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Saturday, March 04, 2006

Victim Identified

The man killed in my alley has been identified:
Aurora police Thursday identified the victim of a homicide as 19-year-old Jose Sanchez Jr.

He died Wednesday from gunshot wounds suffered the night before.

Police also identified Adam J. Younger, 29, as the man arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder in Sanchez's death.

Younger is being held without bail in the Adams County jail. He was captured Thursday morning after a police chase on Interstate 76.

Also arrested was Troy Boldra, 27. He is being held on a parole violation warrant and a traffic warrant out of Park County. Detectives are investigating whether Boldra was involved in the shooting, in the 1600 block of Lima Street in Aurora.

None of those names are familiar.  It’s possible, but Younger and Boldra seem unlikely Homey surnames, so it calls into question the involvement of my neighbors.  Of course, it is still possible that the victim, Sanchez, came from that house and may have even been trying to make it home when he collapsed in my alley.

Whatever happened, I hope Younger and Boldra spend the rest of their natural lives with an insider’s view of America’s penal system.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Jessica Alba, not as Beautiful as Christina (but close)

Alba demands Playboy pull issue over cover.   Please, darling.  Pull the issue.  I’m not giving mine back, but I will sell it for a profit on Ebay.  Jessica, baby, you’re classy, we know that.  You’re beautiful, not as beautiful as Christina, of course, but you’re up there.  Top ten, at least.  We know you’re not going to get nekkid for a magazine, so don’t worry.  You might, however, want to get a new agent.

And hurry!  The earth is melting!

This creepy looking guy pissed off the wrong people.  I thought this was just getting play on the local media, but no…looks like it went national.  I had a similar experience with a teacher who spouted her political claptrap in my AP US History class.  She was the one who taught me that the white man’s got a god complex.  It might as well have been AP Kill Whitey.

Speaking of public schools (wasn’t I?), my nephew has another fund raiser.  I pimped his fund raiser at work and raised about $300 for whatever they had last time, and he wants me to do the same with this one.  I have some qualms about milking my co-workers again, plus he goes to a public school.  Where are my tax dollars going?

You ever read Froomkin?  I’m a Froomkin junky.  When his wife had a baby in January and he went on paternity leave, I was jonesing like a first step patient at the Hazelden clinic.  

You ever read Cindy Rodriguez?  Ah, Cindy.  She hates smokers, but otherwise she has an open mind.  I love her Latina outlook.  And she’s gorgeous.  (Although not as gorgeous as Christina.)

Speaking of Christina, I was thinking about starting a new religion where I worship her as the goddess of all creation.  I was going to call it Christianity, but I think that one’s taken.  So I decided to call it Taoism.  It’s an acronym see.  Christina literally means “The Anointed One,” which of course makes TAO.  So Taoism it is.

It is better by far to be one with the Tao, developing selflessness, tempering desire, removing the wish, but being compassionate.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Night Watch

Since I started the video theme, I'm going to run with it. Here's a movie I could have seen on Tuesday. I RSVP'd for some free preview tickets, but when we got there the theater was full. Some geeks had been waiting in line for two hours. (I never understood waiting in line for hours to see a movie. What's the point?)

We'll get tickets to another preview, and when Night Watch is actually released, we might just go see it. Right, Ginger?

Fallujah - November 2004

From Uncle Jim, a video of the Marines in Fallujah, shot and edited by a Marine, not a reporter. Don't worry, there's no blood. Just lots of explosions.



Fallujah haunts my dreams.

The Alley


The latest on the murder that occurred Tuesday night. Here are the relevant parts:

Police answered an 11:30 p.m. Tuesday call of shots fired near 19th Avenue and Macon Street, he said.

The victim was in a car when he was shot. He got out of his car and walked to an alley east of the 1700 block of Macon Street, Herrera said.

The victim was taken to University of Colorado Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Herrera said.

Witnesses told police that someone involved in the shooting was at a nearby home, he said.

