See. Toldja that whole Beatles Man or Elvis Man dichotomy was bullshit. I am in both camps, which means that Steve Erickson believes I am one of manySee. Toldja that whole Beatles Man or Elvis Man dichotomy was bullshit. I am in both camps, which means that Steve Erickson believes I am one of many molecules holding together the fabric of the Western cultural cosmos. I found an LP copy of "Big Science" for a dollar or two not too long ago (Laurie Anderson's cred being unfortunately listed on the sticker as "Lou Reed's wife" which, grrrr, but it was still a helluva lucky find), so I will be certain to play O Superman at top volume any time the end feels nigh. So, daily?
This book is great if you are a reader, and amazing if you are a reader/music nerd.
Misc: It's strange how much media I have been consuming as of late that happens to reference the Cecil Hotel. I never had much interest in LA, but I'm starting to feel a calling...road trip?
'Cause when love is gone, there's always justice And when justice is gone, there's always force And when force is gone, there's always Mom. Hi Mom!...more
3.499999. I just decided to round up because fuck yeah, brave lady!
It is pretty good though, honestly, and particularly as a peek into the slow, painf3.499999. I just decided to round up because fuck yeah, brave lady!
It is pretty good though, honestly, and particularly as a peek into the slow, painful process of analyzing/accepting childhood abuse. I love that Marzano-Lesnevich was brave enough to really delve into the way that such experiences can twist even your most steadfast beliefs, like not wanting murderers or anyone else to die...you know, unless they were rapey-murderers, or even non-murdery rapies because then they...and it turns all complicated and inconsistent and emotion-mooshy and maybe even violent in your head, and sometimes gals just want them to die because danger, danger, stop the danger. I get that. Most ladies get that.
The gripe is: I just felt a little conned finding out at the very end that a huge portion of the book's dialogue was sorta fabricated. I wrongly assumed there was a whole lot of tape-recording going on.
Still, recommended. Technically it is true crime (ish? I guess?), but mostly it's a truth-session memoir about cognitive dissonance and rationalization and acceptance and adaptation and growth, and how you should nevereverever put a hand on someone who doesn't want that hand there, or is not old enough to make that kind of decision one way or the other.
Oh, and there's murder and courtroom drama and stuff. You may be put in a situation where you have to try to empathize with an (abused) abuser, though, so that's my...trigger warning? Yeah. Yeah, consider yourself trigged....more
I'm sure this was riveting and very convincing in the court of public opinion back when it came out, which must've suuuuuucked for the accused. I'll aI'm sure this was riveting and very convincing in the court of public opinion back when it came out, which must've suuuuuucked for the accused. I'll admit I have the benefit of things like hindsight and DNA testing and whatnot, but Graysmith just seemed so stuck on his Arthur Leigh Allen theory that it was almost like he wasn't willing to entertain any suspects or scenarios outside of it, at least at the time. Circumstantial evidence is so dangerous, and that is essentially all this is. Maybe A.L.A. was the Zodiac? If so, that fact is not as obvious as this book pretends it is.
I dunno, A.L.A. just seems to me like he was a total putz. I mean, it wouldn't shock me in the least if he wanked it to extra rough MaleDom (because you're all bitches and jezebels!), but I think that's probably more common than I want to even begin processing. Anyhooo, I'd almost be more willing to accept that George Hodel was the Zodiac, which I also don't think at all. I am, however, inclined to think he killed Elizabeth Short and some other gals back in the days when LA was all in black n' white, and ladies were "dames" with hose on their "gams," and murrrder was some super theatrical, macabre tableau featuring Joker-smile-cutties, and all this all over the damned dusky noir landscape of bombshell blondes and Big Band and lots of cigarette smoke and stuff. At least Hodel mildly resembled the witness sketch, rather than carrying twice the weight and having different hair and basically everything else possible being inconsistent.
