Tag Archives: murder

January 12th

On this day in 1995 Qubilah Shabazz, the daughter of Malcolm X was arrested for conspiring to kill Louis Farrakhan.

Qubilah with Malcolm

This is in fact a really shitty little story of a woman being hounded, nasty little FBI informants and, being left with a feeling that it all seemed to be about getting one over on Malcolm’s daughter rather than any real awful murder about to be committed.

Why do I think that? Qubilah had seen her father murdered when she was just four years old. From that moment onwards her mother, Betty Shabazz believed that Louis Farrakhan had been involved in the murder of Malcolm. Farrakhan has denied being actively involved, but at times has said that maybe the things he said led to it happening. Then again in a speech he gave in 1993 he said:

Was Malcolm your traitor or ours? And if we dealt with him like a nation deals with a traitor, what the hell business is it of yours? A nation has to be able to deal with traitors and cutthroats and turncoats.

To be honest, if a man who I had reason to dislike, fear and possibly

Qubilah escorted into court (May 1995) by her lawyer

hate, said that about my father’s murder, I’d be strongly inclined to believe that he had been part of the conspiracy to murder him. Qubilah did hate Farrakhan and worse, she was worried about her mother’s safety. Betty was vocal and without fear in her belief that Farrakhan had planned her husband’s murder. Her daughter feared, rightly or wrongly, that Farrakhan might also plan the murder of her mother.

Forward to 1994. An old school friend of hers, Michael Fitzpatrick, claimed that she called him and asked him to murder Farrakahn. She definitely did call him and there was talk of how dangerous Farrakhan was and that she wanted him dead. Unfortunately for Qubilah, what she didn’t know was that Fitzpatrick was an FBI informant. They spoke throughout May and June of that year. He asked her to marry him and actively encouraged her to talk about her hatred of Farrakhan and her desire to see him murdered.

However, luckily for Qubilah, Fitzpatrick also started recording his phone conversations with her, probably at the request of the FBI. After her arrest she was indicted on the charges of using telephones and crossing state lines in a plot to kill Farrakhan. A couple of surprises came up at this point. One was that the recordings made by Fitzpatrick to prove her guilt, made him look like he was entrapping her. She came across as unsure, nervous, tentative and an unwilling conspirator. The other was that Farrakhan himself spoke in her defence, saying he did not believe her capable of murder, that she was a good girl who had been led astray. Certainly, Qubilah was, by then, suffering from alcohol and drug problems. Her life had not been easy, she was almost certainly paranoid and Fitzpatrick and the FBI had used this to push her into breaking the law.

This is the bit I find so despicable. Hadn’t the woman suffered enough? I mean really, did the FBI think that she was some sort of national danger? Anyway! It was clear that it would be hugely difficult to find her guilty of the original charges (which could have seen her do up to 90 years in jail) and so a plea bargain saw her maintain her innocence, but she took responsibility for her actions. She was then required to undergo psychological counselling and drug and alcohol abuse treatment for two years in order to avoid prison.

As far as I know, the FBI weren’t told to sort themselves the fuck out and nothing happened to Fitzpatrick, even though a good kick up the arse was the very least he deserved for being such a nasty little shitehawk.

Unfortunately, there was more sadness in the Shabazz family in the years following this, but let’s end on something that at least approaches a happy ending. I am in no mood to bring myself and all of you down any further than I already have.

Today is the birthday of French actor and serial dater of hot women, Olivier Martinez.

His name won’t mean much to you if you never read the gossip pages, because while he is an actor, he’s not really that famous as an actor. He is however famous for being good looking and dating, cheating on, breaking up with and then dating, a number of hot famous women. It has been said of him that given the number of women he has probably had pre-marital ghastliness with, his wank bank is probably as big as Fort Knox.

His Milkshake brings all the girls to his yard

He first came to notice as the boyfriend of Mira Sorvino and has since been attached to a lot of famous women, including Kylie Minogue, Rosie Huntington-Whitely and is now, allegedly, engaged to Halle Berry. He’s definitely been her boyfriend for a while and he’d probably be mad to not want to marry her. Well, for all I know she could be as mad as a box of frogs, but she is stunningly beautiful.

Anyway,he’s 46 today, still hot, still making laydeez go weak at the knees and occasionally being in a film that no one ever gets to hear about. I’m not going to wish him a happy birthday. I’m not being churlish, but frankly the man has everything. He needs nada from me!

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January 10th

On this day in 236 a bloke called Fabian became the Pope.

Does this seem a little dull? I’m sorry about that, but all the stuff I could find for this day more or less bored the arse off me, so in the end I just went with Fabian because it was that or write about four paragraphs about how bloody boring January 10th is. Which I might still end up doing anyway, but meanwhile, back to Fabian.

Jesus the Dove flies into JPII face. The message being "why did you make this idiot pope?!"

There is one interesting thing about him becoming pope. You see, it is said that he wasn’t a bishop or a priest, or anything like that. He was a a simple layman who just happened to be in Rome when all the bishops had got together to elect a new pope (Anterus, the previous pope had died about a week before after being pope for only one month and ten days. It’s almost certain that he was murdered for being more trouble than he was worth. Cf. Pope John Paul I who might turn up here one of these days). They were all up for electing a Bishop, as was the usual way of things, but as they all stood around nattering about who’d make the best pope and comparing frocks and jewellery and stuff like that, a dove came along and sort of fluttered about over Fabian’s head.

Well, being religious sorts who knew their bible and all the stories it contained they all went “Bloody Nora! That dove is totally like Jesus innit! He’s telling us to elect Fabian! Er, do we have to do that? Really?”

The dove did not move while they were all prevaricating, so they decided

Fabian's deadly poo. Bishops look on and are heard to say "that turd will kill him!"

they’d better do what Jesus was telling them to through a bird, the big thickos. To be honest, it wasn’t that difficult for them to decide to go along with the dove, because even though being pope was a top job with well nice frocks and the best jewels in Christendom, given that Anterus had probably been murdered and they reckoned that the next pope would probably be done in as well, none of the bishops were that keen on being pope as they preferred being alive.

