Sunday, April 29, 2012

Twenty Years Ago I Was Directing Traffic. How About You?


Today marks the twentieth anniversary of the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Four officers of the LAPD stood trial for the brutal beating of Rodney King a year before. All four were acquitted of assault charges and three were acquitted of excessive force.

And L.A. burned because of it.

The city went batshit for the next six days. Fifty-three people dead, 2000 injured. Over 3600 fires destroyed 1100 buildings and dealt almost a billion dollars in damages. The National Guard was called out. Marines came up from Pendleton.

And a lot of people risked their lives to help others.

Reginald Denny was pulled from his truck on the corner of Normandie and Florence and beaten within an inch of his life by a pissed off mob. There were no police to help him.

Instead, after seeing the scene played out on the news as it was being filmed by a helicopter, a lone, unarmed man, Bobby Green Jr., drove to the scene and pulled Denny to safety.

A few minutes later, at the same intersection, Fidel Lopez was beaten into unconsciousness and would have died if not for Reverend Bennie Newton, who put himself between the mob and Lopez telling them that if they were going to kill the man, they'd have to kill him, too.

I got stuck on Lincoln Boulevard heading home. I've never seen traffic so bad before or since, which is saying something for L.A. Horrible gridlock. People panicking. At one point I got out of my car and helped another guy direct traffic just so we could get cars moving.

Hardly heroic, but I'd like to think it helped a little bit.

On this twentieth anniversary of a really shitty week I don't want to think about the looting, the fires or the people who did terrible things out of anger and frustration. I don't want to dwell on the race problems and bullshit politics that made the riots possible. I don't want to focus on the problems that are still apparent, and the inequalities that set L.A. on fire.

I think about that shit every fucking day.

Today I want to remember the men and women who did the right thing. Who went out of their way to help their friends, neighbors and total strangers. I want to remember the people who put themselves in harm's way. The paramedics and firefighters, the police who put themselves in the line of fire to keep them alive, the doctors and nurses who drove into a war zone to do their jobs, the civilians who crossed their fingers, kept their heads down and did what they could.

So do me a favor, would you? Help somebody out today. Make someone's life a little better. Give 'em a hug, buy 'em a beer. Stand up for somebody less fortunate. Fight for somebody's equality. Pull somebody out of the gutter.

Big things, small things, I don't care. Just make the world a better place, would ya?

Thanks.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Condom Police They Live Inside Of Your Head

Los Angeles, CA

Earlier this year L.A. passed an ordinance requiring the use of condoms at location porn shoots done inside city limits. That's a pretty hefty number. They don't call this place Porn Valley for nothin'.

There have been some pretty major health scares in the industry over the last few years and the Adult Industry Medical Health Care Foundation, which administered and tracked monthly STD tests for performers, shut down over a database breach last year that exposed some 12,000 (yes, THOUSAND) performers' names and STD results.

So, understandably, this has been considered a win by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

There's just one problem.

Nobody wants to enforce it.

At a meeting yesterday with the city council the LAPD and LAFD made it clear that they're not equipped to do that sort of thing. Good for them. With a $220 million budget gap the city is saying they'll probably have to lay people off. Toss in the latest LAFD response time controversy and it's pretty clear they've got better things to do.

And that's before you get into the industry arguments.
-What would happen if a married man and woman wanted to make a video via location shoot in L.A? The city, one rep argued, would essentially be mandating birth control.

-FilmLA, which coordinates film permits for the city, doesn't ask producers whether or not their productions involve sex.

-How would so-called "cam sites" be regulated: They beam live sex to the web, sometimes from the privacy of people's homes. Would a couple broadcasting their sessions from the city of L.A. have to use condoms? Is the city ready to inspect or even raid homes over condom use?
Passing regulations without bothering to figure out how to enforce or pay for them is just another example of L.A. idiot politics.

Worst case, I suppose they could find volunteers. Any takers? I hear they give you a snazzy helmet with a giant penis on top.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Crash It Like Ya Stole It

Ontario, CA

You know, a lot of high speed chases aren't.

There's too much traffic, the driver doesn't know where he's going and backs up a lot. And then he's got twenty cop cars and five news choppers on his ass, so he's puttering along trying to figure out some way he can pull over and explain that, no, officer I didn't really steal the car, I just sort of, you know, borrowed it.

And then there are the ones that are.

An LASD helicopter got a hit on a LoJack tracking device last night as it was flying over the 60 Freeway and called in the CHP who identified the stolen car.

And that's when the woman driving it hit the gas.

A lot of high speed chases end when drivers figure out they're screwed, get off the freeway and pull into a parking lot.

In this case she gunned it, pulled into a residential neighborhood doing 90 and slammed into a tree. She managed to get out of the car, stumble a few feet and fall over.

And then the car burst into flames.

Which is actually a pretty hard thing to make happen. I'm impressed. My hat off to your pyrotchnic skills, madame.

Glad you survived the wreck. Enjoy your felony charges of GTA and public endangerment.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Check Out My Groovy New Pad

I've gone and done it.

