Friday, April 29, 2005

Help a blogger out ...

As you may have noticed, I added some crime website links on the right. I'm going to be adding more and organizing them this weekend. Please post suggestions in Comments.


Thursday, April 28, 2005

More gems from the Evening Whirl

The best crime newspaper in the country, or at least St. Louis: the Evening Whirl's headlines this week:
DEK: Nutjob blasted after stepping to cops
LEDE:Mom knew her boy had flipped out, but was he crazy enough to mean-mug a cop?

HEAD: School fracas is quelled by cops -- for now
LEDE: Normandy High School was a war zone early Friday afternoon -- complete with uncontrollable students, gunplay and vicious brawls.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

James Hurley, biggest tool in the universe

(edit: Hello, Twin Peaks fans! I've been geting a lot of hits for this as of late, so I'd like to welcome you to my full blog as well as other comments I made about the show)

Lately, I've been sporadically rewatching what may be the single finest season of crime television ever: season one of Twin Peaks. As much as I love the first and second season of The Sopranos, as much fun as Oz can be (or Deadwood, or NYPD Blue, or ...), I adore the divine mix of horror, surrealism, comedy and soap opera that is Twin Peaks Season One (if they'd hurry up and release season two on DVD, I could talk more about that. Oh, and fans should note that the season one box set doesn't have the pilot on it. I had to order it from Hong Kong).

There are scores of characters to love in Twin Peaks: cooler than cool Agent Dale Cooper, the pitiless forensic scientist Albert Rosenfeld, clueless but kind "Big" Ed Hurley, the hilarious hedonist Jerry Horne, so on and so on. But there is only one character to hate. And that character is James Hurley, fiction's greatest dipwad.

Just look at him. Posted by Hello

If I possessed a magic movie screen like the one in The Purple Rose of Cairo, I wouldn't use it to visit Middle Earth or carry on an affair with Rita Hayworth. No, I'd use that screen to take me to Twin Peaks, where I'd hunt down James Hurley, make him bite a concrete curb and then jump on the back of his skull, turning each of his too-white wuss teeth into fairy dust.

I know, you're saying,"Gee whiz, man, that show is 15 years old. Isn't it time to move on?" No. Until a bigger fictional dipwad is produced that obliterates Hurley from our memory (like how no one talks about World War I anymore*), we must continue to shine a light on James Hurley, King of the Tools.

James Hurley is supposed to be a "biker," yet by the first episode after the pilot, we see him in a cable-knit sweater. But that shouldn't be surprising, given the type of bikers he hung out with:

"Biker" Joey Paulson Posted by Hello

(Sorry about the lousy image quality. I guess ole "Joey Paulson" didn't set the world on fire after his Twin Peaks days). Okay, picture this: A bunch of guys who look like James and Joey wearing leather jackets and listening to Julee Cruise synth pop in a bar called "The Roadhouse." What comes to mind first: "bikers" or "leatherboys"?

But no self-respecting band of leatherboys would allow what happens next: the whole friggin' gang gets their asses beat by Bobby and Snake. Sure, near the end they start to get the upper hand a little, but considering it's about seven on two, this is not impressive.

Joey sees Donna and takes the opportunity to run away so he can take her to James (who was too much of a puss-puss to show up in the first place). James then takes the opportunity to seduce his dead-for-less-than-24-hours girlfriend's best friend, the only remotely cool thing James has ever done. But, of course, he mucks that up too, getting all teary-eyed like he seems to do every time the wind rustles that puffy haircut of his and then failing to close the deal so he can bury his "half a gold heart necklace," the pansy. Dr. Jacobi finds it like five minutes later anyway.

Other random reasons to hate James Hurley:
Wearing the previously mentioned cable-knit sweater, he says the words, "Fruit punch, that would be good." He was so excited to get some fruit punch, I think he peed a little.

That wide-eyed "I got a turtle-head a-pokin'" expression he wears in lieu of a real expression:

"Either Laura is dead, or I have to cop a squat. Even I don't know." Posted by Hello

The fact that they had to let him into the Bookhouse Boys just because Big Ed is his uncle.

He narcs on Bobby every chance he gets.

