Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Radu-Chapter XXXXIV (A Novel by Patrick Kelley)

Links to previous installments are at the end of this chapter
Radu-Chapter XXXXIV (A Novel by Patrick Kelley)
4 pages approximate
For the first time in such a long time that it felt like the very first time in Edward Akito’s life, the unthinkable occurred. His well-laid plans had fallen apart. He could not access the Defense Department website he needed in order to initiate an immediate missile assault on the localities he surreptitiously had installed on the DOD site. Someone somehow had accessed the site and changed the code.

He had failed, precisely because he had followed his plans to the letter. The technician he had paid handsomely for his traitorous and subversive act was now long dead, as per Akito’s instructions-Eddie felt this was necessary in order to protect the operation. Unfortunately, now that he was dead, there was no one to repair the damage to the plan almost certainly perpetrated by a Negro gang lord who was little more than a glorified street thug. Letcher’s home on the outskirt of Baltimore was, as Letcher himself, completely obliterated. Nothing remained of the home and the property on which it once sat was now a large crater. Whatever the late rapper had done was, therefore, irreversible.

Akito chuckled bitterly at the irony as he donned his costume and his Noh mask. To the background of his native Japanese music, he simulated the dance steps of the Japanese theatre from which he began his long career, a career that took him from the inner circles of the Tokyo elite into which he married, to a spoiled princess of the ancient Japanese feudal nobility. From there he ascended to the corridors of power in Washington itself.

Although nominally a Shinto, Eddie was never truly a religious man. Yet, when he inadvertently stumbled upon the existence of the obscure little Romanian sect that traced its origins to the days of Vlad the Impaler, and on back to the earliest days of Christianity itself, he studied them intently and learned all he could of them, until that day they finally accepted him within their inner circle.

Where most might consider them dangerously deluded fanatics, Akito saw them in an entirely different light. He knew they had the wherewithal to accomplish the goals to which they had dedicated their lives-that of bringing about the Kingdom of God as they saw it and as they interpreted the prophecies of their sacred collection of ancient books-the Holy Bible.

Although they were a cloistered sect, long ago driven underground, and yet dwelling secretly on the fringes of the Romanian Orthodox Church, they planned for the day when they would unite the world-or, what would be left of it, that is, after they ascended to power. He joined them and became one of its most important and powerful members over time. What began as an alliance of convenience changed Edward Akito. He was, in truth, one of the more devout among them, and had been for some time. He would do anything to further their cause.

Unfortunately, he had failed them, and felt greatly ashamed for his failure. It was a matter of honor, which was something else into which he had married. He always strived to live up to that ancient code of honor, and his failure was unthinkable. Even in the unlikely event that his part in the conspiracy to bring about the end of modern day civilization remained concealed, his secret shame would be unbearable.

The Order of The Dragon, the so-called One True Christian Church, The Way, would, he realized, continue after his life ended. If they were ultimately successful, this would come about long after they all were gone. It would come about gradually at first, as the generations would arise and fall, until the time was right. Perhaps they had been too eager. It is not appropriate, he realized, to rush God’s prophecy. He would decide when the time was right, and in fact had long ago done so.

Although Edward Akito was nominally a Shinto, he was also a searcher, and experimented with different spiritual paths, but all of them had left him empty and unfulfilled. When he met Grace Rodescu, shortly after his initiation into the sect, he knew he had come face to face with God’s unknowing agent of change. When she survived the attempt on her life, as a young girl barely into her teens, he knew he was right. From that time forward, he oversaw her growth and development from afar. He could not be too heavy handed. He had to allow her to live her life and to grow and develop on her own, at her own pace. It was difficult at times, even excruciating, but he could not allow himself to interfere other than watching and monitoring carefully.

His patience and effort finally paid off. Now, she lay within his specially equipped guest room, ready to give birth at any minute, to the child that would itself herald a new epoch for mankind, a new golden age that would see a return to faith, and yet to reason. Man as a whole would turn back to God, and the old prophesies would find fulfillment in a new heaven and a new earth, joined in an eternal and naturally harmonious marriage. The Church would truly become, at last, the Bride of Christ. It would become the entire world.

He created a Noh drama precisely to celebrate the coming birth and what all that it portends. Unfortunately, the new world would be a limited one for yet some time to come. It would grow and prosper, albeit more slowly than they all originally conceived. Patience was the true companion to faith, Eddie reminded himself.

Edward Akito examined his new, specially created and lovingly crafted Noh mask in his mirror. It looked, appropriately enough, like a dragon vampire, its fangs protruding from a blood red mouth surrounded by a green, scaly face. He smiled in satisfaction and, as the music played, he danced, but the ringing of the doorbell interrupted his reveries. When he looked outside the peephole, he recognized the woman immediately. He opened the door, not even thinking of taking off the demoniac Noh mask.

“I take it that is you, Eddie?”

“You don’t know how good it is to see you again,” he said as he removed the mask. “It has been a long time indeed, but I would certainly know you anywhere. Please come in. Grace will give birth soon.”

“I am sorry I could not make it sooner,” the woman replied. “It is not often I get the chance to be a midwife for a birth of anything nearly as consequential as this. This is truly a great honor. Alas, the airport lost my luggage temporarily. I took it as an omen that the time was not quite right.”

“She is certainly enduring a long, painful pregnancy,” Akito affirmed. “No one but our Grace would possibly have the strength and the fortitude to endure such agony. Will you go to her now?”

“I most certainly will, if you do not mind seeing to my belongings. My bags are just outside the door.”

“Of course,” Akito replied as he ushered his guest toward the guest room. Standing at the door, they could hear the loud breathing and barely restrained groans of Grace. When the midwife entered, she was aghast at the obvious agony Grace Rodescu displayed.

“I was beginning to wonder-if you would-make it here in time.” Grace gasped as she pulled herself out of bed. She approached not the woman who came to guide her through the final stages of her delivery, however, but the mirror that hung upon the wall.

She looked at herself in the mirror dispassionately, as though looking not into a mirror, but through a window at some unknown person. Her face swelled to twice its normal size and puffy sores on her face drained a greenish pus that stank of decay. Her skin cracked, displaying an appearance much like spider webs. She removed her gown only to note that her entire body displayed the same symptoms. She was bloated beyond the normal appearance of a pregnancy. She could not see her legs past her enormously protruding stomach, which extended well past the nipples of her breasts, which drained what seemed more like menstrual fluid than normal mammary secretions.

“Your sweat is like blood,” the midwife said. “You are drenched in it.”

“It’s more like bile of some sort,” Grace said as though she were an attending physician, and not herself the patient. The midwife, silently impressed by her courage and stamina, advised her to lie down.

“I can’t lie down,” Grace protested. “Who could lie down at a time like this?”

“I wonder if I could do anything but that,” the woman replied, but Grace did not hear her. She suddenly groaned in horrible agony and began to shake. She simultaneously urinated and voided her bowels as the stench filled the air. Grace collapsed in agony onto the floor, as her water broke, and she went into the most violent convulsions the midwife had ever seen. She knew at that point that her presence here was of no benefit beyond providing the necessary witness to this divine event-until the moment the child was born. Then, her presence would be vital. Until then, all she could do was wait, while making note of the fact that, as she said, “it is time.”

Grace could feel her skin cracking open and the fluid draining from every opening, from every orifice and skin pore, conscious throughout the entirety of her convulsions, which seemed to drag on forever, and in fact ended up lasting well over two hours, every minute of which seemed like an hour in itself. She had been through some violent heroin withdrawals before, but even they were nothing compared to this. Never had she felt such pain, such helplessness-and yet, such unbridled joy and serenity.

Eddie told her earlier how their plans had failed, but Grace now transcended all thoughts of failure. She had found her own destiny, her true purpose in life, at last. Finally, the convulsions were over, and she rose, from the blood and the vomit she rose, from the feces and urine, she rose, from the stench of the sweat that yet bathed her, she rose, and looked down upon the ground and the death and decay from which she rose. The child was now born, and the child cried with assured triumph, its conquest over the forces of earthly restraint settled.

Grace looked upon the child, and then looked upon the midwife, and she smiled at the midwife, who gasped in shocked horror.

“Oh my God!” she said as she turned quickly toward the door. Grace collapsed into the bed, oblivious now to the blood that soaked the entirety of the small room and its furnishings, including the bed upon which she lay, and onto which her sweating skin and matted, oily hair now seemed pasted. She breathed deeply in relief and thankfulness for the freedom from the pain, now left behind on the bloody mass on the floor beside her. She was for now exhausted, but triumphant. The child was born at last, she realized, as the bedroom door opened.

Yet, no one appeared at the open door toward which Grace looked expectantly, until a gloved hand appeared from the other side, as the strains of Japanese music drifted inside in calming, somber, yet somehow at the same time joyous tones that made her forget her pain and all of her previous cares. She knew somehow that she had given birth to a new life. She was in fact the mother of all creation. Everything else seemed to fade into an unknowable void. Nothing else mattered.

