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Ann Rule Died

japanese-skullFor a long time I was quite the aficionado of true crime books. I had a fascination with serial murder for a good part of my young life. I published a zine about it, in fact. I probably read most of the books Rule published before the early 1990s. She, John Waters (who also collected true crime and wrote an essay titled “All My Trials”), and boredom at work were the three reasons I started the zine.

Among others, Ms. Rule wrote one of the two more interesting books about serial killer Ted Bundy. Hers was The Stranger Beside Me, the other was The Only Living Witness by Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth. TOLW was based on hours of interviews with Bundy—who never openly confessed, but was happy to “speculate” on the nature of the murders and the killer’s mindset—which lent it the frisson of hearing the smug bastard’s story in his own words. Rule’s book, as I recall, was nicely written and researched, but was also helped by the fact that Rule knew Ted before “Bundy” become synonymous with evil (or Married…with Children for that matter).

During my true crime fanboy period, I enjoyed reading Rule. Not always. I remember her being occasionally stilted. When she began covering scandalous family murders instead of serial killing perverts, I lost interest. According to my regressive thinking at the time, that was middle-aged chick reading—weepy pap about filicides and mariticides enjoyed by pearl-clutching hausfraus. Give me dark darkness with extra dark, Laird Beelzebub, said a young, gritty, quasi-puncrock Mr. Dan Kelly. Glad I got over that…mostly. It helped that I encountered many real lost boys and girls through the mail, who refused to grow up and dabbled in muck without the slightest bit of self-examination. Geez. Of course, they also made my zine—titled Evil® (the copyright sign’s intended irony was lost on most)—my most successful. But that’s a longer story for another day.

Anyway, Rule generally reliably delivered the goods. She was an old-school true crime writer, writing innumerable articles for the newsprint detective mags and several books under the alias Andy Stack (and others) because, per her first editor, the wimmens just didn’t write true crime. For the genre she was pretty good. Not Capote or Mailer good, but she kept things percolating, did her research (she ran into some accusations of sloppiness later, though these came from less than pure folks), and, as far as I can tell, kept the exploitation and sensationalism down. Uh, never mind the early Andy Stack stuff, which was SLEAZY as hell.

I saw her many years ago at a bookstore signing…I forget where. She talked about her latest book (If You Really Loved Me or Everything She ever Wanted maybe), knowing Bundy (who’d been electrocuted for, I think, two years by then), and answered questions. Silence of the Lambs had recently come out, and someone asked her opinion of the book and film. Unequivocally, she stated she hated both, loathing the idea of a serial killer character portrayed as smart, sexy, and funny. I imagine when you discovered the smart, sexy, and funny fellow you worked a suicide line with, and who you previously would have loved to see your daughter dating, was a psychopath who secretly raped and killed 30+ women, you’re likely to view Hannibal and Dexter with a scowl.

After the talk, I asked her to sign my books (she even signed my copy of The I-5 Killer as Andy Stack!), and told her I was a writer, and that she was a personal inspiration. Which was true, though before and since there have been other more influential writers in my life. I don’t recall her exact words, but she was very encouraging, and even spoke with me a bit about the craft without a hint of brush-off or acting as if she’d rather be elsewhere. Rare behavior in my field.

Anyway, in my experience: a very nice person was Ann Rule. RIP. I may dig through my old true crime collection—what remains of it—and reread one of her books in tribute.

Grin Weeper

6c66f271684850c778cac27fda532a9cI spent several days writing about a distressing event that recently happened to me. Happened to someone else, actually, with me in close proximity. I use the word “traumatic” sparingly. I’m not going to argue semantics, but it’s one of those words bandied about too freely these days. There are truly traumatic events—things involving death, abuse, severe injuries, and the like. But while what happened was scary and psychologically stabbing, everyone involved came out all right. I suppose it was partially traumatic, but nothing requiring psychological liniment and band-aids.

For the past week I kept returning to the piece, crafting it to recall every breath, sensation, and emotion. And it was pretty good. After several years of feeling barely able to word-craft worth a damn, it flowed. Flowing is a healthy activity for blood, water, and words.

