Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The most dangerous city in America (da-dum!)

Hey, want to know how to scare a limey? Tell them about the MOST DANGEROUS CITY IN AMERICA! (Da-Dum!)

I used to live on the South side of St. Louis, which very well might be the car theft capital of the world (da-dum!), but those lucky folks in Camden live in a city with a murder rate ten times the national average. I guess getting my car stolen wasn't so bad after all.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

A showman is gone.

Johnnie Cochran is dead at 67. A devious man. Let's say it together: "If the glove don't fit, you must aquit!"

A very, very bad movie ...

I have the sort of sense of humor that makes me believe that a really funny comedy could be made about Columbine. Duck! The Carbine High Massacre is not that movie. One of the sloppiest, half-assed movies I've ever watched, Duck! mistakes making a cheap, thoughtless film about the massacre as subversive. It isn't subversive in the least: it buys wholesale the standard myths that the killers were bullied Goths, and throws in a few weak suggestions of satire about the media and high school life that don't even reach the level of sophmoric: they're freshmanish. The film is also so poorly made, with loose dialog, awful editing, shitty sound and retarded framing and blocking, that it took me four tries to get through the whole thing.

"Okay, smarty-pants, then how would you make a funny movie about Columbine?"

Almost everything worth making fun of about Columbine happened after the massacre. That's why the funniest parts (I'm using that reletively) of Duck! happen at the end: a newscaster proclaims it "exciting ... I mean tragic" and one student's dying moment is endlessly looped on the news.

But "the media is bloodthirsty" is such a "Level One" form of satire ... it's the joke that ruined Natural Born Killers. The truth that needs to be dug out is that the media is bloodthirsty because we are. So, yes, mock everyone who tried to come up with a cause for the killing like Marilyn Manson, bullies or a lack of Ten Commandments in schools. But try to show some imagination.

A non-linear form would be best. Cut between the investigation and all of the hand-wringing and the massacre.

What's funny about the massacre. A point brought up by writer Dave Cullen (although I should stress that he never, ever suggested that he found it funny): while the outside world was shocked and staggered by what the killers did, they died failures. Their plan was to kill hundreds of students. They killed thirteen. So they peevishly killed themselves, doomed to be remembered as school shooters instead of the mass murderers they wanted to be.

Doesn't sound like a knee-slapper, does it? Well, comedy is hard. It's a lesson the makers of Duck ought to learn.

So awesome

I know I'm going a little bit far afield with this, but too fucking perfect:

The parents of Terri Schiavo have authorized a conservative direct-mailing firm to sell a list of their financial supporters, making it likely that thousands of strangers moved by her plight will receive a steady stream of solicitations from anti-abortion and conservative groups.

That's America!

Monday, March 28, 2005

Teen terrors

Remember the teen who was arrested for terroristic threats for what he claimed was a "zombie story"? I promised to keep track of it, but some more focused bloggers are doing the job for me. Again.

One thing I find interesting is that people who claim to be from this part of Kentucky seem to feel like William Poole deserves to be locked up for one reason or another (see comments of that blog). And, the recent school shooting at Red Lake has shut some people up.

Oh, and then there's the fact that this kid is ... gasp! ... probably guilty! As much as people in other parts of the country would like to believe that folks in Kentucky are so stupid they'd throw Stephen King in jail, apparently this kid had done more than just write up a story.

I enjoy the Kentucky journalist's clear enjoyment of serving the blogosphere some crow pie.

Here is the FBI's threat assessment paper on school shooting. (The link is to a PDF). Intersting stuff.

Roll out the goblins ...

Here's a pretty good essay on the Red Lake shootings ... he's right, everybody is going to be rolling out their favorite hobgoblins again. Me, I quote Chris Rock: "Whatever happened to crazy?"

Or, more exactly, check out this very good article on the real causes of Columbine.

Another winner

When your attorney is making arguments like these, you know you're a champ at the game of life:

"The bumps and falls an Armada Township girl endured playing football are at least as likely to have ended her pregnancy as the beatings her 16-year-old boyfriend gave her, the boy's attorney argues in filings with the Macomb County Juvenile Court.


In addition to raising questions about whether the cause of the now 17-year-old girl's miscarriage in October can be determined, defense attorney Miranda Massie contends that the charge against the Richmond Township boy should be thrown out because the girl agreed to be hit repeatedly with a baseball bat in an attempt to end her pregnancy."