Oh, so it is a liiiiitle weird that they both (A.L.A. and Zodiac) used the same intentional (?) misspellings (e.g. Christ-mass) and that Allen liked code books, but meh, it's just not enough to justify ruining a dude's life so bad that he ends up sticking sale tags on staple guns at some Ace Hardware forever. I had a fucking decoder and coded "important papers" as a child, I mean, c'mon. Sane, non-murdery people like puzzles, too. It got to the point where I couldn't even read my journals a year later (probably for the best, those things are embarrassing after two days) because I had no idea how I even came up with all those code words and symbols and shit, let alone what they meant.
The movie that was built from this book is one of my top five-ish crime dramas, though. Recommended for lazy days or depression days or hangover days or fuck moving at all-y days, but definitely not for answers to the Zodiac case days. Those aren't days that are real. Oh, to be clear, I'm major plugging the movie, but not so much the book. (Every time I hear "Hurdy Gurdy Man" now, it freaks me tha fuck out. How do you make such a creepy song somehow creepier? Like Fincher did. Like that.) The book is fine, but only just. They both end with the same question mark, despite the fact that decades separate them. Sooo that's frustrating, of course.
In closing: I will eat my shoe if Allen turns out to be the keeeler...because he won't. That guy was a total putz....more
So, a dirty little secret of mine is that I love true crime. Ever since, at nine years old, I found a book about Jeffrey Dahmer in a drawer in my granSo, a dirty little secret of mine is that I love true crime. Ever since, at nine years old, I found a book about Jeffrey Dahmer in a drawer in my grandmother's guest bedroom and read it all the way through in one sitting, I have been stuck on the idea of people who can be revoltingly awful without remorse. I have always been a person who overkills (no pun intended) on the guilt when I do something shitty (which is often, hence: nagging depression and anxiety), so the idea that there are people in the world who not only don't feel remorse for their actions in normal society, but also don't feel remorse for actions fifty zillion times worse than anything I could ever manage in even my worst state of mind, is fascinating to me. Like aliens. Basically, to a self-flagellating person such as myself, sociopaths and psychopaths are aliens. Wow, I bet they aren't to you, though, huh? Durr. I mean, the reason they are weird is that I feel guilt/remorse more than any other emotion. Fine, that's not special. Lord, I hope that's not special...
I always had this idea about Japan that violent crimes aren't really committed there because, well, violent crime is rude? Of course, there's always the yakuza and such, but that seems like more of a fiscal/power thing, and less about just indiscriminate bloodshed for ultraviolence's sake. It just never struck me as a place where random women get murdered for the sake of getting randomly murdered. Japan is my go-to when people start spouting some shit about the influence of violent films of violent video games or violent bleeblop. I'm like, look at Japan! They have way more fucked up movies and anime and _____ than just about anywhere, and, like, nobody gets murdered for pleasure there! I mean, just about nobody!
But they do. And the case covered in this book was apparently a huuuuge deal at the time. An attractive British woman goes missing after moving to Tokyo to make big, fast money as a hostess in the Roppongi district. You know, like that girl in The Sea Came in at Midnight. Hang out at the bar with dudes, talk to them, flirt, no fucking. Unfortunately, a requirement of this hostess job was that you occasionally went off-site with these dudes on "dates." Again, hang out, talk, flirt, no fucking. I mean, in theory.
Lucie Blackman went on one of these dates, and disappeared. It would take months--and TONS of media coverage--for her body to be discovered, or what was left of it: dismembered parts, her head shaved and encased in concrete, all buried on the beach. Sick.
Her killer was, it turns out, one of those less common cases of murderous sexual sadism in Japan. Because this stuff happens to women everywhere. I was reading this book in the same week that I heard about Junko Furuta (and DO NOT look that up unless you want to hate everything and everyone, forever), and it made me realize: there is no better place for ladies. Carry a knife, learn how to use it without cutting your hand (try a watermelon, a spaghetti squash, whatev), and wield it as you walk your dog. Drink out of bottles instead of glasses at bars, and never accept a drink you didn't mix/purchase/accept from the bartender yourself. Use the CopWatch app for your own purposes, recording if someone is getting weird. Write down license plates and send them to your friends before you go ANYWHERE. Let him know you are doing all of these things. If he can't accept that or thinks you are weird, then just assume he is a serial killer. It is never the victim's fault, but let's ladies school each other in planning, just in case. SSDGM. <3...more
I would like to see an updated version of this, considering this edition came out shortly before Osama bin Laden made his date with Poseidon. Then agaI would like to see an updated version of this, considering this edition came out shortly before Osama bin Laden made his date with Poseidon. Then again, that very fact would only further press the case presented in this book: that al-Qaeda was the alleged mission, and could have been dealt with in a relatively swift fashion if that were the actual totality of American interests in Afghanistan. Nobody still believes that though, right?
