26 June 2013

The $100 Wal-Mart Gift Card Unto Death

Various Jacksonville, Florida news sources, 25 June 2013: They walked through the store Friday night after a promise of late-night fast food. A pretty little girl in a bright sundress, perfect for an 8-year-old who loved the color pink and playing with dolls. And a 56-year-old Jacksonville man who had been out of jail for just three weeks, a sexual offender with a history of horrendous crimes against children. The two walked out the door at 11 p.m. into the dark of night, beginning what became a desperate search to find them. They were both found within the next 11 hours.

Donald James Smith, his dirty clothes soaked with water, was arrested after his widely sought white van was cornered on Interstate 95. Cherish Perrywinkle was found near a creek off Broward Road, leaving her 4- and 5-year-old siblings without their big sister. A tragic ending that began, police say, when Smith befriended Cherish’s mother and offered to buy the family clothes and food. 

Rayne Perrywinkle says Donald Smith approached her around 7 pm inside the Dollar General on Edgewood Avenue, after he overheard her telling her daughter that she couldn't afford a dress the girl was asking for. "He saw me putting things back because I couldn't afford them, and he offered to help me pay for some other items with a Walmart gift card that his wife had. We waited in that parking lot for a long time for her to come to the store, but then he said she [his wife] wanted him to meet her at the Walmart."

Perrywinkle told Action News she thought Smith was "creepy and annoying," but eventually seemed genuine in his offer to help. "Part of me wanted to believe this was a blessing for my children, and that's what I kept telling myself, but when we got in the car I felt very tense and was sitting straight up." Perrywinkle says she felt uneasy as soon as she got into Smith's van. Perrywinkle says Smith continued to follow her every move inside the Walmart and insisted his wife was on her way.  As they waited for his "wife" to arrive, he yelled "from across the way" and said he was going to McDonald's for a burger. "He asked if I wanted anything and I heard Cherish say 'cheeseburger.' I thought she stayed near me. I didn't realize she went with him. I didn't let her go with him like people think. He was creepy, so I wouldn't have let her go, I just didn't realize she was gone."

Based on Smith’s history of crimes against children, it was a worst-case scenario for Cherish. Smith’s long record included impersonating a child welfare investigator and making threatening calls to a 9-year-old girl; attempting to lure a 13-year-old girl into his van and chasing her as she ran away; and trying to lure two girls into his van with pornographic magazines, according to Times-Union archives. Court records show Smith’s criminal history dates back at least to 1977, when he was arrested on a charge of lewd assault on a child. He would be in and out of trouble with authorities the next couple of decades. In 2010, prosecutors filed paperwork to declare Smith a “habitual felony offender.” But that charge and others were dropped in 2012 when Smith pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges related to the impersonation charge. He had only been out of jail since May 31. Ironically, police had just talked to Smith on Friday morning while doing a routine address verification for the sexual offender.

Cherish was supposed to be flying to see her father Saturday morning. Perrywinkle had wanted to buy her daughter a new dress “so she could feel beautiful.” Then this man came and said he and his wife could help. Perrywinkle chose to trust him, and that was an easy trap to fall into. “She was trying to make sure her child was presentable, her child looked good to see her daddy,” victim advocate Ann Dugger said. “You don’t have the money. You don’t have the wherewithal, and somebody comes up and offers to help.”

A custody evaluation report from 2010 recommended Cherish's father Billy Jarreau take custody of the child, but a judge's decision ultimately overruled that recommendation. The June 2010 report features interviews with both Jarreau and Cherish's mother, Rayne Perrywinkle. The report says the two shared a romantic encounter while Perrywinkle was a dancer. The relationship resulted in a pregnancy. The custody evaluator, Robert Wood, noted that Perrywinkle's home was in poor condition and had no air conditioning. Contacted yesterday, Wood said he remembered Cherish. "It was a difficult case because the father had not been around for the first few years of the child's life and whenever you're talking about doing a change of custody you know, it's something that would give anybody pause for thought." Perrywinkle's father Billy Jarreau tried to gain custody of her in 2007 and again in 2009. He took Cherish on vacations, but never got to spend nearly as much time with her as her mother Rayne Perrywinkle. However, Wood's observations led him to recommend that Jarreau gain custody. "Just some of the things I saw, the living circumstance, where she lived, how she lived, the house and things like that, that concerned me," said Wood. Wood said Cherish was very close to her mother, but in the report he said "I fear for the child's future living with Ms. Perrywinkle." A judge still ruled in favor of Rayne Perrywinkle.

