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…his brain is squirming like a toad…

So, am I as’posed to say I’m being silent, or am I just as’posed to shut-the-hell up for a day?

Ha! Kidding! Ace is pushing June 8 as a day of blogger silence (or, rather, a day for pestering your Congresscritter instead of posting) on account of the above nutcake — convicted bomber, perjuror, drug dealer, Demo activist and all-around nasty piece of work Brett Kimberlin.

Unfortunately, Kimberlin is also a persistent and energetic jailhouse lawyer (and worse) who has lately dedicated himself to making the lives of conservative bloggers miserable. Follow the above link to learn more.

This may not be the party line on this one, but I don’t think this is a political issue. Not really. I think this guy is a classic sociopath first and a Democrat on a roll of the dice.

That’s not a good thing.

sock it to me

June 8, 2012 — 10:46 pm
Comments: 35

Nice army you got there, Billy Joe-Bob Bubbah

Remember these guys? The <snort> Hutaree? Scary right wing militia fixin’ to take over the gubmint and all?

Today, a judge dropped all the charges, except a couple of the weapons violations. Turns out being a bug-fuck crazy redneck who hates cops and knows how to build a pipe bomb isn’t actually sedition. Apparently, you actually have to commit a crime or something.

David Stone was recorded saying he was willing to kill police and even their families. He considered them part of a “brotherhood” — a sinister global authority that included federal law enforcers and United Nations troops…David Stone suspected Germany and Singapore had aircraft stationed in Texas, and thousands of Canadian troops were poised to take over Michigan. He said the government put computer chips in a flu vaccine.

Looks like they were arrested for being members of my extended family. Say, you reckon these guys like the government a bit better now they’ve spent two years in jail without bond for Felony Runnin’ Yer Dang Fool Mouth?

sock it to me

March 27, 2012 — 10:08 pm
Comments: 35

Four things I did not know about Edweard Muybridge

Y’all know Edweard Muybridge, right? He settled a very old argument and kind of fathered the moving picture in the process.

Horsey folk had argued for ages whether a running horse ever had all four hooves off the ground at once. Muybridge was a well-known photographer in California when Leland Stanford (former governor, race horse owner and founder of Stanford University) hired him to answer the question. Took him years to work it out, but Muybridge eventually wired a bunch of cameras along a track with tripwires, ran a horse down it and got the answer.

Which was: everybody was wrong. People in the NO camp believed a horse always had at least one hoof on the ground. People in the YES camp thought they were all four off the ground, with the front legs aiming frontwards and the back legs aiming backwards. Like a rocking horse. Whee! Turns out…well, look at the picture.

Muybridge went on to take upwards of 100,000 photos of people and animals in motion. Which is, to this day, a cherished reference for animators and illustrators. Lumme some Muybridge!

So anyhow, I was looking up the date of that first definitive horse series (1877) and I discovered four things about him I did not know before.

He was English. Born in Southwest London in 1830. He moved to the States in his mid-twenties. He was born Edward Muggeridge, but apparently decided his name needed a little weirding up. Which explains why you’ve never heard of an Edweard or a Muybridge before (unless you have, in which case — do tell!). He got some nasty head injuries in stagecoach accident in San Fran, which may have left him a little…cracked.

Also, he killed a guy and got away with it. He discovered his wife had taken a lover — a certain Major Larkyns — tracked him down, said “Good evening, Major, my name is Muybridge and here’s the answer to the letter you sent my wife” — whipped out a gun and BANG. Shot him dead.

His insanity plea (on account of his brain damage) was rejected, but it was ruled a justifiable homicide anyway. On account of, diddling other men’s wives was considered really unacceptable then.

Oh, a fifth and final thing — he then dropped his son off at an orphanage, assuming him to be Larkyn’s boy. Poor bastard grew up to look just like Muybridge.

Good weekend, folks!

sock it to me

February 24, 2012 — 11:14 pm
Comments: 27

It’s only a flesh wound

Heyyyy…I didn’t know they’d identified Ned Kelly’s remains last month. Dug him up with a bunch of other old bones and ran some DNA tests. He finally gets to be buried in the family plot, a hundred and thirty something years after it was his last wish.

Kelly was either a cop-killing savage or Robin Hood, depending on where you lean in the Irish/Aussie/English ethnic preferences continuum. They’ve made a couple of movies about it, so you may know all about him and his gang, and some of that may even be true.

Me, I only love him for this bad-ass body armor he kluged together out of old farm equipment for his last shootout.

The authorities not being complete morons, they shot him through the legs.


sock it to me

November 9, 2011 — 11:09 pm
Comments: 27

Oh, you beautiful doll

You remember that scene in Poltergeist where somebody opens the haunted bedroom door, and it’s all shrieking and howling and shit swirling around and toys playing with themselves? I looked in on Twitter today, and it was just like that.

I’m not digging politics at the moment.

