an unflinching look

Defending the Damned by Kevin A. Davis highlights the inner workings of the public defenders of Cook County. When I initially picked it up I thought it was going to focus on the various cases that the public defenders have to deal with, drug dealers, muggers, stuff like that, but Defending the Damned is focused on the public defenders on the Murder Task Force. Oh shit. The book doesn’t pull any punches, there are a lot of gruesome details and a lot of people who committed terrible atrocities, stuff that might be upsetting for people of a more sensitive nature. So how doe does one go about defending people who murder? That’s what this book is about. If I didn’t live in Chicago I wouldn’t believe some of the stuff in this book, from the abhorrent crimes to the colorful characters that populate the pages, but I do and I remember hearing about some of the cases. Defending the Damned uses the trial of a suspected cop killer from beginning to end to show the workings of the PDs, in order to springboard onto other examples of other cases that the department has had to deal with in the past. It’s some crazy shit. I was pleasantly surprised that it was such a good read, I was expecting a lot of descriptions of bureaucracy and dreary law; however, the book is well written and it grabs on to you and will linger with you, but like I said it is an unflinching look into a world most people are (hopefully) unaware of.   One would think that the PDs would hate their jobs, but it’s quite the opposite, for many it is a driving force in their lives, and they put in a lot of effort to do the job to the best of their capacity despite the colossal pressures of the job. But these people aren’t having to put up with purse snatchers, at the time public defenders had to deal with the death penalty, which was abolished in 2011, so there was that to deal with. Defending the Damned is a fascinating book, good for anyone who has an interest in law, true crime, and of course, Chicago.

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the Dark Lord Angor

Now coming on the stage, a very funny guy, from the Ebony Tower of the Bone Ash Mountains, the Dark Lord Angor! “Whoa hey good to be here. Have you ever noticed how your most bumbling guards always have the night patrol, and how they always seem to be carrying around all of the keys to the citadel? Every time I level a village I make sure all the children are also dead, so that way none of them grow up after swearing vengeance upon me, I have a no child left behind policy. You there, what do you do and where are you from? Ah a Blood Crystal miner from Darkwood. That’s in the south, right? Have you ever noticed how slave laborers from the south writhe under the whip like this, but slave laborers from the north writhe under the whip like THIS? I don’t know about you, but I always seem to misplace my Dagger of K’oomtaht. But then I always seem to find it already hilt deep in the chest of the sacrificial victim, and boy is my face is always red when I realize it! Why aren’t any of you laughing? Guards! Kill them all. Yes the mc too, make sure he gets the arrow through the head gag.”

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“Farewell happy fields, Where joy forever dwells: Hail, horrors, hail.”

Today’s painting is The Fall of the Damned by Peter Paul Rubens
Peter_Paul_Rubens_063
Look at this! Wow, that’s metal as fuck! I like all the monsters and beasts in this painting. When most people think of Rubens they think of

Today’s song is In League with Satan by Venom, which sounds like this is a theme post, which is not despite the quote from Paradise Lost for the title, I just heard that song last night for the thousandth time.

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a fucked up zombie tornado

Yesterday I got a copy of D.O.A. Magazine #8 mainly because the book I had with me was bumming me out and I needed something to read on the bus, having deleted twitter on my phone earlier in the day. Anyway D.O.A. has a bit misleading tag line, “The Ultimate Death Metal Magazine” because it covers, thrash, black, grind, and any other brutal kind of metal. The inside is all black and white, which suits the overall aesthetic, but the color would’ve been awesome in the art spread. And what art! The cover is this Mad Max-esque truck, with spikes all fucking over it, with a dude on top manning a machine gun and blasting away zombies, but it’s not a like a few dozen zombie, it’s like a fucked up zombie tornado. The artist is this Ukrainian dude who goes by Daemorph and comes up with some sick shit! There’s also a bunch of cool old morbid woodcuts sprinkled throughout the issue, and of course the good old art of band logos. Most of the magazine is interviews with various kick ass bands (Nuke! Hellbringer!) and a good bunch of reviews (Jungle Rot!) from that whole black spectrum of heavy metal. What really makes D.O.A. impressive is that it seems to be a one man show, wow! I barely have the wherewithal to keep this up, and I can probably do this on my phone, while David Horn is putting out a magazine size and heft of a fucking Rolling Stone (if anything it might be bigger), without it sucking .This issue of D.O.A. also comes with a sweet bonus sampler cd from the Repulsive Echo record company. I like a good magazine, but a good extreme music magazine is even better! The main downside is that D.O.A. doesn’t have a great web presence, and neither does Daemorph, which is almost blasphemous in this day and age. I haven’t heard a lot of these bands, but the ones I’ve heard of (Hellripper!) are fucking dope, which means some of the other bands are bound to be killer. I don’t know about you, but I need this kind of loud music in my life, and I’m glad I can connect with it through publications as D.O.A.