As it happened, Fabian turned out to be quite a good pope, sending people to places like France to tell them how nice it was to be a Catholic and doing some nice building and stuff around Rome. Oh and he also did something with Chrism, which wasn’t as rude as it sounds. So, he wasn’t murdered and got to be pope for fourteen years. He wasn’t murdered to death, he died of bursting a vein in his head when struggling to have a poo, just like Elvis.

And that is the story of Pope Fabian. Oh he got to be a saint as well, which given what we read about yesterday, doesn’t mean much of anything at all.

Still, nice as it was to talk about bishops in pretty frocks, doves and getting to be pope in olden times, I bloody hope there’s something more interesting to rabbit on about tomorrow. Let’s hope there’s a semi-interesting birthday for today. Fingers crossed, I’m off to have a look now.

Today is the birthday of Roderick Stewart. I mention this not because I give a flying fornication about Rod the Mod, but because until today I had no idea that his given name was Roderick and it amuses me no end.

Imagine having that face looming over you?

I’m not totally anti-Rod. The man’s done some good songs and stuff, but anyone who can sing “do you think I’m sexy” whilst wearing the most hideous leopard print tight trousers in the world is a bit of a joke. That and the fact that he keeps marrying the same blonde woman, just changing her for a slightly younger model every few years or so, which is just too icky for words.

But, blah, it’s Rod’s birthday. He will probably put on a kilt and a tartan hat and go on about how Scottish he is, despite being from North London and being a plastic Jock. Or joke, whichever you prefer.

It was also the birthday of Mary Ingalls, the older sister of Laura Ingalls

The real Mary Ingalls.

Wilder who wrote all the “Little House” books. Unlike the pretty crazily blue-eyed girl in the tv series of Little House on the Prairie, Mary never married, although she did go blind and did go to the blind school that the TV Mary went to. But there was not crazily blue-eyed teacher for her to fall in love with and get married to and so her non-existent husband did not fall over and get concussion and magically get his eyesight back and take her to NYC where he could finally be a lawyer and not a crappy old teacher. Her life was slightly less dramatic than that.

When she finished school, she went back home to live with Ma and Pa, made fly nets for horses and when her parents died went to live with her sister Grace and then with Carrie, before dying herself. I note that she did not live with Laura, who was probably to high and mighty to let her blind sister live with her by then.

Despite her dull life, it’s fair to say that Mary was probably more worthy of inclusion in this little blog than Roderick the Mod, because while she never accomplished much, she also never put her flabby arse into stupid trousers and pretended to be a bit half gay when she thought it was trendy. All in all, Mary the bland trumps Rod the twat.

Happy birthday to them both! Sort of.

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January 4th

On this day in 1903 Thomas Edison proved that he was as evil as I’ve always said he is. He electrocuted an elephant to death to prove that his way of providing electricity – DC, direct current – was better than the AC (alternating current) preferred by others, notably, George Westinghouse.

Now, before you read on, I warn you that this is upsetting and if you liked Thomas Edison before because you thought he was a great inventor and blah, then if you read on you will hate him and want to stick electric currents up his dead arse. Right, warning given, on with the hideous bastard story.

Hard to find a happy photo of Topsy, this is her memorial

The elephant in question was called Topsy. She was 28 years old and was owned by Forepaugh Circus. She spent the last years of her life, before the electrocution at Coney Island’s Luna Park. To be fair to Edison, which I’d rather not be, but there you go, Topsy wasn’t chosen for no good reason; she had killed three men in three years and so it was decided she need to be executed. The initial decision made about her death was that she should be hanged, but the American society for the protection of cruelty against animals, (ASPCA) complained that this was unnecessary cruelty, so the plan was put on the back burner.

It’s a shame that the ASPCA didn’t point out that the whole thing was cruel, full stop, period, etc. Topsy had a pretty miserable life, with no space to be a proper elephant and enjoy running about. One of the men she killed was a nasty piece of work who tried to make her eat lit cigarettes. She was killing because the life she had been given was slowly making her lose her mind and she was surrounded by utter bastards who deserved anything she did to them.

When the hanging was ruled out, along came Edison who was in the midst of a “War of Current” with Westinghouse (FFS!)and he said

The life Topsy should have had

he’d kill her with electric. The electric chair had already been used in prisons, so they knew it worked, he just wanted to show them that it worked with his direct current. She was fed carrots containing potassium cyanide before the current was put through he body and thankfully she was dead within seconds. Edison, not happy enough to have killed a beautiful creature, also filmed it and released it as a film called Electrocuting and Elephant, which toured the US and was watched by millions. To think that people get upset about that film about the human caterpillar thing when over a hundred years ago people went to the cinema to watch an elephant being murdered. THE BASTARDS!

Edison went down in history as a great inventor, unless you’re like me and have always wanted to smash his face in, in which case he went down in history as an utter twat. Topsy may have had her revenge though. In 1944 Luna Park burned to the ground and the destruction became known as Topsy’s revenge. In 2003 a belated monument to her was erected at the Coney Island Museum.

 

 

Today is and was the birthday of any number of really dull people who I cannot be bothered to write about. In my defence, I did spend much of last night with the Winter Sickness virus which has left me weak and rather irritable. Also, an awful lot of the people were either:

  • Who are you?
  • Dull beyond belief
  • Slightly interesting like Louis Braille, but how much can you possibly write about a man who invented a way of reading for the blind? Don’t answer that. I’m sure you could come up with loads, but I don’t really care
  • Slightly more interesting like Wat Tyler who lead the Peasants Revolt in olden days, but again, I’m not in a “up with the revolution mood
  • Pretty cool, like Michael Stipe, but again, I’m not in an R.E.M. place right now
  • Blah

"Lovely" birthday cake

There’s no one wicked or evil or who one could happily take the piss out of for several paragraphs and anyway, none of them probably spent last night being sick and ill. To be fair that’s because a lot of them are dead, but that’s merely an excuse.