Soberingly, however, the fact that this collection is seven years old and still mostly accurate/relevant only serves to highlight how little has actually changed for "the graveyard of empires." Yep, depressing....more
Here's a crazy fact: "In the United States as a whole in 2009, more than 400,000 individuals were incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses--more thanHere's a crazy fact: "In the United States as a whole in 2009, more than 400,000 individuals were incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses--more than the total number in prison for all offenses in all the prisons of the twenty-seven nations in the European Union, whose population is over 400 million." (There are approximately 320 million people in the U.S., if that even matters in this context. I think it just makes it worse.)
And another crazy fact: "The state of Texas...has criminalized so many different activities that [it] now has 2,324 separate felonies on the books, including 11 involving oysters."
And yet another crazy fact: "An estimated 5.3 million Americans, or one in forty-one adults, have currently or permanently lost their voting rights as a result of a felony conviction. Among African-American men, 1.4 million, or 13 percent, are disenfranchised, a rate seven times the national average...Given current rates of incarceration, three in ten of the next generation of black men can expect to be disenfranchised at some point in their lifetime. In states that disenfranchise ex-offenders, as many as 40 percent of black men may permanently lose their right to vote."
Our culture is sick. Would someone please take America to the Emergency Room?...more
Sometimes I just watch Bernie Sanders videos to help me deal with what is, at times, crippling depression about politics. Reading this is my ChristmasSometimes I just watch Bernie Sanders videos to help me deal with what is, at times, crippling depression about politics. Reading this is my Christmas present to me, a form of escapism, of retreating from a very grim, dystopian picture into an utopian world where elections are fair and this guy is the nation's dad and everything isn't going to be some nightmarish, Boschian march to hell. Here's a picture of Sanders in Oklahoma, visiting the Woody Guthrie* museum. Because of course he did.
America, I hate you right now.
(Alas, photographer unknown.)
"But a many a starving farmer The same old story told How the outlaw paid their mortgage And saved their little homes.
Others tell you 'bout a stranger That come to beg a meal, Underneath his napkin Left a thousand-dollar bill.
It was in Oklahoma City, It was on a Christmas Day, There was a whole car load of groceries Come with a note to say:
'Well, you say that I'm an outlaw, You say that I'm a thief. Here's a Christmas dinner For the families on relief.'
Yes, as through this world I've wandered I've seen lots of funny men; Some will rob you with a six-gun, And some with a fountain pen.
And as through your life you travel, Yes, as through your life you roam, You won't never see an outlaw Drive a family from their home."
-W. Guthrie, 1939
In 2017, I'm starting the one biography about each U.S. president project. Well, technically I'm starting it tonight as my super exciting New Years Eve 2016 Cold-Season Snot-Farm Cough-Fest Loogie-Hock Extravaganza. It's a very exclusive party. Anyway, reading a bio for each president in order seems like a good way to put American history in context, and to harden some squishy timelines in my knowledge of the world. Or at least a good way to memorize the order of the presidents for Trivial Pursuit purposes. Sigh, and how I wish this book would've been the one to cap that project. As lord knows I won't be reading The Art of the Steal any time soon, maybe I'll just end the project with a survival manual or something similarly practical for the days to come, instead.
Kidding. Sort of.
If you followed Sanders in his presidential bid as closely as I did, and/or if you generally spend a fair amount of time reading about American politicians and their approaches to social problems (particularly in the realm of $$$ in politics, and how it relates to trade policy, the U.S.'s embarrassment of a criminal injustice system, our absurdly unfair tax structure, what makes it into the nightly news and how it is--and it is--spun, the perpetual chipping away at voting rights, our evil healthcare overlords, the affected admiration and sincere shafting of veterans by the right, and the general dooming of our planet because fuck it, let's move to condos on Mars!), then there won't be a lot of new information here. And anyway, so much of it is such common sense that it frustrates me to no end how successfully the picture has been distorted for millions of Americans, most successfully by the orange-haired magician troll. How does he cast such powerful spells with such tiny, tiny hands?
