Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Masters of Horror: Dario Argento’s Jenifer

June 21, 2008

Masters of Horror: Dario Argento’s Jenifer

Originally uploaded by Thomas Roche

In today’s extremely disturbing viewing….

While waiting for my auto glass to be repaired (my car was broken into this past week), I had 45 minutes to kill and elected to watch Jenifer, the Dario Argento episode of the Showtime anthology program Masters of Horror, created by Mick Garris. I did this because I hate myself and wish to suffer. The episode was adapted from a 1974 story in Creepy magazine.

In it, a cop (Steven Weber) saves a grotesquely disfigured young woman (Carrie Fleming) from being murdered, porks her, and abets her in ravenously disemboweling and devouring some cats and people.

It is packed with good old-fashioned sex and violence, guts aplenty, nudity, foul prostheses, entrails and more undulating pustules than I thought they could display on cable TV. It is really disgusting. I am fucking scarred for life.

Image Via Wikipedia.


Business Week: More Drilling Won’t Lower Oil Prices

June 20, 2008

Double Mountain, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Originally uploaded by Thomas Roche

…In case anyone was wondering. Business Week reports on the fact that President Bush and John McCain are both gangbusters in favor of more drilling as a response to high oil prices. So’s Florida governor Charlie Crist, who reversed himself from his previous stance on offshore drilling. Fine, if you want to argue that point…. but don’t argue it with the assertion that it’s a response to higher oil prices now, says Business Week:

Unfortunately, the oil market is far more complex. For one thing, oil production requires enormous investment, and companies such as ExxonMobil, BP, and Chevron won’t start major new projects until it is clear the project can be profitable. Any new domestic supply would take nearly a decade to tap. Moreover, much of the change in oil markets in recent years has come more from trading than fundamentals. Investors have poured vast sums into commodities, driving prices higher and causing many people to blame rampant speculation for the surges.

In other words, the President’s proposals cannot have a significant short-term impact on oil prices, and only a questionable effect in the long run. “It’s five months before Americans go to the polls, and both parties are trying to come up with a solution,” says Stephen Schork, an energy consultant in Villanova, Pa., and editor of The Schork Report, a daily energy newsletter. “But there’s no realistic near-term solution either party can offer.”


Lots of people, including a significant number of diehard environmentalists, are arguing in favor of nuclear, too, but the same caveat applies — it’ll take a long, long time, and a lot of diesel-driven truckoads of uranium ore, before the first fresh kilowatt flows out of Your Friend The Atom.

Image: Wikipedia.

Ketchikan, Alaska

June 20, 2008


Originally uploaded by euphemy

Speaking of faraway places, this is a gorgeous photo of gorgeous Ketchikan, Alaska. I’ve actually been there; it is the site of a famous whorehouse, Dolly’s. Their motto is “Where the men and the salmon go upstream to spawn.”

Faraway Places

June 20, 2008


Originally uploaded by berzin1

Because I have work to do, I’ve become obsessed with the Altai mountain region, where Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan meet. I found this great picture of the Altai mountains on Flickr — oh, and this one, of a dam, and this one, of a frozen glacial river in the Mongolian Altai.

This happens to me fairly often when I have work to do — in the morning before the day job, usually, or on the weekends. Procrastination is frustrating, but it is part of the process, isn’t it? That’s what I keep telling myself.

Usually when I’m looking for somewhere far away to obsess over, lately, it’s the Caucasus Mountains, where Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia meet up. I’m not sure if there’s a fourfold theme going on here, since in the Caucasus region there are plenty of people who assert that there are more than four nations — the Abkhaz, Ossetians, Chechens, Dagestani, and Ingush among them.

I think places like the Altai mountains and the Cacasus have the benefit of being conceptually on the opposite side of the world. Once upon a time, that fascination for me was with Indonesia, but then I did the math and the opposite side of the globe from me is actually the middle of the Indian Ocean, thousands of miles from Madagascar or Sri Lanka or wherever; the closest land from the exact opposite of the globe from me is the French Southern Antarctic Lands, fascinating but not a great party spot.

