Sunday, February 24, 2008
I wanted to see if I could do something like this. But... Well.. I am a Digg User... those kind without a girlfriend... and who better to show my love to than me?
As you can tell I didn't put much time into it.. 30 mins or less.. So it's not the best. Looking to Post a better more Digg oriented one later.
I don't know what attracted you to my car from the hundreds surrounding it in the Long Island Railroad commuter parking lot. Maybe it was the glimmer of metallic silver popping out from beneath the flaking bits of black paint. Perhaps it was the large piece of electrical tape covering the thin strip of what used to be plastic between the driver-side front and rear doors.
Whatever it was, something about my 1993 4-door Honda Civic with the deep dent above the left wheel well called out to you. You needed it, so you took it.
And that's okay. I'm sure I maintained my dignity walking around the parking lot trying to look like I knew where I left my car for over half an hour. When I finally realized it had left the premises without me, I became concerned because, as I'm sure you've realized by now, the car has some -- well, let's just call them "quirks" -- that you, as new owner of the piece-of-crap car, will have to deal with.
For starters, the head gasket blew just last week. Now I'm no mechanic, but, as I've been told, that's the reason why the temperature gauge shoots past the "H" and you get that nice hissing sound when you turn off the engine after a particularly hot ride. It costs about $1,100 to fix, but shop around. Maybe I was just getting hosed.
Oh, and you can't just put the key in and start the car (not that you have a key). You see, the gear lock sticks for some inexplicable reason -- alright, I never had it checked -- so you need to stick the key (or whatever you're using) in the gear release to shift out of park.
I'm sure that all of this means nothing to you because you probably just took it to some chop shop for the valuable decade-old Honda parts - assuming, of course, that the shop was local enough for you to make it without overheating.
If you do find yourself stuck on the side of the road, dig through the glove compartment -- I think my current AAA card is still in there. Maybe they can tow you the rest of the way.
So, in closing, enjoy your new possession, which I understand is now legally 9/10ths yours, and may it provide you with the cash to hold you over until you work up the nerve to steal a nice car.
I would, however, like my CDs back.
PEORIA - Benjamin Sargent died with his eyes open, fists clenched and strapped into a car seat after eight days without food or water, the county's top prosecutor said Wednesday.
The 5-month-old was dropped off at his parents' house on Feb. 4, wearing a bright-blue snow suit and strapped into his car seat. Eight days later, he was found in the same position, said Peoria County State's Attorney Kevin Lyons during a bond hearing for the parents, who are charged with capital murder for their son's death.
"It's the worst case of child neglect we have seen since the turn of this century," Lyons said afterward. "(On Tuesday), I told (Peoria Police) Chief (Steven) Settingsgaard that this case even rattled me."
Charged are Tracy D. Hermann, 21, and James E. Sargent, 23, both of 3012 W. Proctor St., with two counts of first-degree murder. Additionally, the charges state the parents' actions or lack thereof, were "brutal and heinous . . . indicative of wanton cruelty," factors that could mean they face up to 100 years in prison if convicted.
Lyons also said he might seek the death penalty for the two and has 120 days to make such a decision. State law allows a capital charge if the accused is older than 17 and the victim is younger than 12.
"He died from starvation due to neglect from these two defendants, his parents," Lyons said, spitting out the last word with contempt.
Several courthouse employees gathered in the third-floor courtroom for the hearing; many curious as rumors had been circulating throughout the day about the case. When the two walked into the room, the idle chatter immediately stopped and all eyes stared at Sargent and Hermann.
During the 20-minute hearing, both parents appeared before Circuit Judge Glenn Collier. Sargent said virtually nothing and carried a blank look on his face. Hermann told Collier her attorney was in Hawaii so she requested a court-appointed lawyer.
Collier ordered the two held without bond, pending a hearing Friday afternoon when it is expected that Lyons, who has indicated he will prosecute the case, will present more evidence as to why the two should not be released pending trial.
