Uncle johns true crime, p.1

Uncle John’s True Crime, page 1

 

Uncle John’s True Crime
 



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Uncle John’s True Crime


  By the

  Bathroom Readers’

  Institute

  Bathroom Readers’ Press

  Ashland, Oregon

  UNCLE JOHN’S TRUE CRIME

  Copyright © 2011 by the Bathroom Readers’ Press (a division of Portable Press).

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. “Bathroom Reader,” “Portable Press,” and “Bathroom Readers’ Institute” are registered trademarks of Baker & Taylor. All rights reserved.

  Articles in this edition have been included from the following books: Uncle John’s Ultimate Bathroom Reader © 1996; Uncle John’s Giant 10th Anniversary Bathroom Reader © 1997; Uncle John’s Great Big Bathroom Reader © 1998; Uncle John’s Absolutely Absorbing Bathroom Reader © 1999; Uncle John’s All-Purpose Extra Strength Bathroom Reader © 2000; Uncle John’s Supremely Satisfying Bathroom Reader © 2001; Uncle John’s Ahh-Inspiring Bathroom Reader © 2002; Uncle John’s Unstoppable Bathroom Reader © 2003; Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges Into Great Lives © 2003; Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges Into the Presidency © 2004; Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges Into Texas © 2004; Uncle John’s Slightly Irregular Bathroom Reader © 2004; Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges Into History Again © 2004; Uncle John’s Fast-Acting Long-Lasting Bathroom Reader © 2005; Uncle John’s Curiously Compelling Bathroom Reader © 2006; Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Wonderful World of Odd © 2006; Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges Into Minnesota © 2006; Uncle John’s Tales to Inspire © 2006; Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges Into Music © 2007; Uncle John’s Triumphant 20th Anniversary Bathroom Reader © 2007; Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges Into Ohio © 2007; Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Takes a Swing at Baseball© 2008; Uncle John’s Unsinkable Bathroom Reader © 2008; Uncle John’s Certified Organic Bathroom Reader © 2009; Uncle John’s Endlessly Engrossing Bathroom Reader © 2009; Uncle John’s Heavy Duty Bathroom Reader © 2010; Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges Into Canada © 2010; Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader History’s Lists © 2010; Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader The World’s Gone Crazy © 2010; Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges Into New York © 2011. Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Tunes Into TV © 2011.

  For information, write:

  The Bathroom Readers’ Institute, P.O. Box 1117, Ashland, OR 97520

  www.bathroomreader.com

  Cover design by Michael Brunsfeld, San Rafael, CA

  (Brunsfeldo@comcast.net)

  eISBN: 978-1-60710-678-4

  E-Book edition: September 2012

  THANK YOU!

  The Bathroom Readers’ Institute sincerely thanks the people whose advice and assistance made this book possible.

  Gordon Javna

  Jay Newman

  Amy Miller

  Brian Boone

  Kim Griswell

  John Dollison

  Thom Little

  Michael Brunsfeld

  Angela Kern

  James Greene, Jr.

  Dan Mansfield

  JoAnn Padgett

  Melinda Allman

  Sydney Stanley

  Monica Maestas

  Annie Lam

  Lilian Nordland

  Ginger Winters

  David Cully

  Mustard Press

  Erin Corbin

  Publishers Group West

  Raincoast Books

  Felix the Crime Dog

  Thomas Crapper

  ...and the many writers, editors, and other contributors who have helped make Uncle John the bathroom fixture he is today.

  CONTENTS

  Because the BRI understands your reading needs, we’ve divided the contents by length as well as subject.

  Short—a quick read

  Medium—2 to 3 pages, but still brief

  Long—for those extended visits, when something a little more involved is required

  *Extended—for those leg-numbing experiences

  MYSTERIES

  Medium

  The Disappearance of Judge Crater

  D. B. Cooper

  The Disappearance of the Mary Celeste

  Long

  Was It...Murder?

  Whodunit?

  DISORGANIZED CRIME

  Short

  Is This Brain Loaded?