She was however exhausted from her ordeal, and weakly made her way over to her bed. Yet, the child called out to her, though not aloud. The child’s thoughts filled her head, crowding out her own, until they became her own. For a few brief minutes, she no longer had any perspective in so far as direction, or time and space. She just hung suspended in what seemed an eternal void. Yet, the sensation was not an unpleasant one. She felt an infinite peace, the wisdom that dwells hidden within the seeming chaos of creation. There was no sense in offering resistance, nor in fact was there truly any need to do so. Soon, she felt the child’s life and its needs overwhelming her. Never had she been so aware, or in fact so much alive, so much as one with the universe. She was now a goddess-the mother of a new cosmos, a new heaven and a new earth, both become as one.

Grace rose slowly, and as she did so, a figure appeared in the doorway. It seemed to be the figure of a man, though with his face hidden behind a painted mask as he lurched his head forward into the room. He jumped inside and moved in exuberant fashion in a wildly ecstatic dance as he shook a rattle in his right hand. Grace watched him curiously, as he approached her.


Links To Previous Chapters
Part One
Prologue and Chapters I-X
Part Two
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Chapter XIV
Chapter XV
Chapter XVI
Chapter XVII
Chapter XVIII
Chapter XIX
Chapter XX
Chapter XXI
Chapter XXII
Chapter XXIII
Chapter XXIV
Chapter XXV
Chapter XXVI
Chapter XXVII
Chapter XXVIII
Chapter XXIX
Chapter XXX
Chapter XXXI
Chapter XXXII
Chapter XXXIII
Chapter XXXIV
Chapter XXXV
Chapter XXXVI
Chapter XXXVII
Chapter XXXIX
Chapter XXXX
Chapter XXXXI
Chapter XXXXII

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Is Wright Appearances Meant To Derail Obama?

No sooner did I post about how reasonable Jeremiah Wright seemed to me on Bill Moyer’s Journal on Friday Night than he comes out and seems determined to make an ass of himself in an appearance at The National Press Club. Admittedly, I did not see the entire appearance, so what I saw might be another example of a few snippets taken out of context. Whether this is or is not the case, something smells here.

What is behind this latest round of appearances? Who invited Wright to appear before the National Press Club? I find if difficult to believe that he extended an offer to appear there on his own initiative. Somebody else was behind the invitation. Who was it? Why was he invited to speak there? What is the reason for Wright’s combative rhetoric at such appearances? There are two possible explanations.

*The Clintons are behind it. I know this sounds like a crazed conspiracy theory, but it should not seem so far-fetched to those familiar with the Clintons. If they are behind it, is the Reverend Wright a willing co-conspirator, or is he a dupe? I tend to think it is the latter. The Clintons have a lot of friends within the ranks of black American leadership, and could be calling in favors from among those acquaintances of theirs who have an influence with Wright. Is that really that hard to believe? There are undoubtedly many within the black community whose lives and public careers intersect with Wright and the Clintons. How difficult would it be for such a person to convince Wright that he should make such appearances in order to defend his good name and his good works within the black community? This could be explained on the grounds that his silence might be misconstrued, and at any rate, he should not sit back and accept Obama’s political enemies using him, the Reverend Wright, as cannon-fodder, as a pawn.

Wright himself might even be a willing participant, as far as that goes. The Clintons and their allies have deep pockets, after all, and the Reverend Wright is no saint, however good a man he might or might not be.

*There are a lot of elements within the press whom I would suggest are desperate to see a Democratic victory in November, and some of these folks, many of whom have promoted Obama in the past, now might be experiencing a kind of buyer’s remorse. Viewed in the context of the last ABC debate, this too might not be as far-fetched as it might seem at first glance.

When you view the way George Stephanopoulos conducted himself in the interview on ABC, and consider the fact that he was a former Clinton staffer, it could be a little bit of both. Remember, at one point it was Clinton the press was accused of being rough on, and being easy on Obama. Now, it seems the press has changed horses in mid-stream.

Oh, and where was it the Reverend Wright appeared? Oh, yeah, it was the NATIONAL PRESS CLUB, wasn’t it? Thank you.

The Reverend Wright and his associates within the black American leadership, by the way, have their own ax to grind that might explain their seeming willingness to derail Obama’s candidacy. After all, ask yourself, do these people really want an improvement in American race relations. Obama obviously would like to see that come about.

Do the Clintons and the Reverend Wright, along with their friends and supporters-including the press and other elites-share his views? Do they really want race relations to improve? For that matter, do they really want to improve the overall lives of black Americans?

Is it possible that Obama is really in the minority when it comes to these issues, that he is perhaps one of the few genuine reformers in the country? Is it possible that he really wants to see blacks-gasp-take responsibility for their own lives, families, and communities, as opposed to languishing as class victims on government life-support?

Come to find out, I am not alone in my suspicions as to the possible agenda behind Wright's recent appearances. This has also been suggested by Politico, in addition to the New York Daily News.

There even seems to be a known culprit in the form of the Reverend Barbara Reynolds, a Clinton supporter and National Press Club member who just happens to be responsible for Wright's appearance. She is pictured at the top, sitting by Wright at the Press Club event.

She earlier has even gone so far as to denounce Obama for distancing himself from Wright on her blog.

What’s going to happen next? Maybe Bill Ayers might decide to go on another bombing rampage for old time’s sake. Maybe there will be a resurgence of the Weather Underground, one that will take up where the old incarnation left off with bombings of the Pentagon and other public buildings.

Maybe they’ll bomb the Clinton Library. You know, just to throw us all off the track.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Miley Cyrus-Whosesome Innocence As A Brand Name

The most obscene thing about Miley Cyrus of Disney's Hannah Montana isn't this article from Vanity Fair, or the photo above of Miley in what has been described as a suggestive pose with her father Billy Ray Cyrus, or any of the other photos from the article-including the one where she is posing in bright red lipstick, topless, her torso covered with a sheet.

No, the most obscene thing about Miley Cyrus is that the very people who are screaming bloody murder about how she has tarnished her image are the very same people who will gladly shell out thousands of dollars for their kids to go to see one of her concerts.

Noe THAT is fucking obscene.

Or how about the fact that Disney-also up in arms at what they ironically complain is the "exploitation" of their undoubtedly biggest star-seems to see no problem with their own brand of exploitation.

While we're on the subject of stupid parents and exploitation, doesn't it take kind of a sick mind to infer some kind of sexual meaning in the photo above? Is this really something people should be so up in arms about that they stage a CD burn, as some are calling for? I mean, what's the point, is she supposed to be having her arm up against his cock or something? Do you think he's looking off in the distance trying to act casual because he's got a great big old hard-on? Do you think you see a wet spot between her legs? What the fuck is wrong with you people?

Is it any fucking wonder that most child stars generally turn out to be basket cases by the time they hit their thirties?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Manson Girls-Coming Soon To A Threatre Near You

Just what the world needs-another Manson movie. This one revolves chiefly around the women in Charlie’s life, and it is obviously supposed to draw crowds looking for blood and gore and especially for the sexcapades typically associated with Manson’s orgiastic guru image. Unfortunately, judging by some of the dialogue on a part of the leaked script, realism takes a back seat to trite, wooden, and obvious characterizations. The women in this kind of movie act the way we are supposed to want them to act, and speak in the way we would expect them to speak.

Many four-letter words abound, of course, and you can probably count on many ironically intentioned references as well. Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme is one of the featured real-life characters, and you just know she will make some outrageously obvious statement to the effect that she would love to assassinate a President some day.

Sonny Bono even makes an appearance, getting it on with one of the girls sometime during a party at-you guessed it-the Polanski home. Yes, Charlie is there too, of course, making the rounds with all the celebrities at the side of his good bud Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys, and managing to piss off some of them, such as Frank Zappa.

At any rate, the movie is already being panned, and it hasn’t even been filmed yet. It’s actual production is up in the air, and as of now, there is a question as to the insurance problems of Lindsey Lohan, who is slated to star in the film as one of the girls-a question mark here as to which one. I read once that she might play Linda Kasabian, the one chick that turned state’s evidence against the Manson Family in the Tate-LaBianca murders. However, I later read that she might play one of the lesser-known girls. Talk about irony-the way Lohan’s life and career have spiraled out of control lately, this might be the most ominous case yet of type-casting, whichever one she plays.

Of course, bear in mind that a lot of the negativity about the movie is from the perspective of people who are Manson supporters-they are out there and there are more of them than you might think. They run the gamut from out and out apologists for Manson’s crimes, to those who think the media and prosecutors in the case at least greatly distorted the truth, to those who consider themselves friends of Manson and as such either deny his involvement in any of the more heinous crimes or make excuses for those crimes they cannot deny.

Here is a website that probably contains the most information, as well as pictures and forums, in addition to a gold mine of links.

This blog contains the information about the movie, and the blog owner, Colonel Parker, supplies the e-mail address of one of the principals involved.

