Archive for the ‘9/11’ Category

MH370 to appear in “Close Encounters” Sequel   1 comment

It’s now been over a week since Malaysian Air flight 370 disappeared, and no one has any information to give the desperate families, who have been terrorized further by the media during the worst days of their lives. The sad fact is: no one knows where on earth the Boeing 777-200 has gone. Presuming, of course, that it’s still on earth. Even that theory is as reasonable as all the others.

First, it was presumed to be in the South China Sea, then Palau Perak, a tiny island in the middle of the Malacca Strait which is barely long enough to accommodate a wide-body, then the Bay of Bengal, the Gulf of Thailand, and the Andaman Islands. A couple of the TV speculators even suggested North Korea, which is theoretically possible, but very unlikely. And a couple of wackos even came up with an alien abduction theory.

Other theories included lithium batteries; the two Iranians with fraudulent passports, who had flown into Malaysia on their own passports; the one Uighur on the plane; the co-pilot’s violation of all post-9/11 regulations and inviting two hotties into the cockpit hoping he’d get a taste of theirs. Those are each numbers on the spinning wheel.

I’d like to know why the entire passenger manifest weren’t immediately run through Interpol, FBI, FAA, NTSB, and DHS databases as soon as it was known there was something very wrong with this flight.

The pilot had the best home flight simulator I’ve ever seen, and I’ve flown flight simulators ever since the graphics were green on black. Everyone’s talked about the pilot’s computer, but today was the first time anyone entered his house. He could have run a remote access program and wiped his flight plans out, and then run bit-by-bit disk-cleaning utility numerous times. What the Malaysians did was stand outside the house, humming a happy tune. “We don’t allow that in Malaysia,” but they’ve been known to execute pot-smokers with less than an ounce of weed. They supposedly needed a reason to enter the homes. WTF were they waiting for?

The international intelligence community seem to believe the crew was in full charge, in which case everyone in the passenger cabin would have had to be immobilized, including the flight attendants. It would be totally unreasonable to believe the entire flight crew was aware of what was happening. It could be why they reportedly climbed to 45,000′, above the flight ceiling of a 777.  But it doesn’t make any sense that the plane made it to 23,000′ in about the span of a minute, because this aircraft would have gone supersonic, and broken into pieces.

For every scenario, there seems to be a good reason to believe; but by the same token, there are reasons to debunk the scenario. Some of the actions of whomever was in control are still unexplainable. The flight changed direction and altitude at specific waypoints.

The latest theory is that the plane, which was thought to have only 7 hours of fuel — a lot less, practically, since the plane climbed to 45,000′ and then being pinged at 23,000′ and climbing back up to 35,000′ they’d be using too much fuel to stay in the air that long. But this 777-200 got over almost eight hours, despite their erratic flying and presumably spending valuable fuel doing so, and the plane was pinged either over the Himalayas, or southward towards Indonesia. No one claims to know how the plane’s last ping was to the northwest or to the south.

We could fill an NHL arena with 18,000 people, and probably find no two people whose theories are the same. For all we know, the alien abduction theory sounds as plausible as any. Does anyone know where Richard Dreyfuss has been for the last week?

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Jodi Arias: Running With The Devil of untreated mental illness   16 comments

I found the simple life ain’t so simple, when I jumped out on that road.
I got no love, no love you’d call real, ain’t got nobody waitin’ at home….

— Van Halen

Jodi Arias had a big problem keeping her life simple. It began in her childhood, and it is securely locked behind one of the psychological coping mechanisms she’d developed to shield herself from the intolerable mental anguish of whatever cost her self-esteem before she even turned 15. This was a crucial time of her life, during which she needed attentive parenting — extra attentive, because rather than blossoming into a woman, she was wilting and dying inside. But she got no love, no love she’d call real; and there was nobody waitin’ at home.

Where did she go first, as a 15-year-old? Into the claws of an 18-year-old goth kid who believed he was a vampire, and wanted to take Jodi to San Francisco “to find some real vampires and live together forever (in death).” [Editor’s note: Outside of Hollywood (or Vancouver) movie sets, there are no goddamned vampires!] We are talking about the number one low-life reject in her little town, dressed in black when it was over 100 degrees in the shade, who stood out like a bent left ring finger. That hookup was short-lived, as he cheated on Jodi and she moved out. He was her first in many ways.

