Monday, May 29, 2006

Anyone's Classmate

Originally sent 7/2/05:


I was surprised to find the post card announcing that a film about Harvey was being made. I don't know why but I wanted to share with you, the screen writers, something of my experiences with Harvey from that period. I didn't want to post them to the public forum and I'm not sure yet if I would want to be a "consultant" on the project. I just figured I'd relate some things I remembered clearly in the hope that it would help.

Harvey and I were chums of a sort off and on for many years through the cub scouts, grade, middle, and high school. We were the same age and in many of the same classes and early on he and I were the kind of geeky kids who were always teased and bullied by the other kids. Later on in high school he started hanging out with some of the very people that were the instigators of our earlier tortures and his lifestyle took a turn that didn't appeal to me, so our friendship started to wane after awhile. Towards the end of high school and over that summer in 1976 we started seeing more of each other, but it was never up to the level of our earlier years.

The first time I got drunk in my life was with Harvey along the railroad tracks just outside of our town. I think we were both in the ninth grade. He bought the beer because he looked 18. During his later teenage years he smoked and dealt pot. Once in a while I'd buy stuff from him and he would always give me a good-chum discount. He also had a very hot car which he no doubt bought with his earnings. (As you'll no doubt recall the 70's was well before the drug crack-downs of the Reagan years. At that time no one in authority cared that much about marijuana. If the police caught you with an ounce or under they would simply confiscate it and send you on your way. It just wasn't worth the paperwork to arrest anyone for that. In high school and college almost everyone I knew was either smoking it or dealing and you could buy it practically anywhere. It was very different then.)

Though I don't personally remember much about his dad, he had a reputation as a harsh disciplinarian. (There are others who would use more colorful language.) According to newspaper accounts of the time his dad was an orphan whose life was "straightened out" by a stint in the military. I recall people saying he was a paranoid gun-nut and was purported to keep loaded guns in the house including a rifle under his bed. When his dad did a stint as the cub scout leader Harvey was never allowed to play with the other boys at scout functions. He always had to stand at attention (or maybe it was "parade rest") next to his dad. (My mother was a cub scout den mother at that time and had a great dislike for the man.) Since Harvey was never up to military-specs in his father's eyes it was off to the Citadel he sent him kicking and screaming.

Like his father, Harvey was also a paranoid gun-nut, which was another reason I started applying the brakes on our friendship. One summer day before Harvey had his driver's license (probably 1975) he came over to my house on his bicycle and wanted to show me something in secret. So we walked to the side of the house and hid behind some tall shrubs where we would be out of sight from all directions. Harvey then pulled what looked like a 38 caliber handgun out of his pants and showed it to me. He'd just gotten it and wanted to show it off to someone. He said he wanted to have a gun on him at all times so that the "Feds wouldn't take me without a fight."

Years afterward I recalled that summer afternoon and remembered reading or hearing somewhere that Harvey had killed his family with a handgun. For all I know they were killed with the handgun he showed me that day, and since then I've never forgotten it.

On that Thanksgiving Sunday I was in my car traveling east on the main road through town going back to college. I had just picked up a fellow classmate downtown and was on my way to the interstate highway. When I passed Harvey's house the police already had it roped off. My first thought was that he'd done something. I figured it was probably an altercation during a drug bust. I was completely blown away when I heard the gruesome newscast on the radio halfway to RI.

Of course I, like everyone else, followed all the news stories about it and I bought the book when it was published. I remember the author didn't draw any conclusions about his guilt or innocence, but at the time I never had any doubts that he'd committed those awful murders. I can't say why. Knowing something about Harvey it was a strong feeling I had at the time.

Thanks for reading this and I hope it helped even if it was only a little. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

Thanks, Joe

Friday, May 26, 2006

Nothing He Writes is Worth Reading

Originally sent 12/15/04:


I hear and understand where you're coming from. I too am fed up with the Paul Falcone bullshit. I tried on more than one occasion to reach out and be conciliatory towards him only to get my hand bit. I implore you sir not to back out of Rancho Marfil because of frustration with him. [If you do that the terrorists will win ;-) ] With the magic of the Internet you can now do what you could never do with those school yard bullies back in the day...

You can ignore him.

That's what I do now and it's made a world of difference. Anything he posts, I don't open it. Any time he responds to something I've posted, I ignore it. You'd be amazed how much better you'll feel with the conviction that nothing he writes is worth reading. The frustration and anger will just melt away like honey in warm water. If enough people adopt this procedure then eventually the lack of interaction will eventually penetrate his thick-as-boilerplate skull and he might get the hint and back off.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

On Love

I love her for her perfume.
It was the first thing I noticed.
Wafting on a light spring breeze.

It got me moving
In a way that I could never explain
How could anyone explain
Such a feeling

Her fragrance was light and inviting
And when I found her
She stared at me in silence
And she was oh so beautiful
I took her in my gaze and
She spoke a word or two
Of our mutual love

The denizens in
The white lab coats
Would have us believe
That all love, all emotions,
Are just hormones and instincts
Swirling around our brains
Making us do things
We wouldn't normally do
But we both knew better.

I kissed her on the cheek
And then her ear
She made no move to
Resist my advances
And I was overcome
With longing

How could any being
Confer dispassionate explanations
On courtship,
On love?

Her words and
Body language
Said it all
We cuddled and kissed
We moaned and were lost
In each other.

What would they say
If they were in our place?
They would forget about their
Clinical observations, their
Hypotheses and theories, their
Peer reviewed publications, and
Get as lost in their love
As we were.

Then she gave me
A look and a whisper
I got behind and entered her
She moaned while
I nibbled her neck and
Whispered in her ear.

When it was over
I exited her and my barbs
Scratched her insides
She swung around and
Swatted me, hissing & spitting
And then rolling in the leaves
Not my favorite part of love making
But feline women are like that

If we are nothing more than
The sum of our hormones and instincts
Then emotions, all emotions,
Are just nature's way
To perpetuate
Every species on the planet
There has to be
More to it than that

Emotions are the soul
If humans feel emotions then
We feel emotions too.
And if humans have souls then
We have souls too.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Coming Xenophobia

Originally sent on 10/18/2001:


Too tired to write just now. Been doing some Java and such.

Here's a little poem that I hope can help to blunt the coming xenophobic period in America:

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

Emma Lazarus, NYC, 1883

I first heard the entire poem in a Ken Burns documentary. If you've never read the entire poem before, it sneaks up on you. By the time I get to the last line it always brings tears to my eyes. (Emma Lazarus died in 1884 after visiting Paris. In 1904 part of her poem was engraved on a plaque and affixed to the Statue of Liberty's pedestal.)

Love, Joe