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[P]
Dave Thomas, Dead at 69

By Defect in News
Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 02:59:15 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy's fast food stores, died today (Tuesday 01/08/02) of an undisclosed cause. For those not in the US, Wendy's is one of the 3 main burger+ chains in the US, and for decades we've seen Dave Thomas, himself, pitching new styles of sandwich on tv, giving Wendy's this we're-not-really-just-here-to-take-your-money feel, which, as most anyone can attest, always made Wendy's feel like more of a down-to-earth place to eat.

I was hoping i'd be able to enjoy Dave Thomas' commercials with my children, and their children, but I will never have the chance to do so. The closest I've ever gotten was watching a commercial describing the bacon cheddar melt with my dog. And it wasn't even my dog.

Dave, sir, you'll be missed.


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Dave Thomas, Dead at 69 | 47 comments (46 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
Uh huh... (2.37 / 8) (#1)
by RareHeintz on Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 12:30:53 PM EST

Defect sez:

...we've seen Dave Thomas, himself, pitching new styles of sandwich on tv, giving Wendy's this we're-not-really-just-here-to-take-your-money feel, which, as most anyone can attest, always made Wendy's feel like more of a down-to-earth place...
Yes, some of my fondest memories of dining out came from Wendy's... the fine cuisine, the cheerful service...

</sarcasm>

I say this with love in my heart: Defect, what the hell are you talking about?

OK,
- B
--
http://www.bradheintz.com/ - updated kind of daily

Read the article, fool. (3.87 / 8) (#4)
by Anonymous 6522 on Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 12:42:07 PM EST

I say this with love in my heart: Defect, what the hell are you talking about?

He's talking about Wendys, the most fantabulous fast food burger joint in the world.

[ Parent ]

CHRIST. are you people never happy? (3.91 / 12) (#5)
by Defect on Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 12:44:18 PM EST

I spend hours on the last article, and people just their undies all in a bunch because of one little fuckin' word in the title, and then all those god damned people in other "countries" get all piss shitty saying they don't know who dave thomas is.

And now you, you bitch at me for loving the man we all wanted to be.

Why don't you go kick me in the nuts next, eh?
defect - jso - joseth || a link
[ Parent ]
You're crazy, RH (2.66 / 3) (#13)
by broken77 on Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 03:53:43 PM EST

I can't believe you don't love Dave. He was a wonderful man! Can't you see that from watching his commercials? I mean, yes, he was trying to sell us his product, and appearing on TV was a marketing ploy, like any other one, but who cares? He was so likeable!

Are you going to suggest, too, that you don't like Mom, of "Mom's old-fashioned robot oil"? I mean... It's "Made with 10% more love than the next leading brand"! Don't you love Mom, RH? Don't you?

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

First Wendy's Experience (3.33 / 3) (#2)
by wiredog on Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 12:31:31 PM EST

Back in 6th grade, so it would have been in 1977. Ahhh, for the days when I was growing vertically, rather than horizontally, and could order a Triple, Frosty, and Fries.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
Medical reasons? (3.71 / 7) (#6)
by jabber on Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 12:55:44 PM EST

Thomas had been undergoing dialysis for a kidney problem since early 2001, and had quadruple heart bypass surgery in December 1996.

Live by the sword, die by the sword.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

Cancer (2.00 / 1) (#31)
by delmoi on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 02:44:32 AM EST

Hrm, seems he died of cancer. Which isn't caused by fast food...
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
Depends (3.00 / 1) (#42)
by jabber on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 11:08:14 PM EST

Fried and flamed foods, especially caramelized fat and protein, certainly is a carcinogen. Anything burnt is too. So are the plethora of additives and hormones found in industrial beef. Also things boiled in oil.

I don't know what he dies of, and it really doesn't matter to me. He was a good man, above and beyond being a fast food mogul.

I just had a nicely blackenned piece of rib-eye for supper.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Not without controversy, though (3.75 / 4) (#7)
by vambo rool on Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 01:02:29 PM EST

James A. Rhodes, former governor of Ohio, was a controlling shareholder of Wendy's in the 70s and 80s (and probably 90s as well). You may remember Rhodes as the man who ordered the National Guard to the campus of Kent State University where they shot and killed four students. Rhodes also used his office to shamelessly (and shamefully) promote Wendys products. Wendys products were boy cotted for a very long time as a result of this.