Laura Palmer: "James, do you know why I'm so happy today?"
James: "Because your hair is so soft and it smells so good?"

That's some sub-Anakin-in-Episode-2 level seduction. Yet somehow, it works. Why? Because Laura Palmer had already banged every man in Twin Peaks except Joey, who seemed strangely uninterested. Yet James, that twerp, gets all moon-eyed over the town doorknob. He probably stayed home at nights, while Laura was pulling a train with Jacque and Leo, making her mixed tapes with Extreme and the Spin Doctors on them.

Bow down, dorkwads. Your king still lives.

*The character who came the closest to stealing James' crown was David Silver, 90210's whiteboy rapper who took like seven seasons to close the deal with Donna Martin. But he also gave Donna the crabs later, right? Anyway, he still can't top Hurley.

The Economics of Crack

I've got to get a copy of Freakonomics, but until I do, check out this article by the authors explaining why crack dealers live with their moms. I don't want to give anything away, so just go read it. It's fascinating.

Zero Day - The Columbine movie has been made.

Calvin Roberts as a cute 'n crazy teen. Posted by Hello

Finally, there's a Columbine movie that gets it right. Zero Day doesn't dodge the issues, like the purposefully unsatisfying Elephant, and it isn't as flat-out stupid as Duck! (You can read my diatribe against that piece of shit here). It makes the most of its low budget (oh, how I'd love to see Hollywood take a whack at it with the cast of The O.C.) and amateur actors to finally tell the story in a way that feels true.

Zero Day's director isn't afraid to take chances: He casts real teens (Calvin Roberts and Andre Keuck) who manage perfectly natural performances. He makes the most of his low budget by pulling the old Blair Witch "video diary" trick, avoiding the major pitfalls of DV recording. But most impressively, he isn't afraid to make Cal and Andre (the characters are named after their respective performers in order to use old home-video footage ... a great device for making the diaries feel more authentic) likeable and crazy.

Elephant was so afraid of suggesting any motive or meaning to the mass murders that the killers in that films were glyphs. Zero Day dismisses all the major postulated motives in favor of the only one that matters: insanity. It also understands that insanity doesn't need to be expressed through mouth-foaming or homoerotic shower scenes (what the hell was that, Van Sant?). The killers joke with their (real life) parents, goof off and then build pipe bombs.

Like Elephant, Zero Day understands that no reason could explain mass murder to sane people searching for answers. Unlike that film, the result isn't an exercise in nihilism. And watching the massacre (shown as security camera footage, another effective choice) is that much more terrifying when you have grown to like the killers.

The movie isn't perfect ... Even at 92 minutes, it feels overlong, a danger of the risky format (I would have cut the prom scene), and while Robertson and Keuck turn in great performances, the same cannot be said for other teens who show up in the film. Still, untill someone gets off their ass and writes the Columbine book that is screaming to be written (are you listening, Dave Cullen?), the movie stands as the best Columbine document yet.

EDIT: Reading on Cullen's site, I realized April 20 marked six years since Columbine.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Why I think the West Memphis 3 are guilty

(This is going to be a long one. Sorry.)

I’ve already written in this post about my change from goofy-haired political activist to slightly-less-goofy-haired writer, and how that has affected my view of the West Memphis 3. One thing I noted in that post is that it is hard to find any websites that lay out the case against the teens. That's what this post is for: an entry level explanation of why people think the three are guilty. Sort of the opposite of the front page of this West Memphis 3 site.

I should point out that, along with this invaluable website, I learned a lot about the case reading the arguments on this website and this website. Even though the discussions on the two boards can sometimes read like a transcript of the Crips/Bloods Summer Picnic, there’s also a lot of information to absorb.

Just in case you've never heard of the West Memphis 3, here's the case in a nutshell: Three young boys were murdered in West Memphis, Arkansas. After a teen named Jessie Misskelley confessed to the crime, he and two other teens, Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin, were found guilty in two separate trials. After an HBO documentary called Paradise Lost was aired which cast doubt on the verdict, a large number of people, including many musicians, began clamoring for their release. The supporters’ claims generally state that Misskelley's confession was coerced and that local authorities focused on Damien Echols due to his creepy "Goth" persona. While the conviction has survived multiple courts and appeals, public support (especially on the Internet) still maintains the trio's innocence.

