Monday, July 29, 2013

Weird Crime: Collateral iPhone Hostage

(photo @ techdigest.tv)

Naples, Florida

On Wednesday, July 24 of 2013, a 22-year-old man named Devin Joseph Henderson was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of refusing to return lost or stolen property. By itself this doesn't seem like much of a story. But a report from the Naples Daily News (the only report to date on Henderson's arrest) reveals that there was quite a bit more to how things transpired...and that Devin might not be the only bad guy in this ordeal.

For starters, Devin's public records show that aside from one time when he forgot his boating license and some unusual traffic violations, the young man had a pretty clean record (and no arrests) prior to last week. What he did have on July 23, however, was a good time at the bar with a friend of his.

Unfortunately for Devin, his friend was unable to hold his liquor once they got home and threw up all over his bathroom. He then ended the evening by passing out in a lawn chair while waiting for a ride, leaving Devin to clean up the mess.

The next day, Ralpher McPukerton realized that while making a violent offering to the porcelain gods the night before, he had completely forgotten about his iPhone and left it at Devin's house. As you might have guessed, Devin was more than a little bit pissed...and in no mood to speak with the man who had vomited all over his lavatory. Instead, he texted his friends' brother and informed him that the clean up had cost him $100 out of pocket.

Right here is the first part of the story where I wish we had a little more information.

Whether it's our own vomit, someone else's, or from a pet, we've all experienced the misery that accompanies having to scrub layers of undigested food and bile from the floor and walls (and maybe even the ceiling if things got really crazy).

The bathroom, however, is one of the few "fortunate" places that this can happen. It is infinitely easier to clean vomit-stained tile than it is to get that stuff out of the carpet or various pieces of furniture. 

And while I still don't begrudge the task Devin faced that evening after his friend left, I still have to wonder how in the heck it cost him $100. Was Devin lying...or was his friend's bout of vomiting truly that bad?

Pea soup is pretty difficult to clean once it dries

Devin went on to say/text that he had his friend's iPhone and would not return it until the $100 was paid back. After being informed by his brother about Devin's demands, the friend decided not to pay up and instead called the police.

At this point, it's worth mentioning that some of you may remember an iPhone hostage case we covered earlier this year. In that incident there was a very clear villain; a woman found someones iPhone and threatened to sell it on Ebay if her ransom demands were not met.

But in this case, I have to be honest....part of me gets where Devin is coming from. Yes, it was a pretty douche move to hold the guy's phone from him in lieu of a suspect $100 cleaning payment. But the man in question did vomit all over Devin's bathroom and leave him to clean it up. More than a few of us would probably be in some sort of  vengeful mindset if we were presented with the same set of circumstances.

But according to the the letter of the law, what Devin was doing (refusal to return lost/abandoned property) is a crime. He also made the same mistake that the woman from the first iPhone hostage story made: Falling for a sting operation that was set up for him at Walmart.

Walmart: A hotbed bad produce, tight mom jeans, and shady criminal dealings

When Devin arrived at the store to collect his fee and return the phone, his friend and a deputy were waiting for him. 

Devin Joseph Henderson was immediately arrested and charged with a misdemeanor for failing to return lost property. He (wisely) refused to speak to the deputy and instead asked to his attorney.

Devin's bond was set at $2,000 and paid on July 26. He is due to appear in court on August 21.

Post-arrest note

There are two Facebook accounts belonging to someone named Devin Henderson in Naples, Florida that are either the same person or related to each other.

The profile for the first one features a profile picture of the man above surrounded by terrible lightning effects.

Devin Henderson

But I'm thinking that the profile for the second one has to be our Devin, as well...not just because it lists his full name (Devin Joseph Henderson) and is related to all the same people, but also because his profile picture seems to indicate that he's keeping a really good sense of humor about all this.

Devin Joseph Henderson

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how terrible I am more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.

To get updates on when new articles or podcasts are published (and occasional random musings) 'Like' the official RamblingBeachCat.com Facebook page. Every time someone does, a drunk friend is able to puke inside the toilet instead of all over the floor (or at least decides to stay and help clean up his/her own mess).

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Freaky (Factual) Tale Friday: Controlling Candy Jones

(photo @ Wikipedia.com)

In 1972, popular radio personality Long John Nebel (born John Zimmerman) became involved in a whirlwind romance with his favorite pin up girl from the World War II era, Candy Jones. After one month, the two were married. Getting married after such a short courtship may seem like a bad decision to most people, but for these two, it was almost as if they were thrust together by virtue of both having bizarre personal histories.

Nebel had dropped at out school in 8th grade and was rumored to have run away from home with a circus. At the age of 19, he moved to New York and began a series of careers which included freelance photography and working as a sidewalk salesman. He later started a successful auction/consignment shop in New Jersey that became a popular destination due to Nebel's entertaining auction calls.

In 1954, he approached one of New York's leading radio stations (with whom he had bought advertising time for his business) and asked about doing an interview driven show that would center around the discussion of strange and mysterious topics. The idea didn't sound that great to the station managers, but they were getting desperate; the advent of television was obliterating their ratings.

The station gave him the 12:00-5:30 AM slot. To the their surprise, Nebel's show became a hit. The overnight block, which had previously been by far the least profitable time period for them, was now drawing in much bigger ratings than expected and made Long John's show a New York institution.

Unfortunately for Candy, her path in life wasn't just filled with zany tales and dreams becoming reality. Jones (who was born Jessica Arline Wilcox) was born into a family that was rich in money, but not in love and nurturing. She face repeated instances of physical and sexual abuse from her parents. After Jones' father left while she was still very young, Candy's mother often insisted upon keeping her locked in a dark room as punishment whenever she had done something wrong.

