We served & we protected!
Our Chaplain Historical Society The Farsider


The Farsider

June 27, 2013


Bill Mattos, Editor and Publisher <bilmat@comcast.net>
Leroy Pyle, Webmaster <leroypyle@sjpba.net>


The Farsider is an independent publication that is not affiliated with the San Jose Police Benevolent
Assn. The SJPBA has allowed the Farsider to be included on its web site solely for the convenience
of the retired San Jose Police community. The content of this newsletter does not represent or reflect
the views of the San Jose Police Benevolent Association's Board of Directors or its membership.



Good news for out-of-area retirees

Given his former rank and relatively recent retirement, we asked Dan Katz if he could make some calls and come up with a definitive procedure on what it takes to renew a retiree's I.D. card with the HR 218 authorization needed to legally carry a concealed weapon. He came through with flying colors...

~ ~ ~


I contacted acting BOA Deputy Chief Dave Knopf, Range Sgt. Rob Lang, and Lt. Tom Sims and Ofcr. Conrad Taylor in the Permits Unit with your inquiry about qualifications for retirees who want to carry a firearm, including those who live out of the area. The following information came from Acting D/C Dave Knopf.


~ ~ ~

• Retirees need to renew their Department ID card every year if they want to be authorized to carry a weapon.
• They also need to qualify every 12 months in order to be authorized to carry a weapon.
• Carrying a valid Department ID card with their weapon is mandatory. SJPD stamps the ID Cards "CCW and HR218 authorized."
• Retirees DO NOT have to come to the SJPD to qualify with their weapons in order to complete this process. This is especially important for those retirees who live out of state.
• Many PDs allow officers retired from other jurisdictions to qualify at their facilities. Because of HR218, there are also a number of certified private gun clubs and shooting ranges that will certify HR218 handgun proficiency.
• Retirees who do not wish to travel to San Jose to complete this process should first call the SJPD Personnel Unit at 408-277-5215 to request an ID renewal form via mail. The retiree then mails the completed form along with their SJPD Retired ID Card AND the range certification to the SJPD Permits Unit. The Permits Unit will take the certification to the Range to document the qualification, print out a new ID Card and mail it back to the retiree. The mailing address is:

San Jose Police Dept.
Permits Unit
201 W. Mission St.
San Jose, CA 95110

I understand there is some concern from some retirees about mailing their ID cards and certification documentation and the turnaround time it might take. If this is a concern, the retiree can send it certified mail. Also, the Permits Unit told me they will make these ID renewals a priority with a 2-to-3 day turnaround time.
A few retirees have called, stopped in, and mailed information asking for and/or suggesting ways to streamline the process. The above procedure takes into account a lot of those suggestions. I realize not everyone is going to be completely happy with this, but we feel this is the best process for the Department at this time.

If anyone has any questions, they can call Lt. Tom Sims in the Permits Unit at 408-277-4452.
Acting BOA D/C Dave Knopf

~ ~ ~

Dave said there should be a memo out soon regarding this procedure, but it is already in effect. Sgt. Lang also passed along the following info for retirees who wish to qualify at the SJPD Range:

~ ~ ~
If the retiree is going to qualify at SJPD, they will need to bring their own ammunition. The course is currently 15 rounds per weapon, and each retiree needs to shoot at least 1 weapon from each category that they want to carry (I.E. one revolver, one semi-auto if they want to carry each type). We generally run retiree quals at 1400 hours on days we are open. Currently, this would be most Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. (The academy is using the range on Thursdays.) It is highly recommended that the retiree call the Range at 408-277-5372 at least one week prior to visiting and again on the day they plan to visit. There are numerous reasons why the range might be closed for the day (broken fan, sick Range staff, carbine training at the S/O range, etc.) The phone call might save the retiree a wasted trip to our facility.

Thanks for helping spread the info to our retirees and take care.

Sergeant Rob Lang #3279
San Jose PD Range



June 25th

On June 7th, the Honorable Judge Patricia M. Lucas held a hearing regarding the City of San Jose's request for a "Motion for Summary Adjudication." The City was asking the judge to find that several portions of Measure B did not violate the vested rights of Police Officers and should therefore be dismissed. The hearing addressed the following three areas of Measure B:

1. Section 1506-A: Additional retirement contributions to amortize unfunded liabilities (4% Cuts up to 16%)

2. Section 1512-A: 50% of Retiree Healthcare (Payments that would lift the current MOA 10% Cap)

3. Section 1511-A: Discontinuation of SRBR  

The Honorable Judge Patricia M. Lucas issued her final ruling in our favor. Click here to download the document:

Measure B will be proceeding to trial as scheduled on July 22nd intact.

