As a privately held company, Modern Evil is not required to publicly report on any of its operations or activities. This blog is a faint reflection of our interests and opinions. Thank you.

~ Dr. Archibald T. Staph, Ph.D, President


People Love Skulls

CATEGORY: Skull Collecting


EDITORIAL: As previous posted news stories have verified, people of all walks of life enjoy skulls. Modern Evil encourages proper authentication and handling of any body part or series of parts. Collect responsibly.

Six Skulls Found In Stripper's Home

Macabre New Jersey scene also included human hand in a jar

Jul 25, 9:09 AM ET

Linda Kay, a New Jersey stripper, was charged last week with improper disposition of human remains after South Plainfield cops discovered a hand and six human skulls in her home. According to police, the remains were out in the open when they showed up in response to a call from a man on Friday threatening to kill himself with a hammer.

Kay, 31, who works as a dancer at the all-nude BYOB club "Hott 22," was released from jail Saturday after posing for her mug shot and posting $100,000 bail. While the investigation into where the body parts came from continues, she is scheduled for her first court appearance tomorrow.


Evil Market Mainstream

CATEGORY: Consumer Skulls

TAG: consumer, skulls, fashion, mainstream

COMMENTARY: Our VP of Customer Centricity agrees - not only should consumers be offered skull products at $11.99, but also at many other affordable and premium price points. We welcome Ralph Lauren and other competitors to the evil market. The real question is - what took you so long?

The Heyday of the Dead

Jul 27, 4:34 PM ET

YES, it’s July. The sun’s shining. People are heading to the beach or just out, to catch some UV, drink some Mountain Dew and indulge in some good clean summer fun.

But what is that little black cloud drifting across the sun? Will it ruin our picnic, like ants or a motorcycle gang? Heaven protect us ... a skull? Not one, but a sea of them! Ah, but ere it comes near, it is clear: it will barely cast a pall.

If it was not clear a year or two ago, when the skull motif cropped up on battered Herman-Melville-meets-Edgar-Allan-Poe T-shirts made by Rogues Gallery, on costly cashmere sweaters by Lucien Pellat-Finet, on the perforated uppers of the wingtips made by the men’s wear line Barker Black, it is now. What only recently seemed clever and stylish — I’m wearing a skull! I’m baaaaad! — has shifted into overdrive, if not overkill.

Beyond the sea of skull wear — belts, T-shirts, ties — there are umbrellas, sneakers, swimsuits, packing tape, party lights, even a skull-branded line of hand tools. One company has made a skull toilet brush and caddy (with a molded-plastic femur bone for a handle). This summer Damien Hirst announced that he will make a life-size skull, cast in platinum and adorned with 8,000 diamonds.

If it seems harmless, well, there you have it. With the full force of the American consumer marketing establishment behind it, the skull has lost virtually all of its fearsome outsider meaning. It has become the Happy Face of the 2000’s. When the mid-1980’s proto-Goth group the Ministry sang “Every Day Is Halloween,” this was not quite what they had in mind.

“This is such a huge gripe of mine,” said Voltaire, a musician in New York and the author of “What is Goth?” (Weiser Books, 2004), a kind of “Preppy Handbook” for the living dead. “Throughout hundreds of years of history, what the skull has communicated is, ‘I am dangerous.’ That’s where the irony is. You can buy dangerous for $11.99 at Kmart.”

For years Voltaire was the happy owner of several skull-motif sweaters hand-knit by an eccentric Englishwoman. He recounted that a woman stopped him the other day on an East Village street to admire the one he was wearing. “She said: ‘I love your sweater. Is it Ralph Lauren?’ Then I found out that Ralph Lauren has a whole store that sells skull stuff.”

Well, not for long he doesn’t. At Rugby, the chain of collegiate-style stores Mr. Lauren rolled out only last year, the shirts are embroidered not with a polo player but a skull. However, the logo is already being scaled back (though not dropped entirely), a spokesman said.

