Aug 26, 2008

Planning an exit

I seen a python swallowing a Dobermann whole
Piranha swimming in a mixing bowl

Papers full of stabbings, the sky's full of crows
She's singing in Italian while she's hanging out her clothes
Carp in the bathtub and it's raining real hard
I ain't allowed in Buzz Fledderjohn's yard

I said, that I ain't allowed
No, I ain't allowed
No, I ain't allowed in Buzz Fledderjohn's yard.

                    -- Tom Waits

Aug 25, 2008

The things they talk about

They talk about being happy. They talk about being together. They talk about how Allene Skinner, the 52-year-old woman accused of murdering her husband, will live with her daughter and see her grandkids grow up.

And then Skinner, sitting in jail in an ugly jumpsuit, sighs and says to her daughter, "Kristi, do not get involved with a man. You can see where a man will put you."

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
'My mom isn't evil

Aug 23, 2008

My mulberry bush

1. In the dream the three undercover officers, guns out, chase the public official around and around the 15-passenger van. The officers don't know the official and the official doesn't know the officers, but both demand respect, brashly challenge and it escalates. Until I step in to stop it. I open the door and the official ran inside, but then the officers shot the man and the van full of holes.

Round and round and round the mulberry bush, and I can't stop it, and when I do it doesn't help.

2. The chatter rises, rises, rises. The chatter fills the room and consumes all sounds, the chatter clattering, cluttering, clattering into a crescendo, a cluster of explosions escalating and I can't hear or think. I can't. I can't. It all swells and I want it to stop.

I try to block out the news.

Aug 22, 2008

Planning on packing books

Jacques Derrida is still the only philosopher who made me gasp, who gave me that feeling of falling.

Charles Smith, the 51-year-old former cop who killed his girlfriend's husband, doesn't want to testify against her.

Smith pleaded guilty in June, saying he ambushed, shot and killed Donald Ray Skinner, because he loved the man's wife, Carolyn Allene Skinner, and because she wanted him to do it.

Smith accepted a life sentence for his crimes, but he doesn't want to testify against his lover, Allene Skinner, as she stands trial for murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

"I just wish to move on to prison and serve my time," Smith said, in a letter to a Clayton County Superior Court judge.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
Convict trying to avoid testifying against lover

Aug 21, 2008

Autopsy in details

The doctor touched his forehead with his middle finger. A deliberate, older man with the trace of a lisp, he touched the spot several times.

"A right frontal wound," he said to the jury. "Right to left, front to back, and at a slightly downward angle."

Douglas Posey, Jr., a Georgia Bureau of Investigation medical examiner, told a Clayton County jury about his autopsy of Travis Scott, an 18-year-old who was shot to death in September. He described the autopsy in details both clinical and disturbing: Blood from the bullet wound seeped down into the dead man's eyes, the doctor said, and radial cracks covered the skull around two 9 mm holes.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
Jury flooded with details in murder testimony

Aug 20, 2008

With such street names

When she got to the apartment at about 11 p.m., Brishitue Glass said, there were "a lot of boys there," about 15 of them, many affiliated with the Hit Squad, an area gang. Many were known just by street names, according to Glass and Valerie Robinson, the woman who lived in the apartment and dated the man accused of killing an 18-year-old "for no reason." That night, there were men and boys with such street names as "Red," "Psycho Rick," "Frog," "John-John," "Don P.," "Cannon," "K.K.," and "Mokey."

"We were just sitting there and talking, listening to the radio," Glass said. "We were drinking and playing cards and listening to the music."

Glass said she drove people to get beer, and then, about 45 minutes later, drove them to get more beer. After about another 45 minutes of drinking, Glass said, they "left to go get some green."

"Some what?" asked Dawn Belisel-Skinner, the assistant district attorney.

"Some 'green.'"

"What's that?"

"That's marijuana," Glass said.

The rest of the night, according to the 20-year-old female, was spent smoking marijuana, listening to music, "popping pills" and playing cards.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
Party preceded fatal shooting, woman testifies

Aug 19, 2008

The non-migratory flock

When I think about it, I think these birds are tragic. Non-migratory geese. They're geese that gave up, geese that just quit.

It's like it was all too much for them: Life, changes, work and struggle. Migrations are done desperately, long flights directly into the unknown, and then it's like it just didn't seem worth it any more, for this flock.