So, there is no birthday celebration today, because I have deemed that none of them are worth my sadly low energy, so they can go elsewhere if they want to see someone being all “happy birthday!” because they ain’t getting it off me.

Ha!

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January 2nd

On this day in 1791 there was a bit of a massacre in Ohio. At the time Ohio was a country and not a state and people were all starting to move over there because there was a lot of space and as it was in the mid-west, it was less scandalous than places like New York, so those of very little brain could wander off there and be happy worshipping God, snakes and beating their children for having impure thoughts.

Unlike Queen and Spinal Tap, the Wyandot did not like Big Bottomed Girls

That said, they probably didn’t deserve to be massacred, but then neither did the Wyandot Indians deserve to lose their land. All in all it’s a bit of a conundrum when it comes to “whose side should I be on?” To be fair to the Wyandot, they suffered far more in the aftermath as a big war began which was known as the Northwest Indian War. The clue is in the name; it was a war to murder as many Indians as humanly possible.

To be even fairer to the Indians, we need to know what the massacre was called and to understand more about the Wyandot people. The massacre was called The Big Bottom Massacre. The Wyandot people feared large arses and saw them as things that only devil type people had. The Wyandot were a slender and small-arsed tribe. The settlers liked a pie or several and as a result a few of them had rather large backsides.

As a result, on this day, the Wyandot went down to the place where the fattest settlers were staying and murdered 11 men, one woman and two children. From this we can see that the men were the fattest, with only one chunky woman and two chunky children who evidence tells us had a huge Ye Olde McDonald’s habit and were forerunners of kids who eat too many Twinkies and shit like that.

Despite how it may seem, I do not support the murderingof

Wyandot: Please note, no big bottom

overweight people. Far from it. Live and let live is pretty much my raison d’etre, but one has to understand the fear, albeit a bloody stupid one, of the Wyandot. They thought they were being invaded by devils who would kill them in their sleep. As it happens they did end up being murdered in their sleep because they killed the large of arse, so the whole thing is a terrible old mess for all concerned. But, and I do think this is very important, it did give us the wonderfully named Big Bottom Massacre and for that I think we can all be truly grateful.

 

 

 

 

Today was the birthday of Thérèse of Lisieux who went on to die in 1897 and become a saint in 1925.

What was so special about her, you may ask. Or not. Well, she was a sickly sort. She’d been nervy and poorly as a child, joined a convent at the age of 15 and not long after that got TB and died aged 24. But as befits a woman who was to become a saint, she never complained about her suffering and was very Pollyanna about the whole thing. Personally, I think she must have really annoyed some of the other nuns, but we have no record to prove that one way or the other.

Like Ernie Wise, St Theresa had short fat hairy legs

She also said lots of pretty stuff when she was alive, like be nice to other people and you don’t have to do great deeds to be holy, you can do small things as well and that’s just as nice. She was also very tiny due to being ill a lot as a child. Apparently she liked being small because according to her only dwarfs, midgets and children could get into heaven, which indicates that she probably had a strange idea about the entrance of heaven and the ability of taller people to bend over a bit.

She got made into a saint very quickly, probably because people with a cold went along to her grave, said a prayer and oh, my, they stopped sneezing. Or something. Men in the church liked her because she was all tiny and sweet and said things like “Ooh, that book is too hard for my little brain I think I’ll do some embroidery and think about God instead.” [The book in question being “Janet and John add up one plus one.”] In other words, she wasn’t a woman who might kick them in the nuts and tell them to make their own cup of tea.

Since her death and canonisation, she’s been made the patron saint of lots of things, including AIDS. Frankly, given her inability to cure AIDS from beyond the grave, people should be doubting her holiness, but luckily for her, no one has put two and two together yet (they’re still to busy with Janet and John’s One Plus One).

So, happy birthday you little sickly midget. I hope you spend it doing good things like actually curing something rather than faffing about being all “oh what a pretty birdy” like you usually do.

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January 1st

On this day in 1985 Ernie Wise, off of Morecambe and wise made the first mobile phone call from St Katherine’s Dock in a Cokerney part of London to the Vodaphone headquarters in Berkshire.  The conversation he’d been asked to have was “Hello, this is Ernie Wise here, how are you diddling!” before singing “Bring me Sunshine” . He made it clear the he couldn’t possibly sing the song as it would make him cry as his mate Eric Morecambe off of Morecambe and Wise had died the previous year.

Eric and Ernie lived happily together for many decades before Eric's death in 1984

The Vodaphone people, were a bit cross with him about this, but they said that instead he could not sing the song if he was going to be a big baby about it and instead he should say “Crikey lads, this is a great new phone type thing for people to use on the move.” Ernie, who wasn’t being a big baby, just human unlike the robots at the mobile phone company, agreed to this, because despite having short fat hairy legs, he was a very nice man.

Unfortunately for Vodaphone, the first conversation turned out to be a bit different to the one everyone had agreed to. It went thus:

“Hello, this is Ernie Wise.”

[hissing noise can be heard on the earpiece of his phone]

“Hello, hello, can you hear me?”

[More hissing noise and a voice far off in the distance vaguely heard saying “I’m diddling my thingy”]

“Hello? Hello? Hello? Oh fuck this for a game of soldiers, I’m going home to eat some more mince pies.”

The Vodaphone people then got a right bollocking from their boss, Mr Archibald Herod when he found out they hadn’t put any mobile

The early mobile phone that Ernie used

phone masks in Cockerny London. He was so angry that after the bollocking he went off and killed some babies, because that’s just the type of man he was. He died the following year when he was suffocated by seven veils.

Ernie Wise eventually went back to using mobile phones, but because he didn’t really like baby killers he refused to sign up with Vodaphone.