“It’s a pity it’s so commercial now,” Mr. Pellat-Finet said. For more than five years, he has splashed oversize skull graphics — sporting, say, Mickey Mouse ears — on his sweaters. “Maybe Wal-Mart will replace their smiley-face with a tête de mort,” he added, using the French term for skull. “It’s lost its meaning.”

Well, it still has one meaning for Mr. Pellat-Finet, whose latest skull sweaters are embellished with Afros and top hats, among other images. Asked if he will stop using the motif, he responded with a chuckle: “No, no, no. It’s my best seller!”

Other designers appear to have similarly mixed feelings: on one hand, they are confronted with skull saturation; on the other, skulls are ringing the dinner bell louder than ever. Alexander McQueen’s fall men’s wear show did not play up skull imagery on the runway — surely the critics would be bored — but there are plenty back in the showroom, on sports coats, polo shirts and trousers. His $210 skull-print silk scarf is one of the best-selling items on the men’s designer floor at Barneys New York.

“We’ve sold 400 since May,” said Timothy Elliott, a Barneys spokesman. “We sell them as fast as they come in.”

Many people point to the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise as fuel for skullmania. But the skull’s ascent to the logo throne has more to it and behind it than a Disney marketing campaign. Reminiscent of the vogue for angels a decade or more ago — remember how the little winged creatures were everywhere? — the skull neatly encapsulates a cultural moment in terms both precise and vague.

It is also the product of potent economic forces. The proliferation of skulls has paralleled the rise of the Hot Topic clothing chain. Begun 17 years ago in Southern California, Hot Topic is a 680-stores-in-50-states phenomenon based on the simple idea of selling music-related clothing and accessories — punk studded wristbands, heavy-metal T-shirts and lately, lots and lots of skulls — to suburban teenagers who would otherwise have to visit an urban clothing boutique for such goodies.

“Have we brought skulls to the mall?” said Cindy Levitt, the vice president for marketing at Hot Topic. “Absolutely. But skulls are a rock icon. We’ve always had them. We see this as more of a fashion trend.”

Still, Ms. Levitt agreed that the skull is not what it used to be. “It’s no longer threatening,” she said. “Anyone will wear a skull now.”

The inventory at Hot Topic, which caters to music fans of all stripes, points up another facet of the skull’s allure, its vagueness. Cherished as an icon by several rock genres, it communicates many potential meanings without specifying any single one: the skull as style hedge.

“The skull is all-purpose,” said Sasha Frere-Jones, a music critic at The New Yorker. “It simultaneously refers to horror movies, to the Misfits and, by extension, all punk rock, and to a generalized culture of blackness and spookiness and the larger, mall-Goth culture.” So, he said, “if you’re really at heart a Goth, but you have friends who are into metal and punk, you can rock the skulls and be friends with all of them.”

Or in fashionspeak: skulls — fun, flexible, easy, breezy!

It is a different way of thinking of one of history’s most formidable images, seen in thousands of years of art and a symbol integral to Mexican culture. Robert Rosenblum, a professor of fine arts at New York University, explained that the skull is central to the vanitas, a genre of still-life painting in which temporal pleasures are juxtaposed with a skull. “The vanitas includes the skull as a reminder that death is everywhere,” he said, “as a cutting edge to too much contentment with the here and now.”

Perhaps the Manhattan hostess who bought a $4,140 set of 12 sterling-silver skull place-card holders by the jeweler Douglas Little wanted to convey that message to her guests. (Supercute touch: the place cards are clenched between the hinged jaws.) Or maybe not; she declined to be interviewed.

The skull as memento mori is important to Philip Crangi, a fashionable jeweler in Manhattan known for a pared-down modernized take on 19th-century morbidity. “I use it in a Victorian or Latin sense,” he said, “where it meant that life is short and death is the great equalizer, so stop your whining and get on with it.”

In his view skulls are not less threatening because a chic jeweler is casting them in precious metal but because, in an age when slasher films are top grossers, death itself has become less threatening. “In the 19th century, when people died, they were laid out in the living room,” he said. “I think we’ve lost that connection to death.”

For others, the skull is about youth, not death, losing its sting. Banks Violette, an artist whose fascination with heavy metal imagery won him a show at the Whitney Museum last summer, is never happy to see cherished symbols of teen angst treated blithely.

