Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Michael Jackson has two kids named Prince Michael? Whoa...

And what's the deal with his children being white? I don't care how much you bleach your skin, it ain't gonna change your chromosones, right? If I took a bunch of tanning pills, would my kids be black? The mind boggles.

Here's my prediction: in a few years, we'll be privy to the Jackson Family Suicides.

Over the edge!

Michael Jackson staged a sick thriller for his fans yesterday when he dangled his baby boy from a Berlin hotel balcony.
Laughing like a loon, Jackson clutched the wriggling tot with his right hand while struggling with his left to adjust a white towel hiding the baby's face.

At one point, Jackson appeared to be losing his grip while the baby banged his bare feet against the metal railing of the fourth-floor balcony.

Jackson's stunt left observers on the ground and others who watched on TV aghast - and forced the Gloved One to issue a statement blaming the reckless behavior on the fandemonium.

"I made a terrible mistake," Jackson said. "I got caught up in the excitement of the moment. I would never intentionally endanger the lives of my children."

But no excuse seemed good enough for those horrified by what they saw.

"I expected him to be eccentric, but not to be crazy," said onlooker Jutta Schmidt. "Just one false move and that child would have been killed."

"If I was a cop in Berlin, I'd arrest him for endangering a child," said WLIB radio talk show host Mark Riley, who watched on television. "The child could have very well been killed."

Antje Sigesmund, a spokeswoman for Bambi entertainment, which is handing Jackson a lifetime achievement award tomorrow, said the child was the singer's third and youngest, Prince Michael 2nd.

Wearing a mask over his surgically remade face, Jackson was greeted by about 200 screaming fans upon arriving at the deluxe Adlon Hotel, opposite the landmark Brandenburg Gate.

When Jackson got to the Presidential Suite, he shed the mask and then thrust the baby boy out the window for all to admire. The crowd erupted in applause.

After handing the blue jumper-clad tot to a maid, Jackson trotted out an older child - head also covered with a towel - to wave to the fans. He later threw a pillow out the window for fans to fight over, then gleefully strafed them with a yellow water gun.

"I had to fight for the pillow," said Guenter Uebe, 24, as he stuffed the prize into a backpack. "There were a lot of people scrambling, but I got it."

Mystery child

Jackson has two children by ex-wife Debbie Rowe: 5-year-old son Prince Michael and 4-year-old daughter Paris. Little is known about Prince Michael 2nd, who is believed to be 9 months old. Jackson has not identified the child's mother, but has insisted the boy was conceived "the natural way."

The peculiar pop star departed Neverland, his California ranch, for the Fatherland after testifying last week in a $21 million lawsuit by a German promoter over canceled concerts. But Jackson's rebuilt nose made news when he showed up in court with a bandaged schnoz that appeared to have partially collapsed.

A German newspaper ran a contest asking readers to design a new honker for the King of Pop.

"Perhaps they should have picked a new brain for him instead," Schmidt told London's Daily Mail.
Well, he was probably a closet homosexual who did a lot of cocaine. That whole Yale thing.
Get on your knees, Kristi.
Pot. Booze. A stripper named Kristi. WARNING: If you provide any of these items during your teenager's birthday party, expect serious legal trouble:

The Smoking Gun
Man declares his strip club a sovereign nation


No man is an island, but Albert LaFontaine says his strip club is.

The Ojibwe man bought a former pizza parlor in tiny Elko in early October, declared the land a sovereign Indian nation and said he'll ignore any government's attempt to close it.

"There ain't no way on God's Earth that they're going to stop me," said LaFontaine, of St. Paul.

It's not the first time LaFontaine has said that.

The 82-year-old man who in 1959 offered to sell a third of North Dakota to the Soviet Union has put forth a variety of schemes to build casinos on land that he's bought and declared sovereign.

As an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain band of Ojibwe in North Dakota, La Fontaine said he received a document that gives him land rights in place of a parcel on the band's reservation.

He said that -- plus a plethora of laws and treaties that he recites to anyone not quick enough to get a word in edgewise -- entitles him to make the Elko land his own reservation. Elko is south of the Twin Cities, just off Interstate 35.

"It's not up to him to declare it as a sovereign reservation," said Mark Anderson, an attorney with Jacobson, Buffalo, Schoessler & Magnuson, which represents many Midwestern Indian tribes.

The U.S. Interior Department can establish new reservations. But the process takes years, and a state's governor must agree with the plan, which has stymied a Hudson, Wis., dog track proposal for years. The federal government must also find that reservations serve the best interest of the tribe and not be detrimental to surrounding community, Anderson said.

And U.S. policy has not allowed reservations for individuals.

In the meantime, LaFontaine's strip club -- which boasts no name but was formerly known as Circus Circus -- is driving some locals loco.

"It is frustrating," said Andrea Poehler, city attorney of Elko. Managing the typical lawsuits surrounding strip clubs is easier, she said, than "dealing with LaFontaine, who is really coming out of left field."

Until about a year ago, the building that formerly housed Glenno's Pizza was innocuous as things get in Elko, population 472. Then Minneapolis resident Emad Abed began transforming it into what he calls a classy strip club, complete with cushy lounges and a catwalk.

The city shut Abed down on a building code violation.

