Tommy Red

Tommy Red
The Progressive Killer

Our motto ...

Leave the (political) party. Take the cannoli.

"It always seems impossible until it's done." Nelson Mandela

Right now 6 Stella crime novels are available on Kindle for just $.99 ... Eddie's World has been reprinted and is also available from Stark House Press (Gat Books).

Friday, July 26, 2013

SYG Round 2: Jordan Davis ... Heaven Help Us ... Momma Stella ... More Stuff ... And Next Week ...

Amici:

A break from the SNHU MFA Graduates this week (still waiting on some info) ... so it’s back to our regularly scheduled program.

 
Just when you and I and everybody else thought Stand Your Ground was an insane law that would victimize African-American kids until it is abolished, turns out we’re Goddamn right. A kid named Jordan Davis was another kid killed for no good reason under the sun (also in Florida), except this time the situation is even more absurd than the Trayvon Martin case ... (compliments of Rolling Stone) ... yes, that magazine ...

Jordan Davis was in the back seat of an SUV the shooter thought was playing “thug” music too loud ... neither Davis nor the shooter left their cars ... an argument ensued and the shooter claims he saw the kids in the car picking something up (like a shotgun) ... so he did what any self-respecting paranoid lunatic in Florida does when there’s an SUV with African-American kids playing “thug” music ... the shooter fired into the car several times (8-10 x's) ... even after it took off ... and Jordan Davis was killed. Of course the shooter is claiming he was standing his ground ... whether he goes through the actual Stand Your Ground hearing or not, just like the Zimmerman trial, Stand Your Ground will be part of the jury charge (i.e., it is what the jury will have to accept as the law of the state of Florida in the case at hand) ... bypassing the SYG hearing does NOT preclude the jury from dealing with SYG.

I’m not sure what it’ll take for this law to be condemned, but if I’m an African-American living in Florida and my boys are in their teens, we’re going to the shooting range and getting our licenses, guns and ammo, end of story.


 

Heaven Help Us ... a hilarious 1985 movie about growing up in a Bay Ridge all boys catholic school. Kevin Dillon is wonderful in this movie that my wife INSISTED I watch ... and sorella, was she right. Good memories from some strange times ... and although the catholic school I attended was nothing as severe as the one in the movie, both Nuns and Priests weren’t shy about taking a swipe or two at us. I chronicled one such instance in my fictional memoir, a scene that to this day makes me shiver ... when a classmate was clocked (and I mean clocked) by the giant priest in our parish ... he did a complete 360 before landing on one knee and to this day I have no doubt my friend suffered a minor concussion ... and why do I think that? Because I’m positive the giant priest thought so as well, which was the reason he didn’t clock me (I was next in line) ...




 

Detroit vs. Wall Street ... so what happens when union workers live in a city that goes bankrupt? They lose their pensions. What happened when Wall Street went bankrupt? They received a bailout and record bonuses. Way to go, Mr. President. It’s good to know you’re still looking out for us ... but the balls on you to FINALLY acknowledge the destruction of a middle class, as if your carte blanche policy to Wall Street wasn’t the most significant factor in its demise, makes me wonder how your balls would compare to Anthony Weiner’s ...
 
 
I’m just sayin’ ... about now, Mr. President, you’re the biggest bust since “the Boz” ...


 

Dennis Farina … died this past week at the age of 69 … bummer. Nobody used the F-bomb like Mr. Farina … although my wife insists I’m pretty good at it myself ...




 

The Bulger Trial … I’ll say this much for Whitey Bulger’s trial, it’s friggin’ colorful … federal witnesses (former partners of Bulger) have no problem exchanging Dennis Farina-like F-bombs with the defendant … apparently Bulger takes offense at being labeled an FBI snitch and a pedophile … but what about being called a murderer, yous ask? No problem, Whitey had the FBI’s blessing …

What a country!


 

Mayor Weiner ... hey, I don’t know about yous, but I’m dying to see the size of the balls on this guy ... like, maybe they reach his shoes? He was still sending pictures of his pecker a year after he got caught? Those balls have to be HUGE ... same goes for the balls on the morons who still want to vote for him ... seriously, people, WTF?


Momma Stella on Weiners?

Me: Ma, what would you think if I put pictures of my pecker on the Internet?
MS: What!
Me: What would you think if I put picture of my ... (points to crotch) you know, on the Internet?
MS: You’re a sick bastid, you know that?
Me: This guy running for mayor now, Anthony Weiner, he did it even after he was caught.
MS: He’s another moron.
Me: Seriously, what would you think?
MS: Get the hell out of here.
Me: It’s sick, right?
MS: You’re sick.
Me: Ma, I’m not gonna do it. I’m just asking what you’d think.
MS: I think you need your head examined.
Me: Okay, I won’t do it.
MS: (shakes her head, then laughs)
Me: What?
MS: (still laughing) It’s not big enough.
Me: (long pause while MS laughs) Nice, Ma.
MS: That’s what you get for being a stupid ass. Now go shit in your hat.