“It’s always an inward flinch,” he said. “People create this little world where they try to negotiate their own sense of alienation, then it gets pulled apart.” He added that because such symbols are associated with youth culture, they are often viewed as superficial and treated cynically by companies that market to young people.

Yet as consumers young and old tire of being marketed to, the skull appears to offer a kind of antidote: the ultimate unbrand, one that belongs to no one. Curiously, then, what began as an outlaw anti-logo may as well be viewed as the death rattle of an underground aesthetic.

“The skull was one of the last frontiers,” said Rick Owens, the designer known for his glamorized Goth style. “There’s no way to make yourself edgy anymore.”

Even so, he is planning on selling skulls — real ones — in “natural and black” in his new Paris boutique. “Skulls are kind of timeless,” he said, deadpan as it gets.

Ah, well. Eat, drink and be trendy. Tomorrow we die.


Ralph Reed Corruption Kills Career

CATEGORY: Ralph Reed Loses Election


EDITORIAL: The Modern Evil Company regretfully announces the defeat of Ralph Reed in his bid for Lieutenant Governorship of Georgia. We have admired is unethical drive and hypocrisy for years. This time though his corruption came to the surface through his illegal deals with republican felon Jack Abramoff. Even raising the liberal bogeyman couldn't save Ralph again.

From all of us to you and your family, we hope that you consider another run for public office, Ralph. We suggest a "Swaggart Strategy" of public penance to brim your coffers and set you up for 2008. You have our support.

What Next for Ralph Reed?

Jul 22, 11:16 AM PT

WASHINGTON, July 21 — As a seasoned political strategist, Ralph Reed knew from the first returns on Tuesday night that the news was bad and even laughed at the television pundits who suggested that the race was still up for grabs.

But this time the loss he was assessing was not a client’s but his own first bid to win elective office — the lieutenant governorship of Georgia. It would have been the next big step in a seemingly unstoppable career that had already vaulted him to the head of the Christian Coalition at the age of 29, to the cover of Time magazine at the age of 33, and to the inner circle of President Bush’s political advisers by the age of 39.

His campaign had struggled for months to overcome the disclosure of e-mail correspondence between Mr. Reed and the lobbyist Jack Abramoff that suggested a mercenary streak at odds with Mr. Reed’s Christian image. When the evangelical newsmagazine World carried a series of reports on the subject, the accusations became impossible to dismiss as mere liberal media bias.

And from the first returns in the Republican primary, Mr. Reed knew that the suburban Atlanta precincts with the biggest megachurches, the conservative Christian strongholds essential to his campaign, had turned against him, friends who watched with him said.

“Our own publication did this hatchet job on him, and we lost that core base of people,” said his friend Tim Echols, founder of TeenPact, a Christian conservative youth group. “It was very hurtful to Ralph.”

Now, a dozen years after Time proclaimed him “The Right Hand of God,” some are preparing Mr. Reed’s political obituary, wondering what he will do after his rejection by the evangelical churchgoers whose support formed the foundation of his reputation as a political activist and his personal fortune as a political consultant.

“Ralph will have to totally reinvent himself,” said Matt Towery, a political analyst based in Atlanta who once worked as campaign chairman for Newt Gingrich.

Friends say it is too soon to write off Mr. Reed, who is now 45. Deal Hudson, a Catholic conservative who worked closely with Mr. Reed on the last two presidential campaigns and watched the returns with him in an Atlanta hotel suite, said Mr. Reed was already talking about how he might play a role in the 2008 race even on the night of his own defeat.

“We forget that there is nobody who is able to craft a message for religious conservatives better than Ralph Reed, and the ability to craft a message does not depend on Ralph Reed and how high his bona fides are,” Mr. Hudson said, noting that Mr. Reed could still work on direct mail, radio and television commercials, speeches and the like from behind the scenes.

In a telephone interview on Friday, Mr. Reed said he was proud of his campaign and glad that he had run. “I have been building the Republican Party and the pro-family movement for over 25 years, and I am looking forward to continuing that important work,” he said.

