1999 INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST — TAPE #528, SIDE #1
Q: Mark Russell Bell
B: Michael Russell
L: Ellen Russell
B: They’re all the same.
Q: Did he tell you what book he bought?
B: The sequel to The Silence of the Lambs.
L: (distaste) Ohh.
B: Hannibal. (“AND”)
Q: What did I tell you? I said, “Don’t. Whatever you do, don’t get it.” (“PLEA”)
B: But I mean I’m curious.
L: If he wants to —
Q: Do you ever listen to me?
Q: Does anyone ever listen to me? (“I”)
B: Sometimes. I’m going to try. I may not — I may stop reading because I’m so grossed-out. That happened to me before in a book.
Q: Michael, I —
B: What book did I read that I was so disgusted with? I couldn’t read it anymore.
Q: But Michael (“ONLY”) — why would you — you should only accept positive things into your life.
B: But I worked — remember I worked on “The Silence of the Lambs.”
Q: I think that says it all.
L: You know I saw coming from Anthony Hopkins’s own mouth — (“PRAY” or “PREY”) he said he was going to quit making movies. Now he’s talking about maybe doing The Silence of the Lambs (sequel).
B: Of course.
L: I mean I don’t —
B: They all say that in a fit of —
L: I don’t like liars.
B: They all say that. In the last few months, Liam Neeson said the same thing. (“EGO”)
L: No, I heard him. No, he said he — he said he had — (“I”) I understand . . . (“WHY” “IT WAS”)
B: It’s already two-thirty. I’d better get going.
Q: People have got to start thinking, though, about what they’re putting up there on the screen and into people’s minds (“OH I”) and consciousness.
L: Too bad about people’s minds.
B: They’re all doomed anyway. Let me call real quick.
L: And, Michael, another thing I heard. I heard one critic say about that Tom Cruise’s new movie with Nicole Kidman that —
B: “Eyes Wide Shut.”
L: — it was a mistake. He said their love scenes are — the fans are not going to like that nude — all the nudity.
B: Oh there’s a lot of nudity?
Q: You know, all I can say is —
Q: Get a life.
( . . . )
Q: And so thank you, Michael, for buying the Ensure Plus for Ellen. That was very nice of you.
B: Do you want me to put it away?
Q: But I wish you had waited to come home before having that hot dog because I have vegetable dogs —
B: You can get a whole drink and a hot dog — big hot dog for $1.50.
Q: But it’s shit. (“O YE[S]”)
Q: I’ve got vegan dogs in the refrigerator —
B: They’re huge.
Q: — I could’ve made if he’d just waited.
L: Is that Costco close to my dialysis center?
L: Oh. Because I heard there’s someplace that they talk about — it must be the Price Club that they go —
N: That’s where — Costco. (“IS AT”)
Q: I’m just saying —
L: You get a hot dog and a drink for $1.50.
Q: Everything —
B: That’s where I went. That’s what I got today.
Q: People think meat (“YEAH”) products are so important to have and you can have everything vegan or vegetarian. You don’t even have to (“VE”) eat meat.
L: That’s not what they tell me —
B: There’s a funny line in “Notting Hill” . . .
Q: I don’t want to hear movie lines.
B: She goes, “I’m a fruitarian.”
Q: Michael, get a life.
B: “I’m a fruitarian.”
Q: Get a life.
( . . . )
B: Do you know that dogs bark in their sleep? It’s so cute.
Q: They dream.
B: It is so (“BUT”) cute to watch.
Q: What I don’t understand is why are you going on vacation so soon after getting a puppy?
B: Because we already had — we already made plans.
Q: No, you hadn’t.
B: Yes, we had.
Q: When did you make plans?
B: Months ago.
Q: Then why did you plan to get a puppy and go on a vacation at the same time? (“LISTEN”)
B: I didn’t plan —
L: Mark — (“MARK”)
Q: That’s very self-indulgent to me.
L: It’s their life. (“IS”)
B: Steve and Chandler wanted to buy the dog.
L: It’s not your life.
Q: Do you love the dog?
B: It’s a lovable dog.
Q: Then why are you doing this?
B: Scotty will have to be with his parents who are retired. They can take good care of . . . (“YEAH”)
( . . . )
B: Are you done with “Red, Hot and Blue” CD? (“DO I”)
Q: I don’t have it.
B: Where is it?
Q: I don’t have that. (“BUT”) Anyway, what was I going to ask you? (“MUSIC”) But if (“NOR”) my book and website do start to get attention, I don’t want any anger or resentment or jealousy.
B: Mark, I wish you had that problem.
Q: I don’t want any “I’m not talking to you!”