We appreciate everyone's patience as we navigate through these legal issues. We will continue to keep you informed as our legal team litigates Measure B through the courts.

Jim Unland
John Robb



There was nothing in last Sunday's I.A. column specifically about cops or retirees, but we did find these two tidbits of interest, especially the first piece about City Manager Debra Figone who apparently feels her $200K+ salary is sufficient for the time being...

S.J. City Manager Says ‘No Thanks’ to a Raise

Raises have been the big topic of discussion at San Jose City Hall as officials wrapped up the budget for the coming fiscal year. That’s a refreshing change from the ugly fights with city unions over pay cuts to reduce layoffs. But it doesn’t mean there’s no bitterness as city leaders dangle 2.5-percent raises to workers who took 10-percent pay cuts.

Even cops offered 9 percent over two years to keep them from quitting say that’s not enough.

At least one top official has gotten more: Mayor Chuck Reed urged a 9.65-percent hike for Independent Police Auditor LaDoris Cordell in December.

But City Manager Debra Figone wants y’all to know she’ll once again fall on her salary sword for the sake of appearances, declining a 2-percent raise that the City Council had offered her and City Attorney Rick Doyle .

Though cops and wastewater plant workers are fleeing under her watch amid austerity budgets brought on by soaring employee retirement costs, you could argue that Figone earned a bump.

After all, even with her own pay trimmed back 10 percent, she’s had protesters demonstrating in front of her home and razzing her at a restaurant over the cuts. But in a memo thanking the mayor and council for the offer, she said she’d have none of it.

“Although we continue to make real progress to achieve and sustain the city’s long-term fiscal stability, I think that as the city manager it is an important symbolic gesture to our entire staff to show that employees come first as we move toward a sustainable recovery,” Figone said. “To this end I have filed the appropriate paperwork for an irrevocable waiver of the increase.”

Figone, paid a total of $255,847 in 2012, added that “this is my personal decision, and by no means do I suggest that other employees should do the same.”

~ ~ ~

Oliverio, S.J. Firefighters are Fighting Again

More than most San Jose City Council members, Pierluigi Oliverio has had a strained relationship with the city’s firefighters union.

Back in 2010, when he was pushing measures to limit arbitration awards to cops and firefighters and allow reduced pension benefits for new city hires, Oliverio got in a spat with firefighter union members who accused him of stealing their opposition lawn signs. Oliverio argued the union illegally placed them on public property. Someone shot video as police arrived to calm things down.

Those issues still burn at City Hall: A judge just ordered the firefighters union to arbitration with the city over reduced pensions for new hires. And Oliverio is jumping back into the fray with a memorandum urging the council to order a freeze on new firefighter hires until the union accepts a reduced pension benefit for them.

We expect the fireworks to continue.

Internal Affairs is an offbeat look at state and local politics. This week’s items were written by Tracy Seipel, John Woolfolk and Paul Rogers. Send tips to
<internalaffairs@mercurynews.com>, or call 408-975-9346.

• • • • •


Questioning Chavez on Crime Claims

By Scott Herhold — Columnist
<sherhold@ mercurynews.com>

Mercury News — June 25, 2013

Seven years after she was beaten in a bruising race for San Jose mayor, Cindy Chavez looks poised to return to elected office as a Santa Clara County supervisor.

In the June 4 primary, Chavez finished nine points ahead of her challenger, Teresa Alvarado. And she has settled on the right theme for her campaign, public safety.

A recent political flier showed a picture of the 49-year-old labor leader and described her as “a proven crime fighter.” In a working-class district, that message trumps Alvarado’s call for reform.

But there are reasons to examine Chavez’s claim carefully.

The first is her vote, along with the rest of the council in late 2005, to award the cops a 90 percent retirement after 30 years. (The firefighters got a comparable and slightly sweeter deal in arbitration.) In a time of plenty in city government, almost everyone voted to increase the final retirement from 85 percent to 90 percent, including now-Mayor Chuck Reed, who has acknowledged it was a mistake.

Here’s the problem: A sweeter — OK, lavish — retirement leaves scarcer resources to hire new cops and firefighters. In the budget crunch, the number of sworn officers declined from about 1,400 to 1,050, with fewer available for street duty. The city is now paying roughly $250 million a year for pensions and retiree health care. Now lots of other things happened, like the recession. And Chavez deserves credit for working on neighborhood safety as a council member. But the council’s 2005 vote, a bad one, helped cops in retirement, not on the street.

