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"Slaves" freed in London

A 69 year-old Malaysian woman, an Irishwoman, 57, and a Briton, 30, were all rescued from a house in south London this week, reports the BBC. A couple, both 67, are under arrest—and accused of holding the women as slaves for 30 years. Rob 21

Intro to Murder Ballads

Murder ballads are the true crime novels of the 16th-19th centuries. Lyrics telling the story of a murder were written, printed on broadsheets, and sold within days of the crime. Paul Slade is a UK journalist with a fascination for the history of murder ballads in the US and Europe. He maintains this great resource on the topic. Above, enjoy classic murder ballad "The Knoxville Girl" as sung by the Wilburn Brothers in 1959. While "The Knoxville Girl" is an Appalachian ballad, its roots can be traced back to 17th century England. Here's Slade on his love for Murder Ballads:

Cheerfully vulgar, reveling in gore, and always with an eye on the main chance, these songs were tabloid newspapers set to music, carrying news of all the latest 'orrible murders to an insatiable public.

People get stabbed, bludgeoned or shot in every verse, but the songs telling their tale never die Then there's the fact that murder ballads never stop mutating, morphing to suit local place names as they cross and re-cross the Atlantic, and changing with the times as they move down the decades to fascinate each generation's biggest musical stars. Victims are bludgeoned, stabbed or shot in every verse and killers are often hanged, but the songs themselves never die.

Murder Ballads

Cookie Monster charged with assault after pushing child in Times Square

Cookie Monster was arrested Sunday after allegedly shoving a child in New York's Times Square when his mother did not tip him for posing with the boy.

Monster, 33, was charged with endangering the welfare of 2-year old Samay Katkar, who had wandered over to the blue-furred beast when his parents ventured into town for a weekend trip. "The next thing I know, Cookie Monster had already picked up my son and was like, 'Come on, take a picture!'", Kurada told the New York Daily News.

Florida polo tycoon has difficulty adopting his 42-year-old girlfriend in order to keep assets away from bio-kids, ex-wife, family of guy he killed in a hit-and-run

A Florida polo tycoon named John Goodman has hit a hitch in his plan to adopt his 42-year-old girlfriend so that his kids and ex-wife won't be able to keep him from writing her into his will. The court says he failed to disclose important information, but there's no word on whether that will have have any bearing on his manslaughter appeal stemming from his conviction for a drunken hit-and-run killing in 2010, or on his apparent plan to keep his assets from the family of the dead man by transferring them to his girlfriend/daughter.

What an enterprising gentleman Mr Goodman appears to be.

A Florida appeals court ruled yesterday that John Goodman (not the actor John Goodman, the Florida polo tycoon John Goodman, who founded something called the International Polo Club) committed a fraud on the court when he failed to notify it, or the opposing parties in a pending lawsuit, about his plan to adopt his girlfriend and thereby give her access to a substantial trust fund. The trust was one in which "all Goodman's children were to share equally," so if his girlfriend also became his child … you get the idea. The "Adoption Agreement" also gave the girlfriend/daughter almost $17 million in additional assets plus an unlimited right to ask for more money from the trust, not a bad right to have if you can get it.

This concerned Goodman's two existing children and his ex-wife for obvious reasons, and also bothered the parents of Scott Wilson. Wilson died in 2010 after a car accident involving Goodman, who was allegedly drunk at the time. The accident knocked Wilson's car into a canal, whereupon Goodman suddenly remembered some polo tycoonery he had to take care of, and, to use a legal term of art, he skedaddled, without even calling 911. Wilson died. Goodman was convicted of DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide and sentenced to 16 years in prison, but is out on bail pending appeal.

What's the Point of Being a Polo Tycoon If You Can't Adopt Your Girlfriend?

NYC man "steals" his own bike in front of police stations, etc, and very few damns are given


Filmmaker Casey Neistat writes in the NYT about his recurring project to steal his own bicycle in really obvious ways in places across New York, to see if anyone intervenes. Very few people do.

I recently spent a couple of days conducting a bike theft experiment, which I first tried with my brother Van in 2005. I locked my own bike up and then proceeded to steal it, using brazen means — like a giant crowbar — in audacious locations, including directly in front of a police station. I wanted to find out whether onlookers or the cops would intervene. What you see here in my film are the results.

Solutions to the bike theft problem are hard to find. More bike racks in better-lit areas, stronger locks and bike garages all help. But ultimately, greater public awareness may be the only way to substantially curb theft. If someone saw a car being stolen, they would surely call the police. Why should a bike be any different?

‘Bike Thief’ (via Kottke)