To help her cope with the daily horrors she faced, Candy came up with a group of imaginary friends. The one she became the most attached to was who looked a very much like her and was named Arlene.

After blossoming into 6'4" attractive blonde, Candy (who had changed her name by this point) successfully pursued a career in modeling. Pageant crowns, multiple magazine covers, and a desire to help her country during World War II also made her an excellent USO tour candidate.

Pictured: An instant morale booster

While on tour in the Philippines in 1945, Jones was given a quart of milk that had been flown in from Australia. This was considered a very special gift since there were no cows in the Philippines from which to extract and produce dairy products. Unfortunately, the Australian bovine that had produced the milk Candy ingested was sick.

The resulting toll on her immune system caused her to contract malaria as well as "jungle rot", a condition which made Jones' famous blonde locks begin to fall out in clumps. She was treated by an unnamed army physician that she would later refer to by the pseudonym "Gilbert Jensen."

After a few months of treatment, Jones was ready to return back to the States. Jensen gave her his address and asked her to write when she got back. Unfortunately for him, she met and married a man named Harry Conover.

Conover was a fashion czar and one of the first model agents. He was also totally into dudes, which strained things a bit in his and Jones' marriage. She also had not completely recovered from her trip to the South Pacific.

In 1946 before a guest spot on a radio show, Candy began to once again feel the effects from her bout with Malaria. She was told that a doctor would call soon to help her. The physician who ending up contacting her was also someone she would later refer to by a pseudonym: "Marshall Burger."

....who worked under the direct authority of Mayor McCheese

According to Jones, Burger was a well known psychiatrist with close ties to many big names in the entertainment industry as well as the U.S. government. He was also a pioneer in the field of hypnosis, which was the method he used to help relieve Jones pain and start to feel better.

In 1959, Conover sued Candy for divorce, leaving her with a mere $36 along with a mountain of debts. Now on her own financially, she opened a modeling school and continued making guest appearances on radio shows to help generate income.

In 1972, a now fully healthy and financially solvent Candy Jones began what seemed like a happy new stage in her life when she married Nebel. But during their first month of marriage, her husband noticed that something about Jones was very off. Despite her usually pleasant demeanor, Candy would sometimes shift into a persona Nebel called "The Voice."

This woman was angry, prone to violence, and did not act or sound at all like the woman he had married. But as quickly as these mood swings appeared, they would vanish without Jones remembering them at all.

Weird, but still not out of the ordinary.

Things got even stranger when Jones informed her husband that she occasionally did work for the US government and may have to leave town at a moment's notice. Nebel, who had experience with hypnosis, decided to try and help his wife make sense of her bizarre behavior (and probably wanted to see if those "government trips" were to see another guy on the side).

Jones agreed to the treatment and ending up being very susceptible to hypnosis. While she was under, Nebel uncovered a completely different personality; a woman with a completely different voice and demeanor.

A woman whose name was Arlene.

While Candy had just a few conscious details of her alleged work for the United States government, Arlene knew everything about it. According to her, Candy had been approached by a retired general whom she was acquainted with from her time with the USO. He asked if he could use Arlene's modeling school as a mail drop for government materials that were still being sent to him. Due to her sense of patriotism, she said yes.

Later, Candy was asked if she could deliver a letter for the general during a trip she was taking to California. When she arrived in San Francisco, Jones discovered that the man she was delivering the letter to was Gilbert Jensen, her doctor from the Phillipines. It would also later be revealed that he was working very closely with one Marshall Burger.

Jensen proceeded to inform her that he now worked for the CIA...and asked if she would be willing to do some work for them. All she would have to do was deliver messages for Jensen, most of which could be done on trips that she was already planning to take for her modeling career.

This would normally be the point when most of us would run away or look for Ashton Kutcher and lots of hidden cameras, but Jensen was also offering a large sum of money just to occasionally do an innocuous sounding delivery while she was already traveling. The cash strapped mother of three agreed and signed on as a part time CIA employee.

Before she left, Jensen asked Jones to come up with a false identification that could be used to create a forged passport in case she ever needed to conceal her identity. Candy chose her imaginary childhood friend, Arlene. He also informed Candy would need an injection of vitamins to help keep her health and strength up. Once again, she agreed.

It's a good thing that she never saw one of these as a child.

This was allegedly when her first hypnosis session took place. As you might have already deduced, the "vitamins" were actually a sedative that was given to her through an IV. This was so that Jensen could more easily put Jones under his influence. 

While under hypnosis, Jensen began to cultivate the Arlene persona into much more than a simple courier. Aside from her entire demeanor and speech patterns changing, she was also trained in hand to hand combat and various forms of espionage. She was even purposefully tortured in horrific ways to test and enhance her ability to withstand interrogation.

As if all that wasn't bad enough, the Arlene persona considered Candy to to be weak. Candy, on the other hand, knew next to nothing about Arlene, her training, or her opinion of her.

At this point, Nebel was understandably pissed. He threatened to kill Jensen, which Jones was somehow able to talk him out of. Instead, they continued their sessions and dug deeper into her memories of being a CIA created Manchurian Candidate. In 1976,  their claims were published in a book by Donald Bain entitled 'The Control of Candy Jones.'

Okay...this might be a decent movie set up, but it can't actually be true....right?