I love crime sprees

Here's a winner: a five-marrige gal in jail for a ten-year, sixty-arson insurance fraud spree. 60 scams, yet the West Virgina (natch) couple has no cash. I'm sure no drugs were involved in the making of this story.

Friday, March 25, 2005

How to get bitch-slapped ...

Watching Oz, that gay friendly blood-soaked soap opera, and I've been looking up what some of the cast members are up to. Chuck Zito is doing exactly what you might think.

She'd want it this way ...

The meanest thing you'll ever read about Terry Schiavo ...

Am I the only person who thinks it's funny that after she got brain damage from anorexia, her parents argue that she would want food now? Where are they getting that from?

A perfectly good murder

A great column on the end of the decline of English murder ... you'll want to read this classic Orwell piece for background.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Wendy gets fingered

This isn't really very "true crime," but what about that woman who found a finger in her bowl of chili?

Let's think about this. There's three ways this finger could have gotten in there:

1). A digit lost during the chili's processing. This is what the Health Department is looking at now. But, surely, even with food processing plants being dirty, would they really not "stop the presses" if someone lost a finger?

2). The finger wound up in the chili pot at Wendy's. Doesn't seem likely, right?

3). Someone placed the finger in the bowl. Remember the old Saturday Night Live episode where Pee Wee Herman looked for a mouse in a Coke bottle so he could win a million-billion-trillion dollars?

If example three isn't what happened, can you imagine how much money Wendy's is going to be paying this woman. I'd take a bite of finger for that much money.

Michael Jackson: freaky-deaky

This guy is the only guy you need for your Michael Jackson updates.

I don't know if Michael Jackson is a child molestor or not. But I do think the man is probably clinically insane. Ask yourself this: if, tomorrow, all of his money and fame were stripped from him, do you think Jackson would be able to function in the real world at all? I mean, go find a job, keep the job, get an apartment, go grocery shopping? Or would he be dead in two months?

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Can't prove it, but ....

Word on the street is that this is the LiveJournal of the kid who shot up his school on Monday.

Hey, Ladies!

Have I got the man for you! Yeah, sure, he's on Death Row, and he probably murdered his last wife while she was eight months pregnant, but ... wookat dem brown eyes!

Really, ladies. I know men get accused of thinking with their balls, but we don't go around courting death row inmates. Well, most of us don't.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Michael Jackson: freaky

You gotta love this description of Michael Jackson in court today:

One evening, several years ago, I swallowed two Vicodin in the midst of getting deeply drunk. Then I woke up in my bathtub. I'd passed out while trying to pee, and my fall had snapped the soapdish clean off the shower wall. After staggering to my feet, I caught a wobbly glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror.

I looked better than Michael looks this morning.

Biggest bad-asses around?

Thanks to Gabe for turning me on to MS-13, a gang that looks to be one of the most dangerous in the country. Beheadings, grenades and machete attacks? Yikes?

Now that St. Paddy's Day is over

Let's take a look at the IRA, which isn't just a terrorist group ... it's also the biggest crime syndicate on the Emerald Isle. ("Gardai" is Irish for "police").

Monday, March 21, 2005

Damn you, CSI!

Another great post from In the Hat, this time on why shows like CSI help explain why Robert Blake walked.

Or am I an asshole?

I'm really sorry, but are you already sick of this hostage riding her fifteen minutes like a jelly dong? It's not like Ashley Smith disarmed him with a judo chop then took a bullet to save an old woman. Let's not abuse the word "hero."

Hey, I'm not the only one!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Last of a kind ...

My grandfather died on Monday. Yesterday, I wrote his obituary for the local paper. There were some things I had to leave out, like his love of off-color humor or his Ozark-bred mistrust of organized religion (two traits that were combined in the phrase he used when I'd beat him at poker: "Luckier than a two-peckered preacher." He was a really good man. When Johnny Cash died last year, I knew that Grandpa didn't have muchh time left. They were too alike, and that time in America is over now.

He was a prison guard (or "corrections officer," if you prefer) for twenty years, from 1963 until 1983. There are some stories about that time in his life that I'll tell here sometime, but not today. There won't be any updates here for a while, as I'm going directly from his funeral to Austin for South By Southwest. Life is odd.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Shield: Best Crime Show on TV?