But it occurred to me that this wasn’t entirely my story, and I wasn’t certain sharing it online was a good choice. I asked my wife what she thought, and after a moment she said, “No, don’t.” Occasionally, she’s overly cautious, but not this time.

Still, I had to finish it, I knew this, even though it’s destined for a file in the closet cabinet, along with my notebooks, journals, and never-sent letters. That stings a bit, because it’s one more bit of work that’ll do me no good now (soul-balming notwithstanding), and won’t last after I die. My kids might retain some of my work out of nostalgia for the old bastard, but otherwise one day my children’s children’s children will say, “What is this crap?” and heave it into the trash.

But jot it down I must.

What happened? I’ll tell you this much.

Someone dying and someone mimicking dying sent me into a double funk for the past week. Huzzah. Mr. Dan Kelly meet Mr. Death Mortis.

I think about dying a lot—not in a scared way. It just reoccurs to me that I’m mortal and will end. I don’t want to die. Confidentially, and this may surprise you, I hate the thought of it. Standard reactions, yes, but I’ve long developed a bland acceptance of what I can’t control. I’d like to fly unaided, but there’s all this damn gravity to contend with. I’d like to travel everywhere—literally EVERYWHERE—but money, time, space, and previous obligations won’t accommodate me. I’d prefer not to die, but…well, we’ve all been there. We all ARE there. You accept the limits and try to find a way to ameliorate the disappointments. Very well, airplanes and a few trips over the course of a lifetime it is.

But Death has no workaround. And when you’re face to face with it or it gives you a preview of the real thing, you discover the bastard is too stupid to make deals with you, or to give you a pleasant if temporary alternative. Death is neither fair nor unfair. It’s an unavoidable, dull-witted, bureaucratic lug doing its job that doesn’t even wonder why people are annoyed. Imagine a janitor wearing ear buds, listening to its music as it pushes past you to clean off your desk, even though you’re obviously still working or eating or otherwise occupied. Then it leaves without a word—but you know it’ll be back to swipe and discard whatever else you’d prefer it leave alone. Worse yet, it occurs to you that maybe you’re going in the wastebasket next time.

But you’ll get over it, because there’s no alternative. Which can be looked at as a comfort if only for its consistency and inevitability, I guess.

Still sucks.

My Deeply Held Beliefs Say Go to Hell

Oh…you want to use my services? Yeahhhhh, that’s a problem. Look you seem nice and all, but I just can’t do it, because what you…do…and are…is…frowned upon by my religion. But I have an excellent reason for discrim…uh, declining to serve you.

See, my ancestors chose to follow an abridged version of a religion practiced by a desert tribe millennia ago. This tribe had a direct line to the Almighty through a handful of guys who SWORE they spoke directly with the Creator of the Universe, and that He ordered the tribe to do everything these emissaries told them to do, or else He’d smite them.

Which he did, repeatedly, the emissaries claimed whenever things got bad. Sometimes he came through with food and water and protection—they said—but mostly he yelled at them through the emissaries. He was mad they weren’t following his orders to the letter. Whenever they complained, he’d get P.O.ed and let them get sick or suffer or die or be conquered by the other tribes who THEY were trying to conquer. Now, isn’t that a beautiful story?

Anyway, the emissaries presented a TON of laws to the tribe, and you had to follow them or else bad stuff would happen. A few of the good ones were terrific, pretty much stated not to hurt or kill anyone. Good thing the Creator of the Universe told them that.

Much later, some other guy who, and this is my favorite part, hinted that he was the SON of the Creator of the Universe took that tribe’s tenets and added a bunch of new stuff. He didn’t really dump the old rules, but he didn’t stress some as much as others. For example, he said everyone should love and respect each other. He also said that he’d set families against one another, and that he’d die and come back again to judge the living and the dead, sending the ones who displeased him to a horrible flaming underworld. Maybe. I mean, that’s the general consensus about what he said.

Anyway, he died, and CAME BACK. Wow! That’s a guy you want to know, right?

