Tag Archives: time

44-D’s Twenty-Five Days of Christmas Music Videos (Dec 3rd)

Christmas Time Is Here Performed by Toni Braxton

Jumping high heels first into the Christmas genre, Toni Braxton has come up with a spectacular first effort. Teetering into smooth jazz territory, Braxton gives her sophisticated, breathy vocals a workout on this untraditional Yuletide collection. Instead of revamping old holiday standards, Braxton has co-written seven new songs–with husband Keri “Mint Condition” Lewis, her sister Tamar, David Foster, and Kenny “Baby Face” Edmonds–and has created what sounds more like a proper Toni Braxton album than a seasonal offering. When Braxton did decide to cover a classic, she choose more contemporary tunes such as perennial favorite “The Christmas Song,” which she revives with aplomb and crisp pacing, and the beloved “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” which she doesn’t tinker with at all. Braxton also pulls Charlie Brown’s “Christmas Time Is Here” out of mothballs and gives it a contemplative, melancholy spin that serves the tune well.

Lyrics

Christmas time is here
Happiness and cheer
Fun for all that children call
Their favorite time of the year

Snowflakes in the air
Carols everywhere
Olden times and ancient rhymes
Of love and dreams to share

Sleigh bells in the air
Beauty everywhere
Yuletide by the fireside
And joyful memories there

Christmas time is here
We’ll be drawing near
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year…

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44-D’s Twenty-Five Days of Christmas Music Videos (Dec 1st)

Do They Know It’s Christmas Time?

This was a charity single organized by Bob Geldof, who was the lead singer of The Boomtown Rats. He got the idea after watching a BBC documentary on famine in Ethiopia. Geldof wrote the lyrics and Midge Ure from the band Ultravox wrote the music and produced the track, which was no easy task since so many voices were involved.

The single raised $14 million for famine relief in Africa. Geldof is Irish, so he cannot be knighted, but he did receive a KBE, which is equivalent and is popularly known as Sir or Saint Bob.

In the UK, this became the best-selling single ever. Elton John’s “Candle In The Wind ’97” currently holds that record.

The performers who sang verses were, in order: Paul Young, Boy George, George Michael, Simon Le Bon, and Bono. The chorus included David Bowie, Phil Collins, Paul McCartney, Geldof, Ure and many other artists who weren’t given a verse but sang the “Feed The World” part and lent their images to the effort by appearing in the promotional photo.

(Performers: Adam Clayton (U2), Phil Collins (Genesis, Solo), Bob Geldof (Boomtown Rats), Steve Norman (Spandau Ballet), Chris Cross (Ultravox), John Taylor (Duran Duran), Paul Young, Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet), Glenn Gregory (Heaven 17), Simon Le Bon (Duran Duran), Simon Crowe (Boomtown Rats), Marilyn, Keren Woodward (Bananarama), Martin Kemp (Spandau Ballet), Jody Watley (Shalamar), Bono (U2), Paul Weller (The Style Council), James ‘J.T.’ Taylor (Kool & The Gang), George Michael (Wham!), Midge Ure (Ultravox), Martyn Ware (Heaven 17), John Keeble (Spandau Ballet), Gary Kemp (Spandau Ballet), Roger Taylor (Duran Duran), Sarah Dallin (Bananarama), Siobhan Fahey (Bananarama), Pete Briquette (Boomtown Rats), Francis Rossi (Status Quo), Robert ‘Kool’ Bell (Kool & The Gang), Dennis J. T. Thomas (Kool & The Gang), Andy Taylor (Duran Duran), Jon Moss (Culture Club), Sting (The Police), Rick Parfitt (Status Quo), Nick Rhodes (Duran Duran), Johnny Fingers (Boomtown Rats), David Bowie, Boy George (Culture Club), Holly Johnson (Frankie Goes To Hollywood), Paul Mccartney, Stuart Adamson (Big Country), Bruce Watson (Big Country), Tony Butler (Big Country), Mark Brzezicki (Big Country))