Today was the birthday of J.D. Salinger. He was born in 1919 and was famous for writing some books, most especially The Catcher in the Rye which featured a character called Holden Caufield who he’d written a short story (Slight Rebellion of Madison) in the 1940s. The big famous novel was published in 1951 and had instant “yeah, whatever” reviews. However, by the end of the decade it was totally famous because lots of moody teenagers liked to read it and pretend that they were Holden Caufield and be all “Like Salinger totally gets me, man!” before turning on, tuning in and dropping out.

J. D. Salinger refusing - yet again - to apologise for killing a Beatle

Of course the book got even more famous when it got John Lennon murdered by some nutbag. Salinger had nothing to say on the subject, because he’d been living in a cave like a giant hobbit for decades because he didn’t like people much and all his books after The Catcher in the Rye ranged from sort of okay to a bit shit.

That said, I tried to read TCITR once and thought it was an appalling pile of shite, but then I am a woman and I wasn’t suffering teenage existential angst, so I probably wasn’t the right audience for it and it was probably better than I thought. Or something.

Anyway, happy birthday Jerome. You’re dead  but as even people like me who thought you were a bit of a bore haven’t forgotten you, I guess you’re still quite famous. How nice for you.

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June 6th

On this day in 1654 Queen Christina of Sweden abdicated her throne and converted to Catholicism.

Queen Christina liked to have some sort of bird on her horse's bum when she was riding

While she’s known as Queen Christina, she was more properly a king. She took her oath as a king and she was brought up as a prince by the order of her father. Apparently when she was born she was so hairy that at first everyone thought she was a boy, which sounds odd to me. Surely if she was that hairy they’d have thought she was a monkey or a werewolf or something, but no, clearly they thought it was normal for a baby boy to be born covered in hair. Anyway, they noticed she didn’t have a winky and realised she was a boy. Her dad, Gustav II didn’t care, he was just overjoyed that she was bonny and healthy because four children had died before her and he wanted an heir. Her mother didn’t like her so much and spent the first six years of Christina’s life giving her a hard time for being a girl and causing her mother pain when she was born.  Then Gustav II was killed in battle and suddenly Maria, Christina’s mother, was all over her like a rash, clinging to her like a limpet and basically being a huge pain in the arse. Christina didn’t want to hurt her mother, but she did want her to eff the eff off. In fact she was such a pain that eventually she was sent off to live in another castle and Christina was brought up for a few years by her aunt Catherine, as per her father’s wishes.

Apart from having the mother from hell and losing her beloved father so young, Christina had a fairly good childhood and was an intelligent and capable young woman. She spoke many languages fluently, rode well, was well-versed in history and politics and was much admired throughout Europe. She remained in the background politically until she was 18 and then became Queen regnant proper. It’s fair to say that she wasn’t the best of queens, but that was as much due to circumstances as any shortcomings on her behalf. She steered clear of marriage, saying privately that she found the whole thing distasteful and while she enjoyed the company of men, her closest relationships and truest affections were directed toward the women in her life. Was she a lesbian? It’s hard to say for sure, but given her distaste for the institution of marriage and all it entailed, it’s fair to say that if she ever did have sex it was far more likely to have been with a woman than a man. She reigned as queen proper for a decade, but she never really enjoyed it. She had wanted to abdicate long before 1654 but kept agreeing to stay on because parliament begged her. She felt a bit of a hypocrite, ruling over a Protestant country when she was secretly a Catholic, but it also made her a very tolerant woman. She did not discriminate against anyone based on religious distinctions and believed that everyone should be allowed to worship as they saw fit. These were very liberal views for the time.

But la! She had a nice abdication ceremony and then buggered off through Denmark and down to Rome, where they were well happy to

She wasn't much of a looker

see her what with her being all famous and a Catholic convert. They didn’t even seem to mind too much that she’d made most of her journey dressed as a man. That was another thing about her: she did like men’s clothes. She made quite the impact among the gentle ladies of Italy who were astonished by her manners and the ease with which she comported herself. She got invited to loads of parties and everyone was keen to have her in their home because she was such a big celebrity. The rest of her life was spent between Paris and Rome with short trips back to Sweden and elsewhere before she eventually died in Rome and was buried in St Peter’s Basilica, which is well posh.

The thing that makes her stand out in history is that she wasn’t like others around her. She dressed how she pleased, she did what she wanted and she wasn’t at all bothered by the constraints of class and gender. That she managed to do this whilst still being accepted by the establishment of Europe and the Roman Catholic church, which was even more Conservative with a capital C and a “don’t you be  poof or a Jew or one of those funny laydeez around us, you fucking weirdos!” then than it is now. So much was her masculine demeanour and her deep voice noted at the time, that in the 60s her body was exhumed so that scientists could figure out if she was intersex and/or had a winky and a lala. They weren’t able to discern from her bones whether or not this was the case, but as there are diary entries along the lines of “Fuxace!!!!1 On the rag. Again!!!!111!1”, we do know that she menstruated, so she did have a lala even though she looked a bit like a man.

 

Today was the Birthday of the novelist, Virginia Andrews.

She may mean nothing at all to a lot of the men out there. To be fair a lot of women may also be going “Who?” But there are a lot of us who remember reading Flowers in the Attic and then if were obsessed nutters, the whole series of Dollganger novels. It’s fair to say that her books were the crack cocaine of trashy literature and we were her desperate little junkies all wanting just a little more of her sick and twisted little world.

