Friday, August 05, 2005

Seems that the wantonly ugly Robert Novak came unglued on CNN. I missed it, but some girl sent over chapter and verse for those who care. I would that it was the start of a much greater unravelling.

The secret word is Warthog

Thursday, August 04, 2005

LA CityBeat comes round again, and this week I have two pieces. An analysis of the new terrorism that I really do think has something to say for itself...

And also more whimsical observations on the local wildlife...

The secret word is Corvid

I read in The Week that Paris Hilton attempted to rent St. Paul’s in London for her wedding to Paris the Greek, but she was turned down. Doubtless she will go on looking. Nortre Dame? Chartes? Isn’t there one in Dresden? Doubtless she could lease something gothic in Roumania pretty cheap, although I personally think it more fitting for her nuptials should take place in the Astrodome as a pay-per-view special. What Paris doesn’t know is that she has helped crystalize an idea for a new novel. Essentially about wealth. All I have so far are the scant lines of dialogue below, and no idea if any gastropod publisher would ever put it out, but it is growing in my head and you are actually witnessing conception...

(Two unnamed characters, one of whom is very rich.)
"The vast majority of the very rich don’t deserve their fucking fortunes."
"They don’t?"
"They think the only purpose of wealth is to flaunt it with an obscene lack of originality." Unamed was always careful never to split infinitives. "I mean, okay, Branson has his spaceship, but..."
Other-Unnamed raised an eyebrow, sensing a revelation. "But what?"
"I believe I can now buy myself my very own nuclear weapon and still have change left over."
Other-Unnamed took a deep breath, aware that Unnamed was serious. "Wouldn’t you have to buy a small country to keep it in?"
Unnamed smiled. "I have my island."

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Some girl sent over this link which would seem to indicate that even solid, old-school rightwingers are having problems with the Bush agenda.

Meanwhile this fell from the blue; a marathon debate about white kids wearing dreadlocks. Something with which I empathize for obvious reasons. (I particularly like the Swedish kid who claims Vikings wore dreads.)

The secret word is Natty
As I was cutting the codes out of this second piece from The Guardian sent over by Roger in Scotland, I wondered to myself why I was bothering to post this stuff. Was it an odd forensic nostalgia, or just because recent days have been so depressingly August? Or maybe there is some merit, while dope remains eternally demonized and illegal here in the USA, to remember a nervously naive time when the London authorities through they could stamp out the whole thing by rounding up the obvious celebrities. (Plus hundreds of lesser mortals.)