Perhaps the most unintentionally humorous, in some respects, is You're Guilty Until Proven Innocent. This guy obviously has a great big old crush on Leslie Van Houten, and he will rake anybody over the coals who advocates that this woman remain in prison for life, regardless of the facts of her guilt in the murders of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. He is especially incensed that the surviving sister of Sharon Tate (who seems to be universally despised among these Manson bloggers) should dare insinuate herself into Van Houten’s case. His feeling is that since she was not involved in the murders of Sharon Tate and her friends, she and the rest of the Tate family should butt out.

As goofy as all this is, however, this site beats them all. Here we have a person who claims to be a Wiccan Priestess, and who claims to have an on-going friendship with Manson, who she describes as some kind of shaman and, as such, incapable of lying. The possibility that Charlie, being a lifelong habitual criminal, might well be quite the con artist never seems to have crossed her mind. Even before Tate-Labianca he had, after all, spent the majority of his life behind bars.

In an e-mail comment to one of the other blogs, she relates how Charlie called her house once when no one was home but one of her teenage daughters, who he proceeded to advise to dispose of all the cleaning agents in the house, on the grounds that it was bad for the environment. The daughter refused, and the two of them proceeded to yak it up for a few minutes. My guess is Charlie wanted to see how easy it would be to establish a hold over this young girl, but this “Wiccan Priestess” seems clueless.

Instead, she insists that Manson had nothing to do with the murders of Tate-LaBianca, which she blames on, well, what do you know, one of the victims-who she alleges had some to my knowledge unknown and heretofore unrevealed problem with some criminal drug associates. Manson was just a convenient foil, according to this scenario, a hapless victim of a District Attorney desperate for a conviction and an excuse to close the case quickly. I find myself wondering just what deck of Tarot cards she derived this information from.

Yet, when it comes to crimes that Manson did commit, she offers the most banal of excuses. The barbarically brutal murder of Donald “Shorty” Shea she glosses over as understandable and maybe even justified on the part of this world-class shaman. Even the brutality with which Charlie habitually treated the pitiable Dianne “Snake” Lake, whom he beat and abused on a regular basis for the entertainment of the others in the group, is excused by this Wiccan mother, despite the fact that Lake was at the time an under-aged girl. Lake’s worthless hippy father handed her over to Manson, by the way, in a transaction conducted with about as much thought as one might give a stranger a cigarette. Yet, we are supposed to view Charlie’s actions in regards to such matters with discernment. As he was a biker at heart, you see, that provides some context for his actions, according to her.

Some of these people are not too far off the mark. Vincent Bugliosi’s Helter Skelter theory has always been problematic at best. It almost reads like something Steven King would have dreamed up over a bad weekend high on mescaline, and then later discarded as just too bizarre to be believable. The real key to understanding the crimes, they say, is the prosecution of Manson associate Bobby Beausoleil for the murder of music teacher and dope pusher Gary Hindman, whom Bobby killed because of a dope deal that went sour, therefore causing Beausoleil a confrontation with the irate Straight Satans biker gang. Bobby claims to this day that killing Hindman was not a part of the plan, which was to extract a refund from Hindman for what the Satans claim was not high grade mescaline, but was in fact laced with strychnine. Hindman refused, and in the resultant argument that turned violent, Hindman was wounded, and then killed. After this all went down, Bobby hurriedly devised a scheme with the other girls then present-Susan Atkins and Mary Bruner- to blame it on some of Hindman’s fellow communist associates by writing on the wall, in Hindman’s blood, the word “Political Pigs”.

Unfortunately for Beausoleil, he stupidly allowed himself to be apprehended driving Hindman’s stolen car, after Hindman’s body was discovered earlier than he expected it would be. According to this theory, Manson, or the girls, with or without the help of Manson-depending on who you want to believe-set about conducting the Tate-LaBianca murders after Bobby’s arrest. They hoped in doing so to provide an alibi for Beausoleil, on the grounds that since he was in jail and awaiting trial for the Hindman murder, he obviously could not have been responsible for Tate-LaBianca, and so was probably innocent of the Hindman murder as well.

Where the Manson apologists lose track of reality is when they fail to take into account the fact that the Tate residence-actually owned at the time by Terry Melcher, the record producer and son of Doris Day-was chosen precisely because it was familiar to Manson and fellow conspirator Charles “Tex” Watson. They had been there as guests of Melcher, and had rode dune buggies all over the property.

That Manson might not have been involved in any of this, while technically possible, is nevertheless highly unlikely, to say the least. The Helter Skelter business, written on the walls of the Tate residence in the blood of one of the victims, certainly pointed the way for Vince Bugliosi to present his conspiracy as evidence based on the words of Susan Atkins and later of Linda Kasabian. Yet, it seems meant more to pave the way for the release of Beausoleil in the hopes all the murders would be blamed on some shadowy radical group, perhaps the Black Panthers. Helter Skelter was probably an afterthought. This seems to be an example of chaos married to pure evil spawning a diabolical offspring from the depths of hell.

So then, what would be the reason to accuse Manson of such a bizarre plot if there was no such fantastic scheme? According to the Mansonites, it was in order to have a provable case, albeit one made up out of whole cloth. Even though the police and Bugliosi apparently believed Manson was responsible for the heinous crimes, they had no proof. This conspiracy provided them with what they needed to bring a case. They evidently could not wrap their heads around the idea the career criminal Manson was not involved. These kids certainly did not do this on their own initiative. Such a scenario was simply too horrible a concept to entertain.

Of course, some Mansonites read even more into it than determination to find a scapegoat. They wanted Manson back in prison because he was dangerous to society due to his environmental beliefs. Yep, here we see Charlie revealed as among the first of the truly authentic modern day pioneer environmentalists. They credit him with the development of the philosophy of ATWA. This stands for Air, Trees, Water, and Animals, those four things Charlie in reality devoted his life to the preservation and protection of, above and beyond all other concerns. Because of such radical teachings, and because of his potential to start a new and widespread movement by utilizing his supposedly immense musical talent as a conduit, the system had to shut Charlie up-despite the fact that, until after his arrest for the Tate-LaBianca murders, nobody even knew who the fuck he was.

In the meantime, Manson is in prison for life, and so is thankfully most of his cohorts, including Bobby Beausoleil, who may have otherwise become a renowned musical artist over time. When he met Charles Manson as a fellow-member of a band called The Milky Way, he eventually diverged onto a road of ruin, but until that time, he had promise and potential. He was in a band called The Grass Roots (not the famous later band of the same name), and later Orkustra, a band with a concept ahead of it’s time, a psychedelic-classical fusion band with some jazz elements. He later went on to record the soundtrack for Kenneth Anger’s film Lucifer Rising and has since devoted himself to various artistic, musical, and writing projects.

Yet, he too will probably never get out of prison. He has changed his story numerous times. According to one account he gave, Manson was nowhere around the scene of the Hindman murder and was in no way involved with it. Later, he said Manson was there, and did in fact inflict the wound to Hindman’s cheek that nearly severed his ear. In his first account, Bobby himself struck this blow. He seems to change his story to suit the desires of the parole board, in an attempt to tell them what he perceives they want to hear in order to grant a parole that will probably never come his way. His association with Manson seems to have doomed him to a life imprisonment for a crime he for which he would ordinarily have been paroled twenty years ago.

This, then, is the true story of The Manson Girls. Like Bobby, it is a story of ruined lives and self-destruction beyond any realistic hope of redemption. Some of these girls, it is true, are the spawn of families the world would be better off without by any means necessary. For the most part, however, they were young, confused, naive young girls who went in the wrong direction and received the guidance they were looking for without knowing they were heading straight for the pits of hell. They came from good families, of working class, and in some cases upper middle class backgrounds, from families who were well liked and respected in their communities. They themselves in many cases had talents and great potential that, instead of molded with care and appropriate guidance, instead were twisted into abominations of humanity.

If the movie focuses on that point, it might well be a success and have something to add, something that is relevant for today and for all times. It can happen to anybody, under the right circumstances. No family, nor any child, regardless of background, is truly immune from the corruption of such manifestations of pure evil. The sex, drugs, and bloody mayhem can still be there, and should, but without this factor to provide some meaning to it all, it becomes just another exercise in exploitation.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Incendiary Distillations

I took the time last night to watch Bill Moyer’s Journal, something I rarely do, but last night the guest star was the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. I saw very little about his appearance or the replay of his now infamous sermons I viewed as objectionable. His angst over the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki I disagreed with, of course, but his views are not that uncommon. Some of his other nuttiness was also unfortunate. By the same token, this man is not, remember, the man who is running for President.

Nor, as I have said repeatedly, are his utterances any less vile than those of, say, the late Reverend Falwell, Pat Robertson, Bob Jones, or James Dobson. One of these days, I might make one of those two column quizzes where you match the statement to the correct minister, under the heading-


The numbers of given reasons could be significant.

A. Abortion
B. Homosexuality (and increasing tolerance of same)
C. Our sex-obsessed culture in television, movies, etc.
D. Our historical sins (slavery, abuse of the Indians, etc.)
E. Our arrogance and avarice in the world
F. Unjust wars

These are a pretty even mix of conservative and liberal thought, each one as valid as the other in some respects, and in other respects, every bit as invalid-assuming of course there is even a God who cares enough to damn us in the first place.