  Monkey See, Monkey Do

  Go Directly to Jail

  Medium

  Smugglers’ Blues

  Dumb Crooks: Ohio Style

  Caught in the Act

  Lemme Explain...

  Dumberer Crooks

  EMERGENCY! (NOT)

  Short

  What’s the Number for 911?

  Medium

  Hamburger 911

  Hello, 911?

  LIAR, LIAR

  Short

  A Famous Phony

  Draken to the Cleaners

  Medium

  The Beijing Tea Scam (and Other Cons)

  Ethically Disabled

  Long

  The Great Diamond Hoax of 1872, Part I

  The Great Diamond Hoax of 1872, Part II

  The Nigerian Scam

  WISEGUYS

  Short

  Uncle Zu’s Dictionary

  Where’s Jimmy?

  The Godmothers

  Medium

  Behind the (Mob) Hits

  Not-So-Wiseguys

  Yakuza!

  The Yakuza Life

  Long

  Talk to the Sword

  COPS

  Short

  Police Blotters

  A Great Ape

  Medium

  Cops Gone Crazy

  Long

  They Always Get Their Man

  COPS Story

  Smile: You’re on Bait Car!

  BEHIND BARS

  Short

  Kalashnikov Pat & the Helicopter Jailbreaks

  Jail Food Follies

  Medium

  Two-Timing

  Lady of the Lockup

  Strange Prisoner Lawsuits

  Long

  Johnny Cash’s Captive Audience

  CRIME STORIES

  Medium

  The Mona Lisa Caper

  The Man Who Would Not Die

  Queen of the Jail

  The Gang’s Last Stand

  The Mad Bomber, Part I

  The Mad Bomber, Part II

  Long

  No One Is Innocent: The Ronnie Biggs Story

  *Belle Gunness: The Terror of La Porte

  HOW TO...

  Short

  How to Rig a Coin Toss

  Medium

  How to Stay Alive

  How to Make Prison Wine

  WEAPONS OF CHOICE

  Medium

  Infamous Weapons

  Hey! I’m Being Attacked With...

  Sons of Guns

  Real Toys of the CIA

  UNUSUAL SUSPECTS

  Short

  Hey, I Recognize That Butt Crack!

  Medium

  The Black Panties Bandit Strikes Again

  Bad Granny

  I Can’t Take It Anymore!!!

  Isn’t It Ironic?

  Attack of the Kissing Bandit!

  Long

  *Falsely Accused

  CRIMES IN HISTORY

  Short

  The Hatfields vs. the McCoys

  Medium

  The Luddites: Rage Against the Machine

  Going Off Track

  Long

  America’s First Private Eye

  Argh, Mateys!

  REEL CRIME

  Short

  Film No
ir

  “Strong Enough to Float a Pistol”

  There Oughta Be a Law

  Medium

  Name That Sleuth

  Reel Crime

  IT’S THE LAW

  Short

  Looney Laws

  Lawyers on Lawyers

  Medium

  Legally Speaking

  MUSICAL MAYHEM

  Medium

  The World’s Most Dangerous Band

  “Cop Killer”

  Killer Karaoke

  Long

  The Killer vs. the King

  JUDGMENT DAY

  Short

  Court Transquips

  Weird Sentences

  Medium

  Did the Punishment Fit the Crime?

  Benched!

  RIPPED FROM

  THE HEADLINES

  Medium

  EPA’s Most Wanted

  Hollywood Scandal, Part I

  Madoff With the Goods

  The King Shoots the President

  Long

  *The Great Brinks Robbery

  Hollywood Scandal, Part II

  HARD-BOILED BOOKS

  Short

  Elementary, My Dear Sherlock

  Medium

  Classic Hammett

  Hard-Boiled Hammet, Part II

  Long

  Murder, He Wrote

  Hard-Boiled Hammet, Part I

  TRULY STRANGE

  Short

  Killer Quotes

  Medium

  American Cannibal

  Celebrity Mummies

  WILD, WILD WEST

  Short

  Dumb Crooks of the Old West

  Medium

  Belle Was a Starr

  Long

  Shanghaied!

  INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

  Short

  No Can(ada) Do

  Medium

  Canadian Gangland

  Modern Piracy

  Long

  The Real Zorro?

