Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Zzyzx (continued)

Room rates at the hotel were reasonable. No one was being ripped off. That’s not what Zzyzx was about. Spiritual health and physical vitality were the watchwords at Zzyzx.

Guests were, of course, encouraged to make free-will “donations” to the Springer Foundation. The encouragement came dressed up in the rousing sermons Dr. Springer preached twice a day over a state-of-the-art booming PA system. After a few days of such encouragement, it seemed silly not to make a generous donation, especially when the guests felt so healthy, so changed, so liberated. So cured.

Miracles like this didn’t come free, they told each other. God’s work would continue only with their help. So they gave.

But that wasn’t all. Dr. Springer had his own publishing company and his own radio station at Zzyzx. Flyers, pamphlets and booklets churned off the printing presses. And the radio station blazoned Dr. Springer’s Christian messages to the faithful and to those still seeking for light in a dark world. Dr. Springer delivered his messages in a good-old-boy, folksy manner. They were easy to understand and very non-threatening. There was not a hint of hell, fire and damnation. Only a heavy dose of the healing power of Jesus, which could be found by one and all in the Antediluvian Tea, the ‘Hollywood Pep Cocktail,’ which was nothing more than the juices of carrots, celery, turnips, parsley and brown sugar. 'Manna' was the real name of the Pep Cocktail.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Zzyzx (Pt 5)

(Continued from Pt. 4)
Listeners from around the world called the phone number they had heard on the radio. When they did, they got a recording of Dr. Springer. His dulcet tones beckoned them with, “Hello, this is your old friend Curtis Springer coming to you from Zzyzx Mineral Springs out in the heart of the great Mojave Desert.”

Zzyzx, the curious were informed, was the “last word” in health and vitality.

The response was overwhelming. They came in droves. Every Wednesday buses ferried hopeful sinners and health seekers from the Olympic Hotel on Figueroa Street in L.A. out to Zzyzx. And of course, the bus rides were free.

For those questing souls who arrived, the day at Zzyzx started with a breakfast of goat’s milk and Springer’s Antediluvian Tea. The tea had miraculous power. It healed the inner organs of the body, revivified strength and health, and prolonged the life span of all who drank it. It was the next best thing to the Fountain of Youth.

Rabbit meat, fruit, ice cream and fresh vegetables completed the menu.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

(Zzyzx Pt 4)

(Part 3)

Remains of the Springer spa at Zzyzx, California. Photograph taken by Mark A. Wilson (Department of Geology, The College of Wooster); Wikipedia

Many of the men told Dr. Springer to take a hike because they didn’t like his rules. The one that irritated them the most was the no-alcohol policy. But many decided to work for this happy Jesus-freak and save their money. Then they could quit and go buy booze.

So they built and built and built. Working for the man who was working for The Man.

Dr. Springer called his Utopia Zzyzx, because he wanted it to be the last word in spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health.

Zzyzx had a chapel. It had a fancy mineral pool with soaking tubs, where the miracle cures took place. Naturally, the pool was shaped like a cross. Cleanliness was next to Godliness at Zzyzx. There was an artificial lake, made by men for men. Here the new believers could be baptized just like Jesus. And Dr. Springer would play the role of John the Baptist.

Visitors stayed in a two-story 60-room hotel that even had its own airport. Dr. Springer called the airport Zyport – the portal to Zzyzx. And like a prototype of the strip of Las Vegas, there was even a main drag called the ‘Boulevard of Dreams.’

When Zzyzx was finished the only thing missing were people – sinners who wanted to have their burdens eased. Sick people who wanted to be healed.

They weren’t missing for long.

Dr. Springer began a dazzling and omnipresent promotional campaign. National and international radio broadcasts proclaimed the location of heaven on earth. Out in the middle of the desert, like an oasis, sat a land of milk and honey. It was called Zzyzx. It was a place where miracles took place.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Blood In, Blood Out Named A Hot New Release!

Blood In, Blood Out--A Hot New Release at Amazon!

Basil & Spice FirstLook At BLOOD IN, BLOOD OUT

FirstLook Review by Christopher Zoukis

Gangs are rampant throughout the prison system.  One of the most notorious prison gangs of the 1980s and 1990s was the Aryan Brotherhood.  According to John Lee Brook, who wrote Blood In, Blood Out, the Aryan Brotherhood began in 1964 in San Quentin Prison.  A group of white bikers banded together to protect themselves from other gangs, which, back then were called ‘tips.’  Initially, the bikers referred to their gang as the Diamond Tooth tip.  Later, the name changed to the Bluebird tip.  Finally, they became known as the Aryan Brotherhood.   

The author traces the gang’s involvement in producing and distributing crystal meth.  Through interviews with a number of gang members, most of who insist on anonymity, the book tells of the rise of a Superlab in the East Bay Area of California.  As the story progresses, the personalities and quirks of those involved begin to shine through.  One of the more interesting ‘stars’ of the book is Arturo Colano (a pseudonym), who is the sci-guy, the chemist who runs the Superlab.  Colano is extravagantly flamboyant, highly intelligent, and more than a little corrupt.  Which means he’s a charming rascal, on the one hand.  On the other hand, he is the fulcrum on which the see-saw of drug production pivots.
Author John Lee Brook uses an easy, light-hearted, almost quixotic voice as he writes about Colano’s endeavors, along with his sidekick, Wolfman, who is pretty much the handy-andy of the Superlab.  In reality, Wolfman is a skinhead and leader of a group of outlaw bikers called Nazi Low Riders. 