Lyrics

It’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid
At Christmas time, we let in light and we banish shade

And in our world of plenty, we can spread a smile of joy!
Throw your arms around the world at Christmas time

But say a prayer – pray for the other ones
At Christmas time, it’s hard, but when you’re having fun
There’s a world outside your window
And it’s a world of dreaded fear
Where the only water flowing is a bitter sting of tears
And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom

Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you

And there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas time
The greatest gift they’ll get this year is life

Where nothing ever grows
No rain or rivers flow

Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?

Here’s to you
Raise your glass for everyone
Here’s to them
Underneath that burning sun

Do they know it’s Christmas time at all?

Feed the world
Feed the world
Feed the world
Let them know it’s Christmas time and
Feed the world
Let them know it’s Christmas time and
Feed the world
Let them know it’s Christmas time and
Feed the world
Let them know it’s Christmas time and
Feed the world
Let them know it’s Christmas time and
Feed the world
Let them know it’s Christmas time
I hope you like this song even though its not Christmas!

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The Cutest Video of All Time. Period.

OK, I’m daring you… If you don’t crack a smile over this video…then dude, you are officially in need of some serious time off. If you have a video that is cuter than this one, please feel free to post the link in the comments section. With all the bad news circulating around today, we all need a reason to smile. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Obama’s ‘Mistakes’: Way Too Early to Judge By Joe Klein

Opt-Ed by Joe Klein

Time—Over the past few weeks, Barack Obama has been criticized for the following: He didn’t go to Berlin for the 20th anniversary of the Wall’s coming down. He didn’t make a forceful enough statement on the 30th anniversary of the U.S. diplomats’ being taken hostage in Iran. He didn’t show sufficient mournfulness, at first, when the Fort Hood shootings took place, and he was namby-pamby about the possibility that the shootings were an act of jihad. He has spent too little time focusing on unemployment. He bowed too deeply before the Japanese Emperor. He allowed the Chinese to block the broadcast of his Shanghai town-hall meeting. He allowed the Chinese President to bar questions at their joint press conference (a moment memorably satirized by Saturday Night Live). He didn’t come back with any diplomatic victories from Asia. He allowed Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other 9/11 plotters to be tried in the U.S. criminal-justice system rather than by the military. He has dithered too long on Afghanistan. He has devoted too much attention to โ€” and given congressional Democrats too much control over โ€” health care reform, an issue that is peripheral to a majority of Americans.

And all this has led to a dangerous slippage in the polls, it is said, a sense that his presidential authority is ebbing.

As a fully licensed pundit, I have the authority to weigh in here … but I demur. Oh, I could sling opinions about every one of the events cited above โ€” some were unfortunate โ€” but it would matter only if I could discern a pattern that illuminates Obama’s presidency. The most obvious pattern, however, is the media’s tendency to get overwrought about almost anything. Why, for example, is the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall demolition so crucial that it requires a President’s presence? Which recent U.S. President has gotten the Chinese to agree to anything big? (In fact, Obama has secured significant diplomatic cooperation from the Chinese on North Korea, Afghanistan and Pakistan.) Was his deep bow indicative of anything other than his physical fitness? (My midsection, sadly, prevents the appearance of obsequiousness in such circumstances.)

Stepping back a bit, I do see a metapattern that extends over the 40 years since Richard Nixon’s Southern strategy began the drift toward more ideological political parties: Democrats have tough first years in the presidency. Of the past seven Presidents, the two Bushes rank at the top in popularity after one year, while Obama and Bill Clinton rank at the bottom, with Jimmy Carter close by. There is a reason for that. Democrats come to office eager to govern the heck out of the country. They take on impossible issues, like budget-balancing and health care reform. They run into roadblocks โ€” from their own unruly ranks as well as from Republicans. They get lost in the details. A tax cut is much easier to explain than a tax increase. A foreign policy based in bluster โ€” railing against an “axis of evil” โ€” is easier to sell than a foreign policy based in nuance. Of course, external events count a lot: the ratings of Bushes I and II were bolstered, respectively, by the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the flattening of the World Trade Center. Reagan’s rating โ€” 53% and headed south โ€” was dampened by a deepening recession.