In October, after LaFontaine bought it for $1 plus "considerations," notices appeared on the doors, saying the owner was immune to laws restricting liquor and gambling. It warned federal and state officials not to interfere. The doors opened Nov. 1.
Just how many celebrities are having sex with children, anyway?
We're living existentially in a fascist death state, where every day could be our last.
I troll a few message boards. Rarely post, but I enjoy eavesdropping on the conversations. Kelly Sue DeConnick hosts one of those forums. And this thread, titles "Confessions," is really entertaining.

I didn't really just invite a few friends over and then these other kids showed up. I invited everyone.

I wasn't just prepared to kill him if it became necessary, I *wanted* to kill him.

Remeber when you were rushed to the hospital to get those ovarian cysts removed? I was going to dump you that day, but waited a week until you got out.

I'm sorry I was calling you "Vanessa". I didn't realize she was in the front seat.

I had sex with your sister.

There's more. Much more.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

I take great pleasure in giving great pleasure.
Ke-Ri Hanson is seeking a husband. She's open to a number of possibilities: "And we don't even need to get married. If we just hold each other in the bed, that would be just fine thank you very, very much." "Anyway, if you're up for a good time, e-mail me. I'm down for a WHOLE LOT."

She writes stories: "Things had not been all that great for a long time thought Cara, brushing her beautiful blonde hair over one shoulder and looking sadly at the white stuffed bear in the corner of the room. No, they hand not been at all."

She writes poetry:

( I got a lot of crap over this one in English Class)

She was molested at 13.
Nobody knows why.
She was raped at 14.
Nobody knows why.
She was punched in the face at 15.
Nobody knows why.
She hung herself at 16.
Maybe SOMEBODY finally knows why.

She controversial: "I don't think people give Tim McVay enough credit."

But don't tell her dad: "He will kill me and then I will have to go to college. This means you, Ryan and Josh. Jesus Christ."

But she desperately needs a husband.

E-mail Keri and she will do girlfriend things for you.
Terrifica vs. Fantastico

Superhero for Single Girls
Terrifica, N.Y.-Based Costumed Protector of Women, Is Targeting Lonely Lotharios

By Bryan Robinson

N E W Y O R K, Nov. 5 — New York's comic book alter-ego Gotham has its Dark Knight in Batman, but it turns out the real city has its own caped crusader. Lotharios everywhere, beware, because Terrifica, scarlet-costumed avenger and protector of women, is on the prowl on the city's party scene.

All was calm on a brisk 40-degree Saturday evening around Bar 4 in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn. The only things stirring were the breeze-driven mocha-colored leaves skipping and scratching across the concrete and the light traffic along Seventh Avenue.

But skidding leaves soon gave way to the deliberate clacking of red heels. It was a little early for Terrifica to start patrolling; it was only 8:30, and the social scene was hours away from awakening. However, with her red cape, matching leotard and skirt with red boots, she managed to open the eyes of a few onlookers and elicit a whisper or two as she strode into Bar 4.

For the past seven years Terrifica has been patrolling New York's party and bar scene, looking out for women who have had a little too much to drink and are in danger of being taken advantage of by men. She says she has saved several women from both themselves and predators who would prey upon their weaknesses — both from alcohol and a misguided notion that they have to go out drinking to find a companion.

"I protect the single girl living in the big city," says Terrifica, sporting blond Brunhild wig with a golden mask and a matching Valkyrie bra. "I do this because women are weak. They are easily manipulated, and they need to be protected from themselves and most certainly from men and their ill intentions toward them."

Terrifica does not claim to have superhuman powers or to be from a planet like Krypton. By day, she is Sarah, a 30-year-old single woman who works for a computer consulting company. (Sarah prefers not to reveal her last name so that she can protect her anonymity and still lead some degree of a normal life.)

To some, Terrifica may not seem all that imposing — she does not have the bulging muscles of your typical superhero. But she has a superhuman sense of purpose and belief in herself. Terrifica unfailingly refers to her non-costumed alter-ego, Sarah, as if she were another person. The heroine refuses to answer any questions about Sarah while she is working as Terrifica, saying "You are talking to Terrifica, not Sarah."

Sipping a Shirley Temple, Terrifica's voice is strong and forceful. Her brown eyes pierce through Bar 4's red lights as she talks about her mission.

"My inspiration is the need people have in the city to be protected from themselves. That is my inspiration," the heroine says. "I have to act in the most extreme situations. I'm on the front lines, in the danger zone, in the wee hours of the night. There's nothing happening here right now; it's way early. But if I come back here at 2:30, 3 o'clock in the morning, there are people drunk, making out with other people, going home with other people. They don't know what they're doing. They're drunk.

"To feel like you have to go to a bar, to put yourself out there, feeling like you have worth only when you're married, engaged, or have a boyfriend, that's weakness," Terrifica says. "People are happiest when they're alone and living their solitary lives."

To Serve and Protect the Single Girl Living in the City

However, Terrifica's mission is really twofold: she seems driven by both a need to protect all women and her alter-ego, a single girl living in the city. According to Sarah, Terrifica was spawned by a combination of heartbreak and her need deal with her own feelings of vulnerability.

Before moving to New York from Pittsburgh seven years ago, Sarah was heartbroken when she and her boyfriend broke up. Terrifica, Sarah says, was created out of her need to deal with her own anxiety of being a single woman suddenly living in a new city.

"I was living in New York, 23, feeling sort of vulnerable. I created Terrifica I guess to deal with my feelings of vulnerability being young and single in New York City," Sarah says. "I had a couple of run-ins with men that really shocked me, left me feeling confused and really hurt. … To come from a small city where I knew everyone to a bigger city where I did not was quite overwhelming and scary."