Watching season three of The Shield. Is it the best crime show on TV? Let's examine the evidence:

1). Vic Macke: Frickin' cool. I'd do 'em. Like a functional Tony Soprano, Vic just radiates pure power. He manages to be a corrupt cop and a good cop at the same time without just being another Sipowitz. One Sipowitz is enough, thanks.

2). The Dutchman: I'd happily watch a spin-off on this ying to Vic's yang: ineffectual and intellectual, the Dutchman actually solves his cases, as opposed to just beating the fuck out of some perps. I especially like the way they allow his cases to stretch over a whole season, mirroring what actual investigations can be like.

3). Storytelling: One of the reasons cop shows work so well is that you get a mix of story lines that can be solved in a week (most of the crimes) plus more soap-opera season length arcs. The Shield juggles all of these expertly. As opposed to the dominate show of the day, Law & Order, which barely dips into personal life at all, The Shield has its cops mixing business and pleasure so that every story line connects organtically.

4). True Grit: While not the "cocksucker"-fest that Deadwood is, for a basic cable program, The Shield is as nasty as it can get. They might not be able to say "cocksucker," but the writers have the guts to allow one of their lead male's become a forced cocksucker.

What shows are contenders for the claim to Best Crime Show?

The Sopranos: Between the lackluster last season and the endless wait for the next one, Tony and the gang have offcially lost zeitgeist status. Especially thanks to:

Deadwood: A great show, but one season is too early to tell if it will last, epecially since a good third of that season wasn't very good. Near the end, it got as tasty as any TV anywhere. Time will tell.

Law & Order: I can't keep track of all of them anymore. A fun, endlessly watchable show (one benefit of sticking to episode-based stories is that you can watch one of the shows any time: this is why L&O has done so well in syndication). But Lennie Briscol is gone, and the show is more like an endless series of snacks than a meal.

CSI: I'm only going to say this once: CSI sucks. It chugs balls. Reading about forensic science is interesting, in a fashion, but it's insanely boring to watch on TV. So CSI sexes the whole thing up so ridiculously that it might as well be called SCI-FI.

So, for now, I'm giving it to The Shield. If you haven't watched it, start with the first season as soon as possible.

EDIT: Bonus Reason: David Mamet is directing the show I'm watching now. When Rebecca Pidgeon showed up in the show, I wondered if the two of them had gotten divorces. Guess not.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Cat shoots man ... that's a story!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Now, that's thinking!

For years now (even before 9-11), I've been telling people that if terrorists really understood America, they'd bomb the shit out of the Oscars. Seriously ... If Al-Q blew up the Oscars and the House of Representatives on the same day, which one would have more victims you'd miss?

Well, it looks like the terrorists got the idea, but were thinking small potatoes.

Why I'll never make it ...

I just can't get up the enthusiasm together to be a celebrity crime blogger, even though I say I write about the collision of culture and crime. I'm sorry, but I'm only mildly interested in the adventures of Michael Jackson's wang. And I let Martha Stewart's release go by unnoticed. So, Defamer I will never be.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

More poetry of the Evening Whirl

It's been a while, but here are some gems from the St. Louis Evening Whirl:

Headline: Girls Gone Wild Goes Terribly Wrong

A lead: A hot-headed nitwit is now wanted for the murder of a brother ...

A lead: Bad boys Reginald Thimes and Samuel Williams will have to rethink their strategy now that Donnie Stewart has passed away.

A headline: Man Doing Time, Faces Mo' Time

Watch me lose all credibility

I love a good crime movie as much as anyone, of course. But it turns out that I also like a bad one. Anyway, I watched a large chunk of Bad Boys II last night, and it was wonderfully entertaining. Mindless, yes, and with a few "emotional" moments that had no business being in the idiotic film. But some of the comedy was funny, and the action scenes were amazingly over the top. How about a car chase where the bad guys are in a truck loaded with cars ... cars that they unload onto the highway for cops to dodge? And then, just a bit later, another car chase (natch)in which the bad guys are driving a morgue wagon, and dump corpses onto the road (one of which is decapitated by the cop car chasing)? Top notch!

Rating it on netflix, I see that all of the movies it is lumped with (Gone in 60 Seconds, XxX, Leathal Weapon 4) are all movies I hate. But this one worked. Maybe it's cause I didn't see all of it.

