Thursday, December 30, 2004

Crime of the day

If you read nothing else today, read this.

"Your mother eats hot dogs!"

Crime games '05

You can't accuse us here at Crime Spree of not being equal-opportunity crime enthusiasts. We'll talk gangsta rap, crime books, crime sites, crime movies, crime comics and crime TV. And in that vein, please meet the most anticipated crime game coming out soon. At least, most anticipated by the Pen now that GTA has come and gone.

The poetry of the Evening Whirl -- an outside opinion

If you read Crime-Spree, then you know that we love St. Louis's The Evening Whirl. Other folks do to ... check out this piece from the Riverfront TImes' Chad Garrison.

RIP, Lennie Brisco

Dirty dollars are good

In cop shows, action movies, crime tales ... did you ever notice that all of the deals are done in dollars? This isn't just because we Americans think the world revolves around us. It's because the global crime market uses American dollars as its currency. At least, they did.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Let's explain gravity

A little memo to people who fire their guns in the air on New Year's Eve:

A bullet, as fast as it is, does not have what they call "escape velocity." That is to say, the bullet does not actually break through the atmosphere to enter our planet's orbit. Therefore, it will actually rise high in the air until gravity catches up with it's velocity. There will be a brief moment when it's velocity and gravity are tied, and it will float in mid-air. But that's just for a fraction of a second. After that, it falls back to earth. Really fast. Like it was, oh, let's search for a metaphor, shot from a gun. And then it'll hit the ground. Or a roof. Or the top of someone's skull.

Just in case you didn't know.

P.S. These last three posts stand as the three most sarcastic posts in this blog's history. Is there a trend developing here?

Cancer patients all hopped up on goofballs.

So, they're going to try testing Ecstasy on dying cancer patients. Perhaps a drug that makes you very, very happy isn't a bad thing? Stay tuned!

The Blade?

We aren't used to breaking stories here at Crime Spree. But for Christ's sake, why hasn't anyone in America touched the almost hilarious British War on Knives? The US Mainstream Media hasn't touched this one to our knowledge. Lord knows we've given them plenty of lead time, we've been linking to stories on this for weeks.
It's a natural for conservatives here: they got rid of all the guns in England, and, well, wouldn't you know it: people are still violent! It's almost as if, crazy as it sounds, human beings have a genetic disposition towards agressive behavior. But that's just nuts, right? That wouldn't work unless human beings somehow evolved in a state of nature where strength and violence would aid you in spreading you genes. So it must be the weapons' fault. Yes, of course. Best to ban guns. And knives. And, next up, baseball bats.

Are we pouring on the sarcasm a little thick?

Monday, December 27, 2004

Infernal Affairs II

Korea is changing from a drug shipper to a drug market. This article is full of fun facts about the Asian drug trade, and one slang goof: a caption for the above photo mixes up "moles" (undercover agents) and "molls" (gangster girlfriends).

The Punisher can hang it up now ...

It's about time to quit setting crime stories in New York, as they announce another drop in crime. Only 500 killings in 2004 in a city of ten million: that's squeaky-clean.

Red light green light

Australia has come to concede that their prostitution laws are useless, and they might be right: only 12 people were convicted last year. But the Pen would point out that there's prostitution everywhere: maybe good laws wouldn't be judged by the number of working women behind bars.

Forgive Us!

In the world of crime reporting, there's nothing as cheap or low as the "dumb crook" genre. You can count on bad puns ("that laundry crook believed in the freedom of bleach, but he sure didn't get away clean") and lame writing. It must have been a slow week for this paper running a dumb cop piece, but it does avoid the normal pitfalls.


Crime writing, with its pulpy roots, seems to be able to get by with more colorful writing than other types of news. Check out the headline on this story on crime-fighting accountants:
Number's up for Mr Bigs as men in grey ensure crime doesn't pay

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Good crime fiction courtesy of the Comics Code

In 1954, Congress got weak-kneed at the thought of crime spreading through America. Not real crime, of course. No, the politicos in Washington were worried about comin book crime. And thanks to some show trial theatrics (aqnd despite some brilliant truth-telling by Bill Gaines, founde of EC COmics and Mad Magazine), American comic books as an art form were dealt the crippling blow of the Comics Code. It's mostly been done away with now, which has led to some bloody good fun like the new Punisher series, and, of course, Sin City.