In his concession speech, Mr. Reed said he was not “not focused on being a candidate in the future.”

In the interview, however, he said, “First bids for elected office are always tough, and I am not the first person to lose a first campaign,” noting several examples, including Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida and Mr. Gingrich, who went on to become speaker of the House.

Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican National Committee, said Friday that he was sticking by Mr. Reed. In an e-mail message, he said Mr. Reed had “played a vital role” in building the party’s grass-roots networks in Georgia and around the country. He added, “I look forward to continuing to work with him and value his friendship.”

Mr. Reed has retained his communications and consulting firm, Century Strategies, which in the nine years since he founded it has enabled him to amass a net worth of $4.5 million, according to financial disclosure forms filed during the campaign.

It remains to be seen how the revelations about his ties to Mr. Abramoff will affect Mr. Reed’s relationships with Christian conservative candidates or leaders. A Senate committee’s investigation into Mr. Abramoff’s double-dealing with his Indian gambling clients determined that he had paid Mr. Reed’s firm more than $4 million to organize Christian opposition to new Indian casinos on behalf of tribes with casinos who hoped to avoid competition.

Mr. Reed, who says he opposes gambling as immoral, has maintained that he did not know the fees came from gambling proceeds. But e-mail disclosed by the Senate committee suggested that Mr. Abramoff did not keep it a secret.

In April 1999, for example, Mr. Abramoff e-mailed Mr. Reed to propose a direct payment to him from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, a gambling client, without bothering to move the money through a third party. “Any chance that a wire from Choctaw directly would be OK?” Mr. Abramoff wrote.

In internal e-mail messages, Mr. Abramoff and his associates referred to Mr. Reed as an ideologue “as far as the cash goes.” In his own e-mail, meanwhile, Mr. Reed pressed for millions in payments and boasted of mobilizing prominent Christian conservatives to lobby government officials at his request. Many of those conservatives, including James C. Dobson of Focus on the Family, have publicly distanced themselves from Mr. Reed in recent months.

World, an influential evangelical magazine edited by Marvin Olasky, who helped Mr. Bush develop his “compassionate conservative” philosophy, concluded, “The portrait that emerges is one of a shrewd businessman who has spent years leveraging his evangelical and conservative contacts to promote the economic interests of his clients, rather than the principles of the political movement he once led.”

Some Republicans said the election results themselves had cast a new light on Mr. Reed’s past talk of turning out an “army” of grass-roots churchgoers. “For years, we have sat back and said, ‘O.K., Ralph, tell us again how you are going to turn out your army,’ ” said Mr. Towery, the Georgia political analyst. “But when it came to turning out his army for himself, they didn’t turn out.”

Pat Robertson, the religious broadcaster who founded the Christian Coalition, said in an interview last year that he considered Mr. Reed one of the most ambitious people he had ever known, suggesting that Mr. Reed had compromised his principles along the way. Many of Mr. Reed’s allies have suggested that his bid for lieutenant governor was to be a stop on a carefully plotted career path toward governor, senator or president.

Mr. Towery, who has known Mr. Reed since his days as a Senate intern, said that he and others tried to dissuade Mr. Reed from running while the Abramoff investigation was looming in the background, but that Mr. Reed was in a hurry.

“He felt that the timetable for his career could not be interrupted, and this was part of the timing,” Mr. Towery said.

About seven months ago, Mr. Reed began to respond more directly to the accusations about Mr. Abramoff, telling audiences that he regretted his involvement and had learned from the experience. “I am a better man and a better leader as a result,” he told a meeting of TeenPact, the Christian youth group. “God uses our mistakes to draw us closer to him.”

His contrition was not enough to win the race, but there were some signs that Georgia’s evangelical Christians might be willing to give him another chance. In the last days of the campaign, Clint Austin, a Christian lobbyist who had previously worked for Mr. Reed, circulated a public letter among Georgia Republicans explaining why he had turned against him over what he considered his deceptive tactics.