Parents Just Don’t Understand

Myth: Damien Echols was a "troubled outcast" targeted for his long hair by dumb yokels who thought heavy metal equaled Satanism.

Truth: Damien Echols was seriously mentally ill.

Many supporters like to use the line "This could have happened to any of us," as if the government was going after metal fans and Wiccans with the same vigor they pursued Communism in the ‘50s.

This is an especially attractive myth for people who like to think that a funny hairstyle or black clothing is a valid form of rebellion that the Man needs to quash (“Mabel, I saw a t-shirt today that said ‘Goddess Bless.’ I’m votin’ Green Party from now on.”) But, while lots of people might have been outcasts in high school, but they probably didn't:

*Stay in a mental hospital, where a doctor listed “extreme physical aggression towards others” as one of the problems.
*Threaten to attack their parents.
*Tell a therapist that drinking blood gives them power.
*Suck the blood out of a wound in front of detention officials
*Kill and mutilate a dog (this is supported by police reports from both an eyewitness to the mutilation and someone who found the dog's corpse. A dog's skull was also found in Damien's room after his arrest).
*Receive full disability from the government for mental problems.

And, in the unlikely event that all of that is true about you, guess what: you might be a murder suspect some day. Folks complain that the “rumor mill” convicted Echols before his arrest. Can you wonder why? You don’t need to believe in a vast satanic conspiracy to see the boy ain’t quite right.

Let’s talk about forced confessions, shall we?

The Many Confessions of Jessie Miskelly
No one would argue that Jessie’s conviction kept him from a life of a Rhodes scholar. Nit-picky arguments will break out on occasion on what exactly to label Misskelley: Retarded? Borderline Retarded? I’m going to simplify the whole thing by call him what he definitely is: a dipshit. His lawyer says that Jessie liked to shatter Coke bottles with his fist to show how tough he was. So, dipshit it is.

Was Jessie’s confession coerced? If you define “coercion” the way most people think of it (say, the way they got confessions during the Inquisition), then the answer is a definite “no.” Despite what some sources state, Jessie was not browbeaten for 12 hours without parental consent. He made his first incriminating statement after a few hours in custody, and his father knew exactly where he was.

But, according to a sociologist who testified (mostly out of the jury’s earshot) for Miskelly, these few hours of questioning were enough to make Jessie snap and begin lying to his own detriment. Dr. Richard Ofshe, the sociologist in question, said the police’s questioning techniques helped to get a false confession. Ofshe has published several papers that argue that modern interrogation techniques are psychologically overbearing and should be thrown out. Police, who solve somewhere around 80% of the major crimes they close through confessions, would argue that the relatively small number of false confessions aren’t worth losing the crimes they solve. (I haven’t found any hard data that can say what percentage of confessions are “false,” if anyone out there knows, please leave a comment).

So, the question becomes: how much protection from the law do dipshits deserve?

Jessie, by the way, didn’t confess just once. He confessed twice on tape, once after his conviction. He also confessed to some guards at one point and perhaps even to a friend before his arrest. Jessie, some folks say, is easily led, but during his second confession, you can hear his attorneys pleading with him not to confess. He does so anyway. So, he’s got a little backbone.

The other big problem people have with Jessie’s confession is its discrepancies from facts. This can be a little troubling. But here’s the thing: as we established, Jessie is a dipshit. Not only that, but, according to his second taped confession, Jessie drank enough Evan Williams to make himself sick the night of the murder (a statement with some evidence behind it, I might add). Maybe you’ve never drank Evan Williams. It’s not exactly a sippin’ whiskey. So, let’s perform a test. Drink enough E.W. to make you vomit and then play a game of Memory. How’d you do?