I love my Mommy!


 

Baseball Roidationals ... hey, I make up words as I go ... Ryan Braun lied ... Alex Rodriguez is a Bobby Bonds wannabe ... Bartolo Colon ... some Cruz guy ... a bunch of other guys ... here’s how Knucks sees it: Either you (MLB) are going to acknowledge how you looked the other way and continue to look the other way (and permit drugs of all kinds, which will not make a dent in how I view a game I once loved and now can’t stand {but that has more to do with your fugazy rule changes, scheduling, and moving the fences in}) ... or you’re gonna ban the cheaters and live with the fact you need to erase a ton of records from the books and/or publish them separately (no asterisks) ... if it’s the latter, a 2 time abuser should be kicked out of the game (you had the nerve to do that to Pete Rose?) ... make believe it’s stickball (2 strikes and you’re out) ... but, please, enough with the melodrama.

And yes, if MLB is going to proceed with restricting PEDs, of course Ryan Braun should be stripped of his 2011 MVP ... duh.


 

NFL Football camps open this week … even my beloved New York State Buffalo Bills are undefeated at this stage of the season … and will remain so until our usual 0-4 pre season debacle, followed by our regular season debacle … oy vey …


 

Knucks' AFC Eastern Division Prognositcationals … The Cheatriots (those who aren’t in jail) stand to regain the title of the weakest division in football once again, but this time it won’t take 12 wins with a fugazy schedule … this time the Choketriots will win the division with an embarrassing 9-7 record, but fear not Belicheat haters, they’ll fall like an anvil in the first round. Following on their heels will be the Dolphinations of Miami with a respectful 8-8 (or maybe a tie 9-7) … then come my beloved New York State Buffalo Bills at 7-9 … and the Y-E-T-S, Yets, Yets, Yets with a 5-11 (so long Rex) record.

More on the NFL locks of the year in the weeks to come.

God, I can’t wait for hockey ...


 

And Next Week ... Hopefully another SNHU MFA graduate, two book reviews: one on Corruption by a former high school teammate who has gone on to lead an exemplary life--very much the opposite of myself (at least until I met the Principessa Ann Marie) ... Vincent E. Green’s extensive career has taken him to various countries, including the Republics of Tanzania, Liberia and Haiti. He has had the opportunity to partner with more than 75 countries and organizations around the world to create and share the best practices on how to overcome corruption in their respective communities.

 


 
 
The other book will be Of Human Bondage, by W. Somerset Maugham ... a wonderful read, amici. I hear there are 3 movie versions, but they’ll have to wait until I’m finished reading the novel ...


—Knucks

Yes, more Opera! How about Samuel Rammey from Arrigo Boito’s Mefistofele ...



Dame Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne singing the Flower Duet from Léo Delibes Lakme ...


Thursday, July 18, 2013

SNHU MFA Graduate: Joelyn Drennan ... Stand Your Ground ... Melissa Alexander ... David Simon on the Zimmerman verdict ... Charlie’s World: Temar Boggs ... Go Jills! ...

Amici:

 

SNHU MFA Graduate, Joelyn Drennan ... is an observer, a wonderer, and a dramatic conspirator, whose intense appreciation of literature is the driving force behind her writing aspirations. Her thesis, Canterbury: A Collection Of Stories, is a wonderful look at life on the rougher side of a trailer park (Canterbury Estates) ... these stories present some engrossing reading, amici ... Camille sells us Canterbury Estates during a phone call in the introductory story, The Sales Pitch … the caller never get a word in edgewise, but the one-way phone call works well. Love Is Blind deals with a married couple on the skids. The wife is a spoiled brat, but beautiful enough to keep the hard working husband an unsuspecting cuckold … it’s the two girls (their kids) who have been desensitized to their parents’ (especially their mother’s) fits. The ending to this story provides a very satisfying touch. There’s a story about a lucky fart (The Butterfly Effect), and another about a watered down version of marital bliss (Love, Lies and Chubby Chasers) … Ovi is performing in a cabaret in American Glitter with the intention of saving enough to bring his Mother over from Romania ... he gets help from a professional scam artist living in the same trailer park, a guy who has figured a way to beat the American system ... Whores Sleep Naked is a sexual coming of age story about a girl from an overly religious family (especially Dad) and what it finally takes to free oneself from the rigidness of a Bible thumper ...

Each of the thirteen stories is rife with humor, tragedy, and eccentricity. Joelyn is a die-hard Yankee living in Memphis, Tennessee, where she teaches writing at Southwest Tennessee Community College.

And a hat tip to Joelyn’s parents, former residents of God’s country (Brooklyn, NY) ... in fact from the very same neighborhood as my wife, Bay Ridge ...