“It is time for Christians to confront and rebuke Ralph Reed, not make apologies for him,” Mr. Austin wrote. “If he truly repents (not just at election time), he can be a leader of unlimited potential.”


Modern Evil Endorsement

CATEGORY: Christian Video Games


EDITORIAL: We solidly endorse the coming Left Behind video game and particularly enjoy the shout of "Praise the Lord!" after you kill another person. This is a wonderful artifact of the Christian religion. In fairness, we would extend the same right to other religions, and encourage them to praise their god when successfully killing non-believers and other evil-doers.

Like the makers of this game, we also have never seen violence as a problem. It is a useful tool and a normal part of everyday life. The quicker it is embraced and embedded into children's perspectives, the better.

A full review of the game will appear when it is released in the fall.

Kids Kill In Violent Christian Videogame

Fri Jul 21, 9:11 AM ET

The Rapture is headed for New York City, and just in time for Christmas. In Left Behind: Eternal Forces, a Christian-themed videogame due out this October, the New York skyline smolders during the End of Days, the faithful have been called up to heaven, and the remaining New Yorkers are engaged in an epic clash between the Tribulation Forces and the Antichrist's army of Global Community Peacekeepers (aka UN Peacekeepers).

Evangelical videogame makers are praying that Eternal Forces will finally enable them to tap into the $25 billion global videogame market. They hope their "Christian" values-themed game will capture the same audience that has made bestsellers out of violent standards like Grand Theft Auto and Halo 2.

The Left Behind: Eternal Forces videogame is based upon the wildly profitable "Left Behind" series, written by Rev. Timothy LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. The "Left Behind" books have sold roughly 65 million copies and are second only to the Bible in sales of Christian texts. The series revolves around an eccentric interpretation of the Bible that sets the Armageddon in Iraq and refers to Saddam Hussein as a servant of Satan. President Bush is a big fan of Rev. LaHaye's brand of dominionism. Prior to the 2000 election, Bush met with LaHaye and other Christian fundamentalist leaders to cultivate the support of the religious right.

Game Point, Spirit Point-

Eternal Forces is a real-time strategy videogame, meaning that a player manipulates an entire army simultaneously, as opposed to the common first-person shooter games in which a player controls only one character. In essence, the player becomes the commander of a virtual army, deciding when to unleash weapons from an arsenal of guns, tanks and helicopters. Of course, since this is an evangelical game, soldiers lose "spirit points" each time they kill an opponent, leaving them prey to the Antichrist's forces and in dire need of replenishment through prayer. To top it off, each time a soldier slays one of the Antichrist's soldiers (who are UN Peacekeepers, remember), he triumphantly cries, "Praise the Lord!"

Eternal Forces caught the media's attention in May, when it premiered at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. The Los Angeles Times reported that in order to foster buzz for the videogame, the game's co-creators, Troy Lyndon and Jeffrey Frichner, plan to issue a million advanced copies to churches nationwide. That announcement galvanized Jonathan Hutchinson of Talk To Action, a forum for discussing the religious right, into action. Hutchinson, who identifies himself as a Christian and a patriot, said by phone, "I'm offended by a game that allows children to rehearse mass killing in the name of Christ or the Antichrist."

In several lengthy blog posts, Hutchinson charged that Left Behind: Eternal Forces usurps the now iconic imagery of 9/11 because it is set in a post-apocalyptic New York. "Why are the ambulances patrolling the streets with '911' written on their roofs instead of a normal paramedic star or cross?" Hutchinson questioned. "It's outrageous to exploit September 11th to make a buck!" Hutchinson also alleged the game's "Praise the Lord!" battle cry is not far from the "God is great!" words of the World Trade Center terrorists. (Left Behind Games was formed in October 2001.)

Hutchinson's primary objection to Eternal Forces is Left Behind's proposed marketing campaign. The strategy of advanced distribution through mega-churches and pastoral networks has been employed in the past few years with resounding results. Both The Passion of the Christ and The Chronicles of Narnia were screened in churches throughout the country before theatrical release. A more notable example is The Purpose-Driven Life, the bestseller by evangelical pastor Rick Warren. Prior to publication in 2002, Warren distributed a million copies through his Purpose Driven Network of mega-churches with congregations in 162 countries worldwide. The book went on to sell over 22 million copies to become the all-time best-selling nonfiction hardback.

