CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 3, 1992 |
Michael Milken, in the eyes of the public, enjoys the moral status of a mass murderer, somewhere between Richard Speck and Adolf Hitler. There is general outrage that the proposed judicial settlement on more than 150 civil suits against Milken leaves him with $125 million, and his immediate family with more than $300 million, and also that Milken will serve "only" 40 months out of a possible 10-year jail term.
April 18, 1993 |
Pathologist Robert Stein has been a doctor of death for Cook County for 36 years. He was on the job when Richard Speck killed eight student nurses in 1966; he was there when 29 bodies were found at John Wayne Gacy's home in 1978, and when a jetliner crashed in Chicago in 1979, killing 273 people. It was Stein who alerted the world in 1982 that a killer was lacing Extra-Strength Tylenol capsules with cyanide. But last month, Stein performed his last autopsy as medical examiner.
April 11, 2003 |
The third in the "Hannibal Lecter" movies, "Red Dragon," released April 1 as a two-disc DVD set, includes all the usual suspects: director's commentary, conversations with leads Anthony Hopkins and Edward Norton, storyboards, scene guide, makeup application. But this director's edition of "Dragon" has a bonus -- a mini-documentary on former FBI profiler John Douglas.
April 13, 1994 |
It's official: Mainstream John Waters is weirder than underground John Waters. "Serial Mom," his latest and one of his best, is like an early '60s TV sitcom that keeps lunging into profane naughtiness. Waters builds our disbelief of shows like "Leave It to Beaver" and "Ozzie and Harriet" right into the movie; he animates our fantasies of what these spic-and-span people might really be like. He also builds into "Serial Mom" the no-brained affection we have for those shows.
May 15, 2001 |
His was not the face we expected to see when the dust from the bombing cleared; when the 168 lives lost were cataloged and blame assigned for the terrorist attack that shook all America. It was not supposed to be one of our own--sandy-haired, blue-eyed Tim McVeigh--but some swarthy, brooding terrorist-type, with ties not to America's Midwest but to the war-torn Middle East. It didn't take long for that image to surface.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 15, 1999 |
First you see the guy in the T-shirt following the teenage girl in the store. She glances back at him and keeps going. He hustles up and shoves her, really hard, into a rack of shoes. When she looks to see what the hell happened, he's glaring and ranting and coming at her as she backs off, and then he goes past her and out the door; it's all there on the video from the security camera. If this had happened only once, the charge would be a misdemeanor.
June 9, 1996 |
Maybe you heard. For the Olympic Games this summer, some synchronized swimmers from France put together a routine set to the music of Steven Spielberg's "Schindler's List," with goose-stepping Nazis diving into the pool to splash their stiff little arms and legs off, on their way to a gold medal. Springtime for Schindler and Germany. I would have figured the French to come up with something more subtle, like swimming to the works of Jerry Lewis. But this, this takes the German chocolate cake.
October 29, 1995 |
The Unabomber probably drives an older car but keeps it in good condition. He may have a wife or girlfriend, but she knows there's a certain part of the house--a basement, a special room--that's off limits. In the same way other people might talk baseball, he likes to discuss the bombings--how stupid the FBI is, how smart the bomber is. He probably visited the scene of his early bombings, talked to police, asked questions, maybe even offered advice. He may have taken a trip this summer.
December 12, 2004 |
Ezra POUND defined an epic as "a poem containing history." By that measure, a ballad might be a poem containing what history tends to leave out: local catastrophes, concealed crimes, unsubstantiated yet stubbornly persistent rumors, unreconcilable differences, irreparable defeats.
June 12, 2001 |
In a nation famous for vicious criminals, there has never been anyone quite like Timothy J. McVeigh. Al Capone was a thug and Richard Speck was a sadist, but the remorseless, crew-cut man who blew up a federal building in Oklahoma City, killing so many innocent people, was an ideologue, a terrorist without precedent in the American experience. As the media reported his execution in painstaking detail, America's intellectuals, historians and philosophers struggled to explain what it all meant.