These geese are like the old man I knew who stopped wearing pants when his wife died. He'd go to the store for milk, pick up the paper in his yard and even, sometimes, mow the lawn, but he always just wore boxer shorts, because in a world without his wife, what was the point of pants? It was anti-social and disgusting, but it was also a very visceral expression of despair. You saw him in his boxer shorts, and you were forced to ask the question: Why should he care?

Read the full column @ the Clayton News Daily: My sad and sloppy geese

Aug 18, 2008

A history of friends & trouble

Talim Ruffin was found dead in Ellenwood. He was shot twice, wrapped in a blue blanket and garbage bags, and decomposing in the trunk of his own, burgundy-colored, 2000 Pontiac Bonneville. The car was abandoned in an unfinished housing development, where the construction had stalled, according to the Clayton County Police...

While police say they don't have any leads, Ruffin's mother, Iris Pinkie Ruffin, said her son had a history of getting into trouble, because he was with the wrong crowd.

"It was somebody he knows," she speculated. "Somebody he knows, definitely. I've probably hugged the guy who did it."

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
DeKalb mother links son's death to Clayton friends

In a room full of reporters, with a world-wide audience waiting to hear what they had to say, two Clayton County men, who claim to have the corpse of a Bigfoot, didn't deliver the evidence they promised would shock the world. Instead, backed by their controversial, California partner, they continued making claims, with a couple of fuzzy photos -- and more promises.

Tom Biscardi, a professional Bigfoot searcher, who has been associated with a number of hoaxes and money-making stunts, said the alleged Bigfoot body was as real as the skeptical reporters. He said Matthew Whitton, a Clayton County police officer on medical leave, and Whitton's friend, Rick Dyer, a tow truck driver, who once worked as a correctional officer, wouldn't be part of a hoax.

"Do you think these fellows would come this far and put their reputations and their jobs on the line, if they didn't have what they say they have?" Biscardi said.

At the end of Friday's press conference in California, however, that claim -- that this was all too crazy to be a con -- seemed to be the strongest "evidence" the three men had.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
Clayton men offer shaky Bigfoot 'evidence,' more promises

Aug 15, 2008

The cop, the creature corpse & the "carny" atmosphere

Tom Biscardi, who has been a full time, professional Bigfoot hunter for three or four years, joined Matthew Whitton and Rick Dyer in early August, and has orchestrated press releases, pulling in national media attention. Biscardi released a picture and announced the press conference earlier this week.

The picture supposedly shows the Bigfoot corpse crammed into a chest freezer. The accompanying announcement describes the alleged creature as seven-foot-seven, weighing more than 500 pounds, with flat, 16-inch, human-like feet and a lot of reddish hair. Biscardi, who runs, claims the discovery has left him euphoric.

"I saw the body," he told the Clayton News Daily, Thursday. "I touched the body. It was all there."

Others are skeptical, speculating the "creature" is a hoax.

"What I've seen so far is not compelling in the least, and I think the pictures cast grave doubts on their claim. It just looks like a costume with some fake guts thrown on top for effect," said Jeffrey Meldrum, a Bigfoot researcher who is also an Idaho State University professor of anatomy and anthropology, in interview with Scientific American.

Dyer, talking to Biscardi on Biscardi's Internet-boradcast radio show, dismissed the criticism and everyone esle who has been involved in looking for the legendary animal. "We believe 99 percent of the Bigfoot world is lunatics," he said. "That's what our videos are about. We just wanted to turn things around and make fun of the Bigfoot world, and how crazy they are."

He insisted though -- both on the radio show and to the Clayton News Daily -- that the claimed creature is real, and not a hoax meant to embarrass "the Bigfoot world."

Whitton, who is currently on medical leave from the Clayton Police Department, where he has served for six years, said the people calling the creature a hoax are just jealous.

"A lot of these people in the Bigfoot world," he said, "are just huge frauds, and the thing about it is, when we come out with the Bigfoot, and evidence of a true Bigfoot, all the fraud things they've been saying, and what they put out there as gospel, is no longer true."

The evidence will supposedly be unveiled on Friday. Meldrum, however, isn't sure how the DNA test will prove anything. He said a DNA test would, at best, yield a gene sequence that doesn't match any known primates. He also criticized the "carnival atmosphere" surrounding the two Clayton County men and Biscardi, a man who has attracted the "carny" comparison before. He has been called a huckster, a Las Vegas promoter and a scam artist since he started seeking media attention in 2004.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
Clayton cop's Bigfoot evidence set for unveiling

Rhoshii Shepperd Wells, a former Clayton County resident who went to the 1996 Olympics as a boxer and came away with a bronze medal, who was once a junior middle weight contender, ending his career with a record of 18-2-2, with 10 knock outs, and was always trying and failing to come-back big, who was compared, by a friend, to a "shining star that never got to shine," was shot to death on Monday in Las Vegas, at the age of 31.