Rhodes died earlier this year.



If you'll notice ... (4.25 / 4) (#21)
by Kalani on Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 08:36:04 PM EST

... Dave Thomas's name was not "James A. Rhodes." If there's any controversy, it should belong to the late Mr. Rhodes, not Dave Thomas. Rhodes owned shares of Wendy's. He did not own shares of Dave Thomas.

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
Thank you ... (2.60 / 5) (#22)
by vambo rool on Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 09:09:24 PM EST

...for pointing out the blindingly obvious.

Wendy's founder and president: Dave Thomas. Wendy's controlling shareholder: James Rhodes. Sure, they have absolutely nothing to do with each other. In fact, they probably never met.

Thomas probably had no idea in the world that Rhodes used the state house to sell Wendy's hamburgers. Nope, no idea at all.

Next time I'm confused about anything, I'll be sure to ask.



[ Parent ]
it's not so much about wendys.. (3.00 / 3) (#28)
by rebelcool on Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 10:46:57 PM EST

as it is the cultural impact of dave thomas. Yes this will bring up 'wendys memories' (so far, none have stood out to me..yeah I like them and all, but its not like I lost my virginity in the bathroom there)

Rather the guy made admittedly cheesy, occasionally amusing commercials which he himself appeared in each and every one of them. They werent uproariously funny, just kind of homely.

And since I saw him in commercials just this week, who knew he was really ill? What a terrible shock that we'll never see the homely guy we all wish was our uncle again. It'll be weird seeing a wendys commercial (and they do show alot) without him.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Clara Peller (2.50 / 2) (#34)
by vambo rool on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 11:00:05 AM EST

he himself appeared in each and every one of them
Don't forget Clara "Where's the beef?" Peller. A phrase that was added to the national lexicon. There were also the early commercials before the chain went national that used that "Wendy" character, which, I think, was modelled on, and named after, his daughter.



[ Parent ]
Uh, but you are still confused ... (2.00 / 3) (#29)
by Kalani on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 12:58:03 AM EST

This story is not about Mr. Rhodes. If you'd like to make an issue out of his past, start a story about him. Unless you have some kind of evidence against Mr. Thomas that demonstrates collusion with Mr. Rhodes, your entire outburst is irrelevant. Do you also hold bin Laden's brothers and sisters accountable for his terrorist activity?

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
Who's confused? (1.66 / 3) (#33)
by vambo rool on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 10:44:22 AM EST

I never said it was about Rhodes. It's about Wendy's.

A man and the company he founded are inseparable. When and if Bill Gates ever dies, will his obituary not mention Microsoft? Will it not mention Microsoft's battles with the Justice Department?



[ Parent ]
If it does it may or may not be relevant ... (2.50 / 2) (#38)
by Kalani on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 05:47:10 PM EST

... to Bill's life. Although a company can be started by one person, it is not representative of one person when it reaches such a monolithic scale. Of course the man and the company can be separated. For a case closer to the technical community, look at Ars Digita and Phil Greenspun.

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
Disagree (3.00 / 1) (#41)
by vambo rool on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 10:49:42 PM EST

I guess I'll have to disagree with that one. In my experience, as long as the company founder is still head of the company, the company will reflect the "personality" of the founder and operate much as the individual would.

Sometimes it's even spooky.



[ Parent ]
I see... (none / 0) (#45)
by Kalani on Thu Jan 10, 2002 at 08:42:17 PM EST

I guess you aren't familiar with Greenspun and Ars Digita (or Apple after the expulsion of Jobs).

But OK, let's just agree to disagree ...

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
After (none / 0) (#46)
by vambo rool on Thu Jan 10, 2002 at 10:00:59 PM EST

I'm familiar with Philip Greenspun but not Ars Digita. But what I said was "as long as the company founder is still head of the company" so whatever Apple was like after Jobs left is irrelevant but while Jobs is head of Apple (both before and now), it does apply. As counter examples, look at Wang Labs (before Dr. Wang's death, of course), Digital Equipment Corp (Ken Olson), Fidelity Investments (Ned Johnson), Oracle (Larry Ellison), Microsoft (Bill Gates), Dell (Michael Dell), &c. Each of these companies operate in much the same way as their founders.

[ Parent ]
What do you mean ... (none / 0) (#47)
by Kalani on Fri Jan 11, 2002 at 01:42:54 AM EST

... that they operate in "the same way as their founders?"