Once again, the movie is stupid as hell. But it was far better than most of the action films that I've seen recently (The Punisher, the Hulk, the last two Matrix movies). Next time you need to unplug your brain, check it out.

EDIT: After reading some reviews, I'm going to guess it really is because I didn't see all of it. I had no idea the sucker is 2 1/2 hours long.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Watch out for the thought police ... or not.

Picked up on this story from Ain't it Cool. Reading this story makes it look like another bunch of redneck red-staters are squashing bad kids. But, as always, there are two sides to the story. Can the cops arrest you for writing stuff down? Well, of course they can, if it's your detailed plans to commit a horrible act. Should they in this case? Only time will tell.

I'm planning on keeping up to date with this one. Stay tuned.

Friday, March 04, 2005

I'm gonna cry

Warner Brothers has set a release date for V for Vendetta. I still have a hard time believing that they're actually going to be able to make a movie where the hero is a terrorist, but ... here it is in black and white.

THE WACHOWSKI BROTHERS AND PRODUCER JOEL SILVER
LAUNCH V FOR VENDETTA
STARRING NATALIE PORTMAN AND JAMES PUREFOY


~ Action Thriller Based on Groundbreaking Graphic Novel by Alan Moore and
David Lloyd ~


BERLIN, GERMANY, March 4, 2005 - The Wachowski Brothers and Joel
Silver, the creators and producer of the revolutionary, $1.6
billion-grossing Matrix trilogy, have launched production on the action
thriller V For Vendetta, starring Natalie Portman (Star Wars: Episodes
I-III, Closer, Garden State), James Purefoy (Vanity Fair, Resident Evil) and
Stephen Rea (Interview with the Vampire, The Crying Game) in Berlin,
Germany.

Produced by Joel Silver, Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski, V
For Vendetta is directed by James McTeigue, who served as the First
Assistant Director on the Matrix trilogy.

Set against the futuristic landscape of totalitarian Britain, V
For Vendetta tells the story of a mild-mannered young woman named Evey
(Natalie Portman) who is rescued from a life-and-death situation by a masked
vigilante (James Purefoy) known only as ³V.² Incomparably charismatic and
ferociously skilled in the art of combat and deception, V ignites a
revolution when he detonates two London landmarks and takes over the
government-controlled airwaves, urging his fellow citizens to rise up
against tyranny and oppression. As Evey uncovers the truth about V¹s
mysterious background, she also discovers the truth about herself - and
emerges as his unlikely ally in the culmination of his plot to bring freedom
and justice back to a society fraught with cruelty and corruption.

The screenplay by Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski is based on
the acclaimed graphic novel V For Vendetta by Alan Moore (The Watchmen, From
Hell) and illustrator David Lloyd. Originally published by DC Comics as a
ten-part series in 1988, V For Vendetta has been praised for its vision,
potency and eloquence. Moore is widely considered to be one of the finest
comic writers of all time, and has been credited with single-handedly
expanding the potential of the comic book medium with his work.

A UK-German co-production between Warner Bros. Productions Ltd.
and Fünfte Babelsberg Film GmbH, V For Vendetta will be filmed on location
in Berlin and London. V For Vendetta is supported by the local subsidy fund
Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.

V For Vendetta will be released on November 4, 2005 by Warner
Bros. Pictures.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Not slick, white people.

I know I'm a little late on this one, but the murder of a Federal Judge's family is huge news. If the white power movement had anything to do with this (and the smart money says it does), then they're going to earn back all of the heat that's been shifted away from them since 9/11.

Wish I had cable ...

So I could be watching the fake Jackson trial on E!

Does anyone know a good place to keep updated on Jacko?

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

In case you haven't noticed ...

On the right, you can find the books and movies that keep my mind tainted at any given moment. I tend to juggle books, so the films ought to change more often.

Bibles and Bullets

Here's a very interesting (for local news) report on Mennonite drug dealers. My favorite part: when some "expert" says "You don't expect them to be carrying narcotics, because they have blonde hair and blue eyes."

EDIT: The link is tricky ... you have to click on the "Mennonite Mob" icon.

Killer kids can't be killed.

The Supreme Court just ended the death penalty for juveniles. More later.

EDIT: And here's the more I promised