While Left Behind's decision to follow a proven business model isn't particularly surprising, Hutchinson discovered a startling level of collusion between Left Behind and Rick Warren.

Mark Carver, the executive director of Purpose Driven Ministries in every region except North America, turned out to be the business advisor to Left Behind Games. Hutchinson was incensed by this apparent conflict of interest, which he termed "endorsement by association." He challenged, "Where is the pastoral leadership while a bigoted videogame is being networked and marketed through mega-churches?" After two heated posts on Talk To Action that echoed across the blogosphere from the Huffington Post to BlondeSense to Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish, Mark Carver resigned on June 5. A day later, Hutchinson received official word from Purpose Driven notifying him of Carver's resignation and declaring that Warren and Purpose Driven had no plans to endorse Left Behind: Eternal Forces.

Pop-Culture Sewage-

Hutchinson isn't the only one outraged by Left Behind: Eternal Forces. When Jack Thompson, an attorney and crusader against videogame violence, learned that Tyndale Publishers permitted Left Behind Games to adapt the Left Behind series, he dissolved his relationship with the publishing company. In addition to the Left Behind books, Tyndale also publishes James Dobson and Thompson's own manifesto on the dangers of videogames, Out of Harm's Way.

Thompson said he hadn't read the "Left Behind" series, but says there is a difference between the books, which are targeted toward adults, and the book-based videogame for adolescents. "[Left Behind Games] is taking adult-themed violence and marketing directly to kids," Thompson said from his Miami office. "It's a perfect example of how we're exporting pop-culture sewage to the rest of the world."

Thompson cited brain scan studies by Harvard and Indiana University that he claimed illustrate a link between witnessing videogame violence and copycat crimes. "There's an inherent, emotion-driven impulse in juveniles," he said. "Every parent knows that what kids get in their heads has behavioral consequences." Thompson said Left Behind's decision to distribute a million advance copies of their videogame to mega-churches nationwide is "a dangerous, hypocritical, non-Christian thing to do, and an example of how pop culture is transforming the church."

Level of Violence-

Jonathan Hutchinson says he wasn't opposed to videogame violence per se. "The level of violence in this videogame is not at issue," he said. "Rather, it's the indoctrination in Christian supremacy because the game rehearses and instructs children in the mass killing of New Yorkers for the sake of Christ and that is an abomination." He also said he was appalled that in Eternal Forces, corpses are left on the streets. "It's outrageous that this game has a feature to allow cold corpses of New Yorkers to pile up on the streets. No one gives them a decent burial."

While Left Behind denied repeated requests for an interview, it did issue a formal statement. The company dismissed Hutchinson's remarks, insisting that he was unqualified to comment on the game because he hadn't played it. Left Behind did, however, verify that LaHaye's anti-government philosophy had found its way into the videogame. "The Antichrist's forces are on the warpath, actively hunting down and exterminating all resistance to his one-world government. This includes the good guys -- the Tribulation Force -- defending themselves against Satan."

Left Behind maintained that while there is violence in the game, it's not bloody or graphic, and it anticipates getting a Teen (T) rating from the Entertainment Software Ratings Board.

The question remains whether Left Behind can justify its videogame violence with the Bible. If a player's only penalty for killing New Yorkers is a loss in spiritual points, then violence actually goes less punished in Eternal Forces than in seemingly more violent competition like Grand Theft Auto, in which homicide results in being pursued and arrested by the police. And in Grand Theft Auto, bodies disappear shortly after being killed.

Evangelical Gamers Fire Back-

Although Left Behind wasn't eager to discuss its videogame, other evangelical videogame developers regard Eternal Forces as the breakthrough they've been waiting for to bring Christian games into the mainstream. Ralph Bagley, the godfather of Christian gaming, runs Christian Game Developers Foundation. Until now, its titles Catechumen and Ominous Horizons have been the darlings of the Christian videogame industry, having sold about 80,000 and 70,000 copies, respectively. "We've fought the perception that if it's a Christian videogame," Bagley said, "then it has to be cheesy with sub-par graphics."

