DEAD DIAPER BLUES
This funky finch could hardly believe his feathered ears. On the other end of the horn was New Times reader Rose Hartman, a neighbor of none other than William Windsor, Phoenix's own beloved "Baby Man," whom New Times profiled in a 2005 cover story of the same name. And the sad news Rose had for The Bird was that Windsor had gone to that Big Crib in the Sky.
"I call him Diaper Man," chirped Hartman. "He's lived near me for two years. The mailman said he hadn't picked up his mail in a couple of weeks. And when he went to check on him, all he could see in the windows was flies. Big, fat flies."
The mailman reported this to the Phoenix Police Department, which responded on January 30, finding Windsor — a former country-Western singer, Broadway actor, heir to the Popular Mechanics fortune, and full-time adult baby/diaper lover — dead in his modest home at 1422 East Weldon Avenue. Phoenix police spokesman Luis Samudio told this pecker that a death investigation was under way but would divulge no further details until an autopsy was concluded.
Gayle Millette, a flack for the Medical Examiner's Office, informed this magpie that the body was "in a state of decomposition" when it was found. The determination of a cause of death was pending the outcome of a toxicology report, which may not be ready for weeks, she said.
Millette couldn't say whether Windsor died with his diaper on.
Windsor was a few months shy of his 58th birthday and had been spotted in early January attending a local performance of the musical Hair in full baby regalia. According to writer Joe Watson's 2005 profile of the diaper lover, Windsor had once starred in the musical's lead role, Claude, on Broadway in the '70s.
The cigarette-smoking, beer-swilling pacifier-sucker told then-New Times writer Watson he'd been obsessed with his odd, infantile fetish since he was a tot. But it wasn't until his father's death in late 2003 that he threw away all his adult duds and adopted the AB/DL lifestyle 24/7. Being the great grandson of H.H. Windsor, the founder Popular Mechanics magazine, didn't hurt either. When Windsor's pop passed away, his share of the fortune came to around $1.25 million.
The Bird had seen Baby Man in a local Fry's once, in bib and diapers, loading up his basket with Gerber's and milk. But it was Watson who tracked down the wanna-be toddler, meeting up with him at a local dive bar, where Windsor appeared wearing "a pink bonnet over his golden locks," a pink dress, white bobby socks trimmed with lace, patent-leather shoes, and of course, a diaper. Windsor reeked of baby powder.
Windsor was once married and fathered a son. But he eventually gave up the square life, and was living alone in a one-bedroom apartment when Watson discovered him. A true eccentric, Windsor slept in an oversized crib, sat in an oversized high chair, had trained himself to go number one and number two in his nappies, and occasionally hired women to wipe and "mother" him. He also re-christened himself "HeidiLynn."
He eventually became a legend, with fans (and detractors) worldwide. He made a memorable appearance on an episode of The Jerry Springer Show, dedicated to infantilism. And he maintained a Web site, which detailed his personal appearances and interviews. But to hear his neighbor Hartman tell it, he had become more and more of a recluse within the steel-barred confines of his home.
"He never came out in the daytime much," Hartman told this hawk. "He only came out at night."
This curious quacker couldn't help but stop by 1422 East Weldon to check on Baby Man's now-desolate abode. In the driveway, next to a couple of empty cat bowls, was Windsor's tan Buick with the license plate "DIAPER1." Out back, several frilly nighties hung on a clothesline. And through the kitchen door, The Bird could spy, in the bedroom, the giant crib Windsor napped in.
Certainly, Windsor was not alone in his diaper-fixation. The fetish site dailydiapers.com features thousands of regular chat-room visitors, some of whom were already honoring their friend online shortly after her death.
"Flamboyant, sharp, and always funny," wrote Mean Mommy of Windsor's HeidiLynn persona. "She will be missed."
ARIZONA ABU GHRAIB?
The prisoner rights activists over at the Quaker faith-based American Friends Service Committee in Tucson are taking credit for scuttling Terry Stewart's chances of taking over for former Arizona Department of Corrections Director Dora Schriro. Schriro, you see, recently resigned her post to go join ex-Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where Nappy's now the top dog-ette.