Foreign exchange student

Next, she IMs her way into a relationship with a kid in Costa Rica who had the same last name as Jodi, and she’s enrolled in an exchange program and living with his family. So, the cultural exchange program naturally turns to the exchange of bodily fluids, he gets her a ten-dollar ‘promise ring,’ and he immediately takes possession of her.

After Jodi returned, they continued to communicate as ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’ until he came to California for his part of the foreign exchange program, staying with some relatives in Redding, about a hundred miles south of Yreka and ironically the town from which Jodi rented the car she used to make that last trip to Mesa. While the guy from Costa Rica was visiting California, he and Jodi got more serious, but he became overtly controlling of her, berating and falsely accusing her when she exchanged innocent hi-hi’s with a male classmate who worked at an ice-cream drive-thru window in Yreka. That was the end of that.

Intercourse With The Vampire

And, so Jodi went back to GothBoy with the belief that Sept 23, 1997 was going to be the end of the world, thanks to Town Drunk With Bible, who she inexplicably latched onto, and she just wanted to prepare Juarez so he/they could… I don’t know what. Escalate their relationship to anal sex and probably other demeaning acts while introducing her to KY Jelly to facilitate same, it appears. Then she splits town again and makes her way down the California coast, supporting herself with a series of waitress jobs.

This friendly, intelligent, attractive girl who had a future if she’d just applied herself toward developing her talents, or if her advisor in high school would have spent some time with her, was headed into the decaying orbit that would consume the totality of her life.

BREAKING NEWS: Significant breakthrough in abnormal psychology

Jodi Ann Arias’ capital murder trial in Phoenix is a study in abnormal psychology. (I’m so glad I passed that in college.) But as all science does over a lifetime, the studies, causes, and treatments of mental illness have morphed almost beyond recognition. There are whole new methods of identifying and isolating specific syndromes, and new reasons and cures for diseases are discovered every time we seem to turn around.

Last week, Lancet ran this story that appears to change the profile of five major psychiatric disorders previously thought not to be related: autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and schizophrenia.

Thanks to embryonic stem-cell research, the work of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, and the geniuses who worked on the decoding of the human genome, we now have a landmark discovery which can reasonably cause mental health professionals to believe Jodi Arias’ many personality disorders are genetic in nature.

Jodi’s dissociation from reality – pathology

In addition to the above specific groups of mental illness, there are the many dissociative disorders, which also afflict Jodi, and make her everything she shouldn’t be, specifically Dissociative Identity Disorder, which affects self-esteem. Dissociation is a universal response to overwhelming trauma, according to Marlene Steinberg, MD, a prominent published psychiatrist who specializes in this field. I would love to see Jodi’s results on the adult DES test.

I’m very anxious to hear what Dr. Samuels has to say, and whether this will alter his diagnosis of Ms. Arias. If anyone in this case is competent to relate this discovery to the mental illness that turns a talented, intelligent, demure, and — let’s face it — knockout gorgeous young woman into the Queen in Aliens, it is Dr. Richard Samuels, PhD. 

(Note: I have no idea how this completely unrelated line appeared here. I would credit it to a KUI error and a proofreading mess-up.)

— At this point I’ll spare you the gory details of their illicit sexual relationship; we’ve already got TMI. —

Flash-bang adrenaline grenade

Although I have major doubts that Jodi indeed planned this poorly-choreographed attack, I agree that Jodi Arias is ultimately responsible for the death of Travis Alexander. But I still fail to see how a 5’5″ (1650 cm) 125- to 140-lb. (~60 kg) woman could effect as much damage as she apparently did to someone the size of Alexander, who worked out and outweighed her by 60-80 pounds of upper-body muscle. Especially within the timeline we’ve been given thanks to date and time stamps on the photos:

5:29:20  intentional face shot of Travis in shower (break of 1:10)
5:30:30  intentional (deleted) “Calvin Klein” shot of Travis sitting in shower (break of 44 seconds)
5:31:14  accidental picture as camera hit the floor (break of 1:02)
5:32:16  accidental picture of Jodi’s foot in blood, Travis is dead. (Total elapsed time: 2 minutes 56 seconds.)