Congrats to Joelyn ... she’s got the goods and is well on her way!


 


David Simon on the Zimmerman verdict ... creator of several now iconic cable series (The Corner, The Wire, Generation Kill and Treme (among many others) had this to say in a blog post titled “Trayvon.” Simon states:

“You can stand your ground if you’re white, and you can use a gun to do it. But if you stand your ground with your fists and you’re black, you’re dead,” Simon notes. “In the state of Florida, the season on African-Americans now runs year round. Come one, come all. And bring a handgun.” He continues:

“If I were a person of color in Florida, I would pick up a brick and start walking toward that courthouse in Sanford. Those that do not, those that hold the pain and betrayal inside and somehow manage to resist violence — these citizens are testament to a stoic tolerance that is more than the rest of us deserve. I confess, their patience and patriotism is well beyond my own … Tonight, anyone who truly understands what justice is and what it requires of a society is ashamed to call himself an American.“

Those who demand peaceful demonstrations need remember how this country was founded (riots that turned into revolution ... and eventually civil war) ... my take on the verdict can be found in Wednesday's post here at TK. If these wild west laws aren’t abolished soon, riots, as justifiable as the revolution and the civil war, are inevitable.
 
The fact, thus far, is this: You stand a much better chance of getting off for killing a black man under Stand Your Ground, than you do if you kill a white one. As a former coach of mine, Stew Yaker, a great guy, used to say, "It's as simple as that."
 
Read the statistics and be forewarned ... "The odds that a white-on-black homicide is ruled to have been justified is more than 11 times the odds a black-on-white shooting is ruled justified," Roman concluded. "No dataset will ever be sufficient to prove that race alone explains these disparities. But there are disparities in whether homicides are ruled to be self-defense, and race is clearly an important part of the story."
 
Or you can take from these Malcolm X quotes what you will ...

"We declare our right on this earth...to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary."—Malcolm X

"Concerning nonviolence: It is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself, when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks. It is legal and lawful to own a shotgun or a rifle. We believe in obeying the law."—Malcolm X

"It doesn't mean that I advocate violence, but at the same time, I am not against using violence in self-defense. I don't call it violence when it's self-defense, I call it intelligence."—Malcolm X

What I fear the most from these absurd laws is this: The law states it's what was in George Zimmerman's mind at the time he chose to shoot. Maybe he did fear for his life ... if we have to swallow that as "proof" of his being not guilty (the shooter's explanation), what a Pandora's box of future justifiable homicides that defense opens.

Apparently that’s already happening ... especially against minorities.
 
 
SUFA spark of the week (regarding the Zimmerman verdict) … if this doesn’t sound like the guy stating it is missing a few teeth, I don’t know what does. "This is how low the lefties and the media will stoop to try and prove their constant lies. I had CNN on by accident for 5 minutes last night and couldn’t stomach their BS. Totally sickening to see that they are the real racists, yet nothing is done to them when their claims are proven a lie."

Oy, friggin, vey ...
 
 
And for some good news ...


 

From HuffPo ... Minutes after Temar Boggs heard that 5-year-old Jocelyn Rojas had gone missing, he noticed a suspicious car careening in and out of the side streets of his neighborhood.

The 15-year-old was hanging out with his friends at an apartment in Lancaster, Penn. on Thursday afternoon when he heard the news. So he and another friend, Chris Garcia, took to their bikes to join the search for Rojas, according to Lancaster Online.

He told reporters that one car in particular caught his eye. It turned around at the top of a hill near Garcia's apartment, where several police officers were gathered. It began turning in and out of side streets in the neighborhood, which is known for its cul-de-sacs and dead ends.

Boggs gave chase on his bicycle. He got close enough to the vehicle to see a little girl inside. He made eye contact with the driver, an older white male, who apparently got spooked enough to let Rojas get out of the car.

"She runs to my arms and said, 'I need to see my mommy,'" Boggs said. Read about it here:


 

Let’s face it, my beloved New York State Buffalo Bills will probably under-under achieve yet again ... we’re hopeful for 6 wins this year ... we’ll be more than happy with 7 ... disappointed with anything less than 6 and absolutely ecstatic with 8. Still, we know the Jills won’t disappoint, no way. So how ‘bout those Buffalo Jills!

 

Let’s hope these guys can perform half as well as those gals above ...
 

—Knucks

Yeah, baby ... another blues tune we’re playing of late (you have to ignore the promo) ...



Missing opera? Me too ... how about an overture? From Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman) ...


Monday, July 15, 2013

The Zimmerman Verdict ...

Amici:
 
 
 
Not Guilty ... the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial is reverberating around the country. Those who felt Zimmerman was guilty of “something” found no satisfaction in the judicial system, while those who championed Zimmerman’s right to self defense proclaimed victory. The rhetoric from both sides remains as vitriolic as it was leading up to the case. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? What happens next?

