"Klotz" As In "Blood"

A Testament to the Insidious Impact of Florida Sunshine on Brain Matter

Friday, June 30, 2006

Make Love Not Euthanasia

Filed under: News from the Nation's Dicktip — Steve @ 12:35 am

It’s a few days late: so let me catch you up.

In Indiantown, Florida, Junio Trenta got arrested for fucking his dog. Trenta, a Mexican citizen working as a laborer, was charged with one count of felony sexual bestiality, one count of felony animal cruelty and one misdemeanor count of exposure of sexual organs. In case it’s relevant, the dog is a male.

“It’s my dog,” he reportedly protested. “What’s the problem?” If that ain’t the quote of the year, I don’t know what will be. Story

Whatever. Fine. Evidently the dog neither gave his consent nor had a good time, so my sympathies run canoid. Take note, kids: you fuck the family dog, there are legal as well as moral consequences. Go burn a flag: it’s safer, if not socially respectable.

A day or so later, Michael Stueve of Pembroke Pines put a shotgun to Mama Kitty’s head and dispatched her to her Maker. He said the 14 year old cat was sick and suffering, could no longer stand to watch her deteriorate, so, invoking the spirit if not the methods of Dr. Kevorkian, blew her ass to rags. Neighbors raised hell, a trial ensued, and Stueve was acquitted.

Turns out it’s not illegal to do this anyway. Apparently Florida law permits owners of felines to execute their own pets under certain circumstances, and this was one of them. So Mr. Stueves walks, while the cat….like Beethoven, decomposes.

Okay. As one who has taken to their deaths many house pets, I understand completely. Just one question: how come the guy who blows the brains of his cat out of her head with a shotgun in full view of his trailer park neighbors gets to walk away scott free, while the poor bastard who fucks his puppy ends up in jail? At the hands (so to speak) of their owners, the cat is dead, the dog has sex. And it’s the sex crime, not the murder, that gets punished.

What’s the underlying prejudice here? Canine vs. feline? Homosexual vs heterosexual? Latino vs Anglo? Palm Beach vs. Broward? Are there religious considerations to examine? I don’t know the answers, I just have the questions. Readers: help us out here!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Law and Auto

Filed under: News from the Nation's Dicktip — Steve @ 12:10 am

Gotta rent a car and drive to Orlando. Make my reservation at the local Alamo, Guido drops me off at the gate. Put my card in the machine, get my contract and directions to the mysterious vehicle (a “beige Mirage”? What’s that, an acid flashback?) in the huge parking lot. Get to the car, grab the key, walk around to the trunk, pop it open……

Damn! Looks like the last customer left his corpse in here.

Trudge back to the glittering chrome and glass building to change my contract, get another car, and what the hell, report the dead body. (“There’s no time for mourning, Sahib. It’s this hellish climate. We have to bury them fast.“)

It takes a while to attract the attention of a “customer service” agent. But he raises not an eyebrow when I tell him of my discovery. He just nods, reaches for the phone. Identifying himself by surname and desk position, he says something like, “Gotta 676 code black in forward lot”–glancing at the contract–“space 23, beige mirage plate number….” and hangs up.

We size each other up over the counter.

“You have a specific code for a customer discovering a corpse in the car?” I finally ask.

He hesitates ever so briefly. “Certainly,” he says, keeping a stiff upper corporate facade. “At Alamo Ft. Lauderdale we’re trained to handle all sorts of, um, eventualities.” He glances downward. “We’ll have the vehicle, er, serviced and ready for you in five minutes.”

I blink. “You’re not planning on calling the police?” I ask. “I mean, that’s not a missing golf bag in there, it’s a human body…and it’s pretty recent, too, or I would have smelled it across the lot.”

“Everything will be taken care of, sir,” he says, wincing slightly. “Beginning, of course, with your automobile needs. As soon as your car is, uh, serviced and readied”–he glances at his watch–“in fact…” He looks out the window behind him. “Aah! Here it is! Thank you for choosing Alamo!”

Sure enough, there’s what appears to be the same nondescript, neutral colored vehicle. That body must have disappeared faster than a Guatemalan labor leader.

