Tuesday, May 31, 2005

You've committed a felony, right?

Well, I have. And I'm really glad that no one killed anyone while I was doing it, or I could be in prison for life. That's felony murder, people. And it's famously landed one Colorado woman in prison. She's got a new trial, but if the law hasn't changed then I don't see why she'll get off. Under the law, she's guilty of murder even if the killing took place while she was handcuffed in a cop car.

What do super models and con artists have in common?

Answer: both words are abused. Every anorexic skank who shows up on the cover of cosmo is not a supermodel. You aren't a supermodel unless I know your name.

And you aren't a con artist if all you do is tell a sob story to someone else. Let's have some respect for words.

Lazy reporters and the West Memphis 3

As the WM3 "awareness day" comes closer and closer, more and more sloppy journalists will be writing about Damien Echols and the other two convicted child killers who have garnered so much sympathy from folks. Here's another reason to think that the three are guilty: supporters are using disproved statements to argue against the trio's guilt.

Take, for instance, this piece that allows Damien to claim he never drank anyone's blood, when it has been documented that he has.

Or this piece by the Guardian that claims that Jessie Misskelly was questioned for 12 hours before he confessed: that is completely untrue.

Lazy, lazy reporters will keep selling lies, half-truths and stereotypes as long as people let them.

EDIT: Here's a news report with more misinformation, ripped apart by people who think Damien is guilty.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Basic Instinct ...

When Joe Eszterhas was paid three million for his Basic Instict scrpit, snotty people the world round shat themselves with indignation. Know what? It's a good fucking script. Literally.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Shameless

Those loved ones of the Bookhouse Boy wondering what to get him for his dreaded upcoming birthday would do well to look at the wish list on the right.

And that's all I'm going to say about that.

You saw Phil Spector, right?

He appears to be getting ready to play the Michael Jackson card: "I'm so batshit loonball that I won't last five minutes in the pen. Gimmie a break."

It's a shame ... Phil Spector probably had more of an influence on modern music than anyone outside of Elvis or the Beatles. But, this is a B-list "celebrity" crime for lots of reasons listed in the post below: Spector is less famous to the mainstream, and less sexy, than even Robert Blake. So don't look for too much coverage.

The Great American Murder

After reading this post by Steve Huff over at The Dark Side, I started thinking about the classic George Orwell essay "The Decline of the English Murder." Huff's post focuses on that most media-friendly of murders known as "uxoricide" (or, wife-killing ... I didn't know it until I read it in Steve's post). And, although not entirely the focus of his post, Steve outlines the type of killer who is most likely to enter the media malestrom: young, rich, lying sociopaths who construct a murder just mysterious enough for the media to bite into it. And then, being young and camera-friendly and involved in a mystery, the killer comes under far more scrutiny than their web of lies can stand, and they go down.

I told Steve in an email that, as Orwell described the perfect English murder, he may have stumbled onto the perfect American murder. First, let's look at Orwell's "perfect murder":

The murderer should be a little man of the professional class--a dentist or a solicitor, say
--living an intensely respectable life somewhere in the suburbs, and
preferably in a semi-detached house, which will allow the neighbours to
hear suspicious sounds through the wall. He should be either chairman of
the local Conservative Party branch, or a leading Nonconformist and
strong Temperance advocate. He should go astray through cherishing a
guilty passion for his secretary or the wife of a rival professional man,
and should only bring himself to the point of murder after long and
terrible wrestles with his conscience. Having decided on murder, he
should plan it all with the utmost cunning, and only slip up over some
tiny unforeseeable detail. The means chosen should, of course, be poison.
In the last analysis he should commit murder because this seems to him
less disgraceful, and less damaging to his career, than being detected in
adultery. With this kind of background, a crime can have dramatic and
even tragic qualities which make it memorable and excite pity for both
victim and murderer.