From the left were cries of civil rights violations. I’m as left as it gets, yet I don’t see George Zimmerman as a racist. I see him as a wannabe cop who found himself in a situation he couldn’t handle, whatever happened regarding a fight. Everything leading up to that confrontation was Zimmerman’s fault. Not illegal, but wrong. To my mind, the situation he put himself in was NOT a justifiable reason to use his licensed and registered gun to kill someone. To my mind, this was manslaughter.
 
That said, it wasn't my mind that counted. The law states it's what was in George Zimmerman's mind at the time he chose to shoot. Maybe he did fear for his life ... if we have to swallow that as "proof" of his being not guilty (the shooter's explanation), what a Pandora's box of future justifiable homicides that defense opens.

From the right were cries of victory, some so reprehensible, they beg the confrontation and riots they perhaps were hoping for. From SUFA (that conservative blog I recently left because they changed the text of my posts), upon the verdict, came these pearls from the lunatic running things there now: “NOT GUILTY! JUSTICE IS SERVED” ... followed by (the same moron typing): So will the barbarians riot?

Only on blogs, behind fugazy screen names, speaking from keyboards within the safety of their homes, can imbeciles like that act with such false bravado. I’m sure that same apparent champion of racism was fine with the Rodney King verdict, where there was a video showing a dozen cops watching two cops pound a black man (visually a lot harder than George Zimmerman claims he was being pounded, even though the lack of bruises on Trayvon Martin’s hands, as well as the lack of bruises on Zimmerman’s face, suggest nothing near a “pounding”).

So it goes.

My son Dustin and his girlfriend Madalynn spent Saturday night with us at casa Stella, and we were all glued to the television when the verdict was announced. I couldn’t help but feel sympathy for what Zimmerman and his family had to be going through waiting for the verdict, forgetting for a few minutes what Trayvon Martin's parents have had to go through since their son was killed. Yes, it was a tragedy for everyone involved, but as I’ve often stated, you don’t get to shoot someone because you “might” have been losing a fight. The "fight" itself was settled when Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin. No matter what happened during the fight (and it never appeared to be life threatening to me), Zimmerman and his weapon ultimately won the fight.

A gun versus Skittles and an Iced Tea is not a fair fight.

The fact it was all avoidable had Zimmerman done any number of things he was supposed to do (wait for the police he’d already called, identify himself, leave his gun in its holster, etc.) makes his not guilty verdict all the more difficult to swallow.

The letter of the law let him off the hook ... but that required ignoring so much of what preceded the actual shooting, as well as his inconsistent statements and out-and-out lies about what happened, I find it very difficult to accept the verdict as justice. Juries have been known to get it wrong in the past ... and yes, the O.J. Simpson verdict immediately comes to mind.
 
Pundits condemned the prosecution for pleading their case to the emotions of the jury, something Ayn Randers upchuck over (pleading to emotion). The problem those same pundits fail (or refuse) to acknowledge is this: The only words anyone had to go on were those of the shooter, the only one left to tell HIS side of the story (no matter how many different ways he told it). That assumes HIS version was absolute and correct. The prosecution was correct in pointing out how it was assumptions on the shooter’s part that brought the case to trial in the first place.

The Zimmerman precedent now permits people of any color to shoot one another when they’re losing a fight. I’m not a Mike Bloomberg fan, but his statement about the verdict was spot on: “One fact has long been crystal clear: ‘Shoot first’ laws, like those in Florida, can inspire dangerous vigilantism and protect those who act recklessly with guns. Such laws, drafted by gun-lobby extremists in Washington, encourage deadly confrontations by enabling people to shoot first and argue ‘justifiable homicide’ later. The tragic death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed child attempting to walk home from the store, will continue to drive our efforts to change those laws.”

Having recently read Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys and the Dawn of a New America, a masterful non-fiction account of how four blacks were erroneously accused of raping a white woman ... where three of them were murdered by the authorities and the fourth survived being shot by the racist cop masterminding their persecution, it appears the dawn of a new America remains on hold.

The uglier aspect to all this is how people will react. Everyone prefers peaceful resolutions to the injustices anyone experiences, but in an America where 1% of the population calls the shots, does anyone really think writing their legislators will change things? Will voting for the two parties that have left us where we are now really change things? Have they?


I waited a couple of days to digest this verdict; to read what others had to say after discussing it with my younger son, his girlfriend, and my wife. We all feel the same way, essentially what prosecutor John Guy asked the jury at one point in his rebuttal closing regarding what George Zimmerman did by following Trayvon Martin and eventually killing him. “What is that? Is that nothing?”

My son Dustin answered it best. “But he killed someone.”

— Charlie

Friday, July 12, 2013

SNHU MFA Graduate: Shane Remer ... 2 Big Guys ... 2 Movie Reviews ... Hernandez/Zimmerman ... The Democratic Senate ... So Long SUFA ...

