Are Dungeons & Dragons Players in a Cult? These Hilarious Warning Signs From 1989 Prove It

Categories: Studies in Crap

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Your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets.

The Devil's Web: Who Is Stalking Your Children for Satan?

Author: Pat Pulling (with Kathy Cawthon)
Date: 1989
Publisher: Huntington House
Discovered at: Goodwill, East 23rd Street

The Cover Promises: Satan is really into gray-washed jean jackets and Fruit Roll-Up candles.

Representative Quote:

"According to the woman who introduced me to the game, [D&D] is 'women's liberation with a vengeance. Not only does the D&D game allow women to stab people, it's accepted. You even get a bonus for striking from behind.'" (page 81)


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10 Things to Do for Less Than $10 in NYC This Weekend

Categories: Events

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Robert Sietsema

It's Good Friday/Great Weekend! But it's good every day, isn't it? (Don't hate on our happiness.) Especially this weekend; aside from Record Store Day happening Saturday, it's Easter weekend, which means you're highly encouraged to go out parading in your weirdest outfits -- topped with the most glorious hat -- you can imagine for Sunday's Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival. You might want to pace yourself for the weekend, so for today, maybe just check out some "Nude Dudes" and call it a night.

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Two Long Island Men Get $18 Million in Wrongful Conviction Lawsuit

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Flickr / RĂ¼diger skINMATE
John Restivo and Dennis Halstead spent 18 years in prison after a jury convicted them on charges of raping and murdering a 16-year-old girl on Long Island in 1984. In 2003 DNA evidence showed that somebody else actually committed the crime, and Nassau County prosecutors dismissed the charges, setting the men free.

They sued the county. Jurors in federal court in Central Islip heard testimony suggesting that a detective planted evidence on Restivo and hid evidence that worked in the defendants' favor. On Thursday, the jury awarded Restivo and Halstead $18 million each.

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 144 Years Old, and Still Free... For Now

Categories: Museums

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WestportWiki via Wikimedia Commons
The Great Hall at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art celebrated a birthday this week. Sunday, April 13, marked the 144th anniversary of the Met's incorporation by the New York state legislature, which makes this week as good a time as any to revisit the museum's mission as outlined in the legislation that created it.

The Met, according to its founding charter, would be responsible for "encouraging and developing the study of the fine arts, and the application of the arts to manufacture and practical life, of advancing general knowledge of kindred subjects, and, to that end, furnishing popular instruction and recreation." The New York state legislature envisioned it as a museum for the people -- not just for members of the middle and upper classes with, say, $25 to burn on a rainy day.

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In Carriage Horse Fight, the Daily News Is Really Having Trouble Keeping Fact and Opinion Separate [Updated]

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Image via Nyclass.org
A model of NYCLASS's proposed electric car.
On April 16, the New York Daily News announced they were wading into the carriage horse fight full-force, "launching a campaign to save the city's beloved carriage horses," as an editorial published that day put it. They've begun circulating a petition online and in print, calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to leave the horses alone and criticizing animal rights group NYCLASS's proposal to replace the horses with vintage-replica electric cars.

At the same time, News reporters are also continuing to cover the carriage horse debate that the opinion page has now inserted themselves into. That's leading to some awkward conflicts of interest. In a statement released earlier this week, NYCLASS says that a Daily News reporter who assured them she was interviewing them for a feature story instead improperly gave her reporting materials to the opinion page, for use in an unflattering editorial.

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This is What the NYPD's Failed Muslim Surveillance Program Actually Looked Like

Categories: NYPD

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On Tuesday, the NYPD announced it would dismantle its Demographics Unit, the controversial squad of plainclothes officers tasked with monitoring and gathering intelligence in New York's Muslim neighborhoods. The announcement was greeted with a mix of praise (for the move, considered long overdue) and skepticism (that the department would actually end the practice of mass, suspicion-less surveillance of Muslims).

The NYPD's announcement came a week after Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and his intelligence chief, John Miller, met with Muslim advocates, according to the New York Times.

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As Occupy Protester Cecily McMillan's Trial Continues, Judge Orders Both Sides To Quit Talking to Press

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McMillan and Stolar during a press conference on Monday, April 14. The judge imposed a gag order on both sides on April 16.
The trial of Cecily McMillan, the Occupy Wall Street activist accused of assaulting a police officer during a demonstration two years ago, is expected to drag on for an estimated three weeks. Judge Ronald Zweibel has been visibly irritated for much of the trial, displeased by McMillan's supporters wearing pink paper hands and hearts in the courtroom, and seemingly by the heavy media attention paid to the case. Before testimony continued yesterday, inflamed by a quote by one of McMillan's defense attorneys in the New York Times, he imposed a gag order on both sides.

Officer Grantley Bovell, the NYPD officer accusing McMillan of assault, began his testimony on Monday morning, telling Assistant District Attorney Erin Choi that McMillan deliberately elbowed him in the eye as he tried to lead her from the park. During a brief press conference after court that day, Stolar told reporters that Bovell's testimony wasn't consistent with McMillan's memories of the day, or a video of the incident posted on YouTube.