However, at some point, Terrifica became more than Sarah's personal therapeutic tool. Her purpose grew to include the protection of all women from the men who would manipulate them — emotionally and sexually.

"The reason why Batman was dark was because he kept seeing his demon [the murder of his parents and his need to avenge them] every time he did what he did," Sarah says. "I guess that is essentially the same thing with me. I experience the same hurt and pain over and over again [as Terrifica]."

Patrolling a Potentially Dangerous World With No Superpowers

Terrifica did not want to reveal how often she patrols or how she decides where she is going to go out on duty. However, different nights have different party scenes.

"Thursday nights are good nights for college students," she says. "Thursdays and Friday night are good nights for the after-work crowd down in Wall Street. Saturdays are good nights for the East-West Village where you have people coming in from the other boroughs."

Despite her persistence and dedication, a costume can be a hindrance to a passionate crime fighter like Terrifica. After all, how many real-life Batmen and Spider-Men does the average person encounter every day? Terrifica's costume could attract gawkers, a degree of ridicule and distract from the seriousness of her task, but she says that's a tactical choice.

"I have undercover clothes that I wear so that I can blend in," says Terrifica. "I wear this costume to bring attention to myself. Imagine yourself the perpetrator, one of the evil men in the world, and then you see a woman in a leotard and she's beautiful. You're going to stop focusing attention on the woman you're trying to seduce and going to try to get Terrifica to pay attention to you. So, it's a diversion tactic."

Still, Terrifica acknowledges that her vigilantism puts herself at risk. She admits that she has found herself in situations that involved physical run-ins with people who did not appreciate her interference. Her sobriety and wits have remained her greatest assets in those situations.

"I really only have my utility belt. I'm not superstrong. I'm from this Earth," she says. "I know I have to be very cautious. But the difference is I'm sober. And drunk people who are hostile are still drunk people. I have a degree of control, and my mission and purpose can usually get me out of dangerous situations."

However, Terrifica does carry pepper spray in her utility belt, which also includes a cell phone, lipstick, a camera to take pictures of alleged male predators, a logging book, Terrifica fortune cards and — last but not least — Smarties candies.

Why Smarties?

"They taste good," Terrifica says. "I need energy. What I do is very difficult. I need to stay awake long hours, driving around. Sugar helps."

Struggling to Get a Message Across

For the most part, Terrifica says, the women she has saved have appreciated her help. But she hopes to never save the same woman twice.

"That would just be sad," she says. "I get to know some of the women I save and talk to them. … It would just be sad if I would run into some of them again. There is a message I'm trying to get across where I would hope to never need to see them again."

Not everyone is a fan of hers. Some bartenders may hate her heroics, she says, because she potentially drives away their business. However, she conceded that she has some power over bartenders.

"Bartenders tend to be men, and they tend to be attracted to me," she says. "Most men are. That's part of my power."

A ‘Fantastic’ Nemesis

Terrifica has also become somewhat of a nemesis to one alleged Casanova in particular: A man who likes to dress in velvet and prefers to be called "Fantastico." He says that over the years, Terrifica has thwarted his attempts on numerous occasions to get to know women a little better.

"Well, I guess I first met her about seven years ago ... most recently last week in Carroll Gardens [Brooklyn]," Fantastico says. "I was with this woman and she was very lonely, seemed very desperate for attention. We were having a very lovely time, sharing a drink and suddenly I turn around see her [Terrifica] in this ridiculous red cape. She practically drags the woman away."

Fantastico, who says he does not have a day job, says he likes to indulge in the finer, pleasurable things in life and that he likes to bring out the pleasure in people. He is convinced that Terrifica is a miserable, lonely woman who does not want anyone else to be happy.

"She seems to have an obsession with me," Fantastico says. "She seems to have it in for men. I'm convinced she is loveless and would love to have the rest of the city as loveless and miserable as she is."

Fantastico says that Terrifica has never really addressed him directly during their encounters. She has only lectured the alleged would-be female victims about being manipulated and taken advantage of.

"She's just been very cold, very distant," Fantastico says. "But I'm sure if she did address me — her being a pretty attractive woman in her leotard — if she did hear me out, maybe she would change her attitude."

But while Terrifica has never addressed Fantastico directly, her alter-ego Sarah has. Sarah says she was seduced by Fantastico years ago.

However, Fantastico does not even remember Sarah and has no idea that she is Terrifica. He does remember Terrifica, though.

"While I don't know a Sarah, I do know Terrifica. She does exist, and we have crossed paths from time to time," he says.

"What? You mean he doesn't remember me?" Sarah asks, stunned. "You see, that's why Terrifica exists, that's why she's needed."

Fantastico insisted Terrifica has only been an occasional annoyance to him and that he doesn't lose any sleep at night knowing she's out there. "Trust me," he says. "I have no problem doing what I do."

A Heroine’s Advice for Self-Protection

Terrifica knows she can't be everywhere. She prefers to work alone but would not mind if other people donned a costume to help protect others. However, she does have advice to help women help themselves.

"The most important thing is that you do not need another person to give you love," Terrifica says. "And you should not feel that someone who promises love actually loves you, ever. People throw around the term 'love' to manipulate, to get sexual satisfaction. And you should only exist to satisfy yourself, not sexually but holistically. Do not be meek enough to believe the myths society has imposed on us to basically control you.