Circumstantial Evidence is Okay

Hard evidence, like a videotape of the crime being committed, is like a prefab house that the prosecutors can just move into right away. Circumstantial evidence is a brick. Sure, you can point at a brick and yell, “That’s not a house,” and you’d be right on, Braniac. But you can still build a house with bricks. Let’s lay some, shall we:

Jessie Misskelley’s many confessions
Damien’s pre-arrest hinting that he’d been involved in the murder
The girls who testified that they heard Damien confess
Jason Baldwin’s jailhouse confession
Damien’s mental illness
Secondary fiber evidence
Two types of blood on Damien’s necklace
Shaky alibis
Jessie’s weeping spells right after the murders
The knife found behind Baldwin’s house

That’s a big pile of bricks. While you might be able to destroy a few of them (I find Baldwin’s “jailhouse confession” to be a little suspect myself), there’s still a lot of evidence pointing to the trio. This is where Occam’s Razor comes into play. You can choose to believe all this evidence is the result of perjurers, corrupt evidence-planting cops, incompetent judges, yokels too dumb to think for themselves, cruel interrogators, coincidence and prejudice. Or you can believe that the West Memphis 3 are guilty. Remember, don’t make assumptions you don’t have to make.

This is not the full story … if you want to learn more, you should by going to the message boards linked to above. But, as WM3 awareness day rolls around, you might be tempted to give some money to the cause. You’d better be sure that your money isn't going to child murders. Are you?

Friday, April 22, 2005

The Dipshits Come Out at Night.

Read this profile of club promoters in the Miami scene to get an idea of how lucky you are not to be rich and beautiful. One of the featured promoters, Michael Robbins, got his start with ex-mobster turned club promoter Chris Paciello, who dealt drugs with "Lord" Michael Caruso, who was also a dealer/promoter at Tunnel with Michael Alig, the club kid who famously dismembered drug dealer Angel Menendez, for those of you keeping track at home.

Here is a Brett Easton Ellis-worthy quote from the Miami New Times article.

"This is what the game is all about, selling wealthy people the idea of an exclusive world of beauty and sex. Why else would anyone accept a 1000 percent markup on a magnum of Grey Goose when he could get a couple of bottles from the corner store and drink them in the limo with a $250-per-hour escort and an eight-ball of booch for roughly the same price?"

Thursday, April 21, 2005

5 criminal hotties

Crime pays. It pays to be good looking. So, doesn't it stand to reason that a good-looking criminal would be clocking mad dollars? Well, yes. So, hoping to steer my lady readers and my avid gay following away from the bronzed dildoes in the post below, here are five smokin' criminals, from nottest to hottest.

John Dillinger Posted by Hello

They say that when John Dillinger was shot, women ran into the street to sop up a little of his blood. I guess standards were lower back then. The famous robber had a way-cool mustache, and that "yeah, I'm a badass" smirk, but I don't think he'd cut it these days.

Ted Bundy Posted by Hello
What a cute serial killer! That mop of hair, that Devil-may-care grin ... Women wrote Bundy letters offering to marry him after he'd been convicted of multiple woman-slayings. To quote Bill Hicks, "And I can't get laid? Ted must have been real big on that 'sense of humor' you ladies always mention in your polls.'"

Machine Gun Kelly Posted by Hello
How cool is Machine Gun Kelly? This cool: he took off his hat for the profile mug shot, because that wouldn't look very good. But then he puts it back on to be dapper as all fuck for his next picture. That's cool.

"Handsome" Harry Pierpont Posted by Hello
While Dillinger got all the press, Pierpont ran the game and actually had the nickname "Handsome." He kinda looks like Jason Priestley, dontchathink? Anyway, I guess he never learned to smirk like John, the Dylan to his Brandon, and thus is lost to history. Again, like Jason Priestley.

"Monster" Kody Scott Posted by Hello
Leon Bing once wrote something to the effect of "Monster Kody is too handsome to get cast playing himself in the film." Kody was a bad-assed OG Crip when he converted to a black seperatist movement in prison, reforming himself (I guess ... I think he's back in prison) and writing his memoir of gangsterism Monster. It's a hell of a book. And, well, just look at him. I'm a straight guy, and I think he's pretty damn hot. For a killer.

Faith in humanity faltering ...