Sir Mick Jagger may now be a respected knight of the realm, but 35 years ago, when he claimed that detectives had tried to plant drugs on him, police were distinctly unimpressed. Secret files released yesterday to the National Archives show that an internal inquiry by Scotland Yard dismissed the allegations, saying the Rolling Stones singer was caught up in "the world of users of dangerous drugs". Jagger's main witnesses were described as "the dregs of society", while his girlfriend Marianne Faithfull - who was also caught up in the claims - was said to be "most unreliable".The allegations followed a police raid on Jagger's home in London's fashionable Cheyne Walk in Chelsea on 28 May 1969, led by the head of the local drugs squad, Detective Sergeant Robin Constable.
A quantity of cannabis resin was seized by the police. However, the allegation that Sgt Constable had tried to plant some "white powder" on Jagger and then demanded a £1,000 bribe to drop the charges surfaced some weeks later when Jagger and Faithfull were filming in Australia. In the midst of shooting the movie, Faithfull was rushed to hospital in Sydney with a drugs overdose after suffering hallucinations that she was the dead Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones. She told the Australian detectives who came to interview her that she "hated coppers" because of her recent experience at the hands of the police in Britain.The Australian police report stated: "She elaborated on this, alleging that her recent arrest in England for 'possession of cannabis' was a result of a trumped-up charge when the chief of the Chelsea drug squad called at the flat she and Jagger occupied and produced some cannabis, stating that he would arrest them if they didn't pay him money."
The claim that Sgt Constable had tried to plant drugs and then attempted to solicit a bribe was to form the basis of the singer's defence when he was charged with cannabis possession at Marlborough Street Magistrates' Court, London. Jagger also went on to allege that the cannabis seized in Cheyne Walk had "shrunk" while in police possession from a half-pound block to just a third of an ounce - the inference being that it was being sold by corrupt officers. Although he was found guilty and fined £200 and ordered to pay 50 guineas in costs, Scotland Yard had little option but to investigate the singer's claims.Jagger enjoyed some high-profile backing from the lawyer, Michael Havers, who went on to become a Conservative Attorney-General, and the Labour MP Tom Driberg.
Nevertheless, the police distaste for the case - particularly some minor drug dealers Jagger and Faithfull called as witnesses - was plain from the outset. "The private persons interviewed during the course of this investigation represent extreme ends of the scale. At one end are public figures, whilst at the other are the dregs of society," noted Commander Robert Huntley, who oversaw the inquiry.In a statement to the police, Jagger described how Sgt Constable had allegedly tried to plant the "white powder" - apparently heroin - in a piece of folded-up paper produced from a box in the house. "I think he put the box down and opened the folded paper. He said: 'Ah, ah, we won't have to look much further'," Jagger said in his statement. "As I got to him he showed me the paper and I saw it contained some white powder.
"I said, 'You bastard, you planted me with heroin'."
Jagger then went on to claim that the officer had tried to solicit a bribe in order to drop the case."He said, 'Don't worry about it, Mick, we can sort it all out'. I said, 'No, we can't'. He said, 'Come on, how much is it worth to you?'
"He seemed to want me to name a figure but I did not want to," Jagger added.
"He twice asked me how much it was worth. He then said 'a thousand', but I never replied. After this he said to me, 'You can have your money back if it doesn't work'."
However, after interviewing all those involved, the Yard's investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector William Wilson, said that the claims came down to Jagger's word against Sgt Constable's. The Director of Public Prosecutions then ruled no action should be taken against Sgt Constable to end the matter.

The secret word is Horticulture

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Some girls sends us the story of how there is ice on Mars.

While, in red state Wisconsin, contraceptives become illegal on campus to curb promiscuity.