"And don't get drunk in bars."

Terrifica says she ultimately would like to be able to set up a hotline to help women when they feel like they need advice. It would enable her to more easily spread her message of self-protection and empowerment.

She would also like to have someday have the equivalent of Batman's bat signal. Perhaps, it could be called the "Terrific signal."

"It is my dream to have a 'T' signal going up to the clouds so that I know when I would be needed," Terrifica says.

The End of the Road for Terrifica?

Terrifica says she will continue carrying on her mission as long as there are still women getting drunk in bars, going home with men they barely know and feeling badly in the morning, wondering whether the men will ever call.

However, there are signs that Sarah is wearying of donning the red leotard.

"I'm sure Terrifica would tell you that she is always successful," she says. "But that is not always the case. Dressing in a red leotard, hanging out at bars drinking Shirley Temples is not exciting. It can get pretty dull. … There are nights when not much happens.

"I would love to be able to be at the point psychologically where I don't feel like I have to dress like a superhero to feel safe and empowered in New York City," Sarah says. "It's hard to say under what circumstances [I would stop] with my not looking so hot in a leotard anymore. I had set [age] 30 as the magic number and I'm still doing it. And I'll be 31 soon."

Well, at least one person believes Terrifica/Sarah still looks good in a leotard. As Terrifica left Bar 4, a little girl in a knit white cap and matching jacket saw the heroine and immediately stopped, looked up and smiled.

"You look pretty," the child said with a toothy grin.

"Thank you," said Terrifica, as she allowed herself to smile. "Be safe now."

Terrifica's smile soon faded away as her thoughts turned to the night ahead. "I have to go home now … to my headquarters … to prepare. I have to make some calls and find out where some of the party scenes are tonight."

And with that, Terrifica turned away, red cape lazily flowing behind her. No one else on Seventh Avenue stopped to stare at her.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones just arrived on dvd. Like a nerd, I picked it up yesterday.

I thought Natalie Portman sparkled in her outfits. I liked how the more she was trying to talk Anakin off his crush, the more ridiculous and sexy she dressed. If some woman was giving me the it can't work out speech, I'd have to comment on the form-fitting leather. Just me.

A few months ago, a freind of mine was in town. While waiting for another movie, we checked out Episode 2 around the part of the Obi-Wan-Boba Fett fight. My friend thought the fight itself was totally badass, but based on the love story he saw, announced he would never see the rest of it.

I saw the movie opening night at the Cinerama in Seattle, one of the best movie theatres in the country, and one thing that surprised me was how bad the picture quality was. There was a lot of digital artifacting, like monitor lines on computer-generated elements in a scene. When I saw it again at a different theater in San Francisco, it looked much better.

Now, I had heard it was being digitally projected "the way it was MEANT to be seen" at a number of theaters, and looked much better. So I check. Turns out I saw it digital at the Cinerama, and on film in SF. And the digital was much worse, clearly showing the seams in the effects, looking like a tacky computer game (well, more than is usual for a star wars movie). Looks like the digital revolution won't be putting film to the firing squad for a while. What bugs me it the constant parroting of the party line, that digital is better. Of course, the digital print is much better looking on television. Nice how television is the future of Star Wars films.
I'm in a play right now. The Three Sisters, by Anton Chekhov. An excercise in fristration. I almost quit a few weeks ago, but chickened out when the time came. So I'll stick with it, without complaining, for the duration.

Last night we stuck around for an extra forty minutes after rehearsal. The director had a vision where the stage would be entirely dark at the end of the second act. He wanted one of the actresses to take the last candle from the stage as she rushed outside to go on a date. The actress disagreed, saying that someone rushing outside to go on a date wouldn't stop to tidy up a candle on her way out the door for a carriage ride. The disagreement went on for forty minutes. The actress burst into tears and we agreed to table it.

I agreed with the actress. I didn't take sides during the argument itself, because I've spent about a third of my rehearsal time arguing with the director myself. The director put it this way: what happens when the director's vision disagrees with an actors? I would have put it another way: what happens when the director has a surface vision, and wants to accomplish it expediently, regardless of the logic?

I direct, myself, and I suppose there are two responses to when actors have a problem: Tough, and Shit. But I act as well, specifically to give myself insight into these situations. I don't know.
Jezz, a few days off and everyone gets on your case.

I've been busy busy busy.

Monday, November 11, 2002

The British always have the best news.

Heading the ball killed Astle
By Wayne Veysey, Evening Standard
11 November 2002

Former England soccer star Jeff Astle died from a degenerative brain disease caused by heading heavy leather footballs, a coroner ruled today.

Astle, who played in the 1970 World Cup and enjoyed a successful club career with West Bromwich Albion, died as a result of "industrial disease", an inquest heard.

South Staffordshire coroner Andrew Haigh said it was likely to have been caused by "repeated small traumas to the brain" - related to heading a heavy, often wet, leather ball.

Astle died aged 59 in January this year. He collapsed at his daughter's home and died after being taken to the Queen's Hospital, Burton.

Lorraine Astle, his wife of 38 years, told the inquest: "He underwent a brain scan last year and it revealed Jeff had suffered an injury to the front part of his brain.

"It was known throughout the game that he was one of the hardest headers of a football and this was in the days when a ball was made of leather - it would have been like heading a bag of bricks."