Some things have changed. For one thing, this is America, and for another, it's the age of moving pictures. So we'll trade in the solid respectability for raw attractiveness. The "avoiding the shame of adultery through murder" is very English, so we'll trade that in for "wife doesn't fit into wild lifestyle/is pregnant and no fun." And poison is straight out ... instead they tend to try to cover up the crime by making it appear to be a abduction of some type.

Or, to leave Orwell behind and get hyper American by reducing it to a formula:

Sex+beauty+mystery+murder=AMERICA.

Am I missing something? Oh, yeah, the real thrust of Steve's post is on the psych. profile of these pretty-boy killer. Go read it.

The Insanity Defense

Posting is going to be extremely light for the next couple of days ... perhaps weeks. Aside from organizing a music festival at work, I'm the best man in a wedding this weekend and planning a move to New York in June. Bear with me, and play around with this (thanks, Steve) in your spare time.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Why I hate people ...

Read this article on Anti-Social Behavior Orders, one-person laws that British judges can slap on you for doing just about anything at all. Ask yourself how much longer it will be before America has them. And then ask yourself what "free" means, anyway.

Okay, maybe that's an over-reaction. But I posit that an average American (not that there is such a thing) really knows what freedom is. Or approves of it entirely.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

More heroin news

The US says that Afghanistan's government isn't trying hard enough to stop poppy growth. Meanwhile, farmers are promising to fight anyone who comes to take their crops away.

From American History X to Witness

Thanks to Ultracasual I've discovered the ultimate time waster that is the Internet Movie Script Database. I have no idea if it is legal or not. They've got a healthy selection of crime movies here. It's missing Chinatown, which many people feel is the perfect screenplay, but they've got several David Lynch films and Miller's Crossing. Fun stuff.

Friday, May 20, 2005

The Friday Crime Spree

Here's a new feature for my dedicated readers: every Friday i'm going to do quick takes on some of the crimes and crime news that have popped up this week.

An A for style, but still poor form
A North Carolina teen shoots his parents, goes to prom.

True Crime isn't
Last year's lousy video game True Crime has a sequel. Check out the crime-filled contest.

No thought police here
Teens arrested in "hate crime" at middle school for spitting. So if they pick on you for being a geek, they join the football team, but racists go to jail.

I can see that
A Columbian town bans gossip.

Kids say the darndest things
A massive British manhunt is called off after police figure out that a ten-year-old rape victim made it all up.

I learned it from watching you!
The jury is out on a father/son crime spree.

I saw the worst minds of my generation destroyed by coat hangers
Does abortion lower the crime rate?

A one man crime wave

I'm not sure how big Wandsworth in London is, but Donald Burley had the borough clocked. When cops managed to nab this fellow, the crime rate in Wandsworth dropped 40%.

Well done! Oh, and he's on the loose again.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Death of a super villain


A ball-point banana? Posted by Hello


Frank Gorshin, who was perfect as the Riddler in the Batman TV show, died today of lung cancer. Along with Ceaser Romero as the Joker, Eartha Kitt as Catwoman and Burgess Meredith as the Penguin, Gorshin was one of the top supervillains of that camp classic. He also, strangley enough, performed on the Ed Sullivan show that introduced the Beatles to America.

Click here for some classic riddles.

The Riddler has always been treated as a second class Joker, but I like him. Oh, how the other super-villains would curse his need to leave clues for Batman. But he needed the challange. You gotta like that.

A poppy by any other name ...

The BBC chats with an opium smuggler as part of a series on Afghanistan. According to the article, 60% of Afghanistan's GNP comes from opium.

How on earth do you beat that? You don't. And really, you have to weigh some things out: is the damage heroin does to junkies worse than what would happen to impoverished Afghanis if we took away two-thirds of their income?

Well, the US isn't too worried about that. According to the Christian Science Monitor, even though there is a worldwide shortage of opiates for legitimate drug production, they (and the Afghan government) are against legalizing the trade:

"Anything that went about legalizing an opiate in that market would send exactly the wrong message. It would suggest that there is something legitimate to growing."

