Showing posts with label Eve Fisher. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eve Fisher. Show all posts

23 March 2023

Associations of a TV / Movie Addict


An upstate friend of mine and I were talking, and she said, "Do you feel like we're living in a black and white 50s horror movie?  The Winter That Would Not Die?"  Oh, hell yes. This winter is like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction - just when you think you've drowned it, it comes back, with a knife in its hand.  And it's turning us all into pod people from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, wandering around with vacant eyes and devoid of human emotion except an intense hatred of the weather forecasts.  

Movies & TV. You can't help but use them as analogies for almost everything. And the lessons we've learned from them!  

First of all, thanks to Stephen Leather for posting this GREAT list:


And I'd like to add a few more observations:

No matter how long someone is held tied up in a chair, room, or cellar, they never soil themselves and, when rescued, never mention that they need to go pee.  

When an assassin / spy / amnesiac and the woman who's helping him have sex, they do it standing up in a bathroom or hallway.  (see Maximum Risk.)

The star of the movie can always find a parking place, even in Manhattan.  (Referred to by Jerry Seinfeld as "the Jack Lemmon parking place".) 

After a month on a deserted island, men will have an advanced beard, but women will have neatly shaved armpits. - Judy Mudrick Colbert in comments section  

A car chase will always knock over a fruit stand, but if there's two car chases that knock over two fruit stands - and a comedian is not involved - it's a stinker of a movie.  (see Maximum Risk.)

A woman going to bed with full make-up on will wake up with same full make-up on, and there will be nary a trace of mascara or lipstick anywhere on the pillow, when in fact it should look like it was used for "Bloodfeast." 

Women can run for miles in high heels with no trouble - unless, of course, it's mandatory for the villain to catch them.  Also, from comments on the internet, "If necessary, a woman can break off her stilettos and have a perfectly comfortable pair of flats."  

A pair of horn-rimmed glasses is a perfect disguise for everyone from Humphrey Bogart (The Big Sleep) to Clark Kent.  No one will recognize you.

No matter how drunk a woman gets, when her lover calls, she will be instantly sober and ready to go out on the town with him. (Female on the Beach

It's easy to gun a car to ramming speed and jump out of it without anyone seeing you (and hide) before it actually goes over the cliff and explodes - unless you're Thelma and Louise.  

That leads straight to Soapland, which has its own set of amazing things:

You thought Glenn Close's character was never going to die? Well, NOBODY ever dies forever on a soap (unless they completely pissed off the producer / money people). It doesn't matter how many people saw them fall off a cliff, explode in a car, get shot, laid out on a slab or attended their funeral complete with open casket:  Sooner or later, they're going to come back from the dead.  

Also, plastic surgery.  And I'm not talking about the Botox school of acting (nothing moves above the eyebrows) which is ubiquitous.  I'm talking about villains who get plastic surgery to look EXACTLY like somebody else, and the surgeon can do it without leaving any scars anywhere.  And - this is the really amazing bit - somehow they ALSO now have the same voice as the other person!  Not to mention body scent and mannerisms!  No one can tell the difference!     

Whenever two people discuss something incredibly intimate or secret in a public place, they are always overheard by either their worst enemy or the snitch who goes straight to their worst enemy. 

Even at home, all women wear full make-up, designer clothes and high heels all the time.  What I'd give to just once see the heroine come home from work, reach under her top, and strip off her bra the way the rest of us do...  And go off and come back in a pair of sweat pants and a t-shirt while she pours that glass of red wine.  

Slow learners all:  Nobody is EVER over their ex, no matter what kind of lying, cheating, etc., they were.  Indeed, they generally remarry their exes - multiple times.  

Oh, and those of us who have read pulp fiction, etc., know that all of these apply the detective and spy and thriller stories and novels as well.  

Meanwhile, exploding houses and an update from an old case here in South Dakota!

We've had a hell of a winter (remember land sharks?), and to cap it all off, two houses exploded in the Lake County area.  I always thought there were only two reasons why houses [unmaliciously] explode up here, (1) meth labs and (2) smoking while making ammunition in the basement (more common than you might think). 

But there's a third! Buried gas meters! "Officials are urging homeowners to check to see if their gas meters are free of snow. The City of Madison Fire Department says that in both home explosions, there was 10 plus feet or more of snow on the gas meter."  (KELO)  SO GO CHECK YOUR GAS METER, RIGHT NOW!!!!  And from henceforth and forever more!

And, remember Joel Koskan, former Republican candidate for the South Dakota Senate, who thankfully was not elected?  Now last year it emerged that he'd been arrested for "exposing a minor to sexual grooming behaviors," a class four felony. And it turned out that the minor was his adopted daughter, and that he'd groomed and then molested her for years.  Somehow, he got a plea deal (do not EVEN get me started on the old boy network), in which he agreed to "accept some responsibility for his actions, but ultimately would deny any sexual intercourse had occurred throughout the alleged abuse" and would not have to serve any time or register as a sex offender, or be separated from his other 4 children (who are still living with him).  (All the Cockroaches Coming Out)

Well, huzzah!  The circuit judge rejected his plea deal.  With any luck, there'll be a trial, and Mr. Koskan might actually have to face some REAL consequences for his actions.  (Argus)  

That's all for now.  More later, when hopefully I can find my lawn again.  At least I found my gas meter.

09 March 2023

Truth in What?


We've had some crazy times up here in the South Dakota Legislature.  (I know, so what else is new?) 

We had "Boobgate" – where a Senator and her husband decided to discuss breast feeding and how to get your spouse to help you (with hand gestures) to a young female staffer in the staffer's office.  You really can't make this stuff up.  (LINK

We have had seemingly endless anti-trans, anti-drag, anti- bills.  The anti-trans / anti-gender affirming care passed.  BTW, no one seemed to note that this bill denied parental rights in medical care for their child, i.e., if the parents agreed that their minor needed gender affirming care.... it was still illegal.  And how about this bit from HB 1080?

Section 2: Except as provided in section 3 of this Act, a healthcare professional may not, for the purpose of attempting to alter the appearance of, or to validate a minor's perception of, the minor’s sex, if that appearance or perception is inconsistent with the minor's sex, knowingly:
(6) Remove any healthy or non-diseased body part or tissue.

And the only exceptions in Section 3 are for a "medically verifiable disorder of sex development, including external biological sex characteristics that are irresolvably ambiguous; A minor diagnosed with a disorder of sexual development... or A minor needing treatment for an infection, injury, disease, or disorder.

Sounds like that outlaws circumcision, doesn't it?  I see lawsuits coming up. 

The anti-drag show bills did not pass, perhaps partially because "Tootsie: The Musical" was playing at the Washington Pavilion during the legislature, and enough legislators realized that they'd occasionally enjoyed a good comedy that depended on one of the male characters being dressed as a woman and wanted to continue to be able to have a good laugh.  (As I've said before, you can have my copy of "Some Like It Hot" when you tear it from my cold, dead hands.)  

