“You put in other details”

The news is making me so sad right now. We have any number of terrible apologies we could talk about, but instead, can we focus on a good one? (I realize we’ve had a lot of good apologies on the site lately. I DO NOT APOLOGIZE.)

This lovely apology is from Letters of Note, a delightful web site (and now a gorgeously published, oversized, heavy-papered, art-filled thick book) by Shaun Usher that looks at “fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos” — often with scans and photos of the letters in question. (The book features new content as well as posts from the site.)

This delightful letter was sent to the Royal Australian Air Force’s Rocket Range at Woomera.


Fifty two (52) years later, Denis got a reply. It begins with a fine apology for tardiness.

Australian Government
Department of Defence
Defence Science and
Technology Organisation

Mr Denis Cox


Dear Mr Cox, 

I would like to thank you for your letter we received on 20th Oct. 1957 regarding the design of your rocketship. I apologise for the late response to your letters. You will appreciate, that as you requested “A Top Scientist” that uses the “WOOMERA ROCKET RANGE” it took a little while for your letter to get to me and in addition, it took some time to provide due consideration to your ideas. 

Go read the whole charming reply at Letters of Note. Here’s the conclusion: 

I remember as a boy designing rocket ships and planes at about the same time that you wrote your letter. I don’t know why or how, but somehow I was lucky enough to get to a position where I now head a team that designs planes and engines that will soon fly at Mach 8, or around 9000km/hr. I am proud to tell you that these planes will have an “AUSTRALIAN MARKING” on them as you indicated they should have. My one hope is that we do a sufficiently good job that is worthy of the inspiration, dreams and hopes that you provided in your letter those many years ago. 

Once again, thank you for your letter. 


Allan Paul BSc PhD MEngSc
Research Leader Applied Hypersonics
Air Vehicles Division

Thank you, nice scientists (and authors and artists and public servants) who write back to children. Even belatedly.


wee dreamy scientific spawn of snarly

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SorryWatch Reads: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

file92862-300x450Rainbow Rowell is best known for her young adult novels, Eleanor & Park (one of the best YA novels I have ever read) and Fangirl (which many people like even more than Eleanor & Park, and which my 12-year-old daughter will kill me soon for not having read). I have Rowell’s new grownup book, Landline, but because I am contrary (HA HA 12-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER I HAVEN’T READ THE FAULT IN OUR STARS EITHER COME AT ME BRO) I decided to read her 2011 grownup e-pistolary novel Attachments instead.

Attachments is fluffy historical fiction, set in 1999, when everyone was in a tizzy about the impending Y2K global meltdown that did not happen. Continue reading

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A fab sports apology! It’s like a beautiful unicorn!

This is our fourth post in a row about a GOOD apology. A SorryWatch record!

Republican political strategist Mark McKinnon has said he’s sorry to cyclist Greg LeMond for repeatedly slurring his name and career. It’s not the best apology on the planet (it’s no Klosterman), but it’s pretty dang fine.

Trust me. I have a hat.

Trust me. I have a hat.

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Alas for human dignity, it was a burrito

Photo: randy stewart. http://www.flickr.com/photos/stewtopia/3357792218/ Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike Generic 2.0 license.

Insert burrito joke here.

Ugly stuff is and has been happening in Ferguson, Missouri. People were talking about it on Twitter the other night. Nate Silver, noted statistician, and now editor of the FiveThirtyEight blog for ESPN, joined in with an apercu about police use of force. Against Nate Silver.

As reported in New York magazine’s “Daily Intelligencer,” it took eight tweets to tell the story. And get him one heap o’ scorn.

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Posted in Apologies and the Law, Media Apologies, Twitpologies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Takei’s sorry


"George Takei" by Diane Krauss (DianeAnna) - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:George_Takei.jpg#mediaviewer/File:George_Takei.jpg

Most able-fingered people don’t realize what it’s like when your fingers are stuck like that.

George Takei posts fun stuff on Facebook daily, mostly photos with amusing captions. It’s working out – he’s got nearly seven and a half million Likes. People like his stuff who aren’t even Trekkies.