Cozy ties

The second reason for questioning Chavez’s credentials as a crime-fighter deals with a cozy relationship between the labor movement and San Jose’s card clubs.

Last year, when Chavez was head of the South Bay Labor Council, the campaign for expanding the number of card club tables in San Jose contributed $90,000 to the SBLC’s “issues account.”

In turn, the laborites provided a lot of work, including polling and phone banking, on behalf of the pro-card club Measure E. In essence, the card clubs hired the labor council for its political expertise and election workers.

And the Measure E transaction was made easier because the consultant for the Bay 101 card club, Ed McGovern, is close to labor and is now Chavez’s consultant for her supervisorial race.

What’s the problem? Anyone who has followed card clubs in San Jose knows gambling is a double-edged sword.

It has provided millions of dollars to the city, but it has come at a big social cost — in impoverished families, divorce and crime around the fringes, including loan-sharking and at least one unsolved murder.

Did Chavez benefit herself from the financial contribution? No, although the SBLC’s account of Measure E expenses shows $1,600 going into salaries for labor.

But the relationship shows a curious choice of friends for a politician who claims to be a proven crime-fighter. The people eventually voted Measure E down. Maybe they smelled something.



Last Week's Poll Results

For the most recent Rasmussen Reports releases, click here:



June 20th


You have one more drive-in to add to your list, the Skylark, located at Montgomery and Santa Clara. I watched them tear down the old lumber yard at that location around 1960 and build the drive-in restaurant. It was a beautiful addition to the numerous other fine dining establishments in the area. I was working as a gas pump jockey at the Sharin Oil Company gas station on the opposite corner where the Shark Tank now resides. I must admit that when I was bucks-up in those days I did traipse down to the Burger Bar occasionally for one of their famous steak sandwiches and a large order of the greasiest fries in town. But best of all was going through the back door of the kitchen at Manny's Cellar where we used to hold the Police Union meetings and order a carton of their homemade raviolis. Ahh, the good old days.


Mike's memory about the greasy fries at the Burger Bar was spot on. (Cue the audience: "How greasy were they?") They were SO greasy that if you pulled on one fry after they cooled off, all the others in the bag would come with it.


• • • • •


June 20th


That final video in (last week's) Farsider about the WWII flight surgeon who filmed the belly landing of the British Spitfire was the best. The narrator said his dad (the flight surgeon) went to Stanford Medical School at the same approximate time my Dad did. He served as a ship's doctor on the Navy's "USS Gansevoort" (DD-608) during WWII. That destroyer was heavily damaged in action while my Dad was aboard. He graduated in 1941 vs. 1939 for the flight surgeon mentioned in the video, so they likely crossed paths at some point. My Dad passed away about 3 1//2 years ago at 95, so I'll probably never know for sure. Great story!

Just a quick additional note about the audio you included of the guy who left a phone message about a car crash. I'm all but certain the guy is Tom Mabe. He's done a number of phone pranks over the years. I can't tell you to what degree they may be staged, but they are damned funny. Here's one that had me in tears the first time I heard it.

Les Nunes

The link Les included is one about a prank pulled on a telemarketer. We ran it six years ago in the July 26, 2007 Farsider. If you haven't heard it, give a listen...



• • • • •


June 22nd

Hello Bill,

Have not had a chance to personally speak to you lately. As usual, you and Gomer are doing one heck of a job with your Pulitzer Prize publication. Someday, I am sure, you will be called to New York to accept your award for your Excellent, On-Line, Journalism Publication.

I have been reading with delight the many stories told mostly by Moir and some others about the late night food establishments of the past and their commitment to the men in blue who were always hungry, but light on money for their Code 7 meals.

I was introduced by Bill Clark  (the one who stayed) to the Donut Wheel, located on Highway 9 near Highway 280. On one particular midnight shift while working District 4 for Sgt. Hal Ratliff, I followed a possible DUI suspect onto Highway 17 N/B, then onto Highway 280 N/B. It took a while to make a positive determination if the driver was truly under the influence while following the car. However, when we were on Highway 280 near Highway 9 and heading out of the City,  I decided to call off my surveillance.

Needing to make a quick bathroom stop, I decided to go to the Donut Wheel, but keep my hand-pack radio on. Upon returning to my car I discovered a HUGE box of donuts (approx. 3 dozen) in my right front seat. I guess I forgot to lock my car while in the bathroom. No big deal I thought. Yeah, right!