Like Village of the Damned with added incest

If you’ve never read these books, here’s the story. In Flowers in the Attic we first come across the Dollganger children, Chris, Cathy, Cory and Carrie. Their parents are Christopher and Corrine. Christopher dies in a car accident and Corrine who is afraid of being destitute asks her mother, Olivia, if the children can live with her while she tries to get work, etc. Olivia is all “yeah, that’s fine, but your father cannot know about them, so we must hide them in the attic.” The kids are all “Do we have to?” and Corrine is all “Yeah, your grandfather didn’t like it when I married my half-uncle and he’d have a fit if he knew we had children, but he’s going to die soon, so I’ll be nice to him, he’ll leave me lots of money and then we can all live together.” and so the kids have to live in the attic. It’s horrible up there, Grandma’s a bitch, Mum pretty much reneges on her word, there’s arsenic, drinking blood out of hunger,one of the twins dies and Chris and Cathy end up doing sex. They escape when they realise that their mother is trying to murder them and head out to an unknown future.

Petals on the Wind, is even more batshit mental. The other twin dies, Cathy gets to be a ballet dancer and Chris a doctor. She tries to stay away from him, but he still loves her. She wants revenge on her mother. There’s death, love,madness, a fire, more death and then Chris and Cathy give in and pretend to be husband and wife. Onto If There Be Thorns which again ups the mentalism. Cathy and Chris are together with “their” children, except they’re not, they’re Cathy’s with her first husband and her mother’s husband. She’s nothing if not prolific when it comes to inappropriate relationships. They adopt a little girl. Everyone’s happy then Bart starts visiting the old lady next door who is … oh come on, she’s Corrine the evil mother with her evil butler and Bart gets made all mental by the pair of them and there’s another fire and more death and at the end, Cathy and Chris are safe and Bart’s a bit less mental.

Seeds of Yesterday concentrates on the children, Bart, Jory and Cindy. Bart is still mental, Cindy’s a bit of  a strumpet and Jory, a ballet

This is the woman who came up with this crazy web of incestuous madness

dancer, has an accident and ends up in a wheelchair. Much mentalism ensues. Chris is killed in a car crash just like his dad and Cathy goes up to the attic and dies. As you do. This is the end of the series, but then – oh joy (really, I wish I was being sarcastic, but I’m not) – there’s Garden of Shadows,  a prequel wherein the madness begins to make some sort of sense. Not in a real “oh well that’s all right then!” way, but more “Well bugger me with witch’s broomstick, the whole damn lot of them are a bunch of incestuous mentals!”

By this time, Virginia Andrews had died of breast cancer. The last book was partly written by her and partly by a ghost writer, Andrew Neiderman, who was hired by her estate. He is still writing books as Virginia Andrews, which brings a nice touch of real-life mentalism to her literary heritage. Not as crazy as the plots of the books she actually wrote, but pretty strange all the same.

Anyway! I’m sorry, I have introduced you to a strange world of wrong, or maybe reminded you of it, if like me you wallowed in this filth. I should have chosen a more worthy subject, but if it’s any consolation, going back through the plot summaries of these awful, trashy, outrageously schlocky books has made me want to read them again. Surely that is penance enough?

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April 30th

On this day in 1315 a man you’re unlikely to have heard of was hanged on the public gallows at Montfaucon. His name was Enguerrand de Marigny and this is his story. To be perfectly upfront with you, his story is not that interesting, but as I was flicking through it, I came across the name of one of his employers and it chimed with me in a that name sounds like someone who has not been in the news at all sort of a way and so I decided to tell it. So, here goes.

de Marigny also stole dolls houses from children

Enguerrand was eventually a chamberlain and a minister of Philip IV (known as Philip the Fair). Philip was a bit of a git. He suppressed the Knights Templar because he owed them a lot of money. By suppress, read disbanded, arrested, tortured and had a few burnt at the stake. He also expelled all Jews from his Kingdom in 1306. In short he was a nice looking chap, but his personality was less than pretty. Now, before Enguerrand got to work for a chap who was already a chamberlain to the king and his secretary. This bloke’s name was Hugues de Bonville.  Unfortunately, Hugues career was cut short when he was found to have paid one hundred and ninety-five francs for sexual relations with a floozy. No one would have minded at all, as most everyone expected his sort to be a bit dirty, but the silly arse tried to cover it up. He lost his job and then got killed in a battle.

None of this matter to Enguerrand who got to be close to the king who thought he was aces and skill. Others didn’t so much because de Marigny was a bit of a smug and oily little twit. He did whatever the king wanted of him, and took bribes and made enemies and created an oil slick in the English Channel. He would have continued on in this way, but unluckily for him, Philip the Fair died after having a bit of a stroke when out hunting. Now, de Marigny was left without his mate, but still with all his enemies. It did not go well for him.

Louis X, Philip’s son and the new king, was creeped out by Enguerrand, so when Charles de Valois denounced him and said he was all about the bribes and putting on over on the king, Louis had him arrested. He was found more or less guilty of all his so-called crimes and Louis decided he should be exiled to Cyprus. De Valois  didn’t think this was good enough as he had really taken against de Marigny, so he made up some shit about Enguerrand being involved in sorcery. As you can see this royal court was all about intrigue and a bunch of bastards trying to out-bastard each other. Despite the charges being so much made up nonsense, Enguerrand was found guilty and hanged in front of a baying crowd on this day in 1315. Many years later, on his deathbed, Louis X felt quite bad about putting Enguerrand to death, so he confessed, said sorry and gave  lot of money to the poor or Paris. But not to the prostitutes as he felt that old de Bonville had done quite enough of that in the past.

Today was the birthday of a curious young man by the name of Kasper Hauser. He was allegedly born on this day in 1812 and died in 1833. We don’t know his birth date for sure, because, well, therein lies the story.

In 1828, young Kasper turned up in Nuremberg with a letter addressed to a Captain Von Wessenig. The letter stated that the author

Kasper, the stabby little liar

(anonymous, but male) had taken Kasper into his house in October 1812 and never let him step outside it.  That he’d instructed him in reading and writing and religion, but nothing else. He asked that the boy be made a cavalryman like his father, but stated that Von Wessenig could either take him in or hang him. Which was nice. The boy also had another letter, allegedly from his mother, which gave his name, his date of birth and that his father, a cavalryman, was dead. Curiously both letter were written in the same handwriting, Kasper Hauser’s handwriting as it turned out. When in front of Von Wessenig, the only words that Hauser said, repeatedly were “I want to be a cavalryman as my father was!” and “Horse! Horse!” He later claimed to have no idea what these words meant and that he had been taught to say them by his captor.