L: I don’t think you have to worry about that. (“MARK” “TRANSCRIBING INTERVIEWS”)
B: It’s hard to sell. (“WELL” “IT’S”)
Q: We’ll see.
B: If you wrote the sequel to The Silence of the Lambs, you’d sell zillions.
L: No, you know what — (“NO” “BOOK”)
L: I’ve told him this before. Honey, I love your book because it’s an accomplishment. (“BUT IT’S THE”) The ramblings of a fruitcake.
B: (small laugh)
Q: That’s what they would’ve said to the original Jesus.
L: And nobody’s going to read ramblings. That’s like me sitting down and saying —
Q: Of course, what they did with the original Jesus —
L: If I’d say — Mark, it’s like me saying —
Q: — is they took what they wanted of it (“NO,” “THEY”) and they —
L: Yoo hoo —
Q: — edited it to mean whatever they wanted to politically and socially.
L: Mark, it’s like me sitting here and saying —
Q: This is like what Jesus wrote —
L: Mark, may I say something?
Q: — before they savagely mutilated it into their own commercialism. (“UH”)
L: Yoo hoo, that’s like me sitting here saying, “I’m going to write my book now. And here’s what I’m writing. Should I crochet today? Should I cook . . .
Q: Ellen, stop it.
L: . . . Oh I know. Maybe I’ll make that.
Q: Okay, Ellen.
B: (small laugh)
L: Maybe I’ll make that new pattern for the . . .
Q: Okay, Ellen, if you —
L: Oh what — well let me see.
Q: Ellen —
B: I have to use the bathroom.
L: . . . oh let me see.
Q: Okay, Ellen, but after you had this religious experience and wanted to share it with others —
L: Honey, I have a religious experience practically every day.
Q: I know but in terms of what would be the best way of sharing your experience with others? By telling them? No, that’s not true. But by doing it (“DID”) because words are cheap. So by showing it in your actions.
L: People have to have their own (experiences). Books mean nothing to them.
Q: Well I know but mine is real life. It’s a documentary so there’s more there that they can relate to.
Q: That’s because that’s the way you want to see me. (“NO”)
L: I love you. Mark, I’m the — I think that book’s an accomplishment. I don’t know who else could make a book with a picture and everything. It’s really — I mean that’s a very big accomplishment. It really is. (“WELL THEN WHAT” “SO”)
Q: So then I don’t understand. So what’s wrong with it?
L: It’s what’s between the covers.
B: Where did that owl come from?
L: That what?
B: Where did that owl come from in the bathroom?
Q: You know that was my — that was given to me for free. I was at the PRS and they couldn’t sell it so (“THAT WAS”) it was given to me.
B: Ohh. Wow.
Q: I love owls.
( . . . )
Q: Did you notice too that owl stitchery matches the paint perfectly? Did you notice that? (“UH-HUH” “S[O]”) What do you think? This apartment is as spacious as the one in Santa Monica, wouldn’t you say?
B: It seems like it’s pretty good.
L: Yeah . . .
Q: I mean I found this like — I went out in two days and found this.
L: And not only that —
B: I know. I wish it was closer.
L: You should see — (“WW WHEN”)
Q: No but this was exactly what I wanted. It’s warm in the valley for Ellen. It’s better for Ellen’s health.
L: But I wish — oh shut up.
Q: Well say something important and profound.
L: God. (“I NE”) And not only that when we paid the rent — or I pad the rent, hh hh hhh.
Q: Well thank you. I do appreciate it. You want to help.
L: When we got the receipt —
Q: And I’ve got so many other bills. (“JES”) Christ!
B: He’s got ads to pay for. (“WHAT” “WELL I”)
L: I know. You know how much he pays a month just for storage?
Q: I know.
B: Two hundred bucks.
Q: But God — you should see what I’ve got. (“THE”) Declaration of Independence.
B: They should’ve dropped that price. (“SMART” TWO” or “TOO”) What?
L: I wanted to say when we got our receipt back from our rent, they told us we only have to pay how much the coming month?
Q: Oh that’s because it was prorated for some reason.
L: I don’t understand it. It’s prorated. Only five hundred and some dollars.
Q: I know. (“WILL”) We’re paying $300 less a month here and it’s much nicer. It’s not cold all the time.
B: Well as long as you’re happy. (“I ME”)
L: But usually it’s supposed to be five —
B: Most people would kill to live by the ocean.
Q: I know but once you get there it’s terrible. I mean that’s why so many rich people live by the ocean is because it’s terrible.
L: I know that’s why I got sick. I mean there’s no doubt in my mind.
Q: That’s one of the reasons why you got sick. (“WAS” “SOY” “BEANS”) You were sick before.