I then heard on my hand-pack radio Sgt. Ratliff asking for assistance due to a potential 459 at an office building at Almaden Expressway and Redmond Ave. Guess who was assigned this beat? You got it. My radio call sign was 7145.

Needless to say, my Code 2 travel time was very brisk and immediate from Highway 9 and 280 to south Almaden Valley. Upon arrival I was met by a laughing Sgt Ratliff who had been informed by someone (who will remain nameless) of my location at the Donut Wheel.

I was very quick to confess that I had brought for Hal’s delight a box full of donuts that I received while stopped at the Donut Wheel, bit only after trying to protect the citizens of San Jose of a potential DUI suspect. I had at least managed to get the potential DUI suspect to leave the City of San Jose and hopefully allow the CHP to continue the surveillance.

Hal was very thankful of my response as he relieved  me of all of my donuts, and he indicated that all of my other team members would surly enjoy the delights from the Donut Wheel.

But no one on the team received a donut that evening. I later learned that many great officers and supervisors who I worked with and for — and who lived in Morgan Hill and other surrounding farming communities in South County —  had farm animals who loved donuts and the many other foods that would possibly be thrown away by the restaurants at the end of the evening. One particular great Sgt, I worked for on Swingshift District 3 in 1976 when I was in the FTO program was always at the rear of the Winchell’s Donut Shop at Story and White at approx. 1:30 a.m.

If you stop and think about it, SJPD officers knew more about recycling and saving the earth back in the '60s and '70s than most people ever gave us credit for.

You and Gomer keep up the great work.

Dave Clayton, #1793


• • • • •


June 25th

Hi Bill,

I have a badge that was donated to the Historical Society. It had been found by a citizen, turned into I.A., then given to me. I learned that it had belonged to Officer Fred Whitley who had passed away, and that Police Personnel has no contact info for the next of kin. If any of your readers can provide me with contact information for anyone from Fred's family I would prefer to see it go to a son, daughter or Fred's widow, otherwise I will add the badge to our Historical Society collection.

Second request

Last year during my vacation on Maui I was fortunate to meet John Buck III, the grandson of Officer John Buck (killed in the line of duty) and son of Sgt. John Buck II. I was able to interview the grandson for the Historical Society and hear about his grandfather's homicide from the family's point of view. We talked about how his grandfather's badge had been lost at the scene during the shooting and wondered what had become of it.

(The Dept. presented John Buck's wife with a sterling silver badge #26 bearing an inscription on the back that reads, "To Mrs. John Buck: In memory of her husband who was killed in action on Feb. 27, 1933. From the San Jose Police Department")

About one month ago, the grandson e-mailed me and said he had just received a badge from a police Chaplain whose name was George Tarleton. He said he had grown up in San Jose and told Mr. Buck that his grandfather's badge had been retrieved at the scene of the shooting by his (the Chaplain's) grandfather, who had been a member of the Masons along with John Buck. According to the Chaplain, the Masons had been listening to the police radio and heard the shooting call go out, and raced to the scene.  

The badge Mr. Tarleton returned to John Buck III is badge #16, not #10 which is what his grandfather was reportedly wearing at the time he was killed. I checked with Police Personnel, but the unit has no personnel information going back that far. Even though this is from an incident that occurred 80 years ago, I am hoping that someone can shed some light on this. The badge in question is from that era and could have been worn by Officer Buck. I would like to be able to confirm to the grandson that his grandfather was in fact wearing badge #16 when he was killed, but right now there is not sufficient evidence to be conclusive. Thanks for any help!

John (Carr Jr.)
SJPD Historical Society

Please send John an e-mail (not us) if you have any of the information he is looking for.


• • • • •


June 25th

Prior to his passing in 1998, Clyde Arbuckle was the official historian for the City of San Jose. The SJPD has never had an official historian, but with a memory as effective as an entire herd of elephants, retiree Bob Moir comes close. He has been on a weeks' long quest to determine the identity of the oldest living San Jose Police retiree and believes he has found him. Says Bob...

After a lengthy, in-depth investigation, I believe I have located the oldest living retiree in the person of 92-year-old Tom Kinney, who lives in Sonora. He was born in Feb. 1921, appointed to the Dept. in Nov.1945, and retired with 29 years of service in April 1975. Tom was a longtime motor cop, then a motor Sgt., and spent most of the rest of his career as a Juvenile Sergeant. He played a musical instrument in a local band, enjoyed his cigars and lived for many years on the "Bird" streets just below the Church on the Hill off of Almaden Rd. Like several other elderly retirees, Tom does not receive the Farsider, so any reader who might run across him up in Sonora should let him know he's being thought of.