If you mean that the company's general overall strategy is a reflection of the thought process of the founder, I remind you that this thread started as a question of whether or not Dave Thomas was responsible (or linked to) the actions of one majority shareholder of his corporation. I will concede that the overall business strategy is set by the company's creator, but if Dave Thomas had a strategy similar to what Rhodes's, we would have seen MANY more cases like that (according to your "companies operate in much the same way as their founders" comment that I've interpreted).

Also, I'm sorry for responding too quickly to your previous message.

-----
"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
Liver cancer (4.40 / 5) (#8)
by rebelcool on Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 01:18:34 PM EST

CNN Article says he was fighting liver cancer.

Also names a number of his non-hamburger accomplishments, such as his foundation for adopting children (Dave himself was adopted).

+1 section, because unless you've been living under a rock somewhere, or are just a generally miserable person, everyone in america at the very least has seen and been amused by his commercials.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site

commercials (3.00 / 1) (#12)
by BehTong on Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 03:48:44 PM EST

Well, I've never actually seen his commercials (I haven't watched TV for 10 years, bite me), but nevertheless, I have read the stuff they put on your tray, with Dave's big smiling face, and I've always loved Wendy's ever since I started college. Beats MacDonald's any day. The taco salad is simply awesome.

Beh Tong Kah Beh Si!
[ Parent ]

Not really. (1.50 / 2) (#16)
by quartz on Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 04:05:03 PM EST

Well, I've never seen any, and I do fall under the category "everyone in america" (sic). What, is that a crime or something? There are no rocks that I can see in or above my apartment, it's just that of all the advertising media out there, the Internet is the only one I use where I occasionally pay attention to advertisement (I got used to ignore junk mail and highway panels). And I haven't seen a single Wendy's commercial on the Web yet. Just out of curiosity, how exactly does that make me a miserable person?



--
Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke, and fuck 'em even if they can.
[ Parent ]
really really (3.50 / 2) (#17)
by sopwath on Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 04:16:47 PM EST

You are a miserable person because you never watched television when you were a kid. It's great that you are so plugged in to the internet, but you obviously missed all the great cartoons of the mid 80's.

good luck,
sopwath


Graduation, Sleep, Life: Pick Two
[ Parent ]
Cartoons? (3.50 / 2) (#35)
by rusty on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 12:29:16 PM EST

When I was a kid, Wendy's had the "Where's the beef?" lady in its commercials. Then there was the super-creepy plastic haired "Wendy" chick, then finally (during college, I think, maybe late high school) glorious, reassuring, totally unprofessional Dave.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Spoke at my school once (4.42 / 7) (#9)
by karb on Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 01:56:05 PM EST

He was adopted as a child, and was a big adoption advocate. I think he wrote a book or two and gave the proceeds to charity. All around, a great guy. A co-worker and I dined at his fine instutition in memoranium (sp?) today. See ya, dave.
--
Who is the geek who would risk his neck for his brother geek?
Commercials Might go on (3.33 / 3) (#10)
by natael on Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 02:52:44 PM EST

I was hoping i'd be able to enjoy Dave Thomas' commercials with my children, and their children, but I will never have the chance to do so.
For at least the past several years they have been using look-alike actors to play Dave T. in commercials because he believed he was getting to old to do them.

So you might yet see commercials with your children, and your children's children, unless Wendys decides it would be in poor taste to keep filming commercials featuring a dead guy (yeah right).

"We walk in the dark places others fear to enter." - Marcus Cole
Watch Babylon 5: Legend of the Ranger

I don't think so (4.00 / 1) (#23)
by theR on Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 09:11:35 PM EST

This sounds like an urban legend to me, especially considering the Guinness Book of World Records lists him as holding the record for most appearances in commercials. There is an article dating August 21, 2000, that mentions his nearly 800 commercial credits.

I never heard anything about anyone else doing the commercials, and I would guess that such a legend could easily have started whenever it was that he lost all that weight.



[ Parent ]
yeah (4.00 / 1) (#27)
by rebelcool on Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 10:41:45 PM EST

a few years back wendys held a look-alike contest that gave someone the chance to appear in a commercial with the real dave thomas. It probably came from that.