I don’t know if I’m more appalled or curious. “I realize we’re in a banana republic,” I begin, “but even so, wouldn’t you agree that when a dead human body is discovered in a vehicle, there’s enough of a suggestion of a crime that the police might want to take a glance at it? I might be driving off a major piece of evidence in a murder investigation!”

“Of course, sir,” he oozes, professionally. “We’re appreciative of your concerns, but I assure you, we’re strictly adhering to established procedures and guidelines. The car is yours–I even updated the contract to allow three extra hours as compensation for the delay.” He manages a sickly smile that can’t mask his eyes’ insincerity: I imagine the removed corpse looks better. “And thank you again for choosing Alamo!”

Yeah. Alamo Rent-A-Hearse. I’m not having this. “Look,” I say, “this isn’t a lost suitcase we’re talking about. This is a body. A corpse. A stiff. Human fucking remains,” index finger rhythmically stabbing the counter. “You don’t just scoop it up, chuck it into a Hefty bag, vacuum the trunk, and drive the damn car off into the sunset.” I can’t even be sure they even vacuumed the trunk, actually. “There’s no way that car can be put back on the street before the authorities have a chance to check it out–and I’m not gonna answer questions later about making evidence vanish. You don’t wanna call the cops,” I brandish my cell phone. “Fine, but I will.”

He swallows, then drops his head an inch from the formica counter, and leaves it there for a full fifteen second interval, regrouping.

“It happens twice a month,” he states abruptly, head snapping up.

“What does?” I ask, somehow already knowing.

“A body in the trunk,” he hisses. “Twice a month. Usually we find it when the car is returned and serviced: this time I guess maintenance cut a corner and never looked in the trunk. It’s always pretty fresh. We called the Broward Sheriffs Office so much they don’t even come out any more. It’s always the same story. The body is never claimed, never even identified. No fingerprints or dental records on file. Death is usually caused by one well-placed bullet, or strangulation. Once it was poison, twice it was drowning.

“It’s not that nobody cares, it’s just that it’s so futile. And now it’s routine. We have a code for it, guidelines, a chapter in the personnel manual on handling it. There’s paperwork. BSO told us not to bother them unless there’s something irregular–that’s their word–just call the morgue after rush hour to avoid publicity. That’s all this is”–he’s practically whispering–“publicity Alamo wants to avoid. We don’t want channel 4 in here, or the papers, or–God forbid!–the National Enquirer! And it’s not just us–Hertz, Avis, Dollar, it’s all the rental agencies! His eyes are wide, pleading. “Now won’t you please be on your way?”

My turn to think for a moment. “Okay,” I say. “But listen. I can’t in good conscience drive that car. What else have you got?”

He straightens up, gently tugs his jacket. Magically, his features compose, facial lines vanish; the corporate quarter-smile reappears. “Yessir,” he says crisply. “Perhaps an upgrade. No charge, of course.” He punches up the computer. “A full-sized auto, such as a Buick LeSabre or other fine General Motors vehicle, is available, or perhaps an SUV……”

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Old Glory Holes

Filed under: Across the Fruited Plain — Steve @ 9:53 am

By defeating the Flag Desecration Amendment bill, the Senate decided not to desecrate the Constitution. They were one vote away.

The whole squabble was never about the flag, patriotism, “desecration,” or civil disobedience anyway. This came up for two essential reasons: to distract, and to position. Debating the bill allowed its Republican sponsors to divert attention from such pesky matters as a deteriorating economy and 2,600 Americans coming home in coffins from Iraq since the Mission was Accomplished. And it serves to allow obsequious incumbents facing November elections to brand their opponents as unpatriotic swine who would let anti-American thugs use Old Glory as red white and blue Depends.

But don’t take my word for it. Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican the amendment’s chief sponsor, predicted the minority who opposed it would be held accountable by the voters. “I think this is getting to where they are not going to be able to escape the wrath of the voters,” Mr. Hatch said.

