Monday, May 21, 2007

My lost weekend

I had a fun, crazy, intoxicated weekend. On Friday I checked out Bound at its new venue in Chinatown, a much better neighborhood and more Metro-accessible than Lime in Southwest. The new place has a great deconstructed underground look, and the bar staff is much better than at Lime. It's a bit on the small side, but compared to all the good points, I would much rather stay there then go back to Lime. I saw all my good friends, had a few too many drinks, enjoyed my friend Cat's performance on top of the bar. She was dressed like a 60s gogo dancer, which made it even better. I saw one of the bartenders lean down to look up her dress. And I met a DC cop and got his number. Yes, after years of fantasizing, I finally hooked up with a cop. Then on Saturday, I went to Entre Nous, where I saw even more friends, got drunk again (the Jello shot Angelo gave me was the beginning of the end) and just generally had a good time. On my way home, I text messaged the cop I met just the night before, unaware in my intoxicated state that he would have no idea who I was. Yesterday, I got a puzzled phone call from him, and after I explained, he remembered who I was. But I was scared to call him at first. I always am. I've collected a few guys' phone numbers and have never called them, because I'm afraid. Afraid of what to say, afraid they won't remember me or they will remember me and not want to talk to me. After doing something as stupid as drunkenly texting someone I had just met, I had yet another hurdle to climb over if I called this guy. But after he called, he just laughed it off after I explained it. This has happened before, I do something I think is so stupid that it will turn someone off of me forever, and they just laugh about it and forget it. But I still get scared if I have to call someone for the first time. I hope this gets easier, and it has over the past few years, but there are still some walls I have to get over.
I spent most of yesterday trying to get my mind cleared and get back on my feet. I try not to overdo it with drinking, but this past weekend I had a hard time knowing when to stop. It was my lost weekend, but luckily I still remember parts of it, like a new guy and Cat on the bar. I'll be in Boston for most of Memorial Day weekend, but I'll be back out soon, definitely in two weeks when I celebrate my 25th birthday with a three-night party weekend. I hope to see all my friends out to celebrate with me.

Friday, May 18, 2007

LA serial killer convicted;_ylt=Aqr9SFJ8gjLPMpaOi8OT.ytbIwgF

There's very little in here about the killer himself, except that he was convicted of 10 murders while already in prison on a rape charge, and that he showed no emotion during his trial. I was watching a TV special about Dennis Rader (BTK) last night, and his coldness in describing his murders was chilling, but very common among murderers of that type. What I found interesting about this article was a quote from the mother of one of the victims, responding to the question of whether the killer should be sentenced to death or life without parole. Contrary to what many proponents of the death penalty say about the death sentence being for the benefit of the victims' families, this woman is in favor of a life sentence, so he can "think about this." A life sentence, with the removal from society and isolation, does seem like a more fitting penalty than death, for exactly that reason. And unlike capital punishment, if new evidence were to come out exonerating the convicted offender, a life sentence is reversible.
In other crime news, four men were charged in the case of an 18-year-old Bosnian immigrant who killed five people in a Utah mall back in February for illegally selling guns to the killer. The attorneys for the defendants charge that their clients did not know they were doing anything wrong, and with the gunman himself killed during his rampage, Utah officials might just be searching for someone to convict in his absence.
From serial killers and mass murderers, now I'll briefly address Mafia hitmen. I caught a snippet of an interview with a former hitman on TV last night, and he described the work that he did. He worked as a contractor (hence the term "contract killer"), carrying out the wishes of his bosses. One wanted him to cut out the victim's tongue, another wanted him to cut out the tongue and shove it up the victim's ass, to get a message across. He came across as cold, because that was his job. Murder wasn't a means of gratification to him, it was just a way to earn a living. He had to become cold inside to do it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

More religious bullshit;_ylt=Ak69X_AH3D2QhP8pnboWtQY7Xs8F

When will the Vatican join the 21st century? As Pope Benedict's recent tour of Latin America illustrated, the church's antiquated ideals of chastity and opposition to birth control are far more important than the very real threat of AIDS in that part of the world and the changing social mores everywhere. This is the same man who told the people of the overpopulated and undernourished regions of Africa to "be fruitful and multiply." I guess I shouldn't be surprised. The Vatican is insulated in its own medieval world, all but ignorant of how society has changed. Yes, people now have sex before marriage, some women want to terminate unwanted pregnancies and control whether or not they become pregnant, and AIDS is a very real threat that can't be quelled through prayer and holy water, but condoms can be used to stop the spread of a disease that has taken many lives. Aren't Catholics supposed to respect the sanctity of life? Homosexuality is now generally accepted, whether the church likes it or not. And women actually want to be in positions of authority. Focusing on these little issues is the reason young people are leaving the church, not some demonic influence or the rise of other religions. For their part, certain progressive Catholic groups in Brazil protested the Pope's words, contending that spiritual growth should accept change rather than oppose it. The world has changed since the Middle Ages, when the Catholic Church reigned over all aspects of life and could promote its gospel of misogyny and forced chastity at will. Some more extreme members of the church still think they have that power, but for the most part, the world has stopped listening.;_ylt=AmhQYndfh3e3pb5SOdU5qCg7Xs8F