  MIXED CROOKS

  Short

  Nice Crooks

  Double Trouble

  Medium

  Kooky Crooks

  It’s a Weird, Weird Crime

  POP-POURRI

  Short

  Toys Above the Law

  Criminal Headlines

  Drive Like You Stole It

  Medium

  Urban Legends

  Word Origins

  Uncle John’s Stall of Shame

  Instant Justice

  INTRODUCTION

  GREETINGS TO OUR PARTNERS IN CRIME

  Here at the Bathroom Readers’ Institute, we consider ourselves first and foremost to be storytellers. And few types of stories pack a punch like those in the “true crime” genre: There are villains, victims, and heroes, and the stakes are always high—often a matter of life and death. To that end, we scoured our entire Bathroom Reader catalog—more than 100 books spanning 25 years—to bring you the very best “Law and Order” stories that have ever graced our pages.

  Some are short, like this odd headline: “Crack Found in Man’s Buttocks.” Some are long, like the story of the mysterious disappearance of Judge Joseph Crater in 1930. And since we first wrote about the judge more than a decade ago, new details have emerged that may finally solve the mystery. We’ve added that update, as well as a few others. Plus you’ll find some new articles—including how to join the Japanese Mafia (a.k.a the Yakuza), and a chilling page of quotations by serial killers.

  And this being a Bathroom Reader, you know you’re also going to find a rogues’ gallery of weird and blunderful stories to laugh at. (Our favorite: one about the toothless man who stole a toothbrush.) So let the perp walk commence. Here’s what’s in store for you in Uncle John’s True Crime:

  • Masterminds: New York City’s “Mad Bomber,” Britain’s “Unabashed Bandit” Ronnie Biggs, and the “Terror of La Porte” Belle Gunness

  • Not-so-Masterminds: Bungling bank robbers, stupid smugglers, 9-1-1 numbskulls, and the dumb crook who tried to shoplift some CDs from a Walmart...while he was dressed up as Superman

  • It’s a Mob, Mob, Mob, Mob World: Wiseguys who ain’t so wise, how to talk like a mobster, where’s Jimmy Hoffa, and beware the Godmother

  • Crime and History: How stealing the Mona Lisa turned it into the world’s most famous painting, how a botched bank robbery marked the beginning of the end of Jesse James, and how the schizophrenic notions of a house painter led to America’s first presidential assassination attempt

  • The Long Arm: A crime-fighting ape, the story of the TV show Cops, the origin of Canada’s Mounties, and the D.C. police officer who brought a gun to a snowball fight

  • Prison Life: The “Queen of the Jail” who helped the Biddle Boys escape, the “Lady of the Lockup” who helped countless convicts change their ways, strange prison food, and some too-weird-to-be-true (but they are) prisoner lawsuits

  • International Intrigue: Canadian ganglands, the Beijing Tea Scam, Somali pirates, and a murderous Norwegian “death metal” band

  • Lifestyles of the Rich and Infamous: The celebrity murder that rocked Hollywood...in 1921, Johnny Cash’s captive audience, the story behind the rap song “Cop Killer,” and the hard-boiled tale of a P.I.-turned-writer named Dashiell Hammett—whose razor-sharp prose pierced the dreary city like a thousand daggers waiting inside a thousand dark closets for a thousand dames to hang up a thousand coats (or something like that).

  While you let that last sentence sink in, we’ll make a quick getaway. But first, Uncle John would like to put out an APB on our gallant gang of writers, editors, researchers, and designers—including G-man Javna, AmyK-47, Ain’t-no-Angel Angie, Boom-Boom Brunsfeld, and Noodles Newman.

  So whether you’re a cop on a bathroom break, a convict doing hard time, or just a regular “crumb” (see page 54) who likes a good yarn, get ready for some pulpy nonfiction fun.

  And as always...

  Go with the Flow!

  —Uncle John, Felix the Crime Dog,

  and the BRI Staff

  You are hereby sentenced to do time at www.bathroomreader.com. Do not pass Go.