The names of the suspect, as well as the victim, hasn't been released. I e-mailed the Post reporter, Kirk Mitchell, earlier in an effort to get more information, but he didn't have any more info to give me. In fact, he was hoping that I had some info and when he gets the suspects' names, he's going to run them by me to see if I know anything.

I also walked through the alley to see if I could determine where the man died, but I saw nothing unusual, no pools of blood, no wisps of crime scene tape blowing in the wind. It's almost as if nothing ever happened at all.

I do have my theories, though, and I will be watching this case closely. The "nearby home" where the suspects went afterwards may in fact be the house on the corner. There are always people out(mostly young males)hanging out and working on cars. I call them the Homies, but I don't know if they're affiliated with any kind of gang and they've never caused problems for me. They play their Tejano music too loud, but they don't complain when I return the favor with Pantera.

I don't remember seeing a white Corsica parked in the driveway, but keeping track of the cars in front of that house is almost impossible. When they don't have a dozen friends over, they have cars for sale with shoe polish on the windows.

I'm curious to know if the suspects, as well as the victim, came from that house.

Truth be told, I'm more fascinated than freaked out. As horrific as this is, this kind of thing doesn't happen every day. Uncle Jim isn't telling any lies though when he says this is the "hood." Many years ago, it was home to many WWII vets because of the proximity to the now decommissioned Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center, and then in the seventies and eighties, a significant black population moved in. A lot of these people remain, but much of the neighborhood has been abandoned to the emigre community, many of them illegals. (And yes, they're mostly Mexicans, but every flag in the world is represented here. My neighbor, a black man, is from the Dominican Republic.)

I like diversity, though, and I don't mind feeling like a foreigner in my own country when I go down to the lavanderia. It's given me some insights into life and politics and human nature which I probably wouldn't have gotten if I remained in a lily white suburb, comfortably protected by speed bumps and cul-de-sacs.

And, as pointed out before, I have a keen interest in local crimes, especially those that hit close to home.

Although some might say this might be too close to home.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

17th and Macon

This is a satellite picture of my house.

That building in the back is my shed, a massive barnlike structure with three separate entrances. The other building is what they called a "mother-in-law apartment" in the listing. It's not much of an apartment, just a building really. Right now, it's a glorified dog house.

If you squint, you can see my gazebo. It's a brown blob in the middle of the yard.

This is my block. I live on the corner of 17th and Macon.

Can you find my house?

What about now?

Bing. Third one down on the east side of the street.

Why is this important? Read this. If you have a broadband connection and a few minutes to spare, watch this.

Forget about the car chase. A man was murdered in my alley last night.

More later.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Uncle Jim's Lost Comments

About a week ago, Blogger took a shit and wiped out some comments. Well, my Uncle Jim took it personally. I assured him it wasn't intentional, but since he's been quiet for a while I thought I'd give Jimbo some justice here.

Not sure which post this lines up with, but I bet it had something to do with DUCK! Cheney:
Come on James. Only the wacked out freaks on the left and the news media(one in the same) really give a shit. So what, he shot his pal. He did not do it on purpose. It's not like he did an 8 ball and shot the guy "drive by style". And the last time I looked there is no "law" that states he must come out within X ammount of time and give us all the details. He was out hunting on his own time, not in a govt bldg, on taxpayer time. Now you just shut the fuck up about all of this or so help me I;ll get your ass sent over to Gtmo Cuba!!!!! With a copy of the koran stuck up your corn hole!!!!

You'd have to know my Uncle Jim to know this is as a declaration of familial love and support.

This one must be about Saddam:
It is a good thing the US Army got him. Because had it been a US Marine Corps unit, any Marine worth a damn would have put their M16A2 service rifle to Saddam's head and yelled "This one is for Chesty" as he unloaded a whole mag into his head. Then they would have popped a couple of WP grenades in the hole. I know you are not supposed to use them on enemy combatants, but he would be just a dead body that could have been booby trapped.

"This one is for Chesty" is the phrase every Marine has to say at least once during their lifetimes to get into heaven.