Let's be honest here: nothing outside the creation of an extremely cheap synthetic opiate is ever, ever going to end the opium production of Afghanistan or the other major opium producer, Myanmar, which I just learned existed. American allies Turkey and India lead the world in legal opiate production. Opium is one of the oldest and most useful drugs in the world; we have receptors for it in our brain.

And: Wasn't the world a better place when it was filled with opium addicts, not heroin addicts? Much like cocaine versus coca leaf tea, the strengthening of opium into heroin benefits smugglers, not users (it's harder to sneak in 10 tons of opium than the one ton of heroin it boils down to). And, much like cocaine, white people messing with brown people sure helped muck it all up.

Ah, these are old arguments. They're worn thin. But people just won't listen. They just don't care. Drugs cannot be legal. No matter what. No matter how much you might enjoy a tipple of opium tea, you can't have it. (Well, maybe you can). But go on out there and score some 90% pure black tar if you want.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Credit where Credit is Due

This is getting a little too close to politics, but riots are a crime where I'm from, so let's be clear:

If Newsweek prints something and some insane zealots go batshit loonball and start killing people because they are fucking nuts, it is not Newsweek's fault. It's their own goddamn fault for being such whacked-out dipshit maniac moron lunatics that something printed in a newspaper about something that happened to a book is enough to drive them over the edge into Total Fucking Wack-ville. Newsweek made a reporting mistake. Other people went into a murderous frenzy. Who's the goddamn criminals?

That'll bring the tourists in ...

Some of the crime-prevention measures suggested by the Maun, Botswana Neighborhood Watch, in order to remain an attractive tourist town:

Every vehicle coming into and going out of Maun should be searched for firearms, stolen property and illegal immigrants

Armed police officer should be deployed some distance before the road-blocks to monitor evading motorists

the introduction of sniffer dogs in Maun

drivers who made a u-turn before the road-block should be shot


Book me a ticket.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Best Criminal Band Names

I made reference in an earlier post to good band names that come from crime reading. In that instance, it was my use of the phrase 67-Stab Wound Shanking, which would be an awesome hardcore band. I must also mention that the rapper C-Murder was, in fact, convicted for murder. And that's kinda funny.

Anyway, here are some other criminal phrases just waiting to be picked up by a canny group:

The Chinaman's Vig
Christopher on the Sopranos once said, explaining to Tony why he was late, "I had to go pick up the Chinaman's vig." I fell in love with the phrase. I see the band as being a shoegazery trip-hop band.

Mobster Corpse Dump
Maybe this one would be a better song title.

The Cackle Bladders
Maybe a swing band.

Felonius Monk
I was heart-broken a while back to find out that I wasn't the only person to think up this name. Still, if I ever become a gangster rapper ...

Feel free to suggest more.

Good Reads

The New Times chain (which my alter-ego writes for) is producing some really solid true crime writing these days. Most impressive is the Easybay Express feature story penned by one of the jurors in the Lida "transsexual murder." It's always interesting to get inside of a jury's mind, especially for a case this intense.

The Dever Westword also has an epic article on the state of the Aryan Brotherhood. They aren't just racists anymore!

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Coolest Man Alive

Ricky Jay, sleight of hand God and world-class scholar in sideshows and chicanery, was on Talk of the Nation this week. You'll get to hear part of his patter on three-card monte and tons of other things. Check it out.

Crime Spree 4 Kidz: Missing Children

(Crime Spree 4 Kidz is a regular feature of the Crime Spree for parents who don't know how to explain crimes to their children. Let the Bookhouse Boy do it for you. Plop the kid down and I'll set 'em straight).


Crime Spree 4 Kidz! Posted by Hello

Kids: if you've been watching the news a lot with your parents, you might have seen something very scary: white children going missing. Yes, white children, some with blonde hair and sparkling big eyes, sometimes get taken away from their parents. It can be very scary, if you are a little white child. Coulld you be kidnapped?