So, we’re to believe that Jodi Arias was cognizant of what happened? The entire killing took 62 seconds – the length of a commercial! If that’s not the primal reaction of someone who’s in immediate fear for her life, and blacked out by her own adrenaline, then space-time must have curved for the minute and two seconds it took for her to effect 27 stab wounds, two more that Travis blocked with his hands, a gunshot wound, and a cleanly slit throat, presumably in one continuous motion, from ear to ear. And then pick him up and drag him down the hall as soon as the mortal combat was over, kicking the camera in the process. It does not fit that a person in their right mind could achieve that.

Had Jodi Arias not been in the blackout state she referred to as “a fog” during those few short seconds it took to inflict all that damage on Travis Alexander, she would never have reacted the way she did. She must have been terrified to the extent of having a seizure. Why not run out the door instead of into the closet? Because her brain did what human brains do under massive stress – it blanked out, and the animal instinct of survival came roaring in from her hypothalamus and turned her into something like The Tasmanian Devil on Angel Dust.

After hearing two more weeks of incredibly detailed testimony, I’m getting a little weary of watching Jodi Arias, her fencing with Juan Martinez, his teeth gritting like a mad dog’s, and I’ve become tired at looking at The Bride of Frankenstein and her sister the cop, with the Hitler comb-over. Let’s get this redirect done in a day or two at the most, let’s let Juan Martinez out of his doghouse, and on to the jury’s questions for Jodi. That could be a pivotal point in the trial, since there are a lot of missing puzzle pieces to put into place.

Then we’ll get to hear from the forensic psychologist, which should be an adventure in abnormal psych.

Final note: If Joe Arpaio doesn’t give Jodi Arias food and water during this trial, a basic civil right, I will fucking report him for violations of the Geneva Conventions*, The U.N. Conventions on Human Rights, and the United States Constitution. Also, the little fucker’s looking for a Habanero pie in the face if I ever have the opportunity.

* If Americans are subject to The Patriot Act, then the fucking Geneva Conventions cover our rights. The Patriot Act effectively enforced martial law.

Memories of the World Trade Center   Leave a comment

The first time I walked into the World Trade Center was on a snowy Lincoln’s Birthday in 1977. Half the City didn’t go to work that day, but I had a job interview, and I wasn’t about to blow an opportunity to work in those shining towers that meant as much to New York as the Rocky Mountains do to Colorado and Mt. Rainier does to Seattle.

I met with a fellow named Sam Zekser, the Import Manager. I apologized for my ridiculous rubber snow boots, but he told me how much he appreciated my shlepping in on a day when most of New York stayed home and they were closed anyway because Customs was off. (Score one for me!)

The office was huge. It took up a full quarter of the 16th floor, facing uptown — the direction the first plane came from — and the place was mostly empty. He ushered me into a conference room, gave me a cup of coffee, and told me to take my coat off.

He brought in two pencils, a few sheets of xerox paper, and a calculator. And he wrote out maybe a dozen math questions as he sat across the table from me. I read them upside-down as he was writing them out, and solved them all in much less time than it took him to write them down. He hired me on the spot, and I started the next day.

The job was classifying imported items from a huge tariff book, figuring out the duties payable to Customs, and filling out the Customs entry documents. The office consisted mostly of Cubans and other Latin-Americans, all very legal immigrants, and from a dozen different countries.

I worked on a team with three other guys: Gil Casas was my supervisor – he was a short, thin guy in his 50s, and he taught me the mechanics of the business; a fellow named Bernie something, a Jewish guy from Brooklyn, who grumbled and growled all day between having telephone arguments with Customs inspectors, but who was able to classify almost any item you would ever see imported into this country without looking in the 1400-page tariff book; and Mario Garcia, a former political prisoner from Cuba who learned chess in prison, became an International Grandmaster, and swam shark-infested Guantanamo Bay to freedom after a match against a visiting team from Russia.

He and Gil would play two games sometimes after lunch, taking just seconds between moves. Mario was in his late 40s, looked like 60, and he had an accent like the guy in the Dos Equis commercial. “Stay thirsty, my friend” sounds like something Mario would say.

Once lunch hour ended, Mario would start off the afternoon with a hearty, “Let’s maaaake entry, boys!” which always made the girls in the office giggle, and in turn always had us four guys laughing. He and I would often ride the Number 7 train home together – he got off in Jackson Heights, and I stayed until Main Street, the end of the line, in Flushing.