You can’t please everybody all the time. You can’t even please 7.5 million people all the time. So Takei’s used to complaints about this or that image. He took it in stride when people complained about a recent post. This was a photo of a woman standing up in front of a wheelchair so she could reach a high shelf in a liquor display.




The joke was that apparently she didn’t need the wheelchair since she could stand perfectly well when she saw something she wanted, like booze.

But that’s not how it works.

Continue reading

Posted in Apologies and Alcohol, Good apologies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Watching apologies in real time!

This morning, the web site Jezebel put up a post calling out its upper management. The post was headlined We Have a Rape Gif Problem and Gawker Media Won’t Do Anything About It. Basically, misogynist trolls have been posting multiple images of gruesome rapes and violence against women in Jezebel’s comments section, over and over, in bulk. With the site’s current commenting software, Kinja, the only way to get rid of these comments has been to hunt them down and manually delete them…but still they return, over and over, like swallows returning to Capistrano or syphilitic sores on the tiny tiny weiners of the fellows who think that threatening women is funny.

Wrote Jezebel’s editors: Continue reading

Posted in Belated Apologies, Bropology, Corporate Apologies, Good apologies, Media Apologies, Social Media Apologies, Twitpologies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A 13-year-old girl ponders…

Screen-Shot-2014-06-26-at-9.49.06-AMThis self-assured young blogger examines the research on why women apologize much more often than men do.

I hope she runs the world one day.

Posted in Youth apologizes | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Didn’t exactly mean it about the genocide

Let’s start with the apology:

I wish to express deep regret and beg forgiveness for an article I authored which was posted on 5TJT.com, Times of Israel and was tweeted and shared the world over.
I never intended to call to harm any people although my words may have conveyed that message.
With that said I pray and hope for a quick peaceful end to the hostilities and that all people learn to coexist with each other in creating a better world for us all.
Yochanan Gordon

It’s unclear what he’s apologizing for. In some way he seemed to have called to harm some people in some way?

Yochanan Gordon

Yochanan Gordon

Here’s what’s clear: HE’S SO VIRAL! His article was posted two places and then it was TWEETED AROUND THE WORLD!!! It was SHARED AROUND THE WORLD!!! He’s hotter than a pistol!

Gordon, who grew up in Brooklyn, achieved this feat by writing an op-ed blog post (not an article) on the Times of Israel site, headlined “When Genocide is Permissible.”

(By the way? Never.)

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All right, already

In Washington state, ferry boats are vital transportation for a serious number of people. It’s the biggest ferry operation in the US, third biggest in the world.

Photo: Benjamin Cody. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

The Walla Walla looking all innocent.

Washington State Ferries (WSF) is run by the state Department of Transportation and had 22.5 million total riders in 2013. The busiest line is Seattle to Bainbridge Island, and that had 6.3 million total riders. It carried 60,000 people a day.

So cool.

Last week the Tacoma, on the Seattle-Bainbridge route, lost power. The Walla Walla had to handle everybody by itself. (There were other fleet problems which limited the number of ferries available.) The Coast Guard, which gets to say how many people it’s safe for a boat to carry in a given situation, said the Walla Walla might carry 1,200 per trip. It can carry 2,000 people (and 200 cars), but the Coasties’ number was based on the Walla Walla‘s 600 life raft seats and the plan that if things really went pear-shaped, the nearby Sealth would take the remaining 600.

All right, that’s handled. Nice to know we’re in good hands.

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Posted in Bad Apologies, Government Apologies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

There are no words. Apparently. Just Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam!

Photo: Screen grab from ABC news.

Lisa Marie Alarcon. Just wants to be your teddy bear.

In April 2012, as Steve and Paula Alarcon were sleeping, someone fired five shots through the bedroom window, hitting them in the legs. Steve Alarcon wasn’t able to walk for months. Paula Alarcon did better, once the risk of bleeding to death was past.

It was hard for them, especially since the first person who rushed to their aid, a neighbor, said he had seen the shooter, and it was their daughter, Lisa Marie.

Continue reading

Posted in Apologies and the Law, The Mechanics of Apology, True Crime Apologies | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments