mark Thomas of Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County, and Michael Charles, Patrick Brian and Daniel Xavier, all of Chicago.

Also surviving are stepchildren Susan Sebolt of Mt. Lebanon, Stephen Hanzel of Kennett Square, Chester County, and Kate Hanzel of Oakdale; a brother, William O'Neil of Greenfield; 13 grandchildren; one great-grandson; seven step grandchildren; and four step great-grandchildren.

Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. today at Copeland's Funeral Home, 702 Beaver St., Sewickley. The funeral prayer will be at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow at the funeral home, followed at 10 by the Mass, to be celebrated at St. James Catholic Church, Sewickley. Burial will be in Sewickley Cemetery.

The family requests that memorial contributions be made to Forbes Hospice, 2139 Broadhead Road, Suite 2A Rear, Aliquippa 15001.

Carlos Cortez, Legend

Carlos Cortez was the real deal. One of those men who made everything around him seem small. Not because he tried to make anyone feel small-- the opposite is true. In the handful of times I'd ever talked to him at a poetry event, he was a living legend to me. All hail Carlos Cortez.

Obituary by Carlos Cumpian

Carlos A. Cortez, 81, Activist Artist and Writer

Chicago, Illinois—
Carlos A. Cortez, through his labor-oriented art and writings that helped bring international attention to Mexicans and other native peoples, died on Jan. 18 at his home in Chicago. He was 81.

The cause of death was heart failure, according to his doctor Teresa Ramos M.D., present at the time of his death.

Imprisonment as a conscientious objector during World War II led to his membership in the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union. Cortez’s support of the IWW or “Wobblies,” was central to the theme of many of his wood and linoleum-cut graphics, as well as editorial and poetic works. He was columnist and editor for the IWW union paper, The Industrial Worker, from the late 1950s to 2005, and the author of four books.

In 1975, Cortez joined Jose G. Gonzalez to found the first Mexican arts organization in Illinois, Movimiento Artistico Chicano, MARCH, Inc. Cortez was also an active member of the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, Chicago Mural Group, Mexican Taller del Grabado (Mexican Graphic Workshop), Casa de la Cultura Mestizarte, the Native Men’s Song Circle and Charles H. Kerr Publishers. Cortez’s work is in the collection of the Smithsonian Institute and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Cortez is survived by the relatives of his late wife Mariana Drogitis-Cortez: his sisters-in-law, Theodora Katsikakis and Lela Vlahos; brother-in-law Nicholas Drogitis; nieces Despina Katsikakis and Monica Meissner, grand niece Alexandra Kailing, and nephews Kosta Vlahos and George Vlahos.

Memorial services are private after Mr. Cortez’s cremation in Chicago, Illinois.

Those seeking to honor his memory may make a contribution to the American Indian Center at 1630 W. Wilson Ave. or the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.

One Thinks of What One Hoped to Be, and Then Faces Reality

Two things here:

1/ I loved marijuana. Near-religion status. I am addicted to marijuana. One day at a time, I do not smoke marijauana.
2/ One is not always remembered as one hoped to be.

January 18, 2005
Thelma White, 'Reefer' Star, Dies at 94

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 17 - Thelma White, an actress best known for playing a drug addict in "Reefer Madness," a 1936 antimarijuana propaganda film that resurfaced decades later as a cult classic, died here last Tuesday. She was 94.

The cause was pneumonia, said Michael Homeier, her godson and only survivor. She died at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in the Woodland Hills section.
Ms. White played a hard-boiled blonde named Mae who peddles "demon weed" to unsuspecting young people in "Reefer Madness," a low-budget cautionary tale written by a religious group. In the film, she lures high school students to her apartment for sex and drugs, turning them into addicts who shoot their girlfriends, run over pedestrians and go insane.

A musical and comedy actress who made more than 40 movies, Ms. White was horrified when RKO Studios picked her for the antidrug film. But because of her contract, she had little choice but to accept the role.

"I'm ashamed to say that it's the only one of my films that's become a classic," she told The Los Angeles Times in an interview in 1987. "I hide my head when I think about it."

Born Thelma Wolpa in Lincoln, Neb., in 1910, Ms. White was a carnival performer as a toddler before moving on to vaudeville, radio and movies.

"Reefer Madness" was destined for obscurity, but in 1972, Keith Stroup, founder of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws, discovered it in the Library of Congress archives, bought a print and screened it at a New York benefit.
Robert Shaye, founder of New Line Cinema, saw the film and recognized its appeal as an unintentional parody. He re-released it through his then-fledgling company, holding midnight showings.