In truth, the chaotic video doesn't do any favors to either side: McMillan can blurrily be seen elbowing Bovell, an incident her attorneys do not deny took place. But it's impossible to tell whether or not Bovell grabbed her breast, which McMillan says is what preceded the elbowing.

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Time Is Illmatic: New Doc Goes Behind the Scenes of Hip-Hop's Greatest Album

Categories: Film and TV

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Albert Samaha
Few pleasure like Nas, in a black beanie, performing Illmatic.
Nas entered the Beacon Theater in a suit. It was a nice suit, a cool grey number with a blue tie, well-tailored. He looked sharp. But Nas in a suit is not the same as, say, Jay-Z in a suit. Jay-Z in a suit looks like a man who has worked hard all his life so that he can rock a Tom Ford custom that costs more than a new Saturn. His legend is rooted in his arc, from drug dealer to rap star to mogul. Not a businessman, but a Business, man. Jay-Z in a suit is a visual manifestation of his legacy.

Nas in a suit looks merely like a man who knows how to dress for an occasion. This particular occasion was the premier of Time Is Illmatic, a documentary about his first album, at the Tribeca Film Festival. Nas in a suit is not Nas. Because no matter how many quality albums he has given the world since 1994, Nas is frozen in time in a black beanie, a black jacket, and brown Timbs, standing outside the Queensbridge projects with a bottle of cognac in his hand and a dozen of his people crowded around him.

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Thirty People Have Been Convicted for Participating in Asylum Fraud Ring

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Frank Leslie's illustrated newspaper, 1887
Federal prosecutors notched three more convictions this week of defendants accused of filing false asylum claims for immigrant clients. That brings the total to 30.

On Tuesday, a jury in Manhattan federal court found Ling Liu, Vanessa Bandrich, and Rui Yang guilty of conspiracy to commit immigration fraud. The three were arrested in the December 2012 FBI sweep that targeted lawyers and staffers suspected of coaching Chinese immigrants on how to lie about their past to be eligible for asylum.

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New York State's Long-Running War on Weed

Categories: Longform

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Louisa Bertman
Despite Andrew Cuomo's promises, the end might not be near.
A U.S. map that shows where pot is legal looks a lot like recent electoral college maps, except instead of blue, the liberal states are rendered in green: the entire West Coast (California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada), progressive mountain and Midwest states (Colorado, New Mexico; Michigan, Illinois), all of New England, plus New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and Hawaii. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws legalizing medical marijuana; in two of them, recreational weed is all good, too.

Conspicuously absent from that map: New York.

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A Day in the Life of Your Friendly Neighborhood Weed Messenger

Categories: Marijuana

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Jeremy Eaton
Desmond* has been a weed courier on and off for almost four years. He's in his mid-twenties now, but he was still in college when he heard about the opportunity through a classmate. He works three days a week, and makes, on average, 15 deliveries a day. If he makes more than 20, he gets a free bag. Usually he'll give it away or resell it — he used to be a big stoner, but he doesn't smoke much any more; certain strains make him anxious.

The work helps him pay off his student loans and subsidizes his creative pursuits (he's in two bands and does photography on his days off). When he's working, he looks like any one of the hundreds of bike messengers who speed around New York City, clad in shorts, perched on a single-speed bike, with a bag and a couple of delivery tubes slung over one shoulder. And like any other messenger, he can be at your door in 20 minutes or less.

*Not his real name.

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NYPD Dissolves Unit That Spied on Muslims, But Is the Spying Really Over?

Categories: Islam, NYPD

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Police Commissioner Bill Bratton
Yesterday, the New York Times was first to report that the New York Police Department has abandoned its Demographics Unit, also known as the Zone Assessment Unit, a program that spied on Muslims in their mosques, student groups, neighborhoods, and homes, and which was the subject of two separate lawsuits.

Linda Sarsour of the Arab American Association of New York told the paper that she and other community leaders had met with new-old Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and other senior NYPD officials last week. "She and others in attendance," the paper writes, "said the department's new intelligence chief John Miller told them that the police did not need to work covertly to find out where Muslims gather and indicated the department is shutting the unit down."

It's interesting news, and perhaps an indication of a different and, dare we say, less blatantly discriminatory, approach to law enforcement. But lawyers for spied-upon Muslims have just one question: Is the spying actually going to stop?


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Texas Monthly Wants $1 Million From the New York Times for Poaching Editor Jake Silverstein

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Texas Monthly editor Jake Silverstein had several reasons to celebrate on March 28. The last installment of an exhaustive five-part, 25,000-word series on a botched triple homicide investigation was live online; the day before, a big Texas Monthly-branded barbecue event had gone off without a hitch in Brooklyn... and, after an extensive search, the New York Times was finally ready to announce it would be naming Silverstein the new editor of its Sunday magazine.

The news, announced on the Times' website that Friday came as a surprise -- Silverstein's name had not been mentioned in speculative articles leading up to the announcement -- and a nasty one for Ian Arnold, vice president of Emmis Publishing, the owner of Texas Monthly.