Certainly, well, his friends said it SORT OF looked like him, but not totally. Except for when he did. He hung out for a while and then flew off to this place no one can see where everyone is happy all the time…even though you’re hanging out with that terrifying Creator of the Universe dude who, uh, once killed everyone on earth at the time with a massive flood, because they were evil. The kids too. Evil kids? Sure. Hey, you don’t argue with a guy like that. He must know what he’s doing.

So, the Son of the Creator of the Universe left his followers, and they spread the word about his lessons across the Ancient World. Then this other guy who’d never met him, took all his words and restructured everything to appeal to the Italians who currently ran most of the known world. He underscored some of the older rules again too–which the son never mentioned, actually… Anyway, this new guy became the Son of the Creator of the Universe’s chief PR flack, after he’d spent some time trying to stop the Son’s religion by slaughtering his friends and followers for blasphemy.

No, no! The Son of the Creator of the Universe’s original followers were totally cool with that.

Man oh man, then it took off! Suddenly, the Italians and scads of other people across the Empire were worshiping this poor carpenter. Especially when they were assured they’d go to that happy afterlife place I mentioned.

What?

Well, yes, there were people across the world who’d never heard of this religion or this particular Creator of the Universe, or the emissaries, or the Son of the Creator, or any of the laws…and, well, to their surprise, I heard they all died and went to that horrible flaming underworld to suffer forever, because…

It’s just a shame, really. They should have known better.

But let me get to my main point. Remember when I mentioned my ancestors? Well, somebody told them about this religion and they signed up…or they were forced to convert under pain of death. Either way, they were in, and since then everyone in my family has been told what I just told you, and we’ve accepted it as is, no questions asked. Because really, how COULD you question it? Answer: you can’t. You just can’t.

My ancestors and everyone since took to heart the laws prescribed by the desert tribe and the Son of the Creator in a book that compiles a couple dozen scrolls written in several different languages and eras, after discarding a few other texts that seemed iffy. The book has been edited and re-edited over the last 2,000 years by heretics and firebrands and tyrants and madmen and other men and women who wanted to amass power and wealth by showing the proper interpretation of the words of the Creator of the Universe who no one had spoken with directly for a thousand or so years. But the awesome thing is, it’s still true. Every last syllable. It’s been changed and altered and sifted and translated, but it’s still the same book endorsed by the Creator of the Universe. And you can’t deny that, right?

Anyway, I follow EACH AND EVERY law outlined by this book. Except the odd commandment about clothing or food or menstrual cycles or slavery or…well, okay, there’s quite a few I don’t follow because they don’t mesh well with my modern life and they’re too hard to follow. Sure, some folks still follow ALL the rules, but they’re wrong, because they didn’t listen to the guy who said he was the Son of the Creator of the Universe. Nope, they listened to the guys who said they were his emissaries. CRAZY, huh? SOME people.

As it turns out though, because I believe in all the rules and laws in this book, I also believe some modern laws can’t be followed, because they interfere with my selective reading…Um, I mean my deeply held beliefs.

Now, even though what I’m doing to you might RESEMBLE the discrimination practiced on other groups of people throughout history, it’s really not the same, because… well, like I said. I follow a few specific rules laid down by a bunch of guys who, several thousand years ago, told an isolated desert tribe that the Creator of the Universe put them in charge of everyone and that if they didn’t listen up and do what they said, they’d be slaughtered or punished horribly in the terrible place of torture no one has ever really seen that the Son of the Creator of the Universe may have suggested exists.

Anyway, that’s why I’m refusing to help you with your wedding.

So, honor my freedom of religion, even when it interferes with all the other rights you’re due. You better, because the super-powered Son of the Creator of the Universe will return some day, prove I’m right, and sentence you to an eternity of pain because you tried to get married. Face it, buddy, the facts are on my side.

And remember, the Son of the Creator of the Universe loves you! And so do I!

Get out.

“X-Offender” by Blondie: A Researched Rumination by Dan Kelly

Recently, Liz Mason of Quimby’s asked me to do a reading at a performance by the Blue Ribbon Glee Club, an adorable punk rock singing ensemble she belongs to,  whom you must see the next time they perform. Pure joy.

