skulls across america

music, this and that, etc.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

It must take a lot to get the chair these days

Man admits torturing, killing roommate - but avoids death penalty via guilty plea. Seriously- what does it take to get the death penalty these days? If not this guy, who? If not for a crime this brutal and horrific, how brutal and horrific? Seriously... the only plea from this guy that should have been accepted would be his request for some A1 to garnish the salisbury steak he was having as his last meal.

A Butler County man who had been released from a mental hospital just months before he tortured and killed his mentally disabled roommate pleaded guilty today to first-degree murder.

Timothy James Caldwell, 30, will spend the rest of his life in prison plus 21 to 42 months for abusing a corpse and tampering with evidence, for the burning death of 30-year-old Jason Michael Ritzert.

Butler County District Attorney Randa Clark agreed to the plea, giving up her plan to seek the death penalty for Mr. Caldwell.


The case was one of Butler County's more horrific and had been described by the state police captain there, Robert Lizik, as "bizarre and brutal."

Mr. Caldwell had confessed to authorities that he had hit Mr. Ritzert and had burned his hands over a period of several weeks as "punishment" for stealing some pocket change. Then, one day in November 2005, he soaked Mr. Ritzert's shirt in lighter fluid, forced him into a bathtub, then set him afire.

It should be mentioned that the guilty parties, Caldwell and Melissa Adams, her of the soon-to-be-mentioned low IQ, then pulled Jason from the bathtub and let him lay for a week on his bed while his burn wounds oozed. He must have endured excruciating pain. And it just gets worse. They may have let him lay there forever, except Caldwell "became upset with himself and because he was upset he kicked Ritzert to the ribs as he laid on the floor." This kick must have initiated a tremendous realization for Caldwell- "Hey, you done forgot to kill that guy that you burned put near to death last week."

I didn't find much other than the original post-gazette article and thread from a message board. But a post on that board notes that one of Caldwell's co-defendants was seeking an insanity defense - because HER IQ IS BELOW AVERAGE! If you're smart enough to try that, you're smart enough to play with the big kids.

A follow-up article gives more background on the victim, Jason Michael Ritzert.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Best random CD match ever

Wow. For the choir at church, Jayna needed to make a CD for a song that featured the song music on the right channel, and the men's vocal line on the left channel. She played our ancient Korg keyboard and we recorded onto my cassette 4-track. The song itself was split into 5 tracks on the audio CD, a common trick for CDs that choirs will practice with, as it allows the choir director to focus on one section at a time without having to fast-forward all the time (five 45 second tracks beats one 4 minute track).

So anyway, I dumped the tracks from the 4-track onto the computer and, using Audacity, stripped as much dead air from the beginning and end of each track as I could, so they'd play virtually like a regular 1 track song when played back to back. I didn't worry much about the beginning of track 1 or the end of track 5. I export to WAV and make a playlist in iTunes (I & II below)

So I burn this mess to CD... then I pop the CD back into the computer to make sure it will play. I open up Winamp (III below). Winamp, using the CDDB database, tries to match the CD to something in its database, based on number of tracks and track length... and it provides one recommendation...

What are the odds, right? What are the odds that this CD I burned for the church choir would happen to match, in the CDDB database, with perhaps the worst "blasphemous metal band" in the history of music? (IV)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

thunder down under

Hot Snakes last will and testament

Join Dan Sartain

Great news! Swami records is back on emusic! Which means the albums above, that I've been too lazy to mail-order yet, will be on heavy rotation this week. And there was much rejoicing.

In other news, I'm writing songs like a madman, Georges Laraque is busting heads, and The Prestige is awesome and features a new Radiohead song over the end credits.