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44-D’s True Crime: Discovery Channel’s Jack the Ripper in America

TrueCrime-490X136

Reviewed by Audiegrl

The greatest serial killer in history has never been named. But what if we are looking in the wrong place?


In 1888, a deranged killer stalked his prey on the streets of east London at night. After 121 years since the murder and mutilation of at least five prostitutes, the case remains unsolved and the true identity of Jack the Ripper has never been known. The worldโ€™s greatest criminal investigators have focused on searching for answers in London. However, in the 1890s a series of horrific murders took place across the United States in New York, San Francisco, Galveston and Atlanta, that mirrored the attacks in attacks in the UK. In this one hour special, Discovery Channel’s viewers will witness the new evidence, science and analytical techniques being used to reveal the true identity of Jack the Ripper.

NYPD Cold Case Detective Ed Norris

The Discovery Channel’s documentary, Jack the Ripper in America focuses on Detective Ed Norris, former head of the NYPD Cold Case Unit, who investigates and uncovers new evidence not seen since the time of the murders. In trying to solve the 118 year old murder of New York prostitute Carrie Brown, he begins to note the similarities between her murder and the famous Whitechapel murders in London. Brown’s murderer had a three-stage MO (strangled, penetrating wound, pulled apart) Because of the unusual and gruesome nature of the crime, the press of the day, immediately began asking the question, “Is Jack the Ripper in New York“. Norris sees the same unusual ‘signature‘ in both the London and New York killers. They both kill prostitutes by strangling, cutting the throat, and eviscerating the body. For Norris this indicates that he might be looking at the same killer.

Carrie Brown aka Old Shakespeare

Carrie Brown aka Old Shakespeare

The key in all cold cases is finding the clues missed by the original investigators. Although, Brown was murdered on April 23, 1891, Norris decides to let a new set of eyes look at the evidence. Enter Dr. Jonathan Hayes, the Manhattan Senior Medical Examiner. Dr. Hayes combs through the autopsy report of Carry Brown. He reaches some interesting conclusions, including a special marking on the body, which I won’t reveal here, you’ll have to watch the show. On August 7th, 1891, another unidentified prostitute is murdered with the same MO as Brown, and pulled from the East river. Visiting the New York Municipal Archives, Norris finds that the old newspapers of that time, reveal another shocking detail. The killer actually wrote to the NYPD, before the murder of Carry Brown. His letter is recreated below:

Capt. Ryan,

You think that “Jack the Ripper” is in England, but he is not, I am right here and I expect to kill somebody by Thursday next, and so get ready for me with your pistols, but I have a knife that has done more than your pistols. Next thing you will hear of some woman dead.

Yours truly,

Jack the Ripper

Richard Jones

Detective Norris wants to get into Jack’s head, and walk in his foot steps. He feels that he was an organized killer that took advantage of the conditions of the time: no ambient street lighting, a black curtain of smoke over the city caused by burning low quality coal, and counting on his victims to naturally take him to the dark, secluded places used in the prostitution trade. Norris takes viewers through a summary of the Ripper murders by using re-enactments and walking through the crime scenes. Next, Norris consults London historian Richard Jones, owner of Ripper Walking Tours and author of Uncovering Jack the Ripper’s London. Jones has spent more than two decades investigating the Whitechapel murders. He asks Jones if any of the serious Ripper suspects had ever traveled to the United States after the death of Mary Kelly. Jones provided him with three names: Severin Klosowski, Francis Tumblety, and James Kelly.

