Saturday, June 16, 2007

We, the jury, find the defendant, Mr. Turnupseed INNOCENT of the count of manslaughter....and guilty of having a really stupid name.


National Geographic ran an old show the other night about James Dean. Yes, that James Dean. (NG is expanding its pervue. But then again, how many stories about wildebeests and half naked women can you run? That aren't pornographic, I mean.) The show, called, "Crash Science", centered around Dean's death in a horrid accident on a California highway (eventually, they'll probably run out of famous tragically killed people, too) in September of 1955.  It relied on all sorts of computer imagery, showing that, contrary to the image of the rebellious teen idol screaming along in his Porsche Spyder 550 at speeds at or over 100 mph, he was probably doing about 70 mph at the time his car and Donald Turnupseed's Ford had an intimate encounter. Which was still speeding. But sounds a little less thrilling.

(What kind of a name is Turnupseed that, anyway? Did it used to be Turnipseed? Do turnips have seeds? Aren't they a root vegetable? )

Then we are told that, actually, the cops testified to exactly that at the following trial. About Dean doing 70 mph, I mean. The police had stopped Dean doing 95 a little earlier in the afternoon, and calculated from that and the time of the accident he must be doing 70, which was a geezerly 15 over the speed limit.

But either the jury


1) was so overwhelmed by Dean's reputation as a crazed speed demon youth that they completely ignored the cops' testimony or


2) they figured that cops can't calculate.


And therefore, word has been handed down from generation to generation that that acting, car racing, homosexual James Dean was flying over the hills and fields looking for someone to kill (or a way to die) on the California highway. At at least 100 mph. Maybe more. (All of which, if you were born before 1925, is horrifying, but if you were born anytime after that, particularly after 1970, is REALLY COOL!.)

In a film from an engineering firm it's asserted that Mr. Dean was not speeding at all in his journey towards doom that fateful September day. Go figure.

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