The following comes from Roger in Scotland. The London Guardian has obtained the files on the 1960s law enforcement vendetta against the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. For those of us who don’t see The Guardian, here’s Lennon, tomorrow Jagger...
The Scotland Yard drug squad detective who led a midnight raid on John Lennon's London flat privately explained to the home secretary that he needed a large number of police with him because he expected to find "an unusual party", involving large numbers of people, in full swing. Detective Sergeant Norman "Nobby" Pilcher, who built his drug squad career targeting musicians, including Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Eric Clapton and Donovan, finally turned his attention to the biggest prize of all - a Beatle in October 1968.
A confidential Scotland Yard file, which was released at the National Archives to the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act, shows that Pilcher came under strong pressure from the then home secretary, James Callaghan, after the raid on the Marylebone flat.
In his report, hand-delivered to the home secretary, Pilcher tried to explain why it had taken seven police officers and two dogs to raid Lennon's flat, and how it was that the press managed to arrive on the scene within minutes of the drug bust.
It was widely believed that Lennon had already immortalised Det Sgt Pilcher as "Semolina pilchard" in the Beatles song I Am the Walrus. The Beatle described him as a "head-hunting" cop: "He went round and bust every pop star he could get his hands on, and he got famous. Some of the pop stars had dope in their house and some of them didn't."
On this occasion Lennon was confident that he didn't. At the time he lived with Yoko Ono in the flat he rented from George Harrison at 34 Montague Square. The previous tenant had been Jimi Hendrix. Lennon had been tipped off three weeks earlier by Don Shorter, a Daily Mirror journalist, that Pilcher had him next on the list and he had the flat meticulously cleaned in the belief that Hendrix must have left some trace of drugs in the apartment.
Lennon always insisted he had been framed by Pilcher, who was subsequently jailed for corruption because of his practices in the drug squad. Lennon was fined £150 for possession but the conviction was to give him years of trouble and pain. It was enough to trigger a deportation order against him in the US in 1971, and a subsequent four-year battle against being thrown out. Ono said it also contributed to the couple losing custody of her daughter, Kyoko.
The Scotland Yard file shows that not only did the drug squad's only two sniffer dogs, named Yogi and Boo-Boo, find some cannabis, but that the police also claimed they had a battle getting into the flat.
Pilcher said the raid had been carried out after "information received" indicated there would be at least three people living on the premises and they were "in possession of a quantity of cannabis". He said the flat had been difficult to enter because it occupied the ground floor and the basement, there was no rear entrance and there was an entryphone system to the front door. Pilcher said two detective sergeants, three detective constables, one a woman, and two dog handlers - without dogs - turned up at the flat at 11.55pm on Friday, October 18 1968 armed with a search warrant, and hammered on the door.
Inside, John and Yoko were in bed. Yoko went to open the front door. "Upon being informed that we were police officers and the reason for our visit, she ran back along the passage into the flat and slammed and locked the door," Pilcher said.
The couple had been lying in bed dressed only in vests and feeling "very clean and drugless". Lennon was in no mood to cooperate and phoned his solicitors.Pilcher reported: "An attempt was made to enter the premises by way of a rear ground floor window but this was prevented by Lennon who held the window closed." The detective sergeant claimed Lennon had said: "I don't care who you are, you're not bloody coming in here."When the police started to force open the front door of the flat, Lennon decided to open it. The struggle had lasted eight minutes. Once the police had established that John and Yoko were alone they had to wait half an hour for the arrival of the dogs. In the meantime two of Lennon's lawyers had arrived and several press photographers had also made it to the scene.The flat was searched with the dogs sniffing around the four large rooms. "Cannabis resin was found secreted in a leather binocular case and a suitcase. Both of these quantities were found by the dogs," Pilcher's official report said.
He claimed that "past experience proved that it is necessary to take at least six officers to carry out the execution of the search warrant, plus the dog handlers".
They had decided to take five officers plus the dog handlers this time because of the difficulty of getting into the flat and the fact that the rooms were "in a very untidy condition".
But Pilcher then told the home secretary that such a large number was needed because "it is not unusual when executing search warrants for premises occupied by members of the entertainment world to find that there are large numbers of people present taking part in unusual parties. In this case it was found that only two persons were present, and both were in a state of undress."
Pilcher also denied tipping off the press. The official Met report concluded: "One thing is certain as far as this incident is concerned, and that is the press was informed by somebody." The document suggested a neighbouring resident might have been responsible.
"The fact that police officers were attempting to effect an entry into the residence of Lennon and Cox [Ono] is of immense news value to the press and of likewise publicity value to Lennon himself. The police officers involved have been questioned and strongly deny being responsible for any leakage of information."
Pilcher had learned his lesson. The following year when he raided George Harrison's Esher estate he timed the bust to coincide with Paul McCartney's marriage to Linda Eastman, so he could be sure the Beatle would not be at home.
As the file reveals, after getting it in the neck from the home secretary he wanted to be sure the premises were empty when he arrived "mob-handed" at Harrison's home in March 1969.

The secret word is Nicked

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Check this out...
HCB sends the following...
LONDON (AFP) - A foul-mouthed parrot previously owned by a lorry driver has been banished from public areas in a British animal sanctuary after repeatedly embarrassing his keepers, they said. Barney, a five-year-old Macaw, is now kept indoors at Warwickshire Animal Sanctuary in Nuneaton, central England, when outsiders visit after abusing dignitaries with swearword-littered insults. "He's told a lady mayoress to f..(expletive) off and he told a lady vicar: 'And you can f... off as well'," sanctuary worker Stacey Clark said. Nor did the forces of law and order escape, she added. "Two policemen came to have a look at the centre. He told them: 'And you can f... off you two wankers'." Clark said sanctuary workers believed Barney either picked up the phrases from television or was taught them by his previous owner, a lorry driver who emigrated to Spain. "He does say 'Hello, big boy' and 'Thank you' when you give him a biscuit," she added. "But it's mainly naughty words and always to the wrong people. We're trying to teach him not to swear. Macaws are very intelligent birds."