Known as the From Hell or Lusk Letter

Norris then consults with Sheila Kurtz, a Forensic Hand Writing Analyst, Master Graphologist and President of Graphology Consulting Group. Kurtz had successfully worked on the Son of Sam case among many others. After reviewing samples of the Ripper’s hand writing, Kurtz identified the writer as a very disturbed individual, who she said, “I wouldn’t want to be in his company“. For additional details on her analysis please visit her blog. The graphic to the left shows the letter was purportedly written in 1888 by Jack the Ripper.

Dr Thomas Bond

Dr. Thomas Bond

Norris then paid a visit to Britain’s National Archives. The archives hold thousands of original documents in the Ripper case. There, Norris discovers a document not previously used in the investigation. A profile of the killer. Sir Robert Anderson, the head of the police Criminal Investigation Departments, asked Dr Thomas Bond, Britain’s top police surgeon in 1888 to examine material connected with the Whitechapel murder investigation. Bond wrote a 19th-century version of a modern day unsub profile, based on personally examining the body of Mary Kelly and reading the autopsy reports on the first four victims. In the report, he describes in detail the type of person they should be investigating. Dr. Bond was sure that all five women had been killed by the same hand, because the throats of all victims had been cut in a similar way and the victims were presumably lying down when murdered. (for additional details on Dr. Bond’s profile, click here to read the report) Norris ultimately uses this 121 year old profile to narrow the three suspects down to one name. James Kelly. In the world of police parlance, Norris says that “Kelly looks good“.

Jack the Ripper victims: Polly Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catharine Eddowes, Mary Kelly

In 1883, James Kelly only one month married, argues with his wife and accuses her of being unfaithful. In a psychotic rage, he uses the methods of strangulation and throat slashing to kill her. Kelly is caught, convicted and sentenced to die by hanging. Then his employer comes forward and explains that he believes Kelly is mentally disturbed. Kelly was then examined by a alienist and committed to the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum. Kelly’s psychiatric report has been sealed for over 125 years, until Norris examines it.

Broadmoor Old Gate

Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum

In 1863, Broadmoor was the first custom-built asylum to house criminal lunatics. In Broadmoor, Kelly is a outwardly a model prisoner, but at the same time he is secretly planning his escape. Working in the asylum’s carpentry shop, he cunningly uses a piece of medal he carved into a key to aid his escape. In January of 1888, Kelly escaped and just disappeared. At that time a series of stabbings and slashing attacks of women start in London. Three victims: Annie Millwood, (February 25, 1888, stabbed repeatedly, but survived), Ada Wilson, (March 28, 1888, slashed in the throat, but survived), and Martha Tabram, (August 7, 1888, stabbed 23 times, did not survive). Norris feels these are the early attempts of Jack the Ripper, who like many serial killers, escalates and only gets more brutal over time. After these three attacks, the first London Ripper murder occurs. Surprisingly, Kelly was once considered a suspect by London police, but after only minimal checking at his old residence, they simply gave up, and were never able to find him. With the huge amount of pressure they were under, the case against Kelly went cold…

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Astonishingly, in 1927…forty years later, a much older Kelly voluntarily returns to the insane asylum and began to chronicle his travels. A typed copy of Kelly’s confession letter survives in the National Archives, and Norris is the first detective to read it. In the letter, Kelly describes having “problems dealing with society“, and being “overtaken with feelings of envy, jealousy, and malice“. Kelly states, “the thing has been hard because of all kinds of ‘skank’” (a term he uses to refers to women of low moral character) and “I’ve been on the warpath since I left Broadmoor Asylum.” Also in his letter, he admits to traveling to London after his escape, and more interestingly he tells of traveling to the United States and arriving in New York conveniently before the Carrie Brown murder. He was by profession, a trained upholsterer, and would have known quiet a bit about knives and how to use them effectively for the purpose of murder. Kelly also mentioned traveling to many cities in the US before returning to England and admitted that he came to the US many times over a period of 40 years.