I saw enough to be left with the impression that this man is not a hater, he just believes what he believes (albeit wrongly in some cases, in my view) and feels compelled to express what he feels is God’s POV. His reasons come not from his own prejudices and preconceptions, but directly from the Bible, by the way-or at least according to his interpretation of the Bible.

He even hinted mildly that God might have allowed slavery to transpire for some greater good. To justify this position, he reminded us of the old story from Genesis about how Jacob’s brothers sold him into Egyptian slavery due to their jealousy over the favored status in which their father held him.

Joseph rose in power in Egypt, and thus found himself in the position of delivering aid to his father and brothers-the same ones who earlier sold him into slavery-by allowing them to enter Egypt when a famine cursed the land of Canaan, where they dwelled at that time as foreign immigrants.

That is quite unusual, I am thinking. Note he was not justifying slavery, merely giving an example of how God might make lemonade out of some very sour lemons. Usually, white preachers are the ones who make the point that God wanted black people brought here. You usually here how they were collectively better off here than there, or at least over time were certainly better off than are their African cousins-especially in this day and time of constant warfare, tribal based violence, and rampant starvation and disease, all of which seems unfortunately consistent occurrences within the dark continent.

According to Jeremiah Wright, he first met Obama when the latter approached him for help getting to know the various movers and shakers in the neighborhood. He was not a Christian-nor, for that matter, was he a Muslim, as is also falsely claimed by many today. He was just a man with no true belief system. Wright converted him to Christianity from what seems to have been the position of a religious skeptic.

Wright is an interesting man. Whatever your take on his beliefs, he is certainly a scholar of the Bible, and is well versed in the history of his people, especially as pertains to their religious journey here in America. One thing he said knocked me over with its simplicity, and yet, its common sense.

The slave owners and slave traders, he said, worshiped a different God than the one worshiped by Africans, in their chains down in the bottom of the ship. Wow! What a profound statement. This had nothing to do with differences in outer religious beliefs. This is just a simple fact. Were all the Africans Christians, of whatever denomination, it would be just as true as if they had just completed a sacrifice of their oldest child to Moloch.

For this reason, Wright did not enter the profession of Christian ministry easily, or without serious reservations. He understood how white people expected blacks to worship, from the earliest times, according to the cultural dictates and norms of white European society. The style of singing, the musical instruments favored, should fit into mainstream Christianity. In America, the transition over time to natural cultural expression was not as difficult as it was perhaps in Europe.

In American white churches, you get gospel music. In American black churches, you get jazz and the blues. White churches sing somberly and piously. Blacks sing raucously and exuberantly. They also dance, by the way, and stamp their feet and clap their hands and pretty much party down. Few white churches act in this manner, though there are some that do to at least a degree. Blacks that act like whites in church, by contrast, are pretty much members in good standing within majority white churches.

There has been a lot of angst over Wright’s appearance in Moyer’s show on PBS, beginning well before the program aired last night at ten o’ clock pm. It was widely assumed that this would further hurt Obama by keeping the controversy in the news. Actually, what damage the sound bites from Wright’s sermons did to Obama’s campaign was at the time and perhaps still are permanent, and could and might yet only get worse as the general election unfolds. Wright’s appearance might not help Obama, but on the other hand, it couldn’t hurt.

If God damns America, for whatever reason, don’t blame Wright. We will have no one to blame but ourselves. Whether Wright is right or wrong, about the particular reasons for God’s wrath, is an all-together different issue, and perhaps just another matter of opinion. There are many valid reasons to vote for Barak Obama, and many valid reasons to vote against him. The words of this minister is not a reason to vote either for or against him.

I think it might be appropriate to end this with the words of Fredrick Douglas, courtesy of Howling Latina-

"What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanks-givings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy -- a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour."

Ah, but we have come a long way, haven't we?

The Coming End Of Radu

Well, as of now there are only three chapters left of Radu, plus an epilogue. That is, unless I decide to break the last chapter up in order for the ending to not be so abrupt. More than likely, however, I will stick to plan A, because I want to get this first draft stage over with so I can move on (finally) to the editing stage. It has been a rough, wild and woolly ride.

It started out actually with a very simple plot device. Distilled to its basic essence, it was originally conceived as a novel about the struggle of life in the face of death, and dealt with the issue of what a person is willing to do in order to hold on to life until the bitter end.

From there, it eventually morphed into this bizarre psychodrama involving an international sex slave ring, which turned into an underground heretical Christian cult based out of Romania. Minor characters originally conceived as plot devices-in many cases they were little more than sounding boards for the major characters-took on a more important prominence. The most obvious example here would be Lieutenant James Berry. Originally a throwaway character of little importance, he became one of my favorites.

Others, originally conceived as major characters, ended up killed off relatively early on. Joseph Karinsky and his cult of Gothic vampire practitioners are the most obvious of these. Another such example would be Jason Talbert, who I ended up killing off without ever introducing him, aside from his shadowy, unnamed appearance in Chapter 7.

When I do the rewrite (which I am going to publish privately on another blog as a conduit to potential publishers), I do intend to play up the original theme a great deal more. As for the conspiracy, while I am not going to drop that, I am going to edit it down to where it is more feasible and much less intrusive.

The three main characters, of course, are Marlowe (Radu) Krovell, Grace Rodescu, and Father Aleksandre Khoska. I intend in the rewrite to put more emphasis on their lives aside from the conspiracy and its impact on their lives.

About these three, and the coming conclusion of the first draft of Radu, I will say only this. By the final chapter, two of these three characters will be dead, while one will undergo a transformation that will be staggering (to say the least) in its implications, as the unspeakable truth about Radu will be revealed, and Mircea finally makes his stand in what will (hopefully) be the most shocking revelation of all.

Well, that’s it for now, gotta go. It’s Cynthia’s feeding time.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

American Idol's Carly Smithson-Superstar Rejected

Carly Smithson got booted off American Idol last night, though not to my surprise. She went down in a blaze of glory, obviously among the most gifted of an extraordinarily talented (for American Idol) group of finalists. Her song choice, I think, did her in. Unwisely taking the advice of composer Andrew Lloyd Weber, this weeks mentor, she decided to sing his Jesus Christ Superstar, from the “rock opera” of the same name.

This last night’s affair revealed more about the pretentiousness of Weber, who is obviously, and rightly, proud of what was his first successful major Broadway musical, than it did about either Smithson or the viewers. Bear in mind, by the way, they did not so much as “vote her off” as vote in greater numbers in favor of the five remaining contestants. The judges of the show were shocked at her elimination, which shows they are as clueless as Weber.

No, I am not saying Smithson was rejected by an angry coalition of conservative Bible-thumpers, as these folks would be unlikely, to say the least, to even watch American Idol, let alone call in votes after the show. By the same token, try this little mental experiment:

Pretend you are at Karaoke night over a weekend at your favorite nightclub. Imagine you live somewhere in the Midwest. This weekend’s Karaoke contest has as its theme songs from the seventies. This puts you in a quandary. You would really love to win the two hundred dollar prize, but you only know four songs from the seventies, so you know you should pick one of these songs, and should choose one that not only do you like and know enough to do well, but one the crowd will like as well. So, you decide between-

*Highway To Hell by AC/DC
*Imagine by John Lennon
*Jamie’s Crying, by Van Halen
*Jesus Christ Superstar, by Murray Head

Yeah, it actually was a hit song back in the early seventies, but you see, there is one factor that was current at the time that is irrelevant to today. Most people that listened to the song back then were more than vaguely aware of the Broadway musical, and later album and movie of the same name.

Therefore-and this is important-most people understood the context of the song. Outside of that context, that of one song within a Broadway musical, it loses that meaning. As a stand-alone song, it just doesn’t cut it for a variety of reasons. The fact that it is not that good a song to begin with is not the least of it. Added to this is the fact that-again, as a single song on its own-it can come across as pretentious, condescending, and yes, disrespectful.

To put it bluntly, it really makes no sense outside its original context. An average television Idol watcher of today is at a loss to understand the point of it. It goes without saying, of course, or it should, that the vast majority of Idol fans were not even born when “Jesus Christ Superstar” was a current hit.

It’s hard to fault Weber, who probably meant well, and probably honestly thought Carly Smithson well-suited to this type of number. It is kind of easy, however, to fault him for wanting to relive the feeling of this, his first great triumph, without giving any thought to the potential negative impact on Smithson. In fact, she did a superb job, and was among the favorites of the judges. Although she was not my favorite, she certainly was nowhere close to being among the worse. Another performer, Brooke White, who performed You Must Love Me, from Evita, lost her train of thought and had to start over.

The best performers of the night, in my opinion, were Syesha Mercado-who brought the house down with One Rock And Roll Too Many, from Starlight Express-and Jason Castro, who performed a very touching rendition of Memory, from the musical Cats. Both Syesha and Castro were, by the way, better than either usually is in my opinion, although the judges panned Castro (who in all honesty is usually among the worse of the performers).