Want to know how to tell a story that will get the Pen hot? Break every single one of these rules:


General standards—Part A

(1) Crimes shall never be presented in such a way as to create sympathy for the criminal, to promote distrust of the forces of law and justice, or to inspire others with a desire to imitate criminals.

(2) No comics shall explicitly present the unique details and methods of a crime.

(3) Policemen, judges, Government officials and respected institutions shall never be presented in such a way as to create disrespect for established authority.

(4) If crime is depicted it shall be as a sordid and unpleasant activity.

(5) Criminals shall not be presented so as to be rendered glamorous or to occupy a position which creates a desire for emulation.

(6) In every instance good shall triumph over evil and the criminal punished for his misdeeds.

(7) Scenes of excessive violence shall be prohibited. Scenes of brutal torture, excessive and unnecessary knife and gunplay, physical agony, gory and gruesome crime shall be eliminated.

(8) No unique or unusual methods of concealing weapons shall be shown.

(9) Instances of law-enforcement officers dying as a result of a criminal’s activities should be discouraged.

(10) The crime of kidnapping shall never be portrayed in any detail, nor shall any profit accrue to the abductor or kidnaper. The criminal or the kidnaper must be punished in every case.

(11) The letters of the word “crime” on a comics-magazine cover shall never be appreciably greater in dimension than the other words contained in the title. The word “crime” shall never appear alone on a cover.

(12) Restraint in the use of the word “crime” in titles or subtitles shall be exercised.

So long, Forest Brigand

The New York Times' annual list of interesting folks who hopped a train to the Big Adios this year features the Bandit King of India (you read about him first here at Crime Spree.)

A murderer, yes. But way cool:

"Veerappan's whiskers, a sign of virility in India, struck fear into the hearts of the hairless. His mustache lavishly covered his mouth and jaws; it looked like a small furry animal had died there."

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang!

That's how the Italians describe James Bond movies. It'd also make for a dandy website name. Unfortunatley, the Pen has learned that there's a Val Kilmer flick coming out in '05 with that name. So, no Kiss Kiss Bang Bang for us.

What kind of site do you think this is?

The strangest keyword search that has led someone to Crime Spree: Shirtless Gotti Boys.

The Pen promises: there will never be shirtless Gotti boy photos here. Just good, clean crime fun. Sorry.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Go, Tiger Man, Go!

The Man With No Eyes is trying to keep The Tiger Man away from his tiger. Give the man his goddamn tiger back!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

The Pen goes Christmas Shopping

We really, truly want to give to others ... that's our generous nature shining through. But when you're at a cool little bookstore, and you finally run across a copy of Pimp by Iceberg Slim ... well, it's hard not to keep it for yourself.

Here's a teaser page that snares The Pen:

A pimp is happy when his whores giggle. He knows they are still asleep ...
all whores have one thing in common just like the chumps humping for the white
boss. It thrills 'em when the pimp makes mistakes. They watch and wait for his

A pimp is the lonliest bastard on Earth. He's gotta know his whores. He
can't let them know him. He's gotta be God all the way.

Pickpocket News and pickpocket news

Regular readers know we flip out over tales of pickpocketing ... like this one in today's NY Daily News. Light-fingered folks are dipping plenty over there in New York. Check out the dip's slang at the bottom. And if this doesn't tilt you, you're at the wrong website:

The worst of them are so slick that some cops believe they were trained at a
legendary crime college in South America - the School of the Seven Bells.
The school, said to be in Colombia, has never been visited by a U.S. law
enforcement official, and many believe it does not exist.
But as the legend
goes, the final test at the school involves a teacher posing as a mark, his body
booby-trapped with seven small bells, each strategically placed. To graduate,
students must slip valuables from several pockets without ringing any of the

That's electric right there. Sign me up! The Pen is ready to expatriate to go to crime school!
In Pickpocket news, we've got a thick stack of pages sitting at our feet as we type ... revision time!

Shoot on sight

In what doesn't really amount to much of a change of pace in Africa, Nigerian police have been ordered to "shoot on sight" anyone who is connected to a gang of cop-killing bank robbers:

A Senior Police source told Vanguard that the two suspected robbers were
shot dead during an exchange of gunfire with the police, "but we have buried
them according to the instruction of the IG that we should stop parading these
people. Our intelligence report showed that these robbers get angered by the
killing of their colleagues and always ensure that they kill any officer found
at the vicinity of any robbery operation."