Guess Congress’ll have to find something else to distract us when they get back from playing at recess. Maybe the two Florida Senators (who voted for the bill, of course) can invite their colleagues down to Miami to share their profund thoughts and deep respect for the First Amendment at the next school board meeting, when Vamos to Cuba comes up. They’re functioning at about the same level these days.

Where There’s Hope, There’s Abandoned FEMA Trailers

Filed under: Across the Fruited Plain — Steve @ 12:10 am

This photo. from page 1 of Tuesday’s NY Times, shows 10,000 empty trailor homes occupying a field in Hope, Arkanas, for which FEMA pays $250,000 per month in storage fees. The Times is cataloging FEMA’s astonishing waste and fraud over the last few years. Depending on your orientation, it’s either breathtaking or inspirational.

“We shipped them all to Bill Clinton’s hometown because we figured somehow he’d catch the blame,” explained a FEMA official (who requested anonymity). “And if anybody got mad, we could always say we were building FEMAville to honor his presidency. Doesn’t make a lot of sense, but we’re used to being thought of as unspeakably stupid. Besides, even FEMA knows you can blame Clinton for anything.”

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Flag-elates

Filed under: Across the Fruited Plain — Steve @ 10:18 am

As citizens of the United States, we are blessed with leaders who tirelessly embrace every challenge to embarrass this nation on the world stage, reinforcing our conviction that they are as shameless as they are contemptible. The current example, of course, is the laughable flag desecration amendment, scheduled for a vote this week..

”I think of the flag as a symbol of what the veterans fought for, what they sustained wounds for, what they sustained loss of limbs for, and what they sustained loss of life for,” said Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa. “And I know that those veterans and their loved ones place far more value on that flag, that symbol, than any triviality the flag actually symbolizes, such as freedom, civil rights, respect for the principles on which this country was founded, or any of the other crap that doesn’t swing as many votes in my backwoods district of mouthbreathing buffoons.”

The Bush administration weighed in, calling the flag a “cherished symbol of national unity and of the sacrifices so many Americans have made in defending the nation.” It went on to deride the “negativity of a decided minority whose anti-American sentiment would erode both the fabric of our flag as well as the fabric of our nation.”

Taking the high road, the administration requested the Congress to set aside partisanship and speedily address the matter at hand. “Every moment we spend debating this issue provides opportunities for desecrators to besmirch our nationhood. Three flags have been disgracefully desecrated this year alone — that’s one more than there were World Trade Center towers!”

Thomas L. Bock, national commander of the American Legion (not an elected official), noted that poll after poll shows overwhelming support for a flag protection amendment. “There is even more rank and file, grass-roots support for this bill than there ever was other great American traditions, such as racial segregation, Japanese detention centers, and censoring books,” he stated. “Screw the First Amerndment! We the People must be heard and obeyed!”

A vote is scheduled this week. Don’t bother to write your Congresscretin: odds are (s)he can’t read anyway.

P.S. It’s from 1999, and widely quoted, but here’s one man’s opinion on this burning issue:

“I understand how strongly so many of my fellow veterans and citizens feel about the flag and I understand the powerful sentiment in state legislatures for such an amendment. I feel the same sense of outrage. But I step back from amending the Constitution to relieve that outrage. The First Amendment exists to insure that freedom of speech and expression applies not just to that with which we agree or disagree, but also that which we find outrageous. I would not amend that great shield of democracy to hammer a few miscreants. The flag will be flying proudly long after they have slunk away.”

That’s from General Colin Powell. No wonder the Bushies undercut him for 4 years before bouncing him.

Monday, June 26, 2006

No Good Deed Goes Undigested

Filed under: Across the Fruited Plain — Steve @ 12:22 am

Say — weren’t we just talking about dogs?

Here’s a lovely tale about a Rottweiler owned by the employee of an animal adoption agency. It sets on its ear the line about a dog eating her homework: this time the homework did the eating, and a (mauled) child is left behind.

Quitter

Filed under: And They're Off,What A Wonderful World — Steve @ 12:15 am

Harriet the turtle died. She was 175. Australian authorities attributed her death to a “fairly acute heart attack.” Yes, and wasn’t that a “fairly acute” bullet to the brain that killed Lincoln?

