Wandering Eye: Officer suspended in Freddie Gray's death accused of domestic violence; researching MDMA; and more

While young gun writers have to worry about their writing disappearing from the web when the websites they're writing for do a redesign, switch servers, or just plain die out, retired film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum has taken the time to locate "lost" pieces of his and posting them on his personal website. Last week, he posted an essay from a laserdisc version of Orson Welles' film essay "F For Fake" from 1995 ("Commissioned and published for the Voyager laserdisc of F for Fake in 1995. My thanks to Marcio Sattin in São Paulo for giving me a printout of this untitled "lost" essay, which I've slightly re-edited," reads a note at the top of the page), and it has been making the rounds on film Twitter a lot this week. Rosenbaum is one of the best writers on Welles, namely because of his overarching argument that it's best to see the "Citizen Kane" director as someone who occasionally worked in the Hollywood system ("Citizen Kane," "The Magnificent Ambersons," "Touch Of Evil") and otherwise pursued idiosyncratic independent work, like 1972's "F For Fake," a stylized quasi-documentary about art forgery, hoaxes, and trickery. Rosenbaum rejects the story that Welles was a bright, singular talent who burned out early on. In this "lost" essay on "F For Fake," Rosenbaum points out that "F For Fake" star Oja Kodar, "Welles' companion and major artistic collaborator for the last quarter-century of his life," gave the film its title, "wrote a story that supplied the basis" for one of the film's sequences, and that early screenings credited Kodar under her given name Olga Palinkas as the writer of the script. (Brandon Soderberg)


The addiction-resources website ProjectKnow, concerned about deaths of partiers who took ecstasy and Molly, has finished a remarkable analysis of two MDMA-pill databases—PillReports.net and EcstasyData.org—covering 10 years and 27,000 test reports in five countries. "In reality," the report explains, "neither ecstasy nor Molly are guaranteed to be pure, or even contain any MDMA at all, because drug makers and dealers frequently include other substances in ecstasy pills, capsules, and powders to maximize their profits." So, to help discerning users find the purest products (i.e., the ones with the highest concentrations of MDMA, rather than more risky adulterants) and thereby decrease the likelihood of a bad trip, a hospital visit, or a ride to the morgue, the analysis determined that the Dutch produce the best ecstasy, the Canadians and Australians make the worst, and pills made in the U.S. and England are middling. Thus, "how much MDMA is in any given pill, and whether it’s mixed with speed (as it very often will be)," the report states, "is down to chance and possibly where you live." The bottom line, the report concludes, is that "betting on the purity of any illicit street drug is ultimately a losing proposition," so "subjectively testing out the composition of any illicit pill on oneself can be a very dangerous game, with potentially risky health consequences."  (Van Smith)


One of the six officers suspended in the death of Freddie Gray was accused of domestic violence by two different women, according to a story in the London-based Guardian newspaper. Citing civil court records in Carroll and Baltimore counties, and quoting (but not naming) one of the alleged accusers, The Guardian says Lt. Brian Rice "was temporarily ordered by a court to stay away from a second person." The paper does not detail the accusations, and neither do the accusers, according to the story: "Rice's first accuser declined to discuss details of the cases on Tuesday. 'Brian is a good guy,' she said. The second accuser declined to comment." Here is what the online court record says: During 2013, a Brian Scott Rice who resides in Westminster and is 41 years old had a long child custody battle with his girlfriend. The abuse allegations arose during that. The case was settled by consent in December of 2013. The 2008 case involves a Westminster Brian Scott Rice with the same birthday as the one with the 2013 case—but a year later. Other court records indicate that Lt. Brian Rice of the Baltimore Police Western District has middle initial S. (Edward Ericson Jr.)

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