Ms. White twice saw an off-Broadway musical that spoofed the movie. The musical "was campy and over the top, and she loved it," Mr. Homeier said.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company Home

Copy/ paste is your friend

Dick_thornburgHere's a silly & useless attempt by CBS News to stop people from creating derivative works based on the Thornburgh Report detailing the mistakes CBS made in the Bush National Guard story. After the report was first delivered, a CBS lawyer realized that anyone with Adobe Acrobat could copy/paste the entire text and reuse it.

The only problem is that they had already published a version w/o encryption that stops copy/ paste, and it is widely available. The ubiquity of technology has changed everything. It's time for a change in copyright law so that new works can be stimulated and CBS can turn their mea culpa report into a profit center.

Reading, Amusement Parks, and AAA Baseball are Fundamental

CXO is participating in two reading clubs: Ozzie's Reading Club at school for AAA baseball tickets in the Western Suburbs and the Six Flags Six Hour Reading Club for one free ticket to Six Flags and the opportunity to give Six Flags hundreds of more dollars in revenue associated with the redemption of that ticket. Reading lots of books and attending branded summer events go together!

American Folk Art Museum

  Originally uploaded by juggernautco.

Today I went to the American Folk Art Museum, and here are some notes:

Saw an amazing painting by Ammi Phillips, Girl in Red Dress With Cat and Dog, which actually has its own stamp. It's a flat, perfect canvas.

Saw a finely woven rug made of Wonder Bread packaging by from the 1930s.

Saw some great prisoner art, including Devil House by Frank Albert Jones and stuff by Martin Ramirez.

Cool rug by Kathyanne White who does intense things with fiber.

Learned how Cray-Pas was invented so as to give Japanese children materials to create free, expressive art circa 1920 instead of the intense copying that had been dominant. Had no idea.

Saw lots of stuff by Henry Darger, a fellow weird Chicagoan I've long admired for his intensity.

Good stuff.

MILF Violence

Imagine my surprise when I saw that there were 21 killed in an Army-MILF clash. I had no idea that MILFs were so violent.


Obituary writers are highly adept at putting a nonjudgemental spin on life stories while still telling the truth. As to be expected, the New York Times is the best at this type of truth-w/o-damnation.

Today we read about George Wackenhut, who made millions by hanging out with people like William "Let's Make a Pre-Election Deal with Ayatollah Khomeini" Casey.

I have no obligation to withhold judgement. Without adding a single word to the text of this obituary, let the links speak for themselves.

George Wackenhut, 85, Dies; Founded Elite Security Firm

WackenhutGeorge R. Wackenhut, a former F.B.I. agent who built the Wackenhut Corporation into an international security firm that promoted the use of private guards at prisons, airports and nuclear power plants, died on Dec. 31 at his home in Vero Beach, Fla. He was 85.

The cause was heart failure, said his daughter, Janis Wackenhut Ward.

From the McCarthy era on, as America's appetite for security escalated, Mr. Wackenhut persuaded thousands of communities and government agencies to put private guards in public jobs, an idea law enforcement officials had long resisted.

Started in 1954 as a three-man detective agency in Miami, the struggling company turned to providing guard services to stay afloat and later earned contracts with Lockheed Martin and the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. To impress potential clients, Mr. Wackenhut dressed his guards in helmets and paratrooper boots, and he recruited former members of the C.I.A., the F.B.I. and elite military forces to join management and the company's board.

Over the next four decades, Wackenhut guarded corporate buildings during labor strikes, managed security for airlines at nearly 90 airports and supplemented municipal services like firefighting and emergency medical services in several small communities. Its guards patrolled the Atomic Energy Commission's nuclear test site in Nevada and a handful of American embassies.

But the company's expansion into prisons and other correctional operations in the 1980's became its most profitable move. It was one of the first private security firms hired by the Federal Bureau of Prisons and has since received federal contracts from the United States Marshals Service and the immigration and customs enforcement division of the Department of Homeland Security.

The privatization of prisons has had its critics, however, and Wackenhut's guards have been accused of abusing inmates in Florida, Texas and Louisiana. The Wackenhut Corrections Corporation, the company's prisons subsidiary, now manages more than 40,000 prison beds , mostly in the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

As his company grew, Mr. Wackenhut recruited prominent directors like Clarence M. Kelley, former head of the F.B.I.; James J. Rowley, former director of the Secret Service; and Frank C. Carlucci, former defense secretary and former C.I.A. deputy director. Before Ronald Reagan appointed him director of central intelligence, William J. Casey was Wackenhut's outside legal counsel. Such connections fueled speculation that the company was working with the C.I.A., a relationship that Mr. Wackenhut denied.

Mr. Wackenhut, outspoken in his conservative politics, was occasionally seen as overly zealous in his investigations. In 1967, when Gov. Claude R. Kirk Jr. of Florida appointed him chief of a private police force to investigate organized crime, Mr. Wackenhut was criticized for saying that he and his officers would not limit themselves to suspected criminals but would "investigate everyone and anyone who needs investigating."