Speaking of old and dead, Guido and I found ourselves driving through the rain out to western Broward yesterday (Sunday). We had an errand to run in a place called Tamarac, where the average age is Death plus 15. Wrinkle City. At Halloween parties the big entertainment is bobbing for oxygen.

We need to make a stop to pick something up, so I steer into a certified personality-free strip mall. It’s pouring rain, visibility is poor. I pull up to a Walgreen or a Wal-Mart or a CVS or whatever the hell it is, and she makes a run for it.

While she’s inside, I idly scan the storefronts, reading the posters in the windows. You ever see those old signs outside amusement park rides, they had a painted horizontal line, and read “You Must Be This Tall To Ride On the WhipCracker?” Well, there in the window of the drug store there’s a picture of what appears to be a raisin, or a dried apricot, but on closer inspection turns out to be an extraordinarily creased up human face. Below, the message reads, “You Must Be This Old For The Senior Discount.”

Probably doesn’t deter a single soul. but it’s a heart warming sentiment. Made me think of Harriet.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Dog Day of Summer

Filed under: Etherea,News from the Nation's Dicktip — Steve @ 9:28 am

If you missed the memo, Wednesday was the summer solstice — first day of summer! — and today is international Take Your Dog to Work Day.

Re: Item 1 — Yippee!! Warm weather at last!
Re: Item 2 — In the words of Sam Goldwyn, Include me out.

Guido has a dog. Her name is Tequila (we call her “Teaky”) named after my second favorite thing. After all, how would it sound to the neighbors if they heard me saying, “Here, Pussy! Come, Pussy! Roll over and beg, Pussy!”?

Although she’s an adopted purebred Heinz 57, mostly she looks like a Belgian Malinois. She’s intelligent, somewhat willful, and very affectionate. Everybody likes her except me, who finds her clingy, stubborn, and self-centered. So I will NOT be taking the foul hound to the office today, in fact, one reason I go to the office (other than that pesky paycheck requirement) is to get out of the house and away from the dog.

Don’t get me wrong. Most dogs are okay. Basically, they’re rednecks, of course: their simpleminded tastes run to drinking, eating, mindless entertainment like chasing birds and fetching sticks, licking their privates, riding in fast cars, and rank smells. The exceptions are far worse, like those obscenely coiffed rats one sees, often hauled around by thoroughly uncharming (equally obscenely coiffed) women. Or those obnoxious yappy midget doglets subject to brainless yabbering, drooling and wetting themselves out of fear, and cross-eyed attitude. You know the type — they resemble right wing talk show hosts (think O’Reilly and Savage), although admittedly they display better manners, and make more sense.

Guido’s first dog was a gigantic (100 pound) female golden retriever we named Jersey. She loved everybody, especially me, and had the brain of a fig newton (hence her misplaced affection). When we walked her through the streets people would stop their cars to tell us how gorgeous she was. I might have taken her to work. But not this dingbat.

I like other people’s dogs more than the ones I live with. We get along. Problem is, I’m a cat person, and most dogs know it. Cats are far more complex creatures than dogs. They make better shark bait, too.

Say — it’s old news already, but here’s a guy who won’t be taking his dog to work. First of all, he doesn’t have a job. Second of all, his idea of “puppy love” is a bit extreme, even for upstate Florida. Third, Florida has a problem legitimizing same-sex relationships. Well, at least he wasn’t burning a flag or reading a book.

Happy summertime, folks.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Vamos to Court

Filed under: News from the Nation's Dicktip — Steve @ 9:46 am

As reported yesterday, the Miami-Dade School Board finally got a clue. Sort of. What they got was “ACLU.” Or actually, papers from them. Hidden City was kind enough to provide a link to the filing itself. Take a look. It’s interesting.

First thing you notice is that there are two defendants. One is the school board, the other is Rudolph F. Crew, in his capacity as Superintendent of Schools. Poor Rudy! How did he get dragged into this? Think maybe his old pal Ralph Arza has some perspective on this? I place a call.