Our Lord Jesus Christ observed:

Ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good. . .

The poor.  The lives of the poor in AmerICKa are becoming more and more squalid.  The above story is littered with the trash of the new AmerICKan poverty.  Dollar Stores, Wal-Marts, hamburgers, strip club conceptions, birth defected families watched over by hopelessly ineffective government agencies.

One hundred, two hundred years ago, the poor could earn money as ragpickers.  These poor, who we always have with us, could roam the streets and alleys, fishing through the garbage for scraps of cloth and paper they could sell to manufacturers.  Even the skinnd carcasses of stray cats and dogs could be sold off to clothiers.  Today the ragpicker is not some grimy poor soul scratching out a living, but a shiny soulless corporation called Dollar Store.

In the new AmerICKan economy, the Dollar Stores are one of the few retail successes.  One of the great chains of Dollar Stores is cynically named Family Dollar.  These corporate scavengers offer the unemployed 8000 square feet of garbage that ought to be in the gutters for the poor to rummage through.  Instead, the corporate ragpickers wrap their trash in plastic, hire a few cashiers and stockers at non-living wages, and squeeze the last few pennies from the poor on ridiculously marked-up remainders.  The crap sold in these Dollar Stores are fake bargains: out-of-date holiday candy and dead inventory of Asian over-produced bric-a-brac.  The poor walk though the doors with copper they could save for their children's future, but instead choose to *shop* in a pitiful imitation of their betters. . .they walk out the doors with nothing to give their children, except jumbo bags of cheese fries, flimsy t-shirts with dumb slogans, and ugly wall clocks to mark the passing of unredeemed time.

We are told a woman named Rayne Perrywinkle took her three daughters to a Dollar Store at 7 pm on a Friday night, and they then spent the next four hours hoping for a bargain too good to be true in the Dollar Store and a Wal-Mart (which is just a glorified dollar sore, and the worst corporate ragpicker in AmerICKan history, one of the great contributers to the decline of the AmerICKan workers' standard of living).  In their four hour odyssey through the scraps of AmerICKan retail, the poor Perrywinkle clan had the misfortune to cross paths with a wolf in sheep's clothing, a confirmed pedophile with the common and harmless-sounding name Donald Smith.  

Ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good. . .

When our Lord made this remark, He was receiving a valuable gift, and those around Him, in spirits of envy and covetous, grumbled the gift could be sold, and the money given to the poor.  Jesus, knowing their hearts, that they cared little for the poor, mocked them, reminding them the poor would always be available for their good deeds.  In the gospel of John, one grumbler is identified as Judas, and we are told as keeper of the bag, he wanted to steal the money which the gift could have been sold for.  In Matthew and Mark, it is implied this incident was the *last straw* for Judas, and that he then went to the chief priests to betray our Lord.

If only Rayne Perrywinkle knew the wisdom of Christ. . .that few truly care for the poor, and that most offers of help are false, and given in a spirit of wickedness. . .

But Mother Perrywinkle could not accept the fate of the poor, and so she dragged her four-year-old, her five-year-old and her eight-year-old through a four hour wait for a $100 Wal-Mart shopping spree, which she mistakenly thought would be a *blessing.* 

The night grew late. . .her children grew hungry and tired. . .but Mother Perrywinkle clung to the vision of the *blessing:* a $100 Wal-Mart gift card. . .

We are told Mother Perrywinkle thought Donald Smith was *creepy and annoying.* She is quoted as saying:

Part of me wanted to believe this was a blessing for my children, and that's what I kept telling myself, but when we got in the car I felt very tense and was sitting straight up.

One can only assume, with much regret, Mother Perrywinkle's career as a *dancer* gave her confidence in her ability to deal with creeps for the chance at a hundred dollars. . .

I have no idea what Mother Perriwinkle could have been thinking. . .

By this I mean: how did she reason that a $100 Wal-Mart gift card was worth the risk of exposing her three children to the company of a creep?

Is she so confirmed in the materialism of the age, she, like so many, believes life isn't really worth living without the Wal-Mart trinkets?  