USS Zaandam

First Norris wanted to check to make sure that Kelly’s confession matched up with actual travel records of the day. In Britain’s National Maritime Museum, they kept track of every ship that came to the United States. Kelly said he traveled to America aboard an Anglo-German steamer named the Zaandam that sailed from Rotterdam to New York. At the museum, Norris not only confirmed the ship existed, but that it sailed from Rotterdam to New York on October 7, 1890โ€”two years after the last Ripper murder in London (11/88) and months before the April 23, 1891 murder of Carrie Brown in New York. You might be thinking, “How does a ‘wanted man’ get into the United States without detection?” Professor Dan Citrum is an expert in 19th-century immigration and explains how easily it could have been done. Remember this was before Ellis Island was established, so getting in and out of the country was very easy. No drivers licenses, no passports, and no photo id whatsoever. Many people back then, came to this country to start over, and remake themselves and get lost in the huge crowds of New York city. In his confession, Kelly admits to changing his name once his ship arrives to ‘John Miller‘, one of the most common names both then and now. Kelly used his new name like a disguise to blend in and escape police scrutiny.

Knowing from experience that many serial killers travel extensively, to avoid detection, Detective Norris plots the cities Kelly claims to have visited against the murders written about in the newspapers. He begins to see similarities in Ripper-like murders committed in other cities: New York NY, Trenton, NJ, Galveston, TX, New Orleans, LA, Philadelphia, PA, Baltimore, MD, Jackson, CA, San Francisco, CA, Denver, CO. Each of these murders occurred during the time that Kelly, thorough his confession letter, said he was in that city. Even the city newspapers asked the same question “Is this the work of Jack the Ripper” and “Is this the fiend of Whitechapel?” and “Has Jack the Ripper Invaded Texas at Last“. Detective Norris identified twelve murders across five states in just four years…and remember, Kelly was gone for forty years…you can do the math. To read an amazing collection of news reports, please visit Casebook: Jack the Ripper.

Using a asylum photo of Kelly provided by the National Archives, he was able to see what Kelly looked like at age 67. Norris then contacted Steve Mancusi, a NYPD senior forensic artist who has helped solve the most difficult cases for the last 30 years. He wanted Mancusi to use forensic imaging technology normally used for age-progression in missing child cases, but with this case, he wanted him to reverse the effects of aging, to show what Kelly would have looked like in his 30’s. The striking illustration below on the right is based on their findings.

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Both illustrations of Jack the Ripper

The left composite, was drawn based on 118 year old eye-witness accounts of Jack the Ripper in London. They examined different witness statements and used modern day forensics to come up with a portrait of the killer, even indicating what type of hat he wore.

The drawing on the right, is the result of Mancusi shaving 40 years off of James Kelly’s photo at age 67. As you can see, once they added the type of hat mentioned by eye witnesses, the drawings are a very close match.

In the end, there is no doubt in Norris’ mind that he has found Jack the Ripper. We may never know. John Kelly died of natural causes in 1929 inside Broadmoor Asylum and took his secrets to his grave. In my opinion, Jack the Ripper in America was very well done and is a must-see for all forensic buffs and amateur Ripperologists. I’m interested in seeing further research, analysis and discussion of Norris’ theory. Regarding any factual errors in this post, I apologize in advance, and encourage everyone to let me know what needs to be corrected.

Time After Time

On a lighter note, anybody remember the movie “Time After Time” starring Malcolm McDowell, John Warner and Mary Steenburgen? McDowell played H.G. Wells, who uses his time machine to chase his friend, Warner (aka Jack the Ripper) through the streets of modern day (1979) San Francisco. After watching Norris’ documentary, maybe Hollywood’s silly (but entertaining) version of the Ripper story had a sliver of truth to it after all. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Secret of Prisoner 1167: Was This Man Jack the Ripper? by James Tully


Hat tip and special thanks to Roy Corduroy for his suggestion to add this book to this post. Casebook: Jack the Ripper gives this book a three-starred review:

A triumphant achievement on the part of Jim Tully, well-researched and written. James Kelly is his suspect, a lunatic upholsterer and wife-murderer who is actually in the Guinness book of world records for his escape from Broadmoor asylum. Tully weaves a fascinating story, regardless of your feelings on Kelly as a suspect. Recommended.