However, this is exactly the book you should give to those blue-collar relatives who voted Trump out of a desperate need for relief from the difficulties this society has inflicted on them in pursuit of greater profits for the rich. Give it to them about a year or three from now when they start realizing they got tricked. Again. Another great (and brief, and funny) one, especially for people who still think of Sanders as some half-senile cult-leader commie, is Jon Stewart's introduction of Sanders' campaign from back in the late days of The Daily Show: a highly recommended use of three minutes of your time. I might also suggest you show your pissed off relatives the post-election Wisconsin town hall where Sanders wins over a room full of Trump supporters in, like, an hour and a half. Frustrating. So, is this like The Man in the High Castle where if I meditate on a park bench long enough, I can go to the alternate Bernie reality instead of Biff Tannen's Pleasure Paradise? Oh dang, did I just Godwin's law my own review?? Sorry, being snarkily trivial about major shit is one of my most prized defense mechanisms these days.
We really mucked this one up, guys. Could we learn from it this time, please? Assuming we live long enough to reflect?
Kidding. Sort of.
*Fun Fact: Guthrie also hated the Trump family, and even wrote a song about its original patriarch. Also, what is now called "Trump Tower" wasn't built until Guthrie was long dead. And I mean, by over a decade. What's that saying about the history and the repeating?
"I suppose that Old Man Trump knows just how much racial hate He stirred up in that bloodpot of human hearts When he drawed that color line Here at his Beach Haven family project
Beach Haven ain't my home! No, I just can't pay this rent! My money's down the drain, And my soul is badly bent! Beach Haven is Trump's Tower Where no black folks come to roam, No, no, Old Man Trump! Old Beach Haven ain't my home!
I'm calling out my welcome to you and your man both Welcoming you here to Beach Haven To love in any way you please and to have some kind of a decent place To have your kids raised up in.
Beach Haven ain't my home! No, I just can't pay this rent! My money's down the drain, And my soul is badly bent! Beach Haven is Trump's Tower Where no black folks come to roam, No, no, Old Man Trump! Old Beach Haven ain't my home!"
"Clearly, there is no such thing in today's Washington as cynicism that is too extreme, nor elite criminality too egregious to enjoy a shield of immun"Clearly, there is no such thing in today's Washington as cynicism that is too extreme, nor elite criminality too egregious to enjoy a shield of immunity."
Well, this book is super upsetting, as unsurprising as the information contained within it may be. It documents the decline of accountability for crimes within the world of the rich and powerful, specifically focusing on the surveillance and torture regimes under W, and the subsequent attempts by the Obama administration to shield not just the prior administration from being held legally accountable for felonies, but also the military personnel involved in rendition, waterboarding, etc, and the corporations who enabled mass (illegal) surveillance through providing access to their customer information without the appropriate FISA warrants (not that those mean much, as we would come to learn in the wake of later revelations) by making their actions legal or providing presidential pardons to these criminals after the fact. By using intimidation tactics against other nations, the Bush and Obama administrations have further protected war criminals from prosecution and extradition overseas. The book's final chapter documents the well-known existence of the other half of the two-tiered justice system, in which ordinary citizens are disproportionately incarcerated for non-violent crimes for a number of reasons, including private prison profit, control of dissent, racial subjugation, and simply appearing "tough on crime" in order to score votes.
Upon reading this book, published in 2011, I couldn't help being both completely understanding as to why Snowden chose Glenn Greenwald as the journalist to hand his trove of documents on the NSA surveillance program to, and terrified by how even an exposé such as this was missing so much critical information that was not to come until 2013. When a book is still shocking five years and several scandals later, it just sort of compounds the frustration. It makes you wonder and fear what's next.