That was the reaction that many in the media and most of the general public had to Jones' story. It didn't help things that Nebel was a notorious prankster and that he had a radio show about paranormal and weird subjects....and just happened to marry a woman with this sort of alleged history.

About a year after the book was published, however, Jones' claims gained a heaping helping of plausibility when it was discovered that the CIA had been running extensive mind control tests and experiments under a program named Project MKUltra. The use of amnesiac couriers for covert operations is was also something that the program was allegedly successful at creating.

Jones had also instructed her lawyer that if she ever died unexpectedly, her activities and/or whereabouts at the time of her death may have to remain secret. Students and staff at her modeling school said that Jones would often disappear without any explanation and would return with little to no details of why she was gone.
Her husband also claimed that they had found a passport in her belongings created for her Arlene alter-ego.

And along with his death threat towards his wife's purported handler/controller, Nebel never backed off his belief in what Candy/Arlene said happened to her until his death in 1978. Candy carried on his radio show and also continued to claim that what her husband had recorded her alter ego say while she was under hypnosis was genuine. She stuck by this belief until her death in 1990.

But there are some very compelling (and obvious) reasons to question Candy Jones' and John Nevel's claims.

Besides the fact that the whole story sounds a lot like the terrible third season of Alias

For starters, if you're attempting to develop an asset to covertly deliver top secret information, it might not be the best idea for your subject be a 6'4" super model. Even with a wig and make up, she would still be likely to stand out and draw attention.

The response to this may be found in the fact that "Arlene" didn't really have many details to give with regards to dangerous or exciting missions. Instead, most of her stories revolved around being trained and shown off to other CIA head honchos like some sort of sexy science fair project. The unnerving allegation that some of her alleged test torture was sexual in nature may point to Candy/Arlene being more of a "proof of concept" vehicle along with a sick fantasy for the main doctor involved (if any of it is true).

There's also the fact that Jones childhood trauma would have made her a prime candidate to suffer from dissociative personality disorder...or Nebel may have been manipulating the "Arlene" persona himself...or the entire story could just be a load of crap that both of them invented for the sake of publicity to bolster their respective careers.

Some families like to do that sort of thing.

But history has shown us that the dark corners of the military industrial complex is capable of some mind blowing stuff that sounds like it should only be possible in the the pages of a science fiction tale. With advances in technology and medical science along with the already well-established practice of hypnosis, it would seem that the potential for our government to create a Manchurian candidate is very real.

It would also be an incredibly good option for an organization that needed untraceable covert operations to be carried out. Your subject would obey commands to the letter, presumably have a "kill switch" in case they were caught, and wouldn't remember any classified details afterwards. 

What's even more frightening is that if it could happen to a well-known and glamorous cover girl, than it could happen to any of us.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how terrible I am more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.

To get updates on when new articles or podcasts are published (and occasional random musings) 'Like' the official RamblingBeachCat.com Facebook page. Every time someone does, a supermodel decides that she should just date normal guys and never model for Abercrombie & Fitch (of her own accord, of course).

Monday, July 22, 2013

Top 10 Most Bizarre Cross-Over Music Videos

Everyone wants to be a rock star, including athletes and actors that have already attained varying degrees of success in the entertainment world.

Maybe it's the thrill of knowing that people are cheering for something you created with your own voice. It's understandably a very different (and arguably better) type of affirmation having people go wildly crazy for something that is more centered on your own self rather than a team or movie/television show that they like.

Many famous entertainers discover the hard way, however, that there is a reason you hear so many bad auditions on shows like American Idol and the X-Factor: Creating a quality musical performance is hard.

Unfortunately for them (and us), many of these people have gotten so used to success in one area that becoming the next great musical sensation feels like more of a birthright than a dream. Combine that sense of entitlement with enormous amounts of disposable income and an entourage of people that will tell you whatever you want to hear, and you end up with some laughably terrible attempts at rock star fame that are still able to go far beyond the garage or private recording studio where they should have died a quiet and insignificant death.

To make matters worse, the clout of a "star name" (combined with the aforementioned piles of cash) means that many of these pop star wannabes can also create music videos.

Now you can say what you want about Eddie Murphy's foray into the industry, but at least he had to the good sense to make his videos as simple as possible: Just him trying to belt out tunes in a studio with his backup singers and instrumentalists trying to do their jobs without laughing.

Some "cross over" musicians, however, take their attempts at artistic interpretation by putting their music into a visual form to levels that should never have been attempted by someone at any level of musical talent...or by them. The following are RamblingBeachCat's Top 10 most bizarre music videos by crossover artists.

10. Carl Lewis: Break It Up

Record setting U.S. Olympian Carl Lewis is already well known for his lack of tonal center thanks to his 1993 butchering of the United States National Anthem. But that was not his only attempt to make those of us that can hear envy the deaf. In 1987, his single 'Break It Up' dropped along with one of the most disturbing music videos you will ever see.

It's starts out simply (and narcissistically) enough with Lewis singing while he works out in a gym full of hot 80's models. Every few seconds, a clip of him going beast mode in the long jump competition is also played. They lyrics to the song have something to do with forming a human chain and working together or something. It's not good at all, but it's not the worst thing anyone's ever heard.

But at 0:59, a couple of random bubbles float in front of the world class sprinter while he's doing leg curls. This seems a bit out of place, but still pretty innocuous...until the 1:59 mark, when the source of the bubbles is revealed to be a sweet little old lady in comically over-sized sunglasses.

Much like viewer, Lewis seems perplexed by her presence. But mere seconds later, he's got the old geezer in a hot tub and is suggestively stroking her arm while to singing to her.