The band sang three songs, and two other writers and I delivered essays inspired by the tunes. Mine was “X-Offender” by Blondie, which, honestly, I’d never heard before. It sparked my imagination though, and I wrote and read the following piece. Hope you like it. Note: this is not anti-cop. I was the son of a small-town mayor, and I was brought up to believe the policeman was our friend and protector. Unpleasantly, however, it seems many need to be reminded of that fact and about the importance of the public’s trust. I’ll quote every authority figure ever: “If you haven’t done anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about, right?”

 

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“X-Offender” by Blondie: A Researched Rumination
by Dan Kelly

“My vision in blue

I call you from inside my cell

And in the trial, you were there

With your badge and rubber boots

I think all the time how

I’m going to perpetrate love with you

And when I get out

There’s no doubt I’ll be sex offensive to you.”

It was 1976, and two years before Sting and the Police asked Roxanne not to turn on her red light, Debbie Harry and Blondie recorded “X Offender,” a tune about a prostitute and an officer she found arresting in more ways than one.

According to noted rock music historian Dr. Wikipedia, “X-Offender” was originally titled “Sex Offender.” Written by Blondie bassist Gary Valentine, “Sex Offender” told the tale of an 18-year-old boy being nicked for knocking boots with his underage girlfriend. The 70s weren’t as freewheeling as we’ve heard, and Ms. Harry wrote new lyrics describing a strumpet’s crush on the cop busting her for solicitation—a MUCH more family friendly storyline.

Furthermore, to calm their skittish label, they changed the title. “Sex Offender” became “X-Offender.” A meaningless term, but adding the letter X before or after any word—ray, men, brand, or Malcolm, for example—always makes it sound cooler.

Ms. Harry barely tries to describe the cop. We’re told he’s “big and fine,” and that he wears a badge and regulation rubber boots. According to photographs of 1970s NYPD cops, it is 65 percent likely he had sideburns, and 93 percent likely a mustache. Ms. Harry’s surrogate sexual surrogate’s reasons for the infatuation are unclear. The song can be read different ways. A kind of reverse Stockholm syndrome, where the perp comes to empathize with and even love her captor. As a disturbing tale of a nascent stalker. Or perhaps a cynical bit of Machiavellianism by the hooker who hopes she can get off by helping the cop, well, get off.

But let’s assume it IS a tale of a lady of the evening’s unrequited infatuation. A boy (in blue) meets (working) girl story, if you will. If it is, it is anomalous. You can search for songs about police officers, but you’ll find few that are pro-cop, and almost none that are fuzz-sexual.

Early cop songs by 78 rpm record era white performers tended toward the gently comic, and were delivered in a  bogus brogue. In 1922’s “The Laughing Policeman” we learn of an obese constable who endlessly chortles on the corner. In “He’s on the Police Force Now,” we discover the innate hilarity of corrupt Irish cops.

Early blues recordings about the Force, however, are far more numerous, and usually about sheriffs, deputies, railroad bulls, and other lawmen busting the song’s subject for public drinking or killing a man for screwing his wife or, even worse, touching his hat. At no time, however, do we hear bluesmen Blind Blake, Robert Wilkins, or Peetie Wheatstraw, warbling about pitching woo at the man with the keys to his cell…and his heart?

By the 50s and 60s, cops were showing up in rock ‘n roll tunes like “Hot Rod Lincoln,” busting the juvenile delinquent singers for drag-racin’, hubcap stealin’, switch-bladin’, and similar hell-raisin’ antics. What nerds. Later on, in 1966, Bobby Fuller sang his regrets about the foolishness of robbin’ people with a six-gun, for when he fought the law…the law won. Sadly, Bobby died at 23, not long after the song shot up the charts. He was found dead in a car in his Hollywood apartment building’s parking lot, stiff and drenched with gasoline (but not set afire). The LAPD coroner declared Fuller a suicide. Conspiracy fans think it was murder. Whatever the truth, Fuller didn’t win that one either.

