The continuing adventures of Beau Yarbrough

My most popular stories of 2018

Tuesday, January 1, 2019, 16:08
Section: Journalism
Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin, at podium, takes questions from the media at a news conference regarding the couple accused of starving and torturing their 13 children in Riverside, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. Authorities say David and Louise Turpin could face charges including torture and child endangerment. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

These are the stories readers engaged with the most in 2018, according to, which is the software that the Southern California News Group uses to track reader engagement.

Once again, they’re mostly bad news. We write good news stories, but it’s the grim stuff that gets the most eyeballs, for multiple reasons.

10. Victorville prison where immigrant detainees held built atop toxic Superfund site

9. San Bernardino County settles for $390,000 with families of girls arrested to ‘teach them a lesson’

8. Why 7 Rialto Unified teachers were reported to credentialing authority over past 5 years

7. Lawsuit claims Moreno Valley Unified officials, PTA leaders tried to cover up sexual assault of special-needs third-grader

6. Police records: Upland council candidate Rudy Zuñiga is Vagos outlaw motorcycle gang member

5. Physical abuse, inappropriate contact get 3 Apple Valley Unified teachers reported to state credentialing authority

4. 4 Rancho Cucamonga students have committed suicide since start of school year

3. Artificial turf fields are failing across Southern California, costing millions. Here’s why.

2. Chino church mourns after pastor’s suicide

1. Parents in Perris torture case charged, plead not guilty; DA says kids were beaten, allowed one shower a year

Journalists generally shy away from stories about suicide, due to the very real, if somewhat surprising (at least to me), threat of suicide contagion. But the situation in Rancho Cucamonga, and then Chino, was so serious and already the topic of rumor and speculation that we felt we had to tackle it, both to put the actual facts out there as well as provide context and resources.

I’m pretty proud of the results. And I plan to return to the topic again in 2019, with a somewhat ambitious, months-in-the-making follow-up on the issue. Stay tuned.

Books read, 2018

Tuesday, January 1, 2019, 15:46
Section: Arts & Entertainment
I got fewer books read this year than I’d like. That’s partly because things got busy at times, but also because the final two Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser books — Swords & Ice Magic and The Knight and Knave of Swords — are real slogs. Like Heinlein, toward the end of his life, Leiber was probably over-sharing about his sexual proclivities, making for dissatisfying adventure stories that are also impressively anti-erotic. I’m glad that I read them, but I’d never recommend the last two or three of those books to others.

The book club with my son included The One and Only Ivan, which is set to be a Disney movie in the coming years, I believe, and was a really great book assigned at school. We also read Traveler: The Spiral Path, the illustrated version of the first Harry Potter novel, the House with a Clock in Its Walls, and Squirm all of which we enjoyed.

My goal for 2019 is 19 books, which makes it easy to remember.

  1. Jan. 22: The Big Sleep
  2. Feb. 16: Swords and Ice Magic
  3. March 15: The One and Only Ivan
  4. April 9: The Hobbit
  5. April 10: Traveler: The Spiral Path
  6. May 18: Mort
  7. June 24: The Adventure Time Encyclopedia
  8. June 24: Empire of Blue Water
  9. July 23: A Closed and Common Orbit
  10. Aug. 15: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (illustrated edition)
  11. Sept. 1: Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen
  12. Sept. 22: The House with a Clock in its Walls
  13. Sept. 30: It Devours!
  14. Nov. 27: Squirm
  15. Dec. 27: Record of a Spaceborn Few
  16. Dec. 28: World of Warcraft: Chronicle 3
  17. Dec. 31: The Knight and Knave of Swords

Blast from the past:

Sunday, November 11, 2018, 20:14
Section: Geek screenshot

With the release of the Spyro Reignited Trilogy on Tuesday, I went and dusted off a website I first created in 1998 and haven’t updated since 2003:

The site has the same hints from 1998 through 2003 about Spyro the Dragon, Spyro: Enter the Dragon and Spyro: Year of the Dragon, although I updated the web page background (it turns out most users have a screen width larger than 1300 characters wide now) and updated the Amazon links on the store. (Fifteen years is along time to expect those links to remain viable on Amazon.)

One person counseled me to fully update the site to modern standards, but there’s something fun to me about the 1998 Web aesthetic, the animated Harry Potter knock-off logo, etc. Hopefully others feel the same way and, more importantly, still find it useful in 2018 and beyond.

The media does not like mass shootings

Thursday, February 22, 2018, 9:11
Section: Journalism

iPod Top 100: 2017

Monday, January 1, 2018, 11:59
Section: Arts & Entertainment

Because the unexamined musical taste is not worth indulging.

And yes, a lot of stuff off of soundtracks this year, along with stuff I was listening to on KROQ when I moved to Los Angeles 20 years ago this past August. Nostalgia is a hell of a drug.

I hope there will be more looking forward musically in 2018, rather than looking back.

1. “Love Is” – Dude York
2. “You’ll Never Walk Alone” – Dropkick Murphys
3. “I Love Rock ‘N Roll” – Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
4. “Talk to Me” – Run the Jewels
5. “I Love Seattle” – Tacocat
6. “Nowhere to Run” – Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
7. “Big Time” – Peter Gabriel
8. “Fight the Power” – Public Enemy
9. “The Power” – Sweet Spirit
10. “Love” – Lana Del Rey
11. “Add It Up” – Violent Femmes
12. “Little Blue World” – Jeremy Messersmith
13. “Morning Glory (iTunes Live: London Festival)” – Oasis
14. “Everywhere” – Ex Hex
15. “Gamma Knife” – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
16. “Cigarettes & Alcohol” – Oasis
17. “Fox on the Run” – The Sweet
18. “Blister in the Sun” – Violent Femmes
19. “Der Kommissar” – After the Fire
20. “Immigrant Song” – Led Zeppelin
21. “Don’t Look Back in Anger” – Oasis
22. “Baby Driver” – Simon & Garfunkel
23. “Hazy Shade of Winter” – The Bangles
24. “The End of Things” – Bob Mould
25. “Nightmare” – Bruise Violet



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Veritas odit moras.