"I'm gonna take you out to dinner, but bring
 your AARP card so we get the discount."

The inter cut clip of Lewis athletically competing changes to him winning a race, but by this point no one cares about that. We want to know if this cougar and Lewis are going to go for the gold together...and at 2:44, that question is firmly answered.

The pair head into a sauna while the old woman (now without her sunglasses) puts up a 'Do Not Disturb' sign and winks at the camera....and the rest of us vomit.

9. Juliette Lewis: Terra Incognita

When actress  Juliette Lewis isn't busy taking on challenging and bizarre film roles, she also likes to rock n' roll...and she's actually not half bad. The single for her first solo album, Terra Icognita, is an upbeat, hard driving anthem that is pretty enjoyable to listen to.

The video, on the other hand, is all types of strange. Despite the weird "interview" at the beginning, it starts off pretty plainly: Lots of concert footage of Julia interspersed with clips of her fighting and getting the crap beaten out of her by random people meant to represent those who doubt her musical abilities.

But at 2:31 (which is identified as the end of reel 1), things to begin to go a bit off the rails....starting with Juliette and her band (along with the music critic she's been fighting the entire time) dressed up in animal masks and terrorizing and an office.


Things continue to make less sense when a random old guy shows up at 3:01 who looks like he's attempting to perform street magic. This is followed by Juliette jumping on top of the music critic and beating her senseless while her victim just smiles and sticks her tongue out at her.

The video ends with a bunch of candid shots showing Juliette and her band working on the song along with more concert footage (it also looks like the music critic turns into Juliette Lewis and disappears, but that just might be a result of sensory overload taking its toll). Meanwhile, the rest of us aren't quite sure what we just watched.

8. David Hasselhoff: Hooked On A Feeling

Many artists have covered Mark James' 'Hooked On A Feeling.' The one most people probably remember (especially if you were alive and watching televison during the late 90's) was by the Swedish group Blue Swede, which was used to represent Ally McBeal's ticking biological clock along with an animated dancing baby.

But David Hasselhoff of Nightrider, Baywatch, and drunken hamburger fame made a cover and subsequent music video that goes in a completely different direction. It starts off with the famous "ooga chaka" chant followed by David Hasselhoff turning around, singing the opening lines of the song, and staring into the camera so intensely that it might get you pregnant (even if you're a dude).

But at 0:14, the first of many shots featuring The Hoff in a ridiculous costumes in front of a green screen background begins its assault on your senses.

Perhaps the most telling shot of the video's focus is the one where Hasselhoff sings and thrusts his pelvis towards a spinning cube adorned on all sides with various images of himself.

But to offset him looking too narcissistic, there are also multiple shots of floating children in angel costumes and dachshunds wandering around on the ground.

There's also a lot of David Hasselhoff flying, but I'm pretty sure he can actually do that in real.

7. Milla Jovovich: Gentlemen Who Fell

Before she made a career out of starring in terrible Resident Evil films, Milla Jovovich was a well known model and up and coming young actress. What many people don't know, however, is that she was also a well regarded musician.

Her 1994 album The Divine Comedy received glowing reviews for its folk-influenced sound and catchy melodies. The video for her single the Gentlemen Who Fell, however, resembles a disturbing French art film.

The dizzying array of things that flash up on the screen in black and white include objects appearing and disappearing, a spider being put into a box (repeatedly), Jovavich being alsmost naked, blood flowing backwards, and an evil looking entity who is wearing a hood and has a mirror for a face.

"Don't mind me; just making the bed and looking for remnants of your soul."

There's also a man in a suit that Jovovich seems to kill and start eating at 2:13. He then comes back to life and goes to the beach and dies again. The spider that keeps showing up crawls across a piece of bread at 3:17, which for some reason creeped me out way more than anything else I saw.

By the end of the video, I really couldn't tell you what was the message or theme. I may have to watch it again a few times...for research...NOT to oggle at Milla...

6. Traci Lords: Fallen Angel

Traci Lords is probably best-known for illegally starring in a large number of X-rated films during the 1980's when she lied to her producers about her age (she was 15 but told them she was 20). In addition to making a lot of porn viewers feel pretty terrible about themselves, she also gained notoriety for writing about her experiences and her eventual denouncement of the pornographic industry.

But Lords also went on to have a pretty decent acting career. She has had multiple television and movie roles that have been well received by critics and audiences alike. Her music career, on the other hand, has been a bit scattered. 

Over the years, Lords has provided guest vocals on numerous pieces and released a few songs herself. One of those songs, Fallen Angel, is a techno/industrial rave song in which she presumably speaks about the struggles she experienced while working in the porn industry.

The video features jump cuts of Lords violently convulsing, which are contrasted by close ups of her in melancholy reflection.

This all apparently takes place in front of a very powerful fan.

 It's a bit unnerving, but nothing too scary...until the 2:44 mark. The jump cuts stop and the camera slowly zooms in on a red leather clad Traci Lords. When it gets right up into her face, she begins saying something in a husky whisper about about suicide, instructs you to come closer, and then assures you that there is nowhere you can hide.

The jump cuts start up again at 3:24, this time placing Lords in what looks like the Black Lodge from Twin Peaks while she sits on a sofa and her doppelganger blinks in and out of existence in various parts of the room.

The video looks like it's going to end with her curled up in the fetal position along with the viewer. But instead, Traci gets up, begins dancing....and then it ends. 

5. Corey Feldman: Ascension Millennium

Actor Corey Feldman has never been able to regain the fame he enjoyed as a teen heart throb during the 1980's, but that didn't stop him from making an incredibly self indulgent single shot video for his terrible new single.