Peoria County Coroner Johnna Ingersoll said Wednesday afternoon Benjamin weighed 10 pounds when he was found by police. He was nearly eight pounds at birth, she said.
Reading from a prepared statement, Lyons said police found the infant sitting in his own waste, all the while strapped into the seat which was in a crib.
A person who was staying at an unattached garage adjacent to the house had seen Benjamin at some point, thought it was "odd" that he was still on the living room floor after being dropped off and moved him, car seat and all, into the other room.
There Benjamin sat for eight days, most of which both Hermann and Sargent were home, "playing video games, watching TV, feeding and caring for themselves," Lyons said afterward.
Police had interviewed Sargent, who at first told them he had moved the baby "once or twice," but later conceded that he might not have moved Benjamin at all during the week, Lyons said.
"The person from the garage tells police that Benjamin was found just as he had left him eight days earlier," the prosecutor said.
Hermann's last contact with her son was the night before police were notified. Then, she allegedly told police she "looked at the baby in the crib and presumed he was sleeping so she said she stuck a bottle between the baby and the side of the car seat so that when he woke up, he could grab it and feed himself," Lyons said in open court.
"In case the court had missed it earlier, Benjamin Sargent was five months old," he said, staring directly at Hermann.
The house, Lyons said, was in complete disarray, with clothing everywhere and spoiled food left out. The temperature in the baby's room was nearly 80 degrees and was also filthy, he said.
Hermann then left for Iowa to meet with a man she had met over the Internet, the prosecutor said, noting that she allegedly told police "that Benjamin was not her duty and that it was James' responsibility."
When asked if either exhibited signs of mental illness, Lyons said they showed no such signs from the state's point of view.
"Police noted that she seemed callous and somewhat annoyed with the process, something similar to what she showed in the courtroom today," he said.
Prosecutors from Lyons' juvenile division have already begun proceedings to permanently remove Hermann's 3-year-old daughter from the home. That child was staying with another family member but is now in foster care with Department of Family and Children's Services.
The box is as long and low as a frontier coffin, and answers soundly a knock of the knuckles. It has four small wheels and a heavy chain that snakes through a hole on the side and wraps around a “No Standing” sign. Hundreds of neighbors and Little Italy tourists pass it every day, just off a strip of busy lighting stores on the Bowery at Broome Street. They pass the box with barely a glance.
One man does not pass: John Cornelius Foley, a 6-foot-2, lumbering slab of damaged Irish-American age 57 years this May. He limps slowly, his right leg below the knee as knotty and bulbed as an old root. He stops at the box, digs a key out of his jeans and stoops over, working the padlock on the chain. He pulls an end of the box open on its hinges and peers into the place he calls home.
Newcomers pay four-figure rents for studio apartments in this neighborhood. The actor Heath Ledger died just five blocks away in January.
Mr. Foley parked his box here last summer, hard by the curb and hidden by nothing, and gave himself an address on the side with a black pen: 340 Broome Street.
The box was a place to sleep that was better than a bench and, to Mr. Foley’s thinking, better than a men’s shelter. He crawled inside headfirst every night. His feet hung out the open end.
“I wasn’t going to have my head down here,” Mr. Foley said, standing at the opening of the box recently. “Somebody’s going to whack me with something.” He would drape a tarp over the open end (“like a Winnebago or a camper,” a buddy of his said).
But now the man in the box is giving it up. He is moving around the corner, and on an island of inventive and eccentric living quarters, the future of one of Manhattan’s most unusual — and surely smallest — homes is uncertain.
Mr. Foley is one of a shrinking number of the old Bowery scamps, as much of a throwback as his middle name.
He is polite and patient with a stranger’s questions. He tells stories from his past that are acutely detailed, beginning with the phrase “To make a long story short,” before inevitably eddying off into subplots and tangents. There is not a tooth left in his head.
“I’m not a family man,” he said. He is well known among other homeless men in the neighborhood for his plywood home, which is frequently visited, even coveted.