Maybe: there's a lot of scary people out there looking to hurt white children. But if you play smart and don't talk to strangers, you can stay safe. And if you are kidnapped, you still have a chance, because the news will put your white face on TV. They might even show your white, smiling face on cable!

But what if you aren't white? Then do whatever you like. Don't you watch the news? No one abducts black children.

If scooters are outlawed, only outlaws will have scooters

If you're like me and secretly pine for a vintage Vespa or Lambretta, you'll be interested to learn that its a dreaded tool of the underworld. So common are scooter-propelled crimes in Naples, the city banned the l'il cycles. I'm sure they have more to do with crime than the vast unemployment.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

For your grandmother ...

Pretty busy right now ... please make your own opium at home while I get organized.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Gang wars and urban legends

Has the Hispanic EME gang declared war on every black male in LA? Or maybe just the ones wearing white t-shirts?

Turn, as we must, to the invaluable In the Hat for the answer. Which is, of course, no. But its more complex and interesting than that, so go on and read.

In an interesting connection, All Things Considered had a piece last night about how Cali cops are starting to check the citizenship status of people they arrest to help combat the new wave of international gangs.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Everybody hates

Be sure to check out this very interesting blog on extreme politics, produced by a fella I know quite well (no, not me). He's put a lot of study into everything from white-power groups to black supremacists, and knows they're all nuts. Seeing as how these folks hold the law in small regard, there could be some cross-posting between the two of. Anyway, give it a read.

The good names of goodfellas ...

Short but sweet: check out this Explainer on mob nicknames.

Sticks and stones ...

Does this sound right to you? A man charged with a felony because of the words he used? Maybe I'm missing something here; maybe the guy broke the law in some other capacity that isn't being made clear. But, come on people. A felony is a serious thing.

I hate to take the side of racists, but words are words. And this looks, on the face of it, like total bullshit. From the article, it looks like the most this guy could be charged with is trespassing. A few racial slurs bumps that up to a felony, huh?

Can anyone defend this?

Monday, May 09, 2005

Daredevil v Rednecks Part 4

I'm continuing to punish myself by reading the Daredevil: Redemption series, now in its fourth (out of six) issue. I've gone on and on about how much I dislike writer David Hine's fictional take on the West Memphis 3, so I won't go overboard again. But let's see if I can fit every redneck stereotype Hine indulges in this issue into one sentence:

Just before the book burning by morally outraged religious freaks (along with a toothless super-freak)is observed by the corrupt sheriff, a monstrously fat woman reveals that a family member had sex with her that resulted in her inbred son, whose existence shocks the charismatic preacher.

No, seriously. Once again, I call you out, David Hine. That's just fucking lazy.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Sorry, O.J. I didn't know ...

A few years ago my brother and I rented Battlefield Earth. Yeah, I know, that was the point: we wanted to watch something so bad it was good. But after two largely laughless hours of watching John Travolta stop around in platform shoes and dredlock extensions like the scariest tranny on Earth, we turned off the film with a sober lesson learned: sometimes bad is just bad. After that, it's been a lot harder for me to get into kitsch.

But at a book fair today, I found something so bad that I had to get it: Blood Oath, The Conspiracy to Murder Nicole Brown-Simpson. It kindly explains the murder to all of us stupid Americans who thought we knew who the killer was.

There might be some of you who, having considered O.J.'s history of abuse, footprints at the crime scene, bleeding hand, confused alibi, extremely odd post-crime behavior and one-in-57-billion blood match might have thought O.J. was the killer. But no! The intrepid authors of Blood Oath, thanks to an informant, has it all figured out. Allow me to quote from the back cover:

"Blood Oath is the story of an on-going conspiracy that began with the attempted AME Church bombing in Los Angeles and the targeting of prominent African Americans for assassination by an elite strike-team of white supremacists ..."