It starts off with Feldman waking up in bed next to a beautiful woman. As he begins to walk around his mansion (royalties from those films must still be flowing in), we see that Feldman's home is populated by multiple babes who are all wearing sexy angel costumes that look like they were bought on clearance from a costume shop.

Not to be outdone in the beauty department, Corey makes sure that he has on more eyeliner than all of the other girls combined. It also looks like he's wearing the same jacket he wore in 1989's Dream a Little Dream.

The first real WTF moment, however, comes at 1:34 when his Goonies co-star Sean Astin shows up out of nowhere holding what looks like it might be a treasure map. After some expert eye acting from Feldman, he takes the map, walks away, and throws his old pal an asthmatic inhaler.

"Take a knee, Ruettiger."

Feldman then walks outside, where it appears that a pool party is taking place that is sponsored by some sort of energy drink. This actually would have made me feel a lot better if the whole thing was just a commercial, but sadly, that would not turn out to be the case.

The entire time I was watching this, I couldn't help but feel that Feldman was trying to channel the vocal stylings of his late friend and the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. But to say that Feldman's relationship with Jackson was complicated would be a bit of an understatement...which is why the dance break featuring Jackson's signature dance moves that happens at 2:45 is pretty unnerving.

After that bit of awfulness, Feldman walks into the kitchen, picks up a meal from his personal chef, pretends to eat it, and sits down to watch a little television. This break from the madness is short lived, however, as he almost immediately heads upstairs and begins singing the song with his band (and some gross overuse of autotune). The walls around the home recording studio explode to reveal a green screen stadium full of lifeless people who are also trying to make it through this just like you are.

The video mercifully ends with Feldman leaving the studio, taking off his shirt, and getting back into the bed where it all begin...while still wearing his eyeliner.

4. William Shatner: Rocket Man

When song writer Bernie Taupin introduced William Shatner at the 1978 Science Fiction Film Awards show, he told the audience that his and Elton John's song 'Rocket Man' would be "interpreted" by the captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

It's important to note that he did not say it would be sung, because the next four minutes consisted of James Tiberius Kirk giving an oddly enthralling spoken word version of the tune. This would be more than enough to keep anyone's attnetion, but at the 2:13 mark, two other version's of Shatner's psyche begin popping up on screen and taking the spoken word reigns.

As the different versions of Shatner continue reciting the lyrics, one begins to wonder if the cigarette in the original Shatner's hand was filled with something more potent than tobacco.

The video ends, the awards presentation continues, and we are all left wondering if what we saw was completely terrible or absolutely brilliant.

3. Christopher Lee: The Bloody Verdict of Verden

Christopher Lee has done plenty of awesome things during his lifetime, but he apparently felt that an orchestral metal concept album was missing from his resume. From this desire was born Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross, an album that tells the tale of the first Holy Roman Emperor, King Charlemangne, by way of massive instrumentals and groaning vocals.

The video for the song The Bloody Verdict of Verden, which was released in 2012, uses green screen technology that looks like it was part of a high school film class project. But the content of the video itself raises a whole slew of questions...chief among them: Why is Christopher Lee the only one in costume?

Seriously, it doesn't make any sense at all. Here's a shot of Christopher Lee talking about how he slaughtered a bunch of heathen Saxon men...

...and here is a shot of the chorus.

I mean, c'mon, the dude on the right is wearing a freaking t-shirt. If Christopher Lee asks you to be in his music video, is it too much to ask that you put on some sort of themed clothing...or at least a button down shirt?

But I digress...the video goes on to display multiple visuals of fire and brimstone, a forest adorned with piles of human bones, and majestic palaces. Youtube commenter Joe Doherty probably put it best when he said:

"Despite the lameness of video, this is probably the most metal thing I have ever seen."

2. Leonard Nimoy: The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins

Listening to Leonard Nimoy sing about everyone's favorite hobbit isn't something I'd normally do on purpose, but his song about Bilbo Baggins is pretty harmless (and even kind of enjoyable) by itself.

The video for the song, however, is the stuff nightmares are made of. There's nothing particularly striking about it; it's just Nimoy singing his song in some type of mountainous setting with a bunch of attractive female backup singers/dancers.

But when those women actually do start dancing, something seems very off. Maybe it's the fake plastic hobbit ears (or are those Spock ears?) that they're wearing. Maybe it's their jerky, robotic movements combined with their creepy fake smiles and dead eyes.

"Must earn...this paycheck..."

Or maybe it's the part at 1:07 where they go behind a rock and begin throwing their clothes (and even what looks like someone's hair) into the air while Nimoy continues to regal us with Bilbo's story.

But whatever it is that makes this video unsettling, it mercifully clocks in at under two minutes, meaning that there probably wasn't enough time to do any permanent damage to your emotional well being.

Unfortunately, our final video doesn't need anywhere near that long to get inside your head and wreak havoc upon your thoughts and dreams.

1. Crispin Glover: Clowny Clown Clown

In addition to being a very good actor, Crispin Glover is no stranger to bizarre behavior. But the video for his song 'Clowny Clown Clown' is something that makes me truly worried about his general mental state.

It begins with Glover talking about a clown he met...which seems innocent enough until we see that the clown in question is a sexy woman in clown make up. Glover proceeds to make out with her, describe her getting sick (while we watch her throw up), and then describe "accidentally" killing her.