The 60s and early 70s brought protest songs powered by the rampant misbehavior of the nation’s finest. In Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs’ tunes, cops show up as by the book stiffs; nightstick-wielding goons and hicks; and shadowy Feds, ever looming and swooping in to pummel, jail, and do far worse to the songs’ protagonists. Ochs, never one to mince words, took an extra dig at Mississippi cops, singing “Behind their broken badges there are murderers and more.” Ouch.

In 1973’s “I Shot the Sheriff,” Bob Marley wailed about being framed for deputycide, when he really only meant to shoot the deputy’s boss in self-defense. More gently, in 1967, Arlo Guthrie rattled on for 19 minutes about Thanksgiving littering, draft board travails, and interactions with Officer Obie in “Alice’s Restaurant.” But note at no time do Arlo, Bob, Bob, or Phil broach the subject of cop on criminal action. Thankfully.

Let us jump ahead to the Bicentennial again, and rejoin Ms. Harry singing about cop-boinking on CBGB’s stage.

While Ms. Harry sang about her forbidden po-po paramour, the disillusionment and righteous anger of 60s hippies for the cops was metastasizing into seething punk rock rage.

I plumbed the collective brains of my geriatric punk friends for songs about cops. A scabrous songbook of cop fear and loathing was quickly drafted. Contributions included Big Black’s “Big Money,” the Swans “Cop,” the UK Subs’ “Police State,” the Partisans’ “Bastards in Blue,” the Dicks’ “Hate the Police,” the Authorities “I Hate Cops,” and half the Clash’s back catalog, with “Police and Thieves,” “Guns of Brixton,” and “Police on My Back” as standouts. Consulting with Professor Google, I found Taboo Tunes, a book on music scares and censorship. Which added even more ditties to our glee club song folio. “Police Story,” by Black Flag, “Police Force” by Fartz, “Police Oppression” by Angelic Upstarts, “Fascist Pig” by Suicidal Tendencies, “Anticop” by TSOL, “Death to All the Pigs” by Naked Aggression, “Kill the Police” by G.G. Allin, “Cops for Fertilizer” by the Crucifucks, and “Police Truck” by the Dead Kennedys.

In light of “X-Offender,” it’s worth mentioning that “Police Truck,” an acid shower of contempt for bent cops, contains the lyrics:

It’s roundup time where the good whores meet
Gonna drag one screaming off the street

Here, Blondie’s courtly cop’s colleagues go on an offensive against the X-Offender’s peers.

Taboo Tunes further listed several punk, hardcore, and noise bands that go that extra mile to extend a finger to the police force. For example, Officer Down, Cop Shoot Cop, Pig Destroyer, and MDC—which is short for Millions of Dead Cops. Driving the back roads with one of those names scrawled on the side of your band’s van must have been exciting.

As a side note, and of local interest, what’s up with Chicago police jackets, a youthful punk fashion statement that started sometime in the eighties? I contacted the primary purveyors of CPD wear, the Alley, asking how and why the trend started. They replied with a link to an article about John Belushi’s funeral, when a melancholy Dan Aykroyd marked his friend’s hometown roots by wearing a Chicago cop jacket as he led the cortege. The look caught on, and the Alley met the demand. When you think about it, The Blues Brothers soundtrack was rhythm and blues, but it had a punk sensibility. Trivia: 60 cop cars were demolished during filming.

I have no idea how police reacted to the sudden sight of funny-haired kids wearing the CPD badge and Chicago flag. Probably not well. According to the CPD site, which offers rules on uniform wear and proper mustache length—no, I’m not making that up—hair guidelines are spelled out:

Head hair will not be adorned with any type of ornamentation nor be styled, sculpted or carved in radical fashions such as mohawk, dreadlocks, punk, new wave, etc.

Can’t we all get along?