  TOYS ABOVE THE LAW

  Proof that it’s never too early to start learning about True Crime.

  UZI WATER GUN. “The look! The feel! The sound! So real!” Banned in 1990, this line of squirt guns—which included RPGs, AK-47s, and Berettas—looked so much like the real things that police officials throughout the U.S. lobbied to have them discontinued.

  TAMAHONAM. This toy from Hong Kong has Mob connections. Instead of “feeding” this digital pet like you would a virtual dog or cat, you provide Tamahonam with cigarettes, booze, and weapons so he can, says the packaging, “go out and wage turf wars.”

  ROGER CLEMENS PRISON ACTION FIGURE. The former major league pitcher is posed in his windup, but instead of a baseball uniform, the indicted steroid user and perjury committer is dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit. Says the packaging: “Once he was destined for Cooperstown. Because of Clemens’s false bravado and obsession with his image, though, he now seems headed for jail instead. Get yours today!”

  “LETTER BOMB.” Sold in the Philippines, this game lets kids “have fun and become a terrorist!” Each kid gets his or her own “airmail envelope.” They write their “victim’s” name on it, clap on the envelope, and then give it to the victim. In seven seconds, one of the envelopes “explodes.” That player is the loser.

  THE SWEENEY TODD RAZOR. “Your friends will think you’re really sharp when you flash this authentic prop replica of the murderous singing barber’s straight razor! Fashioned from real metal, the realistic reproduction is intricately detailed and arrives in a red-velour, drawstring pouch, ready for more musical mayhem in your hands!”

  BRASS KNUCKLE TEETHING TOY. For the “edgy” parent. This limited-edition, handmade teething toy looks like a set of brass knuckles, but is made of finely sanded maple. So it’s safe for your baby, but not for the “lil bul
lies buggin’ him!”

  The LAPD’s motto, “To Serve and Protect,” was coined in 1955 by Officer Joe Dorobek.

  COURT TRANSQUIPS

  These were actually said, word for word, in a court of law.

  Clerk: Please state your name and spell your last name.

  Judge: She’s already been sworn.

  Clerk: I’m sorry, Your Honor. She looks different.

  Witness: I ate.

  Q: What happened then?

  A: He says, “I have to kill you because you can identify me.”

  Q: Did he kill you?

  A: No.

  Q: Have you lived in this town all your life?

  A: Not yet.

  “So when he woke up the next morning, he was dead?”

  Q: So you were unconscious, and they pulled you from the bucket. What happened then?

  A: Mr. S. gave me artificial insemination, you know, mouth-to-mouth.

  A: You know, I don’t know, but I mean, you know—you don’t know, but you know. You know what I’m saying?

  Q: Do I? No. Do I know? No.

  Q: To the charge of driving wile intoxicated, how do you plead?

  A: Drunk.

  Plaintiff’s attorney: Why do you think your home developed cracks in the walls?

  Defendant’s attorney: I object! The witness has no expertise in this area, there is an obvious lack of foundation.

  Q: Did he pick up the dog by the ears?

  A: No.

  Q: What was he doing with the dog’s ears?

  A: Picking them up in the air.

  Q: Where was the dog at this time?

  A: Attached to the ears.

  “Do you have any children or anything of that kind?”

  Q: Well, sir, judging from your answer on how you reacted to the emergency call, it sounds like you are a man of intelligence and good judgment.

  A: Thank you, and if I weren’t under oath, I would return the compliment.

  In cop lingo, a “muppet” is an acronym of the “most useless police person ever trained.”

  IS THIS BRAIN LOADED?

  Before they allow some people to buy guns, maybe police should skip the background check and give the applicants an IQ test. Here’s why.

  • A Washington man became frustrated trying to untangle Christmas lights in his driveway and became even more frustrated when his daughter came home and drove over them. So he went inside, got his .45-caliber pistol, took it into his backyard, and fired several shots into the ground, after which he was arrested.

  • A man at Dallas–Fort Worth Airport damaged a window and caused panic among passengers when he accidentally fired his hunting rifle at a security checkpoint. The gun went off while he was demonstrating to guards that it wasn’t loaded.

 
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