On the subject of misogynistic religions, Muslim women in Europe are "regaining" their virginity through operations. Many of the women interviewed in the article said they did it because their future husbands expect to marry a virgin, and they've had premarital sex. I understand that some sexual encounters may be a source of regret, but if a man values a woman's virginity more than the woman herself, maybe the woman shouldn't be marrying him. If someone loves you, they will accept your past mistakes as in the past, and not demand an operation to "correct" it, or, in the case of most of these women, not even know because the operation was performed without the man's knowledge. These marriages, starting out on a lie, are not healthy. Another retreat, brought to us by religious fervor, back to the medieval days of enforced chastity (for women only) and faith spitting in reason's face.

That story makes me sick. Onto a happier topic. Bound is reopening this Friday at a more accesible venue, which means I can probably get out there more often. I desperately wanted to go last week to celebrate Dolphy's birthday with her (I'm sorry again that I missed it Dolphy, how can I make it up to you?), but collapsed when I got home from work and was in no mood to trek down to Southwest. After being unable to attend two friends' birthday celebrations (Dolphy and Trinity), with my birthday coming up in a few weeks, why should I expect anyone to show up at my celebration? Hopefully they'll come out anyway, and I hope they understand that I really wanted to go to their parties. I'm kind of new at this whole "having friends" thing, and getting out to see them sometimes requires a concerted effort on my part. It sounds crazy to you more normal people out there, but for me it really is a serious problem, that I hope my new friends will help me solve and be patient while I sort it all out.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Yet another Ripper candidate

A recent book about a South African pimp and career criminal points the finger at this notorious con man and batterer of women as Jack the Ripper. The author only devotes one chapter to his theory, having only drawn the connection toward the end of his research. The suspect in question had a lifelong hatred of women, was a Polish Jew (like fellow Ripper suspect Aaron Kosminski) and can be traced to England at the time of the Whitechapel murders. The author points to this and other coincidences to urge criminal historians to consider this man as a possible suspect. We'll probably never know who Jack the Ripper was, and this author does not make a definitive statement like Patricia Cornwall in her presumptuously titled book Jack the Ripper: Case Closed, where she uses mitochondrial evidence and hearsay to finger English painter Walter Sickert, a theory that has been laughed off by most criminologists.
The theory that the Ripper was a Jew originally stemmed from the influx of Eastern European Jewish immigrants in the East End of London at the time of the murders. Combining the natural animosity toward the new immigrant population with long-festering English anti-Semitism, the Jews, as has been common through history, became a ready-made scapegoat. But this, as former FBI profiler John Douglas relates in The Cases That Haunt Us, echoed by other criminologists, could be a case of scapegoating that could contain a shred of truth. The Ripper's evisceration of his victims' bodies was similar to the work of a butcher, many of whom in the East End at the time were Jewish. A man known in the neighborhood as "Leather Apron" was reportedly seen at some of the crime scenes, and was described as "ethnic," an English code word at that time for Jewish. Whether this latest candidate is taken seriously like Kosminsky, or shrugged off like Sickert and the even more ludicrous theory that the Ripper was a member of the British Royal Family, remains to be seen.
On a different topic, Don Imus is suing CBS for wrongful termination, citing a line in his contract that urged him to be irreverent and offensive along with the fact that a CBS producer could have cut him off at any time while he was making his racist remarks, but didn't. I read an online editorial that compared Imus to "Rooster Cogburn reading from The Turner Diaries." If that's the case, I likely wouldn't be a fan, but I still don't think he deserved to be fired. For those who don't know, The Turner Diaries is a badly written, often banned tome exulting racism, guns and anti-government terrorism, and was reportedly a favorite of Timothy McVeigh. I started reading it once, out of curiosity, but couldn't get through it. Not because of its ideology, sometimes a fascist point of view can be morbidly fascinating, but because the protagonist was dull and the story didn't go anywhere. That doesn't mean the book should be banned, any more than Don Imus should have been fired for making an admittedly racially insensitive but hardly dangerous remark. It brings to mind one of my favorite quotes from John Stuart Mill, a champion of free speech (he's also a favorite of mine for being an early supporter of women's rights): "Silencing the expression of an opinion is...robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth; if wrong, they lose, which is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error."