Bob Moir

• • • • •


June 26th

Bill and Leroy,

If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is, especially if you are a senior and on the "hit list" for vacation scams: time shares, cheap vacation rentals and other so-called "super deals."

The scam, of course, is to offer you a bribe to attend a 90-minute hard sell presentation designed to separate you from your money, and seniors tend to be the target, probably because we are the most susceptible to hard core sales pitches. Any senior in his or her right mind would stay away from such presentations.

My wife and I have attended such presentations all over the world. Mexico, Hawaii, Florida, South America, Palm Springs and various locations in Europe make up a short list of the locations where we have attended presentations.

We always found time to attend these presentations for a variety of reasons. Free lunch or dinners were just some of the gifts we received. We would get our free stuff, listen to the sales pitch for 90 minutes, then walk away. Never did we purchase any of these "remarkable deals that are too good to pass up." We would sit and watch slide shows of the same old "Sham Wow"-style sales pitch, then leave.

Beyond the free stuff, the presentations during our travels allowed us to sit in an air-conditioned room and relax our tired feet. That alone was often worth the time. The biggest problem for us was to keep our mouths shut and our eyes open.

One presentation was for a "free" second vacation; all we had to pay was separate shipping and handling. The latest scam we were exposed to occurred yesterday in Oceanside, CA. We had received a certificate in the mail stating we would receive 1,100 miles in free air travel if we would attend a 90-minute presentation at Oceanside World Travel. Since the office was only 17 miles away from our residence, we thought it would be nice to have the free travel for future use, so we chose to attend.

The "office" resembled a circus tent; it could have been folded and placed inside a U-Haul truck. The sales pitch was for time shares, and the pressure to purchase one was intense. The "gift" for attending was full of loopholes: limited usage, extra fees and other limitations as specified in the small print. All in all, this was the biggest waste of our time in all the years we have been attending such presentations. We agreed that this would be the last time we attended one of these "get something for nothing" presentations. There is a lot of truth to the old saying that "one must pay to play."

In closing, watch out for any presentations offered by World Travel.

(Yarbrough) <billyarbrough36@yahoo.com>

It's rather apparent that Bill wrote this letter for the purpose of venting, which is fine with us. Hope it made him feel better. I know some people who seek out these presentations and happily walk away with the "free stuff," but they have the type of personalities that make it easy to say no to high pressure sales pitches. I also know a few people who regretfully purchased time shares they are locked into and can't get out from under because they couldn't say no. C'est la vie.




The Shootout on Stockton Street

In the early 1950’s, San Jose was a small city of just over 200,000 residents. The economy was mostly based on agriculture. The Police Department had about 100 patrol officers to cover 6 beats plus a 7 PM to 3 AM shift. There was also a Traffic Division as well as detectives, juvenile officers, and records. The headquarters was located in the basement of the city hall in the center of what is now Cesar Chavez Park. The Patrol Division and Traffic Division were located across the street, 211 S. Market St. I believe.
There was not a lot of crime, but once in a while a major crime did occur.

One bright Sunday morning in May or June 1953, a recently released ex-con from the Colorado State Prison was in San Jose and felt he needed some money. So, he took his pistol into a Safeway store on the Alameda and relieved them of some cash. He fled on foot. Naturally, a broadcast went out and officers responded to the area where he had disappeared.  

The unique thing about this is that it was a shift change time. In 1953, the Day shift worked from 8 AM to 5 PM. The Graveyard shift worked from 1 AM to 9 AM. The day shift was already on the street when the broadcast came in. The Graveyard shift was in the locker room changing into street clothes. Most of them, if not all headed for the garage in whatever mixture of clothing they had on, uniform shirt and Levis or uniform pants and T- shirt. You get the idea, coxes army so to speak. They loaded into whatever car was available two, three or four to a car and headed to the Alameda.

I was not yet on the department, but was still in college. Police School (Now known as Justice Studies.) students had to take a Field Work course taught by then Sgt. Elmer Klein. You joined the Auxiliary Police (predecessor to the Reserves) and put in so many hours on the street with a regular officer. That night, I had worked the Graveyard shift with Larry Hedin.

I joined the posse.