Strangely, these faraway places are related to why, say, I lost virtually all interest in the Mob when the seventy-fifth bit player in the Sopranos released his Italian cookbook. A large number of people paying attention to something irritates me, and makes that thing uninteresting. I crave isolation, in information as much as in the physical world. The obscurity of my information actually brings me pleasure, not because I think I’m “cool” for knowing some obscure bullshit nobody else cares about, but because it allows me some sort of escape from the other people around me. Nowadays with the web, nothing’s obscure, but even on Flickr, I think the Altai Mountains come close.

New Investigation Into Umbrella Murder

June 20, 2008

Ricin Umbrella Like the One that Killed Georgi Markov

Originally uploaded by Thomas Roche

The case of Georgi Markov is one of the most bizarre in the bizarre annals of cold war espionage. Markov was a Bulgarian defector working for the BBC World Service. He was murdered by (probably) the Bulgarian secret police, with (probably) KGB aid, in 1978 on the banks of the Thames near Waterloo Bridge.

Markov was one of the few people in history killed with an umbrella. Not your average umbrella, which can of course be lethal in the hands of someone not paying attention on the bus, but an umbrella impregnated with ricin, a poison made from castor beans. It’s the same type of poison that was found in February in a hotel room in Vegas — no connection to Markov, but it underscores the terrifying ease with which Ricin can be made, and therefore its utility to killers and nut jobs of every stripe.

Now, since the 30-year Bulgarian statute of limitations is about to expire, CNN reports that Scotland Yard is again on the case:

“The British Press Association reported police had recently visited Bulgaria three times to try and track Markov’s killer(s).

“A team of Metropolitan Police officers traveled to Bulgaria in April 2007, then in March this year and again last month to pursue leads in the case, PA reported.

“British authorities have long suspected KGB staff and Bulgaria’s secret police of involvement in Markov’s death.

“The Bulgarian newspaper Dnevnik reported that British police had requested access to archive files and permission to interview about 40 witnesses.

“The detectives’ activity was triggered by the fact that under Bulgarian law the 30-year statute of limitation on the case expires in September, the newspaper said.”

Umbrella Image from Wikipedia.

Colt Defender Multi-Barrell Shotgun

June 19, 2008

Colt Defender Multi-Barrell Shotgun

Originally uploaded by Thomas Roche

Lest readers of my blog think I’m a complete treehugger and with age have lost my affinity for violent mayhem, I give you two multi-barrell shotguns conceived as insurgency weapons, via gun blogger via Les Jones. The following is from Gun Tech:

The Winchester Liberator and Colt Defender were two remarkable shotgun designs that sprang from the fertile imagination of gun designer Robert Hillberg. They were originally conceived as guerilla and counter-guerilla weapons for clandestine warfare, and as such, they were shrouded in secrecy. To appreciate the Hillberg weapons, it is first necessary to consider modern guerilla warfare…. the ideal guerilla weapon must be simple and reliable. More importantly, it must posses a high probability of first round hit and a high probability of a first round kill, even in the hands of a relatively unskilled marksman. The shotgun answers these requirement perhaps better than any other weapon, and the designs proposed by Hillberg brought the shotgun to a new level of refinement for this niche.

Hillberg’s first gun was designed around several requirements. Aside from the requirements for hit probability and lethality, it must posses adequate firepower without being too complex. It should also be light and inexpensive to allow it to be delivered en masse via parachute. By early 1962 Hillberg had evolved his concept to a first design. This was a multi-barreled repeating shotgun that was basically an updated pepperbox design. This design gave the firepower of a semi-automatic without the complexity.

Read more, gun nuts!

Image: The Colt Defender, via Les Jones.

Vilkus Plug

June 19, 2008

Vilkus Plug

Originally uploaded by Thomas Roche

This is some fucked up shit. I want one.