Did she calculate:  our lives suck, this man is a creep and makes me uncomfortable, but, perchance a $100 Wal-Mart gift card is in reach?  The risk must have seemed less than the reward.  And that is what I cannot understand.  Her life and her children's lives would have still sucked (materially) even with that hundred bucks of Wal-Mart junk. . .

Is the strain of the new AmerICKan poverty that great?  That even a hundred dollars can seem like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?   

We are told Mother Perrywinkle wanted a new dress for eight-year-old Cherish, as Cherish was about to be shipped off to her father, and we are told Mother Perrywinkle, engaged in a bitter custody battle, wanted her daughter to look well-cared-for.  Whatever the case, Donald Smith's lure of a $100 Wal-Mart gift card was too tempting to pass up.  Mother Perrywinkle bit, and as a result, eight-year-old Cherish was raped and murdered.  

Ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good. . .

I cannot imagine how painful it will be for Mother Perrywinkle to face this awful truth. . .night after night, the $100 Wal-Mart gift card materializing before her eyes. . .then fading. . .fading away. . .replaced by the creep and Cherish on the creek bed. . .night after night.  

For the sake of her other two children, one can only pray God grant Mother Perrywinkle repentance. . . 

13 June 2013

The Big Hero

South China Morning Post, 13 June 2013: US whistle-blower Edward Snowden yesterday emerged from hiding in Hong Kong and revealed to the South China Morning Post that he will stay in the city to fight likely attempts by his government to have him extradited for leaking state secrets.  Snowden said he was releasing the information to demonstrate “the hypocrisy of the US government when it claims that it does not target civilian infrastructure, unlike its adversaries. Not only does it do so, but it is so afraid of this being known that it is willing to use any means, such as diplomatic intimidation, to prevent this information from becoming public.” Since the shocking revelations a week ago, Snowden has been vilified as a defector but also hailed by supporters such as WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange. “I’m neither traitor nor hero. I’m an American,” he said, adding that he was proud to be an American. “I believe in freedom of expression. I acted in good faith but it is only right that the public form its own opinion.” Snowden said he had not contacted his family and feared for their safety as well as his own. “I will never feel safe. Things are very difficult for me in all terms, but speaking truth to power is never without risk,” he said. “It has been difficult, but I have been glad to see the global public speak out against these sorts of systemic violations of privacy. All I can do is rely on my training and hope that world governments will refuse to be bullied by the United States into persecuting people seeking political refuge.”

Is it just me, or does anybody else think this Snowden fella is a little bit full of himself?

And is anybody really surprised the government spies on everybody in the world? 

Surprise!  A spy agency that spies on people! 

This story is as dull as dishwater. . . 

I suppose some naive patriot who thought once upon a time there were such things as freedom and privacy might be wringing his hands, but if your head isn't buried in the sand, you can only yawn and hope another tornado hits Oklahoma. . . 

Does anybody care if the government reads our email or listens to our phone conversations?

Most AmerICKans send nude pictures of themselves over their smartphones, on youtube they post videos of themselves comitting crimes, they *tweet* every detail of their banal existence. . .AmerICKans willingly reveal everything about themselves. . .they want to be noticed, looked at, spied on. . .nothing is secret. . .

What will really cause a furor is a day the government says: enough already!  Have some fucking decency, and get back in the fucking closet!  

Snowden says he will never feel safe. . .what a little drama queen. He's a narcissistic pissant who has told us what we already know, and what we don't care about. . .some big hero!

The real hero will be the first guy to tell the Military Media Complex to fuck off, and use his little joystick to crash a sandnigger-killing drone into the Indian Ocean.  Now that's a guy who might never be safe. . . 