Officer John Mattern had been finishing up a report when the broadcast came out. He also joined the posse. As he was headed west on Santa Clara St., at Stockton, he thought he spotted someone down running across Stockton several blocks down.

Someone spotted the robber just off Stockton near Pershing. Posts were set up at Stockton and Pershing, Stockton and Schiele, Hoover and Pershing and Hoover and Schiele. All hands responded to the area and a search of the area was organized. I was with a group starting at 895 Pershing at Hoover. (More on that later.) We went through the entire house, yard and garage then moved to the next house towards Stockton. About two or three houses later, we heard shots and we all ran towards Stockton. About 10 to 15 shots were heard.

When we all arrived, Officer Hal Chapman was lying in the driveway of a garage facing Stockton.  He had been shot four times.  Officer John Mattern was standing in the driveway.  The robber was lying between two garages with several gunshot holes in him.  He breathed no more.

Hal Chapman had spotted the robber when the robber’s glasses reflected some light. They fired at each other. The robber hit Chapman once in each arm and leg. Hal went down. The robber was then preparing to shoot Chapman again when John Mattern appeared. The robber fired toward Mattern who got off several shots killing the robber. Mattern took one shot through a shirtsleeve, but he himself was not hit.

As we all took a look at the robber, an on-duty Detective joined us, pulled out his 2 inch and emptied it into the robber. (A lot of things were different in those days. Crime scene work was somewhere between “Gunsmoke” and “CSI.”)

As Chapman was being loaded into the ambulance, he said, “Check the ballistics and let me know if I got him.” (If I remember correctly as stated above, it was Mattern that got him.) About that time, Al Chapman, Hal’s younger brother came running up; white as a sheet until he saw Hal and knew he would be all right. (Remember I started with the search at 895 Pershing. Chapman’s family including brother Al resided there. Hal had actually lived there prior to getting married.) Another interesting sidelight: one of the two garages the robber was hiding between belonged to another officer, Charlie Cardona who lived in the corner house.

Another ambulance arrived for the robber’s last ride. One of the drivers, Norval Pulliam, (Remember him, now a retired Lieutenant living in the Sierras) later told me, “I gave him a good bounce off the curb for good measure.”

With it being all over except for reports and such, the Graveyard shift returned to the locker room to finish changing clothes. I went home and changed, and then joined them at one of San Jose’s finest establishments (The Tower Bar) for a beer or two to relax and reflect on the event.

In the aftermath, Chapman returned to duty a month or so later. He got to keep the robber’s pistol, a custom of the day. It was a 9 mm similar to a Browning. The robber also had about 30 rounds in his pocket, so he was prepared for a battle. I was in ROTC and left for Camp Gordon, GA a few weeks later. I got my appointment to the department the following September. Mattern and Chapman later were Detective-Sergeants, then passed the Bar Exam and retired early to go into law practice together. Mattern now lives in retirement. Chapman passed away a few years ago. Larry Hedin was from Minnesota and could not stand Christmas without snow, so a year or so later he resigned and became Chief of Police of Iron Mountain, MN, and later an investigator with the State of Wisconsin. He has since passed away.





Once again, the Association is hosting a BBQ luncheon for wounded military veterans who are being treated at the VA Hospital in Palo Alto. This is an excellent opportunity to show our military veterans just how much we appreciate their service. 

To sign up as a volunteer, or for any questions regarding this event, please contact Tom Scully at 831-331-7275 or by email at: tomscully@comcast.net

Jim Spence





While I have never been accused of being a conspiracy theorist, I do believe that a missile brought down TWA Flight 800 off the coast of Long Island on July 17, 1996, shortly after it began its flight from New York to Paris. And while I also believe the likely cause was terrorism, the possibility exists that it was an accidental missile launch by a U.S. Navy vessel during Naval exercises that were taking place in the North Atlantic that evening, as Pierre Salanger told the press weeks after the tragedy. Salanger was the press secretary to presidents Kennedy and Johnson.

A new documentary titled "TWA Flight 800" is scheduled to air on July 17th on the premium EPIX cable channel. Unfortunately, it appears that the Dish Network and Charter Communications are the only satellite/cable providers in the Bay Area that carry EPIX. Hopefully, the film will become available on the Internet and/or on a DVD.

The film features now-retired NTSB investigators assigned to the Flight 800 crash who claim the FBI covered up the real cause: "an explosion from outside the aircraft." In the meantime, below is a link to a video review of the documentary featuring its director and other participants who appear in the film. If you believe the FBI's explanation that a spark in the center wing tank caused the explosion, this video may change your mind. Or not.
(21 Mins.)