Give the people what they want. Even if it is this. Posted by Hello

Well, there they are. The number one reason people come to my site. You really want to see these guys shirtless? Well, now you have. Why you wanted to see them bare-chested is beyond me. They look like they might be able to get a gig opening for O-Town. Their muscles don't look as hard as their hair. They're only famous because their grandfather was a crook. But I'm not one to quibble with sexual tastes. So, go nuts. Oooh, that one in the middle is palming a basketball. Hard, yo. More photos here. Thanks to Gabe for the link.

Monday, April 18, 2005

I want answers, Gotti folks.

Hey, you! Yeah, you, the one who did a Google search for "shirtless Gotti Boys" and got my site (there's a few of you every day). Please click on the Comments button below and explain to me what you're looking for. I swear to God I'll find it for you.

I met Edward Conlon

Just got back from a reading by Edward Conlon, the NYPD detective who wrote the awesome memoir Blue Blood. He was a nice guy who didn't mind me taking up a little too much of his time after the reading. He has a great New York accent that makes his cop stories even better than just reading him (if I'd made up his voice in my head while reading, I would have felt guilty for the stereotype). In fact, I'd almost recommend you pick up the audio book version instead.

Here are some interesting flashes:

Someone asked about police work being dangerous, he said "safer than being a fireman. Safer than being a cab driver."

Someone asked about the crazy cops who are accused of making hits for the mob. He said "corruption is not a part of my reality . I've made thousands of arrests and been offered a bribe once ... those guys are, um, special."

I asked him about Bronx juries, and he told this story about a cab robbery. The cab driver had a little camera on his rearview mirror, which got a shot of one of the perps. Conlon got the photo in the New York Daily News. The next day he caught the guy, wearing the same jacket with a clipped out picture of himself in the newspaper. The guy claimed it wasn't him and that when he confessed, he had a gun to his head. The grand jury wouldn't indict him.

I asked Conlon about my idea of doing a write-up of all the cop bars in town, and what cops would think of it. He didn't tell me the idea sucked, but ... well, he didn't seem to keen on it.

I also asked him about some of the books that he mentioned in his own book, particularly the book Sonny Grosso (of the French Connection) wrote about a murder in a Harlem mosque. I was hoping he'd hip me to a secret bookstore in New York where I could fulfill my crime book fantasies. But nay, he just told me it was really hard to get. But then he just recommended a different book that covers a lot of the same subjects.

I told him that I was moving to New York, asked about how he started writing for the New Yorker (once again, half-hoping that he'd just look at me and say, "the secret word is 'lycanthropy.' Use it well." Again, no dice.

He signed my book:

"Best wishes and welcome to New York"

Fucking cool.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

50 Great Moments in Crime Cinema

Often, ten seconds can make a two hour movie worth watching. That can be especially true in the stylized, violent world of criminal cinema. Here are, in no particular order, 50 great moments from 50 great (and sometimes no so great) crime films. I could have kept going. Please add your own in Comments.

Joe Pesci stomping a man to death to the sweet sounds of Donovan's "Atlantis" in Goodfellas.

"But they don't know, don't show or don't care what's goin' on in the hood." Boyz In Tha Hood.

Chow Yung Fat carrying a baby through a gunfight in Hard Boiled (extra points for the baby pissing out the fire on Fat's leg).

"Everyone needs money. That's why they call it money." Heist.

The hole in the poster, The Shawshank Redemption.

The "oh, fuck" gunfight in Heat.

The con is revealed in The Spanish Prisoner.

"Because I'm fucking stupid. I don't give a fuck about jail. That's my business. That's what I do." Casino.

"This town is one big pussy just waiting to get fucked." Scarface.

Mobster Christopher Walken and security guard Dennis Hopper face off in True Romance (perhaps my favorite movie scene of all time).

"Do you feel lucky, punk?" Dirty Harry. (The most obvious one on this list, but you gotta do it.)

The "I'm as blank as a fart" bar scene in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.

Gene Hackman explains the truth about English Bob in Unforgiven.

The Battleship Potemken quoting, baby-carriage dropping gunfight in The Untouchables.

The mindfuck multi-room interrogation in LA Confidential.

"My daughter!" SLAP "My sister" SLAP -- Chinatown.