11 June 2013

Hit & Miss

Hit & Miss: Man, this is one nutty show!  But if there's a program on television that's a sign-o'-the-times, this is it. Nothing on the idiot box better reflects our culture's sexual confusion, family dysfunction and embrace of violence as the solution to all problems.  And as a cherry-on-top, it stars zeitgeist girl Chloe Sevigny.  Ms. Sevigny plays Mia, an Irish MtF transgender hit man. . er, hit girl. . .er, hit it?. . .[and, oh, Sevigny's prosthetic penis (!) is more believable than her Irish accent]. . .but, whatever. . .anyway. . .Mia leads a spartan existence while casually killing people for a fat gangster, saving his/her earnings for his/her sex change operation.  Of course, complications arise.  It turns out eleven or twelve years past, when Mia was a carny drifter (!) named Ryan, he had a West Yorkshire girlfriend. . .after their inevitable breakup, the girlfriend kept a little secret from Ryan/Mia.  As Hit & Miss begins, the solitary Mia learns via a letter of guardianship his/her old girlfriend has died. . .and that the former gf has named him/her as guardian of her four children, one of whom, surprise!, Mia learns she/he fathered.   Poor Mia, just as she's about to put away all her male baggage, she learns she's a dad. . .needless to say, this really puts the zap on his/her head.   Reluctantly, he/she visits his/her ex-lover's dreary chicken farm (!) to meet her son and her step(?)-children. . . with the step(?)-children turning out to be a real mixed bag of angry, resentful mulattoes and rapturous urchins.  Mia, who's used to quickly solving his/her problems with a Glock and a silencer, is more than a little perplexed at how to manage a household full of skeezers, juvenile delinquents and a kOOky little girl who could get kicked out of Wonderland for being too dreamy. And it's a bit of a brave new world for the kids, too, going from a single mom household to a grieving no mom household to a single he/she mommy/daddy household.  All-in-all, a situation ripe for conflict, as they say.  Throw in a few melodramatic subplots about the skeezer girl's relationship with a loutish farmer, Mia's own peek-a-boo affair with a local yokel, and her sick carny family reunion, and you got one wild story arc for a six episode series.  And, in truth, it is a ridiculous story. . .but it's set in a grimly realistic, depressing environment, and the latchkey kids are so utterly and convincingly fucked up (these kids make Sevigny's early career Kids seem hopeful), you're willing to swallow the prostethic penis (er. . .you know) and all the other nonsense. And if watching Mia, in a series of starts and stops, and with parenting skills that would put him/her at #1 on Child Protective Services Most Wanted List, struggle with his/her commitment to his/her new family isn't enough to keep you watching, there's always the frequent freak show interludes to keep you coming back for more.  Here's one of my favorites:

Now that's entertainment!  

06 June 2013

Whatever Happened To Serial Killers?

Remember when serial killers used to be celebrities? 

What happened?  I can't remember the last time a serial killer captured the nation's attention. . .

Has there been a celebrity serial killer since Jeffrey Dahmer? Was he the last great serial killer? That was twenty years ago. . .

[BTW, the best Dahmer book is pictured above. . .a great *graphic novel,* a vivid portrait of a sad high school dork.] 

There have been a few spree killers who made the headlines, some school shooters, etc., like the faggot who killed Gianni Versace, the islamophobe nut in Norway, and recently the Sandy Hook nerd. . .but none of them ever became as *popular* as Ted Bundy or John Wayne Gacy or Dahmer.

Is it because AmerICKans supposedly have greater fears, now?  Is it because simply being murdered is no longer a big deal in the Age of Terror?  Did Osama bin Laden ruin it for serial killers? 

But even terrorists haven't been able to garner the fame and adulation that Dahmer and the other A-List serial killers did.  Mohamed Atta doesn't inspire the same kind of nutty fan clubs and cottage industries that Gacy did.  Is it because Atta killed *Americans* instead of coeds or twinks?  If the flag is also violated in the murder, instead of just the victims genitals or orifices, can we not express the same morbid fascination?  

Patriotism may be the last taboo. . . 

03 June 2013

Murky Sauce

Some Hope, by Edward St Aubyn: I've seen mentions of St Aubyn over the last several years as some Great One of Literature.  Some Hope contains the first three of his five Patrick Melrose novels, which are apparently based on St Aubyn's own miserable life, a sordid saga of depraved dysfunction within the British *upper-class.*  The trilogy of blue blood rakishness is a jarring patchwork of social comedy and domestic degeneracy detailing the St Aubyn alter-ego Patrick Melrose's abused childhood, narcotized youth and existential angst-ridden adulthood.  

St Aubyn is not without literary talent. . .however, he is not equally blessed as both a witness of the profligate lives of the idle rich and a chronicler of the abused.  By far the best parts of Some Hope are St Aubyn's renderings of aristocratic cattiness.  The dinner party scenes of the dissolute gentry desperately trying to amuse themselves with anecdotes about the failings and misfortunes of others are high snide fun.  But when St Aubyn tries to recreate his own coke-and-heroin Sturm und Drang though Patrick Melrose, the result is often tedious vein-and-syringe minutia that prompts skimming, instead of reading.  Even less effective are the sections that deal with the Great Trauma: St Aubyn being sodomized by his father.  As channeled through Melrose, the reflections on buggery hardly rise above the level of a teen girl blathering about bulimia or wrist cutting on Facebook.  Here is the climatic scene of Some Hope, in which Melrose reveals his dark secret to his best friend Johnny:          

'So, what can one say about a man who rapes his own child?'