Mr. Foley built it with a homeless friend whom he calls by a nickname, Fish. They found the plywood and nailed it together and caulked the cracks. “Fish wants to patent it,” Mr. Foley said. “We had this beautiful. Nice and nailed down.”
His path from a lakefront boyhood home in Worcester, Mass., to the box on Broome Street is paved with hard luck and hard drugs. To make a long story short: Mr. Foley was born in 1951, the first of seven children of a saloon owner and an Irish mother who was born on the boat over from Killarney in 1924. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a beautiful childhood,” he said.
He attended St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury, Mass., a Catholic preparatory school, where he played sports and worked on the side with a local exterminator. He graduated in 1969, but he put off college to open his own exterminating business. A ghost of this past life lives on in a quarter-page advertisement on Page 162 of the 1974 edition of the Worcester telephone directory: “John C. Foley, Licensed Professional Technician,” followed by illustrations of 12 varieties of pests that he promised to wipe out.
Business was good. “Up in my mother’s attic, I had shoeboxes full of money,” he said.
He played semiprofessional football in the Eastern Football League with the Webster Colonials. He played defensive back, his name found today on old rosters, but he quit after two years, seeing no way to join the National Football League.
He began experimenting with drugs around his friends, and discovered heroin, he said.
“I didn’t think I could get hooked,” he said. “I thought I could put it down anytime I wanted.”
Shortly after, in the mid-1970s, he was thrown from his motorcycle one night, not far from his mother’s home. He had swerved to dodge a car. His right leg was barely attached below the knee. “I was in a cast for 66 weeks,” he said.
He began taking painkillers, and made regular trips to New York in the early 1980s to buy drugs for himself and to sell to others back home. He moved here about 1984. He ran out of money and landed on the Bowery in the Providence Hotel, one of what used to be many single-room-occupancy buildings for men. Mr. Foley said he does not drink or use drugs anymore, and he visits a methadone clinic on Cooper Square six days a week to curb cravings for opiates.
He has a long arrest record in New York City, mostly for possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia, and a few arrests for selling. It is unclear how many times Mr. Foley was convicted. The city’s jails held a man named John Foley with the same birth date 22 times since 1983. Mr. Foley said that number sounded low. Eighteen of the arrests involved drugs. No one with his name and date of birth is listed in state correctional records, but Mr. Foley said he served 18 months in a minimum-security prison beginning in 1984. He collects small disability checks from the government.
Along the way, in SoHo, he met Fish, the co-creator and first resident of the box.
“Fish was moving the box all over town, the poor guy,” Mr. Foley said. When Fish found his own place in Brooklyn, he gave Mr. Foley the box.
Mr. Foley wrote his name and address on the side and chained it to the pole on Broome Street. He said the police told him he could stay if he did not cause any trouble. He found a battery-powered nightlight, and slept on top of one sleeping bag and beneath another.
He read the papers and Sports Illustrated until the streets outside hushed. “The worst nights were Friday and Saturday,” he said. “You had the drunks going by. They would tease me, bang on the box. Wiseguys.”
Box living soon lost its charm.
“It’s too small for me,” he said. “To turn over, I’ve got to go through all kinds of changes.” A little leak on top let in rain. “It’s like Chinese torture.”
Hot nights were brutal. “In the summer, it was a sweatbox,” he said. One day, his buddy Mike mistakenly unchained the box from the pole while Mr. Foley was asleep inside, and it rolled off the curb.
“A car comes along and sideswipes the box. He thought it was cardboard,” Mr. Foley said. He clambered out. “I must have looked like the abominable snowman. He took off. I was aggravated. My Irish come up.”
Finally, there was the simple, quiet shame of the thing.
“It carries a stigma,” he said. “ ‘Oh, you sleep in a box, John?’ ” His sisters found out: “They hate it.” His buddy Mike likes to joke: “God forbid he ever dies in the thing, he’d be all ready for potter’s field.”
Then, about three weeks ago, a neighborhood acquaintance made Mr. Foley an offer: a small bedroom in a small apartment as his roommate on Elizabeth Street, around the corner from the box, for $300 a month. Mr. Foley accepted.
