Thursday, October 29, 2009

Blown Back To Childhood

Woodland Hills, CA

My dad was a drill sergeant who wanted to be a mad scientist. Drill sergeants are teachers. Mad scientists are crazy motherfuckers.

It's an interesting combination.

When I was about twelve he decided to show me respect for gunpowder by pouring out a (not long enough) line of it ending in a (too large) pile.

Important Safety Tip: Do not get close to a pile of gunpowder when your crazy motherfucker mad scientist drill sergeant dad hands you a match and says, "Light it."

I went blind for about 15 minutes and the entire right side of my head was singed. I kept most of my right eyebrow, but I stunk of burnt hair for two days and my ears rang for a week.

Apparently, this brand of stupid is more common than you might think.

A father in Woodland Hills trying to show his son the dangers of gunpowder blew off one of his own fingers, injured his son, shattered a window and managed to get a visit from the bomb squad.

And all with one match. I'm impressed.

What do you think, kid learn his lesson?

I'm all for experiential learning, but just like you don't teach your kid respect for the ocean by jumping into a shark tank, it's usually not a good idea to blow yourself up to get him to understand that being blown up is bad.

You want to teach your children something about explosives and fire? Take them to see this. No one hardly ever gets injured or dies.

And if they do you won't feel like an idiot because it's your fault.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What's Surprising Is That It Took So Long

La Cañada Flintridge

I've been wondering when the mortgage crisis was going to get so out of hand that people started beating the shit out of the folks in the middle of it. Now I have my answer.

Daniel Weston and Mary Ann Parmelee, 52, were trying to save their house. So they get hold of Lamond Dean and Luis Garcia, a couple of loan modification specialists. When it comes down to it, loan mod specialists can do fuck all to help you. They can talk to the banks on your behalf, get the paperwork going, but ultimately if the bank tells them to fuck off, well, there's not much they can do.

And, sadly, there are a lot of scams out there. And Weston and Parmelee seem to have thought they'd just been victims of one.

Back on the 20th Dean and Garcia were allegedly lured to a place in Glendale under the guise of a meeting where Weston and another, Gustavo Canez, 36, beat the holy hell out of them.

They used wooden knuckles to do it. Not brass, not aluminum. Wood. Who uses wooden knuckles? What, is it cheaper than a roll of nickels?

Anyway, handcrafted bludgeons aside, here's where it gets weird.

Besides Weston and Gonzales, who did the beatdown, there were three other people; Parmelee, who incidentally is a real estate agent and Mario Solomon Gonzales, 47 and Marissa Parker, 49. They both work with the two guys who got their heads kicked in referring them loan cases.

So, let me make sure I've got this straight. This wasn't a beatdown by random people getting screwed out of their homes. These aren't Joe The Plumber types.

This was a group of people who know the mortgage business, who know how the game is played. They're people who work the system. And they beat the crap out of people who also know the mortgage business, and know how the game is played.

We're talking about people who are pretty close to the meltdown, who know the score. Who know how all this is shaking out. They're eating their own.

Which makes me wonder, what do they know that we don't?

[Hat tip to Inkgrrl for the link. Thanks, hon.]

This Is Why I Love L.A.

Because nowhere else can you see such stunning examples of humanity.

And they say public transportation can't be fun.

Friday, October 23, 2009

It's Like An iPod, Only More Totalitarian

Los Angeles, CA

You ever wonder what would happen if Steve Jobs ran the Thought Police? Well, he might come up with something like this.

The iWatch program is the LAPD's latest attempt to create a city-wide terrorist watch. They launched it earlier this month. It's not like it's a new idea. Governments have been doing it for forever. See something suspicious and report it. Like "People drawing or measuring important buildings".

That should be easy. It's not like anybody takes pictures in Los Angeles, or anything.

Anyway, it caused a bit of a snit when it came out, as I'm sure you can understand.

And that snit's gotten a little bigger with the release of this PSA.

Huffington Post asks the question, "Important or Incredibly Creepy?"

I'm edging toward creepy. Not because I don't trust the LAPD, which I don't. I mean come on. What's to trust?

But because I don't trust you.

Yes, you. Seriously, people. You panic at the drop of a fucking hat. We get a drizzle in this town and it's STORM WATCH 2009!!!11!!one!! Oh my god, a car's pulled over on the freeway twelve miles away! Everybody slam on your fucking brakes!

I don't want you freaking out over some tourist from Wisconsin taking pictures of the Bradbury Building, or losing your shit because somebody left his backpack on a bus.

There's a common strategy you see in war propaganda where a group of men and women is shown who are supposed to be representative of The People. You, me, the guy down the street, the woman next door, whatever. Everyone you see is Us.

Which implies that everyone you don't see is Them.

Look at the people in the video. The writers of this thing tried to cover a lot of bases, hit a lot of ethnic groups.

But there's only one person with an accent, an Indian woman. No one looks to be Middle-Eastern, though there's one guy who kind of maybe sort of might pass. Until you hear his name is George.

Now I'm not saying they intentionally did this. After all I'm not seeing anyone who looks, I don't know, Hmong? Samoan? But when you consider that we have the largest population of Iranians outside of Iran here, you'd think maybe you'd want to toss a couple of them in for good measure. Would it have killed them to throw a Mehrdad in there?

Yes, L.A. is a big fat fucking target. Yes, Islamic extremism is the thing we're all worried about. And yes, this is a delicate idea that the LAPD is trying to sell.

But the thing that really creeps me out about this is the blond chick. Scares the piss out of me. Look at those fucking eyes. She's totally got that Innsmouth Look. Like a goddamn trout.

