WTC II

You know I’ve never cried over anything I’ve seen on the news before but when I watched the World Trade Center buildings collapse I felt like busting out into tears.

I have a brother that works in D.C. I panicked for what seemed like hours until I heard from my parents that he was ok.

My wife went to the store and I didn’t know about it. I must have left about 15 messages on the answering machine at home.

Both my dad who is 72 and my mother in law who is 63 both said the same thing. That this was Pearl Harbor all over again.

I live nowhere near NY or D.C. but I still can’t help feel nervous. I’m at work right now probably risking my job to do this but I think it’s necessary. Here in Charlotte, NC they’re evacuating the First Union/Wachovia building and most of downtown. I wish they would let us go. I want to be with my family. More later.

WTC I

In the 32 years that I’ve been alive there’s been some holy shit moments. The Challenger explosion. The World Trade Center bombing. The Oklahoma City bombing. Columbine. And now this. Luckily I have no family in New York so I’ve been spared as far as I know.

My heart goes out to the families of the victims. More commentary later.

The West Memphis 3

Ever hear of the Robin Hood Hills Murders? How about the West Memphis 3? Me neither until I saw a documentary on HBO the other night called Paradise Lost. To my goth readers you probably already know all the details. To my other readers, if I have any, please read on.

I’m a little sketchy on all the details and names since it’s been a few days since I saw the movie but I will provide links to other sites that can do this much better justice than I can.

I believe it was in 1993 that three children were brutally raped, tortured, mutilated, and eventually murdered in West Memphis, Arkansas. West Memphis is one of those towns in the deep south you think doesn’t really exist anymore. They’re, for the most part, fundamentalist Christians to the point of zealotry. They cried out for a quick arrest to be made. Eventually they arrested 3 teens. One, their alleged leader, goes by the name of Damien Echols. Damien Echols is kind of like someone I know. He dressed in black, listened to heavy metal, and studied alternate religions. In fundamentalist towns people like this are seen as devil worshipers. One of his friends whose last name I believe is Misskelley, I could have the spelling wrong on that, has the IQ of a nerf ball. He was allegedly held under police questioning for 12 hours, even though only I believe an hour and a half of tape exists. He confessed to being part of the murders even though his testimony contradicts some of the facts of the crime scene. After his conviction and subsequent life sentence Damien Echols was then tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for these murders. The third teen, whose name escapes me right now, was also sentenced to life after his trial.

The thing is the police so bungled their case against Echols I don’t think they would have gotten a conviction in any other state that isn’t predominantly a backwoods, bible thumping, inbred, white trash state like Arkansas. Evidence was mishandled. Leads were not followed up on. One of the prosecutions star witnesses who professed to be an expert on the occult received his degree from a mail order college.

Damien Echols didn’t help his own case though. He wasn’t always Damien. He allegedly took the name Damien after the Catholic priest Father Damien who helped the lepers in Hawaii before succumbing to the disease himself. But, as my wife pointed out there’s also Damien from the Omen trilogy and Father Damien in the Exorcist movies who banished the demon in I and then was possessed by the demon in III. According to the movie he might have been a follower of Alistair Crowley and Anton LaVey, two self admitted satanists. But on the other hand I have read the works of Crowley and LaVey. Does this make me a satanist? Hell no. (Pun intended) Reading those books made me even stronger in my faith in Christ and God. I think what sealed Damien’s fate was that he admitted to believing in Wicca. To those who don’t know Wicca is a belief in mother earth instead of God and is also known as white magic. To the fundamentalist redneck hicks of West Memphis he might as well as said that he was a satanist.

Also one of the victim’s step-father has an air of suspicion swirling around him. His wife died under mysterious circumstances. Some of the victims had bite marks and the step-father had all his teeth removed stating either they fell out, the dentist, removed them, or he lost them in a fight. He is also a gem cutter, which requires surgeon like precision, which is what the county coroner said was required in order to inflict such wounds. And one of the victim’s biological father believes that the WM3 are innocent.

I don’t know if Damien Echols committed these murders or not. Only seven people know, as my wife put it, the victims, the accused, and God. And God’s not talking right now. Anyway, my point is that the West Memphis 3 deserve a retrial. And the only way they are going to get a fair trial is to take it out of Arkansas. In order for a fair trial it must be taken to a religiously neutral or mixed state. Otherwise it’s just another case in which their only crime was being “different”.

I mean no disrespect to the victims. My condolences go out to their families.

PTC vs. WWF

I thought since Al Gore lost the election these people would go away, but I guess I was wrong. I read an article in my local rag about the Parents Televison Council rearing their collective ugly heads again. For those of you who don’t know who the PTC is, they are the modern equivalent of the PMRC. The brain fart of AlGore’s wife Tipper who wanted to impose government sanctioned censorship on music. But now as their name suggests the PTC is focusing on television.