William Hurt throwing the chair throw the glass door to get to Kathleen Turner in Body Heat.

Just about any time anyone opens their mouth in Miller's Crossing, but if I can only pick one: "I guess you think you've raised hell?" "Sister, when I've raised hell you'll know it."

The full plan is revealed in a box, Seven.

Buffalo Bill's tucked-in genitals "I'd fuck me" dance, The Silence of the Lambs.

The hands in the refrigerator, State of Grace.

The silent gunfight, The Road to Perdition.

The prison riot as Hell in Natural Born Killers.

The first ten minutes of The Salton Sea.

Michael Corleone comes out of the toilet with a pistol in his hand ... but doesn't start shooting yet, The Godfather.

"I just ambushed you with a cup of coffee," Ronin.

The cadaver-dumping car chase, Bad Boys II.

Sam Elliot arrives in Road House.

Harvey Keitel drunk and hooked to the camera in Mean Streets.

Tatum O'Neil as the cutest widdle con artist running a twenty in Paper Moon.

"Would you rather be loved or feared?" "Feared. It lasts longer." A Bronx Tale.

The squibs burst in the final scene of Bonnie and Clyde.

"I hired the best killers there is. White killers!" Super Fly.

The gangsta stops by the studio to record "You Can Get It if You Really Want," Harder They Come.

Switching the twenties and a baseball bat in the guts, The Grifters.

Sean Penn breaking through the cops in Mystic River.

The semen logo, Ichi the Killer.

The parade, The Godfather Part II.

"Homie, you need some help?" BAM! BAM! BAM! Menace II Society.

Benecio Del Toro opens his mouth for the first time, The Usual Suspects.

Bill the Butcher taps on his eyeball, Gangs of New York.

"I'll be your huckleberry," Tombstone.

Harvey Keitel smokes some crack with the rapist, Bad Lieutenant.

"Heineken? Pabst Blue Ribbon!" Blue Velvet.

"Bite the curb": Nazi versus Crips in American History X.

Stabbing a guy with a pair of glasses, The Godfather Part III.

Luke in is post-50-eggs Jesus Christ pose, Cool Hand Luke.

George C. Scott posing as a porn director, Hardcore.

Fresh talks his way out of a chain-whipping, Fresh.

Topher Grace drops knowledge about slangin' dope on Michael Douglas, Traffic.

"It's the one that says 'Bad Mother Fucker' on it," Pulp Fiction.

Friday, April 15, 2005

My name is the Bookhouse Boy, and I am a victim.

One Sunday morning in 2003, I woke up to find my car was not parked in front of my apartment. I drink, so I walked around the block to make sure I hadn't forgotten where I parked it, but no, it was gone. I called the cops, I called my girlfriend, I called my parents. And eventually the cops showed up. Well, one did, anyway, and he took the report from his car.

"What are the odds of me getting it back?" I asked.

"Oh, you'll get it back," he said. "The question is, what will it look like?"

Over the next few days, I told a lot of people about my missing car. "Welcome to St. Louis" was the general reaction. One person I didn't call was my insurance agent, because I didn't have one.

Four or five days later, I got the call. My car had been found ... or rather, my car had been run to ground. In St. Louis, they don't chase stolen cars; they don't think it's worth the risk. They have no such policy in wild and wooly East St. Louis, where a cop checked the plates on my car, realized it was stolen and gave chase (cue music). The perps bailed in an alley; one was caught (I never heard if he was charged with anything; I assume he wasn't).

So they towed my car to a dingy old lot where I had to pay a couple of hundred dollars for no reason except they had my car and I didn't. "There's some stuff in the car," the wizened old bitch behind the counter said. "Don't think it's yours." And she laughed a laugh so mottled that I assume she's dead now.

She was right, most of the stuff in the car wasn't mine. Gone were my Star Wars DVDs, my copy of From Hell (I hope the bastards at least read it). New to my car was a half-empty pint of gin, a half pack of Newports and some CDs. There was ash in the ashtray, but no more than anywhere else. I, who had smoked in the car for three years, was disgusted by the stale smoke smell. In my mind, a carload of thieves exhaled their Newport smoke directly into the fabric of the car, with all the windows rolled up.