If there’s a genre with a greater strain of police resentment than punk, it’s rap—a bigger subject than I can tackle tonight. Also, I’d have to mention Ms. Harry’s freestyle skills in Blondie’s “Rapture.” It should be mentioned though that unlike NWA, no punk bands have received letters from the FBI and Secret Service expressing their displeasure with an album, the way they did in 1989 for NWA’s Straight Outta Compton. The Feds, Secret Service, and media overlooked the album’s rage and frustration with American culture’s racism and deathly status quo, as documented in the seminal “Fuck tha Police”—a tune which appears to be enjoying a resurgence in popularity these days.

In short, as song subjects, the police rarely come off well. But it’s hardly accurate to say there’s NO love for the flatfoots—or would that be flatfeet? As in Ms. Harry’s ode, there are others who’d like a piece of a peace officer, or at least a platonic friendship.

Cops are people too, willing to “get down” with the young people. In 1986, all the cops in the donut shop (Oh Way Oh) willingly walked like E-gyp-shee-ans for the Bangles…but who wouldn’t if Susanna Hoffs asked them nicely?

In song, the Beatles had a pleasanter relationship with the cops. Paul had the hots for lovely Rita, meter maid. In real life, when the Beatles played their final public concert on the roof of 3 Savile Road for Let It Be, they cranked up “Get Back,” tying up traffic below. Promptly, the Metropolitan Police Service showed up and very Britishly asked them to kindly turn down the volume. In later interviews, Ringo Starr still wishes there’d been footage of big-helmeted Bobbies dragging him away from his drum kit. Alas, the Fab Four were too cuddly to arrest.

Like maids and librarians, cops inspire a crazy amount of fetishization. Ms. Harry sings as much in “X-Offender,” of course, but more recently, Fat Mike of NOFX united the worlds of Sex and Law Enforcement in the song “My Stepdad’s a Cop and My Stepmom’s a Domme,” telling us:

They both wear uniforms
They both have shiny boots
They both use unnecessary force
One whips one shoots

Despite the “sadistic tendencies” of both individuals, Fat Mike still thinks its pretty cool.

Other musical romantic liaisons with cops are brief and rife with perversion—especially if you make up stuff that likely never entered the minds of the performers. Though with David Bowie you never can tell.

In “Five Years,” Ziggy Bowie sings of the police officer who kneels and kisses the feet of a priest, inducing vomiting in a nearby homosexual. In “Life on Mars?”, Aladdin Bowie asks us to take a look at the lawman, beating up the wrong guy, and wonder if he’ll ever know he’s in the freakiest show—a freaky sex show, perhaps.

Earlier on, in Leiber and Stoller’s often covered and catchy as hell “Love Potion #9,” a young man is driven to insatiable sex cravings by Gypsy aphrodisiacs, and locks lips with a cop down on Thirty-Fourth and Vine. The officer smashes his supply of lust juice, but whether out of anger at the assault or in the throes of passion, I leave to the fanfic writers.

In “Straight Outta Compton” the song. Ice Cube rapped “Just ’cause I’m from the CPT, punk police are afraid of me.” Punk police? Can such a thing be possible?

As evolution shows, separate species can survive and grow stronger through reproduction and hybridization. Dirty Harry frequently railed against the scourge of “punks,” but who’s to say he didn’t encounter a young, tattooed, green-haired miss who was pleasing to his eye and vice versa.

“Are you feeling lucky, punk?”

“I think we both are, Inspector Callahan.”

Let us speculate that they bred a new spiky-haired, polyester-pants-wearing being, carrying a nightstick in one hand and a Minor Threat LP in the other.

Punk cops, like Republican punks do exist, but make slightly more sense. Errol Morris’ excellent documentary The Thin Blue Line draws its title from the expression that the police are the thin blue line standing between the public and anarchy. Not “Anarchy in the UK,” however. A search for “punk” and “police” brings up news stories of a hardcore member of the NYPD who was busted for taking sick days and collecting disability from an arm injury once it was discovered on YouTube that he could mosh, head bang, and fist pump on tour with his band quite well. Which is pretty punk rock, actually.

