Archive for March, 2013

“Any bloody fool can pull a trigger”

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

Give us another film like Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon.

Reservoir Dragons At one point, early in Bruce Lee’s 1972 karate classic-to-be, Enter the Dragon, British Intelligence recruiter “Braithwaite” offers Lee whiskey, which he refuses as though it contains all the weaknesses of Western culture. Braithwaite’s droopy shrug ‘n gulp response serves to confirm for the audience that one of these two knows some things the other doesn’t.

Enter the Dragon08As Braithwaite reveals more of Enter the Dragon’s cloak-and-dagger intrigue, Lee suggests someone just go in and shoot the bad guy. Initially, the question seems like a no-brainer, but Braithwaite assures Lee that possession of a gun on an island off of Hong Kong is a whopper of a British Colonial no-no: if firearms were suspected, he seems to say, the Queen herself would arrive to tidy things up. Moreover, this particular bad guy, “Han,” suspects he could be assassinated at any moment, so he’s particularly sensitive. “Can’t really blame him,” Braithwaite reasons. “Any bloody fool can pull a trigger.”

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TJ Max and his Middle Finger

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

TJ LANE Where Excuses Go to Die

Clearly, he intended to make a lasting impression.

T.J. Lane wanted us to witness his transcendence to what he mistakes for character: he offered no excuses for his murders, his obscene defiance, and his soulless ability to surprise.

He hit that ball right ‘outta the park, too, because today, like a bunch of scattering, squawking crows, cable TV news outlets are cycling the young man’s name and footage of him in the courtroom every 15 minutes.  (Is his Tumblr fan site really a shocker?)

Countless wrathful comments now follow every T.J. Lane-related post. Some are angry, others giddy, and still others are nauseous with indignation. Many simply praise the treacherous world of prison, believing T.J. Lane will encounter Samuel Jackson’s Ezekiel 25:17 death speech from Pulp Fiction every day for the next 62 ½ years.

(Example: “…tumblr isn’t going to save him from the ass ramming he’s bound to get in prison.”)

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A Prison Bitch by Another Name

Friday, March 15th, 2013

Who says jail tormentors must have dicks to be scary?

Kate del CastilloA long-haired blond was shoved onto the 9000 block of L.A.’s infamous Men’s Central Jail, a surfer-boy among the Latino gang veteranos, the gringo trash, the Crips, Bloods, old timers, and fresh fish. Resisting arrest and two counts of grand theft auto, we heard. No doubt the deputies had a laugh as they waved surfer-boy on, into the general population. The fellas thought he should’ve been sent to the soft tank with the “trannies and homos.” Too late now.

Like me, the guy clearly had no jail experience, but regardless of my fear and need for someone to talk to, I didn’t go near that fool. He was radioactive. I’d arrived just a few weeks prior, and already I’d seen enough to stay clear. The guy might have protested getting stuck with the “faggots, bitches, putas, and pussies,” but it would’ve been far better than what actually happened to him. (more…)

Nobody Votes in L.A.

Friday, March 8th, 2013

There are many excuses not to vote. These are mine.

Where Excuses Go to Die DO NOTHINGThe City of Los Angeles saw absurdly low voter turnout on Tuesday — they say it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 16%-to-20% of those registered. It’s the same sad song we always hear, but about which I’m finally free to ask: If the Mayans were wrong with their obnoxious predictions, how are we to trust iffy polls that tell us we’re doomed if we don’t vote? Aren’t we all still walking around, microwaving the earth the Mayans left us?

In addition to that (perfectly reasonable) rationalization, here are some of the excuses that went through my head on voting day:

  1. You have to be some kind of ballot language specialist to understand the propositions, which are written so that only people living in Opposite World will get what voting ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ means. That’s just cruel.
  2. I don’t know what a city controller does.
  3. My friends don’t want to go.
  4. When asked, “Shall the City of Los Angeles enact a one-half cent transactions and use (generally referred to as sales) tax, with required independent audits, public review of expenditures, and all funds used locally,” I need to pull out my trusty 新選民資訊 guide in order to answer. I’ll be right back never.
  5. Law and Order already started. They’re just going to raise taxes anyway.
  6. Polling places remind me of things I don’t want to touch, like decomposing, school district wood and volunteers.
  7. I already took my shoes off; you know the rule.
  8. Standing in line for a ballot’s like being at the DMV, ‘cept the people behind the counter are smarter than you are, and they know you last read a book when Bush was still president.
  9. Never mind the sticker, shouldn’t we be issued some sort of code when we vote, so when we encounter grocery store petition weirdos we can pronounce it and walk off guilt free, like one of the good people? Do that and I’ll vote in every election.
  10. I can’t break away from what I’m doing just ’cause it’s time to vote. Voting needs to be rolled into my other errands, so I can manufacture the illusion of profit and check something off my to-do list.
  11. There was an election this week, and there’s another one in two months. See what I’m saying? This is impossible.
  12. All I’ve heard is that both frontrunners have funded Muslim kitten burning operations and that they’d sell their souls to the devil if they knew the devil could be litigated against. It’ll take a candidate who deserves my vote for me to just all of a sudden –snap!– log out of Call of Duty.
  13. Psh!

And yet…I did log out, put my shoes back on, and turn away from the Law and Order rerun. I found out what a city controller does. I took a very nice evening stroll with a good friend up to the neighborhood elementary school, where we found more volunteers than voters. “Been like this all day,” one told us. But we figured, at least we’re not talkers. See, we love Los Angeles, warts ‘n all. Not the champagne and spray-tan bullshit, I mean the people and places.

L.A. natives often hear how much we have in common with hard-bitten New Yorkers and I dig that. I relate to the cynicism, but also to the abundant civic pride. And really, how different is this from folks in the heartland who love their hometowns too? I fight my excuses because voting means it’s time for me give something to my city, ’cause my city is better than the people running it.

Making Excuses for Incompetence: L.A. County Sheriff’s Edition

Friday, March 1st, 2013

APOCALYPSE HOOSEGOW 7

Not six months ago, the L.A. County supervisors’ Commission on Jail Violence concluded that Sheriff Lee Baca would have been fired for incompetence if he’d been employed in the private sector.

For everything from favoring campaign contributors and “Friends of the Sheriff” to allegations of deputy cruelty and inhumane conditions in the jails, from deputies forming their own gangs and factions (only to attack each other) to heroin burritos and FBI-smuggled cellphones (for real-time corroboration from jailed informants), one might be tempted to believe Baca might finally be held accountable for his misdeeds.

The bad news is that a sheriff, an elected official, isn’t subject to the authority of a Board of Supervisors, so Baca can’t be fired for the negligence, mismanagement, or lack of accountability and transparency cited in the Commission’s findings. But the good news is, he probably won’t be running unopposed in the next election, as he had in 2010. (more…)