The facts behind the legends, information and
misinformation that has or may show up in your inbox

New Articles

• Did Pat Robertson say that disobedient wives should be spanked by their husbands?

• An update to the case of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the sole American soldier held prisoner by Taliban insurgents.

• Conspiracy rumor claims the U.S. government has purchased a stockpile of 30,000 guillotines.

• Warning about a destructive computer virus known as 'Black Muslim in the White House.'

• A plethora of rumors about the Target chain of retail stores.

• Warning that accepting a friend request from a stranger will provide hackers with access to your computer and online accounts.

• Report that U.S. $1 bills are being circulated with the words "NO GOD BUT ALLAH" stamped on them.

• Photograph purportedly shows a 'radioactive'-looking sinkhole in Philadelphia.

• Video purportedly shows rapper Lil Wayne trampling on a U.S. flag while shooting a music video.

• Image shows a risque shadow in a scene from Toy Story 3. (Adult image warning)

• A gas station attendant warns a female driver about the armed and dangerous man hiding in the back seat of her car.

• Raspberry Ultra Drops: Miracle weight loss solution or Internet scam?

• Judge William Young delivered a stinging rebuke to 'shoe bomber' Richard Reid at his sentencing hearing.

• Don't forget to visit our Daily Snopes page for a collection of odd news stories from around the world!

Worth a Second Look

• Did the bill presented by a famed fix-it man detail the difference between value of work done and value of the knowledge behind it?

Still Haunting the Inbox

• Check out our 25 Hottest Urban Legends list to keep abreast of what's circulating in the on-line world.

Fraud Afoot

• Visit our Top Scams page for a list of schemes commonly used by crooks to separate the unwary from their money.



Don't forget to use the YouTube menu on the lower right to change the screen size to Large or Full

• • • • •

The video quality in this clip isn't the best (it was probably shot with a not-so-smart phone), but Don Hale says you should check out this mom playing the drums to "Wipeout." She sounds like she was cloned from Gene Krupa or Buddy Rich and would definitely be a good replacement drummer for police retiree Mike Amaral's Beach Boys Tribute Band should he ever be in need of one. (4 Mins.)


Mike Amaral is no slouch on the drums, either. Listen to his drum solo that leads into "Wipeout" and segues into some other classics during a gig in Los Gatos a few years ago. (6 Mins.)

Scroll back up to see an updated scheduled for Mike Amaral's
Beach Boys Tribute Band that includes some local venues.


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With an immigration bill in the works we thought it was time again to run this Ray Stevens ditty we received from Chuck Blackmore. (3 Mins.)


Here's another Ray Stevens' song he released in Nov. of last year, just prior to the election. Knowing how influential the Farsider is, we chose not to include it at the time for fear it might impact your vote and the presidential outcome.  ;-) (3 Mins.)


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Look up the word "Cute" in some dictionaries and you are liable to find an Internet link to this clip of a little girl bidding adieu to shoppers on an escalator at a shopping mall. (2 Mins.)


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Hallelujah. A miracle was caught on tape when a yellow Ford cured this crippled man who has just received his disability check.

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The detail of these 100 restored photos (with captions) dating from the Civil War through the early 1900s we received from Jim Silvers is absolutely phenomenal, but you will have to give the web page a few moments to load. You may also have to expand the window to view each photo in its entirety. Whatever it takes, they are well worth a look.

1862 | On the James River in Virginia. "Effect of
Confederate shot on Federal ironclad Galena"



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Stop us if you heard this one.

Too late!

One of our retirees whose initials are KF sent in a tale about a nephew of his who moved from North Dakota to Florida and got a job at one of those huge Costco-like stores that sells just about everything under the sun, except this store had a sales staff on the floor to serve its customers. His first day on the job was rough, but he managed to get through it. At the end of the day his boss came down to the sales floor and asked, "How many customers bought something from you today?"

The nephew looked down at the floor and muttered, "Just one."

"Just one?" the boss said in a loud voice. "Our sales staff sells to 20 to 30 customers a day. One sale a day might be acceptable in North Dakota, but you're not on the farm anymore, son."

The boss saw the nephew's hurt reaction and felt kind of sorry for chewing him out, so he asked in a softer voice, "So how much was your one sale for?"

The nephew looked up at his boss and said, "$101,237.65."

The astonished boss, who wasn't sure he heard right, replied, "101,237.65? What the hell did you sell?"

