God Bless Anna’s Billboard and Jeff Layhee

When I moved to San Francisco in mid 1996, there was this billboard somewhere in the North Bay of Anna Nicole Smith in her underwear, laughing, legs pulled up double in front of her. I was stunned. I’d never seen an underwear ad that didn’t feature a praying mantis-like creature whose ribs jutted out in bony tiers under her airbrushed skin. But this woman was full figured in every sense. For the first time I saw something me-sized on a billboard. I had to drive past a couple times before I realized it was truly a Guess ad and not something else entirely.

I’ve never seen anything as cool as that Guess ad since. Which is a shame. There were those damned Dove soap “Real Beauty” ads, but they always made me want to hurl. (I think it was the white undies.)

So, in case you’ve somehow missed the media hoopla, I’m musing about this because Anna Nicole Smith is dead.

In the REM wars last night, the wife of Jeff Layhee called our house as we were having a party to tell us that Jeff Layhee was badly injured, found lying flat on his back on the concrete of the new home they were building. She asked me to tell everyone at the party. I tried, despite one woman in an azure blue suit dissuading me. Someone explained later that Jeff and his wife were millionaires, the wife lived in Riverside during the week for her job, and that they had “like, 10 kids,” which I knew was an exaggeration on all counts.

Incidentally, have no fucking clue who Jeff Layhee is.

The last couple of days have been spent socializing a great deal in town and gathering photos for MELUSINA research. Today, I’m reading the homicide manual. I skipped the chapter on narcotics-related homicides and went straight to evidence gathering. The most disturbing chapter by far has been on homosexual murders. There are details about homosexual homicides — such as the overkill slashes to the throat and ruptured bowels — that were very difficult to read. The photos are graphic. The only other chapter that’s been especially difficult was the serial murders, but not for the reasons you’d think. A lot of serial killers use bondage equipment to commit extremely sadistic murders. Seeing equipment that I normally associate with fun and sensuality used by these extremely sick individuals to torture and kill people really brought home why law enforcement doesn’t look at BDSM practitioners with such a kind eye. But to Vernon’s credit, he includes pictures of people who are willing participants in BDSM “sex games” so that the reader learns the difference.

But the pictures of people in bondage gear who’ve been tortured to death are haunting.

Anyway, time to get started.

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