The Vilcus Plug Dactyloadapter allows anyone to quickly and easily test the working condition of any wall socket. Simply insert the Vilcus into the socket in question… insert two fingers and the use becomes apparent instantly. But this is only scratching the surface of the device’s utility. Once we learned that the Vilcus was based on an antique persuasion device used by Soviet-era KGB we put the device to the test with a ThinkGeek contracted market research group and discovered something surprising. After the pain subsided, those that survived reported a feeling of euphoria and well being. Upon further investigation on Wikipedia we realized that the rejuvenating effects of high-voltage electricity are well documented. It was even successfully used to treat insanity during the early 1800’s. Obviously Art Lebedev had done it again. We were thoroughly impressed.


Reported Videotaped Police Assault in Memphis

June 18, 2008

Memphis, from Wikipedia

Originally uploaded by Thomas Roche

From WHC-TV in Memphis, Tennessee:

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) -Video obtained by Action News 5 shows a Memphis police officer beating a suspect at 201 Poplar in an apparent case of police brutality.

The video, recorded February 12th, shows Duanna Johnson in the booking area at the Shelby County Criminal Justice Center after an arrest for prostitution. The tape clearly shows a Memphis police officer walk over to Johnson – a transsexual – and hit her in the face several times.

“Actually he was trying to get me to come over to where he was, and I responded by telling him that wasn’t my name – that my mother didn’t name me a ‘faggot’ or a ‘he-she,’ so he got upset and approached me. And that’s when it started,” Johnson said.

Read more (only if you have a strong stomach).

Image from Wikipedia.

Penn and Teller to Defend Adult Industry on “Bullshit”

June 18, 2008

Penn and Teller to Defend Adult Industry on "Bullshit"

Originally uploaded by Thomas Roche

From XBiz (NSFW):

“On the heels of a loss in the courtroom, the adult industry is going to get some help from an unexpected source: the mainstream.

“Magicians Penn and Teller’s Showtime series “Bullshit” will leap to the defense of the adult industry on tomorrow’s premiere episode, subtitled ‘The War on Porn.’

“Like all episodes of ‘Bullshit,’ this one will feature lighthearted interviews with various sources interspersed with showman Penn Jillette’s commentary.

“Arguing against the industry will be Donna Rice, whose dalliance with then-Sen. Gary Hart ended his presidential bid in 1984. Since the mid-1990s, Rice has been an anti-pornography advocate. Representatives from anti-porn ministry and the conservative Family Research Council will also condemn adult.

“One of the main figures called to defend adult is Dr. Marty Klein, a counselor, sex therapist and author. “

Image from Wikipedia.

CNN Screencap Shows a World Gone Mad

June 18, 2008

CNN Screencap Shows a World Gone Mad

Originally uploaded by Thomas Roche

You know, some days I go to read the news and it all seems just too, too much. Like the world’s gone nuts. Tragedy, but bizarre tragedy. Today’s headlines:

Mississippi River washes over levees
* LIVE: Floods, other news happening now
* Tiger Woods out for the season
* CNNMoney: Economy rebound may be year away
* Bush pushes for more offshore drilling
* Chevron CEO: It’s not greed driving gas prices
* Roland Martin: Be honest, we all wish to be VIPs
* Ticker: Michelle Obama ‘touched’ by Laura Bush
* Michelle Obama preps for election close-up
* WXIA: Judge charged with human trafficking
* Expert: Man Googled ‘how to kill’
* Officer slams teen face-first into wall
* Exams reveal detainee torture, report says
* WHNS: Patrolman dies after traffic stop shooting
* De Niro testifies in penthouse dispute
* Bumper sticker could be road rage clue
* Pint-sized scam artist sought by police
* Naked frat boys run wild in street
* Time: Japan’s booming sex niche: elder porn
* Empathy deficit disorder — do you suffer from it?

Michele Obama touched by Laura Bush? Naked frat boys running wild in the street? DeNiro in an argument with Penthouse? Elder porn? Yes, yes, in fact I do suffer from empathy deficit disorder… and dammit, CNN, it’s your fault.