The nephew said, "Well, at first I sold him some fish hooks, then I sold him a new fishing rod to go with the hooks. Then I asked him where he was going fishing, and he said down the coast. When I told him he was going to need a boat, we went over to the boat department and I sold him a twin-engine Chris Craft and trailer. And when he said he thought his Honda Civic was too small to pull it, I took him over to the automotive department and sold him a Ford Expedition."

"Wait a minute," said the boss. "Are you telling me that a guy came in to buy some fish hooks and you sold him a boat and a truck?"

"Well, no," the nephew replied. "The guy came in to buy some tampons for his wife, and I said, "Dude, your weekend's shot. You should go fishing."

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How cool would it be to have a dog that could really talk like this one? (1 Min.)


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Alice Murphy said she was "Wowed" by this robotic dancer who recently auditioned for America's Got Talent. (4 Mins.)


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We also received from Alice this clip of two Chinese acrobats who display amazing feats of strength and muscle control. (5 Mins.)



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Imagine you work at an animal sanctuary and the plan is to expose a large number of ducks that have lived their lives in a pen to water for the very first time. (2 Mins.)


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Say what you want about David Copperfield, Lance Burton, the late Doug Henning and other famous magicians, but Kevin James also knows his way around the stage when it comes to illusions. Check out this performance a handful of readers sent in. (5 Mins.)


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If Janet Napolitano really wanted to reduce the pain passengers feel going through a long security line at the nation's airports, she would adopt this procedure Israel is working on. According to the report:

The Israelis are developing an airport security booth that eliminates the privacy concerns that come with full-body scanners. It would also ensure there would be no lawsuits about inspectors touching someone's "junk."

It's an armored security booth that does not use X-rays. Instead, it will sniff out and detonate any explosive device that may be on the subject. The Israelis see it as a win-win situation for the public. There will be no racial profiling, and it will eliminate the costs of long expensive trials and associated prison expenses.

So if you find yourself in an Israeli airport and you hear a muffled explosion, you may soon hear this airport announcement:

"Attention all standby passengers. El Al is happy to announce a seat has just become available on Flight 670 to London. Shalom."

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Roger Coen (remember Courtesy Tow?) sent in a link to a CNET web page and video about an Airbus A330 that lost an engine shortly before it became airborne. The June 24th clip was shot by Simon Lowe, an aircraft spotter who provided a humorous lead-in to the video:

Not all the airport excitement is happening in Moscow.

Please imagine that you were one of the 325 happy passengers leaving Manchester, England, on Monday on your way to the Dominican Republic.

You are cheery because the weather in the Dominican is likely to be rather more divine than the weather in Manchester.

Your Airbus 330 (operated by vacation airline Thomas Cook) is picking up speed in order to take you skyward.

And then, perhaps, you are in the "F" seats to the right and you hear a loud bang and espy flames leaping from the engine. You might just offer an "F" or two of your own.

I must confess that, should I have been a passenger on this plane, I might have felt a twinge of anguish that reversed the thrust of my breakfast croissant.


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An included massage alone might make a golf outing at this Coeur d'Alene course worth the time and money, but its movable floating green would be the real draw providing you have a supply of floating golf balls. (6 Mins.)


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If you are a pizza lover like Bruce Morton, have a look at one of the world's top pizza throwers. Watching the video, after all, is a helluva lot cheaper than an airline ticket to New York to visit his shop. (4 Mins.)


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Did you go out and look at last week's Super Moon? Without the regular full Moon to compare it to, you may have been a wee bit disappointed. Here is a young lady from NASA who will tell you in layman's language everything you ever wanted to know about the Super Moon. (5 Mins.)


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This clip received from our resident cat aficionado (Tom Macris) answers the age-old question: "Are cats terrified of vacuum cleaners?" (4 Mins.)


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Have you ever wondered what the other planets in our solar system would look like if they were as close to Earth as the Moon? Of course you haven't. But now that we brought it up, aren't you a little curious? Click on the link below we also received from our retired police artist and it will give you an excellent perspective as to the other planets' size.


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And finally, it's toe-tapping time. Pop open a brewski and let your happy feet go wild while you watch this performance sent in by Chuck Blackmore. Although it was taped in Friborg, Germany, many of the singers are from Switzerland. The show is typical of many performances available to tourists who visit the Continent. (8 Mins.)


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Pic of the Week

Ladies: Please scroll no further. This week's photo received from
our illustrious PBA President deals strictly with Cop Humor...


Scrolling Box

This is the message box, using the scroller component.



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