Ralph ain’t talkin,’ but I get a flak says her name is Lourdes, as in, “Praise the Lourdes.”

“They’re a bunch of spineless whiners,” she offers, tactfully. “The Board, the Super, it’s all of a single piece, two sides of a tin coin.”

Do go on, Lourdes, and maybe I’ll figure out what the hell you’re talking about.

“Think it through. Rudy-Doody gets all bent out of a shape just because Ralph calls him a ‘black piece of shit.’ Wants him to back off, say he’s sorry, give him what he wants out of the legislature. Completely tramples all over his First Amendment right of free expression to call use racist language.”

Hmm. Interesting take.

“So next they purge the libraries of books because one of them in the series of 20 got somebody upset. Again, this weak-kneed limp-wristed liberal crap about not having the right to offend minorities.”

So Ralph is okay with Vamos to Cuba? He stands with the student association and the ACLU on this issue?

“I didn’t say that. First of all, he hasn’t read the book for himself. Rep. Arza, like most elected officials, makes it a matter of policy not to read books.”

Understandably so. Last thing America needs is an educated governing body: the population would resent them as “elitist.”

“There’s a silver lining to this. Sure it makes Miami look bad nationally, and even internationally, but we’re used to that. And yeah, it gives more ammo to Anglos with chips on their shoulders about ‘those goddam Cubans’ ruining everything. On the plus side, it exposes Rudy and his Board for the frauds they are right at a time when he’s up for big promotion. No way can they raise his salary now! Ha ha!”

That’s good news?

“Hey, they already said they’re gonna retain outside counsel to fight this. That’s big bucks! And maybe we can offer some suggestions as to who they should hire. We’re always happy to help out with a favor or a reference when it comes to our friend Rudy, the schools, and the public welfare, you know. Hey, gotta go.”

Isn’t it reassuring to see how the system manages to continue functioning even in the teeth of adversity?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Vamos to Hell

Filed under: News from the Nation's Dicktip — Steve @ 9:44 am

Now in full duck-and-cover mode, the Miami-Dade School Board has declared its intention to remove from all school-owned facilities copies of the Havana telephone directory.

“We had a number of these on display, available for the convenience of the community and as a learning instrument for the kids,” explained a spokesman for the Board, cowering behind a closed door in the basement of the Biscayne Blvd. administration building. “But a number of parents called up to complain that the directory gave a misleading view of what life is like for ordinary telephone service customers under the communist system they escaped from, and resented its presentation to their children.”

Evidently a call was received (the spokesman wouldn’t say when or who took it) from a “Hispanic sounding gentleman” who gave the name “Pepe Plantaino.” Reportedly Senor Plantaino noted that telephone service on the island is at a third world level — “worse than BellSouth, if you can believe it!” — and that customers endure interruptions of service, long delays awaiting repairs, and incredibly rude treatment from government/company representatives. “So when you all you see is a list of names and numbers and addresses, like you do in the directory, along with the propaganda about service and commitment and numbers to call for assistance, you don’t appreciate just how horrible life is under the bearded cockroach’s telephonic dictatorship!” he reportedly shouted.

The School Board immediately ordered the books removed, but denied it was “banning” them. “They’re responding to their constituency. That’s their job,” explained the spokesman. He also denied that the Board was pandering to the “Miami Mafia,” or any other political pressure. “I don’t even know ‘pandering’ means,” he wailed. “Isn’t that something to do with black and white bears from China? Ooh, wait! I didn’t mean to say anything racist!”

The spokesman also denied rumors that the Board had received complaints about copies of souvenir pizzeria menus from the island on school premises. “I’ve not heard that, and I’m not aware that the school has any,” he said, slowly. “Of course, if we field any concerns that such menus present a misleading portrait of how the population endures food rationing and limited meal choices, of course we’re move quickly to resolute the situation. Just don’t put a bomb under my car, okay? Please?”

In related news, Cuba’s International Tourist Board announced plans for a winter promotion featuring the island capital’s charm, using the tagline “Historic Havana — the Rules Are Different Here!”

Note: Additional insights are available here, here, here, here. Oh, and here.

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