The legislature declined to help local counties build new jails with funding, ignoring "the drastic increase in crime" that was the reason they passed at least one of Governor Noem's pet projects, two new prisons, one in Rapid City, and one outside of Sioux Falls.  

And they went into a real tear about inmates serving their time.  There was a "Truth in Sentencing" bill which would require that inmates convicted of violent crimes serve 80% of their sentence before being considered eligible for parole.  Well, I wrote a lot of people about that one.  Because here's the deal:  sentencing comes after a conviction, which comes after a trial, which comes after being charged by the state's attorney, and what the state's attorney charges someone with can... vary.  

True story, no names given:  When I was teaching at SDSU, I had a white student who was arrested, tried and convicted of killing his father.  He was charged with Second Degree Manslaughter and got 20 years.  Meanwhile, a Native American was arrested, tried and convicted of killing someone in a bar brawl that got taken out into the parking lot.  He was charged with First Degree Manslaughter and got life without parole.  So killing your father gets less time than killing someone in a drunken brawl?  What's fair about that?  

True story, all names given:  Former AG Jason Ravnsborg struck and killed a man while driving late at night.  The sheriff drove him home, and no alcohol test was made until the next day; Ravnsborg swore he thought it was a deer, even though the man's eyeglasses were in the front seat of his car, proving the man went through windshield; etc., etc., etc. Prosecutors chose not to charge Ravnsborg with vehicular homicide or second-degree manslaughter. (Yes, I know guys who are doing time in the pen for such behavior.) Instead, he was charged with careless driving (which was dismissed), driving out of his lane, and operating a car while using a cellphone.  He had to pay $1,000 and court costs, and that was it.  In that case just about everyone agreed with me that this was special treatment, and the uproar eventually resulted in his impeachment:  but he never spent a day in jail.  He was never even fingerprinted.  

So I've basically been screaming START WITH WORKING ON HAVING FAIR AND BALANCED CHARGES!!!!  

Except we know it won't happen.

Then there's a recent case where a Native American got out on parole and got arrested for his 8th DUI.  So that launched a new set of demands for mandatory prison sentencing for multiple DUIs, etc., which will only apply to "certain people". I know this because, back when I worked for the UJS, I saw a man whose family was very influential / wealthy / powerful in a certain county, who was constantly being stopped for DUI, often in possession of drugs, often escorted home, and was never arrested.  I used that guy as the prototype for Vic Adger in my story, "The Closing of the Lodge" (AHMM, Nov/Dec 2022), except that Vic was far more of a gentleman.  Look, I'm not saying that alcoholics with multiple DUIs aren't dangerous - but some treatment would help, and they're not going to get that in prison.  

Once more, for the cheap seats:  Incarceration does not "fix" addiction.  

And now for something completely different!  Hirsutism!  

Did you know that humans still carry the genes for a full coat of body hair?  (WaPo)  Turns out we're kind of like elephants, which historically speaking, began as woolly mammoths.  Which instantly made me think of werewolves:  Hypertrichosis, a/k/a werewolf syndrome, is "an abnormal amount of hair growth over the body."  But now it seems like it's less of an infection and more of a throwback. 

Anyway, meet Petrus Gonsalvus, 1537-1618, "the man of the woods", and his wife Lady Catherine.  Their marriage is considered to be a partial source of the "Beauty and the Beast" legend.  Four of his seven children suffered from the same syndrome:


  http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/Collection/art-object-page.69680.html

Gonsalvus served in the courts of Henry II of France, and successive rulers of Parma. "Despite living and acting as a nobleman, Gonsalvus and his hairy children were not considered fully human in the eyes of their contemporaries."  



Well, they said the same thing about Larry Talbot (a/k/a Lon Cheney).  Whose makeup appears to have been modeled on poor Petrus: 


"Even a man who is pure in heart, and says his prayers by night;
May become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright."

For those who don't know, wolfsbane is one name for a member of the aconitum family. Like Monkshood (Below):


Aconitine is a potent neurotoxin and cardiotoxin. "Marked symptoms may appear almost immediately, usually not later than one hour, and "with large doses death is almost instantaneous". Death usually occurs within two to six hours in fatal poisoning (20 to 40 mL of tincture may prove fatal).[25] The initial signs are gastrointestinal, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. This is followed by a sensation of burning, tingling, and numbness in the mouth and face, and of burning in the abdomen.[3] In severe poisonings, pronounced motor weakness occurs and cutaneous sensations of tingling and numbness spread to the limbs. Cardiovascular features include hypotension, and ventricular arrhythmias. Other features may include sweating, dizziness, difficulty in breathing, headache, and confusion. The main causes of death are ventricular arrhythmias and asystole, or paralysis of the heart or respiratory center.[25][26] The only post mortem signs are those of asphyxia."  (Wikipedia)  (My emphasis added.)

I'd say there's more to worry about than wolves or werewolves when the wolfsbane blooms.  In fact, aconite sounds like a handy plant to have in the garden... in a cloud-cuckoo land sort of way, of course. We "do but jest, poison in jest, no offense i'th' world."




And now for some BSP:

My story, "Cool Papa Bell", is in Josh Pachter's Paranoia Blues;

Just because you're in prison doesn't mean there's no more crime...

https://downandoutbooks.com/bookstore/pachter-paranoia-blues/
And on Amazon HERE

My noir novella, Cruel as the Grave is in Crimeucopia:  We'll Be Right Back


There's nothing like toxic friendships, murder and a South Dakota winter to make everybody crazy...

Available on Amazon HERE.



You can keep a secret for a long time in a small town, but eventually it will come out...  And always at the wrong time...

On Amazon HERE.


23 February 2023

Where's Sancho?


A fellow AVP facilitator said she'd learned a new word at the last workshop:  Sancho.  They were doing role plays about going home from prison, which gives inmates a chance to work out some of their fears and hopes in a controlled setting.  It's one of the most popular exercises.  Anyway, various people asked, before and during the role play, "So where's Sancho?" and "What are you gonna do about Sancho?"

  • Sancho:  The generic term for the man (or woman) who moves in with your girlfriend / wife while you're in prison.  
SDSP, photo by Alexius Horatius, Wikipedia

There's a lot of slang in prison.

  • Fish: Brand new inmates.
  • Fishtank: Where the new inmates are kept.
  • House: Cell.
  • Cellie:  Cellmate.
  • Going on Vacation:  Going to the SHU, which is:
  • SHU (or the Hole):  Solitary Confinement
  • Duck: A guard / staff member / volunteer who's being groomed to get an inmate something the inmate wants.  From the phrase "Downing a Duck", which in turn describes how inmates manipulate non-inmates without the latter realizing it.  Flattery and attention can get you surprising things in prison.  Watch this and learn: (SEE HERE)
    • BTW, It works better than you might think, otherwise COs and staff wouldn't get fired from prisons for providing drugs, cell phones, or other contraband, or for having sex with inmates, or for helping them escape...  See my 2015 post "What We Do For Love". Sigh…
  • Shot Caller:  Leader of a gang.  Often not the person you think it is.  They don't necessarily want an outsider to know who's really in charge. And it's generally not the loud mouth who's telling you "I run everything 'round here."  Yeah, right.
  • Punk:  An inmate who is considered weak and can be used, including sexually.  Sometimes especially sexually. If used as an insult to the wrong person, there will be a fight. See also "Bitch".  
  • Prison Wolf:  Gay to the gate.  Lot more of that around than anyone ever admits. 
  • High Class:  Hepatitis C. 
  • The Monster:  HIV.
  • Chomo: Child molester.  Very dangerous term to use about someone. It could get them - or you - killed.
  • Apple:  VERY insulting term for Native Americans (Red on the outside, white on the inside).  There's gonna be a fight. 
  • Drive By:  You walk by an inmate's cell and fart.  Less lethal than a
  • Lock in a Sock: Just what it sounds like, a combination lock in a sock. A very common weapon to cold-cock someone.  
  • Back Door Parole: to die in prison.  
  • Soups:  Ramen, available through commissary, one of the common currencies of the cells. 
  • Burrito:  Feast food of the cells, which uses no tortillas and rarely beans.  It's made of ramen noodles, Doritos, and whatever processed meat and flavoring is on hand.  Mix together in a specific order in a garbage bag, pour boiling water over it, shape it as preferred, and after 10+ minutes it's ready to be cut up and served.  
  • Kite: A note passed between inmates; also the term for a genuine request sent by inmates to any staff member. 
  • Flat: "I'm going to flat next month", i.e., I will have served my sentence and get out without needing parole.  
  • Ninja Turtles:  COs in riot gear.
  • Road Dog:  Inmates who are friends, especially those who were friends BEFORE prison.
  • Catch:  "So what did you catch?" "I caught a case" or "I caught ten years" - I got sentenced.
  • Toochie:  One term for synthetic marijuana, K-2, etc.  The truth is, the slang for drugs changes every time you turn around, especially as new drugs come out, so… this may be old by now.  "Paper" is also used, because a lot of drugs come in as paper that's been soaked in liquid K-2, etc.  Anyway, I used the term in Cool Papa Bell, where one of the softball teams calls themselves "The Toochie Tucks".
  • Tucks:  A term for hiding contraband or a weapon up one's ass. Keister, is or was another term for it, and I've rarely heard that one used.

Other teams in "Cool Papa Bell" are:

  • "CTQs" (Confined To Quarters), i.e., on cell restriction;
  • "Spider Monkeys", i.e., doing hard time;
  • "5150s" mental health cases;
  • "Soup Skippies", i.e, eating a lot of Ramen and wearing the state-issued tennis shoes, i.e., broke. 

Well, that's a start to understanding what you might overhear when inmates talk among themselves.


And now for some BSP:

My story, "Cool Papa Bell", is in Josh Pachter's Paranoia Blues;

Just because you're in prison doesn't mean there's no more crime.  Or opportunities to commit it.

https://downandoutbooks.com/bookstore/pachter-paranoia-blues/ 

And on Amazon HERE

My noir novella, Cruel as the Grave is in Crimeucopia:  We'll Be Right Back


There's nothing like toxic friendships, murder, an unidentifiable body, and a South Dakota winter to make everybody crazy.

Available on Amazon HERE.

And "The Abandoned Bride" (with a wise-cracking Linda Thompson telling more of Laskin's family secrets) is in Black Cat Mystery Magazine #13:


You can keep a secret for a long time in a small town, but eventually it will come out… And always at the wrong time...

On Amazon HERE.

09 February 2023

Land Sharks


In case no one knows, December and January were pretty much winter hell up here in South Dakota.  After the last blizzard, this is what I had in my front yard:

That little dark landshark in the middle is the tip of the handrail to a set of stairs that leads from the street up to the landing before the steps that lead to our front porch.  And I could only take this after the blizzard was over, which lasted about 3 days.  And it took another 24-36 hours (I don't know any more, it's been a long winter and time is getting away from me) to get shoveled out.  

I also had this across the street:


That is our block's fire hydrant, totally snowed in.  I discovered, as the days passed without anyone shoveling it out, that while there is an ordinance requiring all sidewalks to be cleared within 48 hours, there is no ordinance requiring fire hydrants to be shoveled out at all.  And I've been pitching a fit about that ever since.  

At least I got caught up on my streaming.  And some of my reading.

Negative review first:  I'm not a fan of The Banshees of Inisherin.  I agree with the reviewer who called it "the feel-bad movie of the year", so if that's what you want, go for it.  But besides being depressing, I also found it just another compendium of every negative stereotype of rural Ireland, or any other rural place.  Deliverance in the Isles:  a bunch of feckless, idle, drunken men; bitterly gossiping women; a father-son pervert duo; etc., etc., etc.  One of the most unbelievable scenes was when (for some reason) they showed Padraic and Siobhan sleeping in the same bedroom, thankfully in separate beds.  I've spent a lot of time in rural Ireland, visiting my husband's relatives, and seen a lot of old cottages, and I can assure you that even the smallest cottage had a separate bedroom for the parents, another one for the girls, and if there wasn't a third room for the boys, they slept in the main room.  And I didn't buy the whole Irish Civil War as metaphor at all.  But that's just me.

On the other hand, I loved Stonehouse.  Based on a true story, it stars Matthew Macfadyen as John Stonehouse, former MP and Postmaster under Harold Wilson, who pulled an early Reginald Perrin and disappeared from a beach in Miami, trying to avoid charges of espionage, fraud, and theft.  He was, as one person says, "The worst spy ever":  he would be fired from Slough House.  Favorite line:  When he's being "recruited" due to a blackmailing film, he pauses, then asks, "Will I be paid?"  Second favorite scene: When he's finally spotted, they assume he's Lord Lucan.  (Here)  Talk about out of the frying pan and into the fire.  I really enjoyed it, and my only complaint is that they really rushed through the last episode.  Still...  it's fun. 

Meanwhile, I'm still reeling from reading Sarah Moss' Ghost Wall (2018).  I read it because a review said it was about a group of re-enactors (amateurs, professor, and students) in pursuit of the Iron Age.  Now, I love watching good re-enactors.  I've watched all the Ruth Goodman / Peter Ginn etc. re-enactments - Secrets of the CastleTudor Monastery Farm, Victorian Farm, etc. (all available on Prime Video) and learned a lot.  It's much different watching someone do something you've only read about before.  (Hence John Ruskin's negative reaction on his wedding night.)  

But those were innocuous. Ghost Wall is anything but. The narrator is a girl, almost a young woman, who, we eventually learn, is living with constant domestic abuse.  It builds slowly, so that when it comes, it's like a slap in the face, and then two slaps, and then a blow, and then...  until...  which is exactly how landsharks (male and female) operate. 

It is a masterpiece, but it should come with trigger warnings.  You have been warned.  

Deep breaths.  Deep breaths.

This would be a good time to recommend Netflix's The Elephant Whisperers. Bomman and Belli, two Tamil, live and work in Mudumalai National Park, which is in the heart of Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book territory. They're entrusted with orphaned baby elephants. And it's a wonder. I'll never forget seeing Belli walking down a jungle trail with one of the elephants following her like a lamb. Or where one elephant ages out of living with them, and is moved, and the remaining baby elephant Raghu, is almost inconsolable.  Bomman and Belli's floral wedding, with elephants.  Maybe I'll watch it again tonight.  I'll sleep a lot better than last night...

And now for some BSP:

My story, "Cool Papa Bell", is in Josh Pachter's Paranoia Blues;

Just because you're in prison doesn't mean there's no more crime...

https://downandoutbooks.com/bookstore/pachter-paranoia-blues/
And on Amazon HERE

My noir novella, Cruel as the Grave is in Crimeucopia:  We'll Be Right Back


There's nothing like toxic friendships, murder and a South Dakota winter to make everybody crazy...

Available on Amazon HERE.



You can keep a secret for a long time in a small town, but eventually it will come out...  And always at the wrong time...

On Amazon HERE.

26 January 2023

How the Law Really Works


I'm getting pretty tired of memes and op-eds that are shocked, shocked, shocked! about searches and arrests and even convictions, so I thought I'd discuss how things happen in the real world of criminal justice. And I'm going to use plain, simple language, because there too many people running around who have bought a whole lot of legal BS. 

For one thing, there is the idea that "presumption of innocence" means you can't arrest or prosecute someone without absolute proof that they're guilty.  And, if they deny having done it, and proclaim their innocence - well, why would they lie?  WRONG.



Here's the deal:  Law enforcement can decide to arrest anyone based on probable cause - and there are a lot of reasons for probable cause.  Sometimes the case is so serious (or "sensitive") that it's taken to a grand jury to decide if there's probable cause. Either way, law enforcement is going to assume that you are guilty, based on probable cause, arrest you, and take you to jail, where your jailors are going to assume you're guilty, too.  Sorry, Charlie.  

And of course, every trial begins with the prosecution's argument that you are guilty.  That's the way trials work.  Presumption of innocence means that you are to be presumed innocent by everyone in the courtroom EXCEPT the prosecution.  It's the defense's job to prove that you are innocent. Sometimes, of course, the defense manages to get you off even if you are guilty.  It helps if you (1) have money; (2) connections; (3) a sympathetic press; (4) a winning smile and personality; (5) etc.  We can all think of cases where that happened, can't we? 

Another one is the pesky question of what constitutes a crime, especially if you were lousy at committing it. Incompetence is not a defense. Let's sum this up:

(1) If you try to buy illegal drugs, and the cops bust you, you're still guilty even though you didn't get anything. 

(2) If you try to sell illegal drugs, and the cops bust you, you're still guilty even if what you brought to sell was actually lawn clippings in a baggie. 

(3) If you try to hire a 13 year old for sex, even if "she" turns out to be a 46 year old portly male detective, you are still guilty of trying to buy a minor for sex. 

(4) If you try to sell a 13 year old for sex, even if you have no 13 year old in the stable, and were just trying to scam the purchaser, you are still guilty of pimping, as well as scamming. 

(5) If you offer to kill someone for hire, and then pocket the money but don't do it, you're still going to be charged with conspiracy to commit murder. 

(6) If you're conspiring with people to kidnap / murder someone or some group of people (such as the ones who conspired to kidnap and execute Michigan Governor Whitmer, or the group in Kansas (HERE) that was going to blow up a Somali community), and an informer has infiltrated your group, and the FBI (or other law enforcement) arrest you before you actually commit the crime - well, there's a reason conspiracy is a crime, and you're gonna find out the hard way.  

Etc., etc., etc....

Basically, it doesn't matter if you didn't get or didn't give what was offered - what matters is that you intended to get or give what was offered.

And Dorf on Law recently gave the best example I've ever seen of refuting the argument of "But I didn't commit the crime so why should I go to jail?"

Cathy the Catburglar comes to Paul's Pawnshop in New York City with a diamond ring valued at $10,000. "Wow, that's a beautiful ring," Paul says to Cathy. "Where'd you get it?"
"Duh. I stole it. I'm a cat burglar. It's right in my name."
"Right," says Paul. "But where did you steal it from?"
"I'd rather not say," Cathy replies, "but don't worry. I didn't steal it around here. Let's just say that an heiress in California will find that her hand feels a little lighter than it used to."
"Gotcha," Paul replies. "I'll give you six grand for the ring." They haggle and eventually settle on a price of $7500.
Paul has committed a federal crime of receiving goods valued at over $5,000 that he knows to be stolen and that crossed state lines. He has also committed third-degree possession of stolen property under New York law. The fact that Paul didn't steal the ring himself or play a role in Cathy's crime does not shield Paul in any way.  (DORF)

Another one is the "hearsay doesn't count" defense:

(1) Pretty much every single Mafia and other crime boss who's been indicted, tried, and convicted has been put there by the witness of other criminals - usually their [former] employees. Except for those who got caught cheating on their taxes.  Sometimes them, too. 

(2) After the Tate-LaBianca murders, Charlie Manson was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, even though he did not participate in the mass slaughter. Words count.

Meanwhile, I have noticed that everyone who comes up with a reason why they or someone they know / like / admire / follow / worship should never, ever be locked up AT THE SAME TIME believe that "certain people" should be locked up forever, no matter what.  

This leads to some interesting proposals.  For example: our newly recycled AG Marty Jackley has just proposed a bill increasing the penalty for the attempted murder of a law enforcement officer from 25 years in prison to 50 years in prison. The bill is in response to "multiple incidents since 2021 when police shot and either injured or killed people while on duty" which, when you think about it, makes no sense as a response to police officers shooting civilians while on duty. (ARGUS)  After all, it never addresses the question of why these people were shot, injured, killed.  (Some were fairly obviously mentally ill.  And in at least one case, the cop couldn't get his taser to work, so he switched to his gun.)  Think things through.  Please. 

And there's the eternal banging of the capital punishment drum. Repeated studies have been done that show that the death penalty has no deterrent effect on violent crime, but people don't believe it. They don't want to believe it. And they especially don't want to believe it about anyone they know or like or follow or worship.  But the truth is: 

"People commit murders largely in the heat of passion, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or because they are mentally ill, giving little or no thought to the possible consequences of their acts. The few murderers who plan their crimes beforehand -- for example, professional executioners -- intend and expect to avoid punishment altogether by not getting caught. Some self-destructive individuals may even hope they will be caught and executed."  (ACLU

Or, as someone said recently on Facebook in one of the greatest memes I've ever seen, which said simply, "We already know what caused the shootings:  Hate/Fear/Rage"   

But executions are always a popular idea. A commenter on Facebook wrote me that the best way to stop crime and lower prison populations is to execute all violent criminals and drug dealers and - well, it was a long list. I instantly thought of Larry Niven's short story, "The Jigsaw Man" (in the original Dangerous Visions anthology that I've referred to a few times).

Synopsis from Wikipedia, "In the future, criminals convicted of capital offenses are forced to donate all of their organs to medicine, so that their body parts can be used to save lives and thus repay society for their crimes. However, high demand for organs has inspired lawmakers to lower the bar for execution further and further over time.

The protagonist of the story, certain that he will be convicted of a capital crime, but feeling that the punishment is unfair, escapes from prison and decides to do something really worth dying for. He vandalizes the organ harvesting facility, destroying a large amount of equipment and harvested organs, but when he is recaptured and brought to trial, this crime does not even appear on the charge sheet, as the prosecution is already confident of securing a conviction on his original offense: repeated traffic violations."

So be careful what you advocate for.  I've seen how you drive.

12 January 2023

A Tale of Tall Egos


As have so many of us, I've been following the case of the four Moscow, Idaho students (three women, one man) stabbed to death in their off-campus house in the middle of the night. When I first heard that the suspect was a criminology student, I thought of "Crime and Punishment". Roskolnikov was a young, handsome, intelligent law student who kills the old lady pawnbroker for money, and to prove that he is "exceptional", superior, like Napoleon.

Meanwhile, an old friend e-mailed "Leopold and Loeb", and that's a good comparison too. For those who haven't ever heard of them, L&L were two wealthy Chicago students who were obsessed with
Nietzsche's idea of the "Ubermensch", and came to believe that's what they were.

As Leopold wrote to Loeb, "A superman … is, on account of certain superior qualities inherent in him, exempted from the ordinary laws which govern men. He is not liable for anything he may do." So they decided to prove it.

They started out doing stupid petty thefts. They broke into a frat house and stole penknives, a camera, a typewriter (which they later used to write the ransom note). They got away with all of it, but the crimes were so minor that no one made much of a fuss, which wasn't what they wanted. They wanted to be recognized and, somehow, honored rather than held liable.

Anyway, theft wasn't doing the job, so they tried arson, but no one noticed that, either.

So they moved on to the next (to them) obvious thing to do: kill someone.

They spent the next few months planning the kidnapping and murder of 14 year old Bobby Franks, the son of wealthy Chicago watch manufacturer Jacob Franks. Bobby was also Loeb's second cousin.

NOTE: This would seem to prove that it's better to not be related to some people: as Augustus Caesar said, “It's better to be Herod's pig than his son.”

The two lured Franks into a rented car, killed him, mutilated his body, and dumped him at Wolf Lake, outside of Chicago. Then they called the family and said a ransom note was coming. And that's when everything went off the rails: first a nervous family member forgot the address of the store where he was supposed to receive the next set of directions. Then Bobby Franks' body was found.

Loeb went about his daily routine, but Superman (all ego, no tights) Leopold went around offering theories to anyone who would listen. He even told one detective, "If I were to murder anybody, it would be just such a cocky little son of a bitch as Bobby Franks."

And, even before DNA, the police found evidence: The typewriter. The car. Leopold's eyeglasses in the car. And an eyewitness to Loeb driving and Leopold in the back seat.

It became "the trial of the century", mainly because Loeb's family hired the attorney of the century, Clarence Darrow* to defend their boy. Darrow took the case because he was a staunch opponent of capital punishment, and the first thing he did was entered a plea of guilty on their behalf in hopes of getting them sentenced to life.

Darrow tried everything: the best testimony money could buy about the men's dysfunctional endocrine glands, psychiatric testimony about childhood neglect, absent parenting, sexual abuse (by a governess of Leopold's), and Leopold's claim that he and Loeb were lovers.

In the end, Darrow gave a 12 hour speech that's been called the finest speech of his career, pleading their youth (they were 19 and 20 respectively), and their immaturity ("Is any blame attached because somebody took Nietzsche's philosophy seriously and fashioned his life upon it?"), and the judge sentenced them to life.

(Personally, I think it helped that they were white. I find it very hard to believe that a couple of young black men in the same situation would have gotten anything but the death penalty. If they even survived the arrest.)

Leopold & Loeb mug shots
Leopold & Loeb

NOTE: Loeb ended up being killed in prison. Leopold eventually got parole in 1958, and moved to Puerto Rico, where he worked for The Brethren Service Commission, as a medical technician at its hospital. He went on to marry, get a master's degree, and do work in a variety of social services programs. (Wikipedia)

I don't know if the current suspect did the Idaho murders. I know that People magazine has some interesting reminiscences about him from his high school and college years: weight problems, bullying and being bullied, heroin addiction (and perhaps sales), a college contrarian who seemed to have problems with women, super curious, very intelligent, and a bit of a creep with the women at the local bar.

And then there's this:

Joey Famularo had Kohberger as a teaching assistant in one of her classes at Washington State and previously spoke about her experiences with him on TikTok. She recalled that Kohberger was a tough grader early in the semester, but that his behavior changed after Nov. 12, 2022, when the murders occurred.
She noted that there were no real red flags about him and that her class of 150 students "didn't see him very often," but explained, "after November 12th, his behavior changed significantly." Famularo noted that in October, Kohberger had failed all of his students on a test and left several comments on their work.
"Then starting November and December, he started just handing out 100s and leaving very minimal comments," she said. "So that was, I think, probably the biggest behavior change." (PEOPLE)

Yeah, that raises a bit of a red flag of something, doesn't it?

We'll all have to wait and see…




* Darrow went on the next year to defend the schoolteacher in the "Scopes Monkey Trial", where his sparring partner was William Jennings Bryan. Everything from vilification to hilarity ensued, but the main thing was endless publicity for all. It all sounds so modern…

** Also, you could do worse than watch "Compulsion", the fictionalized version of the Leopold & Loeb case, starring Orson Welles (as the Clarence Darrow character), and Dean Stockwell and Bradford Dillman as the Leopold & Loeb characters. You can rent it on Amazon Prime or catch it on TCM.

Compulsion poster

29 December 2022

A Personal History of Technology


I have noticed, over time, that technologically things can get better.  And I am deeply grateful. 

Writing this in the middle of a cold snap (it was -18 air temperature, with -45 wind chills folks, with a  four day straight ground blizzard), I truly, truly, truly appreciate central heating. I remember with absolutely no nostalgia whatsoever the coal furnace that came with our first home in Bristol, TN.  We couldn't afford both a down payment and a new furnace, so we just laughed and said we'd find out what life was like in the 19th century, and we did.  It sucked

Coal smells bad, like living next to 1970s steel factories.  (Unlike peat, the traditional Irish fuel, which has a sweet smell to it.)  It's also dirty to handle and the heat comes out of the vents with soot that sticks to everything. And you can't just dust it off, or even wipe it off - that oily smut requires scrubbing. It is the reason spring housecleaning used to be mandatory, and required fun things like lye.  So yes, give me central heating and air conditioning any day.  

The same is true of the tools of the writing trade.

I began writing, not quite like John-Boy Walton with his Big Chief pads of paper and a pencil, but by hand on legal pads. Did that for years, in fact. But at one point it dawned on me that the days of sending in handwritten ms were over, and I bought a typewriter.  

My first was an old Royal typewriter - remember them?  Sturdy little beasts, as long as you didn't fling them out the window in a fit of despair. 

Then I upgraded in the late 70s to a used Selectric typewriter.  Wow!  Bunch of cartridges and Secretary's White Out, and I was in business!  So what if it hummed so loudly, so strongly that the desk shook (it was a flimsy desk, okay?), and the typeball was a bit noisy - I was a professional!

How little I knew about decibels.  Yes, Selectrics were noisy, but not as noisy as my next upgrade (around 1989):  the daisy-wheel dedicated Brother word processor.  Printing my Master's thesis drove away every woodpecker for miles.  

And then, some time in the 1990s, we got our first computer - a Gateway, if I remember correctly, and it cost about $3,000.  Thankfully, we were fully employed by then.  

But from then on, we never looked back.  The last time I bought new computers, one for each of us, they cost less combined than my old used Selectric did back in the day.  Technology not only gets better but cheaper.  

But what isn't getting cheaper (or as far as I can tell much better) is the "ergonomic" chairs and desks that supposedly would help you set up the perfect workstation in which you'd never again get any of the muscle / back aches or pains that plague mankind.  Seriously, when they're advertising $1,600 ergonomic chairs as the best for your money - I'm like, well... Surely there's a workaround for that.

And there is. In fact, more than one.  

This year I acquired the following items I never want to live without:

Freedom:

Because I have the ability to distract myself with nothing but my own mind, much less things like the  squirrels that love to run up and down the fir tree outside my window, and that's even before I turn on the freaking computer with its news items and message alerts, I really cannot be trusted with 24/7 access to the internet.  Every once in a while I need to fence that off from myself, and the free Freedom software does that for me.  Huzzah!  

Stands of all Kinds: 

Everyone needs a paper stand next to their desk, because.  

A cell phone stand. Because sometimes you're on a long call and need to look something up on-line, or you just get sick of holding the damn thing, etc., etc., etc.  

Everyone needs a lap reading pillow, because sooner or later, your neck is going to be as arthritic as mine, and you need to raise that book / Kindle up a lot higher than your lap.  They're available all over Amazon, Wal-Mart, etc., and come in many colors.  And they run anywhere from $10-$50 bucks.  Enjoy!


BTW, I have two lap reading pillows, one for each of my favorite reading spots.  I also use them as a stand for a tablet during Zoom meetings, so I can sit in a comfy chair instead of always at my desk.

Speaking of arthritic necks, you should check into 

A portable monitor.  

Why did I get one? Because when my old clunker died on me after years of faithful service, I found out that all the new regular monitors are behemoths designed for the gamers* and movie-watchers of the world.  I bought one, but it was so large, that I couldn't get used to it. The percentage of the screen that was dedicated to say, reading the latest substack newsletter or my actual writing was small, and I couldn't expand it or get it where I wanted it, and I finally gave up.  And they were still heavy enough that trying to get them to the right height for my neck was... difficult.  

So I got an Asus ZenScreen, 15.6" monitor, which weighs 1.6 pounds. USB ports, no glare, super-fast refresh rate, supersharp picture, etc.  I can lift it one-handed and place it anywhere I damn well please. And it comes with its own stand. I love it.


*But gaming equipment is not all bad - in fact, some of it is unbelievably good, and here's my favorite:

A split keyboard.

I bought a Kinesis Gaming Freestyle Edge RGB Split Mechanical Keyboard, and I can't rave about it enough. Check out the colors!

 

But the real reason I love it is that the two ergonomic halves of the keyboard can separate as far as 20 inches, so that you type not hunched over in the traditional position, with your hands right next together and your elbows out like you're about to do a sitting chicken dance, but sitting up, with your hands directly below your shoulders. Or wherever you like them. It's great. I've had pain in my upper back, under my shoulder blades for years from typing almost as obsessively as I've read, and... it's not there anymore. Seriously. 

Caveat:  The keyboard does take a while to get used to - for one thing, while the typing keyboard is the same, the direction keys are in different places. And I mean different. The "DEL" key is above the "HOME" key, and I'm still going home half the time when I want to delete something, and deleting something half the time I want to go home.  But it's getting better, and I don't think I'll ever go back to a traditional keyboard.  Plus the colors are a lot of fun. (They change as you type.)

All of these are available on-line or at your favorite electronics store.  So take those gift cards and put them to good use and welcome the New Year in with physical comfort and the snazziest keyboard around!  

Oh, and stock up and settle in for your next snowstorm (which is happening here in South Dakota as you're reading this), with a hot drink, a good mystery, and a warm house!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!


15 December 2022

Better Late Than Never


"Well, better late than never" was my reaction to reading Slow Horses by Mick Herron.  Seriously - where was I when news of this book, this series, got out? I only found out about it because of the review and interview by Jill Lepore in the Dec. 5 edition of The New Yorker.  As soon as I read about Jackson Lamb - "a disgusting, lumpy, vulgar, chain-smoking Rabelaisian wreck of a man. [who's] 'been said to resemble Timothy Spall, with worse teeth,'” - and his unmerry band of MI.5 rejects, I was in.

So I checked out the book from my local library, read it in a major gulp, and plan to read the entire series as fast as I can gulp them down, too.

Now I've read many books this year which have not induced such a deep thirst for more from the same author, even though I thought they weren't bad or pretty good.  So why this book? Why this series?  And it dawned on me that Slough House strongly reminds me of Len Deighton's novels of an unnamed agent (named Harry Palmer in the movies) working for the W.O.O.C.(P) and their group of misfits. I read every one of those books. I also read the complete Ashenden series, and the complete James Bond canon (of that time) as well, but it was Harry Palmer that won my heart, for a thousand reasons, beginning with atmosphere, sarcasm, and wit. 

BTW, I wrote a blog post some time ago that included my criticism of James Bond as spy:  (HERE)

"the interesting question of why Ian Fleming - who certainly knew better - made James Bond so damned obvious. Apparently, on November 29, 2016, Anthony Horowitz and David Farr got into a 90 minute debate as to who was the greatest spy novelist of all time, Fleming or Le CarrĂ©. (Full Transcript.) Horowitz' summation was that ‘George Smiley is a fascinating character. James Bond is an icon. That’s the difference.’
And that's largely true, despite the fact that James Bond was actually a horrible spy. Think about it: He uses his real name. All the time. He blows his cover, every time. He gets captured. All the time. And he destroys everything he touches… There's a whole lot of things get blown up, run over, caved in, and I'm not just talking about the women. (10-reasons-james-bond-worst-spy-.)

Real spies must be far more like Deighton's anonymous agent, Smiley, and Ashenden, who don't stand out in a crowd, who are never sitting at the baccarat table in full tuxedo gear, lighting a cigarette, with unlimited credit, who is never known by name by every supervillain on the planet (or much of anyone else) and who, rather than announce their name to all and sundry, don't even remember what their real name is.

And real active spies must be headquartered not in flash offices, but hidden, where they're highly unlikely to be photographed on their way in and out.  Both Slough House and the W.O.O.C.(P) are tucked away in seedy neighborhoods, behind nondescript doors that supposedly lead to a business of some sort - but of course, it's never used and certainly has no customers. Inside: shabby offices with lots of mold and mildew, peeling paint, instant Nescafe and bad tea, cracked linoleum floors, old desks, battered chairs.

Granted, Palmer is an active agent, who's good at his job, while all of the Slough House members have screwed up royally.  And Dawlish, W.O.O.C.(P) Chief is infinitely less profane than Lamb.  Though he can be just as sarcastic. In The Billion Dollar Brain, Palmer asks why he's being sent to Finland, since he speaks no Finnish, etc., and Dawlish says, "You are the one best protected against the cold." 

BTW, if Jackson Lamb is "Timothy Spall gone to seed", I always envisioned Dawlish as Leo G. Carroll, with his pipe and three piece wool suit. In fact, I figured that was why they cast Carroll as Waverly, the Chief in the Man From U.N.C.L.E. Typecasting, right? 

And there is no Miss Moneypenny:  The W.O.O.C.(P) secretary is Alice, a middle-aged crabby administrator, who's called a secretary, but certainly doesn't have time to make tea for everyone who comes in the door. If you need anything, you call her, and one of my favorite scenes is when Palmer is trying to open a new case file and Alice finally, grudgingly, agrees. She names the case file "Death's-head Hawkmoth" which he then has to handwrite on every page…

And Catherine Standish in Slough House is no one's secretary at all, really. She makes tea for Lamb, and she's an administrator, but mostly she's serving her time. It could have been worse. She's there as one of Jackson Lamb's few (perhaps only?) acts of reparation, for sending her into hell in the first place. 

And the characters:  One of Palmer's coworkers is a young employee, Chico (think Bertie Wooster without Jeeves), who screws up just often enough that he probably ended up in the 60s version of Slough House. At one point Palmer tells a chattering Chico to go to a library and read a book for a change. Chico asks, "What book?" Palmer tells him, "Any book." 

“You’re joking, sir.” “I never joke, Chico. The truth is quite adequately hilarious.”

And God knows the following piece of dialog (with more profanity added) could have been just as well come from Slow Horses:

It was a large black case and contained a ream of reports. One of them he passed across to me.
"Read it while I'm here. I can't leave it."
"It's secret?"
"No, our document copier has gone wrong and it's the only one I have."
- An Expensive Place to Die

So you can see why I was and am overjoyed to find a new series of books with a similar combination of wit, incompetence, professional sarcasm, plot, seedy backgrounds, outrageous characters, intelligence work, clever crafting, and a writing style that fills me with, in the immortal words of Jackson Lamb, “joie de fucking vivre”.

But then, in the words of Li Kao, "I have a slight flaw in my character."*

BTW, No I don't get Apple TV+ and don't plan too. I have cast Slow Horses brilliantly in my own mind, and am very satisfied.  Plus, I'm PC, not Apple, and always have been.

* Barry Hughart, Bridge of Birds

BSP:

My latest story, "The Closing of the Lodge" is in the latest AHMM:

My story, "Cool Papa Bell", is in Josh Pachter's Paranoia Blues;

https://downandoutbooks.com/bookstore/pachter-paranoia-blues/
And on Amazon HERE


And more are coming!  Huzzah!

01 December 2022

Formulas Aren't Just for Chemistry


O'Neil De Noux's Random Thoughts of Nov. 4 brought up author Frank Yerby, which brought back a lot of memories, reading all the books my mother hid in the back of the closet.  My mother had both "The Foxes of Harrow" and "The Devil's Laughter". (Which are probably the best) I read them both on the sly, and went on to read a lot more.  Mostly disappointing.  (In fact, "An Odour of Sanctity" easily ranks among the worst novels ever written, and that includes the complete works of L. Ron Hubbard and Ayn Rand.)  Still, back in the early 60s, they ranked among the hottest non-porn books you could read, along with Ian Fleming and Jacqueline Susann.    

Besides prurience, one of the things that I learned from reading Yerby was that they had a formula to them.  I know, shocking, right?  And here I'd been reading Nancy Drew books by the wagonload.  But Yerby's were - well, today I realize how sexist the damn things were, with a dash of S/M thrown in here there and everyfreakingwhere - but so obviously formulaic...  Almost all of them revolved around a male protagonist, who was super-alpha male without being extremely tall, handsome and muscular. Indeed, like the James Bond girls in the all of Fleming's novels, he's often damaged - in "The Devil's Laughter", his nose has been severely broken; in another novel he has a permanent limp, etc.  But every man who sees him recognizes - and tells other men! - "that is much, much man", and every woman who sees him wants him, even if she hates him for it.  (She hates him because he'll cure her of her frigidity, which is every incel's dream, revealed 60 years ago.)  

Speaking of the women, Yerby men all fall for and sleep with at least three women in the course of the novel: the Pure One, the Evil One, and the Damaged One.  
Spoiler alert: he ends up with the Pure One, who has been always waiting for him, just him.  And the Evil One always gets her comeuppance.  And the Damaged One generally dies or goes mad.  

Once I figured out the formula, I could tell you within the first three chapters what the outcome would be. But isn't that the point of all romance novels?  (BTW, if you want to read Frank Yerby novels today, you can go to the Open Library and borrow them.)

Formulas, of course, have a long historical provenance.  And the rule of three is EVERYWHERE:  The traditional plot structure of most of Shakespeare's romantic comedies contrasts three courtships:  the major, "noble" lovers whose courtship is of a high, romantic nature (Rosalind and Orlando), and then a middling one (Silvius and Phoebe, or Celia and Oliver), which alternates romanticism and reality, and the finally a plebian, comic one (Audrey and Touchstone). That's of course, from As You Like It, but you can see the same pattern in most of the others, even (at the end) The Taming of the Shrew.  (Kate & Petruchio, Bianca and Lucentio, Hortensio & his widow.)

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice contrasts Elizabeth Bennett and Darcy, Jane Bennett and Mr. Bingley, and Charlotte Lucas and Rev. Mr. Collins.

And Anthony Trollope did this all the time.  (As you know by know, I'm a huge  Trollope fan.)  A classic example is Can You Forgive Her?, where the three courtships are complicated by two suitors for each lady:  aristocratic match (Plantagenet Palliser & Lady Glencora, who's in love with the ne'er do well Burgo Fitzgerald), middle match (Alice Vavasor & John Grey & her villainous cousin George Vavasor), plebian comic match (Mrs. Greenow and her two suitors, Squire Cheeseacre and Captain Bellfield.)  
BTW:  Mrs. Greenow is the reincarnation of the Wife of Bath, and the novel is worth reading just for her.  

There's nothing wrong with formulas when they are well done.  Formulas can be satisfying, or boring, depending on who's doing it.  But it's also a delight when you find something that starts out formulaic and then corkscrews in unexpected ways to keep you constantly awake and entertained.

And now, leaving the realm of novels, romance, courtship, we are going to move on to something completely different:  1988's The Navigator: A Medieval Odyssey, an official Australian-New Zealand co-production, directed by Vincent Ward.  Here's the official synopsis from the official website:

"Griffin is nine years old. He’s haunted by fragments of a dream.

He envisages a journey. A celestial city, a great cathedral, and a figure roped to a steeple, about to fall….

It is Cumbria 1348, the year of the Black Death. A medieval mining village lives in fear of the advancing plague. Griffin’s older brother Connor returns from the outside world in a state of despair, until Griffin tells of his dream and reveals their only source of survival:

Make tribute to God. Place a spire on a distant cathedral. Do so before dawn or the village will be lost.

Griffin embarks on an extraordinary journey with Connor, Searle the pragmatist, Searle’s naive brother Ulf, Martin the philosopher and Arno the one-handed ferryman. In his vision together they tunnel through the paper thin earth to a new world, a fabled land of hellish extremes, unfamiliar as the distant future of the antipodes, 1988.

But Griffin has a chilling new premonition… for one of them, the journey will end."

To paraphrase Rob Lopresti: "Ho ho, I hear you say. A medieval sci-fi story. Got it.  To which I must reply: You don't got nothin'."

And you don't - I can assure you that, the first time you see it, no matter what you think is going to happen next, or where you think this is going, you will be wrong. But each and every twist turns out to be absolutely perfect...

Exciting. Interesting. Anything but formulaic. Wonderful.  And that's what I love.  And every time I watch it, I love it all over again.  

 


Check it out.


Meanwhile, BSP:

My latest story, "The Closing of the Lodge" is in the latest AHMM:  

My story, "Cool Papa Bell", is in Josh Pachter's Paranoia Blues;


And on Amazon HERE

17 November 2022

All the Cockroaches Coming Out...


 by Eve Fisher

I haven't written about the 2022 election in South Dakota, because it basically took its dismal normal shape:  we are a ruby-red state, and people will vote for anyone with an R in front of their name.  Our new Secretary of State, Monae Johnson, is an election denier, as were many of our State House and Senate candidates.  But that's not the worst of it.  Hell, this election proved that Jason Ravnsborg wasn't the worst we could do, at least in my humble opinion.  Meet two major losers:

Bud May (R), who got 2,348 people to vote for him for a House Seat:


This is his mug shot from Nov. 13, 2022 on one count of second-degree rape. Link

"The alleged victim said May decided to force himself on the victim in a bathroom stall at a bar and says May said to her at the bar: “I am 6′8″, white, it is all consensual.” According to the police report, he fled the area, and upon being detained he claimed he had no involvement at first, then claimed: “it was simply a hug.”

Apparently  the woman was hiding behind a bar counter with dirt, blood and an abrasion on her face when law enforcement arrived. She said May raped her in multiple ways and that the blood on her was May’s, who had been in an altercation before the alleged incident. May’s mugshot clearly shows a bloody wound on his left eye, which had settled into a dark purple by the time he appeared in court Tuesday morning via video conference from the Pennington County Jail.

Fun guy.  Thankfully he lost his election.

And here's Joel Koskan, who ran for a SD State Senate seat (R):




Mr. Koskan was arrested for one count of exposing a minor to sexual grooming behaviors. It’s a class four felony. However, the DCI probable cause statement shows years of child molestation (incest, BTW) of one of his 5 children, and "surveillance". He got a plea deal, in which he agreed to "accept some responsibility for his actions, but ultimately would deny any sexual intercourse had occurred throughout the alleged abuse" and would not have to serve any time or register as a sex offender, or be separated from his other 4 children (who are still living with him). Thankfully, the judge in the case is reconsidering this plea deal. (LINK)

He still got 2,495 people to vote for him.  Thankfully, HE lost.  

I wish I could believe that these two bastards are anomalies.  But they're not. When I was working as Circuit Administrator of the now-defunct 4th Judicial Circuit, we had a grandfather who was convicted of molesting all 4 of his grandchildren. He'd only been caught because the oldest (around 12) was now pregnant. The judge at the time (brought in because all the locals had to recuse themselves) gave him probation "because he had no prior criminal record."

And then there's South Dakota's Jabba the Hut (look up a picture of him online, I'm not providing anything that fat and ugly), Ted Klaudt, farmer, rancher, and former Republican member of the South Dakota House of Representatives (1999-2006) from Walker, South Dakota. Thankfully, in November 2007 he was convicted of four counts of raping his two foster daughters and he was sentenced on January 17, 2008, to 44 years in prison, where he still resides.  

And to add to the general mood of this piece, South Dakota has the third-highest rape rate in the U.S., with 72.6 rapes per 100,000, up from 68 in 2018. (LINK)

Meanwhile, Gov. Noem has been fighting the culture wars against LGBQT+ with all flags flying, in a steady determination to eliminate transgenders from... well, everywhere.  And yesterday the Rapid City based Family Heritage Alliance (having fits about LGBQT+ wherever they go) pitched a major one about SDSU hosting a drag show last night. But the sponsor of this event was the Gender and Sexualities Alliance student organization, and they held it at the Student Union, and not a penny of taxpayer dollars were spent. Oh, horrors!  (LINK)  (NOTE:  Said Family Heritage Alliance failed to speak out against Mr. Koskan before, during or after the election.)  

Personally, I'd rather have drag queens reading to my grandkids than Jason Koskan, Ted Klaudt, and Bud May, not to mention Matt Gaetz , Dennis Hastert, Jim Jordan, Larry Nasser, Roy Moore, Herschel Walker, Charles Herbster, Newt Gingrich, Bob Allen, Mark Foley - Seriously, the list is just so damn long of people I don't want my friends, children, or grandchildren exposed to.  And none of them are gay. 

Meanwhile, can we make it, someday, that "nice white men" can no longer get away with incest and rape?  Asking for children and women everywhere. 

From South Dakota, where Mayberry keeps looking further and further in the way-back mirror...