Hauser’s story was that he had lived his whole life in a dungeon, that he woke up to find bread and water by his bed each day and sometimes the water was a bit bitter, at which times he would sleep a lot longer and then wake up to find that his bed straw had been changed and his hair and nails cut. He said that until he was about to leave his captor for ever, he never saw him or any other human being, that he was then taught to stand and walk, to write his own name and to utter the words he’d said to Von Wessenig. Which sounds like utter bollocks and is belied by the information in the letters.

The whole thing caused quite the stir and Hauser was put into the care of a schoolmaster who taught him many things and discovered that Kasper had a talent for drawing. Things were going well until Kasper was allegedly stabbed by the man who’d brought him to Nuremberg. What is more likely is that he had cut himself with a razor because the schoolmaster was starting to get the idea that Kasper was a little liar.

He was moved on to another house and before long he was injured again, again almost certainly by his own hand after, again, his guardian was pretty sure that Herr Hauser was a dirty liar. In fact Hauser’s death was almost certainly self-inflicted (a stab wound to the chest), when it turned out yet again that the people he lived with thought he might like to play fast and loose with the truth.

The truth is that Kasper Hauser was almost certainly a pathological liar, who made up the story of his life, conned people and had a strong need to be seen as special and the centre of attention. He did succeed in this. His story is still well-known, especially in Germany and there is even a statue of him in Ansbach.

So, today may or may not be his birthday, but the little liar has been dead for a very long time, so there shall be no happy birthday from me, just the relation of a slightly interesting little story to you, my readers.

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April 18th

On this day in 1930 nothing happened at all. Not a thing. Nothing. Nada. Niente. Nichts. Rien. But surely, you cry, there must have been something. Not a thing. At 6.30pm a BBC newsreader read the news out to the nation. He said “There is  no news.” and the rest of the bulletin was taken up with piano music.

This conjures up a few images.

Hello, Britain, there is no news today.

The staff at the BBC always dressed formally for their “appearances” on the radio. This chap will have booted and suited himself, put oil in his hair, ensured that his tie was just so, maybe gargled  a little so that his voice was just right for the job ahead. And then, after all that all he has to say are four words. The words said, the recorded piano music plays. He arises from his chair, loosens his tie. His job is done for the evening, but he feels strangely unsatisfied. He likes telling the people of Britain what has been happening and he feels he has failed them tonight. An extra Scotch or two at the bar should quell that odd feeling.

Everyone at home would have been settled around their wireless waiting for the news. It was a Good Friday, meaning that many would have spent the day kneeling and praying and being all contemplative as they thought about the significance of Jesus dying for their sins and the resurrection that was due on Sunday. Papa would be lighting his pipe, little Johnny playing with some Meccano at daddy’s feet, little Mary being a good little housewife and helping mama by laying the table. Papa calls for a hush as he waits to hear what the BBC has to tell them that evening. Four words, then piano. “Well strike me!” says papa, “Language!” says mama, “Not in front of the children, Father.”

There was news. Aside from the fact that Mrs Brown might be looking for Percy her missing moggy and Mrs Jones was sure that Mr

Father: "Off to bed now Johnny and Mary, mother and I wish to listen to the porn hour."

Blenkinsop was almost certainly paying more attention to that Miss Peabody than he should be, we know that the evening before Good Friday, the government was desperate to deny a newspaper account of an interview with the home secretary, John Robert Clynes. Unfortunately, and despite my best efforts, I haven’t been able to uncover what the interview was about, but Clyne’s main areas of interest in his early months in office were prison reform and the cotton mills, so it might have been something like that. Whatever he’d said or not said, despite the government’s attempts to get the BBC to issue a denial on the 6.30pm news on Good Friday 18th April – knowing that the newspapers were all asleep until the following week – the BBC decided it was not news, or not news they were going to be pressurised into transmitting. There was news, but there was no news.

Our world is now overflowing with news. Nothing is so unimportant that it can’t be reported in tedious and unending detail, no event can be allowed to unfold without tens of outside broadcast teams reporting back to the studio that something is happening, they’re not sure what but they’ll have more (of the same) in five minutes. This sort of reporting veers between the morbid, informative overkill, slightly distasteful rubbernecking, tedium and occasionally bizarre surreality. Last year the OBs were out in force as the police tried to get Raoul Moat to give himself up and then the footballer Paul Gascoigne turned up with chicken and chips and an offer of a bit of fishing for Moaty. The Day Today had come to pass (US readers, this was a spoof news show, find it if you can!). How delicious would it be to turn on the TV one evening, to hear A.N. Other newsreader announce that there was no news and to get half an hour of nice soothing music instead. If I ever get to be the head of the BBC, it is so happening. Until then, we can but dream.

Today was the birthday of one of the most infamous women in history: Lucrezia Borgia.Borgia is pretty much  by-word for murder, corruption, incest and lashings of depravity and Lucrezia has been portrayed as a murderous, incestuous bitch throughout most of history. Thing is, she almost certainly wasn’t.

Thought to be a portrait of Lucrezia. You wouldn't mess with her!

By the age of thirteen she’d been betrothed twice, but both engagements came to nothing when the men in question were no longer politically important enough to her father Rodrigo Borgia (later Pope Alexander VI). Her first actual marriage was to Giovanni Sforza when she was still a young teenager. His expediency soon waned and he was convinced to allow the marriage to be annulled on the basis of his impotency. The marriage had not been consummated, but between their separation and the actual divorce, Lucrezia probably got pregnant. Rumours are that it was her brother Cesare’s child, but it is more likely that she was having an affair with her father’s messenger Perotto. The pregnancy was concealed and next up the still young Lucrezia was married to Alfonso of Aragon.