By far the best though was David Cook, who is my own personal favorite among the group. He did a stirring rendition of Music of the Night, from Phantom of the Opera.

Cook is one of those performers who have been rare on Idol, a truly talented rocker and performer, and I expect him to at least finish in the top three, more than likely in the top two, and very possibly to win the finale. Frankly, he is the only reason I got interested in the show this season. Usually, I can’t stand to sit through it, and so, usually, I don’t. Cook, however, has the potential to be a great performer and recording artist. He will almost certainly have a brilliant future, regardless of whether or not he wins American Idol. Nevertheless, to win would obviously be a big and much welcome boost to a promising career.

Luckily, Weber didn’t talk him into performing King Herod’s Song.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Radu-Chapter XXXXIII (A Novel by Patrick Kelley)

Links to previous installments are at the end of this chapter
Radu-Chapter XXXXIII (A Novel by Patrick Kelley)
10 pages approximate
Toby looked sullenly at the headline of the latest issue of the Baltimore Inquirer. His fists clenched as he read, inadvertently wadding the edges of the tabloid.


Those motherfuckers have murdered me, he hissed to himself, while his lawyer, Desmond Marcellus, paced the floor behind him, looking warily at the seemingly countless numbers of gallon jugs of gasoline that all but filled the confines of Toby’s house. He didn’t even want to know about it.

“I’m planning a long trip,” Toby had explained. “I’m stocking up before I have to sell another platinum album just to be able to afford to drive out of state.”

Desmond shook his head as showed Toby the Inquirer article.

“Do you know what this means?” he demanded.

“Yeah, it means I’m a dead motherfucker. They got me after all. They couldn’t charge me with anything, so they just put the screws to me in the worse possible way. I’m sunk.”

“Starting with sales of your CDs and DVDs,” Desmond added. “I guess I might as well tell you now. There’s going to be a massive burning at the city park this Saturday night. WBMW is telling everybody to bring all their Toby Da Pimp recordings. They’re going to bulldoze them, crush them all up, then douse them with kerosene and stage a big old bonfire. There’s even talk of burning you in effigy. They actually got city permission for all this.”

What could he say? Everything in the article, supposedly leaked from an official source, was the truth. It laid out the evidence for Letcher’s involvement in various criminal activities, and at the same time explained concisely why he never faced charges, nor ever would.

“That article even accuses you of complicity in the murder of Spooky Gold, claims you were the main beneficiary after the fact. Which, hey, that happens to be the truth. So how did that go down?”

Desmond was beside himself. His major client was finished, and he saw potentially millions of dollars fly out the window, and his own reputation ruined by reason of association.

“James Berry shot him dead, like a dog, in the basement of the Crypt,” Letcher explained. “Spooky gave up, laid down his gun. Berry just calmly, coldly put a bullet right through his heart. Spooky never knew what hit him. Berry said after Spooky admitted to killing Reverend Chris George, he had to go. Spooky was just out of control. Which, he was. What the hell could I say about it? The fool popped me right in the gut, just to make it look good. Damn well almost killed me in the bargain. It’s not like I had a say in things. Ever since that fucking Milo set me up-you know what, fuck all this. I’ve got enough money saved up, I don’t need this shit. I’m going off somewhere. I just got one more thing I got to do, and then I’m out of here. Fuck Berry, fuck Marlowe Krovell, fuck everybody.”

Desmond flinched at the mention of Marlowe. He wasn’t about to just take all this calmly.

“What about this Krovell guy anyway? Is he really still alive? Did you guys really bomb the hospital just to help him escape? What the hell was you thinking?”

“That was Marshall Crenshaw’s doing. Spooky went along with it. We all did what Spooky said. I had no idea it was going to turn out like that. I thought Marshall was out of his fucking mind when I found out.

“Yeah, Krovell is still alive-if you want to call that living. Look, Desmond, I really need to be alone for a while. Did you get that thing I told you to get from Hacksaw?”

“Yeah, I got it, but I really wish you would tell me just what the fuck it is. I can’t make any sense out of it.”

Desmond handed the sheet of lined notebook paper with the code in the handwriting of his partner Hacksaw, the computer expert and hacker currently in custody, pending charges on conspiracy. The charges would never come about. He and the other lone survivor of the Seventeenth Pulse, Mercury Morris, were both detained by the Baltimore PD. They would release them in time, but by then it would be too late. Letcher only hoped he was capable of understanding the instructions written by his partner, and that Hacksaw destroyed any other copies, as he promised he would.

Desmond decided to depart the company of his now infamous client. He was at least grateful that, for the time being, he had what he trusted was an adequate security detail to protect him from the wrath of the various street thugs eager to get their hands on anyone seen on the premises of the man who was now arguably the most hated man in America.

Dwayne Letcher was finished. Most people now considered him a terrorist, with a share in the responsibility for the deaths of numerous innocents. As if that were not enough, his own people saw him as a police and federal informant, which ruined his previously impressive street creds. To put the icing on the cake, even those who had previously heralded his music for its originality of interpretation now denigrated it as “derivative”.

He knew the end was coming, and the true irony was, he would go down as a hero, but would never hear the accolades. He had no doubt Marlowe Krovell had told him the truth. He did doubt it at first, but then he remembered the last trips he made through the inner city where he was born and raised. It was always a hard life, and one had to fight to survive with just a shred of dignity. Now, the last few times he ventured into the old neighborhood, the despair was palpable. The last time he played Spooky’s Joint, the place was barely half-full. Usually, on a Saturday night, it was standing room only. Now, people were dying like flies. There were few survivors among the many victims of the epidemic, and though it showed promising signs of abating somewhat, there was clearly a good chance that it could come roaring back to life with a vengeance at any given time.

Most of the neighborhood concluded it was a manufactured epidemic meant to clear out the inner city in order to pave the way for development. If only they knew.

He remembered the last days of Felicia’s life, of how the doctor’s desperately tried to save her, all the while keeping her quarantined, as Toby desperately turned to Doctor David Chou, the man who miraculously saved his own life. Chou, however, was coldly unsympathetic.

“It is always hard to lose someone you love,” he said dispassionately, almost dryly.

“Ain’t there something you can do?” he persisted. “Hell, you made me good as new, and no one ever thought Sean and Marcus would ever come out of the vegetative state they were in. It’s almost like there was never anything wrong with them.”

“There is a big difference,” Chou replied. “Exposure to the compound can prevent infestation with viruses, but it can not cure them once they have taken hold. Your affliction, as well as those of the two young men of whom you speak, were of causes against which the compound has no such limitations in its application. I am afraid your girlfriend is beyond my help. You might try praying. That would be the limit of my advice.”

Dwayne Letcher became desperate in those final days, and was to the point of begging. He apologized profusely for the murder of Chou’s daughter, assuring him that he had no knowledge of it, nor was in any way involved. Chou just looked at him coldly.

“Like I told you,” he said. “There is nothing I can do.”

Felicia died three days later, of bubonic plaque, an illness supposedly wiped out centuries ago, or so Toby thought. She died in horrible agony. She died alone. Chou himself was incarcerated, accused of complicity in purposely spreading the epidemic, in what authorities described as a terrorist plot of epic proportions. He professed his innocence, explaining that someone must have sabotaged his formula without his knowledge. He was, he claimed, a mere general practitioner-a dupe. Chou’s wife as well died from the effects of the formula, once heralded as a potential wonder cure. His surviving children were in hiding.

When the remainder of the blood-derived compound went missing, this seemed to vindicate Chou, and so the authorities released him on his own recognizance while obviously watching his every move. There was never any real proof of any involvement on his part with any criminal conspiracy. The real culprit seemed to be a certain Doctor William Sherman, an apparent minor associate to Chou, who was conveniently missing since the apparent abduction of the compound itself. No one had any ideas as to his whereabouts, and since some of the formula had in fact disappeared from the confines of the CDC, the indication was that the alleged conspiracy moved far beyond the confines of a few isolated individuals. There was real cause for concern, but the government naturally appealed for calm.

Calm was the last thing towards which Toby was inclined. He had seen too many people die from the effects of everything from the plaque, to polio, on down to what seemed to be an incurable case of the common cold. His aunt died from the suddenly debilitating effects of the lupus from which she suffered for years. He watched an uncle succumb to hepatitis. Various friends and former neighbors begged for help, as if his sudden fame and wealth instilled in him a godlike power to at least heal the sick, if not raise the dead.

The churches went from full on a nightly basis to all but empty pews on Sundays, while relatively restrained demonstrations gradually gave way to riots. Now, with this latest edition of the Baltimore Inquirer, he soon would find himself the focus, not of appeals for aid, but of wrath, a conduit for the expression of rage and demands for vengeance. His people would gladly sacrifice him on the altar of justice. They would make an example out of him. He truly felt sorry for Hacksaw and Mercury. They had enough money stashed yet in offshore accounts, they might well be able to live relatively peaceful lives, if they could get away in time.

He could as well, but he would do so in the knowledge that the crime that was about to occur would make the recent epidemic look like child’s play, and would in fact pave the way for it’s resurgence to an unfathomable, in fact an unstoppable degree.