I put "accidentally" in quotes because he then visits her grave, smokes a cigar, and talks about how much he hated the clown. And just to make sure that you're sufficiently creeped out, there are a couple shots of Glover and other unidentified people wearing animal masks.

Glover also points to the viewer out that he is being watched by his alter-ego, Rubin Farr. I'm not sure what that has to do with anything, but by this point I just wanted the video to end so that I could start trying to get my life back together.

If you don't already suffer from any level of coulrophobia (a fear of clowns), this video will definitely take care of that...or make you deathly afraid of Crispin Glover.

And there you have it, folks; the top ten most bizarre music-cross over videos. It's a pretty specific subject, but one that has some fascinating/terrifying/hilarious material.

If there are any gems that you feel I left out, please leave them in the comments below. At this point, I'll do anything to try and erase Clowny Clown Clown from playing over and over in my head.

Even if it means watching
'Party All The Time' on a loop.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how terrible I am more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.

To get updates on when new articles or podcasts are published (and occasional random musings) 'Like' the official RamblingBeachCat.com Facebook page. Every time someone does, Carl Lewis is saved from being taken advantage of by a senior citizen.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Nick's Weird Adventures: The East Cooper Disco

Every day on my way to work, I pass by an odd looking green-painted building near the intersection of Hungryneck Blvd. and Venning Road called the East Cooper Disco. I wouldn't believe that it actually was a disco except for the fact that a sign out front constantly announces various DJs, live bands, and events before each weekend.

When I tried to ask people about the location, however, no one seemed to know anything. My online searches came up very little in the way of information, as well. I was only able to find a Facebook page, a couple of random mentions, and various map results. 

I did come across this promo video, but that didn't tell me very much other than it was definitely not a place I would hear Jimmy Buffett or a country music artist performing any time soon.

Otherwise, the building (and what went on inside of it) seemed to be a complete enigma to the town of Mount Pleasant along with the rest of the world.

When I told people that I was planning to visit the East Cooper Disco for an installment of Nick's Weird Adventures, the general responses I got were:

-"You're going to get shot."
-"Please don't get shot."
-"Do you want to get shot?"

Now in case any of you think these comments were racially motivated, they were made by many of my black friends, as well. To be fair, however, the exterior of the building does not inspire confidence that you are heading into a classy/safe environment.

When I asked my best friend Joe to head over with me on the evening of July 6, he was understandably a bit hesitant. We had already spent a large portion of that Saturday evening at a trendy place on Shem Creek. We had endured waiting 1 hour for a table and 2 hours for our food (which wasn't that great).

But I'm nothing if not persistent (and a master at relentless badgering). We departed from my house and arrived at the East Cooper Disco at approximately 9:45 PM. As we walked in, a greeter in a ticket booth (which looked suspiciously like a utility closet with a burned out light bulb) told us that it was $15 each for us to get in.

Things were already off to a bad start.

But when we walked into the main building, however, Joe and I were surprised to find that the interior of the East Cooper Disco looked MUCH better than the exterior. There was a light up technicolor dance floor surrounded by dinner tables and comfortable chairs which all faced a decent sized stage.

The bar area had regular seating and stool/table seating facing back towards the stage/dance area. There was also a pool table/TV section and more stool seating next to various groupings of incredibly comfortable leather couches. (There was also another unused bar on the opposite end of building).

These aren't stellar due to the lighting and my crappy photography skills, but here are a few photos and quick vidoes of the East Cooper Disco courtesy of my Instagram and Vine.

As Joe and I walked in and sat down at the bar, we noticed a couple of things:

1. We were the only white people in the place.
2. At 33-years-old, we were both probably the youngest people in the place, as well.

This was definitely an older crowd, but also a lot of fun to hang out with. With the exception of one drunk dude who tried to talk to us about his high school wrestling career (and what bar doesn't have one of those), everyone was incredibly friendly and laid back.

Joe ordered a beer from the bar and was shocked to discover that it was only $2.50. Me being a non-drinker simply ordered a Coke...and was nearly transported back to 1999 when it only cost me $1.00

Joe went on to say that the liquor selection wasn't very good, but he was incredibly happy with the fact that he could get quality beers without paying the "douchebag premium" that most bars tack on (and raise the total price over $7.00).

Good, cheap beer makes Joe happy.

While we listened to the opening act (a pretty decent bass player/singer named Ric McCants), Joe and I decided to play some pool.

After getting beaten by me (which I assure you was simply luck on my part), Joe and another bar patron decided to play for a little money. This (predictably) led to Joe getting his ass handed to him.

As the evening went on, Joe and I were having a lot of fun...and I was starting to get hungry. Waiting two hours and getting terrible service for moderately good food at dinner had not been enough to sate me.

The house DJ had been announcing that the kitchen was open all evening...and something smelled amazing. I asked one of the people at the bar what it was.

"Chicken wings; 4 for $5." she replied.

This seemed a bit steep, but I figured the cost was justified in my quest to get the full East Cooper Disco experience. My order (which arrived to me in less than 10 minutes) turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life.

The wings were delicious. They were also so large that I was unable to finish the last one. This was definitely a full meal sized portion.

The main act, however, was the best part of the evening. I had never heard of Sir Jonathan Burton before, but he was fantastic. We were treated to an upbeat mix of old school funk and hip hop. Burton himself was not only a great singer, but could shred on a guitar like you wouldn't believe.

Embedded below are a few quick snippets of his great set.

The dance floor had also finally come to life. People much older than us were getting down while Joe and I wisely sat back at the bar and enjoyed the music. No way were two white guys going to do anything but embarrass themselves trying to bust a move out there.