Screw all the 1984 stuff. She's the one you have to watch out for.

[Hat tip to my buddy Mike for bouncing the video my way]

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cold Cases Are Hot Again

Chula Vista, CA

In case you hadn't heard, crime's down. According to the FBI's latest report since 2008, murder's dropped 3.9%, aggravated assault 2.5%. Rape and robbery down 1.6% and .7% respectively.

Which means that the cops have a little more time to go digging into all those unsolved cases.

Like the murder of Cathy Paternoster, 32, and her partner, Carl Fuerst, 41, who were shot to death on October 11, 1989. Twenty years, almost to the day, and the San Bernardino County Sheriff's finally made an arrest.

Eric Fagan, 74, a lawyer in San Diego, was picked up this morning for the murders. His girlfriend at the time was Paternoster's mom and the cops think he committed the murders so that she could get custody of one of her grandkids.

Now that's devotion. Fucked up devotion, but still. I know I wouldn't kill a girlfriend's kid for her. That's kind of pushing it.

But what do I know? I didn't write a dating manual.

Is that in these days? Kill your date's kids? I thought it was still dinner and a movie.

Whatever happened to wooing? Whatever happened to romance?

Whatever happened to giving a fake name and sneaking out of her apartment but forget that she's got this really nasty Doberman who doesn't like you who sleeps in the foyer so you end up having to go out through the sliding glass door onto the balcony and realize that you're three stories up and have to shimmy down a drainpipe to the ground and then one of her neighbors sees you and thinks you're a burglar so they call the cops and then you're in the spotlights and on the evening news and your date pokes her head out, figures what you're doing and says, "Nope, officers, never seen him before. Bastard must be a rapist, or something," and then the cops taser your ass from the second floor and you spend the next month in traction and the six after in County because the judge won't grant you bail?

Not that I would know anything about that sort of thing. I'm just sayin'. It could happen. To, you know, a friend. Some guy. Who is totally not me.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

So, 'Less Than Lethal' Huh?

San Bernardino, CA

Electricity kills. Lightning strikes and Edison proved that. San Bernardino police are just carrying on a fine tradition of proving the point. With Tasers.

Cops were called to break up a fight at a board-and-care facility in San Bernardino yesterday. One of the fighters, a 19-year-old man, "...became combative and a Taser was depolyed to control him."

And boy did it. He started having trouble breathing and died an hour later at the hospital.

It's funny what fifty thousand volts will do to a guy. Sure, it usually beats shooting somebody. Fewer holes, at least. And he probably had something wrong going on already. Heart murmur, epilepsy. Who knows?

Which is kind of the problem with Tasers. You never know if someone's going to have an issue with it (beyond the screaming, I mean) until you hit him. And then it's too late.

At least with a baton or a shotgun beanbag you know what you're getting every time. Some cracked ribs, busted nose. Concussion.

That's right. Bring back the beatdown. High tech isn't always the answer. You can kill somebody just as effectively with a Mag-lite as you can with a taser if you really want to.

And it's a good cardio work-out you keep it up long enough.

Beats Panhandling, I Suppose

Marina Del Rey, CA

Everybody's got a kink. Spanking, bondage, cheerleaders, Scotsmen, whatever. And that's fine. Whatever floats your boat. I ain't gonna judge.

Just don't let it get out of hand.

Take Dr. Robert Richardson, for example. He's not the real Dr. Robert Richardson. He's actually Jeffrey Lynn Graybill, 40, of Phoenix.

Seems Mr. Graybill stole Dr. Richardson's identity. Posed as a fertility clinic doctor. Put up a Craigslist ad looking for college age men for a fertility study. Five hundred bucks for an initial semen sample. Up to 4K if he likes ya.

Five hundred bucks. Is that the going rate for a money shot these days?

So, anyway, he'd meet these guys either in an apartment in MDR or Santa Monica. Do, well, you know, to the gentlemen in question and then go on his merry way.

When they busted him, cops found "undisclosed evidence" in Graybill's house in Phoenix showing he'd done this to at least 24 guys. Two came forward, so to speak.

They've got him on two counts of practicing medicine without a license, two counts of false personation, two counts of identity theft, two counts of sexual battery by fraud, three counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object.

Just imagine what they'll get if they can find the other 22 guys to show up. I hope they don't have to give the money back.

And You Thought I Was Dead

No such luck. Sorry. You're stuck with me. Like a bad rash.

Been up to my ass in alligators as they say. Swamp drainage ain't what it used to be.

But enough about my sorry ass, let's talk about dead people.

Like over in Marina Del Rey. You ever see those dead body Halloween decorations where people hang them from trees, stick them halfway out of the ground or hang them over a balcony railing for four days before somebody goes, "Hey, I don't think that's a dummy," and then they call the cops and the cops go, "Dude, you're so totally right," and it turns out that it's some guy who shot himself in the head and nobody noticed the entire time because, hey, who checks on old people, right?

Yep. Four days. Mostafa Mahmoud Zayed, 75, of Marina Del Rey. Gunshot to the head.

Happy Halloween, everybody.

Or, Guillermo Marinero, 28, in Monrovia who turned himself into police after strangling his girlfriend, Theresa Cardoza, 28, in a car.

Domestic dispute. Guy's got no criminal record. At least he surrendered on his own. That's something, right? No? Yeah, I didn't think so either.

Then we've got a murder-suicide in La Cañada Flintridge. No word yet on who shot who. Or is that whom? I can never remember.

And to round off the depressing, we have a mom in South L.A. who has a freak-out and shoots her kids. Multiple times.

Right. Now I remember. This is why I've been away so long.