I think the last issue of D.O.A.  I got featured art by Mark Riddick which is metal as fuck.

I’ve been obsessively listening to Lay Your Love on me by Abba, but man cannot live on old school Swedish pop music alone, so I have really been digging Sorcery. Prepare for some fucked up thrash madness.

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Bigfoot’s biggest fans

Ever since I was a little kid I’ve been fascinated by cryptids and the world of cryptozoology. The world is so full of weird and wonderful creatures, from chameleons that fit on the tip of your thumb, to whales with hearts as big as a Volkswagen, why not Nessie or Mothman? One of the most iconic monsters is of course Bigfoot. Bigfoot, yeti, sasquatch, yowie,  Koosh Taa Kaa whatever name you refer it by, this creature is beloved by millions. But you know who are by far Bigfoot’s biggest fans? Children. A few years ago I read that a lot of kids write letters to Bigfoot, which sadly go unanswered as 1. Bigfoot has no fixed address 2. Unlike children’s letters to Santa, no one even tries to write back. So I got a p.o. box, an old typewriter (the idea that a BF would spend their time hunched over a laptop seemed preposterous to me, plus typewriters are heartier and much more repairable than a computers), and spread the word. I wasn’t expecting a lot of letters, but I was overwhelmed at the response. As a result I’ve collected thousands of letters from kids writing to Bigfoot. Here’s one from Jenny Petroski, from Jersey City NJ:

Dear Mr or Ms Squatch,
Hi! I think you are really neat. What do you eat? Someone told me you eat bugs which is gross. Do you like hamburgers? I like cheeseburgers. – Sincerely Jenny P.

One from Tommy Kennedy of Tulsa OK:

Dear Bigfoot,
What do you call a group of you? Is it bigfeet? That sounds dumb. You should call of group of you a bewildering. – Sincerely Tommy

It’s not just kids from the U.S.A., children from all over the world write to bigfoot! Here’s one from Azuloas Zigmantas, all the way from Lithuania!:

Good Sir Bigfoot,
In Lithuania I play basketball. I say you play basketball but my best friend says you play soccer, since your feet would give you a key advantage. Please, sir, help us end this debate. – Your friend – Azuloas p.s. Do you know Shaq?

OK, this is all well and good, you say, but where are the responses. For that you’ll have to buy the book. That’s right, I’m getting a book on the shelves! Coming out in 2018 from Kadokawa publishing: Children’s Letters to Bigfoot! I’ve already worked out the details with the estate of Bigfoot, so everything is smooth sailing from here on in. In fact, there’s already a modest bidding war for the movie rights, and the off Broadway musical is will premier simultaneously alongside the book. I can’t wait to finally leave my literally footprint on the world. All of this thanks to an iconic creature and the children, how I loathe them.

Edit: I can’t believe so many people didn’t know Bigfoot was dead. He died in a boating accident 19 years ago. Granted bigfoot was in no way a qualified sea captain, but he had gumption dammit. I’ll link the obituary later.

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the void inside

Recently I’ve seen this image flying around twitter
frenchfriez

(See the full, beautiful, size at foodrepublic.com)

The real order should be:

  1. Curly fries
  2. Waffle fries
  3. Steak fries
  4. Potato wedges
  5. Regular fries
  6. Cheese fries
  7. and so forth, but shoestring fries second to last followed only by the Belgian fries at last place, solely based on the fact that they come in cones, so Belgian!, and that they put mayonnaise on them, ugh. Have you ever seen anyone eat french fries with mayo, it’s unnerving at best (in fact watching anyone eat is kinda gross. Just thinking about slightly repulses me. You mean that I have to put stuff in my mouth, and I have to grind it to a paste, with my exposed bones, and swallow it? Ugh.).