The striker, who won five England caps, enjoyed renewed fame in the Nineties with regular appearances on the Fantasy Football League television programme. Every week, hosts Frank Skinner and David Baddiel invited him to sing on the closing credits of the show, often in fancy dress.

He then toured around the country reminiscing about his career while dressed as Tina Turner.

Throughout a 20-year professional soccer career Astle's trademark was his powerful headed goals but this ultimately killed him. It has been claimed for some time that older footballers have been at risk because the balls they played with were of a type of leather which absorbed water and made them very heavy.

Critics claimed that heading this type of ball was akin to being punched in the head.

Today's ruling is vindication for the Astle family, who have always maintained that his death was caused by repeatedly striking a football with his head.

They said they had finally received "justice" thanks to the coroner's verdict of death by industrial disease.

Dr Derek Robson, a consultant neurological pathologist, said there was evidence of brain injury consistent with "repeated minor trauma".

Astle scored 137 goals in 292 league appearances for West Brom and scored the extra-time winner in their 1968 FA Cup Final win over Everton.

His greatest claim to fame was when he became the first player to have scored in every round of the FA Cup in the same year.

The goal against Everton sealed Astle's reputation as more than just a target man, only good in the air. But he failed spectacularly in the most high-profile game of his career only two years later.

During England's first-round match against Brazil in the 1970 World Cup Finals, England were only one goal down when Astle was brought on for Francis Lee with half an hour left.

Soon he spectacularly missed England's best chance of the match and England lost to the eventual winners. Astle's mistake was destined to be remembered for years to come.

He retired from football in 1977, to run a successful industrial cleaning company. His van was emblazoned with the legend "Astle Never Misses The Corners".

FACES are red at the Daily News because reporter Bill Egbert has taped a personal ad playing on cable TV in which he displays his collection of fur handcuffs, "tickle toys" and a radio-controlled vibrator.

Egbert, 34, who covers The Bronx for New York's "hometown newspaper," makes his appeal for kinky women on "Strictly Personal," a show on the MetroChannel station.

"I take great pleasure in giving great pleasure," Egbert says. "Foreplay is sexy, but foreplay when you're tied down on the bed is even sexier."

The 5-foot-11, 165-pound man identifies himself only as Mesmereyes - "I've gotten good reviews on my eyes" - "a reporter for a major metropolitan newspaper."

The three-minute segment on the show, a joint venture with New York magazine, shows Egbert giving a tour of his bare-brick-walled apartment overlooking Central Park.

"This is my pimp hat. It was a gift," he says, trying on a gaudy, oversized fedora. "This is my prized possession, five pounds of hyper-color silly putty. It changes color with your body heat."

But the high point comes when he gets to his "arts and crafts box" and explains, "I make toys, some of which are fun, and some of which are really fun, and not for kids."

Holding a large black feather, Egbert says, "This is going to be a tickle toy." Then he holds up some black leather straps. "I've made a selection of restraints." Egbert says he sells them on eBay: "They sell like hotcakes."

Egbert then holds up a contraption he describes as a radio-controlled vibrating egg, a pair of fur handcuffs and a blindfold.

The reporter is also featured on the Web site, where he lists himself as hazel-eyed, agnostic and Scorpio. In the section on "my habits," he says he never smokes cigarettes, but as for booze and drugs: "Sometimes."

His favorite on-screen sex scenes are "Monster's Ball," "Wild Things" and "91/2 Weeks." The celebrity he resembles most? "Jim Carrey, Pierce Brosnan and 'Michael Stipe with hair' are the most complimentary."

As for what he looks for in a woman, Egbert says, "A bit of kink would be a plus, but a measure of hedonism is a must. I'm definitely most compatible with a sensation-seeker and a thrill-junkie."

"We don't comment on our employees' private lives," a spokesman for the News said.
That's a pretty romantic restraining order.
Just like me, this artist had a dead body in his studio.

Estate has right to body found in deceased English painter's studio: coroner

LONDON (AP) - The embalmed body of a tramp - found hidden in a deceased portrait painter's studio - should be returned the artist's estate and could be placed on public display, a coroner ruled Monday.

The body of Edwin MacKenzie was found in a chest of drawers in Robert Lenkiewicz's studio in Plymouth, southern England, 10 days after the artist died of a heart attack in August.

MacKenzie, a friend and sometimes the subject of the painter, had died in a hospital of natural causes on Nov. 2, 1984, at age 72. Lenkiewicz, who took custody of the body, had refused to tell authorities where it was.

An inquest heard that MacKenzie had no living relatives to provide a burial, and on Monday Plymouth and South Devon Coroner Nigel Meadows said the body should go back to the executor of the Lenkiewicz estate.

He said the executor could have the body cremated or transferred to the Lenkiewicz Foundation, the charity responsible for the artist's paintings and books. It would be up to the foundation to decide what to do with the body.

"Provided they comply with health and safety regulations and don't outrage public decency, it is possible that they could retain the body on some sort of public display," he added.

MacKenzie had left no will. A death certificate gave his profession as "artist's assistant (retired)."

The pair met when MacKenzie, who was widely known as Diogenes, was living in a concrete barrel at a garbage dump on the outskirts of Plymouth. The tramp featured in a 1960 series of paintings by Lenkiewicz entitled Vagrancy.

Lenkiewicz had refused to tell the local council where MacKenzie's body was, insisting his friend had wanted his body to be embalmed and preserved.