Boo-yah! You didn't see that one coming, did you? This book manages to tie in the murder of Alan Berg, the Oklahoma City bombing and other acts of white-power in with the murder of Nicole Brown. Why? Let's check in with our white folks as they plan the crime:

"How is the execution of this black man Simpson and his n---er loving wife going to accomplish all of those glorious things you're talking about?" One of the lesser whities asks (the dashes are in the original ... I think they replace "osh;" OJ loved to eat.
...
"We'll crucify her and frame the n[osh]er. The whites will line up on one side and the blacks, Jews and liberals on the other."

You have to admit, it explains a lot of things. When the party of four ex-Special Forces white supremacists kill Nicole and Ron Goldman, plant lab-stolen OJ blood all over the place, walk through the crime scene with a pair of stolen Bruno Maglis and then move OJ's Bronco around, all in order to foment a national race riot ... well, I for one am scared shitless.

It goes on like this for hundreds of pages. And it cheers my heart. No, it really isn't that funny. I'll never finish the whole thing. But it makes me happy, because if this pile of shit can get published, then so can I. I love you, America!

The Crime Spree is going places

The crimeblogging world is pretty small. Allow we to quote from Huff from the Dark Side, who says it better than I could:
As a blogger, I seem to be a member of a rather select group.
The blogosphere, according to some in the mainstream press, is all about the politics. There are only two blogs as far as CNN is concerned, it seems -- Instapundit, and DailyKOS -- both hugely popular, almost completely politically oriented weblogs.
If they need human interest filler, the mainstream news will tell you blogging is done by 20 to 30-something mostly
stay-at-home Moms with great recipes and Erma Bombeck outlooks with 21st-century twists.
But we know this weblog thing is bigger than that, don't we?

Huff is kind enough to include the Crime Spree in his list of crimeblogs of note. This is right on the heels of Laura James of CLEWS putting me on a similar list. Color me flattered. And be sure to check out the other sites that they mention. For a while I've felt like I was writing in a vacuum, so its nice to find other people who have my same interests. Although I seem to be the only one who makes dick jokes.

Sinatra did it his way

So, was old blue-eyes a rapist? I dunno. It could be true, but you ought to step forward before the fella dies if you want people to believe you.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Crime Spree 4 Kidz: Michael Jackson


Crime Spree 4 Kidz! Posted by Hello

This is a new feature for Crime Spree: parents, have you ever had a hard time explaining a crime to one of your little ones? Well, Crime Spree 4 Kidz is the true crime blog for you. Just plop your youngster in front of the screen and the Bookhouse Boy will speak to the little one in terms they can understand.

For our first installment, we'll be looking at a case that probably has a lot of children scratching their heads: The Michael Jackson Trial.

The Man Who Loved Too Much

If you've been watching the news with your mommy and daddy, you might have seen something kinda scary:


"Rarr!" Posted by Hello

Now, it isn't polite to point. That is a person, just like you or me. One of the best things about people is that we aren't all the same. Some people are fat, some people are thin and some people have wafer-thin artificial noses and great big eyes. The name of that man is Michael Jackson. He is a very sad man. Maybe you wonder how he got so sad?

Do you like being a little boy or girl? It is fun to run and laugh and play. But Michael Jackson didn't get to be a little boy ... Instead of friends, he had Diana Ross. And he practiced dancing and singing every day with people named Jermaine and Tito! Do you have any imaginary friends?

Remember when daddy got drunk at your Little League game and yelled at the umpire? Well, Michael Jackson's daddy was like that, but even worse! He'd give Michael a head-spanking every time Michael didn't do a dance step just right.

Then, one day a long time ago, when your parents were hooked on cocaine, Michael Jackson became the most famous man in the world for his dancing and singing. Even though all those head-spankings had hurt, and they had knocked some of the color out of Michael's skin, they also helped Michael become an extra-good dancer. And soon he had lots of money and could buy everything he wanted ... Except his childhood. Isn't that sad? Don't you want to give him a hug? Better not!

Do You Know What "Russian Hands and Roman Fingers" Means?