Celtic punk band the Dropkick Murphy’s—perhaps culturally simpatico, since all us Irish have at least one cop relative—won’t have poseur punks arbitrarily trash-talking the police. As they sing in their song “John Law”:

Suburban anarchists who’ve never broke the law
Sing about police oppression, but they’ve never met John Law
He doesn’t fuck with young kids drinking in the Park
But he makes the city safe for women after dark

Finally, who better than Killdozer to extend an olive branch to the police with their cheerfully growled tale of the awesomest cop in town, “The Pig Was Cool.”

We were at the Journey show
The first three songs we were hanging low
Then the band played “Wheel in the Sky”
Me and my babe started getting high
The dude next to me said gimme a hit
So I passed him the joint I already lit
When I saw his badge
I thought this is it
But he just said to me, “man, this is good shit”
The pig was cool.

Indeed he was, Mr. Killdozer.

After September 11, cops were imbued with a glow hard won after the decade of LA riots, Amadou Diallo, telephone book beatings, and broken broom handles. This post-9/11 canonization was so pervasive, the Strokes willingly pulled the tune “New York City Cops” from their debut album, delaying its release from September 25 to October 9. A bare month after the towers went down, no one (including the band after watching footage of valiant, dust-covered cops picking people out of the rubble), was comfortable with lyrics like “New York City cops/They ain’t too smart.”

Sadly, the halos have tipped again in recent months. Which is a shame, considering that despite a few bad apples, corruption, systemic racism, use of excessive force, evidence tampering, enhanced interrogation techniques, and…this is getting depressing. Anyway, despite all this, there ARE good cops who deserve our admiration, support, and, dare I say it? Love?

In that spirit, let us consider “X-Offender” as a hopeful anthem for, as it were, establishing better relations with the cops.

Let us hope that one day “Fuck tha’ Police” becomes a slogan both sides can get behind.

RIP, Leonard Nimoy

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Put on your pointed ears, speak in a sonorous baritone.
Silence the communicator, put your phaser in its box
Bring out the coffin, live long and prosper, Spock.

Help Me Identify the Skiing Cat-Human Dog Murder Film I Saw at Age Five(?)

Found on Google. Not from the movie. Wish it was.

Found on Google. Not from the movie. Wish it was.

The Internet has helped me solve numerous mysteries over the years, mostly in the vein of “What was that film/song/book/TV show where the ______ did _____?” Here’s a new one that I’d sure like to solve before I die.

Long ago, probably in the first half of the 1970s, I went to see a movie with my sister Eileen (who should chime in if she remembers this…but I doubt she will). I remember that it was a double feature. The second movie MIGHT have been Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, but it may have been Pippi Longstocking, or even the Johnny Whittaker version of Tom Sawyer. Anyway, now that you have an idea of how old I am… The first film was a kids movie with a lot of skiing in it. I recall seeing the ad for it in the newspaper, and I THINK “Skis” was part of the title. I can’t recall the plot, but I do remember the protagonist was a girl and she had a Saint Bernard…and they skied a lot. I think avalanche fear was a big part of the movie, but don’t hold me to that.

So, here’s what I remember most. It gets weird.

At some point, the dog goes to sleep, and begins twitching, as dogs do, while dreaming. We enter the dog’s dream, and we see the Saint Bernard on a snowy mountainside, dressed (and this might be creative memory on my part) as Nana, the dog from Disney’s Peter Pan (who was, it would seem, NOT a Saint Bernard). The dog starts to run, kicking up snow, because…get ready…a person dressed as a terrifying black cat is skiing down the mountain toward her. The dog panics and tears through the snow trying to escape. Meanwhile, I recall sound effects of frantic music and  cats meowing as the cat-person gets closer. Swiftly, the cat overtakes the dog. In a quick cut the cat-beast fills the screen as it slides into (presumably) the dog, and, to my freaked out five year old mind, stabs it with its ski pole. The dog wakes up, thank goodness. What sticks out for me is that I was completely freaked out by this sequence, and I started crazy laughing. At that point my sister quickly turned to me, annoyed, and whispered, “Stop it! It’s NOT funny!”

Well…it kind of is now.

Have you heard of it? I should ask the Kindertrauma people for help with this one. It certainly traumatized this Kinder.