After Lenkiewicz died, executors of his estate gave officials information which led to a search of the studio.

One of Lenkiewicz's paintings featuring MacKenzie - The Four Tramps and Jacob's Ladder - sold at an auction last month for the equivalent of $108,000 Cdn.

© Copyright 2002 The Canadian Press
The brilliant Emily now has her own blog. Go there. Go right the fuck there, right now.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Finally, our thousandth unique visitor. Is that how you spell it?

I am a golden god.
It just occurs to me. Despite Winona's delicate, waiflike beauty, she does have a porn star name. Let's pray for a prison-cam.


My favorite part of the news coverage of this case has been the repeated references to Winona's "waiflike" beauty. It's like all the press members of the Winona Ryder Fanclub fought for the assignment. And who can blame them? She looks so helpless and delicate, there in the court, like a doe in a trap. It's heartbreaking.

Ryder Found Guilty on 2 of 3 Counts

By Linda Deutsch
AP Special Correspondent
Wednesday, November 6, 2002; 3:08 PM

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. –– Actress Winona Ryder was convicted Wednesday of stealing $5,500 worth of high-fashion merchandise from Saks Fifth Avenue last year.

The jury found the star of "Girl, Interrupted" guilty of felony grand theft and vandalism but cleared her of burglary, a count that required proof of advance intent. The panel reached the verdict after 5½ hours of deliberations over two days.

She faces anywhere from probation to three years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 6.

The two-time Oscar nominee, who marked her 31st birthday in the defendant's chair, was arrested last Dec. 12 as she left the Beverly Hills store, her arms laden with packages.

Ryder did not testify during the trial, which lasted two weeks.

The prosecution told the jury that Ryder came to Saks with larceny on her mind, bringing shopping bags, a garment bag and scissors to snip security tags off items.

"She came, she stole, she left. End of story," Deputy District Attorney Ann Rundle said in her closing argument. "Nowhere does it say people steal because they have to. People steal out of greed, envy, spite, because it's there or for the thrill."

Jurors were shown videotape of Ryder moving through the store laden with goods, and Saks security workers testified that after she was detained she apologetically told them a director had told her to shoplift to prepare for a movie role.

Her attorney denounced the security guards as liars even before the trial began.

At the start of her shopping trip, she paid more than $3,000 for a jacket and two blouses. The defense said Ryder believed the store would keep her account "open" while she shopped and would charge her later. But there was no evidence of an account.

In closing arguments Monday, defense attorney Mark Geragos suggested that the store, trying to avoid a lawsuit, conspired with employees to invent a story that would make Ryder appear to be a thief and vandal.

Geragos ridiculed the charge that Ryder vandalized merchandise by cutting holes in clothes when removing the security tags.

"This woman is known for her fashion sense," he said. "Was she going to start a new line of 'Winona wear' with holes in it?"

He carried a hair bow that she allegedly had stolen over to her, placed it on her head and said, "Can anyone see Ms. Ryder with this on top of her head? Does that make sense?"

Settlement talks between the defense and prosecution failed, but just before trial the district attorney's office agreed to dismiss a drug charge after a doctor said he had given her two pills found in her possession when she was arrested.

The 12-member jury included several people with Hollywood connections, including producer Peter Guber, head of Mandalay Entertainment and a former head of Sony Entertainment Pictures.

The town raised a collective eyebrow at the inclusion of Guber, who presided over Sony when three successful Ryder films were made there.

Ryder has made some two-dozen films since 1986, including "Beetlejuice," "Heathers," "Mermaids," "Little Women," "The Age of Innocence," "Edward Scissorhands," "Bram Stoker's Dracula," "Reality Bites" and "Mr. Deeds."

She received her Academy Award nominations for "Little Women" (best actress) and for "The Age of Innocence" (supporting actress).

Ryder was raised by parents who were part of the counterculture revolution in the 1960s. Her godfather was LSD guru Timothy Leary.

In 1993, Ryder posted a $200,000 reward in the kidnap-murder case of a 12-year-old girl, Polly Klaas, in Petaluma, Calif., where the actress grew up. When Ryder was charged with shoplifting, Polly's father, Mark, came to legal proceedings to support her.

In recent years, Ryder has been featured frequently in fashion magazines. Her delicate beauty and waiflike persona were on display at the trial along with a wardrobe of appropriate trial clothes – dark sweaters and skirts, soft dresses and, on the climactic day of closing arguments, a cream silk suit with a pleated skirt and short jacket.


Tuesday, November 05, 2002

In a move that seems both predictable and brilliant, Pete Towshend reviews the Kurt Cobain diaries.

Why he died before he got old

Kurt Cobain was adored, addicted and angry - the rest of the rock myth followed from there. Pete Townshend suffers as he plumbs the depths of Cobain's despair in his Journals

Sunday November 3, 2002
The Observer

by Kurt Cobain
Viking £20, pp288

'I hope I die before I become Pete Townshend,' wrote Kurt Cobain in his journal in the middle of one of his rants against the rock press establishment. Why? Because I had become a bore? Because I had failed to die young? Because I had become conventional? Or, simply because I had become old? In fact, in the early Nineties, when Kurt was struggling with himself over whether or not to do an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, I was not boring, neither old nor young, and I was not dead. I was, unlike Cobain, hardened. Tempered, beaten and subjugated by all that rock had delivered to me and via me over 30 years. Rock is, I think, particularly hard. And in this statement Cobain appears to be hard on me. But perhaps he is sad for me?