And Condi Rice's scary Heil Hitler picture? Jim thinks she was saying this:

NO SHE IS SAYING "NOW, HOLE UP WHITE BOY".

So there ya go, buddy. Your comments, restored to their rightful place.

Now what do you have to say about Bush's hard on for selling ours ports to the Arabs?

Semper Fi

Monday, February 27, 2006

Copywrong

Holy shit.  I actually agree with John Gibson on something.

And in other news, the new, new and improved, case of the century, the 21st Century, that is, the Da Vinci Code case.  You heard the man:

Nothing less than the future of Western literature is at stake in the High Court tomorrow.

I don’t know about all that, but seriously now.  The guys who wrote Holy Blood, Holy Grail, a couple latter day Von Danikens if you ask me, obviously want to cash in on the Da Vinci Code’s millions.  If they were true historians, there wouldn’t be any copyright issues, and to be truthful, there shouldn’t be anyway.

Dan Brown may have swiped their ideas, but did he swipe their text?  Um, no.

I’m of two minds when it comes to copyrights.  I recognize the necessity of them, and even encourage them as guy who wants to make his living writing books.  But copyrights have also gotten out of hand.

The purpose of a copyright is to grant a temporary monopoly to creators of art works in order to provide incentive to create more works.  In US law, I believe the original term was seven years.  So when Tom Paine wrote Common Sense, he had seven years to profit from it, then it would go out in the public domain.  That doesn’t mean that people could swipe it and claim it as their own.  Common Sense by James Pearce.  It just wouldn’t fly.

But it means that publishes would have the right to print it and distribute it without consulting Tom Paine or giving him a penny.

And this is where it gets perverted.  Now, copyright monopolies have been extended so much that they may never expire.  It’s no longer a seven year monopoly, it’s a lifetime monopoly, and then some.

The only problem is that the arts world has become more corporate, and corporations never die.  Do you honestly think there will ever be a time when Disney doesn’t have the exclusive rights to Mickey Mouse?  Imagine a world where every T-shirt, every watch, every phone, every piece of wrapping paper or bubble bath or sippy cup, that has a picture of Mickey Mouse won’t have to kick a little percentage (er, licensing fee, I mean) up to the Walt Disney Company.  It’ll never happen.

Mark my words, Mickey Mouse will never be public domain.  Never.

But is that how it should be?  Corporate interests hoarding “intellectual property” like nuts in the fall.  Perhaps it’s just the product of the digital age, where information can be currency, or perhaps it’s the last of the old age just clinging to their roosts.

Cutting Up

The bad thing about growing your hair out is that you have to contend with bad hair days.  It’s true.  Sometimes your hair just gets a life of its own and decides that, hey, today I’m gonna look like crap.

You know what I look like?  I look like I need a haircut.

My sideburns are liked untrimmed hedges on the side of my face.  I have a part Beatles mop top, part mullet thing going on.  The back is longer than the sides and the top is longer than everything else.  But it’s getting longer, and that’s all that matters.

I’m not going for Crystal Gayle down-to-my ass long, but you know, longer.

Why?  Because I want to.  And goddamit, this is America.

Speaking of America, I got a book this weekend at the thrift store.  I Rant, Therefore I Am by Dennis Miller.  (Hmm, maybe that’s why I’m so punchy today.)  I haven’t read it all yet, but it seems to be transcripts of monologues from his HBO show.  Each chapter or topic starts with his trademark, “I don’t want to go off on a rant here…”  And they all end the same way, too.  “Of course, that’s just my opinion.  I could be wrong.”

I have to admit I’ve used that line myself a time or two.  Me and Dennis go way back.  He’s a friend of ours.

This weekend I also watched a couple movies.  Four Brothers, John Singleton’s new revenge movie starring Mark “Marky Mark” Wahlberg, and then I watched Saw II, starring his brother Donnie “New Kid on the Block” Wahlberg.  A Wahlberg weekend!