The article states that the group studied 200 hours of programming on the six major networks. Whether or not UPN and the WB can be considered major networks is a whole other debate. But I digress. The article goes on to say that the council says that all sorts of acts of moral depravity have increased during the 8pm-9pm hour. The study also found that UPN was the worst offender because of…wait for it…….WWF Smackdown. The council’s president L. Brent Bozell apparently has a hard on for the WWF. He’s pressured sponsors of the WWF to pull out of WWF programming. The WWF has sued the PTC stating the PTC spread lies to WWF sponsors. It sounds like to me that the PTC is using strong-arm tactics. Don’t they arrest people on racketeering charges for that? Anyway the council is missing a big fact here. Any parent can tell you that most children in the age group they’re so worried about aren’t watching the major networks. They’re watching cable channels like Nick, Cartoon Network, Disney, and Fox Family. At least those are the 4 favorite channels of my kids.

And there are two old sayings that I keep finding myself repeating. If you don’t like what your kids are watching make them change the channel. And if you don’t know what your kids are watching then you don’t deserve to be a parent.

You need to get a license to own a dog but any idiot can have a kid.

Death of an Icon

I have some sad news to pass on today.

This past week Alan Schafer of South Carolina passed away this past week. Who is he? Have you ever driven between New York and Florida on I-95? Have you ever seen the billboards advertising a tourist trap called Pedro’s South of the Border? Alan Schafer was Pedro.

I remember driving to Florida from Atlantic City with my family. I must have been 8 at the time. And I saw all these signs for this place just over the South Carolina border. The signs were hilarious. Then again I was 8. Anyway I begged my parents to stop there. But my dad being Mr. No Fun would never stop there. 3 years in a row he wouldn’t stop there.

Well finally about 3 years ago after I was exiled from Florida I stopped at Pedro’s just because I could. It was the cheesiest, tackiest, tourist trap I had ever seen. It was glorious. It was liked being trapped in a giant velvet painting of Elvis.

I bought some bumper stickers and a few t-shirts. And on the day I got married, my wife and I had to drive through Pedro’s to get to our destination. I think I was just a little less excited about driving trough Pedro’s then my actual wedding? You can ask my wife, I wanted to get married there.

So Mr. Schafer rest well in knowing that you created the Mecca of all tourist stands.

Al, you lost get over it.

So I’m at work the other day listening to the radio. I was tired of the 3 so-called rock stations here in cHarlotte so I looked for something more informative. So I went down to the low-end of the FM dial and stumbled across NPR, which is the radio equivalent of PBS.

Well, apparently the other day NPR stood for Namby Pamby Radio. I was listening to some talk show and the guests were two “journalists” from the New York Times. They had just published an article that stated that they found evidence that proves that Al Gore won the 2000 election. I tried to find a link to that article at the New York Times website but they ask you to register. What’s that all about?

Anyway this is just typical of the, I hate to bust out this cliché but, the obviously biased media. Think about it. If Al Gore had won the election do you think the NY Slimes would be digging up evidence that George W. won? Of course not. They just can’t let it go. And of course all the callers to the show were applauding these fine gentleman. And all the stereotypical liberal buzzwords were thrown out like “right-wing conspiracy” and “racist politics”. And yet when speaking of Gore they never throw out words like “censorship” or “Hollywood money”.

Here’s the facts. If it wasn’t for the completely fucked up election laws of the state of Florida this would never have been an issue. The rest of the 49 states didn’t have this problem and I’m sure some of them used the same kind of voting equipment that Florida did.

Look, it’s over. Your boy lost. Stop being sore losers.

The Punch in the Head Awards

Celebrities I’d like to give a figurative punch in the head.

Rosie O’Donnell: Ok so she’s been the go between for 40 families who have adopted. I still can’t stand her. Her holier than thou attitude and the fact she shoots her mouth off without having any idea what she’s talking about still irks me. I’ll use my left hand to punch her.

Hillary Clinton: It doesn’t take a village to raise a child. It takes 2 parents. The only position she qualifies for is village idiot.

A certain “reporter” for the Washington Post: I think it’s obvious why.

Pamela Lee: Enough with all your PETA bullcrap. How many silicones had to die to make your breasts? In my book PETA stands for People Eating Tasty Animals.

Mumia Abu Jamal:You killed a cop, you never denied it. Shut up and get in the chair.

Mike Farrel: See above.

Ed Asner: See above.

Oprah Winfrey: Ladies, this woman isn’t out to help you. She just wants your money. Use Oprah in an argument with your man and he will leave you.

Martha Stewart: She just wants your money also. Don’t try to compete with her. She has a staff of hundreds. You don’t.