Because Michael never got to be a little kid, he likes to play with little kids! But there are rules for big people playing with little people (don't grown-ups make rules for everything!?), and now some people think that Michael may have broken a few of the rules.

For one thing, he may have given little children Jesus Juice! It sounds yummy, but it tastes funny going and down (and coming up, too!) And it's only for adults and really cool kids. So Michael shouldn't have given it to that sick kid, because sick kids aren't cool.

There are parts of your body that belong to you, and only you, until you reach the age of sixteen (fourteen for girls). Do you know the parts we mean? The ticklish bits? Right! Well, Michael might have played a little too much with the little kids, and he may have touched their no-no zones. So now Michael's lawyer (a lawyer is a special person who can get you out of trouble if you are very rich. Don't you wish you had one?) has to talk to a judge to see if Michael Jackson can go home again, or if he has to go to the Big Time Out, where his ticklish bits will be very popular.


Lawyers are like Band-Aids for adult boo-boos. Posted by Hello

Thing to do at home
Michael Jackson turned from dark to white. You can turn from light to dark by tying a shoelace around your neck. Give it a try!

Would your mommy let Michael Jackson touch your special parts for ten million dollars? Ask her and watch her think about it!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Best Jacko coverage out there

He's back! Slate restarts Seth Stevenson's awesome Michael Jackson trial coverage.

"There is nothing at all interesting about telephone records. There's no 'science' involved in examining a Verizon bill. And—unlike fingerprints—official telephone records are rarely superimposed on top of a nasty, spread-eagle beaver shot."

Lesson learned: Prison is Bad

Watched two prison documentaries this week: Gladiator Days and Scared Straight! Days investigates the backstory behind a brutal prison murder, a 67-stab wound shanking* caught on video. It's really hard to watch; at one point the shank gets stuck in the victim's skull ... yeah, it's hard to watch. Some folks have argued that killer Troy Kell is a victim of the system, as he received a no-parole life sentence at the age of 18. But, seeing as how he shot a guy six times to get that sentence, this is a really, really stupid argument.

Not that prison doesn't change you, a point made perfectly clear by Scared Straight! This 1978 documentary follows a group of young punks as they are taken into a New Jersey maximum security prison to get lectured by a bunch of scary lifers. There's a main thrust, if you will, to their threats. Allow me to present to you the two-minute version of Scared Straight!

BEFORE THE TRIP:


"I'm just a bad motherfucker. No doubt." Posted by Hello


"What up, fool?" "Word, holmes." Posted by Hello

THE LECTURE:

"...and then I'm going to rape you sideways style. After that, I'll do some rape crunches to keep the abs tight. After that, I'll beat your guts with my rape stick. Then my friends will rape you while I take a rape nap." Posted by Hello


[in the background]"rape, rape, rape." Posted by Hello


"...breakfast rape, except on Sundays, when it's brunch rape. Rape with feathers! Cream of rape!" Posted by Hello

AFTER THE LECTURE


"Is the army hiring right now? 'Cause I'd like to thank Uncle Sam for my perfectly-sized, non-distended anus."Posted by Hello


"Like, I thought prison was all tattoos and pruno. I didn't realize it involved widening my rectum like an elephant gun. I'm joining the Key Club. "Word, holmes." Posted by Hello

*67 Stab Wound Shanking is the name of my new metal band.

Monday, May 02, 2005

No, it isn't ...

I can see that

A T-Bone for gay sex? Would you throw in a twice-baked potato with that?
Thanks to Mike for the tip.

PS - I didn't know if I should put this one on the Crime Spree or my new blog Sin is In. If you haven't checked it out, please do.

The Stained Glass Bandit

Check out this story about a stained glass thief in St. Louis, written by my friend Kristen Hinman. My only squibble is that I think "The Stained Glass Bandit" is a pretty weak title. The Mosaic Mountebank? The leaded-glass burglar? Oh, okay, maybe the title is fine.