So let’s talk about something nicer. Like, have you seen this Russian guy who was caught this week with the mummified bodies of 29 young women he’d dug up and dressed like dolls? One was got up as a teddy bear. Also, there were actual dolls. All of which was good going, because most reports say he lived in a tiny apartment with his parents.

Reports describe him as a well-known historian and expert on local cemeteries, but I dunno. This doesn’t sound like any academic I know:

Moskvin claimed that from 2005 to 2007 he had inspected 752 cemeteries across the region, often traveling about 30 kilometers (20 miles) a day by foot. He said he drank from puddles, spent nights in haystacks or at abandoned farms and once even slept in a coffin readied for a funeral. He said he was repeatedly questioned by police, who then always let him go.

Oh, my mother would have loved this story.

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November 8, 2011 — 10:03 pm
Comments: 27

Science: both creepy and wonderful

Y’all know I love a good murder. Well, here’s a weird one. Today in Winchester Crown Court, Italian Danilo Restivo was sentenced to never-ever getting out of prison, which is pretty unusual for here. Let’s see if I can’t unpack this and tell it right way around.

Danilo Restivo has a hair fetish. As a result of various Crime Watch type programs, 28 women in Italy and an unspecified number in England positively identified Restivo as the man who had come up behind them in a public place and hacked the bottom few inches of their hair off. Apparently without ever being nabbed for it.

In 2002, while Restivo was living in Bournemouth, he murdered his neighbor across the hall, 48 year old Heather Barnetts. He bludgeoned, stabbed and mutilated the hell out of her. In her right hand, he put a lock of somebody else’s hair. In her left hand, he put a lock of her own hair. When her children, 11 and 14, came home from school and found her body, he came across the hall to comfort them. Nice touch.

It took them eight years to accumulate enough evidence to arrest him. Shortly before he was charged, it occurred to Italian authorities that a friend of Restivo’s had disappeared seventeen years ago on the way to meet him at a church in Potenza.

Yep, sure enough, there was sixteen-year-old Elisa Claps’ mummified body in the loft of the church (that’s sixteen years alive, seventeen dessicating in the attic). Exactly like Barnett — bludgeoned and mutilated, pants at half mast, bra cut away, somebody else’s hair in her hand. He’s headed to Italy to stand trial for that one.

A strange enough murder case on its own, but here’s what made it post-worthy:

Five years after Ms Barnett’s death, in 2007, a scientific breakthrough gave the inquiry hope.

Dr Stuart Black, of the University of Reading, undertook chemical and isotope analysis of the hair strands, which represented nine months’ growth.

The results revealed the owner was a UK resident who had visited eastern Spain, between Valencia and Almeria, or the Marseille to Perpignan area of southern France, for up to six days, some 11 weeks before the hair was cut.

They then went to the urban area of Tampa, Florida, US, for eight days some two to two-and-a-half weeks before the hair was cut, and had changed their diet twice in the previous months.

Despite all that, they never identified the owner of the strand of hair in Ms Barnett’s right hand, but — holy shit, did you know they could get that level of detail from a strand of hair now? I know they’ve identified the country of origin from the bones in several stone age burials around here, also from isotopes, but jeeeeeezus that’s specific.

I’d love to know what isotopes are unique to urban Tampa, and how they get in your hair.

sock it to me

June 30, 2011 — 9:56 pm
Comments: 6

Filet of bitch

I don’t know why the Daily Mail floated this story to the top yesterday — it’s a couple of years old — but I hadn’t heard it and we were talking murderers. This is one of the most famous.

Hawley Crippen was a henpecked American doctor living in London with his horrible wife. She disappeared in 1910. When questioned, he told the police she had run off with a man and he was too embarrassed to admit it to their friends.

Then he vanished with his mistress.

So Scotland Yard dug up his cellar and found…a big, amorphous mass of rotting belly skin and a hair curler wrapped in his pajama top.

At trial, the pathologist swore the skin belonged to his wife because it had a recognizable scar. He was hanged.

The case is famous for two things: it was Bernard Spilsbury‘s first major court appearance (if forensic pathologists had rock stars, he’d be the first and biggest). And it was the first case to involve the telegraph wireless, as Crippen was breathlessly followed across the Atlantic by the paper-reading public rather like an Edwardian white Bronco.

Welp, somebody recently dug out the microscope slide of the supposed scar and had some DNA testing done. Not only is the skin not that of Mrs Crippen, it’s not even a woman (the things they can tell from DNA these days).

If you’re interested, you can watch an hour-long PBS program about it online.

I’m not persuaded by the toxicologist’s explanation, but I truly don’t know what to think about the new evidence. One thing we certainly agree on, though — I’ve always thought it exceedingly strange that a man would successfully dispose of all the bones, organs and limbs of his victim and then give up and bury a big, nasty slab of belly skin wrapped in his own PJ’s under the floor next to the kitchen.

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January 18, 2011 — 10:11 pm
Comments: 28

Jack Kevorkian is the most successful serial killer in history

Harold Shipman probably has a higher body count, but they didn’t make an HBO special gushing about what a swell, compassionate guy he was, did they? I don’t fucking believe they made a sympathetic Kevorkian biopic. Yeah. It won a Golden Globe last night.