He started the computer, quickly putting in the password written down on the paper Desmond smuggled from the jail in his visit to Hacksaw. The machine came on and opened up. Toby feverishly punched in the numbers, and letters, until an account opened that demanded a specific set of passwords in order to gain access. He typed in the twenty-seven character code, only to watch as the top secret, classified site denied him access. He felt his heart stop when he saw that, and looked once more at the code. Hacksaw must have copied the code down wrong, which would be understandable, given the amount of characters it contained. Now what in the hell was he going to do? He didn’t have that much time, and it was conceivable that his efforts to infiltrate the government intra-departmental secured web-site would not go by unnoticed. Still, he had to keep trying. What else could he do? He looked desperately at the code for some kind of clue. He perused each character slowly.


He reasoned that Hacksaw must have copied down the code correctly from one he carried with him. That meant, if true, he was missing something. He wondered whether Hacksaw had inadvertently used the wrong parenthesis character, and tried using the opposite one on the keyboard-to no avail. He considered the possibility that the “q” character should instead be a “g”. To his despair, this too proved futile. He decided it would be impossible to mistake any other key for the asterisk symbol, and so dropped that idea without pursuing it.

Then, Desmond returned. He seemed even more disturbed than when last he left.

“Those Feds,” he began, “that woman and the guy Fifer that interrogated you-they’re right outside the house. What do you think they want?”

Before Toby could answer, Desmond looked toward the computer screen. His eyes bulged suddenly and fiercely.

“What in the hell are you doing on a government web-site?”

“Desmond, never mind that, I need you to tell me something. Look at this. It’s important that I access this site, but I think I got something wrong here.”

“You have got to be fucking kidding me. This looks like a classified Defense Department site. What the hell are you doing?”

“I’m trying to delete a code, one that will give the wrong people access to the wrong information,” he said. “Look, Desmond, I ain’t got time to explain this. I’m already on the site, and there’s a good chance those Feds will be in here any minute now. If I don’t take that code off, somebody will”-

“How did it get on there?” Desmond asked as he snatched the code from Toby’s hand. Toby reluctantly relinquished it, fearing that Desmond, in his determination to prevent Toby from digging a deeper hole for himself, might unknowingly pave the way for hell on earth.

“Hacksaw put it on there,” he explained desperately. “It was embedded on the DVD, in the song where Chou’s daughter was murdered.”

“What?” Desmond was incredulous.

“I know it sounds crazy, but that was the reason for the power outage a couple of weeks ago. During the repairs, somebody retrieved the code and put it on this site. Now I got to get it off here, or else.”

Desmond just looked blankly at Letcher.

“Or else what?” he asked.

“Or else a bunch of people are going to catch pure hell, to put it bluntly. If you don’t want to see the whole country, including Baltimore, up in flames, you’d better help me out here and stop bugging me with these stupid questions.”

Desmond looked at the code on the paper, unsure of what to believe. He did know one thing for sure-on rare occasions, he had seen fear emanate from the person of Dwayne Letcher, but never had he seen anything remotely like the naked terror and desperation from him or anybody that he now saw. Yet, accompanying it was a steely determination the likes of which he could barely conceive. Toby was telling him the truth-at least the truth as he saw it and believed it to be.

Desmond looked at the code on the paper, and then at the screen, which pulsated expectantly with the demand for the proper code.

“It’s case sensitive,” he noted. “Look what you’ve done. “You typed all the letters in lower case. The “M”, and the “W”, “R”, and “F” after the parenthesis are all supposed to be upper case.”

Toby looked at him blankly.

“You’re supposed to put those letters in capitals.”

“Now why in the fuck didn’t Hacksaw tell me that?” Toby said as he exhaled in relief, though obviously agitated at the same time. “Damn, I’m just used to that stupid fucking MySpace bullshit.”

“Toby, those letters in the code is plainly marked in capitals. The rest are in lower case.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever the fuck,” he replied as he punched in the code. He held his breath, until finally the screen changed, announcing his access.

“If Hacksaw was here, he would have done had this shit over with-damn!”

He scrolled down, noting the various passwords and codes listed in the encrypted web site, and continued for ten minutes with no luck.

“Damn, look at this shit,” he said. “The damn scroll bar is just barely away from the top. This could take hours.”

“Toby, are you sure you’re doing the right thing?”

“We all damn well better hope I am,” Letcher replied. “That’s assuming I’m going to be able to find the code in all this fucking mess.”

“This is just a suggestion, but why don’t you just delete the whole damn thing. It wouldn’t take nearly as long.”

Toby’s eyes widened at the thought.

“You might have a point there. What if the same guy just gets on to repair it and ends up putting the thing back in there?”

Desmond didn’t answer as he perused he screen. He suddenly realized something.

These are locations-latitudes and longitudes. Toby, every damn one of these things is code indicating a place on the globe. Scroll down fast to the bottom.”

Toby did as Desmond suggested, and discovered that the page ended with an icon. Toby clicked on the link, which took him to what put him in mind of a profile page.

“Desmond, I think we’re home clear,” he said. Toby realized that on this page, he could change his password.

“I can block this sucker’s access to this page for good,” he said. “I better come up with a good one though. What do you think?”

“I think you’d better know damn well what you’re doing,” Desmond replied. He was sweating, obviously anxious, and breathing heavily. He began chewing his nails, a habit he had not engaged in since his first year as a struggling law student. Toby just looked at him.

“Man, I’m nervous enough, would you stop that shit? It says here the password needs to be twenty-seven characters exactly. What in the hell should I do? I don’t want to make it something whoever it is might be able to figure out.”

Desmond walked toward the window, worried that at any minute the Federal agents waiting somewhere outside might get the word of Toby’s intrusion on a governmental website and come barging through the doors. Worse-what if Fifer and his buxom partner were themselves part of the conspiracy? They might not need a pretext to break in. In any event, if Toby didn’t move quickly enough, he might be up to his neck in trouble. He might lose his law license, at the very least.

“Alright, I know what I’m going to do,” Toby said, as Desmond thought he heard the sound of footsteps coming up to the door.

“Toby, somebody’s coming,” Desmond warned him. “They’re coming this way.”

Desmond could hear the sounds of Fifer seemingly communicating with someone by way of cell phone. They seemed to be halfway down the sidewalk between the house and the street, but Desmond was even afraid to look out the window to see. Luckily, they did not seem to be in a hurry. Toby extracted a book of matches from his shirt pocket. Lighting one, he set the paper with the code ablaze.

“Let’s just hope I don’t need this anymore.”

He then began typing quickly, as he punched in twenty-seven characters at random, as haphazardly and quickly as possible. Seeing that he had to repeat the process, he copied the code he typed and then pasted it once, then two more times, into the spaces at the bottom of the page. He then clicked on the link, whereby the site displayed the new password for his verification. Toby confirmed it, without even looking at it, and then proceeded to delete the entire set of coordinates on the previous page, as quickly as he could, while the old code now emitted smoke, a crumpled pile of dark ashes.

He had only one thing left to do. He reached down inside the box that sat under his desk. He found what he was looking for, the one machine he could depend on that would completely erase any records of his actions on this computer. He turned on the switch, and then turned to Desmond, who waited anxiously at the door.

“Thank God it’s over,” he said. “Desmond, you’d really better get out of here.”

“Are you sure?” the attorney asked.

“If I need you I’ll call you,” he said. “I think it’s pretty much over with though.”

Letcher’s demeanor now seemed the polar opposite of what it had been just ten minutes before. Where earlier he seemed in a state of complete nervous anxiety and near collapse, he now acted as though he was at peace with himself. He seemed transcendent-even spiritually calm, as he lit up a cigarette as though it would be his last act of any significance.

“Are you sure you’re all right?”

Toby smiled.

“I’ve never been better,” he replied.

Desmond opened the door and carefully peered outside, now seeing no sign of the two Federal agents.

“You call me if you need me,” he said.

Toby flashed him a Seventeenth Pulse gang sign that indicated all was well. Desmond nodded his head and left. Toby finished his cigarette. He sat there for another ten minutes as his life flashed before his eyes. He remembered singing in his church’s youth choir, as a little boy. Even at the age of eight, he could bring crowds of people to their feet. That was so long ago, it seemed, before the day he was gang raped by four neighborhood girls-after which he was later in the day badly beaten-all a requirement of his initiation into his first gang at the age of fourteen. The robberies came later, and then the executions.

All the time, he just kept on singing and rapping. He reached up for the CD player and turned it on. He sat and listened to his version of Frank Sinatra’s That’s Life as he lit up another cigarette. Suddenly, there was a knock at the door, followed by the voice of Fifer demanding entrance.

He wondered if they would just go away if he ignored him. A part of him though wanted them to enter. A part of him did not want to be alone. He decided it just wouldn’t be right, but they persisted.

“Get the fuck out of here, Fifer!” he shouted. “I ain’t got nothing more to say to you. The same goes for your bimbo partner.”

