February, 2011:

CRIMEWATCH: Port of Call: Jersey City: New Jersey: United States: of America

PATH train. Port Authority Trans-Hudson or Pimpin' Ain't That Hard?

People are murdered in the vicinity of my Jersey City apartment fairly regularly. I won’t say daily because even if it’s true, it just sounds excessive. Maybe bi-weekly? Is that twice a week, or every two weeks? I’ll say quarterly. Like, four times a day. Four times a day, people are murdered in the lobby of my apartment building. And it’s a nice building! Everyone seems pretty friendly, they all have interesting-looking babies and all that, it’s just that occasionally you find yellow police tape and chunks of brain on your Pottery Barn delivery in the mail room. Look, it happens when you live in a sprawling metropolis – you’re gonna get some shattered skull bits on your Oversize Moss Basket every once in a while.

Now I know what you’re thinking. John, you probably live in the yuppified white part of Jersey City, where crime is synonymous with the tapas restuarant getting stingy with their truffle oil, or the dogs in the dog park looking too adorable. OK, maybe a slight truth. Sure, the walls in the building swelled when Arcade Fire won an album of the year Grammy last night, and then nearly crumbled when Radiohead announced they were releasing a new perfect album this week, but we’re still a melting pot! We still have a cartoon pimp that lives down the street (pictured)! People still get murdered! No one shovels their walk! SHUT UP IT WAS ETHNIC WHEN I GOT HERE!

So yeah, crime. Here’s a look at some of the local flavor that explodes out of our melting pot and lands all over the goddamn gutter I call home.

Teens Beat, Rob Bayonne Man. See? SEE! We have rowdy teens that ask to borrow your phone and then punch you in the fucking face. Oh, who was I calling? Why, my knuckle specialist, because my knuckles smart like the dickens. Not sure what Bayonne Man should have done in this situation. Your first instinct is to assume that one in eight teens has a working cell phone, and relay that information to the teen gang. Second instinct is to lie through your teeth. No, I don’t have a cell phone! Isn’t that crazy, there are nine people walking down Montgomery Street and not a single one of us has a phone? TTFN, that’s slang for Ta-Ta-Fone-Needer! Then you duck into the vegan bakery/antique birdcage shoppe and call the police from your cellphone which was hidden in your pocket this whole time. Get a gluten-free muffin and then soar home on a wheat grass rainbow.

Man Attacked By Fellow Bowler. This is a pretty interesting article because I didn’t know we had a bowling alley in Jersey City. And “Everything is perfect except for the amount of bowling balls, they really need more bowling balls because they be taken and I am always stuck with the wrong sizes and then I look like I s*ck when I really don’t,” according to bowling2u.com, the Yelp of bowling alley review sites. Everything is perfect except sometimes you get a bottle smashed over your head in the parking lot for stepping over the line, but for real guys, I give it a B-. More balls, less bottles, we’re talking A+ bowling alley material here.

Car Completely Buried By Snow Mound in Jersey City. If I was a newscaster, I’d introduce this story by saying, “And on the WHITER side of the news,” but the story is about snow, not white people. Allow me to continue my local news anchor audition: “And on the whiter side of the news tonight, take a look at this picture. No, you’re not seeing things, that’s an actual CAR buried under a mound of snow on Williams Avenue, photographed by local freelance news photographer Richard J. McCormack. Public service workers are unsure of how to free the car from its icy coffin, but you know what they say… ‘there’s snow business like snow business.’ They also say ‘Snow your belongings under your seat,’ ‘Snow snow snow your boat’ and ‘Quid pro snow, Clarice.’ Back to you (other anchor’s name, and if his or her name rhymes with snow, call them Snow, then chuckle).”

Youtube Friday Timesink – 2.11.11

It’s Friday, you know you’re not doing anything at work, so watch some videos. Oh and if the giant banner on the side wasn’t enough, like this page on facebook oh god I have no friends.

Texting With Charles

Inmates have cell phones and they’re texting, clicking “like” icons next to their favorite rodeo all-stars and reviewing products on Amazon that they totally didn’t buy. The Department of Corrections is like, “This is a huge problem” and then an inmate is like, “Can I borrow your phone for a second? I need to check this lottery ticket and if I win I’ll give you $150,000” and the Department of Corrections is all, “Slide to unlock good sir.”

Last year, one guard claimed he made $150,000 smuggling phones. He was fired but never charged with anything. Richard Subia, of California’s Department of Corrections, says smuggling cell phones to convicts isn’t a crime. “It’s very frustrating to me that we have people who work for our organization that are willing to risk the lives of their fellow employees,” he says. “It creates another risk for the employees and inmates in our facilities, as well as the public at large.”

The most notorious inmate caught with a cell phone is Charles Manson. He was caught with a flip phone back in March 2009, then again this past January with yet another cell. Prison officials say Manson called and texted numbers in Florida, New Jersey and British Columbia.
– http://www.npr.org/2011/02/08/133591495/calif-law-calls-for-stricter-prison-cell-phone-rules

David Berkowitz just asked me to the prom!

So, it’s probably time for me to come clean – every day around 4:30 in the afternoon my phone tri-tones and there’s a text message from Charles Manson waiting for me. I don’t know how he got my number. Maybe I’m one number off from Squeaky Fromme? Maybe he thought he was texting Dennis Wilson and got me instead. Regardless, he’s delightfully erudite, and will talk for hours about the environment, his favorite television show (Rizzoli and Isles), and the number of inmates he’s attempted to skin and live inside over the years. Our first conversation went a little something like this:

Charles Manson: 20thousnd sicopath dune buggies all look @ me like G.O.D.
John: Who is this?
Charles Manson: im your minds eye 3rd eye path way to I AM
John: Holy shit, is this Charles Manson?
Charles Manson: yup :D

Sometimes the playful side of Manson would come peeking out as if to say, “Hello, I’m a big ol’ bearded pixie, and I’m about to carve truth doctrines into your funny bone.”

John: How’s it going Charles? Today sucks, hope all is well with you.
Charles Manson: there ar 3 orientals with hachets comin over the hills
John: Oh my god, totally. Today this guy at my job was like ‘did you sign Gloria’s birthday card?’ and I was like, ‘No, I didn’t even see it’ and he said she already opened it. So pissed.
Charles Manson: WHO IS TH MAN ON THIS SET /.. WHO CONTRLS THE LITE ON THIS SET? CLARK GABLE? fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff
John: LOL I know!
Charles Manson: fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffarts

I was very careful to keep topics centered on Charles Manson’s favorite subject – the life and times of Charles Manson. Current movies, music or pretty much anything that happened after the Sharon Tate murders were off limits. He did know all the words to Wiz Khalifa’s “Black and Yellow” though, which I thought was strange. Also, he took chain letters VERY seriously, and was convinced that if he didn’t forward them to 5 friends, something terrible would happen to him and everyone he loved. And then, almost as quickly as our daily back-and-forth started, it was over. Our final conversation (while unbeknownst to me at the time) would be undeniably chilling…

Charles Manson: i’m a jackal sunspot, these walls dont contane me – coo coo ca who? coo coo ca YOU ;)
John: That’s pretty deep Charles. Something on your mind?
Charles Manson: i have x’d myself from ur wrld. l8r
John: All right, but don’t be a stranger Charles. Shine on you crazy diamond.
Charles Manson: FWD: FWD: Fwd:Send this message to 5 of your friends and you will have unbelieveble sex tonight! If you break this chain, you’ll never have multiple orgasm again!
John: You got it Charles. You got it.