Yet, because of ambition and circumstances, Wolfman finds himself overseeing shipping and receiving, distribution, and money laundering for a vast drug trafficking operation.  And although complete opposites when it comes to personality, Colano and Wolfman work well together.  Like salt and pepper, they each add their own peculiar zest, complementing each other. 

In spite of the quixotic quality, on another level, the author manages to inject a rude, harsh-textured energy into the book.  It’s just under the surface all the way through the story.  It’s the palpable energy of badness.  No matter how charming some of the characters might be, they are outlaws, pure and simple.  In short, they are not nice people.     
The Aryan Brotherhood’s empire came crashing down in 2002, which was when the Department of Justice brought over 40 high-ranking members of the gang to trial.  John Lee Brook takes the reader inside the courtroom, where attorneys exchange verbal feints and jabs like prize fighters, and witnesses, who are mostly former gang members turned informants, attempt to persuade the jury of their sincerity and reliability.  How the jury reacts to the testimonies of the informants provides a unique perspective on the inner workings of jury deliberations, as they decide on degrees of culpability and guilt.
John Lee Brook weaves his tale with great skill.  

All in all, it’s a sensational read.  Yet it is this ‘sensational’ aspect that causes the reader to pause and ponder.  Since most of the people providing the information are anonymous, one wonders as to their truthfulness.  In other words, where does one draw the line between fact and hyperbole?  One is irresistibly reminded of the Laocoon group in mythology, with the yarn spinners entwined in the coils of magnanimous self-interest, and the reader trying to fight his way through the twists and knots of incredulity.  Which is a polite and literary way of asking if the anonymous blabbermouths are relating objective truth or subjective embellishment?  The latter would seem to be a definite possibility.  Of course, it’s also possible that, like the Pharisees in the Bible, they are presenting whitewashed versions of their stories, a common human trait.  Most people can see the sins of others, yet are blind to their own foibles.  Thus, they usually portray themselves as better than they really are.

In either eventuality, Blood In, Blood Out makes for an absorbing read. 
On a scale ranging from 1 star to 5 stars (5 stars being the ultimate compliment),  
Blood In, Blood Out comes in at 5 stars!  
Blood In, Blood Out: The Violent Empire of the Aryan Brotherhood (Headpress/2010) By John Lee Brook

Mexican Drug Cartels Compete for Market Share  

Last Meals Of Serial Killers And Mass Murderers

Crystal Meth: A Foreign Conspiracy

Copyright © 2006-2010, Basil & Spice. All rights reserved.

Women in Crime Ink: Blood In, Blood Out

Women in Crime Ink: Blood In, Blood Out

Saturday, June 19, 2010

(Zzyzx Pt 3)

Part 2
Dr. Springer knew God never thought small, so neither did he. He filed a mining claim on 12,800 acres of California desert. Then he got to work on building Utopia.

For three days each week, he and his ‘family’ lived in a luxury hotel suite in Los Angeles. There he made tapes for his national radio broadcasts, which permeated the atmosphere across the United States, blazing forth from 100,000 watt radio stations. 227 radio stations transmitted the words of Dr. Springer. And they were golden words, for they stimulated his listeners to part with their money. The donations flowed in, and the money was counted and deposited in the bank.

The other four days of the week, Dr. Springer cruised skid row in his campaign bus, rounding up drunks, bums and penniless vagabonds. He offered them food and shelter in return for manual labor. They were put to work in the desert, building the headquarters of his soon-to-be worldwide ministry.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Most Dangerous Gangs: Bloods, Crips, MS-13, Aryan Brotherhood

Most dangerous gangs in the state the Bloods, Crips, MS-13 and Aryan Brotherhood. GANGLANDWORLD###

(Zzyzx Pt 2)

(Part 1)
Dr. Springer became a minor celebrity because of his gift of gab. He was a radio evangelist at radio station KDKA in Pittsburgh in the 1930’s. The business of saving souls destined for Hell was booming and Dr. Springer needed room to boom. The year was 1944 and God had given Curtis a ‘word of wisdom,’ which is where God whispers in the ear of the pious. God told Curtis to “go into the desert,” because the war would soon be over and His work needed to be done. God would bring the people to Curtis.

So Dr. Springer packed up his fiancee Helen and their born-out-of-wedlock daughter and moved to what he called “a mosquito swamp” in the Eastern Mojave. Spiritual fads and miracle cures were all the rage in California. The people had open hearts and open minds. And Dr. Springer hoped to open their hearts to Jesus, their minds to the Holy Ghost, and their wallets to him.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Zzyzx. The word looks like something Einstein scribbled while trying to prove his famous theory of relativity. But it’s not. It’s a place in Death Valley in southeastern California.

The only reason anyone goes there is because of a rare and bountiful spring located at the girdle of chocolate colored mountains. The Spaniards were the first. Then in 1860, the U.S. Army had a fort there. It was called Hannock’s Redoubt.

Fame came to the area when Curtis Howe Springer arrived. According to some people, Dr. Springer as he called himself, was a flamboyant maverick. Others just called him a charlatan or a con-man.
Part 2

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Blood In, Blood Out: The Violent Empire of the Aryan Brotherhood

Here's the cover. The background painting was done by a friend -- Sean G. Fanin -- a famous artist who lives in London.

John Lee Brook

John Lee Brook is the author of Blood In, Blood Out: The Violent Empire of the Aryan Brotherhood. Published by Headpress, the book will be released in September of 2010. Described as "controversial and drastically scandalous," the book has to be read to be believed.