Stewart ran the ADC from 1995 to 2002 and currently works as director of administrative services for Maricopa County's Justice Courts. (The Bird tried calling Stewart for comment, but the erstwhile prison head has yet to respond.) And where Schriro earned a reputation — rightly or wrongly — for coddling convicts, Stewart has the exact opposite reputation. In fact, as the AFSC was quick to point out in its e-mail campaign warning of Stewart's possible return to the ADC, Stewart was one of several advisers to the Justice Department on the rebuilding of Iraqi prisons following the U.S. takeover there.
The AFSC suggested a tantalizing link between Stewart and the embarrassing Abu Ghraib prison scandal, which was revealed in 2004 by the New Yorker magazine and 60 Minutes. Everyone remembers the photos of hooded prisoners hooked up to electrodes, and those sadistic pics of naked Iraqi doods forming a human pyramid.
In 2004, Senator Charles Schumer of New York issued a scathing assessment of Stewart and other corrections officials involved in helping rebuild Iraqi prisons, saying they had "checkered records" that the DOJ should've known about before appointing them to such sensitive positions.
The release referred to the men as "tainted individuals," and in reference to Stewart, recounted how, in 1997, the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division was forced to sue Stewart and the ADC "concerning a pattern of sexual assault against female prisoners by male prison guards." Stewart "turned a blind eye," according to Schumer. The suit was ultimately settled with the ADC agreeing to make major reforms.
The DOJ's Office of the Inspector General looked into Schumer's charges and concluded that some independent contractors had not been fully vetted and, in the future, applicants would be asked whether they'd been sued for civil rights violations. In addition, Inspector General Glenn Fine maintained that, "The OIG's review uncovered no connection between by of the [contractors] and the abuses at Abu Ghraib."
All the same, Governor Jan Brewer did not name Stewart to replace Schriro. Instead, she appointed Stewart's former deputy, Charles Ryan, to be interim director. Interestingly, Ryan also helped the U.S. occupation rebuild Iraqi prisons and visited Abu Ghraib several times as part of his duties, though he told the inspector general that he and his fellow advisers were "generally steered clear of the portion of the prison that was under exclusive military control." He also denied witnessing any abuse at Abu Ghraib, or knowing about it until media reports hit.
Nevertheless, Ryan brings a similar attitude to Stewart's toward penology. On the Arizona corrections Web site, which features anonymous posts by ADC employees, Ryan's referred to as "Darth Vader" to Stewart's "Emperor." So The Bird called up Donna Hamm of Arizona's Middle Ground Prison Reform to see what she thought of the Ryan appointment.
"He's a very hard-line cop that's not necessarily very well-versed in corrections, human corrections," said Hamm. "There is a very direct conflict between someone who [has that mentality] and someone involved in corrections."
Hamm said her group would take a wait-and-see attitude toward Ryan. But this beaker can't help but be a little wary of the ADC's Darth Vader, especially since this winged wordsmith found an academic article penned by writer Joan Dayan for the collection History, Memory and the Law, wherein Ryan waxes poetic about the prison industry's mastering what he referred to as "chain gang technology."
As Ryan's "interim deputy," Governor Brewer appointed Charles Flanagan, who's viewed by Hamm and other prison reform advocates as a "progressive" when it comes to the fair treatment of inmates. But Ryan will be the boss for now, and the governor's spokesman, Paul Senseman, hasn't ruled out Stewart as a candidate for the permanent ADC post. So the future of Arizona's correctional facilities — and whether they will be humane or more along the lines of an Iraqi prison — remains unresolved.
Whatever happened to the great American tradition of leaving people alone? The sixth anniversary of the Macehualli Work Center in north Phoenix could've been a beautiful thing, with music, carne asada, Native American dancing and rituals, and children playing in the confines of the open-air facility, which's dedicated to giving day laborers a place to congregate and wait for job offers.