I’ve never had a potato tornado, but now that’s all I want, despite knowing that after getting it I will just go back to wanting something else to fill the void inside that can’t really be filled by any amount of potatoes. Everyone would be happier if our contentment hinged on getting a good amount of fried potatoes, but that’s not the way things work! Such is life.

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Dope trailer for a dope thing

Here’s the trailer for the latest episode of The World Underground, it is beautiful. You can watch the first episode at The World Underground’s website, and donate some moolah as well.  ROCK AND  ROLL!

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Yeah, I can see, but it is terrifying

Into the Wild is an in depth look into the journey of Chris McCandless/Alexander Supertramp. It also chronicles a few other adventurers who may have met similar ends and what drove them in their seeking. The movie, from what I remember, seemed to have romanticized the whole thing, but Krakauer’s book effectively strips away the Hollywood veneer, revealing a haunting experience. Krakauer brings up a good point, that most of the people who most vocally criticized Chris have not come close to being tested the way he was tested. He managed to survive for 114 days out in wilderness that creeped out Krakauer, himself an accomplished outdoorsman. Sometimes I think I shouldn’t read books like Into the Wild because they bring up the worst questions: Am I truly living or am I just getting by? What does it even mean to be truly alive? Or to live truly? Usually I don’t have to face these questions because I have plenty of distractions, I have to work, I have to get groceries, I have to update my various online platforms, I have to meet up with someone, and so on. But then a book like this comes along and it’s kind of like clouds being blown away and being under a cold harsh sun, even if just for a little bit. Yeah, I can see, but it is terrifying.

One of the my favorite things to watch is the preliminary rounds of America’s Got Talent. My favorite acts tend to be the more sideshow like, the more grotesque stuff, and of course I love a good magic trick. The new season just started, and who should I see on the first episode but one of my favorite performers, Puddles Pity Party, “the sad clown with the golden voice.” Just this past St. Patrick’s Day I celebrated by having precisely one Guinness and listening to this:

ddddd

 

I know that clowns have a pretty bad rap nowadays, but here’s a great essay on clowning by Mairead Case on clowning.

Also check out my friend’s Tara’s blog, it is amazing.

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The jagged miasma of sleep deprivation

Et Tu, Babe by Mark Leyner is a novel about a Mark Leyner, author, magnificent psychical specimen, lover, and overall liver of life. It starts off with going at an alarming rpm and doesn’t let up for a second. Before picking up this book I never had even heard of Mark Leyner, but I can imagine him hunched over his keyboard, ceaselessly hammering out words, but is that actually him or the fictional(?) Mark Leyner, with the cronies and the compound? And who among us hasn’t dream of having cronies and a compound, and fame, and riches, that’s the real American Dream right there. I’ve been reading for my own amusement/good/horror/occasional learning for about 23 years, so I kinda have an inkling of the game. Of course once you know how the game is set up, the hoop is an oval, pro wrestling is scripted, it can do either disappoint you OR it’ll let you enjoy it more. ETB is in on the game and lets you know it. Do you get what I’m saying? I was usually reading it after my night shift job, which usually leaves me feeling like my brain is a rotting orange wrapped in discount sandpaper. After dealing with foreign kids blasting the latest American pop hits and EDM, to the sudden almost silence of 3:50 am, just me and the hem and haws of the building. I’m not a fan of watching these sunrises that come from the necessity of having to work . Another one, I think, as the sky lurches from darkness to gray dawn which makes the alley feel like an overexposed photograph, hashtag no filter. The jagged miasma of sleep deprivation makes the short walk to the train station into a march through a different dimension. So after dealing with that getting to dig into this weird, sharp, bright, clean (like surgical, not wholesome) is definitely a mood lifter. Does John Waters know about this? I think he’d dig it. The book is also relentlessly funny. There’s a lot of really good bits in it, so one will find all sorts of thing to delight. One of my favorite quotes, which I will now use all the time is “Will I ever reconcile my inner contradictions? Is it so terribly wrong to live the way I do?” Fucking great.

I have been listening to way too much Tom Waits and Black Flag, so yesterday blasting some good old cheesy 80s hair rock felt like I was actually breathing without a struggle. Maybe because I was singing along and was actually breathing.