Amici:

 

Shane received a B.A. in Communication in 2011, and an MFA in fiction from SNHU in June 2013. He currently works as a paraprofessional at Charlestown Middle School in Charlestown, NH. This will be Shane’s 5th year as coach of the Charlestown Middle School boys' soccer team. He co-authors a blog with Jon Stern and Darren Rome Leo called Three Guys and a Keyboard (click on the link). Shane is a devout Seattle Mariners and Seahawks fan ... for which most people in the MFA program forgive him.

His thesis, A Grave for the Living, finds two homeless men meeting a boy running away to save his mom’s life. The two men, Goose and Beans, must decide whether or not they should help the boy, Ten-Speed. Turning the kid in could mean abuse for his mother and him at home, and leaving him alone could mean leaving him to wander the drug-stricken streets of Bridgeport, CT. Even with that, Goose’s background hints at pedophilia, and Beans has schizophrenia and suffers from auditory hallucinations.

 
From his thesis, A Grave for the Living:

The kid with the camera jammed a foot into Goose’s gut and Goose coughed, blood spattered on his shirt and the room spun. The teen jumped on Ten-Speed and raised his fists above his head, struck Ten-Speed in a quick powerful blow. The teen raised them again. Ten-Speed threw the blankets off his face, blood on his nose, tears in his eyes, fast breaths void of air. The teen struck again – one fist against Ten-Speed’s nose, and the other against his collar bone.

Ten-Speed whimpered and his head rolled to the side, his arm fell limp on the outside of the mattress. The teen had his fists up near his head, loose, his mouth agape. Beans rocked himself against the wall. All of them in the room breathed in rapid breaths, thick clouds forming and disappearing in the silence. The teen’s fists loosened and trembled. He pressed them against the side of his head.

“Oh no,” he said. He shook his head. “Shit. It’s a kid. I just hit a kid. I think he’s dead.”

TK again: Shane is one of the funniest people I’ve met ... and is also a relentless ballbreaker (for which I give him props) ... most important, he’s one hell of a writer ... Big Ups to Shane!


 

Speaking of BIG ... last Sunday was a Big Guy Reunion ... Okay, so I have to amend my Facebook post about this reunion ... italicized words are the amended text ...

Howard Cosell voice: These two icons of perfect health once stalked the frozen tundra of Minot, North Dakota ... played in football games where the temperature was south of 0° Fahrenheit ... they terrorized backfields and quarterbacks alike (usually with threats about giving them flat tires after the games) ... and when they weren't playing football (or skipping class, or robbing the candy and soda machines in the dorms), they worked at I-Keating furniture store where they unloaded boxcars of furniture in blizzards (when they weren’t taking naps in the rug room) ... all for the American heartland ... oh, what would those farmers have done without their lazee-boys? Today they met up again for the first time in many years. Big Jim LaCugna, artist extraordinaire, and Charlie Stella, basically just obese and overweight (Charlie is) ... 800 pounds of beef between them ... neither can walk up or down a flight of stairs (using both feet, they go one at a time) two-at-a-time or tie their shoes without help. Is this what the game they loved so much did to them? Or was it the food neither could turn away with a gun to their heads?

It was great seeing Jim again ... and that picture he painted (the scene from Goodfellas) is one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. This guy has true talent as an artist but is too damn shy to admit it and/or sell his stuff. Mine is NOT FOR SALE.




Okay, so the wife and I finally watched DJango on cable ... oy vey, what a bomb. I still don’t get the hype on Tarrantino. He’s done three brilliant films in the past: Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction and True Romance (my son and daughter-in-law had to remind me about True Romance) ... but Inglorious Bastards was a huge disappointment for me ... and Jackie Brown was “meh” ... the rest this viewer saw (not many), were garbage ... the blood spurting crap he insists on forcing down viewers throats and the absurd situations (one person taking on dozens) are too cartoonish (whether meant to be or not) ... the parody is neither interesting nor funny to this viewer. I know he has a following, but so does Marvel Comics ... and I’ll never understand how those cartoons not only make it to the screen, they keep coming back, over and over, in sequels and prequels ... like a really bad virus. Can he ever return to the stuff I can watch over and over (those three mentioned above)? I sure hope so.

Django Unchained, with its never ending slow motion shots and absurd one man versus the world of bad guys, eventually angered the wife and I to the point of swearing off all future Tarrantino movies once again ... and once Christoph Waltz and his clever dialogue (absurd as those situations he used them in were) was off the screen, it became a “when does this shit movie end?” question for us.