B: So hot — I can’t remember it being this warm in ages.
Q: But actually it’s good that you did get sick because that got you (“YES”) into the hospital (“TO GET YOUR”) to get the work done that you had needed for some time.
L: Oh yeah. Sure.
Q: Yeah. Sure.
L: Anyway — (“SO MIKE”)
Q: Really. So anything else? (“NO”)
( . . . )
Q: I think people really should be very selective about who they choose to settle down with because this whole thing with Michael’s puppy — remember when he had the cat? What was her name again?
Q: Naya. I said, “Don’t mate her. She’s the runt of the litter. She’s sickly. She’ll die.” (“YEAH”) And Steve and Michael both —
L: Mark —
Q: — thought nothing of it. (“I”) They mated her and she died.
L: I know.
Q: And all the kittens died.
L: I know.
W: Would you have ever let the cat be mated like that?
L: I don’t know.
Q: Would I have ever let that cat? Would I?
L: I don’t know.
Q: No. No one ever (“PEOPLE”) listens to me.
L: Nobody ever listens (to anybody).
( . . . )
Q: I guess Michael didn’t like that last comment because I was by the bookshelves and something fell on the floor for no reason at all. That’s what I have to deal with. I guess that’s all what we have to deal with. But only some of us are conscious of it. I’m entitled to my opinion.
( . . . )
Q: Thinking about it a little bit more, of course not all of us are meant to have significant others in our life. At least, not physical beings.
( . . . )
Q: This is exactly the reason why I stopped doing these tapes and, of course, now that this whole Variety thing happened, I was going to do one tape, which became two tapes and now it’s three tapes because I still have to resolve the Variety situation. But it’s just too difficult. I mean what I say isn’t necessarily the way God would see things. Of course, we’re talking about a very fragmented and kaleidoscopic mixture of feelings where God is concerned. So it’s very difficult for me. I do have a loving relationship with Mighael. Still. Our last big altercation was when I was temping for UCLA Medical Center and they fired Moses and wanted me to do the job. (“AND”) It wasn’t really a bad job — well, it wasn’t really a good job either. (“AND”) A sinful job because it was supporting UCLA Health Care and, of course, my mom’s medical bills show just what’s going on there. It’s just all a big money racket. Anyway, so I knew when they made me start having a name tag that said “Cash Posting Dept.” — I knew (“THAT”) this was a message to stop working there; to go on. I found out what I needed to. I felt sort of upset because I knew it was a sinful place to begin with. Maybe I was there as a whistle-blower. In any case, I felt, “Well I knew it was sinful before and it didn’t take this name tag.” And then I started thinking, “Well maybe this whole business about temp jobs and when to leave and when not to leave is (“ALL”) something I’m inventing. I mean this is ridiculous. I have to have a job. So, anyway, I discussed this with one of the other employees who I knew was a Christian because she had one of those Christian messages posted over her desk. And just the other day she had told me about how (“WELL”) “Watch for signs from God and then you’ll know what to do.” So I told her — I mean I did have a sense of foreboding. And that night when I was driving home — I would drive home through Westwood every night and you know that the traffic there is really bad if you’ve ever been in that area. And I would go out of my way to avoid difficult intersections. Well, anyway, I had a green light. Not yellow. Green light. (“BUT”) The traffic was so bad that someone was trying to make a right hand turn and couldn’t see me at all and almost — and turned right in front of me. So, of course, there was no place for me to go so I had to slam on my breaks. I was sure I was going to plow into this vehicle that illegally turned in front of me. I must’ve been less than an inch from hitting her when my car somehow came to a stop. So the next day I told my friend at work, “Well God isn’t always very subtle, is He?” And, of course, I told my supervisor (“THAT”) this was my last day. Of course, scenes like this do take their toll. But I really must say I have been in similar situations enough time to know that they’re really more messages. I mean nothing really bad did happen. And it was because of Love. Because of that, I was home to get the call about moving out of my apartment, which I did in just a few days’ time — I had to make all the arrangements in just a few days’ time — (“WHICH”) brought me $20,000 which was enough to sustain me and get me out of the current hell that I was in at the time. (“SO”) And, plus, it got Mighael His ad in Daily Variety. So sometimes I wonder — I mean I don’t feel some of the things that I might’ve imagined, being in my predicament. I do feel Loved. In fact, last night I was desperate for signs of Love and I had been transcribing a tape. And I thought I heard “I LOVE YOU.” And I listened to the message again and, no, I couldn’t be sure so — when I can’t really make out the spirit messages I just usually don’t put anything at all. I have to hear them very — I have to really feel that this is really the spirit message. Of course, when I was first starting out, I might’ve