Four Brothers was entertaining, if a little bleak.  There were some great lines and then a near-classic car chase (coulda been, shoulda been, but no), but all in all, it was pretty cheesy.  

But if you want cheesy, check out Saw II.  Donnie Wahlberg is, despite what you might think, a pretty good actor.  If you saw him in Band of Brothers, you’d know that right away.  He owned the part of Sgt. Lipton.  He even showed some chops in small but memorable parts in Sixth Sense and Dreamcatcher.  (Okay, so he was cheesy as Duddits in Dreamcatcher, but was that the performance or the part?)

And in this one, he was joined by Dina Meyer, reprising her role (which I had forgotten about, even though I have the hots for Dina Meyer) as Kerry the cop.  Donnie plays a cop too, but not a likeable one.  He’s a jerk to his kid, who suddenly becomes one of eight people trapped in a house by the evil Jigsaw killer.  The inimitable Franky G is one of them, and so is what’s her face, Shawnee Smith, the chick who had to cut the key out of the guy’s stomach in the first Saw.

Now if you don’t want me to ruin it for you, don’t read on.  Go watch it and come back.  You’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
First, a few words about what made the first Saw gruesomely chilling to me.  I have this thing about amputations.  Seriously.  They creep me out.  

An amputee could chase me around the room with their stump and I’d be screaming like a little girl.  Amputophobia.

Aron Ralston found himself Between A Rock and a Hard Place and he cut off his own hand.  If it had been me, my bones would still be up there but at least my skeleton would be complete.

The roots of this amputophobia started in early childhood.  I remember, there was this preacher that came to our church every now and then, this guy named Jack Franklin, who was part David Copperfield and part Oral Roberts.  He did magic tricks and he told bible stories.  He was also missing half of his pointer finger.  His mangled hand made a great hand puppet.  It was some weird dinosaur creature with three legs on one side and it talked in a funny voice.  The kids loved it.  I was one of them, maybe four or five years old at the time.

But one time Jack did a big magic show for the whole church.  He had all kinds of amazing tricks and spectacular props.  But the only one that I remember was a trick no kid should see.  Jack called a man out from the audience and took him up to the stage.  They went through some patter about sin and all that and then Jack the Magnificent had his volunteer stick his hand in this contraption, this cigar-cutter with a sharp-ass-blade contraption.

I don’t remember the blade falling.  But I do remember the volunteer’s dismembered hand flopping to the floor.  Someone came out and scooped it up and the guy started screaming bloody murder, holding up his stump, now covered with a bloody rag.  There were some words invoking the Lord and then Jack took the rag away.  The man was healed.

It was a cheap magic trick used to teach some religious message, but it was extremely disturbing to a young boy of four of five named Jamey.  It would be an understatement to say it left an impression on me.

Somewhere in the same time frame, we took a family trip to New Mexico and ate in a Village Inn style diner.  Our waiter only had one arm and balanced the tray on his stump.  That gave me bad dreams which I can remember vividly to this day.

Movies didn’t help.  The first was Empire Strikes Back when Luke got his hand cut off.  Then there was this movie about a guy who lost his leg and became a marathon running despite it all, an after school special kind of thing that I saw on TV.  In later years, graphic scenes of arms being blown away in Robocop and Predator just contributed to my fear.

So when the first Saw movie came out, it filled me with the kind of dread little kids get when the Chucky movie comes on.  Chained to a wall, where you have to cut off your own foot???

I watched it anyway, and it wasn’t so bad.  They saved the foot thing until the end and even then, implied more than they showed.

But the amputation thing is what got to me about it.  That, more than anything else, freaked me out!

Saw II, being a sequel, had to take it a step further, and so it relied on a different device.  Instead of two people locked in a room chained to a wall, it’s now eight people locked in a house filled with a slow-acting neurotoxin.  There are antidotes planted around the house, but there are also traps.  To survive, all you have to do is follow the rules.