Jimmy Buffet: I don’t want to go to Margaritaville. I don’t want a cheeseburger in paradise. Why the fuck would anyone want to be called a parrothead?

Halle Berry: The reason you only make so much money or haven’t won an Oscar is not because you’re black. It’s because you suck.

Eminem: You are the ultimate in white trash. Will the real Slim Shady please stand up so I could punch him in the head.

Kathy Lee Gifford: Oh my god how could I forget her. The way she whores out her children just makes me want to wretch. If I was Frank I would have boned a stewardess too.

Columbine Families Sue Video Game Manufacturers

I read this article today about some of the families of the Columbine shooting victims are suing video game manufacturers. They are singling out the popular game “Doom” specifically. As usual I will preface this by saying again my heart goes out to the victims’ families. Not a day goes by where I don’t pray for them. But I think their latest efforts are misguided. Suing the video game manufacturers for the billions they’re asking for just seems a little too much to me.

The video games are not to blame. To me the blame lies squarely on the parents of Harris and Klebold. For those of you who may not know in Doom you are a “space marine” and you go around shooting aliens with big guns and the aliens bleed red blood.

It is a pretty violent game. I’ve played it a few times myself. This is not a game for kids or teens. When I first played it the game was clearly rated “M” for mature. Meaning only 17+ should play the game. If I caught my son playing this game he’d be grounded until his wedding day. The game did not make these kids killers. School harassment and inattentive parents did. If they should sue anybody it should be the parents, which they already did and won, or the retailers who sold them this game, or whoever bought it for them.

I hate to say this but suing the video game manufacturers looks like some ambulance chasing lawyer whispered into their ears. It looks very opportunistic. That’s why I never sued the Washington comPost. I did not want to seem like I was trying to make a buck off of a national tragedy.

Suspected School Bombing Plot

I came across an AP article on Thursday about a 14-year-old boy in Georgia who was discovered to have who had several guns, Nazi posters, $4,900 in cash, and bomb recipes in his room in relation to a suspected bomb threat against his middle school. 10 other homes of students were raided as well. Now the media is labeling them as “goths” but I guess that’s par for the course these days. Now the article goes on as the AP interviewed the boy’s father. He tried to defend his son by stating the following…

The boy’s father told The Associated Press on Thursday that the handguns belong to his son-in-law, who is visiting from Illinois. The pistols were stashed in his son’s room to keep them away from younger children, he said. “He is not a violent kid,” the father said. The boy pulled bomb-making recipes off the Internet only to demonstrate to his father how easily teens could find such instructions online, the father said. As for the drawing of Adolf Hitler seized from the boy’s room, the father said his son once wrote a school report on Adolf Hitler, and got a good grade for it. He said his son claimed the $4,900 belonged to a friend.

Now I’ve been a victim of extreme coincidence but this sounds so far-fetched. Even to me. It sounds like the father is trying to cover his own ass for either not knowing that this was going on or, he was encouraging this behavior. The guns, the bomb instructions, nazi paraphernalia, it all fits together too nicely. And the old “He’s holding the $5,000 for a friend” routine is a classic case of “Not my child” syndrome. Unfortunately this just another case of parents who have no involvement in there children’s’ lives. With all the recent outbreaks of school violence I fear another tragedy might happen this 20th. For the love of God I hope I’m wrong.

As always it was your pleasure.

Hollywood Hypocrisy

There was an article in People Magazine this week about how black actors and actresses are complaining about how there are few roles for them in movies. The article listed that Halle Berry made $2.5 million last year. Now if I made $2.5M you know what I would be complaining about? Not a god damn thing. Then I got to thinking, which is always dangerous.

The Academy Awards were last week and I was thinking how much money is spent on this debacle. Between the ceremony itself, the wardrobes and jewelry that these celebrities buy for the event, the advertising, the gifts that the Academy sends the nominees, the pre-parties, the after parties, and all the media coverage, enough money is spent to feed a third world nation or at least a big chunk of the homeless in the United States.

All these celebrities go on about their causes, from Richard Gere to Pamela Anderson, but yet they insist on taking part in this orgy of useless consumption. Now I’m no liberal tree hugging weenie but hypocrisy in any form just drives me insane. You’re just actors. You’re not Gandhi, you’re not Mother Teresa, you’re not Albert Schweitzer, you’re not Einstein. You’re entertainers. And most of you suck. In the grand scheme of things you’re nothing. But there’s always a flip side.

Kudos to famous Hollywood chef Wolfgang Puck. Whatever food was left over from one of his post-Oscar celebrations, he donated to homeless shelters and AIDS patients in the Hollywood area. I think there were some well fed people in the streets of L.A. last Sunday.