Nirvana, and their principal creative architect Kurt Cobain, are considered by many in the UK to be the most important band in the history of rock. The publication of Cobain's journals is considered, then, to be a major event and has been anticipated with a mixture of trepidation, curiosity and excitement.

As a songwriter and rock architect, I was interested to look behind the creative process of Kurt Cobain. Nirvana's second album, Nevermind was a breath of 'punk' fresh air in the musically stale early Nineties. So I picked up this book searching for connections. Where might a particular lyric idea have begun? What, for example, is behind the smart, striking and ironic wit of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'? If this sounds rather professorial, that's me, the first proprietor of the rock academy of lyric analysis.

Now here I have before me a sober and distinguished hardback. The word 'Journals' is quietly inscribed under the author's name. The inner jacket is deep purple. The first facsimile page is like a piece of pop art. It is an expensively and reverently reproduced photo of a page from a spiral book, the cheap kind sold in American drugstores. There are 11 marks on the torn sheet. 'Booze' - the first mark - is recorded in ballpoint, a light blue. On the same line, in a darker pen, is the second mark, the number '30'. Another mark is 'Records/watch', followed again by a number - obviously the cost - '50'. 'Food' and 'ticket' follow. The total sum is '200'.

What follows appear to be the scribblings of a crazed and depressed drug-addict in the midst of what those of us who have been through drug rehab describe as 'stinking thinking'. That is, the resentful, childish, petulant and selfish desire to accuse, blame and berate the world for all its wrongs, to wish to escape, or overcome and, finally, to take no responsibility for any part of the ultimate downfall. Me? An expert? Of course. Been there, done that. Back to the academy.

If the first draft words for 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' are here somewhere, I'm not sure I could find them without help. I believe that there are actually three drafts in this book. But the song on the CD is clear, outstanding, dark, ironic, amusing and disturbing at once. It occurs to me that somewhere along the way, in the business that passed between his first infantile scribblings and the rehearsals and recording studio sessions with his band members, Kurt Cobain had a lot of help to reorganise, focus and realise his ideas.

Most of these pages are facsimiles from what appears to be four or five other notebooks. The tatty front covers are sometimes themselves displayed. Apparently, there were actually 20 notebooks. It's a pity the entries are not dated, and that no attempt has been made to provide a chronology. The entries are not uninteresting. It is simply that they are devastatingly hard to contemplate. They actually hurt. These are the scribblings of a once beautiful, angry, petulant, spoiled, drug-addled middle-class white boy from a divorced family who just happened, with the help of two of his slightly more stable peers, to make an album hailed as one of the best rock records ever. I sometimes get letters from people who write and draw like Cobain. I put them in a file marked 'Loonies', just in case they try to sue me in the future for stealing their ideas.

Incidentally, Kurt was obviously a very good graphic artist. He drew artwork for early posters for his band. But what is reproduced here is gothic in its grossness. What is obscured behind the striking but puerile, classroom-brat drawings here is the ambition and excitement, the sheer energetic drive that was behind Cobain's youthful desire to become a rock star, to change the music, to sweep away the old and replace it with the new. That this should be muddled with his resentments, his political naivety and his extraordinary self-obsession (he worried at one time that he was lactating because his nipples were always sore) is simply sad.

There is some insider interest generated by some of the images. On page 139, there is a small cartoon of a baby swimming underwater, obviously the inspiration for the cover of Nevermind . But that art was redeemed because the face of the child was happy and free. Cobain's cartoon is captioned: 'Sell the kids for food'. No irony here. In a world plagued by the abuse of children, it is depressing, because what troubles Kurt was and is still real.

It is terrible that someone so obviously sick, so mentally deranged, so angry and unstable, should not have been helped further and beyond his wonderful work with his band. It might be that those around him will maintain that these scribblings were private and that at other times he kept such strange outpourings to himself. But if that is the case, I wonder at the result of publishing them now. It has the effect of unfairly accusing everyone around him of ostrich-like denial or ignorance.

When Cobain was in deep trouble with heroin addiction in 1993, I was visiting New York regularly in connection with my own child-abuse story, Tommy , which had hit Broadway. I met Michael Azerrad who had written Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana. Azerrad asked if I would contact Cobain, who was in constant danger of overdosing. I had chosen this year to give booze another gentle try after 11 years. When Azerrad approached me, I was not drunk, nor unsympathetic, but I did not make the necessary judgment I would make today that an immediate 'intervention' was required to save his life.

It is desperately sad for me to sit here, 57 years old, and contemplate how often wasteful are the deaths of those in the rock industry. We find it so hard to save our own, but must take responsibility for the fact that the message such deaths as Cobain's sends to his fans is that it is in some way heroic to scream at the world, thrash a guitar, smash it up and then overdose.

Read this book to see that the human spirit, even at its most sublime, can effect monumental damage on itself and its fellow souls if addiction enters the story. I mourn for Kurt. A once beautiful, then pathetic, lost and heroically stupid boy. Hard rock indeed.
The President [Richard Nixon] seemed removed from reality. While in Florida, he asked Bebe Rebozo's woman friend and future wife, Jane Lucke, to do some sewing for him. Then he held an odd little ceremony. "In plane on way back," Haldeman recorded in his diary, "P had me up ... then Ehrlichman ... and Kissinger and said the three of us had borne the brunt these past few weeks and we deserved an award like the Purple Heart, so he had devised a new award, the Blue Heart, for those who were true blue. Then he gave us each a blue cloth heart made by Jane Lucke, and said the honor was to be kept very confidential."