At work I found a bright red, see thru pen that had “Transylvania University” along with “Think Your Drink” printed on the barrel. Of course I was delighted! But then I made the mistake of looking it up and ended up finding out that T.U. is actually in Kentucky! Ok, that’s not so bad, maybe their mascot/team name is something like Transylvania U Vampires, or the werewolves, or the impalers, or the wolves, or the bats, or maybe, the Draculas! But no it’s the Transylvania University Pioneers! How lame! Even the Transylvania suckers would be an improvement.

I just found out that today is Dracula day! Great! Not just because, why not of course it’s Dracula day, it’s because the novel by Bram Stoker was released on this day in 1897. Of all the Draculas I have known one of my favorite renditions is Dracula: Dead and Loving it!

HA!

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performance enhancing drugs are great

Yesterday was the 4th ever Gamepocalypse, hosted by my buddy Josh. I did not prevail at the top of the heap. I was near the top. I blame the fact that I was sober for the fact that I did not win. You see kids, performance enhancing drugs are great. If you don’t believe me just look at Cpt America, before he took the super soldier serum he was just a scrawny dude. I did nab second place, losing to the Mighty Earl in a rousing game of Super Bomberman, which is what they based Hurt Locker on. I won a Pacman hat, which is great, the hat is ok, but it’s symbolically great. I, much like Pacman, eat fruit I find all the time. Plus every once in a while I take pills that make me feel way better about myself. And let’s not mention being constantly chased by ghosts. And for sure I wander around in mazes made out of darkness, pulled to and fro by forces that are far beyond my ken, screaming. What’s up with Pacman and Ms. Pacman? Are they married? How do they fuck, where are their genitals. Somehow they have a kid. The real winner of the night is my brain cells, since because I wasn’t boozing it up, survived more or less intact. But you know.

Check out these excerpts from Et, Tu Babe by Mark Leyner:

As you know, I’m not your average Author. I dress like an off-duty cop: leather blazer, silk turtleneck, tight sharply creased slacks, Italian loafers, pinky-ring. I drive a candy-apple red Jaguar with a loaded 90-mm semiautomatic pistol in the glove compartment. When I walk into a party I’m like this: my head is bobbing to music that only exists in my mind. For our seventh anniversary, I gave my wife, Arleen Portada, a rotating diamond-impregnated drill bit-the kind that German and Russia geologists use in their deep drilling programs-programs that produce ultradeep holes with depths of up to 15 kilometers. But that’s the kind of guy I am. Dynamic. Robust. No nonsense. A steak and chops man. Double scotch rocks. A man who makes things happen. Big hairy hands. A powerful fist that comes down on a conference table with peremptory authority. Then there’s stunning Arleen Portada. Mystic. Sensualist. Why is she covered with centipede stings? If you spent all day on a sun-baked prairie wearing a sizzling orange minidress supervising a platoon of beefy workmen as they paint immense grain silos vibrant yellow and fuchsia, you’d be covered with centipede stings, too.

AND

The four-foot hermaphroditic organism from a distant solar system twitched in my arms as I soul-kissed it. The laboratory director would have me killed if he’d know that I’d snuck into the Galactic Lifeform Chamber with a bottle of wine, a cassette players, and an eclectic selection of tapes (Felix Mendelssohn, Steppenwolf, Barbara Mandrell) for a clandestine tryst with the cylindrical being whom the lab technicians had christened “Kitty Lafontaine.” I pipetted a few drops of 1982 Napa Valley Zinfandel into its alimentary aperture. Its synesthetic sensory apparatus was distributed evenly across the entirety of its shiny outer sheath so it could see, hear, smell, touch, precognize, etc., from any point on its body. To say that holding Kitty Lafontaine in my arms was like nestling a large holiday beef log from Hickory Farms would certainly not convey the spine-tingling xenophilic libidinous awe i felt, but it would accurately convey the shape, mass, and weight of this fascinating creature who would irrevocably change all our lives that summer.

GREAT STUFF.

Neat article
11 Female Abstract Expressionists You Should Know, from Joan Mitchell to Alma Thomas

I read in this National Geographic article that tomorrow night’s performance by Ringling Bros. circus will be their last one. I don’t like that circuses keep animals in deplorable conditions, but it still saddens me a bit to see the big top forever fold up the tents. As someone who is intrigued by the grotesque and outre there’s a place in my heart for the circus. But then again I’d rather have elephants roaming around wild and free, tigers hiding in the grass, and lions out on the savannas. That NG link also features a couple of really weird/creepy old timey circus pictures, which are always good to lift my mood.

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