One Man Crime Wave!

Only The Pen is a one man crime spree. So we'll let this Roman-fingered bloke take the title "One Man Crime Wave." 400 convictions before the age of 28!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Crime Spree Challange

Find a photo of someone accused of a sex crime who doesn't look like a child molestor. Can't do it.

Is this the end of RICO?

A little urban legends fun with that most sticky of laws.

When is a gang not a gang?

It's not as easy to define as you think. When a prosecutor is trying to press racketeering charges against a group, the DA is going to try to make them look as much like a gang as possible. But what if they're just dudes hanging out? Where is the line?

Best Crime Film of '05?

I don't know of anything coming up which is in the running against Sin City. Check out this stunning trailer.

The poetry of The Evening Whirl II

The Evening Whirl is a St. Louis weekly newspaper dedicated to crime. Needless to say, it is way cool. Here are some gems from the latest hot-off-the-press issue:

We've got some wanted folks named "Fat Ass" and "Dough Boy." A gang shooting "6 Deuces Versus 5 Nines."

It's kind of a weak issue. But Check out this headline/ lede combo:

Heist Man Sought
Count the robbers among those who are getting their holiday shopping on.

boys will be boys

I think we all had that period in our lives where we goofed off, acted snotty and pushed teachers down elevator shafts.

We have a catch phrase

Let's call her the womb-snatch killer! I dunno how you're going to beat that.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Worth Killin' For

A leaky john? Yeah, I can see that.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Local Fiend

I should really be going to the local press for coverage of Lisa the Fetus-Ripping Lady (need to work on that catch-phrase), but the local guys just don't use the phrase "fiend" that often. Way to go, New york Daily News!

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Win GTA San Andreas!

Wanna used copy of GTA San Andreas? Want to help me get my life back? Sure you do. Here's the contest: come up with my psuedonym! Betcha can do better than what I've got now!

Crime of the Week

Crime Spree Crime of the Week ... any crime that allows people from Missouri to London talk about a fetus ripped from a dead woman's womb is a shoo in for the crime of the week.

Checking in with the FBI

When was the last time you checked in with the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list? Been a while, huh? Then how would you know if you'd recently seen 75-year-old Boston gangster James Bulger? What about creepy cop killer Donald Webb? Or some guy named Usama?

Christmas Gear

What's Christmas like for a London-based skag addict? So glad you asked.

Friday, December 17, 2004

And they said Internet dating was dead

The new website that profiles sex criminals in California was crushed under the three million hits it received in the first 24 hours. Check out the site ... it's rather hi-tech and impressive. Plus, you can make sure people you know aren't sex offenders.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Ask a dead guy

Read this article by my friend Malcom about the drugs used in a leathal injection. Did you know the leathal cocktail has been banned by vets from putting dogs to sleep?

Old school

I loved this article about the last NYPD cops who still carry .38s. Maybe I'm crazy, but revolvers are much cooler than automatic pistols.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

And then let's move on ...

A nice wrap-up of the Scott Peterson case. Let's speak of it no more.

Knives, knives, knives ...

More on the Scottish/British knife spree. Sure, knife carrying seems to be up quite a bit, but this sounds really alarmist:
"We have to make it clear that knife carrying, irrespective of why, who or where, is simply unacceptable."

Yeah, butchers, electricians, doctors and people who cut things! We're coming after you!

EDIT: Jesus, they're really serious about this. Check out this page from the Conservative Party. Watch the video. Man, knives are dangerous.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The headline speaks for itself.

Missing the point

This article about a police officer "accidentally" handing out gang information to school children misses the point in a big fucking way. From the story:

School officials said the officer mistakenly handed out the packet with
information about gangs and satanic worship to about two-dozen
seventh-graders during a workshop aimed at keeping students out of gangs.

The information that was "accidentally" handed out was for officer training purposes.

Didja catch it? Didja? Here's a hint: satanic worship.

Houston Police are apparently still being trained in the bullshit art of satanic panic. What, does the file tell them to watch out for kids in Iron Maiden tee-shirts?

The original killer couple

I watched Badlands last night. Starring Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacik (who is either very beautiful or just plain weird looking, depending on the angle), it was the first film to deal with the case of Charles Starkweather and his gal Caril, who took to the road on a teenage kill spree. The first, but certainly not the last. You can also see Starkweather in the films Natural Born Killers, Wild at Heart and True Romance (which contains some direct homage to Badlands).