It appears that Alfonso and Lucrezia were happy, which did not go down well with Cesare who liked being the centre of his sister’s attention (whether that’s because he was diddling her is anybody’s guess), so, to cut a long story short, he murdered Alfonso. (This sort of leads one to believe that he was a bit of a psycho nutter who at the very least wanted to diddle his sister). Lucrezia had one final marriage to Alfonso D’Este. This was a happy marriage, though both spouses had lovers, there were quite a few children and Lucrezia was still his wife when she died in childbirth.

According to history, or one should say, according to the history promulgated by enemies of the Borgias (and there were a lot of them, who frankly had good reason to hate the family), Lucrezia was involved in the murdering that went around the family, that she was doing it with her brother and her dad, that she was a wanton harlot and that she used her lady garden to tempt men into sin and eventual death. Or, you know, maybe she was a pawn in her family’s machinations, with enough sense to keep herself a few steps ahead of the game, in her family’s favour and very much alive. She was certainly described as beautiful (thick, long blonde hair, hazel eyes, good skin, nice rack, etc), elegant and charming.  Maybe she did off a man or two, but my guess is that if she did they deserved it. That’s right, I’m on Lucrezia’s side. She was a strong beautiful woman, so of course she’s going to be dissed, the world would turn upside down if history – in the past at least – ever dared to treat a sexually active and confident woman fairly.

So, you beautiful hellion, happy birthday from me. I’m not so much for the killing and shit, but I sure do admire your style, you fine woman!

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March 31st

On this day in 1930 the Motion Picture Production code was instituted. It was more commonly known as the Hays Code after Will H. Hays, the prick who thought it all  up. The code set down rules about what could and could not be shown on screen. I could be fair to him and say it wasn’t all down to him – because it really wasn’t – but he was a weasle-faced little shitehawk who became very rich from his 30-year foray into film censorship.

 

The Broadway Melody (1929). This was not acceptable after the implementation of the Code

I guess you’d like a bit of background, so here goes. Hollywood was generally thought of as a den of vice and by and large this perception wasn’t far off the mark, but as the film industry got bigger and the scandals multiplied, the rest of America became quite vocal about how disgusted they were and something had to be done. There were quite a number of scandals. Some of you will have read about Roscoe Arbuckle or learned of him in an earlier post. His “scandal” was seen as the straw that broke the camel’s back, but it wasn’t the only one and was far from the worst. There were the drug scandals: Olive Thomas was a star of silent movies who was a noted coke-fiend and who died in Paris after a night of booze and gak. What actually killed her was drinking mercury bichloride. Her husband (Jack Pickford, younger brother of Mary) was using it for his syphilis and she mistook it for a sleeping draught and died. This shocked the good folk of middle America as did the fact that Clara Bow put it about, Charlie Chaplin kept getting off with very young girls and the murder of director and actor William Desmond Taylor. Possibly worse than the murder was the fact that in the aftermath, one of the suspects, a 19-year old actress called Mary Miles Minter was discovered to  have been his lover.  The scandal killed her career.

 

There were other scandals that the public didn’t know about (the probable murder of businessman Thomas Ince by William Randolph

A rudy nudy of gakhead Olive Thomas.

Hearst for one and boys doing boys and girls doing girls and everyone snorting or injecting anything they could get their hands on), but what they knew was enough to make them think that those dirty boys and girls should clean up their collective act. Now of course, this had nothing to do with what was on the screen, but it made people hypersensitive to any notion of rudery. Contrary to popular belief there was a bit of filth and hows-your-father in movies prior to the late 60s, but throughout the twenties there were efforts to get rid of it and the 1930 Code which stayed a bit lax for four years but hit home like a big old puritanical hammer in 1934 was the death knell for things that hinted at s-e-x. The rules were too many to go into here, but basically words like “prostitute” were verboten, hinting at homosexuality was out, nudity, well what on earth do  you think? Sex was bad and if anyone had it outside of marriage they were not allowed to be happy. Ever. All bad deeds were to be seen to be punished and there was to be no miscegenation (ugly word, but kissing or love between people of different colours or races).

 

Now, in some ways the code meant that film makers had to be really clever at putting in content that could be ever so slightly risqué but still get past the Code. With each decade that passed they seemed to be able to get away with more, but they often had to pay for it. “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” was only allowed after the studio paid a fine for being all sweary (this blog would cost me a fucking fortune. Oops, there’s another one) and some careers were pretty much ended by the Code. Hello Mae West.

The sixties saw the Code becoming more difficult to enforce and more at odds with societal mores.  Finally it was dropped completely – in favour of the age rating system – in 1968. Now people were free to fuck or say fuck to their hearts contents. This was mostly a good thing, although those of us who’ve had to sit through Porkies would probably have been happy for the Code to stay in place for just a decade or so more.

 

Today is the birthday of wonderfully strange-faced actor, Christopher Walken.

For many years I feared Walken because of his face and the way he played Russian roulette in The Deer Hunter. However, then I saw the SNL skit with Blue Oyster Cult and the cowbell and the Fat Boy Slim video and I realised that he is not scary at all. He is great.

 

A rare not-so-scary photo of The Walken

Christopher was born Ronald Walken but changed his name in 1964 because Ronnie’s a bit of a duff name (Unless you’re Ronnie O’Sullivan and I have the lust for you).  He started out as a dancer but got into acting proper and not prancing around in the mid-60s. He came to real prominence with the aforementioned Deer Hunter and won an Oscar for that role. Since then he’s been putting that face on the screen and making some people afeard regularly and extremely well.

 

Mostly I just love him. He’s so still and contained, his voice is instantly recognisable and full of a certain je ne sais quoi. In short Walken is bloody wonderful and as such should have a birthday all full of joy, cake and dancing. And some booze and whores if he likes that sort of thing.

Happy birthday scary face! I’m not scared of you these days, but sometimes I like to pretend that I am!

