May 06, 2004


Most of us only know Ted Rall as a mild-mannered cartoonist and puke-wallowing non-person, but it turns out Rall has a secret identity -- as Taxi Ted the Terminator, avenger of his fallen cabby comrades! Read on to discover how Deadly Teddy dealt with NYCís taxi killer, whom Rall has imprisoned in his cab:

"Let me out! Forget it! Youíre nuts!" He was really scared.

"Throw out the gun first." He did. I slowed down to 20 or 30.
"Jump out! Iím not slowing down anymore!"

He opened the door. When he jumped, I swerved to the side of the street and sped up. I heard a deep, sonorous "bong!" and kept driving.

After composing myself, I circled the block and returned to the spot where my attacker had jumped, a half-hour later. Two EMS technicians were busy loading up my assailant.

I rolled down my window casually. "Whatís up? What happened to him?"

"Guy got tossed from a moving car. Heís really bad. Hit his head on a lamp post. Ugly."

Incidentally, the wave of cabby shootings along the West Side stopped.

Professor Bunyip, a terrible cynic, doesnít buy Rallís story. Nor do the Professorís readers.

I find this level of distrust alarming.

UPDATE. James Lileks:

Sometimes just being yourself is punishment enough. I have no idea if Mr. Rall is personally happy, although the one time I met him he didnít strike me as a jolly old soul. But it has to be hard to be happy when one carries around so much bile and rage. Itís tiring. Anger wears you down, especially when your anger doesnít seem to accomplish anything. Ted Rallís cartoons could have run in every paper every day since 9/11 and there will still be kids who saw Tillmanís choice as a remarkable act. (Tillmanís Choice: thereís a phrase that sums up quite a lot, doesnít it?) People like Rall are sitting on the curb, feet in the gutter, watching the parade go past, smirking at the guy with the baton, sneering at the cheerleaders. Everyone else watching the parade thinks I wonder if there will be elephants! And when they do appear, he rolls his eyes. Elephants. How obvious.

UPDATE II. Ted Rall: "I'm just a good liberal Democrat."

Posted by Tim Blair at May 6, 2004 02:00 AM

"I went home with $250 in balled-up, greasy fives and singles - all of it tax-free."

Nice of Ted to confess to federal income tax evasion in writing.

Posted by: Rick the Lawyer at May 6, 2004 at 02:24 AM

If you want to dig up stories of Rall being a sleazy creep, you just need to browse through his archives.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at May 6, 2004 at 02:27 AM

But with the addition of MoDo Ellipsis[TM], the article becomes staggeringly acurate:
"I immediately knew ...I sucked ... Iíd never been as certain of anything in my life. I...m (a) fucking asshole!...Better get used to it

I continued in this lunatic vein..screaming, thatís all...I had to do...I had nothing to worry about. I was ...nuts! Iím not...deep"

Posted by: Simon at May 6, 2004 at 02:30 AM

I think he's lying. I think he was actually an Army Ranger at the time.

Posted by: dorkafork at May 6, 2004 at 02:48 AM

This rings true for me. It reminds me of the time I was walking in the red-light district (I was lost! Okay?) and the Green-River Killer tried to get me into his car..I scared him so badly with my expert karate that he ran off like a girly-man and stopped killing for years!

He finally confessed. Probably living with the fear of me coming to get him for so many years was to much for him. He is now rotting in prison. I want no thanks, a comic book based upon my experiences will do.

Posted by: KellyW. at May 6, 2004 at 03:24 AM

To the Hon. Prof. Bunyip et all:
Rall's lying. That story would have been all over the tabloids in New York, and there would have been something in the New Jersey papers, where I live. Stuff like that's just too good to bury in a city where even it is too bizarre to ignore.

Word of advice to Rall: Get help. You really need to do something about your paranoid adolescent fantasies.

Posted by: gary at May 6, 2004 at 03:55 AM

Awesome find Tim. We need as much Rall ammo as---er, well, no we don't. We don't NEED any, but I personally think it is a fun topic because he is such a loser and cooked out freak. He's a joke.

Speaking of jokes, but unrelated to Rall- these are pretty funny:

'This Just In' video clips...

Posted by: David at May 6, 2004 at 03:55 AM

You know a bloke is nuts when he pretends to be Robert de Niro pretending to be nuts. We can presumably look forward to the story of the time Rall halted a cafe robbery with a little help from a smart waitress, a sugary cup of coffee, and his two companions, Smith & Wesson.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at May 6, 2004 at 04:01 AM

Ted is one of the greatest etch-a-sketch artists of all time.
Besides, public safety agencies and ambulance companies probably have records on file that would verify his story if someone wanted to take the time to.
It could be a great movie project for Michael Moore .

Posted by: BC at May 6, 2004 at 04:04 AM

Over the past forty years or so, I've read this story in its essence at least twice. Once in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Only in that one it's a carjacking/robbery gone bad when the driver gets on a freeway (or equivalent) and announces he was going to commit suicide anyway and wants to take the would-be robber with him. Same story line.

As hard as it may be to believe, maybe Rall can read. If so, who wouldn't believe he'd plagiarize?

(I can just see the beginning to this next story: "It was a big fish. It was a good fish.")

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at May 6, 2004 at 04:14 AM

Jorg -- I believe Niven did it in a story titled "The Deadlier Weapon".

Niven, of course, did a much better job.

Posted by: Robert Crawford at May 6, 2004 at 07:18 AM

Er, what happened to the gun Ted?

Posted by: fidens at May 6, 2004 at 09:33 AM

If Ted Rall could find a street of New York where he could speed nonstop and careen wildly without hitting any double-parked cars, he's a friggin' miracle worker.

Posted by: Rebecca at May 6, 2004 at 09:50 AM

I live in NY. There *was* a rash of cabbie murders years ago, but the cabbies murdered were gypsy cab drivers (i.e. not yellow, medallion cabs - the ones rall claims to have driven.) They call them "livery cabs" now. These cars used to be clapped-out tarted up sedans, but now they are all late-model Lincoln Town Cars. The livery cabs serve the outer boroughs and the non-white parts of Manhattan. That is where the murders occurred, not where yellow cabs go. The livery cabbies' jobs are much more dangerous than the yellow cab drivers'. They are much easier to rob, driving nice cars with no barrier dividing front seat and back. They work in more lonely parts of town, parts which also have a lot more criminals than the tony neighborhoods rall would have gone to.
Also, rall wouldn't have driven cab for the six years he claims to have. Anyone who can attend Columbia would, after the first excitement of a new job, be crushed by the hellish monotony of driving cab. But then he's such a creepy weirdo that maybe he could have stuck it out.
My favorite motto I saw on a gypsy cab: "We're not yellow! A livery car will take you anywhere."

Posted by: chuck at May 6, 2004 at 11:50 AM