In a separate email, HCB also comments on last Friday’s post...
On Tuesday, the NY Post ran a screaming cover story recounting how Osama bin Laden tried to buy a massive amount of cocaine, cut it with poison and sell it in the United States." If Bob Dylan were a fresh folkie he'd be singing about looking for Osama under his bed – and Ed Sullivan wouldn't let him sing it. I loved the cocaine story – that Bin Laden is accruing all this cultural mythifying just shows how desperate we are for a little attention. I think we – the (US) nation – have assault envy this month. There's a new rumor that Bin Laden doesn't actually exist – that's a sure sign of how ethereal he's become. And I guess they're digging cells out of Ladbroke Grove. Wonder if Boss has been cooking up delicious entrees for the bad guys at Sunday brunch.

Which actually raises an interesting and overlooked cultural footnote. Our pal Boss Goodman, is the hero of a hundred adventures, but an unreconstructed Luddite with no email. Aside for DJing at London’s 100 Club, he is also the master-chef at a well know pub, The Portobello Gold, (Where he once cooked for Bill Clinton.) It’s unlikely he ever cooks for Jihadist or even wannabee Jihadists, because hard core Muslims don’t drink, word up. And are thus beyond the assimilating influence pub of culture that has absorbed so many other waves of immigrants down the centuries. (Ask the Huguenots or the Hindus.) Which inspires a joke that might start "four swarthy geezers with backpacks walk into a pub and... (Complete the joke and win a virtual prize.)

The secret word is Cracker

Our pals in Holland have been quiet for a while, but now they have issued a new communique.
When, on several occasions, Tony Blair called the bombings and attempted bombings of the city of London the fruits of an "evil" ideology, he was not just simplifying matters for dramatic purposes. What he was trying to achieve with such an archaic word was detaching the motives behind the bombings from political reality and blowing them up to mythological proportions. Political reality can be discussed, analysed and understood. Myth, on the other hand, evades discussion and defies understanding: it is an order beyond the grasp of reason. Ranking your enemies among the mythological forces of evil is a stale but still effective piece of propaganda to frighten people and to muster them under your flag, cross, crescent, or any other symbol held up as a representation of the forces of "good". It is an appeal to fears and desires that underlie much of the ethics of religious and post-religious societies. Blair knows that. Bush knows it. And so do the leaders of Al-Queda. Much as Blair would have us believe that the London bombers have fallen prey to evil, it is all too clear what has really driven them to their horrible and desperate acts: British military interference in the Middle-East and Central Asia, which, contrary to what Blair maintains, goes back a lot further than the 9/11 attacks and pre-dates Al-Queda by more than 150 years. It's evident why Blair would want to escape political reality: a majority of his own people has been against the latest invasion and occupation of Iraq from the start, and the last thing Blair needs now is being held responsible for having brought the war home. Admitting that there is a connection between the war in Iraq and the London bombings would make his positionuntenable and would very likely lead to withdrawal of British troops and British investments from Iraq. It would mean immense loss of face for Blair and the Labour Party and loss of capital for British industries and banks with interests in war and oil. Of course, Blair is right when he says that nothing can justify cowardly suicide bombings like the ones in London. But condemnation of the attacks must not prevent us from trying to understand the motives of the bombers, who, after all, are only human. By demonizing the bombers to save his own skin Blair has endangered British society even further, and it is only thanks to the self-control and realism of the British people that Blair's remarks haven't split their multi-cultural society beyond repair. What demonization leads to became clear when policemen killed a completely innocent Brazilian in the London underground last week. 27-year-old Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead publicly for having been in the wrong place at the wrong time, having worn the wrong clothes, and having run away for plain-clothes policemen with drawn guns. De Menezes was shot in the head at pointblank range five times. Killing somebody five times is not a professional mistake but an act of rage and hatred. It is a hysterical effort to root out evil.
Read why the British deserve a better Prime Minister than Tony Blair in an article in The New Statesman by John Pilger (sent to us by Gerard Bellaart of Cold Turkey Press)...

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