As the evening drew to a close, Joe and I said goodbye to a place that ended up being an unexpected surprise for both of us. It may be a cliche to say that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but that definitely applies when you're talking about the East Cooper Disco. What it lacks in exterior flashiness is more than made up for with its laid back atmosphere, delicious food and drink, and great live music.

Now I'm not saying every night will be like that if you decide to head over to 1162 Venning Road. This doesn't exactly look like my type of scene.

But if there's a live funk/soul/R&B band playing, than you can't do much better for a night of fun and good music.

Oh, and for those of you wondering about the whole "don't get shot" mystique, there was a police officer there. He was laughing and talking with the owners the whole time. As far as that one drunk dude, the owner of the bar actually came up to the dude and told him to leave us alone.

So yeah...much safer than I probably would have been downtown.

Final Verdict

-Great atmosphere. Very laid back and relaxing.
-Good beer for a better price than almost any other bar in the Charleston area.
-Food is amazing and doesn't cost much at all. Service was lightning fast.
-Great live music, active dance floor.
-Not crowded, but nowhere near empty, either. Plenty of space to move and mingle.

-Poor liquor selection. No draught beers.
-If you're looking to pick up girls, you better have an AARP card. Except for the cute bar tender, the average age looked to be at least 50.
-High cover charge.

A good place to have a good time; one of the best kept night club secrets in Mount Pleasant. I will be going back again.

But I will not be stepping onto that dance floor any time soon.

Check out the East Cooper Disco's Facebook page for updates on shows and events.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how terrible I am more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.

If you'd like to see more pictures and videos from my skewed perspective, search the hashtag #NicksWeirdAdventures on my various social media accounts.

To get updates on when new articles or podcasts are published (and occasional random musings) 'Like' the official RamblingBeachCat.com Facebook page. Every time someone does, another person realizes just how awesome the East Cooper Disco really is.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Weird Crime Wednesday: Would You Like Fries And An Arrow To The Knee With That?

Warren, Massachusetts

On the evening of July 11, 2013, 28-year-old Jason Mckusick called in a delivery order to Des Pizza & More that included a side of french fries. When the order arrived, however, Jason discovered that the fries were not there.

This was probably for the best since french fries from pizza joints are usually terrible and overpriced, but Jason was determined to get them. Unfortunately, the person who delivered the food had already left.

Jason called the restaurant back and demanded that the $3 side item (see my previous mention of them being overpriced) be delivered to his house free of charge. According to the pizza parlor, they responded to Jason by saying that they would be happy to delivery the fries, but he would still be charged full price for them.

This type of customer service 
is known as 'The Comcast Approach'

Jason still refused to pay it, but Des Pizza sent a delivery person/sacrificial lamb to his apartment with the fries, anyway.

At this point, we have to assume that there is some missing information between the news reports and the police statements. If Des Pizza was so committed to customer satisfaction that they would send someone back to an irate customer's house with a $3 order of fries (that he said would not be paid for) than they probably should have just given them to him for free.

But it's also very possible that Jason told Des Pizza he would pay for them and then forgot he said that....primarily due to Jason quite possibly being psychotic and/or insane.

"And crazy folks gotta eat, too, my friend!"

The first clue that Jason isn't playing with a full deck was the pocket knife that he pulled on the deliveryman after he attempted to collect the $3 french fry fee.

The deliveryman (smartly) retreated and called the police. When the officers arrived, Jason's father burst out of the door and begged the police to allow him a chance to calm his son down before they entered the premises.

Unfortunately, the police could also hear Jason's mother screaming "put it down" over and over. Unless you're jamming to some Brandy or yelling instructions at someone with a banana peel in Mario Kart, this probably means that someone is holding a potentially dangerous object or weapon. Sure enough, the police opened the door and observed Jason holding a large black tomahawk in one hand and and a crossbow in the other. 

Jason responded to the officer's entrance by pointing the crossbow at them. He then pointed the crossbow at his own head and declared "You're going to have to shoot me!"

Realizing that they were dealing with a situation that could get messy, the officers asked the mother to leave. Jason responded by declaring that if she left, he would kill himself...and that no one was leaving the room. This turned what had at one point been a dispute over a $3 french fry order into a situation that required bringing in the state police and a S.W.A.T. team.

After a perimeter was set up around the complex, one of the officers was finally able to convince Jason to put his weapons on the ground. Unfortunately, another officers thought the moment the subject decided to relent was the perfect opportunity to shoot him with a Taser.

"Cut me some slack, sarge...I've been dying to try this thing!"

This had about the same effect that changing a tire in the rain has on the Incredible Hulk; Jason stumbled backwards, ripped the Taser probes from his chest, and became incredibly angry. He also reached down for the weapons that moments ago had been placed on the floor.

That's when police swarmed into the apartment. Seeing how well stunning the subject worked before, the officer that had initially tried to Taser Jason attempted to "dry stun" him. This involves firing a Taser against the subject without the probes and causes immense pain rather than incapacitating them.

Officer Itchy McTriggerFinger was promptly thrown against a chair by his target while the Taser continued to have no effect.

Jason Mckusick was finally (and physically) brought down by a large contingent of law enforcement personnel. He was arrested and charged with two counts of kidnapping, six counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, seven counts of assault and battery on a police officer, a single count of disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, resisting arrest, and attempting to commit a crime (that last one seems kind of obvious, but it was for stealing the french fries).

Jason was arraigned and held without bail pending a hearing today. As of the time of publication, there has been no report stating the outcome or his sentencing.