 

 

Twinkle Toes!



 

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March 16th

Another day another Roman, but this one is up there with the crème de la crème of psycho nutters, so no apologies for revisiting the same place two days in a row!

On this day in 37A.D. Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus became the Emperor of Rome. If the name doesn’t ring any bells with you, worry not. Gaius was far more commonly known as Caligula. Yes, the one they made that porno film about!

 

Bust of Caligula that looks a bit like Malcolm McDowell who played him in that porno

Before we get down to the nutjobbery, I have to get a few things out of the way and be scrupulously fair to Mr Caligula. There is a possibility that he wasn’t as much of a headcase as we’ve been led to believe. We don’t have much in the way of primary source material and it’s highly possible that the secondary sources got their information from now defunct sources that had an axe to grind. That said, he was almost certainly at least a bit of a nutter and as the “he did what now?!” stories are too interesting to ignore and we don’t actually have any evidence of him being a decent misunderstood little emperor,we’ll go with the loco in the coco angle.

 

We’ll be a little more fair to Caligula now. Given his early life, which was all pretty much conspiracies, his family being exiled or murdered and being sent hither and thither to this elderly relative and another, it’s not surprising that he grew up with strange ideas. Also  his adopted granddad – for future reference, Roman emperors, especially the early bunch, were great ones for “adopting” nephews and the like and making them their heirs. A sort of extended nepotism for when their own kids were either dead or a bit rubbish – Tiberius was hardly a great role model. He’d started out as a pretty good emperor, although he was a miserable bugger all his life, but for the last fifteen years of his life he was paranoid, killy and basically not in Rome much at all. He had Caligula come and live with him on Capri for the last six years of his long and miserable life. Consider what it was like for young Gaius. You’re there with your pretend grandfather , you’re 19, you know he orders the death of anyone he thinks is looking at him funny and you have to be well clever to be that close to him, that much of a perceived threat to him and to stay alive.

The fact that Caligula did stay alive says a lot for his ability to dissemble. There were rumours that he murdered Tiberius, but it’s unlikely as Tiberius was 77 when he shuffled off this mortal coil and pretty much desiccated by disease and grouchiness. In his will he left everything to Caligula and his actual grandson Tiberius Gemellus. Caligula did what anyone would have done in the same situation, had TG executed and claimed the lot for himself. Thus began his four years as Roman Emperor.

At first he was very popular. The populous had hated Tiberius, were glad to see the back of him and welcomed young-blood to the

Invictus reacts to the news that he's now a senator

throne. He made a few good decisions, like stopping all the treason trials Tiberius had been so keen on and commissioning a couple of aqueducts. Everyone thought they were in for a nice golden age, but they were wrong. Within two years Caligula decided the treason trials were  very good idea, mostly because he got to make lots of money from them by confiscating the estates of dead traitors and Caligula loved to spend money. He had bankrupted the state treasury within two years. He was also probably doing sex with his sister Julia Drusilla (as an aside, I used to have a cat called Drusilla), although to be fair to them, they were pretty much emulating the whole Ptolemaic thing where it was customary for brothers and sisters to get married. Anyway, when Drusilla died of a fever he was pretty much in bits and went even more batshit. Anyway, enough of that, we all know that he did it with his sister and that he made  his horse Invictus a senator, had his stable furnished with gold and stuff and also made him a priest. This is for finding out new things about Caligula to further cement our idea of him as the biggest insaniac ever to wear the laurel crown!

 

Okay, here goes. He killed an awful lot of people; he shagged other men’s wives and then mocked the men with that information; he let his people starve while he spent money on fripperies. So far so dull? You’re right. He also proclaimed himself a living god, demanded that people worship him and went about dressed up like a different god every day. More? Okay, the pièce de résistance. Once, when he was at the games, he got bored because there weren’t enough criminals to be prosecuted and killed during the interval, so he got his guards to throw a section of the audience into the arena where they were killed and eaten by animals.

He got away with this behaviour for nearly four years, but eventually enough was enough. No one knows exactly which straw broke the imperial camel’s back, but like Julius Caesar before him, he was attacked and stabbed to death by a group of men who couldn’t take any more of his lunacy. These men also hoped to bring the Republic back, but that ship had long sailed. Romans were delighted to see the back of Caligula, but happy enough to give his successor, his Uncle Claudius, a good crack of the whip. Claudius was one of Caligula’s only surviving relatives and he only got to live because of his stutter which Caligula liked to rip the piss out of. If I was Alanis Morrisette, I’d probably say that that was ironic, but it wasn’t so I won’t.

One last thing, for anyone who’s wondering. Caligula was a pet name meaning little boots. He got it when he was a wee lad who’d on campaigns with his father the general and wear a little replica of Roman army garb with his “little boots”. Alas even sweet little children can grow up to be tyrannical bastards. cf. Adolf Hitler.

 

Today is the birthday of a policeman called Eric Estrada. He used to be in a documentary about the California Highway Patrol, called CHiPs, but when that finished he found fame in reality  programmes and starring in stuff like The Bold and The Beautiful.

The documentary about the police was odd because although his name is Erica Estrada (One of the lecturers at my university was

Fake policeman bastard

called Erica Strata. She did not look like Eric Estrada) in the programme he pretended it was Frank Poncherello. My only guess on this is that he was undercover the whole time.

 

Eric Estrada has also turned himself into a cartoon to appear in things like King of the Hill and Family Guy where once again he gets to be a policeman like he is in real life and … hang on.

I’ve just done some more research and apparently CHiPs wasn’t a documentary and Eric Estrada is an actor. This is a shame because as an actor he makes a very good policeman. So, now I realise that he has spent his whole career  feeding off his fifteen minutes of fame in the early eighties and he’s not just an undercover police officer who made good. How tragic.

Anyway, I’ve nothing more to say about this faker  other than it’s his birthday today and he should be utterly ashamed  of himself!

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