One would imagine that his life would be drastically and happily transformed, but apartment life, too, has been less than perfect. The four flights of stairs are tough on his bad leg. Unwelcome surprises surface.
One recent day, Mr. Foley turned the faucet in the tub of his little bathroom, and the fixture popped out of the wall, spraying water. He cursed and dug a screwdriver out of a toolbox in a little closet, to no avail. He did not know that the water was also spraying behind the wall, flowing into apartments and hallways below his.
Firefighters came knocking. Four firemen and a lieutenant crowded into the tiny bedroom, facing Mr. Foley.
“These old buildings,” the lieutenant said, and gave the order to shut off the water main for the entire property.
“I never had a water problem in my box,” Mr. Foley mused. “I come out of the box and don’t you know, I’m in water up to my knees.”
He said he sometimes misses the simplicity of the box, where he still keeps some belongings and visits most days. But passing by last week, he discovered that he had accidentally left the key, and someone had opened the box and rooted around inside.
“That makes it final,” Mr. Foley said, angry at himself. “The box is going.”
He said at least three other men want it. He made an offer: For $20, it’s yours. Just roll it away.
Hitler tried to make a living as an artist before his rise to power. While there was no independent confirmation yesterday that the drawings were the work of the Nazi leader, Hitler is known to have owned a copy of Snow White, the classic animated adaptation of a German fairy tale, and to have viewed it in his private cinema.
Mr Hakvaag, who said he had performed tests on the paintings which suggested that they dated from 1940, said: "I am 100 per cent sure that these are drawings by Hitler. If one wanted to make a forgery, one would never hide it in the back of a picture, where it might never be discovered."
The initials on the sketches, and the signature on the painting, matched other copies of Hitler's handwriting, he claimed.
"Hitler had a copy of Snow White," he said. "He thought this was one of the best movies ever made."
Discoveries of Nazi-era memorabilia have repeatedly turned out to be mistaken or the result of a hoax. However, art attributed to Hitler continues to sell at auction, even if its provenance is far from complete.
Nineteen watercolours and two sketches said to be by Hitler were sold in Britain two years ago for a total of £118,000.
The auction firm Jefferys said the seller did everything possible to authenticate the works.
The pictures of cottages and rural scenes were found in a farmhouse in Belgium and were believed to have been painted while Hitler was a young soldier in the country during the First World War.
Joshua Mitchell, 20, of Slough, was shot in the thigh in an apparent attempt to "sexually mutilate" him at Skyways Hotel, in Slough, Berkshire.
Jason McInerney, 20, of Romford, Kirk McInerney, 18, of no fixed address, and Martin Carty, 18, of north west London, deny Mr Mitchell's attempted murder.
They also deny an alternative charge of grievous bodily harm, and robbery.
Mr Mitchell told the court how his attacker had looked at the area he intended to target before shooting him. He was hit in the upper thigh.
His wife, Mary-Ellen Mitchell, 21, said her groom then tapped her on the shoulder and said: "I think I'm going to die."
Joshua Mitchell was due to marry Mrs Mitchell in August 2006, but they broke up after a row over a "trivial matter".
Reading Crown Court heard that during their break-up, Mary-Ellen Mitchell, then Miss Murphy, started speaking with Jason McInerney, who she said she knew as Paddy Delaney.
She told the court that she had met Mr McInerney, who she claimed shot her husband, several times while out with her aunt and sister.
He began showering her with expensive gifts and asked her out but she told him she still loved her estranged fiancé.
Mrs Mitchell told the court she stopped calling Mr McInerney and asked him not to call her after she and Mr Mitchell were reunited.
If you think you have trouble getting laid, you won’t after watching this guy. My favorite part of this is when he references Japanese anime, then tells his prospective date that it’s okay if they don’t know about it, because if they date him, they’ll learn plenty. If you listen closely, right after he says that you can hear the sound of millions of vaginas simultaneously clamping shut.