In 1973, long before the rise of crack cocaine and the ensuing (and ongoing) gangsta-chic branch of popular culture, the Los Angeles Police Department threw together a group they called TRASH: Total Resources Against Street Hoodlums. The nickname suggested a smidgen of inherent bias, so the unit was renamed CRASH, with the ‘C’ standing for ‘Community’. The group would have a mountainous workload over the following decades.
In addition to the work, the CRASH squad would also be faced with a lot of temptation by the gangs they had sworn to take down. And in the unit’s 29-year tenure over the city’s most gore-flecked streets, they would tie the Los Angeles Police Department’s reputation to a large rock and kick it off a cliff.
This is the scandal that revealed the wicked allure of a blood-red do-rag, as well as the way that the Thin Blue Line of so-called righteousness can be lured to blur when frail hearts plunk their tinny drum behind a police shield. The CRASH team’s reach extended to the limits of L.A. and throughout its miniature sub-cities, but it was the Rampart Division that patrolled the area just west and northwest of Downtown that caused the system’s collapse. This was where, for a moment in time anyway, the gangs won.
The story begins with Kevin Gaines, pictured on the left. He had raised some eyebrows in the summer of 1996 when he’d placed a call from the home of Sharitha Knight (estranged wife of Death Row Records honcho Suge Knight) and proceeded to engage in a scuffle with police. This suspicious behavior might have resulted in his removal from the force, but Deputy Chief Bernard Parks dropped the investigation. Watch for him – Parks’ name is going to come up again later. Read more…
I respect the fact that a number of Jackie Chan films finish up with a blooper montage featuring a cavalcade of missed maneuvers and on-set accidents. The guy is so well-known for doing his own stunts (and shattering his own person-parts in the process) that every so often it’s announced that he died on set, and people believe it until someone they know does a little fact-checking.
What makes this rumor semi-credible is not only the fact that Jackie Chan likes to do physically absurd things to his body in films, but also the handful of gruesome film accidents on official record. It haunted the front page when Brandon Lee was shot by a gun that was supposed to be loaded with blanks on the set of The Crow. But did you hear about Conway Wickliffe, the cameraman who was killed when the pickup he was shooting from hit a tree during the making of The Dark Knight?
I was surprised by how many of these names have scrolled past us in the credits of forgotten history without getting the attention they deserve. These are folks who either died or gave up a significant chunk of their physical being for a piece of art.
Ormer Locklear was one of those crazy bastards who walked on the wing of his plane while it was in flight in an effort to solicit oohs, ahhs, gasps and faints from airshow and circus crowds. He also translated that skill into a movie career, albeit a brief one. He was in the process of shooting The Skywayman, his second feature film, when things went wrong. Read more…
Today’s article is about military robots.
Why am I writing about military robots? Simple – I don’t care about military robots. I care about butler-robots, rapping robots and sex robots (don’t worry honey, I’m only interested in the articles). I read through the article about military robots on Wikipedia. It’s frighteningly dull. But the fact is, it’s nine o’clock at night as I write this, and I just lost over two thousand words of an essay due tomorrow at one o’clock because Microsoft Word failed.
How does that happen? My auto-save is set for every one minute – I’m sufficiently paranoid and I’ve heard too many academic horror stories to want to live through one myself. I hit Ctrl-I to italicize the title of a movie (yes, I take film studies classes because I believe someday they will get me a job that involves watching Manos: The Hands Of Fate). The file closed, and away went my essay. I re-opened it, and found all 500 of the words I started day with, looking up at me with overwhelming mediocrity, no sign of loss or sadness at the inexplicable premature death of their friends.
Fortunately, I didn’t lose the important stuff I was looking at in my browser.
So I’m 16 hours away from zero-hour, and I still have my daily tithe to the Goddess of Insane Writing Projects. I looked at my big ol’ list of possible topics and saw ‘Military Robot’ sitting at the top, right where it’s been sitting since January when I started this list. At one time (I may have been slightly drunk) this struck me as a fascinating topic for a kilograph. Every time I look at the Wikipedia article I wonder why, yet I can’t bring myself to erase it from my list.
Today I get to erase it. Something good will come from this nightmare. Read more…