By coincidence, I happen to have re-watched each of these movies over the past month. I'd say that True Romance is the best of them, based on an incredible cast (supporting actors include Dennis Hopper, James Gandolfini, Gary Oldman, Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken and Brad Pitt ... can any film beat that? None I can think of outside Glengary Glen Ross, maybe). It also has one of the top ten film scenes of all time, the confrontation between Hopper and Walken about Sicilian heritage ... penned by Quentin Tarrintino.

Badlands is not a bad film at all. A quiet, introspective '70s era crime film, and an oblique character study. At the same time, its hints of killer celebrity and teens gone bad are perhaps too subtle compared to the films that came after it.

Natural Born Killers is one of my favorite flawed movies of all time. At times, it's trully thrilling. If Oliver Stone had had the stones (pardon me) to go for it and just make one of the all time great exploitation films, he could have done it (I imagine it's what Quentin T., who also penned this script, would have done). But noooo ... Stone has to get all meaningful and important. Violence in movies is fun, Ollie ... and that's good enough.

Wild at Heart is just plain bad, despite a few great moments that any David Lynch film will have. Nick Cage gives a truly horrible performance (the fact that it was intentional doesn't get it off the hook). What the fuck are all those Wizard of Oz references doing in there?

So, here's my advice ... Own True Romance and Natural Born Killers, rent Badlands and stay away from Wild at Heart. Also, don't go on kill-crazy rampages with your sweetheart, no matter how much you love them.

Let my poppies go

Can we please legalize opium? I'd like to try it, and, hey, it'll stop terrorism, too.

Both handy and dandy

Here's a collection of gang-related news, as it happens. Thanks, government!
So, you outlaw guns. Okay, that's all well and good. But looks what happens: now everybody is freaking out about knives. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure being stabbed to death sucks. But outlawing all knoves over three inches long? What's next. Toothpicks?

Transnational Crime Base

That's just one of those phrases that feels good to type. Sounds cool. The people of Papua New Guinea probably don't feel that way though, now that they know their a leading canidate to become the next ... wait for it ... transnational crime base.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Someday, I'd like to write ...

for the kind of paper that uses the term "blue-collar Lothario."

Chat room massacre

Once more I bow down to In the Hat, who you really should read every damn day. Here's one on a flame war that turned into a shooting war.

Another great name

A violent crime taskforce in New Orleans: Playin' with the Fellas.

What a name!

This is mostly a story about how Mormons said a strip club in Salt Lake City would become a crime hotbed, and how it hasn't. But the real story is that the bar is called The Dead Goat. Now, that's a strip club name!

Race and Crime

Here's a pretty interesting article on race and criminal description. It raises the point that since race and sex are almost always included in descriptions of criminals, the news can seem a little inflamitory. I dunno.

Friday, December 10, 2004

How will they cut their kipper?

Scottish police seize knives. They ought to get some guns. Now, those are fun to confiscate!

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Crime of the day ...

Guess you've already heard about this one, huh?

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

She is hot.

Much like SpongeBob Squarepants, Miss Universe has spawned a crime spree.

Tip of the Day ...

Don't swallow coke. Just don't do it. It's bad for you.

Monday, December 06, 2004

If masturbation is outlawed ...

then only outlaws will masturbate. Well, anyway, I'm a pretty big supporter of free speech, but this guy was fired for selling tapes of himself masturbating while wearing his police uniform. That's not right. I mean, if you worked at McDonalds, they could fire you for that, right?

More on honor killings

This time in England. Stop that, folks. It isn't nice.

Real Estate in New York

Rent control spurs attempted murder in Queens. Me, I'd rather take a rent increase.

Pauly Walnuts on our troops:

"We got some really ballsy, steel-faced dedicated young guys and broads over there who make you proud to be an American. "

Read more here.

Bikers vs carnals

Some days I just feel like my blog ought to just be a permanent link to In the Hat. Check out this story about a biker gang going up against Mex street gangs.

To be honest, kind of sexy

Gangs of girls "swarming" you ... it sounds hot.

Who can blame them?

Have you seen the giant SpongeBob Squarepants sitting on top of a Burger King recently? Have you stole one? If you have, you are not alone.