Bagley hopes Left Behind: Eternal Forces will prove that Christian videogames can be both high-quality tools to reach people through ministry and entertaining alternatives to current videogame hits. He is not alone. Greg Schumsky, CEO of Covenant Studios, knows there are not a lot of Christian games out there for older audiences. Following in the wake of Eternal Forces, Covenant plans to release a game next spring called Journey of the Time Pilots, which involves traveling through time to catch Nazis who have stolen religious artifacts for Hitler.

"I think this game is going to open the doors for other games to get into the mainstream market," Schumsky said of Eternal Forces. Like Schumsky, most Christian game developers covet the mainstream audience and feel the reason they haven't broken through is because videogame critics compare their games to more successful market standards like Grand Theft Auto. Christian game developers say the comparison is unfair because they believe their games are morally superior.

Neither Schumsky nor Bagley seem too worried about violence in videogames.

"'Revelations' is pretty darn violent to begin with," Schumsky said, "so how do you candycoat that?" In the past, however, Bagley has spoken out against violence in games like Grand Theft Auto and Narc. When I asked Bagley whether he would mind gamers playing as the Antichrist, he replied, "As long as Christ wins out in the end, I'm open as long as it doesn't go overboard, though the last thing I would want to see is people getting on there just to kill."

Bagley said there was a distinction between running street gangs in videogames and commanding the anti-Tribulation force in Left Behind. He thinks this violence can be portrayed in a "tasteful manner," if done within the storyline. Unlike Jack Thompson, Bagley doesn't believe that videogame violence invariably leads to enhanced aggression in game players. "I think maybe 99.9% of kids playing Grand Theft Auto and other games probably won't be affected. I pray the rest won't be affected by the violence."


Un-Neighborly Use of Black Magic

CATEGORY: Robbery and Toture by Ghosts


COMMENTARY: The police will be able to do little in this case, and the courts will not solve Mr. Das' problem. Discounting the affair as superstitious is the easy way out, however we take this assault and theft very seriously. We have notified our respresentatives in New Delhi and will look into this matter. Updates to be issued with progress.

Indian Cops Called to Investigate Ghosts

Tue Jul 11, 10:08 AM ET

Malevolent ghosts stealing your chickens and torturing you in the night? Who you gonna call? For farmer Sunil Das, his first call was the police, who laughed at what they thought was a joke, the Hindustan Times newspaper reported Tuesday.

But a judge in India's northeastern state of Assam saw little humor in Das' allegation that ghosts controlled by his neighbors were making off with his poultry at night. Instead of laughing, the judge ordered police to get to work and find the culprits, the newspaper reported.

In his complaint, Sunil Das accused his neighbors of using their "obedient but malevolent" ghosts, "subjecting me to physical and mental torture," the newspaper reported.

Das said his neighbors were notorious for using black magic against people they had a grudge against.

Superstitions and belief in ghosts are widespread across India, particularly in rural villages.

Nevertheless, police working the case said it was a first for them.

"We have dealt with hardcore criminals and armed militants but this is the first time we are required to pursue a case with a spooky angle to it," the newspaper quoted a local police officer as saying.

"We are yet to crack the case but investigations are on," said the unidentified officer.


Modern Evil Supplier Update - China

CATEGORY: Body Donation


NOTICE: Due to the new regulations, our Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai offices will no longer accept unregistered body donations. Please notify all suppliers. Thank you.

Commercial Trade in Corpses Banned

Mon Jul 17, 2006 8:57am ET

BEIJING (Reuters) - China is to ban the trade and commercial use of corpses, further tightening controls on a transplant market that critics say has been beset by illegal trade in organs, often involving executed prisoners.

The rules, which take effect on August 1, bar all use of donated bodies except for medical research and require burial once research is complete.

"No organization or individual is allowed to accept body donations except medical institutes, medical schools, medical research institutes and forensic research institutes," Xinhua news agency said Saturday.