made some mistakes. But I’ve become better at transcribing as I’ve gone along. I’m at the point now where if I put something down as a spirit message, that’s exactly what I’m hearing. And if I can’t make out — there are spirit messages that I can’t quite hear because sometimes there are lots of unattributed sounds like different electronic sounds, blips, knocks, raps, just everything imaginable. And sometimes these sound a lot like words so it’s a quite difficult task. Much like transcribing reverse speech. (“BUT”) Of course, this is forward speech and there are all kinds of spirit messages. Anyway, you can hear them on any broadcast just about, once you know that they’re there. I’ve heard them on just about every broadcast, television and radio. People think it’s just extraneous noise. Your mind just filters it out because you want to get the meaning. Anyway, so I listened — I put on the radio to one of those love songs — oh, I had been transcribing before and I did hear the word “LOVE.” It was very prominent. (“SO” “JUST”) Just reminding me how important love is to God. I mean, of course, anyone who listens to any song — (“BECAUSE” “THIS”) theme usually is love. Just about every song — that’s the theme. So, obviously, all the poems and all everything else — really love is the main issue here. So I was listening to songs and there were a lot of very significant songs — just happened to come one right after another. That love song from “Top Gun” for example and that Chris Isaak song (“Wicked Game”) from the David Lynch movie. Just ones that I hear from time to time and seem very telling. At least, when I hear them — like “Silver Springs” was another one, I guess, by Fleetwood Mac. Anyway, I’m sure we all have synchronicity stories about songs. Anyway, I don’t mean to be judgmental — too judgmental. I mean I do think that life is nothing but judgment so I’m not — I don’t like it when people say, “Don’t be judgmental. Let me do whatever I goddamn well want.” But you can be too judgmental like I think I was being. (“AND IN”) Background, Ellen was watching one of these police video shows where some guy was stopped by a female traffic officer. He had marijuana so all of a sudden he started beating her up and almost killed her. I mean this was just because he had some marijuana in the car — (“AND IT”) was right in front of his daughter. Anyway, I had some choice words about that too so I never know what upsets Mighael. An eye for an eye? (“I MEAN WHAT”) I don’t know. I mean I’m just — some of the spirit messages I have trouble understanding too. I don’t understand what’s really on God’s mind. I mean how could I know? I can just read the messages, have feelings. Anyway, I think this is probably very important to address. The whole thing about spirit messages and unattributed sounds is probably what’s keeping most people from buying my book because it’s just too outlandish: ‘It can’t be so.’ Yet I have all the tapes. You can hear them yourself. Anyway, Mighael was encouraging about this third tape because when I stopped by the drugstore to pick up some microcassettes, as I was paying for them the cashier dropped a penny. It sort of flew, which was a sign that I interpreted as approval. Anyway, I’m totally rational. It’s not a chemical imbalance. I don’t know what chemical imbalances are or what causes them. Everything I talk about is rooted in interpreting things that do happen. Of course, no one was here in my bedroom when this poster, which was on top of the bookcase, suddenly fell down but it wasn’t gravity. So if Mighael didn’t like something I said, that’s sort of a gentle way of expressing Himself even though I must say I did have my tape recorder when I was talking to my mom and, for some reason, the tape recorder wasn’t working at all. So you get the idea. Anyway, people choose not to consider the material I present even though I think those who do make the effort get a lot of it. And I know that there are some people who have gotten a lot out of it but yet don’t know how to address it for whatever reasons in their own life. They’ll make vague statements about something happening yet they won’t name names, they won’t — (“WELL”) I don’t know what to say. I think in time people will discuss it. It’s worthy of discussion. I mean everything else is. I mean I’ve heard every crazy thing in the world discussed. For some reason, I’m the exception. It can’t be because it’s obviously false. It may be that they think I’m a liar. It might be that they’re afraid others won’t know how to handle it but I think that’s probably just a form of denial. So there a myriad of reasons and that really isn’t my concern. My concern is delivering my Spiritual advice and the truth of there being a God of Love. If only it were that simple, however. There’s far more, other spiritual advice I could give, by the way, but I think enough is enough. I mean, hopefully, honesty being the basis of all wisdom is another significant statement but I don’t really feel it needs to be on any list. I mean I think twenty is enough.
( . . . )
Q: I know what I’ll do. To give a reflection of God and let Him say something, I’ll get my Tarot cards that I made for myself. There are about a hundred different messages and see which seven come up.