But a nasty pack of about 20 knuckle-dragging nativists from organizations such as Riders Against Illegal Aliens and Rusty Childress' United for a Sovereign America crashed the party on a recent Saturday morning, standing or sitting outside the center, hurling epithets, slurs, and foul language on the peaceful, family-friendly event inside.
Chief among the nitwits was convicted public urinator Buffalo Rick Galeener, who got off on threatening yours truly and getting into the face of activist Dennis Gilman in a futile attempt to provoke an altercation. (Galeener knew there were two plainclothes policemen nearby, from Phoenix PD's Community Response Squad, closely monitoring the situation.)
"If you get much closer, I'll piss in your ear," the nativist Snuffy Smith carped once when the subject of his conviction came up, after The Bird arrived on the scene. Another time, he promised to piss down this raven's beak. This flapper told Buffalo that he had an empty Coke bottle in his car if he needed to relieve himself.
You see, Galeener, one of the most obvious bigots in the local nativist ranks, pleaded guilty in December to taking an illegal al fresco whiz nearby the work center, just south of 25th Street and Bell Road. Galeener's pee-fest took place on March 8, 2008, when he was spotted making water into a plastic container outside the home of Paulita Cortes, who had her 2-year-old son with her at the time.
Galeener was talking part in what's been a yearlong siege of Macehualli by local redneck Mexican-bashers, who claim operator Sal Reza is violating the law by allowing day laborers to congregate on the property. The "rule of law" is the constant refrain of this crowd, though they've been known to break a few laws themselves. For instance, that morning one Hispanic-hating motorcycle enthusiast rode through Reza's property, forcing Reza to call 911. According to several witnesses, patrol cars showed up, but there were no arrests.
Notably absent was token anti-Hispanic Hispanic Anna Gaines, who is currently facing misdemeanor charges of criminal trespassing from an incident last year when she was arrested after refusing to leave a Borders bookstore. This, while she solicited petitions for a recall of Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon. BTW, her recall effort failed to submit even one signature to the city clerk.
On hand, however, were Frank and Brandy Baron, owners of a massage parlor in Cave Creek and, oddly, two of the most civil individuals in the nativist wild bunch. Also in attendance was Joe Arpaio-groupie Barb Heller, known for wearing a surgical mask during protests and for writing Sheriff Joe's name just above her ample cleavage, as shown in one photo on her MySpace page.
The Bird asked Heller why she wore a surgical mask, figuring it had something to do with the nativist propaganda regarding immigrants and disease.
"It's because I take drugs, like a lot of Americans, to lower immunity from arthritis," the aging, but still bodacious, biker babe stated. "And whenever I get around you and Gilman, I end up in the hospital . . . Apparently both of you are carrying something that makes me sick."
Nearby, pro-immigrant activist Adolfo Maldonado quickly piped in, "It's called intelligence."
At this, Mother Jugs stomped off. Scuttlebutt has it that Heller has recently become a member of Sheriff Joe's posse, but when she was asked about this, she replied that it was none of The Bird's business.
The hillbillies appointed a "media spokesperson," Val Roller, who eventually walked up to this tweeter and introduced herself. (The Bird's not sure what qualified her as a media spokeswoman, save that she seemed to have all her teeth.) Roller said she and her xenophobic tribe were just there celebrating being Americans, and that they weren't present to intimidate or shout obscenities.
Ironically, as we attempted a calm discussion, Buffalo kept cursing at this canary. At one point, when Sal Reza and some of the others there to celebrate Macehualli's b-day came out, Buffalo shouted out, "Get 'em back in the cage, Sal. Get 'em back in the cage!"
Earlier, Galeener referred to the woman who witnessed him peeing in public as a "cow." Many of the bikers parked right in front of the woman's house, as a scare tactic, while her little son romped in the front yard.
Eventually, the whole crowd of 'em jumped on their bikes, revved their motors loudly, and took off. What caused them to leave suddenly's unknown, though they had done their damage, like the Klan of old.
"They're feeling their oats because the state went right-wing," Reza stated after they were gone. "They're trying to intimidate us. We've been here six years and we'll be here as long as we have to be."