And then there was the clothes. Strewn about the back seat were several ... words fail ... whore outfits. "Lingerie" is not appropriate to describe the cheap, diaphanous wisps of befouled fabric that some woman had left behind. The crotches were crusty, every backside was a string. These weren't just stripper clothes ... they were stripper clothes for that stripper on the pole at that strip club that you stumble into drunk, then back out as soon as possible to get away from the draped labia and gravity-vanquished breasts. The clothes were gross.

There was a nice pair of stripper shoes as well, clear heeled ("When did clear heels become 'whore shoes?' Chris Rock has asked.) with fake $100 bills set into them. I kept one, just to remember "The Time My Car Got Stolen And Some Gin-Swilling, Newport Smoking Whore or Really Cheap Stripper Lived in My Car."

And then, two days later my transmission exploded because the damn bastards had run over something and cracked the transmission fluid case. It cost me $1,800 to fix.

And that's what being a victim is all about. Happy Victim's Week!

Slangin' and Bangin'

Here's a pretty interesting Snopes article on the history of saggy pants and the rumor that it started as a prison style for "catchers" wanting to advertise their availability.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

The Sad Death of Dorothy Stratten

I just finished watching Star 80, the final film of the great Bob Fosse. Star 80 tells the true story of Dorothy Stratten, 1980 Playmate of the Year who was raped and murdered by her estranged husband Paul Schnieder when she was only 20 years old. Eric Roberts is excellent in the Schnieder role, playing a Svengali whose creation becomes to strong to control, making him come face to face with how worthless he really is. Mariel Hemmingway, as Stratten, wasn't given much to do by Fosse except be so sweet that it's extra-tragic when the murder/suicide takes place. Still, it's great in theat late-70s,/early '80s kind of way, that kind of movie that is about people and takes its time. Nowadays, movies are kinetic frenzies. Even worse is when some half-sack "autuer" misinterprets the slow pace of the '70s as an excuse to be boring.

To get back to the crime, by all accounts Dorothy really was a very, very nice person who just happened to get famous showing off her tits because of her quasi-pimp boyfriend, then he raped and strangled her because his plan worked too well. I think that's the definition of a tragedy.

This all happened in 1980, one year before the Wonderland murders, for those of you keeping track of violence in the adult industries (not that it's fair to compare Stratten with John Holmes, the fucker).

Fingers don't grow on trees ...

I told you something was fishy in that "finger in a bowl of Wedny's chili" story. Cops are now searching the woman's home, and some people are now claiming it came from the "victim's" dead aunt.

People notice if they lose a finger. They just do. Unless they are dead already. Man, what a story this could be!

Those limeys crack me up

One of my favorite hobbies is poking fun at crime in the UK ... here, they are up in arms against the horrid scourge of ... tyre slashing!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

It's a little plain for my tastes ...

Check out the new execution chamber for Missouri. Couldn't they put up a painting or something? Maybe a little light difusion?

Happy Victim's Week!

Hey, everybody, Happy Victims! Here's a totally feasible idea to make criminals make financial restitution to their victims! Because criminals totally have the money to pay you back! Because they didn't spend it on crack or anything!

Coming later this week, my long promised tale of The Day My Car Got Stolen! I was a victim, and that's why I can rock it so hard this week!

Have you been a victim? Tell us about it in the comments thread below!

Sunday, April 10, 2005

When a body meets a body ...

After attending the wedding of my dear friend Shelley in Chicago this weekend, I was lucky enough to go see the Body Worlds exhibit. Seeing as how I'm such a big fan of fictional viscera, I thought I ought to go see the real thing.

If you ever get a chance to see this thing, jump on it. Through the suitably creepy-sounding method of "plastination," cadavers are preservered and posed in all sorts of ways. Most interesting to me was the face woven of webs of veins. From just these little red veins you could see the map of the person's face.

It's a good thing I'm never going to die, or the whole thing might have freaked me out.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Drug war over in Ireland

Thanks to a new drug hotline. Well, I guess those IRA gangsters are going to have to look somewhere else to peddle their wares. The gardai have discovered the telephone!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Daredevil fights rednecks, wins.