Oh, and a P.S. A lot of people I know get on to me for criticizing Barack Obama, like I am falling prey to some sort of right-wing brainwashing machine. I just want to clarify that there is a difference between blindly hating a politician because I think he's some kind of Muslim spy (duh, I don't), and holding him accountable for his actions in office in order to make determinations regarding what I deem as important in politicians I may later throw my weight behind, as I did with him. Critique and blanket dismissal are very different things. Annnd sorry, but the man does have a few things to answer for, including but certainly not limited to the things mentioned above....more
High four. The story about Gogol's Realdoll lover was probably my favorite, because right? Landolfi is a terribly clever writer who made me laugh outHigh four. The story about Gogol's Realdoll lover was probably my favorite, because right? Landolfi is a terribly clever writer who made me laugh out loud on several occasions, particularly when elaborating on the high-seas fantasies acted aloud by a clerk on the shitter. Apparently, zippy bowels are bad for the imagination. Some of his stories do get a bit marshy, though, which is a shame because this book is too short to have draggy parts.
Tidbit: that's actually him on the cover. Relieving himself, perhaps?...more
Do not read this if you have yet to watch the first two seasons of Twin Peaks. Oh, you know why I get to put it that way? Because there's gonna be a tDo not read this if you have yet to watch the first two seasons of Twin Peaks. Oh, you know why I get to put it that way? Because there's gonna be a third! Wheeeeeee!!! Anyway, warned.
Well, as fun as it was returning to Twin Peaks, this book contains some grievous errors*, and a little too much emphasis on the UFO side of things for my taste. However, we do get to:
1) learn who (if anyone) lived and who (if anyone) died in the bank vault explosion (Andrew Packard? Audrey Horne? Pete Martell? Random bank employee?).
2) spend some time with L. Ron Hubbard, Jack Parsons, and Richard Nixon (uh huh, I mean that).
3) enjoy some not so subtle mockery of how freakin' stupid and lame James Hurley is, because seriously, nobody likes him, right? That guy? "Not a book reader."
4) discover that Dr. Jacobi is basically supposed to be Carlos Castaneda, also known as that asshole who made up a bunch of shit about being a shaman. That kook Jacobi suddenly makes so much sense!
We do not, however, get anything close to an answer to that famous last question by that famous last maybe-Cooper: "How's Annie?"
For this and so much more, the new season can't come soon enough. Also, 2017 in general can't come soon enough, because seriously FUCK 2016.
*Oh, right, the errors. WELL, let me just list off a couple to give you an idea.
1) This one is kind of small, but the book mentions how Cooper was wearing a bullet-proof vest when he was shot by Josie because he knew a hit on him was coming. Wrong, Mark! He was wearing a vest because he still had it on from the undercover op at One-Eyed Jacks and the sting on Jacques Renault. The bullet is why it took him so long to find Audrey's note. Duh!
2) This one gets a bit rambly, but if you are a big fan of the show, I am confident that you can stay with me. I hope. So, the book attributes Norma and Hank's marriage to Big Ed leaving "for the war," whereas the show makes it clear that Norma only married Hank because Ed married Nadine in a jealous rage over Norma simply going out of town with Hank. In the book, however, Norma and Hank get married way before Nadine and Ed. NONONO. Ed and Nadine get married right out of high school. This book even screws up how Nadine lost her eye, saying that she was following Ed into the forest thinking he was meeting up with Norma, when he was really just hunting with a buddy (Harry Truman - the sheriff, not the president). Her jealousy apparently got her eye shot out on accident by stray buckshot, which: nope. Nadine lost her eye on accident by stray buckshot on their honeymoon while she and Ed were hunting together. You know, right after their wedding. Right out of high school. In the reality where Ed is not a veteran. Before Norma and Hank got married. This is why the two couples were stuck with one another despite the obvious googoo mess between Ed and Norma, and the even more obvious douchiness of Hank Jennings, professional domino-licker.
Look, I know it's been 25 years, but there's no excuse for me knowing this plot better than you, Frost! How about a refresher marathon of the series before writing an entire book based on it? You are so freakin' grounded. Now go to your room and do your homework!
Still, it's Twin Peaks. If you were going to read it, then you're still going to read it. It will definitely help tide you over until next year. Next year! ...more