The wife also forced me to see The Heat (at the theatre) this weekend ... one of those guilty pleasure movies (for her) that put me to sleep twice in the theatre (to be fair, I was up very early writing that day), but I was awake for the funniest scene in the movie (also completely absurd) that took place in a bar. After that it was the standard absurd shoot’em up comedy that leaves one wondering how Hollywood survives vs. foreign movies ... I suspect the universal likeability of both actresses, Sandra Bullock and Mellissa McCarthy, are a guaranteed box office hit ... and even though I also like both actresses, at the exorbitant prices of theatre tickets today, I’d rather wait for them to come on television/cable ... so I can nap at home.
 


 
And in Charlie World ... Hernandez/Zimmerman

 

Aaron Hernandez texting one of his co-horts:

Lloyd did not respond. Hernandez texted again: "Waddup."

Lloyd responded: "Aite (meaning alright) where?" Hernandez responded: "idk (I don't know) it don't matter but imam hit you when I'm dat way like las time if my phone dies imam hit u when I charge it which will be in a lil."

At 10 p.m., Lloyd texted to Hernandez: "Aite idk anything goin on."

Hernandez replied: "I'll figure it out ill hit u on the way."

In Charlie world, Hernandez goes away for a) being a moron and b) texting ...

 

Zimmerman – the Defense … at first I figured this was going to be the “some of my best friends claims it’s me screaming” … but then I remembered that I not only misnamed Mark O’Mara’s last week (calling him Tim), I think I found a third name in one of my TK drafts. The point being, he’s a lot smarter’n me.

Then came the hired guns … so far (Tuesday) it’s the pathologist (who also testified for Scott Peterson, which means he’d probably testify for Hitler for the fazools and the publicity) … he says that the evidence supports pretty much everything Zimmerman claims … and let me just say that for $400 an hour, I’m sure he’d find whatever you want him to find … like wherever the fuck I lost my nail clipper.

So far the defense has put up GZ’s best friends … and a hired gun ... and yesterday the prosecution began its close (there's also a rebuttal to the defense's close to come) ... the pundits called it garbage ... I thought the guy did what he had to do ... prove Zimmerman embellished his version of the "attack" and everything else before it ... who wouldn't after killing someone? Establish he's a liar and maybe the jury doesn't believe his story (which is all anyone has because he killed the other guy).

The hearings in court without the jury had to be testing the jury's patience (they certainly tested mine) … and I have to wonder how many (if any) of the jurors have thought about selling their experience … how many may already have … and how many can’t wait for this trial to end so they can just go home and resume their lives.

We constantly tout “our system” as the best in the world. Maybe it is, I have no idea, but I can’t help but see the hypocrisy in all this. Hired guns … celebrity lawyers (or the chance to become one) … a privately funded defense fund from personal contributions as well as those with genuine interests in gun legislation … national television coverage … a cable television nightly bombardment, etc. … for one case that originally ignored by everyone until someone posted about it on Youtube … then a manslaughter charge (what it should've been to start with, trumped up to 2nd Degree Murder, to appease Al Sharpton and his crew of shit stirring seekers) ... one can only imagine the lack of legal support the average indigent SOB gets when they have to stand before a court of law … you got the money, you got the verdict ... it’s pretty much an American theme ...

Apparently we’ll know soon enough whether the jury is going to take Zimmerman’s words as gospel (even after being caught in out and out lies) and let him walk, or if they can look beyond the mountains of extraneous bullshit presented via hundreds of thousands of donated dollars, and do the right thing ... which in Charlie world is to convict Zimmerman of the least manslaughter charge possible (because I don’t believe he was looking to kill anyone that night--the 2nd degree charge was nothing but political appeasement). The problem is he did kill a kid that night and for no good reason on earth (no, I don’t believe his life was in danger for one second; his panic should not lead to an unarmed kid’s death). You don’t get to profile a kid, give chase against official advice, stick your nose where it clearly didn’t belong, and then shoot a kid to death for walking home from the store armed with nothing more than a cell phone, Skittles and an Arizona Iced Tea. I simply cannot get beyond what an acquittal means in this case: open season on ANYONE, but especially minorities wearing hoodies ... and for doing nothing more than walking home.


 

From USA today: Senate Democrats on Wednesday failed to restore lower interest rates on student loans, again coming up short and perhaps signaling that undergraduates might really face rates twice as high as the ones they enjoyed last year.

The proposal from Democratic leaders would have left interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans at 3.4 percent for another year while lawmakers took up a comprehensive overhaul. The one-year stopgap measure failed to overcome a procedural hurdle as Republicans — and a few Democrats — urged colleagues to consider a plan now that would link interest rates to the financial markets and reduce Congress' role in setting students' borrowing rates.

Nice ... the party of the people ... way to go ... a few scumbags (there’s always an excuse like this for the Democratic party that just fucked (there’s no other word for it) every college student in the country (no matter their age) ... and why the President of the United States isn’t hanging them out to dry publicly reminds me of his hiding behind his couch after ignoring his promise to put on comfortable shoes and walk a picket line for unions ... so remember, amici, VOTE GREEN ... because otherwise you might as well vote Republican—there’s no FUCKING DIFFERENCE.
 