'I suppose it might help if you could see him as sick rather than evil,' Johnny suggested limply.  'I can't get over this,' he added, 'it's really awful.'

'I've tried what you suggest,' said Patrick, 'but then, what is evil if not sickness celebrating itself?  While my father had any power he showed no remorse or restraint, and when he was poor and abandoned he only showed contempt and morbidity.'

'Maybe you can see his actions as evil, but see him as sick.  Maybe one can't condemn another person, only their actions. . .'  Johnny hesitated, reluctant to take on the role of the defence. 'Maybe he couldn't stop himself anymore than you could stop yourself taking drugs.'

'Maybe, maybe, maybe,' said Patrick, 'but I didn't harm anyone else by taking drugs.'  (p. 384)  

Compare this rather tepid meditation on incest to the following biting dining table comedy and you will note St Aubyn's uneven talents: 

'Do you have any politics?' Princess Margaret asked Sonny.

'Conservative, ma'am,' said Sonny proudly.

'So I assumed.  But are you involved in politics?  For myself I don't mind who's in government so long as they're good at governing.  What we must avoid at all costs is these windscreen wipers: left, right, left, right.'

Sonny laughed immoderately at the thought of political windscreen wipers.

'I'm afraid I'm only involved at a very local level, ma'am,' he replied.  'The Little Soddington bypass, that sort of thing.  Trying to make sure that footpaths don't spring up all over the place.  People seem to think that the countryside is just an enormous park for factory workers to drop their sweet papers in.  Well, those of us who live here feel rather differently about it.'

'One needs someone responsible keeping an eye on things at a local level,' said Princess Margaret reassuringly.  'So many of the things that get ruined are little out-of-the-way places that one only notices once they've already been ruined.  One drives past thinking how nice they must have once been.'

'You're absolutely right, ma'am,' agreed Sonny.

'Is it venison?' asked the Princess.  'It's hard to tell under this murky sauce.'

'Yes, it is venison,' said Sonny nervously.  'I'm awfully sorry about the sauce.  As you say, it's perfectly disgusting.'  He could remember checking with her private secretary that the Princess liked venison.

She pushed her plate away and picked up her cigarette lighter.  'I get sent fallow deer from Richmond Park,' she said smugly.  'You have to be on the list.  The Queen said to me, "put yourself on the list," so I did.'

'How very sensible, ma'am," simpered Sonny.

'Do you like it?  It's venison,' said Princess Margaret leaning over slightly toward Monsieur d'Alantour, who was sitting on her right.

'Really, it is something absolutely mar-vellous, ma'am,' said the ambassador.  'I did not know one could find such cooking in your country.  The sauce is extremely subtle.'  He narrowed his eyes to give an impression of subtlety.

The Princess allowed her views about the sauce to be eclipsed by the gratification of hearing England described as 'your country,' which she took to be an acknowledgment of her own feeling that it belonged, if not legally, then in some much more profound sense, to her own family.

In his anxiety to show his love for the venison of merry old England, the ambassador raised his fork with such an extravagant gesture of appreciation that he flicked glistening globules over the front of the Princess's blue tulle dress.

'I am prostrated with horr-rror!' he exclaimed, feeling that he was on the verge of a diplomatic incident.

The Princess compressed her lips and turned down the corners of her mouth, but said nothing.  Putting down the cigarette holder into which she had been screwing a cigarette, she pinched her napkin between her fingers and handed it over to Monsier d'Alantour.

'Wipe!' she said with terrifying simplicity.

The ambassador pushed back his chair and sank to his knees obediently, first dipping the corner of the napkin in a glass of water.  While he rubbed at the spots of sauce on her dress, the Princess lit her cigarette and turned to Sonny.

'I thought I couldn't dislike the sauce more when it was on my plate,' she said archly.  (p. 391 - 393)

Such keen portraits of the privileged class make up for Some Hope's less successful drug and buggery sketches.  St Aubyn's not a Great One of Literature, but he's pretty good at skewering the nobility.