Poor people suck! Posted by Hello

Just picked up issue three of Daredevil Redemption, the "Daredevil solves the West Memphis 3" series. I thought the first two issues were pretty shallow and simplistic, but they pale in comparison to issue three. I'll put it to you straight: writer David Hine's work is lazy, bordering on laughable. While the Marvel Knights label is supposed to indicate rich, adult writing, Hine has imbued his fictional West Memphis denizens with the intelligence, moral fiber and dimensions of an '80s-era Rhino. Get this: them dumb rednecks go to church! And they burn horror books! And they're hypocrites! I can picture Hine, after a hard day of vomiting Level One stereotypes onto the page, then leaning back and thinking to himself: "Ah, that'll teach 'em for voting for Bush."

Once again, it's the simplicity of his writing that irritates me. As someone noted in a comment to a previous post, complexity in comics is certainly possible (I just finished re-reading From Hell, so I know what comics can do with criminal historical fiction).

I should add that Michael Gaydos' artwork is pretty good, though I hope for his sake he's tired of drawing slack-jawed yokels. I mean, Jesus, man, it's this kind of shit that makes the West Memphis Three appear guilty: the brash, visible prejudices of supporters who need to reduce everyone in the town to redneck dipshits in order to make their theory work.

Fuck, it just pisses me off. I grew up in a fairly redneck area, and I know it can suck balls and that some people can be thickheaded Jesus freaks. But one thing I've learned since I was seventeen and angry is that stupidity knows no dogma. There are dumb Christians; there are dumb atheists. Some people are drooling Bible-beaters, others are aura-sniffing hippy waterheads. Jackbooted mouth-breathers and Starbucks-bombing anarchist imbeciles. There are morons at gas stations in Memphis, and dunderfucked radical college professors in Boulder. Sansabelted Republican chowderbrains in Springfield, MO, and half-witted Hollywood Democrats.

Arrgh! But here's the other side of the coin: not everyone in the rural south is a chromosome-deficient mongoloid. David Hine, you lazy, lazy person ... have you ever met any people like the ones you're writing about? Cut that weak shit out. You're lucky enough to be employed writing comic books ... how about doing something that isn't just coughing up simplistic propaganda? Christ, I won't be surprised if he makes the preacher the real killer at the end. Gawd.

End of rant.

If I was a paranoid man ...

I'd think that Blogger tried to censor me this week. The day the Pope died, I wrote an innocent enough post about a conspiracy theory involving the Pope being assassinated. The moment I published it, the coding on my blog template evaporated. Has anything like this ever happened to you? Now, all my custom coding is in the ether. It'll probably take a few days for me to get it back to the way I liked it.

What the hell?

Monday, April 04, 2005

Turd Burgler!

Ahh, yes. It's difficult to resist. Weird crime of the day.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Was Pope John Paul Assassinated?

No, not the one who died Sunday ... the one who died in 1978.

Well, was he? Beats me. When I get appointed Pope Wicked the Awesome (which ought to be next week), I'll get to the bottom of it.

Friday, April 01, 2005

National Victims' Rights Week! Woo-hoo!

Dude! Bush just declared April 10 as the beginning of National Victim's Rights Week! I hereby declare The Crime Spree as the official website of National Victim's Week (something that Bush forgot to assign in his proclamation.)

Let's celebrate our victimhood each and every day of that week! Remember, victims have the right ... to PARTY!

How Are We Going to Celebrate?
1. Victim's Party
Have you been a victim of a crime? Of course you have. Host a party or a night out where the only thing that'll get you past the velvet rope is being a victim!

2. Attention, bloggers. I don't normally beg for links, but if you do happen to link to me about National Victims' Right Week, help google bomb me by using those words in the link! Victims, unite!

3. If you've got wild and wacky tales of victimhood, shoot 'em over to me, and I'll post 'em here. I'll finally tell the full story of my greatest moment of victimhood ... The time I got my car stolen!

4. Let's support the Victim's Rights Constitutional Amendment. I'm sick and tired of victims of crime being thrown in jail without trials or having their property searched without due cause! We're all victims. Let's take back what's ours.