( . . . )
Q: So I was going to get seven cards but then I went into the other room. Ellen was watching some interview show and someone’s name was Bob. (“SO”) This is how difficult it is being me. I mean should I give myself a reading? I mean I’m the one who designed the cards. Would this really reflect Mighael’s sentiments at this time? Should I give myself a reading? Well, yes, I’ll go ahead (“BUT”) — I’ll go ahead. What the hell.
( . . . )
Q: Well so I was shuffling it. ‘HELL’ and “INSANITY’ and ‘SELF-INDULGENCE’ have already come up so I don’t think I’m going to enjoy this reading. Remember the time I gave you the reading and all those horrible cards came up? Ohhh. Well let’s see what seven —
L: We know what that was —
Q: Why don’t we —
L: We know what self-indulgence —
Q: Ellen, please.
L: What were the others? We all know you’re nuts. What else?
L: You’re in hell because you’re not getting what you want.
Q: Ellen, stop it. I don’t know what I want.
L: You want more of it.
Q: No, I think our world is a hell today thanks to what we have made it collectively. Okay, let’s see what seven cards there are. I’m going to cut it one more time. Okay, I don’t know. I didn’t shuffle it — I didn’t — oh well who cares? Okay let’s see. The seven cards are ‘ALIENS,’ ‘WAR,’ ‘HOPE,’ ‘SPORTS FAN’ —
L: Oh really?
Q: — ‘FEAR’ —
L: What was that?
Q: — ‘LOVE IS THE ONLY TRUE RELIGION’ and ‘GAMBLER.’ A lot of game cards: ‘WAR,’ ‘SPORTS FAN’ and ‘GAMBLER.’ Of course, I’m the world’s smallest sports fan.
L: . . . nothing that applies to you . . .
Q: Oh they all apply to me. ‘WAR’ — (“WELL WHA”) ahead for all of us right now the way things are going. I do have ‘HOPE.’ ‘ALIENS’ speaks for itself. ‘FEAR’ speaks for itself. ‘GAMBLER,’ of course, speaks for itself. ‘LOVE IS THE ONLY TRUE RELIGION’ — what else is new? I guess that’s the central message that I would have to give the world. ‘LOVE IS THE ONLY TRUE RELIGION.’ ‘SPORTS FAN’ —
L: You like tennis.
Q: I don’t like tennis.
L: You don’t?
Q: No. It’s a joke. I’m the world’s smallest sports fan. I think sports have to deal with repressed homosexuality — a lot of that.
( . . . )
Q: What did you say?
L: Give me mine.
Q: You want me to do you a reading?
Q: After that last one?
L: I want to do my own.
Q: Ellen, these are my cards. (“I”) I’ll — you can shuffle them — (“YOU”) cut the cards. I’ll shuffle them.
L: Alright. Hurry up. (“BUT”)
Q: We know what it’s going to say.
L: Hurry up.
Q: It’s going to say ‘DISEASE,’ ‘STUPIDITY’ — okay we’ll see what it says.
( . . . )
Q: Okay, Ellen. What are you watching? “America’s Dumbest Criminals.” Oh that’s all you need. Okay so your seven cards, Ellen, are: ‘WORK IS NOT LIFE,’ ‘ANGER,’ ‘MERRILY MERRILY MERRILY MERRILY,’ ‘FANTASY,’ ‘CHARITY,’ ‘FOOL’ and ‘JOIN A GYM.’ If only you’d done that twenty years ago, you’d be in much better shape.
L: Oh Mark.
Q: The ‘FOOL’ card is a very, very good card, by the way.
L: Oh good.
Q: People who know a little bit about these cards knows that the ‘FOOL’ card is a very, very good card.
( . . . )
Q: It’s not too late. I guess you could still join a gym and that might get (“YOUR”) your kidneys working again.
Q: No, really. Try it. You have nothing to lose. You won’t do it, I know.
L: First of all, people don’t have to join gyms if they do . . .
Q: Ellen, these shows are so negative though when you watch, like, “Cops” and “America’s Dumbest Criminals.”
L: It doesn’t do anything to my psyche.
Q: I mean it’s got to do something. All you see is negative images of human beings.
L: I see that everywhere everyday. I look out the window and I see a negative image. It doesn’t bother me. (“IT”)
Q: You don’t even know what’s going on.
L: Mark, I think I know. It doesn’t bother me. I don’t have to analyze every little thing . . . Thank you very much.
( . . . )
Q: What’s really disgusting about this show is the inappropriate laugh track.
L: They have a huge audience.
Q: It’s disgusting. I mean listen to it. It’s like entertainment — all the disenfranchised people. I mean it’s horrible. Oh look, this one’s name is Billy. There are different categories of people like there are Williams and Davids and Johns. Richards. Richard has the word ‘ha’ in it.
L: Who cares?
Q: And rich.