Last Week I bid adieu to the conservative blog I haunted the last five years or so ... the bottom line is they change what you post. Literally change your text ... not prohibit it (although they’ll often do that), but LITERALLY go into your post and change what you wrote.

So what’s the point of posting there? Right, none.

Arrivederci, wingies ...


—Knucks


Some more tunes for the old man band possibly called:

 “Out of the Blue” ...

Allman Brothers, Trouble No More ...



And one more Allman Brothers tune ... Not My Cross To Bear ...


Friday, July 5, 2013

Congrats Merle & Tess ... Hysteria ... Student Loans ... Egypt Gone Wild ... The Zimmerman Trial ...

Amici:

Still waiting on more fellow graduates for their bios, etc., so in the meantime, it’s back to our regularly schedule programming ... but first, Congratulations are in order!

 
To the beautiful bride and her handsome husband ... Merle and Tess Drown ... Merle is the author of one of my very favorite novels, The Suburbs of Heaven ... Publishers Weekly wonderful review here ...

Hysteria ...



We’re big Maggie Gyllenhaal fans at casa Stella so it was a pleasant surprise for the boss and myself to finally see the second half of the movie, Hysteria. We were actually watching it when our lights and electric were cut off during Hurricane Sandy ... and I guess we forgot all about it. Although the ending didn’t quite fulfill us the way we both would’ve liked, it was a fun movie, apparently based on a true story about the invention of ... the vibrator?

Holy Orgasm, Batman!

From Wikipedia: Manual genital massage of women had been a medical remedy since antiquity, and hysteria was a recognized malady until the American Psychiatric Association discontinued this term in 1952. Joseph Mortimer Granville filed the first patent for an electromechanical vibrator termed Granville's Hammer in about 1883. Granville, however, did not apply his invention in the treatment of hysteria; rather, he used it to treat muscular disorders. Other physicians started to apply the vibrator for the treatment of hysteria.


 
Student Loans ... Happy Birthday, America ... most of yous get to make a HUGE choice that will impact the rest of your life. To wit, attend college and hope you can find a job that will help pay off your student loans and/or take a good old American blue collar job (if you can find one) and quit your squawking. Got a beef, look back to the founding fathers and how hard they worked (but ignore the fact some owned slaves, because that’s painting too ugly a picture for 4th of July celebrations).

Oy friggin’ vey ... why is it when someone points out an inconvenient truth (to borrow a phrase), some on the right feel the need to upchuck their red, white and blue blind faith oatmeal and assault those pointing out the truth? Don’t ask me ... but also don’t tell me that I hate America ... I don’t ... but I don’t believe in nationalism anymore than I believe my beloved New York State Buffalo Bills will win the Super Bowl this year. I think the world would be a far better place if people dropped their need to belong to a country and maybe tried belonging to the human race ... but you know how us bleeding hearts are ...

So it goes (to borrow another phrase) ...

With Congress allowing student loan rates to double via inaction, we have taken yet another step toward the third world finish line, where those without the means get to slide through the cracks and not attend college because of the prohibitive costs of doing so. Now, not only do some graduate with student loans akin to mortgages and nothing more than minimum paying jobs to pay them off with, they can look forward to doubling the interest rate costs of paying them off. Oregon seems to have come up with a partial solution called Pay It Forward ... read about it here.

So let me amend that Happy Birthday, America above ... Happy Birthday, 1% ... soon we can all look forward to eating cake ... and Third World here we are ...


 

Egypt Gone Wild ... Holy Military Coup, Batman ... or is it just another changing of the guard? Hey, who cares ... the people spoke (a lesson this country can sure learn from) ... they were getting pissed on and they changed things Old School style ... nobody knows what comes next, but you know what, if it doesn’t work for the benefit of the people, they can always change it one more time. Here, too many conservatives upchuck their Hors d'oeuvres over revolutions ... they seem much more comfortable with us supporting dictators who act in our best interest, no matter the consequences to those who suffer under such dictatorships ... it's a list way too long to list here (so click on the link to be astonished) ... but the bottom line is too often conservatives aren’t amenable to change ... (unless it’s to increase private profits, like destroying unions and doubling the rates of student loans).

Oy vey ...


 

The Zimmerman Trial ... Okay, so nobody knows what actually happened the night George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin. The only facts we have are the phone calls, embellishments from both sides of the aisle, the investigation interrogations, and a dead kid. We can either believe the shooter’s story or not.

So here are my issues with what’s been showcased thus far: Zimmerman claims he was hit in the face 25-30 times ... his head was being slammed against the concrete sidewalk and that Trayvon Martin was covering his nose and mouth, cutting off Zimmerman’s breath.