Transport of bodies into and out of China for interment would require approval from civil affairs departments, customs and inspection and quarantine authorities, it said.

Transport for medical research into and out of the country must adhere to regulations of the State Council, or cabinet, the Health Ministry and quarantine administration, it said. All other use was banned.

The new regulation followed another which took effect on July 1 banning the sale of human organs, requiring written consent from donors and restricting the number of hospitals performing transplant operations.

The World Health Organization welcomed that ban, announced in March, saying it was a positive step and would help target brokers who had exploited loopholes in China's legal framework to arrange the sale of organs from executed prisoners.

Rights groups have criticized the use of organs from executed prisoners in China and hospitals alleged to have turned to organ sales and transplants to raise funds. They estimate 5,000 to 12,000 are put to death in China each year, more than anywhere else in the world.

China's Foreign Ministry has said the organs had been used without the executed prisoner's consent in only a few cases, and that doing so was illegal.

About 2 million Chinese need transplants each year, but only 20,000 receive them due to a shortage of donors, spurring illegal trade in some regions, state media said.


Quotidian Evil - Snakes in a Car



EDITORIAL: This is a common occurance. However, we question the authenticity and timing of the "reporting" of this incident due to its media play and possible relation to the release of the Hollywood moviepicture, Snakes on a Plane. Evil does come in the form of shameless marketers. Further investigation is needed.

Woman Finds More Than 20 Snakes Inside Car

Fri Jul 14, 7:44 AM ET

It was either a prank or the work of Mother Nature — either way, Sherry Hart got a slithery surprise in her car.

Sherry Hart found a pair of garter snakes in the back seat of her car on a recent shopping trip to the grocery store, then found more under a floor mat.

"This lady was freaking out next to her car," says Will Brinkerhoff, 17, an employee at the North Coast Fred Meyer.

Eventually more than 20 of the harmless snakes were found inside the car, some pencil-thin and one the diameter of a quarter and 3 feet long.

Brinkerhoff, another employee and several customers helped clean out the car.

One man dumped out his groceries and gave Hart the plastic carrying bags she could fill them with snakes.

When Warrenton police Officer Jim Gaebel arrived he guessed that one snake must have gotten into the car and had babies. Gaebel later told Hart that in all his years in police work, this was his first snake call.

But Hart believes it was a prank.

"Who did it? We don't know," she said. But she believes her car was chosen because a window stuck in the open position made it an easy target in the big parking lot.


Personal Crisis - Revenue and Repair

CATEGORY: Body Part Failure


EDITORIAL: If this man would have come to us first, we could have helped to monetize his tragedy and repair his head. We do have representation in Kolkata [Calcutta].

Piece of Man's Skull Falls Off, Draws Crowds

Wed Jul 5, 2006 8:33 AM ET

By Bappa Majumdar

KOLKATA, India (Reuters) - Hundreds of people are thronging a hospital in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata to see a patient holding a piece of his own skull that fell off.

Doctors say a large, dead section of 25-year-old electrician Sambhu Roy's skull came away Sunday after severe burns starved it of blood.

"When he came to us late last year, his scalp was completely burned and within months it came off exposing the skull," Ratan Lal Bandyopadhyay, the surgeon who treated Roy told Reuters Wednesday.

"Later, we noticed that the part of his skull was loosening due to lack of blood supply to the affected area, which can happen in such extensive burn cases."

The piece came off Sunday and hundreds of people and dozens of doctors now crowd around his bed, where he lies holding the bone.

Bandyopadhyay said the skull's inner covering and the membrane which helps produce bone was miraculously unaffected, allowing fresh bone to grow.

"When the skull came off, I thought he will die, but we noticed a new covering on his head forming and that might have pushed the 'dead skull' out," he said.

While possible, such cases are extremely rare.

Roy was injured and almost killed when he was electrocuted while repairing a high voltage wire last October.

"Doctors say a new skull covering has replaced the old one, but I am not letting go of this one," he told Reuters.

He intends to keep his prized possession for life and not hand it over to the hospital when he leaves: "My skull has made me famous," he says.