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10 Things to Do for Less Than $10 in NYC This Week

Categories: Events

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This whole blood moon brouhaha is throwing our mental state for a loop, so we're planning on taking it easy this week with some light social activities. You still with us? All right then! HousingWorks Bookstore celebrates first-time published female authors (including Voice alum Jen Doll) with a panel tonight and a poetry reading on Thursday. Tomorrow, Videology pays homage to Freaks and Geeks by screening two episodes and hosting a trivia night. You best start cramming now. This plus much more (nothing super intense, we promise).

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Empire State Building Says Photographer of Topless Ladies Is Making a Mockery of Its Very Serious Lawsuit

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Photo by guy being sued Allen Henson, obviously
The offending photograph
Back in January, as you may recall, we told you about Allen Henson, the fine art photographer who was slapped with a million-dollar lawsuit after he took photographs of a model, Shelby Carter, topless atop the Empire State Building's observatory deck. Not to be outdone, Henson roundly mocked the lawsuit in the press and then countersued the company behind the iconic building for $5 million.

Representatives for the Empire State Building have never publicly commented on the lawsuit. As it turns out, though, lawyers for very tall buildings have feelings, too, and those feelings are, at the moment, deeply bruised. In new court filings, the building's representatives accuse Henson of "relishing" the publicity around the lawsuit, and planning an in-court demonstration consisting of dozens of topless women.

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NYPD Testifies In Trial of Cecily McMillan, Occupy Wall Street Protester Accused of Assaulting Cop

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McMillan talks with one of her lawyers, Martin Stolar, after court Monday
On Friday, the trial of Occupy Wall Street protester Cecily McMillan began, more than two years after she's accused of assaulting NYPD officer Grantley Bovell during a March 17, 2012 demonstration at Zuccotti Park. Jury selection took the better part of a week, as both sides had difficulty finding jurors who didn't have opinions about the Occupy movement. Testimony began late Friday; this morning, court was almost immediately interrupted when supporters of McMillan entered the courtroom wearing pink paper hearts on their lapels. After the hearts were confiscated by court security, Officer Bovell finally took the stand for the first part of his testimony, telling the jury that McMillan deliberately elbowed him in the face as he was trying to escort her from the park.

McMillan and her attorneys, Martin Stolar and Rebecca Heinegg, don't disagree that she elbowed Bovell, but say she was doing so instinctively, in self-defense, not knowing he was a police officer. During opening statements, Heinegg told the jury of of 10 women and five men that McMillan, now 25, is known by other activists "for her commitment to non-violence." The incident occurred, Heinegg said, as McMillan was stopping by Zucotti Park during a night out celebrating St. Patrick's Day with out-of-town friends. She only elbowed Bovell after he suddenly grabbed her from behind by her right breast and yanked her backwards, "leaving the shape of a handprint" on her body.

"Reacting to being grabbed by a stranger is not a crime," Heinegg told the jury.

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Dennis Guerra, NYPD Officer Lost in Coney Island High-Rise Fire, "Did Not Die in Vain"

Categories: Arson, NYPD

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C.S. Muncy
Fellow NYPD officers carry Dennis Guerra's casket into St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church
On Monday morning, members of the NYPD filed quietly into the St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Brooklyn. They were there to mourn one of their own: Dennis Guerra died five days earlier of severe smoke inhalation. He was 38 years old, a father of four, and the first New York police officer to lose his life in the line of duty in more than two years.

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Derrick Deacon, Who Was Locked Up for 24 Years After Wrongful Conviction, Sues NY

Categories: Justice

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Derrick Deacon spent 24 years in prison because city investigators coerced a witness to lie in her testimony. This dirt came out during Deacon's retrial last fall. On November 18, a Brooklyn Supreme Court jury needed just nine minutes of deliberation before declaring Deacon innocent.

New Yorkers have become familiar with this kind of story by now. There has been a wave of exonerations in recent years, freeing men who were wrongfully convicted in the '80s and '90s. Brooklyn alone has had five exonerations over the past year, all involving men who spent at least 15 years locked up.

A lot of shoes are about to drop. Here is one of them: Deacon has filed a lawsuit against the state for the wrongful imprisonment, the New York Post reported on Monday.

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In Bundy Ranch's War Against the U.S., Rightbloggers Pick Guess Which Side

tomt200.jpgThis weekend a scofflaw gathered some gunmen and drove off some federal agents who were trying to confiscate his property.

Rightbloggers approved for several reasons. For one, the scofflaw is a rancher, just like Ronald Reagan; for another, there is an environmental angle, which always makes them mad, and a Harry Reid angle, which makes them apoplectic; and perhaps most importantly, the scofflaw refuses to acknowledge the authority of the federal government, which puts him right in the emerging mainstream of conservative doctrine.

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10 Things to Do for Less Than $10 in NYC This Weekend

Categories: Events

We're finally into spring -- and, more importantly, spring weather -- which means we're finally able to enjoy a good art crawl, some street festivals, and take in the beauty of wandering about the city. Now that we're in better spirits, share what happiness means to you with complete strangers at "Own Happy," in Tribeca, watch Selena and learn how to do the "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" at Videology, and meet your favorite writers at the Downtown Literature Festival. So much to do!

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