Pleading the Fifth

An Amendment Linking Fine
Americans & Notorious Hacks

It all may have started with the number of fingers. To write a full post about a particularly random number between, say 1 to 10, is, of course, a fool’s run. But, as your uncle Bob once said, after having a few at the local water hole, ‘life ain’t worthy without taking chances,’ while tossing you up in the air. We’re taking the fifth and running with it.
Constitutionally, as you may remember, the expression is often associated with tax dodgers, counselor-instructed crime bosses and your garden-variety white-collar crook. Historically, though, it may have had its defining moment during the 1950s, with Senator Joseph McCarthy-led infamous witch hunt of many fine American artists and intellectuals and their supposedly illegal activities.
For those who need a refresher, the Fifth is the amendment of the U.S. Constitution designed to protect the accused of self-incrimination, and of being ‘deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.’ It’s often associated with the Miranda Warning, given by the police to criminal suspects, before they can be interrogated in the presence of an attorney.
Such association is not casual and stems from the 1966 case of Ernesto Miranda, who was arrested for stealing $8, and told the cops he’d also kidnapped and raped a woman a few days earlier. He was neither told that he could have a lawyer present during questioning, nor that he had the right to remain silent.
Miranda was promptly convicted based on his confession and sentenced to twenty years in prison. But, as his lawyers appealed, the Supreme Court eventually ruled that his self-incriminating statement was not admissible in court and that law enforcement officials must establish safeguards to protect this right of the individual being questioned. Thus the Miranda ruling.
As for McCarthy, surprise surprise, he succumbed to its own paranoia, was censured by the Senate in 1954, and died of alcohol-related hepatitis three years later. The damage he caused was already irreversible to many movie professionals, though, as Hollywood slammed its doors to them, helped by secret files that the likes of Ronald Reagan and others compiled on them.

The episode, however sad, became emblematic in the way it showed the Constitution as a defense mechanism to protect citizens against a dangerous nut in power such as McCarthy, even when it’s not as swift as needed. The same about the Miranda case, which may serve (more)
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The Flours of Evil

Edible Treats for
Phony Cannibals

As fake blood flows, and bogus gore parades, there’s a distinct sense of triumph for New Yorkers this Halloween: Hurricane Sandy may’ve almost drowned this city by harbor and sea, but not this time. Many succumbed by water and fire; but the survivors are partying tonight.
Thus those tasty delights that grace this post, concocted by sick but talented minds, with a flair for the showy and a wink of the eye. Never so many scary depictions, nearly lifelike on their precision and playfulness, were so sweet to the palate and pleasing to the view.
That is, if you have a strong stomach and a sense of humor. For that’s what Hallowmuertos could be all about: a combo of fear, respect and games, to take the edge off of life’s grievances and engage in something that Nietzsche said, is ‘deeper still than grief can be’: joy.
Thus Natalie Sideserf baked a Willie Nelson cake as the old bard of pot and country celebrates his 80th birthday this year, while Annabel de Vetten did the sweet lifesize version of beloved fictional serial killer, Dexter Morgan, just as the series was wounding down, all wrapped in cling-film and ready to be sliced open.
Within the same ballpark, there was The Helpers, who baked that lovely brunette head as they launched the movie of the same name, and earlier in the year, Wesker & Son of London, who put up a whole human meat market out of flour and icing, a lookalike butcher shop to mark the launch of Resident Evil 6.

The gloomy (and white chocolate) Dead Babies are a courtesy of the Conjurer’s Kitchen, which also modeled the wax anatomic head, complete with veins and naked eyes. Probably not so edible, it’s still a lesson any forensics buff would appreciate to take. Talking about eyes, don’t miss the Japanese squishy eyeballs, a sophisticate cocktail garnish.
The holiday table with the half torso of the blond lady is a marzipan sculpture by artist Helga Petrau-Heinzel, complete with sides of sweet hearts and viscera, while LifeForm’s Gangrenous Feet is for sale at Continue reading