The continuing adventures of Beau Yarbrough

My most-popular stories of 2019

Wednesday, January 1, 2020, 14:45
Section: Journalism
Messages for Diego were left Wednesday, Sept. 25, outside Landmark Middle School in Moreno Valley. The 13-year-old student was attacked on campus on Sept. 16, 2019, and later died. (Photo by Beau Yarbrough/The Press-Enterprise/SCNG)

For all you metrics nerds, I’m looking at total engagement minutes.

1. Scandia fun park in Ontario sold, will not reopen as an amusement park

2. Gov. Newsom visits Ridgecrest after declaring state of emergency after 2 major earthquakes

3. Los Osos High band teacher dies by suicide after learning of police investigation, officials say

4. Los Osos High band teacher accused of soliciting sexually explicit photos, videos from students

5. Student dies 9 days after campus attack at Moreno Valley Landmark Middle School

6. Expert for La Verne school’s legal team says 12-year-old special needs student was willing participant in sexual abuse

7. Life is tough in Trona – and a pair of earthquakes just made it tougher

8. Family of Diego, boy who died after Landmark Middle School assault, takes legal action; says he was bullied

9. Moreno Valley OKs marijuana dispensary over objections from landlord, neighbors

10. Upland mom accused of killing 1 child, tossing another from a second-story landing, pleads not guilty

Not a barrel of laughs in 2019. Here’s hoping 2020 turns out better.

iPod Top 100: 2018

Tuesday, January 1, 2019, 17:25
Section: Arts & Entertainment

The name makes increasingly less sense as time goes on, and iPods join Walkmen as museum pieces, but the name is traditional at this point.

Daddy Issues

1. “Glue Sniffer” – Daddy Issues
2. “Make Me Feel” – Janelle Monáe
3. “Best Friend” – Sofi Tukker
4. “When the Tequila Runs Out” – Dawes
5. “Lucky Penny” – JD McPherson
6. “Hope the High Road” – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
7. “Wild and Reckless” – Blitzen Trapper
8. “Bikini” – Caroline Rose
9. “Kill of the Night” – Gin Wigmore
10. “Oldest Surfer on the Beach” – Jimmy Buffett
11. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” – Metalachi
12. “Island Song” – Adventure Time and Ashley Ericksson
13. “Hunt You Down” – The Hit House
14. “Flower of the Universe” – Sade
15. “Today is the Day” – The Eels
16. “Run to Your Mama” – Goat
17. “California Love” – 2Pac
18. “You Will Be Free” – The Thermals
19. “Matador” – The Buttertones
20. “Jenny Loves the Sun” – Dead Coast
21. “Bomb (Girly-Sound Version)” – Liz Phair
22. “Livin’ On a Prayer” – Metalachi
23. “Kelp Monster” – Babewatch
24. “Swedish Fish” – Bombón
25. “Suckerfish (Girly-Sound Version)” – Liz Phair


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.


Copyright © Beau Yarbrough, all rights reserved
Veritas odit moras.