Don Tollefson’s Last Stand

Photography by Wesley Mann

Photography by Wesley Mann

She kept Don inside. His mother wanted him to study. She wouldn’t let him be like them, those other kids who got into trouble. Don rarely saw his father — his parents had separated. So the boy would spend hours in his bedroom in San Francisco, playing endless games with his baseball cards: Dodgers-Giants, over and over. He’d go out into the tiny backyard of their small house near Lake Merced and re-create the ’60 Olympics. With string, he’d make a high jump. A broad jump. A track around the perimeter. That’s how he spent his childhood. In fantasy. Alone.

He did what he was told, and he earned the A’s his mother demanded. She taught piano, at the Conservatory. Sometimes, on her days off, they’d go for drives down the Peninsula together. His brother Arthur was 10 years older, and had gotten into Stanford. Arthur was gone, just like Don’s father. Don was student body president of his high school. He was accepted at Stanford, just like his brother, at 16. He was sure he could make his mother proud.
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Well, at Least Donald Sterling Doesn’t Talk in Code

One of the most fascinating things about the Internet is the way it uncovers how many bigots lie in our midst every day. Especially since most of my columns are centered on the tender subjects of race and class, a quick scroll to the bottom of the page here or here or here (nope, it’s not just the that serves as venue space for digital Klan meetings), and you can see what I’m talking about. It’s not just about your standard differences in opinion; it’s a fundamental belief system that, as the late great Michael Jackson once said, is “too high to get over, and too low to get under.”

The fact that bigotry generally hides in plain sight is one of the reasons LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling is such a fascinating oddity, a walking, talking, living relic of just how staunchly committed a certain type of person can be to their indefensible racism and prejudice. His absurdity was laid bare in his recent interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, where he said he was not a racist and that he was with Cooper “to apologize and to ask for forgiveness for all the people” he hurt.

Minutes later: “Here is a man who acts so holy,” he said of Magic Johnson, the man featured in the photo with Sterling’s friend V. Stiviano. “I mean, he made love to every girl in every city in America and he has AIDS.”

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The Ultimate Philadelphia Klout Ranking


Klout, Inc. was founded in San Francisco in 2009. It measures online influence by using data from Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, WordPress and a bunch of other social media platforms. Each user is assigned a Klout score on a scale from one to 100. The higher your score, the more influence you are said to have online.

Many Internet aficionados are skeptical or downright dismissive of Kloutjoin them at your own risk. Marketers and major companies take the very basic web analytic very seriously.

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Requiem for a Meme: Bob Costas’ Pink Eye

The 2014 Winter Olympics just became a whole lot less entertaining with the announcement that Matt Lauer will replace Bob Costas in the main anchor chair for a day. Costas’s infected left eye quickly became the star of Sochi and the source of fountain of entertainment on Twitter. There are at least a dozen handles and five hashtags paying homage to Costas’s affliction. And the tweets have been more entertaining than the games.

When the infection worsened and spread to the right eye, both NBC and Costas agreed, for the good of America and the world, it was time for a new host (if only temporarily). In memory of Bob’s red, swollen, half-open oozing eyes, here now is a sampling of the best tweets of the past few days.

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Would Bob Costas Be On TV With Pink Eye If He Were a Woman?


If you haven’t been tuning in to NBC’s Olympics 2014 coverage, then you might now know that veteran Olympics anchor Bob Costas has been showing up for work every day with a nasty little eye infection. Since last Thursday, he’s been broadcasting his pus-filled, crusty eye to the millions of people tuning in for his Olympics recaps. Read more »

Action News Does Great Job Helping Residents Without Power, Reports Action News


Like many of you, I’ve been watching more local TV news over the past few weeks. It’s been cold and snowy and icy and fewer people are going out — and there’s nothing on TV, ever. Yesterday had by far my favorite piece of news coverage since… well, since Karen Hepp’s doom-and-gloom rant earlier that day. It came from Action News:

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TV Ratings Don’t Lie: Winners and Losers in Yesterday’s Weather Wars


The biggest ratings days of the year for local TV are bad weather days. That’s why the entire weather team comes in, coverage is expanded through the day and poor reporters are standing in the snow trying to come up with something new to say for their 17th live report of the day.

So which station and which weather team does Philadelphia turn to with the year’s biggest snowstorm barreling towards the area? The answer is in the ratings. And the answer is…

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