Another guy I worked with, Richard Pencak, a 6’5″ 300-pounder who everyone lovingly called Bigfoot, later wrote the book (literally – two of them) on how to become a Customhouse Broker. He was on a par with Bernie. They used to have long discussions about Customs Regulations, and thanks to all those guys, I learned a business that would take me from New York to Denver and around the world, and then to Seattle. (As I was researching this story just now, I learned that Richie died just over a year ago, at 56. Too damn young.)

Sam, the guy who hired me resigned on the first day of my second week on the job to open a company of his own. He was replaced by a guy named Billy Sullivan, who kept me on and promoted me a couple of months later. When Sam left, Richie became Billy’s assistant. Another guy I worked with for a short time there won five million dollars in the New York State Lottery, took a limo in the next day, and offered to buy the company. They refused, so he went to the Customs office and turned in his license.

I worked at that company for a little over a year, during which our team cleared a lot of high-profile stuff. I wrote one of the first landed-cost programs for Macy’s, which started me on a second career; Gloria Vanderbilt visited our office once – we cleared her designer jeans, and Jordache’s too; we cleared the King Tut exhibit when it first came to the U.S.; we cleared the former Shah’s son after he fled Iran; a piano for Elton John, who played a private party at Windows on the World; and a very expensive Steinway that belonged to Leopold Stokowski, whose original death certificate had to be presented to Customs with the documentation to avoid paying duties. The guy in the Fine Arts Department who did the entry secretly kept the original after it cleared, and blamed its loss on the Customs people. (I’ve kept that secret for 35 years, until now.)

Since I was just 22 when I started working downtown, I had plenty of wild little experiences in the five years I worked there, and since it was the 1970s, a lot of them had to do with getting stoned:

My friend and I were in the final scene of the King Kong remake. It was done over a weekend, at 3:00 AM on Saturday and Sunday and most of the crowd was drunk or stoned or both, including a few of the “soldier” extras. We smoked a joint as Jessica Lange climbed up on the dying motorized gorilla.

One fine lunch hour, a bunch of U.S. Customs officers in a van made me eat a lit joint right across the street from the north entrance to their building. Luckily, (a) they didn’t bust me; and (b) Customs was the most prepared of all government agencies on 9/11, because they’d drawn up evac plans after the 1993 bombing. Every last person in the New York Customs Headquarters at the World Trade Center got out alive. That was the only really good news to come in the days after.

A messenger I worked with — I can’t remember the company — guy named Henry something, used to like to get high in the sub-basement levels. We went as far as the 5th underground level once, if my memory is accurate. After I moved to Denver at the end of 1983, I didn’t think about it for 10 years.

Then, in 1993, I was in my hotel room in Taipei, ready to check out and come home, when CNN International reported that the WTC had been bombed. As my colleagues came to take me to the airport for my flight home, I watched about a half-hour of the coverage, and then I had to catch the worst return flight I was ever on — 11 hours of only knowing that the World Trade Center had been bombed, and people had been injured, but unable to get any details of what I would be flying home to.

The World Trade Center — I refuse to call it Ground Zero — was a pretty fantastic place to see, and a great place to work at. I was young and it was beautiful. I loved it. And now it’s gone, and I refuse to go back.

I took a trip to Long Island a few years ago to attend my cousin’s Bar Mitzvah, and we flew into and out of Islip (thank you, Southwest Airlines), because if we flew into any of the three major New York airports, we would likely overfly lower Manhattan, and I didn’t want to see the gigantic scar on my City.

Today I’m very thankful for U.S. Navy Seal Team Six and Barack Obama and all of our troops, and everyone who had anything to do with killing bin Laden and feeding his dead ass to the sharks. To know that some carnivorous lower life form has long since shit him out to the bottom of the ocean is almost enough payback for me personally.

But ten years have gone by since that awful day, and we’ve got to demand that America bring our troops home from Afghanistan and leave that damned wasteland for good. And we have to vow, as a nation, never to elect a total fucking incompetent like George W. Bush again. He should have left right after 9/11, on the planes that he arranged as getaway vehicles for the Saudi royals and bin Laden relatives.

 

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