Look, I’m not set against euthanasia. That’s a national conversation we’ll have to have some time. It has absolutely nothing to do with that sick fuck Jack Kevorkian.

In 1956, when he was still just a resident, he picked up the “Dr Death” moniker. He asked to be notified when any patient was close to death so he could stare into their eyes while they died. Sometimes he took pictures. He said he was searching for a way to pinpoint the exact moment of death.

What is the medical need to know the exact moment of death? There isn’t one. Who knows how many friendless people he robbed of dignity in their last moments of life.

He didn’t start in the assisted suicide biz. What he really wanted was permission to vivisect death row inmates. I’ve never read exactly how he thought medicine could be advanced by killing people under general anesthesia. I get the impression he just thinks it would be kinda neat to paddle around in people’s innards until they die.

When permission wasn’t forthcoming, 1987 he advertised himself in Detroit papers as a physician consultant for “death counseling.” By 1991, he’d lost his medical license.

He named his death machines Thanitron and Mercitron. He killed 130 people between 1990 and 1998 and was acquitted of murder five times. When authorities gave up prosecuting him, he forced one more arrest — he taped himself administering a fatal shot and walked the tape over to his friend Mike Wallace, who aired it nationally on 60 Minutes. He videotaped all his killings, presumably to enjoy again and again. He spent eight years and a bit behind bars.

Equal parts ghoul and attention whore, then.

Oh – about three quarters half [70 out of 130] of his victims weren’t terminally ill, just depressed and in pain. Five of them weren’t sick at all, their autopsies showed. He hadn’t bothered to find out; medicine wasn’t part of his deal.

He ripped out the kidneys of one of his assisted suicide victims and offered them at a press conference, “first come first served.” The “surgery” was so crude that the Oakland County Medical Examiner called it out of a “slaughterhouse” and a “bizarre mutilation.”

Say, have you seen his paintings? One of the pigments is his own blood. Isn’t that nice? And the captions show an absolute Loughnerian grasp of the English language.

So, basically, somebody who should have spent the last thirty years (at least) in a hospital for the criminally insane. A perfect hero for Hollywood. They called the film You Don’t Know Jack.


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January 17, 2011 — 7:22 pm
Comments: 21

A delightful morning of murder and buggery

hogarth judges

Oh, man, I love the internet. They’ve put the proceedings of the Old Bailey online! And it’s searchable!

It’s an excellent website, too: in addition to the 200,000+ documents (both scans and transcriptions) covering trials from 1674 to 1913, there’s a ton of good London history (and not much more politically correct than it absolutely has to be).

The Old Bailey is London’s Central Criminal Court and has been since…forever, amen. The current building (built in 1902) is on the site of the old Newgate Prison, but the two were originally side by side for the sake of convenience.

There is no better primary source of information about the lives ordinary people than trial transcripts. Where else can you learn what a murder victim had in his pockets in 1810, what a Victorian innkeeper keeps in the till, what timeless drunken ladies of the evening shout as they whale away on each other with a rum bottle and a tin teapot? Treasure, I tell you!

Naturally, murder trials are the besteses (the advanced search helpfully allows you to sort by crime). But permit me to draw your attention to sodomy offenses prior to 1790, where you will encounter what the site describes as “a vibrant, even joyful, world of men who pursued both homosexual experiences and a distinct lifestyle” — i.e. lots and lots of cross-dressing and buggery. (After 1790 the courts got squeamish and censored the transcripts).

If you have any pasty English genes floating around in your gene pool, I highly recommend plugging your surname into the thingie and seeing what your ancestors got up to. Hey, it’s England! There’s probably a coat of arms for cross-dressers!

See also: the complete Newgate Calendar, London’s Past Online. You can still visit the Old Bailey and attend a trial. I’ve always wanted to. But I made Uncle B take me to the Houses of Detention, the Old Operating Theatre and a fancy rat show so I’m not pushing my luck. I’d just as soon not be the subject of a trial at the Old Bailey, thenkyewverymuch.

sock it to me

June 10, 2008 — 10:23 am
Comments: 79

This isn’t very good blogging advice

duct tape weasel

Do you ever get sick of the sound of your own voice? I know I do!

I was hitting my blogroll this morning, leaving weasel droppings in various comment sections, and I caught myself thinking, “shut up, shut up, SHUT UP! Do you have to have an opinion about everything?”

I just backspaced over the comment and went for a walk. (Yes, now that you mention it, it was your blog…and it was a really great comment, too).

Not conducive to blogging.

Instead, help yourself to a really disturbing graphic of a weasel wrapped in duct tape. Somehow, I thought it would be funnier. I dunno. Maybe if it didn’t look so terrified. Maybe if I’d left it a breathing hole. (On a related note, the Duct Tape Bandit copped a plea and is expected to get ten years).

sock it to me

May 8, 2008 — 2:53 pm
Comments: 39