THIS IS THE BEST POST EVER. LET US DISCUSS THIS FOREVER.

Two highly successful talented and attractive people who have money to burn and have traveled the world doing what they love have an equally rich and talented person complaining that one of them deserves to add yet another award they’ve all already earned several times before to her trophy cabinets, because it’s a god damned shanda her dancey-dance music wasn’t recognized as the best ever created last year.

Meanwhile, I heard a bunch of kids died somewhere. They got shot or bombed or were starved to death or whatever. But what are you gonna do?

Don’t fight for rich people. Even the cool ones.

Passion

I experience passion in short spurts of time. I’m in awe of anyone who can sustain passion about a subject for months or years and especially to their death. Even when nothing, absolutely nothing captivates me about a subject, I can listen to a true fan—provided he or she is reasonably lucid—for hours. I envy them their passion; I need it to fuel my own.

#CYBERMANDAY

Cybermen-series-6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE CYBERMEN HAVE INITIATED TECHNOLOGICALLY ENHANCED DEALS AND DISCOUNTS ON QUALITY MERCHANDISE IN ALL OUR ONLINE STORES. WIDE-SCREEN TELEVISIONS…MICROWAVE OVENS…FOUR-SLOT TOASTERS…PLAGUE-DISPENSING CYBERMATS POWERED BY THE BRAINS OF HUMAN CHILDREN…ALL SHALL BE SOLD AT ROCK-BOTTOM PRICES AND GRAFTED TO YOUR PRIMITIVE ORGANIC FORMS. END COMMUNICATION. #CYBERMANDAY

 

Damned If I Don’t

6ceff63329cb68f4_landingI had a dream that I was in some sort of writing master’s class headed by a grouchy Philip Roth figure—except he was played by some character actor I couldn’t place; possibly David Straitharn in make-up. The class was held downtown in the writer’s gigantic, gloriously sterile loft, and was attended by me, an unidentified man and woman, and Benedict Cumberbatch. I arrived late, and was immediately berated by the writer when I explained I had the sniffles (they were a disgusting, high-intensity, dream version). He told me that I didn’t get a chair for the entire class. As I sat on the floor, everyone presented the rough drafts of their novels in final, perfect-bound editions, with cover art, no less. I had a typewritten manuscript—it looked exactly like the kind of MS I’d generate with my word processor back in the 90s. Everyone sneered

Predictably, the writer was a martinet, tearing up everyone’s work. The interesting part of the dream was when he said, “You know…I recently viewed a little-known, independent film from the 80s about a ballet dancer.” Benedict Cumberbatch at once look frightened and sweaty. The writer shrieked, calling him a plagiarist and ordering him out. Cumberbatch stood up and literally flew away, ashamed.

At that moment I became incredibly sad and began crying. The two other students disappeared, and I was left alone with the writer. He looked sympathetic, and asked, “What’s the problem?”

I delivered one of those disjointed dream rambles that makes no sense in waking life. Something about never realizing anything I set out to achieve, my inability to actually craft what I want to create; and a general disgust with myself. The usual.

The writer looked at me, placed a hand on my shoulder, and said, with an expression of utter paternal sympathy: “Not to worry, Dan. Not to worry. Someday you’ll be dead.”

I left, amazed, and soon found myself in the concourse of the building, which was entirely occupied by a massive Panda Express. I couldn’t find the way out and eventually came to a hallway webbed with yellow “CAUTION” tape. I lifted it and walked through, trying to find the way out. I soon came across two stoner dudes in orange jumpsuits.

“Hey, how the hell do I get out of here?” I asked them, my voice echoing.

They cackled and said, “Good luck, man!”, and turned a corner, still laughing. When I followed them they’d disappeared, and I was facing a massive white wall. Then I heard loud machine sounds, gears grinding and panels lifting, and I realized I was inside a dam tunnel (that’s what I called it in the dream), and I could hear thousands of gallons of water rushing toward me.

And yes, at that moment I woke up, slightly depressed that I couldn’t write a non-obvious metaphorical death for myself, even in a dream.