Of course, the bad guy in all of this is the Jigsaw killer, a terminal cancer patient with a grudge against people who don’t appreciate their lives.  He’s apparently very smart, an engineering genius, but he’s also psychopathic.  He doesn’t so much kill his victims as concoct clever (not to mention gruesome) situations where they kill themselves.  Sounds great on paper, right?

Too bad it didn’t work out so hot in the movie.  Part of the appeal of the first one was figuring out why Jigsaw was killing people, and his motivations weren’t revealed until the very end.  By then, you were so relieved by the explanation that you didn’t care if it was plausible.

In Saw II, you don’t have that benefit.  We know from the opening credits why Jigsaw kills people and so the only real pleasure is seeing how he does it, and since this is the sequel, he’s got eight victims instead of two.  

But you never get anymore insight into the Jigsaw killer.  At one point, Shawnee Smith, who already survived the Jigsaw once, says “He wants us to survive,” so maybe that’s the writer’s lame excuse for motivation.  The Jigsaw is diabolical, but he’s also empathetic.  
He doesn’t want to kill you.  Oh no, that’s not why he put you in that room with that poison gas and all those deadly contraptions.  Not at all.  He wants you to live.

And of course, those deadly contraptions are pretty gruesome.  There’s the gun in the peephole thing, which blows this guy’s head hollow.  Then there’s the furnace burned-alive thing.  But the most gruesome, at least on an intellectual level, is where Shawnee Smith is forced to grovel through a pit full of dirty syringes.  No one likes needles.  And no one likes dirty don’t-know-where-they-been needles either.

The last one, which could have been more gruesome had the filmmakers not chickened out and got all music video on it, was a blade box.  Inside was a syringe of the antidote but if you reached inside, your hand would get trapped and you’d either lose your hands or bleed out hanging there.  Pretty gruesome stuff, but sadly, it just didn’t work.

The plot didn’t work, the characters didn’t work, the deadly contraptions, which is really the appeal of the Saw franchise, didn’t really work, and all in all it was a pretty crappy movie.  I’m sure they didn’t mean to make a crappy movie, but that’s what they did.

If you want to see a good movie about a diabolical killer, you could always watch Seven again.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Flash Fiction Friday - Sunday Edition

I love these Flash Fiction Friday things JJ has going. They're a great way to flex your writing muscles, which is, after all, the sole purpose of my blog. For me, this week's entry was a challenge though. I intentionally didn't read anyone else's entries so that I could start mine fresh, but to be honest, this time I was a little stumped by the lead line. It didn't start shooting off creative sparks like weeks past, and after a few false starts, I almost opted out this week.

But then something curous happened. I wrote this:

     "Remember?"
     "How could I forget?"
     "I recall it specifically because the way you looked at me. You had this look in your eye, scared and determined all at once. Lord, were you nervous! Your hands were shaking and sweat was pouring out of your forehead. Remember?"
     "Of course, dear. You were a very scary woman. She used to have this look on her face all the time, this don't-try-me-boy look, very stern, very intimidating."
     "Tell the truth, Harold. That's why you liked me."
     "There was something attractive about it, but if you wanted me to tell the truth, it was really those low cut blouses you used to wear."
     "Oh yeah, the cleavage."
     "That cleavage was enough to make me overlook your fiery demeanor."
     "Fiery demeanor?"
     "I was being nice."
     "What are you trying to say? That I was a bitch?"
     "Sometimes...I mean, no, not really. You could be charming."
     "Like that time I mended your jacket after you cut it on the fence?"
     "That was impressive. I was sure it was ruined, but you fixed it up like new. That jacket lasted me a few more years before I finally gave it to the Goodwill."
     "Do you remember our first date?"
     Laughter. "Absolutely. It was perfect until you got arrested and I had to bail you out of jail."
     "That cop should have never pulled us over."
     "We were parked."
     "He should have never knocked on the window, then."
     "The windows were frosted and the car was shaking."
     "The cops knew what we were doing. They should have left us alone"
     "And you knew better than to get lippy."
     "If some cop was trying to get a free peep show out of you, you'd get lippy too."
     "Was it worth it, going to jail?"
     "Of course! When you bailed me out that night, I knew I was going to love you forever."
     "I wasn't so sure."
     "What convinced you?"
     "It was before I proposed. We were still dating. You lived with your sister, remember? And she didn't like me all that much at the time, so I couldn't come by the house. I had to stop by your supermarket job to make plans and then we had to meet in secret at the coffee shop two blocks from your sister's."
     "The James Bond days."
     "Right, very clandestine. That went on for months and it seemed almost like we could have continued it forever, but then your sister caught us at the movie theater and she let us have, right there in front of the ticket taker, the usher, and God himself. Remember that?"
     "Oh yeah, it was quite a scene. To this day, I can't smell popcorn without thinking about it."
     "It was very ugly. I thought you were going to get arrested again, the way you were yelling back at her. Do you remember what you said?"
     "Not exactly, but it was something along the lines of 'I love him whether you approve or not.'"
     "Yep."
     "And something like 'I'm going to live my life how I want."
     "Right."
     "And I told her I was moving out."
     "That's it. You told her that you loved me, and you were going to love me no matter what she thought, and not only that, but you made good on your word. You moved into my apartment the very next day."
     "That was the first home we shared."
     "And that was the first time I knew that your feelings were genuine. That you didn't want me because I drove a nice car or wore nice clothes or had a decent job. That's when I knew you really loved me, the way you stood up to your sister."
     "My controlling evil sister."
     "Who quickly realized that she might as well get used to me because I wasn't going anywhere."
     "And neither was I."