No, not that. There's still a restraining order. And that thing with the pies and the donkey? Well, the less said about that the better.

I'm talking about my new website, StephenBlackmoore.com. It even has a blog. And an inaugural post, too.

Now I'm not leaving here, just taking the place back to its roots. I'll be talking about Los Angeles crime, politics, shit like that. The way I had originally intended.

The blog over on StephenBlackmoore.com will be for writing, random thoughts, the sort of mental clutter than doesn't really fit over here.

And selling books, too, of course. Let's be honest, here. A brother's gotta eat.

I'd love it if you'd hop on over there and take a look. Let me know what you think. Hopefully I'll see y'all in both places.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

He Can't Possibly Be Dangerous, Anymore... Right?

Corcoran State Prison, CA... You know, where he belongs

Charles "Chuckles" Manson, that boisterous scamp who was responsible for leading a bunch of psycho hippies to multiple brutal murders in 1969, including a tremendously pregnant Sharon Tate at Roman Polanski's home in Los Angeles, is 77 years old and up for parole.

Again.

He's been up for parole 11 other times. He refused to participate in the the last hearing back in 2007, saying that he was a "prisoner of the political system." Which, I guess, is technically true?

Before he went in this last time he'd been in prison 15 years already. He's been locked up since 1971. He's spent something like 60 years of his life inside.

He's batshit crazy.

The world's moved on and it's not like he's kept pace. Can you imagine what he'd do on the Internet?

Yeah, that's right, he'd stare at the screen wondering how they got the magic elves inside the box. I doubt he'd be able to order a pizza online much less use a mouse.

Look, the guy doesn't want to get out, we don't want him to get out.

If they let him free he'll be gunned down because he pissed off the wrong guy or step in front of a Prius because he can't hear it coming.

Huh. On second thought, maybe that's exactly what they should do.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

I'm In The Funny Pages

Hey, boys and girls, girls who are boys and boys who are girls, guess what?!

...

You're supposed to say, "What?"

That's better.

The very excellent crime / horror comic by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, FATALE, hits the stands with issue number 4 today and besides the fantastic writing and excellent artwork, they've got a special treat at the end for ya.

Me.

Well, not me exactly. A piece by me. About a guy who was an inspiration for Raymond Chandler's detective Philip Marlowe, an ex-LAPD detective turned private eye named Harry Raymond, who was once so feared by the incredibly corrupt mayor of Los Angeles, Frank Shaw that in 1938 the LAPD tried to assassinate him.

For realsies.

See?


You want to read the rest of that bad boy and get a feel for just how corrupt this city used to be (surprisingly, yes, it used to be A LOT worse) you're gonna go have to pick up a copy of the comic yourself.

So get thee to your friendly neighborhood comic store and grab one.

You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

KHAAAAAAAN... Of Mars

I'm writing a book about a monkey.

Let me back up.

So, the good folks over at Evil Hat had this idea a little while ago to do a series of Golden Age style pulp novels as tie-ins to their games SPIRIT OF THE CENTURY and RACE TO ADVENTURE starting with the book DINOCALYPSE NOW! by Chuck Wendig.

So they created a Kickstarter to fund the project, gauge some interest. Not a huge goal. $5000.00. And if they hit that the second novel in the series, BEYOND DINOCALYPSE, would be greenlit.

And then something interesting happened.

They blew past their goal in less than a day.

And so Fred Hicks, who as I've said before is one really smart motherfucker, kept pushing the rewards. If they hit $10K they'd do the whole trilogy written by Chuck, but at $15K backers would get another book by Brian Clevinger (ATOMIC ROBO). At $20K there'd be yet another book, this time by C.E. Murphy.

Would it end? Could it end?

Last night they blew past their $20K mark and they still have almost 20 days left to go.  As of right now they're at over $22,000.00

Which brings me to this news.

One of the characters in the Dinocalypse trilogy is a hyper-intelligent, tweed wearing ape named Professor Khan. Imagine Sean Connery's character in Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade mixed with a very restrained Hellboy and you have a pretty good picture. Only, you know, an ape. And he has trouble working in his ape nature. But sometimes, when things get rough, he, well (apologies in advance), goes ape.

If The Dinocalypse Kickstarter hits $25K, the amazingly talented Harry Connolly (The TWENTY PALACES series) will be writing a new Professor Khan novel in which he plays private detective in the glittery underbelly of 1940's Hollywood.

And if the Kickstarter gets to $30K, I will write the next Professor Khan novel, KHAN OF MARS.

Our edudite ape is transported to the Red Planet where he will engage in... Red Planet stuff. I don't know which stuff, yet, but there will be... ahem...

THRILLS! 
CHILLS! 
SWASHBUCKLING! 
ADVENTURE! 
Perhaps even, dare we say it? (oh, we dare, WE DARE!) 
ROMANCE!

So, if you want to see a book out of me about a 1940's pulp adventurer who happens to be a hyper-intelligent talking gorilla who can rip tree trunks in half with his bare hands, then please, check out the Kickstarter and help get us to $30K.

BECAUSE I REALLY REALLY WANT TO WRITE THIS BOOK.


Thank you.