The police force was short-lived, but the company's tactics created a dispute again in 1991, when a Congressional inquiry found that it had spied on an environmental advocate by installing miniature cameras in his hotel rooms and taking documents from his home.

George Russell Wackenhut was born in Philadelphia on Sept. 3, 1919. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Hawaii and a master's degree in education from Johns Hopkins University. He served in the Army during World War II.

He joined the F.B.I. in 1951 as a special agent in Atlanta and Indianapolis and tracked down check forgers and Army deserters. He left three years later to join three other former agents in starting a detective agency that he later bought from his partners and renamed the Wackenhut Corporation. His son, Richard R., took over the company in 1986.

In addition to his daughter, Janis, of Miami and his son, Richard R., of Jupiter, Fla., Mr. Wackenhut is survived by his wife of 60 years, Ruth; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

Glory to Bundt in the Highest

Here's a classic GoogObits fave. Today we learn that last week we lived in a world that included the inventor of the Bundt pan, and now we don't.

H. David Dalquist, 86, Bundt Pan's Inventor, Dies

EDINA, Minn., Jan. 5 (AP) - H. David Dalquist, creator of the aluminum Bundt pan, died on Sunday at his home here. He was 86.

Bundt_1The cause was heart failure, his family said.

Mr. Dalquist founded Nordic Ware, which has sold more than 50 million Bundt pans.

He designed the pan in 1950 at the request of members of the Minneapolis chapter of Hadassah, who sought to recreate cakes baked in Europe but wanted a pan made of modern materials. Mr. Dalquist created a new shape based on a German original, adding regular folds to make it easier to cut the cake.

The women from the society called the pans "bund pans" because "bund" is German for an organization or group of people. Mr. Dalquist added a "t" and trademarked the name.

For years, the company sold few such pans. Then in 1966, a Texas woman won second place in the Pillsbury Bake-Off for her Tunnel of Fudge Cake, made in a Bundt pan. Suddenly, bakers across the country wanted their own Tunnel of Fudge cakes.

Mr. Dalquist founded Nordic Ware after returning from duty in the Navy in World War II. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in chemical engineering.

He is survived by his wife, Dorothy Margerite Staugaard Dalquist; a son, David, of Minnetonka, Minn.; three daughters, Corrine Lynch of Eden Prairie, Minn., Linda Jeffrey of Medina, Minn., and Susan Brust of Dellwood, Minn; and 12 grandchildren.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

Emotional Geography

Emotional Geography is a concept I’ve had for a web-based application that allows people to create customized maps with highlighted points of personal interest. The user types in a series of addresses, associates an event with each address (graduated from high school/ had first kiss /got married/ etc.), and clicks “submit”.

Emo_geoBasically it’s a configurable, visually interesting version of a Yahoo! Maps with the hotels highlighted. If you can program all of the hotels near a given point with an icon/ hover-for-more-info next to it, it seems an easy thing to plot up to, say, 10 addresses in a given geographic range with user-entered descriptions hovering over an appropriate icon (diploma/ lips/ wedding bells).

The underlying idea is that people have different "emotional geographies" for different times of their life (bus route to high school/ first neighborhood out of college/ places where you took your first love) and different sets of people (where I got stoned with the Burnouts/ where we trained & raced cross-country/ clients of my first ad firm).

These emo geos are usually tightly spaced and hold special places in our mind's eye, and can evoke floods of memory as much as an "our song" coming on the radio. So if you could easily plot these places, and describe them in your own way, and share them with others, that could serve as a central/ tangential community for others to add their own emo geos that glance against yours on the time/ space continuum.

Just an idea. What do you think? Does something like this exist already? Can you make the application? Lemme know.


Daniel X. O'Neil: Chicago-based writer and internet developer. I am a co-founder of and the People Person for EveryBlock, a site that pulls together local news and public information. I run dozens of personal projects and websites for clients, and also own half of a poetry book company.


EveryBlock: A news feed for your block.
CTA Tweet: Unofficial Twitter tracker for the Chicago Transit Authority.
CityPayments: Database of all vendors, contracts, and payments that have been posted by the municipal government of the City of Chicago
Wesley Willis Art: Site dedicated to the fact that Wesley Willis was an artist.
Wide Right Turn: An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society.


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    • Wesley Willis Art
      Site dedicated to the fact that Wesley Willis was an artist.
    • CTA Alerts
      Wireless notifications about service on the Chicago Transit Authority.
    • Wide Right Turn

      An incomplete look at the role of variation in a capitalist society.
    • Derivative Works Art Manifesto
      Humans own their experience of copyrighted content.
    • Y!Q Link Generator
      Simple form for creating Y!Q links to add relevance, annotate text, and provide more sophisticated layers of meaning to web content.