May he rest in peace.

Aug 14, 2008

Note: The wedding is going to be on March 21, at St. John's Episcopal Church, in College Park. This is very near the airport, for those of you who will be flying in.
Sandy Allen, the Indiana woman recognized as the world's tallest, at seven-foot-seven, who got in the Guinness World Records book because she was looking for a social life, who had a role in "Il Casanova di Federico Fellini" as a giantess, and who taught school children about accepting differences, died today at the age of 53.

May she rest in peace.

Aug 13, 2008


The prosecuting attorney held up the jeans shorts, pink decorative stitching on each leg, and looked at the man in the witness stand.

"Now, your sister didn't have these pants on when you saw her?" asked Anece Baxter White, a Clayton County assistant district attorney.

"No ma'am," said the witness, the older brother of a girl who was allegedly the victim of attempted rape.

"And when you saw her earlier," White asked, "these were the pants she had on?"

"Yes ma'am."

"And where did you find these?"

"In apartment Z-4," the brother said.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
Witness identifies maintenance man as would-be rapist
Blanket and garbage bag

A 27-year-old man was found dead in the trunk of his Pontiac Bonneville, shot and wrapped in a blanket and a garbage bag, according to Clayton County police.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily: DeKalb man found dead in Ellenwood
reporter's desk

There is no such thing as a poem without a theory
Kurt Vonnegut on finding a decent dictionary
garfield - garfield = published by garfield?
newspapers measured by 'social currency'
what you hear: spoken word recordings
the search for the greatest copy editor
Daniel Schorr: Iconic and still a force
Hanif's lies and exploding mangoes
abuse the audience's attention
PK Dick, VOl. II
poet as pugalist
police-beat stress
Leopold and Loeb
the art of enbalming
serial killer data base
a theatrical way to die
everyone is innocent--courthouse photo project
Explosions of magnetic energy
new athiests = fundamentalists
Zizek: Opt out and theorize
has Zizek finally gone mad?
Al-qaeda @ 20
the poor and the lotto
creation of Creationism
the ironic end of the world
Hitler beheaded because of bar bet
There's your dog; your dog's dead. But where's the thing that made it move? It had to be something, didn't it?
the boogeymen
Falwell died poor
the Clinton collapse
negative advertising works
What's Obama doing in Ga?
McCain's descent from decency
Germany wants its own Obama
thinking about the anthrax attacks
the end of the black american narrative
"Smears undermine a politician only when they appeal to voters' pre-existing idea of what sort of person a politician is."

Aug 12, 2008

Didn't want him

When a sergeant pulled Rowy Bryant off the edge of the bridge, ending his attempt to jump, the 39-year-old man began to cry.

He would have jumped, he said, and fallen from the interstate overpass to the traffic on Interstate 675, but the Clayton County Police sergeant, 13-year veteran, Anthony Thuman, pulled him back at the last moment.

"He thanked me for saving him," Thuman said. "He said he didn't know what was in his head, to make him want to jump off a bridge. He just needed his medicine, because he was depressed."

Police said Bryant, an unemployed Oregon man, hitchhiked from the Northwest to Georgia to be with his fiancé, but when he got here, his fiancé didn't want him.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
Clayton police sergeat saves man from suicide
American interests

The background of the Russia-Georgia conflict -- the thing I think of as a "thing" and which the NY Times says is heading towards "all-out" war, as if war is a waxing moon -- resurrects all my foreign policy fears.

One root, from what I've read, goes back to Kosovo and the U.S.'s motivating interests there. Another goes to Iraq and the desperate need for allies, another to military aid, another to Cold War considerations, another to NATO and American encouragement of democracies, which seems to be offered without thought of consequences.

And all that, my confused classification of interests leading us to war, only considers American involvement. I have no way of even weighing the separatist region's causes and motivations and the justifications of the Georgians and the Russians, to me, are only ever going to be misty.

Today, Fred Kaplan said, Wait, did Bush have a plan for this when he set it in motion? And that’s a good question, but I wonder what sort of plan we could have.

The background of the Russia-Georgia conflict, as I look at it, makes me wonder how any of our foreign policies could be ethical, could be right, and even more than that, how they could even make sense.