Monday, November 04, 2002

When I got home on Saturday night, I watched The Fifth Wheel. Boy, was that dispiriting. Not the vacuous, cowlike fembots or the smug date-rapists who are the contestants. Not the idea of a swollen blonde girl tramping with three different people in a bathtub. Not the sad also-ran girl who hopefully exclaimed she was so happy to meat a guy like the one she was stuck with. No, I mean beacue this particular episode stole my idea. See, I wanted to create a dating show which would feature homosexuals and heterosexuals. It would be called something like WHO WANTS TO CONVERT? And the people would basically be trying to convert others from their stated sexual preference. Well, as we saw on this episode, the Fifth Wheel was a bi wonan, who arrogantly predicted she would bag both the men, and maybe one of the woman. Well, she was part-right, as the fifth wheel and the blonde chick who liked to remove her top, rode off in the sunset together.

As a side note, can anyone tell me why all these dating shows' web site are pretty much online dating services?
Was a fun-filled, action-packed four days. Got absolutely wasted on Halloween. Spent Friday with my eyes beet red. Not helping matters, I had a grant application due, for sound work on Shoot the Girl, my movie. The editor was supposed to get me a tape of footage the day before. Hadn't done it. Called him at 11:00. When are you bringing by the tape? 1:30. Called him at 2:00. When are you bringing me the tape? An hour. Called him at 3:00 When are you bringing by the tape? I need the fucking tape. I need to drop it off by 5:00. He says, I'll have it ready at 5:00. Not good enough, jackass, I need to get it there by 5:00 What the hell is wrong with you? I need it in the next hour. Okay, he says, I'll bring it over. Do you need me to come over there and get it? No, it's okay. Do you need me to come over there? No, it's fine. I'm coming over there. Okay, that's probably for the best. Got tape. Confirmed lunch plans with the editor for meeting on Saturday. Take tape to sound studio. Go to a reception for work. Somehow was NOT that awkward, considering it was the launch of our new bequest club. Then went to friend's birthday. Full from the reception, I ordered a salad. I had to suffer the indignity of arguing, when the rest of the party insisted I pay a full 1/13th share of dinner (around $70) for my $8 salad, a glass of wine and the appetizer I ate. Paid $25, which was fine. Went home, passed out. Saturday go to a used book store. Editor calleds, canceling lunch. I don't call him back. Later went to a dance performance with. We left early because last time we went to a dance peformance, we got so caught up in drinking, were were late. We showed up at 9:00 on the nose (after drinking) and the doors were locked. Someone let us in. We sat on the floor. Just fucking awful dance perfromance. Twenty minutes later, the lights went up, everyone was thanked, and everyone got up to leave. What the fuck? There were supposed to be like four performances? Turns out we were a floor below. We hurried updatirs, having missed the first piece. The guy gives me $6 change from my twenty for a $12 ticket. I argue. He gives me $21. Delicious. We see a dance performance, some sucked, some were good -- my assistant Freya likes to use pop music, which is a refreshing change from the flutes and drums that normally make up these things. The last group was dreadful. They tried to integrate video. Failed. At one point they stopped doing anything and we sat back and watched tv. Not a good sign for a dance performance. Sunday woke up. Drove to a used book store. Bought Star Wars: Dark Forces II: Jedi Knight. Played that all day. Around 4:00, started cooking for another friend's birthday party. Prepare delicious curry sauce. Aound 5:00, drop half of delicious curry sauce on floor. Shriek for ten minutes, clean up. Luckily there was enough sauce. Went to party. Drank. Hung out. My friend got a two-pronged dildo and some spoons for her birthday. Went home. Played video game. Went to sleep. Woke up. Here at work.

Friday, November 01, 2002

Please help Barry White

Barry White Seeking Kidney Donor
Soulful singer Barry White is fighting back against his health problems - and is on the lookout for a kidney donor. The Walrus Of Love, 58, suffered kidney failure and a stroke in September and reports recently suggested his condition was worsening. But the "Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe" singer's manager Ned Shankman says White is recovering well. Shankman says, "I see him every day, and he's doing better every day. He's a candidate for transplant. We're still looking for a match." Potential donors include White's own children, Shankman said.

Great news for Christopher Lee!

The Official Christopher Lee Web is very proud to announce that Mr. Lee will be receiving tomorrow in Vienna the highest distinction of his acting career. You will hear about it in the World’s media on Saturday night, but here is the first official and authorised press release. Mr Lee is the only winner allowed to announce his award before hand due to the fact that his is very special. Our most sincere congratulations, this is really greater than we have anticipated.

Vienna. Tomorrow Saturday 2nd November 2002, the Annual World Awards will be hosted for the 3rd time by President Mikhail S. Gorbachev. He will be presenting Mr. Christopher Frank Carandini Lee, CBE with The Lifetime Achievement Award for his work and contribution to drama over the last 56 years, up to and including 2002. The voting assembly is composed by 8 committee members and an international jury of 250 voting members. Mr Lee was chosen by all 8 committee members and approved personally by the President himself. This year’s jury include Maximillan Schell, Steven Spielberg, José Carreras and many other prominent figures. Past winners in different categories include Steven Spilberg, Lucciano Pavarotti, Sir Richard Branson and other world greats.