Friday, February 21, 2014

"The Beast in Me," sans commentaire

Nick Lowe
Written for, and about, Johnny Cash, his ex-step-father-in-law (for genealogy experts!)

The beast in me
Is caged by frail and fragile bonds
Restless by day
And by night, rants and rages at the stars
God help, the beast in me

The beast in me
Has had to learn to live with pain
And how to shelter from the rain
And in the twinkling of an eye
Might have to be restrained
God help the beast in me

It tries to kid me that it's just a teddy bear
Or even somehow managed 
To vanish in the air
And that is when I must beware 
Of the beast in me
That everybody knows
They've seen him out dressed in my clothes
Patently unclear
If it's New York or New Year
God help the beast in me
The beast in me

Performance from the 1994 Montreux Jazz Festival

American Recordings is the 81st album by the country singer Johnny Cash. It was released in April 1994 (see 1994 in music), the first album issued by American Recordings after its name change from Def American, the album being named after the new label. In 2003, the album was ranked number 364 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Cash was approached by producer Rick Rubin and offered a contract with Rubin's American Recordings label, better known for rap and heavy metalthan for country music. Under Rubin's supervision, he recorded the album in his living room, accompanied only by his guitar. For years Cash was often at odds with his producers after he had discovered with his first producer, Sam Phillips, that his voice was better suited to a stripped-down musical style. Most famously he disagreed with Jack Clement over his sound, Clement having tried to give Cash's songs a "twangy" feel and to add strings and barbershop-quartet-style singers. His successful collaboration with Rick Rubin was in part due to Rubin seeking a minimalist sound for his songs.
The songs "Tennessee Stud" and "The Man Who Couldn't Cry" were recorded live at the Viper Room, a Sunset StripLos Angeles nightclub owned at the time by Johnny Depp. "The Beast in Me" was written and originally recorded by Cash's former stepson-in-law Nick Lowe.[1]
The video for the first single, the traditional song "Delia's Gone" (directed by Anton Corbijn, featuring Kate Moss), was put into rotation on MTV, and even appeared on Beavis and Butt-head, Beavis asking if Cash was Captain Kangaroo. The album was hailed by critics and many declared it to be Cash's finest album since the late 1960s, while his versions of songs by more modern artists such as Tom Waits and Glenn Danzig (who penned a song called "Thirteen" specifically for Cash, in just twenty minutes) helped to bring him a new audience. American Recordings received a Grammy forBest Contemporary Folk Album of the Year at the 1994 Grammy Awards. The album cover was photographed whilst Cash was visiting Australia, at Werribee near Melbourne.[2]

Monday, February 17, 2014

Joshua Messier: Murder Victim at Bridgewater State Hospital?

Source and hat tip for spreading the awareness of this apparent murder to Patrick Tracey, author of "No Family Madder" blog.

From Patrick Tracey's blog entry, "Exposé Questions Death of Young Man":

Judge for yourself from this video showing the final moments of Joshua Messier’s 23 year-old life in state care.

After being restrained by all these big guards at Bridgewater State Hospital putting all their weight on him, you can see him turning blue and die.

Read for yourself today’s expose in the Boston Sunday Globe.

It begs the question: Was he killed by the state just for exhibiting symptoms of schizophrenia?

As the video suggests, the man with diagnosed schizophrenia–the most severe mental illness dealt with in psychiatry–is having a psychotic episode, hearing voices, seeing visions, when state prison guards subdue him, hands and feet, in four-point restraint.

Ten minutes later, turning blue as his guards chat to each other beside him, he’s gone.

The explanation of the prison guards transcends belief. They know nothing about schizophrenia. They’ve had no meaningful training in mental health disorders. This at the state of Massachusetts’ prison for the mentally ill. (Despite its name, Bridgewater State Hospital is a medium-security prison.)

No Arrest, No Reprimand

The newspaper couldn’t get to the bottom of why no one has been arrested, prosecuted or even reprimanded.

Internal Affairs cited two guards for putting pressure on a restrained inmate’s back, but that was it.

Why? Because the state medical examiner called it homicide, then changed her mind.

Why? We don’t know that either. She wouldn’t respond to the Globe investigation either, but it’s highly unusual to have homicide listed as the
cause of death with no additional court action.

The video shows medics were called when Messier’s pulse had stopped, and not before a crowd of guards  had been standing idly by, chatting as he lay dying.

In the surveillance video, two guards are also seen pushing down on his  back as he sits in handcuffs and leg irons on the bed, crunching his chest toward his knees.

The practice, known as suitcasing, is banned in Massachusetts prisons because it can cause suffocation.

The medical examiner called in for the autopsy found his heart had stopped beating during the guards’ effort to strap him down, but she couldn’t say exactly when.

Her autopsy also found internal bleeding on Messier’s brain, and blunt force injuries to his neck, torso, arms, and legs, suggesting that he was beaten before he was dragged into cell 13.

In the Globe piece, the prosecutor who won’t call a grand jury to consider a manslaughter charge comes across as the final word on weakling. Either that or a law enforcement authority trying to protect fellow law enforcement authorities, almost as a professional courtesy.

The bizarre unwillingness of Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz to at least call a grand jury to decide if a trial is warranted is so unusual that it’s raising eyebrows.

Cruz claims the medical examiner told him she couldn’t tell exactly when Messier expired during the ten minutes that he was turning shades of blue in cell 13.

All righty, then. So when it comes to mental illness, it’s the age old story: Close the curtain and darken the room. Nothing to see here, folks. Just move along.

Read the rest of this blog entry HERE.