Aside from the fact Zimmerman’s injuries don’t seem to come close to that kind of attack, there’s this: how the hell does somebody scream for help during that kind of battering. If you’re getting hit in the face 25-30 times, your head is being bashed on the sidewalk and you can’t breathe.

The prosecution’s opening statement claims there was no blood traces on Trayvon Martin (none of Zimmerman’s DNA was found on Trayvon Martin). How is that possible if you’re getting hit in the face 25-30 times, your head is being bashed on the sidewalk and the kid is supposedly covering your mouth and nose (the one you claimed he broke with his first punch)? How are his hands not covered in blood?

Obviously, Zimmerman’s story has been embellished in several areas, but claiming he didn’t know the Stand Your Ground law was pretty damning ... the professor covered the law extensively, even providing handouts ... and Zimmerman received an A in the course ... but his ability to laugh in court when responding to Defense attorney West’s question: “Do you have to wait until you're nearly dead to respond with deadly force?” "No, no, you don't," Carter (the professor) said, and several people on Zimmerman’s side of the courtroom laughed (as did Zimmerman).

 
Ouch.

The autopsy report shows a single abrasion on Trayvon Martin’s ring finger. Really? After he punched Zimmerman’s face 25-30 times?

The fact Zimmerman never ID’s himself, something he could’ve done several times, suggests to me he was into this chase (the way wannabes tend to dream about catching bad guys). I also have to wonder why Zimmerman didn’t shoot his “attacker” in the leg ... or fire a warning shot.

At one point, to offset his following Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman says he wasn’t following, he was just moving in the same direction. Oy vey.

This is the problem with the shooter having the ONLY say. We have to assume he’s telling the truth? Really? He jumped from behind the bushes ... he came up from behind me ... he was about five feet away ... he was about fifteen feet away ... he ... he ... he’s dead.

Pundits, after the two interrogators were on the stand Monday, claim the prosecution’s case was flushed down the toilet. That’s not how I saw it. Lead defense attorney, Tim O’Mara, is an excellent attorney, and he did a masterful job of playing a game of words with both cops, but he did nothing to offset Zimmerman’s own words, and he can do nothing about the injuries Zimmerman claims were life threatening (or the way he was “attacked”).

Nobody knows what happened that night and nobody knows what this jury will do with whatever else is presented in court. A second degree charge seems over the top. I doubt George Zimmerman was looking to kill anybody that night. On the other hand, George Zimmerman contributed mightily to everything that happened. At several points during his pursuit, even after being told not to pursue, he could’ve identified himself and/or waited for the police. He didn’t. Nor did he have to shoot the kid in the chest (I don’t think). If “the suspect” (Trayvon Martin) was on top of him, the way Zimmerman described how he reached for his “firearm”, why didn’t he shoot the kid in the leg? Or better, why not fire that warning shot?

Manslaughter ... or negligent homicide ... or whatever lesser charge than 2nd degree murder they can make stick seems appropriate. And hopefully wannabes everywhere will never play cowboy again, but with a stand your ground law in the background, I can see this type of tragedy happening again ... and again.

One more fact that we know about this case is had George Zimmerman remained in his car and/or stopped pursuing Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman is never in court for killing the kid ... and the kid probably makes it back to his father’s girlfriend’s home to deliver and/or enjoy the Skittles and Arizona Iced Tea.

For those so protective of Stand Your Ground and or George Zimmerman’s future, take a moment and imagine it was your kid who was killed that night ... first for being profiled (or why did Zimmerman tell the non-emergency operator “this kids up to no good ... these assholes always get away ... fuckin’ punks” ... etc.) ... he was also killed for having the audacity of walking home from the store with an Arizona Iced Tea and a bag of Skittles.

And for those who defend “Stand Your Ground” ... understand it has already been used to acquit gangbangers in street gang shootouts ... From the great state of Florida its own bad self ... click on the link and read ...

FRIDAY MORNING TRIAL UPDATE: I’m watching the live stream of the trial (because I have no life?) this morning and the medical examiner seemed to be doing a great job of frustrating the defense team ... perhaps too good a job. The way this guy started to nervously smile (AND SWEAT), I’m thinking he just buried himself and his testimony with the “personal notes” he brought to the trial in anticipation of what the defense might ask. Only the medical examiner knew what was in those notes ... but I have a feeling we’re all gonna know after lunch ... and it looks like it may get really ugly ... and wouldn't that suck for the parents of a kid killed seeking nothing more than justice?


—Knucks

We’re still trying to find a name for the blues band ... Past Prime was looking good, but we’re not settled yet ... in the meantime, here’s some of the new tunes we played last week.

Buddy Guy ... Feels Like Rain ...



Howling Wolf ... Killing Floor ...



Blind Joe Reynolds (with Cream performing) Outside Women Blues ...



Big Maybelle ... That’s a Pretty Good Love ...