Related Articles and Sites

Casebook: Jack the Ripper

Maps of Whitechapel, 1888-1894

Ripperological Preservation Society

Jack the Ripper Tours

Serial Killer Database – Jack the Ripper

The Whitechapel Society

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BBC Besieged by Anti-Fascist Protesters Over Whites-Only Party Guest

UK Far-Right Leader in Controversial TV Appearance

BNP party leader Nick Griffin, pelted with eggs

BNP party leader Nick Griffin, pelted with eggs

AP—The leader of Britain’s far-right party outlined his vision in a controversial television debut that critics fear could help his whites-only party ease into the political mainstream.

British National Party leader Nick Griffin feuded with fellow panelists and was excoriated by hostile audience members in a tense appearance on the BBC’s “Question Time” program Thursday night.

It was hard-going,” he told The Associated Press in telephone interview after the show, describing the program as “a bit like a boxing match. I took some punches but I was able to land some punches too.” Still, he complained that the audience had been stacked with minorities.

They put us on in London where the indigenous population is in the minority so we don’t have much sympathy or support,” he said.

'Question Time' host David Dimbleby

'Question Time' host David Dimbleby

Question Time gathers Britain’s leading politicians, journalists and other public figures in a panel to take questions from a studio audience. The three-decade-old program has become something of a national institution, and many have condemned Griffin’s invitation as awarding his far-right group an undeserved aura of political respectability.

The BBC said that, as a publicly funded broadcaster, it must cover all political parties that have a national presence. The BNP has no seats in the Britain’s Parliament, but earlier this year the party won two seats in the European legislature.

The program showed Griffin defending himself against accusations that he sympathized with the ideals of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party – but also showed him ducking the question of whether he ever denied the Holocaust.

I do not have a conviction for Holocaust denial,” he said, smiling faintly as the studio audience snickered. He later said he had changed his mind about the Holocaust, but then refused to explain exactly how.

Fellow panelist Chris Huhne, a lawmaker with Britain’s Liberal Democrats party, spoke for many of the show’s guests when he predicted that Griffin’s credibility “is going to be seriously damaged by his performance.”

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Protesters Besiege BBC Studios Over Far-Rightist TV Appearance

APTOPIX BRITAIN FAR RIGHTReuters—Hundreds of angry demonstrators besieged the BBC’s television studios on Thursday to protest against a planned appearance by the leader of the far-right British National Party on a flagship political program.

A small number of protesters burst into the television center in West London, dodging a heavy security cordon, but were escorted out, a BBC spokeswoman said.

Some 400 demonstrators, brandishing placards reading “Stop the Fascist BNP” and shouting “Smash the BNP” protested outside.

BNP leader Nick Griffin has been invited to appear as a panelist on the BBC’s Question Time debate show due to be recorded at the center later on Thursday.

The first appearance by a far-right politician on a program regularly watched by three million people has aroused strong reactions, with anti-racism groups arguing the BNP should not be given a platform and others backing it on free speech grounds.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown

Prime Minister Gordon Brown

Mark Thompson, director-general of the publicly funded BBC, defended the decision, saying it was based purely on support for the BNP at the ballot box in recent elections and that it was up to politicians to bar parties.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the choice of panelists was a matter for the BBC but added that he thought Griffin’s appearance would backfire on the right-wing party.

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Sarah Silverman’s โ€œSell the Vatican, Feed the Worldโ€

Warning–Funny as hell, but NSFW

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