Just some dialogue between an elderly couple, reminiscing to a third party about the early days. Obviously, this will never pass for literature, but I am pleasantly surprised by my efforts. This was almost literally created ex nihilo. (Alright, so the lead line was already provided....but it didn't help me at all!)

The Mean-Spirited News

Cancer isn't supposed to be contagious, but singer Sheryl Crow isn't so sure anymore. When asked by reporters about the conditions that led to her break-up with Tour-de-France golden boy Lance Armstrong, Crow replied, "He gave me cancer." Doctors say this is the first case of sexually transmitted cancer they have ever seen. One doctor familiar with the case said, "Years of doping have rendered Lance Armstrong's sperm so radioactive that the disease can be transmitted solely through epidermal contact. Armstrong's future sex partners would be well advised to follow safe sex procedures, if not complete abstinence, then at least the use of lead condoms." As a word of warning, Crow added, "Ladies, I know he's cute, but whatever you do, don't let him pull out and cum on your tits."

In related news, actor Don Knotts has died. A family spokesman confirmed that Knotts died without ever knowing that long-time neighbor Jack Tripper was only pretending to be gay. Family and friends attribute Knotts's latter-year semi-retirement to a bitter falling out with former friend, Andy Griffith, who refused to make Barney Fife a recurring character on Matlock. Griffith was not expected to attend the funeral.

Coming to you from the Fox network, home of groundbreaking reality television programs like COPS and Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire, a new concept in reality television, When Convenience Store Clerks Attack. Hosted by Fox favorite, John Bunnell, the new show combines the excitement of World's Wildest Police Videos with the sheer unpredictability of When Animals Attack. When asked about the concept's wide appeal, Bunnell said, "Everyone loves to see regular everyday people kicking the shit out of stupid criminals."

In music news, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is mystified that the Sex Pistols, among this year's inductees, called the organization a "piss stain." When asked about the controversy, Hall president I. M. Amohron said, "Johnny Rotten has always been so well-behaved, and frankly we're shocked by the crude language and overall attitude in Rotten's statement." In related news, Yo-Yo Ma trashed another hotel room after a sold out performance with the San Franscisco Symphony.

And now sports...

Olympic champion, Bode Miller, returned home from Torino today after winning a record setting number of gold medals in the 06 Winter Olympics. He was later awoken by a flight attendant and realized it was all a dream. He didn't win shit! When asked to comment on his lackluster performance, Miller said, "I thought everyone got a medal." Sorry, Bode, wrong Olympics.