COG. Build your own community. Free, easy, powerful. Demo site
[ Parent ]

Heh (none / 0) (#30)
by fluffy grue on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 01:10:58 AM EST

That's the same way the whole Paul McCartney thing got started too.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Restaurant chains (3.66 / 3) (#11)
by yosemite on Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 03:34:46 PM EST

Wendy's is one of the 3 main burger+ chains in the US
Presumably the others are Burger King and McDonalds...

Check out this link to see a list of restaurants ranked by worldwide sales.

Interesting to see that Starbucks is down at #57, given that you can't hardly swing an empty coffee cup without hitting one these days. I guess there's only so much money you can make selling $2 coffees, though...

--
[Signature redacted]

Starbucks comment (3.00 / 1) (#15)
by JonesBoy on Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 04:03:12 PM EST

>Interesting to see that Starbucks is down at #57

Yeah, but they don't even sell food! We are talking about warm flavored water! OK, it has caffene, but think about this. They beat out some of the theme restaurants that sell beer!

Danm.
Speeding never killed anyone. Stopping did.
[ Parent ]
Got anything more recent? (3.00 / 1) (#18)
by ghjm on Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 05:39:45 PM EST

I bet if you could find the same list for 2001, Quizno's would be in the top 20 or 30. They must have broken Subway's records for the fastest-growing franchise by now. Anyone have any more recent info?

[ Parent ]
More recent data (3.50 / 2) (#19)
by yosemite on Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 06:33:06 PM EST

Anyone have any more recent info?
I didn't notice until I had already posted that the numbers I linked to were from 1996. I googled around a bit, and found the numbers for 2000 (1-200, 201-400)

Starbucks managed to climb to #25. Not bad for pastries and expensive coffee on every corner.

Quizno's would be in the top 20 or 30
#116.

Looking at the list is actually kind of weird. Some places that I haven't seen in ages (Hardee's, #14 or Little Caesears #16 for example) are really high on the list.



--
[Signature redacted]

[ Parent ]

Woo hoo! (3.00 / 1) (#36)
by rusty on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 12:41:57 PM EST

Dunkin Donuts is #13! Sorry, my Dad's worked for them forever, and they're easily my favorite fast food chain. I have a very personal interest in the success of Dunkin Donuts.

I'm actually kind of surprised it's that high, given that in my experience, the ones outside of New England generally suck. Maybe the rest of the country just doesn't realize how much better they could be...

And about Arby's and Hardee's -- if you drive long distances regularly, you'll understand why those are there. One or the other is in nearly every highway rest area in the country.

I also note that Chick-Fil-A is #30. I'm also surprised, as they have a fairly limited area too. I wish they'd come up here. Their chicken sandwiches are glorious.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Krispy Kreme in the 70's (3.00 / 1) (#40)
by wiredog on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 08:47:31 PM EST

And they're much better than Dunkin Donuts. Swing by the bakery in Alexandria VA of a cold winters morning. Ahhhh, the smell.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
"aah the smell..." (none / 0) (#44)
by scorpion on Thu Jan 10, 2002 at 08:04:26 PM EST

Your right, after the smell your sure to be sick!!! I have been to the KK in Alexandria, Va several times since the 70's (I don't think they have cleaned the place since then have they?) , the last being last year and I don't think it is "worth the trip" as they say at Dunkin'. But then I may be a little bias :-)



[ Parent ]

Dunkin' / Baskin Robbins / Togo's.... (none / 0) (#43)
by scorpion on Thu Jan 10, 2002 at 07:58:47 PM EST

You'll note that they are 13th, 35th and 139th respectfully. We are all under one management and handle all three brands in our daily jobs. Nothing to sneeze at !!! Of course in New England DD is bigger that McDonalds!! How about the company Fosters Freeze out of San Luis Obispo? was that why Rusty was in the Calif market last year? On a secret mission....



[ Parent ]

The mythical Outback replacing the mythical Wild W (3.00 / 1) (#26)
by cam on Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 10:21:11 PM EST

Number 29 Outback Steakhouse, Tampa, Fla. 1,077.0

I have been to an Outback Steakhouse, it is American food with an Australian name. Bit like an Australian eating at a "Wild West Restaurant" that has cowboys and cowgirls on the toilet doors to make the Americana real.

I recently had dealings with Outback Inc on some software, I asked if any of the company were Australian, an email back was no, it was chosen as a name and imagery only. Funnily enough my wife drives a Suburu Outback. Not cause of the name though.

Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson would be proud, their writings not only created a national pathos, but now a global myth that is popular enough that it can be cashed in upon by marketeers.



cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Funnily enough... (3.00 / 1) (#14)
by Tatarigami on Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 04:01:54 PM EST

Even though we've had Wendys in this country for a decade or so, Dave's never appeared in an advertisement down here (at least to my knowledge). Instead we got this really goofy-looking guy who really hammed it up in his 30-second moments of fame. He always looked like he was having fun...

I've never seen Dave's acting, but I'd say in the harmless-hamburger-artisan-looks category, he out-Daved Dave. :o)

undisclosed causes? (2.25 / 4) (#20)
by crazycanuck on Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 08:00:46 PM EST

do you even read the articles you link to here?

it says right in the title that he died of cancer

easy there (3.00 / 1) (#25)
by BurntHombre on Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 10:14:45 PM EST

The timestamp on the Yahoo article is 5:44pm EST, while this story was submitted at 2:59pm EST. I think the article was probably updated to reflect the cause of death after this story was submitted, because when I read the story on CNN around noon they still claimed "undisclosed causes."

[ Parent ]
I will remember this (3.00 / 3) (#24)
by Blarney on Tue Jan 08, 2002 at 10:06:33 PM EST

Thanks very much for bringing Dave's death to my attention. I am very sorry, although I never knew him. Still, I think that I might remind my local Wendy's crew about the memory of this great man every now and then. Someday I will find myself hungry and short of time, with no meal prepared for myself, so I will walk to the Wendy's conveniently located by my workplace. If it is a typical day at Wendy's, I will wait in a long line, although there is a full crew that day.

The pimply-faced manager will be screaming and threatening a couple of surly women, accusing them of laziness and carelessness. He will threaten to write them up for some minor infraction so that they won't get their scheduled $0.50/hour raise for another 6 months. When I finally am waited on, despite the fact that there have been a great many customers attempting to buy food, I will not be served fresh food. Instead, I will be served a cold burger with no ketchup, because they have not ordered enough, and rubbery tasteless fries that have been sitting under the heat lamp for the past hour. The manager will throw my semi-spoiled food at me arrogantly, daring me to pick a fight with his scrawny teenage self, so that he can be done with me quickly and devote his full attention to directing various threats and obscenities at his so-called "help".

Maybe next time, I will say to the manager "You are a disgrace to the memory of a great man! Go and do something else with your life - you do not deserve to work at Dave Thomas's restaurant. If he came back to life and saw this place, he'd die again!"

You should (3.00 / 1) (#37)
by rusty on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 12:47:01 PM EST

Maybe next time, I will say to the manager "You are a disgrace to the memory of a great man! Go and do something else with your life - you do not deserve to work at Dave Thomas's restaurant. If he came back to life and saw this place, he'd die again!"

You should say that indeed. I haven't had this kind of experience in a Wendy's myself. But if I had, I'd be unpleasantly surprised and feel much the same way.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

I've had a worse experience. (4.00 / 2) (#39)
by theboz on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 06:06:58 PM EST

I don't want to go into a lot of details, but basically I asked for one type of chicken sandwich, they said they were out, I moved to the next, they said they were out, and then the next one...it was a lot like that Monty Python "Cheese Factory" skit. Then it turned out they had no ketchup or napkins I believe. Another person went through the line after me asked for a baked potato, which they said they were out of. This was all very annoying.

Oh, and to make matters worse, I asked for a cheeseburger with only mustard and ketchup on it. They ignored that, and put the mayo and vegetables on it. I ended up very angry, threw the remainder of my fries on the floor, and smeared the mayo on the window by my seat and walked out (I did eat the burger without the nasty part though.)

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

Dave Thomas (4.00 / 2) (#32)
by tincat2 on Wed Jan 09, 2002 at 04:36:26 AM EST

Seems odd to me that this sad event would motivate me to my first comment, but I just feel the guy had it at least somewhat right. He could jump in on you with his hamburgers and you didn't feel intruded upon, and I say this despite the fact that I don't do well with fast food. Apparently, he also had a personal history askew to the run of the mill contemporary megalomaniac entrepreneur. Yes, I'll miss him. May he rest in peace.

Dave Thomas, Dead at 69 | 47 comments (46 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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