SO yesterday, while I was waiting for Turner Classics to return to its non-Religious Spectacle schedule--it's not that I don't see the appeal of the Holy Works of JudaioChristianity presented as vaudeville; it's just that along about the twenty-seventh hour it starts to grind--I picked up the Sunday Racist Star.
It's not surprising these past weeks to open the Racist Star and find yourself staring at Fishers (IN) resident Marcus Schrenker, the Amelia Earhart of financial advisors, the man who caught the Media's rapidly-shifting attention by attempting to fake his own death with a plan which, from all appearances, hatched from the half-remembered plot of a Brady Bunch episode. Shrenker, in fact, actually turned into a jilted pre-teen sometime mid-flight, and he's been periodically returning to the local news since The Crash by whining, claiming it was all a big misunderstanding, and--surprise!--blaming drug abuse. Prescription drug abuse. This, of course, is the worst of it in my book, and ought to be met with stiff and swift Federal justice, preferably at the closest suitable tree. Stealing from widows and orphans is one thing; turning on the waterworks after you're caught is another. But above all we need a warning on every prescription bottle announcing "It is a violation of Federal law to blame your misdeeds on this product." Score some fucking coke, Cap'n Schrenker! Where's your élan now, eh?
This is why I haven't written about this mope; well this, plus the fact that the only difference between "Ace" Schrenker and 98% of the population of Fishers (IN) is that he had a pilot's license.
The Racist Star sees it differently, and in the absence of any further rambling, tearstained, spelling-, grammar-, and logic-challenged declarations of his innocence in the matter of, and I quote, "what really happened on 1-11-2009," one of its assignment editors decided that getting to the bottom (warning, as always, if you really have to read the thing you've got twenty minutes before the Racist Star starts expecting you to pay for it) of Why People Trusted Marcus Schrenker was as good a 1500-word excuse to kill trees as any, or at least any the Star had at the moment. Thus a front page, below the fold, novella which managed actually to say less than its subhead, Experts say those who project wealth, success are too easily trusted.
Really. And where have those experts been? Busy warning Lindbergh to lock his windows?
And, again, I wouldn't have been reading the thing if I hadn't been sitting with a tubesock full of microwaved lentils trying to convince my back to go along with the morning's program, but it was worth reading for the mention of Cap'n Schrenker at his 10-year high school reunion, passing out business cards with the above picture of him, the unindicted co-conspirator in the slinky, off-one-shoulder number to his right, their plane, and their Lexus. Their Lexus. Really, at that point do you need an expert to tell you there's something beyond hinky with the whole operation? Are we this far gone as a society down the Reagan-fueled celebration of pure self-aggrandizing stupidity? Okay, we are. But I still think there needs to be an investigation as to why no one at that reunion bothered to inform the authorities.
This did, however, provide the article's one bright spot, when my Poor Wife suggested that for their fifteenth reunion his classmates blow that picture up, cut the heads out, and charge people $20 to get their pictures taken poking their faces through the holes. I love you, Mojo.
[Okay, so in addition there's the story--which naturally passes without comment--that in repeatedly pestering his landlord over niggling problems in an effort to avoid paying rent, Cap'n Schrenker had called in OSHA to test the building's air quality because someone had been smoking. Reader, try getting OSHA to inspect the unlit pit of rusty razor blades and 2x4s with nails in them your boss installed to keep people from pilfering office supplies.]
A fucking Lexus. Thank god overexposure has mitigated my vertigo.
I AM BECOME PRONOUN, Destroyer of Copy watch: I followed this up by reading another tale (same short shelf life) of alabaster Hamilton County, the ongoing court battle over the guy from Jersey who used a Hoosier baby-farming operation, the Hamilton County courts, and a couple of well-timed Hey! Look Over There!s to legally adopt twin girls born to a surrogate mother, sired by anonymous arranged spermatozoa from the West Coast, where the stuff is primo. The mother flew in from South Carolina specifically to give birth and to swear before the court that this Melinger character was the biological father.
It's no real surprise to the keen observer of Indiana politics--or me, either--that the state, and its fastest-growing center of White Republican wealth and Lexus ownership, would become the Midwest leader in Baby Ranching *. After all, you don't get to be the Nation's Third-Worst State Legislature by wasting any effort on children after they're born. Unless Planned Parenthood is involved. Nor is it surprising to find an attendant flood of amphibian tears regarding the Only Family the (now four-year-old) Little Girls Have Ever Known trumping repeated violations of black-letter law, since Justice must be tempered with Mercy, and an up-to-date credit report. No, the only thing that stifled my intemperate yawning was the fact that I had read, in successive stories, the following sentences crafted by people who do that for a living and, presumably, passed by other people who are paid to check for such things:
But when Mike Kinney, a dentist from Roswell, Ga., began questioning Schrenker's handling of his funds after he noticed some money missing, he said Schrenker berated him for bothering him with calls.
Moores called for a federal investigation of Litz and his company and said his business amounted to felony "child selling," which he disputed.
And look: I understand there's some modern confusion about pronouns agreeing with their subject in number and gender, since I myself have been asked--on these very internets--whether "I believed all doctors were male" simply because I'd used the third-person masculine singular as the neuter, rather than falsely employing the third-person plural. That's understandable. But writing a sentence where multiple pronouns compete in some sort of Vince McMahon Texas Cage Match for whatever antecedent happens to be lying around is unpardonable. You might type one without catching it, but there's no explanation for missing it in the editing process twice. Sheesh, my Poor Wife's family gives clearer directions.
* Just speculation at this point, since we don't seem to keep records.