But a path of rampaging destruction probably 
means that things did not go well that day in court.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how terrible I am more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.

To get updates on when new articles or podcasts are published (and occasional random musings) 'Like' the official RamblingBeachCat.com Facebook page. Every time someone does, another potentially violent dispute over a $3 order of french fries is peacefully resolved.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Freaky (Factual) Tale Friday: The Mystery of the MV Joyita

In the early morning hours of October 3, 1955, a merchant vessel named the MV Joyita set sail from Apia, which is the capital city of Samoa. The boat was taking 25 passengers (16 of them part of the ship's crew) and four tons of various cargo on a two-day, 270 mile trip across the south Pacific Ocean to the Tokelau Islands.

The vessel had problems from the start. It was actually supposed to have left port the previous day, but was delayed due to the port engine clutch failing. When she finally did leave the next day, it was with only one engine.

On October 6, the port that was supposed to have received the Joyita reported that the ship had not yet arrived. Since no distress signal was received, authorities assumed the worst and launched a massive search for the vessel and her passengers (primarily aided by the Royal New Zealand Air Force).

But by October 12,  no signs of the boat of her crew had been sighted.

...and no one had heard the Skipper yelling at Gilligan.

Five weeks later on November 10, a merchant ship spotted the Joyita near Fiji. She was almost 600 miles off course, water logged, and missing nearly all of her cargo. There was obviously no one on board, but the ship's emergency radio was tuned to the international distress channel (meaning that the captain had actively been trying to get help). All three of the boat's life rafts and the dinghy were also gone.

Then it gets weird

From the outside, it was clear that something had gone very wrong. For starters, many of the boat's windows were smashed and a makeshift awning/cover had been put up over the deckhouse. There was also a large hole in the ship's superstructure, which (in addition to being adrift at sea for so long) had caused the lower deck to become completely flooded.

But although the ship was found damaged and tilting to one side, the hull was completely fine...meaning that the ship was totally sea-worthy. Most of the flooding was due to the ship being adrift and bobbing in the ocean for so long. The ship's odd angle was a result of the water that had come on board over the last few weeks.

This makes fact that the life boats and dinghy were deployed not only strange, but completely irrational on the part of the ship's passengers and crew. What's even more perplexing is that none of the four auxiliary crafts were ever spotted.

Inside the vessel, however, is where things really started the to get strange. The ship's logbook and all navigational equipment were missing. The medical bag of one of the passengers (who was a doctor) was found with nearly all the equipment removed...and instead filled with bloody rags. (It's worth noting, however, that the portion about the doctor's medical bag is still disputed).

The starboard engine was inexplicably covered with mattresses, which was either a result of the worst attempt ever to plug a leak or the aftermath of an incredible game of mattress jousting.

The Time-Tested Medieval Art of Mattress Jousting
"Might as well have some fun if we're all gonna die!"

The crew had also apparently tried to rig together a pump to offset the flooding in the engine room. It failed (obviously), but that at least shows that they were trying to keep the ship from becoming stranded in the middle of the ocean.

But even with the engine room being turned into a swimming pool, the Joyita was still able to stay afloat. The fact that the ship's cork-lined hull (and remaining cargo of empty fuel drums) would keep her afloat should have been common knowledge to the 16-man crew. Bizarre behavior (and alleged bloody rags) aside, what would possess 25 people to leave the safety of seaworthy vessel stocked with supplies to go out into the Pacific Ocean on small life rafts?

So what happened?

It was discovered during the recovery that the ship's emergency radio was busted, giving it a very short range of only two miles. This would explain why a distress call was never received. It's also worth noting that all the ship's clocks were stopped at 10:25. While that makes for a fun jumping off point for wild paranormal speculation, it actually just means that ship's generator cut off during that time in the night.

But that still doesn't explain what happened to the passengers and cargo. One theory posits that the captain, Thomas "Dusty" Miller, got into a fight with his first-mate, Chuck Simpson. The two beat the crap out of each other so hard (hence the bloody bandages) that they were incapacitated. This would have left the ship without an experienced seaman...and also apparently would have dropped the IQ of everyone on board by 30 points.

Another theory was that the Joyita was attacked by Japanese fisherman or still-active Japanese Nazi forces. This line of reasoning seemed to be fueled more by post-World War II sentiment in the Pacific towards Japan rather than any sort of solid evidence.

Other theories about mutiny and possible insurance fraud have continued to pop up over the years. But none of them can account for the fact that no trace of the ship's passengers or crew were ever found. It's very possible that the ship's cargo could have been scavenged before the Joyita was officially located in November of 1955, but even if the crew had all been killed by pirates, there should have at least been some type of wreckage discovered from the ship's four auxiliary craft.

Then of course you have some people that go with the old speculative standby...

But for those of you actually hoping for some sort of paranormal explanation to the Joyita's disappearance, here's a little nugget for ya:

After being repaired and auctioned off to a new owner in 1956, the ship proceeded to run aground twice during the next three years. A mechanical malfunction (due to improperly installed valves) would be the third and final straw. The Joyita's reputation as an unlucky ship/potential death trap had made her unwanted and unloved.

She was scrapped for parts and eventually purchased by British author Robert Maugham, who used the ship for inspiration while writing 'The Joyita Mystery' in 1962.

He presumably got editorial notes from the 
tortured souls that the Joyita had claimed over the years.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how terrible I am more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.

To get updates on when new articles or podcasts are published (and occasional random musings) 'Like' the official RamblingBeachCat.com Facebook page. Every time someone does, another ghost ship decides not to eat its passengers.