Aug 11, 2008

Almost 90

Evie Childers thinks this is funny: She used to play in the creek in her clean clothes, and it made her grandmother so mad.

She's sitting on her couch, almost 90 years old, and it still makes her laugh. She laughs like a bird. She opens her mouth and sits up, and it comes out surprised and sprightly, each syllable sort of taking off, "ha-ha-ha!"

"I remember playing in the creek," Childers says. "Ha-ha-ha! And getting a whipping! Ha-ha-ha! Every time she'd get me in clean clothes, I'd go through the creek."

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
Childers has enjoyed a strong, independent life

Aug 7, 2008


Reading even the opening pages of Zizek's "Violence" was a relief. The pages didn't even go anywhere I hadn't already gone, but it was a relief. It was like opening a basement door from the inside.

I need to think about violence, to "process" it, but I find talking about it is a complicated crashing mash of the too-horrible and the densely theoretical, and that doesn't help anyone (but me).

When I do get an opening, an invitation or something I confuse for an invitation, I rush in recklessly.

Two years. Eighty-five dead. I feel like I should remember all the names. I worry all I have accomplished, with all of this crime writing, is to make myself sad. I worry even more I will stop feeling anything and it will all go away.

Aug 6, 2008

Rashid, religion and his daughter

1. Chaudhry Rashid appealed to God and confessed to killing his daughter, a detective alleged during testimony at a probable cause hearing.

"He said, 'God will protect me. God is watching. I killed my daughter. I strangled her,'" Clayton County Police Detective Michael Christian said at the Tuesday morning hearing.

Rashid, a 56-year-old Pakistani immigrant who owns a pizza parlor, allegedly strangled his 25-year-old daughter to death with a bungee cord because she wanted to end her arranged marriage, police and prosecutors contend.

Sandeela Kanwal filed for divorce five days before she died. Her husband has not been heard from for months, reportedly having gone to Chicago.

2. For some, the death of Sandeela Kanwal is just another example.

The 25-year-old woman was strangled to death with a bungee cord, according to police, allegedly by her own father as a "matter of honor," because Kanwal wanted to end her arranged marriage.

The way "Aaron," a Republican blogger from New Jersey understands it, "this is just another case of how radical Islam is taking over not only Europe, but evidently America as well."

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily

Sheriff Victor Hill, the controversial figure who has compared himself to Christopher Columbus, Muhammad Ali, Batman and Jesus, boasted he'd be sheriff for 20 years, but ended up losing with 48 percent of the vote.

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily: Voters reject sheriff, district attorney

Aug 5, 2008

Reading Solzhenitsyn

In the spring of 1996, when I was 14, I was in central California, reading about the Soviet prison system, the lives of the zeks imprisoned there, and the inhumanity of ideology.

There was something unnatural about it, but I read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's three-part, 300,000-word work of "literary investigation" into the Soviet prisons, "The Gulag Archipelago." I had the fat paperbacks, they were 600-something pages each, printed in tiny print and crammed into binding that barely opened. I know I found them misshelved in the literature section of a used bookstore, but I don't know why I picked them up, bought them, brought them home and read them. I had never heard of Solzhenitsyn, this Russian with a scraggly beard and a bad haircut. No one told me to read him. I didn't know how to say his name, and probably still don't.

There was something about him, though, something about the weight of the pain in his voice that spoke to me.

Read the full column: A piece of his own heart

Aug 4, 2008

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the Russian writer of "literary investigations" into the Stalinist Gulags, who won the Nobel prize and was exiled from the Soviet Union, who was, at his best a prophetic and ethical force and at his worst, a shrill reactionary scold, died on Sunday, Aug. 3, at the age of 89.

May he rest in peace.

Aug 1, 2008

So badly broken

A failed purse snatcher, serving the last few months of his sentence in the Clayton County Jail, allegedly beat a 51-year-old inmate's face into the floor.

The older prisoner's face was so badly broken he will have to have reconstructive surgery, according to court records.

Ricardo Cornelius Hurston was supposed to get out of jail in July, but now he's being held on charges of aggravated assault and battery. He was indicted by a grand jury on Wednesday.

Sheriff's deputies reported that Hurston punched James Herbert Harper, Jr. in the back of the head with his fist, threw him face-down into the concrete floor, kicked him in the head repeatedly and then attacked him with a food tray.

According to the grand jury indictment, Hurston hit the man's face into the floor with that tray, "until he had caused multiple facial and skull fractures."

Read the full story @ the Clayton News Daily:
Inmate charged with unprovoked, violent outburst