As he said this, he picked up one of the gallon cans of gasoline that sat piled up in the apartment and poured its contents on top of the still running computer. He was half-finished when Fifer kicked the door in and entered, his partner Bridgett right behind him. Fifer’s eyes widened with shock as the computer hissed and sputtered in protest, and then finally went blank.

“What in the name of God are you doing here? What’s all this gasoline?”

“Is it against Federal law to store gasoline in your house?”

“It is if you’re trying to destroy evidence pertaining to a federal investigation,” the agent responded. “We have orders to confiscate your computer. Luckily, it doesn’t have immunity. We’re still working on rescinding yours. Don’t worry, Toby- it might take a while, so you have at least a few more days yet to record an appropriate swan song.”

Bridgett overcame her initial revulsion to the stench of the gasoline that doused the now disabled computer, and looked around at the numerous presumably full jugs in amazement.

“Maybe you’d better check out some of the other rooms,” she suggested. “While you’re doing that, maybe me and ol’ Toby here might get better acquainted. I think I’d enjoy spending some time with him.”

“You might be spending more time with me than you bargained for,” Toby replied as Fizer suddenly approached the rapper.

“Let’s have your cigarette lighter,” he said. Toby handed it over without objection.

“I think I just had my last smoke anyway.

“You keep an eye on him,” Fizer said. “As for you, you mind your manners.”

“Just who is it that barged into whose house anyway?” Toby asked with a shrug as Fizer made his way to the back room.

“Holy crap, every room in this place is piled with full gallon jugs of gas,” he shouted from the adjoining bedroom.

“So, what have you been up to, Toby?” Bridgett asked. “Funny, you don’t seem quite as happy to see me as you did the last time we talked.”

“That could be because I’m not hyped up on Viagra now, you reckon?” Toby said.

“Or maybe you’ve just been relieving yourself with the help of some porn sites?” she responded. “You might as well tell us now. As soon as the other agents get here, we’ll confiscate that computer, and we will find out, you know. Of course, as long as its not kiddie porn, or another snuff film, that’s not a problem. Something tells me you’ve been doing a lot more than trolling porn sites, though.”

“Well, you could say what I’ve been logging onto is obscene,” Toby replied. “I doubt you’d find it much of a turn on though. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised if you did.”

“So what’s with the gasoline, Toby?” Bridgett continued. “Whatever evidence you’re trying to destroy on that computer, I hate to break it to you, but it’s too late now.”

“It might be too late for you and your partner,” Toby said with a smile, “if the two of you don’t get the hell out of here within the next twenty seconds.”

“Hey, Fifer, I think Toby just threatened us,” the female agent called out to her partner, who suddenly reappeared from his quick inspection of the rooms.

“He’s got enough gas in here to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserves,” Fifer said in amazement. Toby peered down inside the backpack at his feet.

“Yeah, I guess I might as well tell you-I got stacks of boxes full of dynamite in that closet over there,” Toby said calmly, almost quietly, as he looked down into the box under his desk.

He looked up at Bridgett with a smile as Fifer warily walked to the side of his female partner, his eyes alternating between the closet door and the box under the desk..

“What the hell is in there?” Fifer asked as he bent down toward the box, as Toby obligingly rolled backward in his chair out of Fifer’s way, while Bridgett cautiously opened the closet door. Sure enough, there were boxes, one stacked on top of another too high for her to look into the top one, though they were all palinly marked “Dangerous-High Explosives”.

Fifer peered inside the box under the desk, and then raised his head toward Toby, as a suddenly terrified Bridgett joined her partner, urgently tugging at his sleeve, while Fifer stared wide-eyed at Toby, who looked past both agents with a smug grin. He seemed absorbed in the music of the CD that played from the CD player on the desk beside the disabled computer.

“What’s wrong, Bridgett asked?” but the unintelligible whisper of the agent belied the look of horror that exuded from his bulging eyes.

Within the next instant, one blinding flash accompanied one deafening blast, as everything went black.

Links To Previous Chapters
Part One
Prologue and Chapters I-X
Part Two
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Chapter XIV
Chapter XV
Chapter XVI
Chapter XVII
Chapter XVIII
Chapter XIX
Chapter XX
Chapter XXI
Chapter XXII
Chapter XXIII
Chapter XXIV
Chapter XXV
Chapter XXVI
Chapter XXVII
Chapter XXVIII
Chapter XXIX
Chapter XXX
Chapter XXXI
Chapter XXXII
Chapter XXXIII
Chapter XXXIV
Chapter XXXV
Chapter XXXVI
Chapter XXXVII
Chapter XXXIX
Chapter XXXX
Chapter XXXXI
Chapter XXXXII

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Killer Rabbit Chronicles

Not too long after his first and only term as President of The United States ended with his disappointing and humiliating defeat by Ronald Reagan in 1980, Jimmy Carter related how, while on a fishing trip, his fishing boat was boarded by what he described as a "killer rabbit". It looked at him, growled menacingly, and then departed, evidently hopping away before the stunned Carter had time to process the sudden phenomenon.

What he probably actually saw was something known as a Neutra, a small mammal that frequents fresh water, can be noticeably hostile if suddenly encountered, and is in fact more the appearance of a dark brown rat.

This is not the first time Jimmy Carter has misread or misinterpreted the facts in front of his own eyes to absurd effect. Unfortunately, it is unlikely to be the last. His latest antics, however, are more potentially horror story than ridiculously comedic farce.

This article in US News And World Report by Mort Zuckerman details what might well be the most extreme example of not only misinterpretation, but perhaps a profound state of denial, and even outright deception by the former President in regards to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Could Jimmy Carter possibly pick a worse time to meet with the leaders of Hamas? This is something that might have a dramatic and even drastic vital influence on the current Presidential race. Whoever the eventual Democratic nominee is, whether Clinton or Obama, that candidate could have the entirety of the Carter legacy to deal with, hanging about their shoulders like some kind of hateful albatross.

It would be bad enough that Carter will undoubtedly have a seat of honor at the convention. He will most assuredly give his voiced support to the eventual nominee. He will likely be treated in a deferential matter at some point during the convention.

All of that would be bad enough without Carter's recent grandstanding regarding his current Middle East tour. Carter's Presidency has inflicted a visible scar on the American psyche that becomes more pronounced with every provocation by the power-hungry Shiite Mullahs whom he, by his policies, helped install in Iran. Strike that "helped" bit, he made it possible, and even inevitable. It would not at all be inappropriate were Tehran renamed Jimmy Carter City in recognition of his contribution from their perspective.

Every terrorist act conducted by every terrorist group supported by the government of Iran can be placed squarely on the doorstep of Jimmy Carters Iran policy. Every act of murder and repression perpetrated on Iranians and others by that murderous regime has Carter's fingerprints at the scene of the crime.

At least in part due to the chaos engendered by the Carter years, you can also thank him, by the way, for the inordinately high cost of oil and gasoline.

Now, he turns around and adds this recent trip and meeting with Hamas to his list of initiatives.

The Israelis have denounced the deal and even went so far at one point to announce they would not cooperate with Carter's security detail. His welcome at Ben Gurion Airport was with minimal attendance. In fact, no elected officials greeted him. Hardly surprising, when you consider Carter has referred to Israel repeatedly as a Zionist apartheid government, while simultaneously engaging in the most obvious denials and deceptions concerning the activities of Hamas. One might legitimately wonder if, in fact, Carter is acting as a paid lobbyist for the radical Islamic terrorist group that Carter unbelievably denies is a terrorist organization.

The Democratic Party of course will gloss over Carter's pernicious influence to their overall detriment when they laud him for his one valuable contribution in encouraging and helping to forge a peace deal between Egypt and Israel. As laudable as that was, like the similarly welcome peace treaty it led to between Israel and Jordan, it is an exception to the overall Carter foreign policy legacy. It is almost like a blip on the radar screen by comparison to the overall foreign policy disaster that was the Carter Administration

The Democrats, during the course of this election, can try to play hard and loose with the facts of those long-ago years, when Jimmy Carter turned his back on a dependable ally in the Shah of Iran and so paved the way for the pernicious reign of the Ayatollah Khomeini and his successors. They can feign a kind of moral equivalence based on the Shah's own admittedly bloody and repressive regime.

Of course, comparing the Shah to the Ayatollahs is like comparing the Dark Ages to the Renaissance-and this by the way would be from the perspective of most Iranians. That just won't wash with most of us.

Unfortunately for the Democrats, thanks to this latest insanity that is the arrogance of Jimmy Carter, they will now have to deal with it as an open and on-going issue of profound importance. They will not be able to ignore it.

Jimmy Carter is a fool. No one takes him seriously. I suspect even the radical left-wing sees him as a useful idiot.

To paraphrase John Kerry-how do you ask a candidate to be the last one to sacrifice his campaign for a mistake? A better question might well be, why should they? They could easily denounce this latest Carter initiative in no uncertain terms, and should. However, I fear they will not in any more than the most tepid, timid terms, if that.

In the meantime, the Killer Rabbit strikes again, hopping to and fro, and the Killer Rabbit Chronicles will probably be an ongoing series. Where will the Killer Rabbit make his next appearance?

Only time will tell if he manages to put in an appearance at the next White House Easter Egg Roll.

John McCain-A History Of Bipartisense

This article in Slate goes a long way toward explaining John McCain's tendency to cross the aisle and to try to achieve bipartisan solutions to problems. Thanks to Mo Udall, that is precisely what got him where he is today.

Regardless of what you think of McCain-whether you believe he really is a Maverick, a calculating politician who is just too clever by half, or simply just another RINO, it would be difficult for even the most jaded and cynical to be untouched by this story.

Ironically, by the time he's through, he might single-handedly demolish any urges among the American people for politicians to "put aside their differences and get to work for the American people", to use a commonly overused bit of phraseology.

Maybe McCain is a unique, well-meaning individual who is simply too honorable to be a partisan. Unfortunately, as long as the two major political parties have a death grip on Washington politics, partisanship might well turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

McCain, in the end, might conceivably turn out to be just another well-meaning chump who, for all his arguably good intentions, might do more harm than good. This of course is even giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Antiochus Epimanes

Antioch University went from what many considered a great institution to what might accurately be described as an asylum. Unfortunately, in this case, the inmates are running the asylum, and seem to be having serious difficulties attracting new customers.

I went into this story here, but it begs a revisit, since as of June 1st, it looks as though Antioch will be closed, presumably for at least a year. It is in debt, and needs more than twelve million dollars to satisfy its creditors.

And now, the madness continues as the end approaches.

Antioch University officials are still hoping for an 11th-hour agreement with the Antioch College Continuation Corporation, a group of wealthy alumni created to negotiate independence for Antioch College, despite rejecting the group's "best and final" offer on Friday, March 29.

But a late announcement Saturday night that the university would seek offers from "any party" to help the ACCC come up with $12.2 million cash at closing does not mean the university is for sale, spokeswoman Lynda Sirk said Tuesday, April 1.

But the ACCC said Tuesday it's too late to close a deal and still meet regulatory approvals to open the college in the fall. The only offer on the table now is a "10-10" proposal: $10 million now in exchange for 10 of the 19 seats on the board of trustees.

"This way the college can stay open because the same entity owns the college, but allows us more time to work on independence," said Eric Bates, co-chair of ACCC. But Sirk said the university would not consider the offer.

So, what exactly are the sticking points?

Chancellor Toni Murdock said the university has significant bond debt on the new Antioch University McGregor building in Yellow Springs, and buildings in Seattle and in Keane, N.H.

Another sticking point in negotiations was ownership of WYSO, the NPR-affiliated radio station based in Yellow Springs. The ACCC wanted WYSO as part of the $12.2 million purchase.

What it amounts to is the current Administration is bogged down trying to make a success out of a college that is run on a formula for failure. The Antioch College Continuation Corporation is determined they can do a better job, and want control of the college in order to prove it. The faculty and current staff want to keep their positions and salvage their reputations. The corporation wants to save Antioch and salvage their ideals.

Any students who are lured to the place will still get the short end of the stick, unless by some miracle the college adapts to reality. Good luck with that.

The only truly surprising thing in this story is that there actually are wealthy Antioch Alumni.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Denver Calling

I have a healthily sick sense of humor, so I can appreciate this story

Aliza Shvarts, an art student, impregnated herself with the sperm from donors whom she calls fabricators, and then subjected herself, over a period of time, to abortifacient drugs in order to induce miscarriages. She saved the whole bloody mess while videotaping her miscarriages. She then collected them in the form of a bloody collage which she wrapped in plastic and kept preserved in Vaseline in order to prevent drying.

She presented the collection, along with the videos, in the context of a performance art exhibition. Yale claims the whole thing is a scam. It was just a big joke, meant to make some kind of statement-though damned if I know what that might be.

Shvarts, for her part, claims it was for real, although she concedes that she can't be certain whether or not she was ever pregnant at any given time. So, where did all the blood come from? Well, it could all be simply menstrual blood. This artistic masterpiece was undertaken over a period of several months, you see. All great art, such as the Sistine Chapel, to use one example, is time consuming, after all, and requires dedication and energy.

The internet world is aghast. For once, the different sides of the abortion debate have joined hands in objection over this spectacle. Pro-choice advocates claim that it trivializes abortion. Translation-they are afraid, rightly so, that it makes them all look bad.

Moxie claims to be pissed, but I think deep down she is inspired.

Liz, from White Trash Republican is pissed, whether it's a joke or not.

I'm waiting to see the video.

Everybody should calm down. After all, this is art, remember? There's a better than average chance that Miss Shvarts will be invited to create a collage for presentation at the Democratic National Convention. For his acceptance speech, Obama might explain to us all how white rural voters cling to their kids out of frustration.

Bulleyes And Bullshit

It would really take a book to explain this, but I'll try to keep it simple. In between Obama's insistence that rural whites cling to their guns out of frustration, and Hillary's sudden yearning for the days of Annie Oakley, I think something is getting overlooked.

This obsession with guns is not an American obsession, it's a Democratic Party obsession. How are Americans' obsessed with guns? It's quite difficult to be obsessed with something you've always had around. In fact, you start to take it for granted. Fifty years ago, this was an issue limited to a few oddball precincts, cities, and regions. This was far from the norm. It didn't become a national obsession until following the John F. Kennedy assassination in 1963. It kicked into high gear after the assassinations of RFK and MLK, both in 1968.

That's when Lyndon Baines Johnson, at the instigation notably of Ted Kennedy, passed the first gun control legislation, which was supported curiously enough by Charlton Heston. Of course, as unfortunately happens to be the case more often than not, give some people an inch and they want a mile every time. Due to the increasing and suspiciously obtuse demands of gun control advocates, Heston bolted from the movement and became the hard core social conservative and Second Amendment advocate he is remembered as today. There's a lesson there somewhere.

So what is behind the Democratic Party obsession-not the American obsession-with guns? Whatever it is, they've been taken aback by the curious fact that most Americans are unwilling to give up their personal prerogative of self-defense in return for a raise in minimum wage once every decade or so.

So, what do they do? They try to reframe the debate. They are sudden staunch supporters of the Second Amendment, it seems. In fact, they have no problems with law-abiding citizens who are gun collectors, or who like to go hundting, or enjoy the "family tradition" of target shooting.

Listen to them sometime-carefully. In all these reassurances, you never hear them mention the rights of American citizens to have guns for the purpose of self-defense, of themselves and their families, inside their own homes or businesses.

To hear them tell it, the Second Amendment was crafted in order for people like Daniel Boone to settle places like Kentucky. He and his fellow pioneers would never have made it after crossing through the Cumberland Gap without their trusty muskets with which to hunt deer for food.

Of course, it also happens that Kentucky was quickly settled and became a state dependent on river trade and agriculture, even before it became the fifteenth state of the union in 1794. Hunting by this time was in fact not considered as vital to life in the western states as so many seem to assume today. At best, hunting augmented pioneer life. Few, if any at all, depended on it solely or even mainly for their sustenance.

The Second Amendment has nothing whatsoever to do with hunting or target practice, nor does it take into consideration the whimsical hobby of "gun collecting". Amendment Number Two was written for the precise same purpose as Amendment Number One, and Amendments Number Two through Nine. It was meant to protect us from the potentially abusive grasping of tyrants not only foreign, but domestic-ie, the Federal Government. Those are just the facts.

An enemy of the state can come in many forms. It can come in the form of a foreign invader. It can come in the form of unelected and/or unaccountable domestic tyrants. Finally, it can take the form of the criminal element that exists unfortunately within all societies, and whose very existence, by their very natures, is a threat to the domestic tranquility.

Unfortunately, again, you will almost never hear a Democratic politician (nor for that matter most Republican ones) frame the debate in this matter. There are two reasons for this.

1. Most criminals from whom one might have occasion to protect oneself, whether black or white, have for the most part one thing in common. The majority of those who vote strangely tend to vote Democratic.

As important as this is, however, it pales in comparison to the importance of the following point.

2. An admission that people might, at any given point in time, find it necessary to defend themselves with guns against a criminal element, is tantamount to an admission that the government has failed to protect the citizens of the United States. It is a failure that reaches from the bottom level of local politics, on up through the state and federal levels.

It is not just an admission of the failure to fight crime, but a failure to combat the root causes of crime, those societal factors and conditions that breed the criminal element. The Republican Party wants to approach it from the corrective level after the fact. The Democratic Party seems to focus traditionally on solving the root causes, the problems of poverty and unemployment, with the added factors of race issues and other cultural factors.

Give them the power to solve your problems, and over time, they would suggest, the crime rate would drop to manageable levels. They will give you a Cops program with 100,000 cops on the streets of America. They will fund after-school programs aimed at targeting problem kids in troubled areas. They will have this and that program aimed at "uplifting" the poor. In time, this will solve the crime problem and so guns will be unnecessary.

You can still go dear hunting, though. No problem. Go along with us, and over time, everything will be just great, and crime will suddenly become a rarity throughout this great land of ours. Just trust us. Would we ever lie to you?