Predictions of Billy Mitchell at His Court Martial

DATELINE: Court of Public Opinioncoop-as-mitch

If you have a fondness for court room drama, you may have overlooked an Otto Preminger film, starring Gary Cooper. It’s out there if you look: The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell.

It was not well-received back in 1955, though it was fascinating even then to look back on Col. Billy Mitchell, an aviation pioneer in the U.S. Army who was court-martialed for decrying the incompetence and negligence of the 1920s military authorities.

Cooper always brought a built-in sympathy to his biographical roles—and Col. Mitchell was, above all else, a patriot—even when his peers, a who’s who of military heroes, came together to demote and to suspend him. History vindicated him and the short-sightedness of the Army.

An all-star cast, by later standards, filled out the ranks: before they were really big, Darren McGavin, Peter Graves, and Jack Lord, played Col. Mitchell’s friends. And, the cast even featured a Douglas MacArthur lookalike as one of the judges. Well, MacArthur was among the real life judges.

Charles Bickford is his usual tough-guy general—and usually comic Fred Clark is the prosecutor who is relieved of duty to bring in the big gun: Rod Steiger, to shred Col. Mitchell in the climactic testimony scene. James Daly and Ralph Bellamy are his defenders.

It’s all rather pedestrian in its film style, but Billy did predict an Air Force Academy, jets that could fly 1000 miles an hour, and the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese in 1923.  We don’t hear the name Billy Mitchell on Donald Trump’s list of military heroes—but he should be. The film is color, but feels like it’s black and white.

Mitchell went after government and tried to change it abruptly with a turn toward the future. He failed, but hindsight recognition is better than none at all.

We thoroughly enjoyed this historical episode, brought to life by a generation of top-drawer professionals.

Trump Weighs in on Concussions in the NFL

DATELINE:  Heady Stuff





NFL players are angry at Donald Trump.

He has downplayed the concussion protocol as an excuse to not play football for a year.

As a billionaire, like so many NFL owners, the rich folk equate concussions to hangnails and other unworthy excuses. These are the kind of rich people who used to own slaves—and rationalized it as giving the shackled masses a roof over their heads and religious fervor.

If there is one spot that separates billionaires from the peons, it is on concussion policy. Super-rich people hate it when the minions find a reason to go on the dole.

Not only that, it’s clear billionaires never go to the movies. That may explain why Will Smith’s movie Concussion exposing the NFL went out with the baby’s bathwater. It explains why Smith received no Oscar. It’s explains why all those former NFL players are committing suicide.

We aren’t one of those who make excuses for billionaires because they are, after all, disadvantaged from real life. NFL football is hardly real life. Any game where child molesters and wife beaters are treated equal to deflaters of footballs is thriving in an alternate universe.

Billionaires usually play Candy Crush on their private jets to relax—and obviously collisions ending in destruction are fun things, not serious medical issues.

So, you can’t blame Donald Trump for calling a concussion a little ding on the head. After all, he dismissed John McCain’s long bout of torture in a Vietnamese prison as not credentials enough to be a hero, on the order of Batman.

Trump admires General George “Blood and Guts” Patton. As we recall, the peons sent into battle by Patton used to facetiously say—“Our blood and his guts.”

Trump believes strongly those who are about to die should salute before being sent into oblivion. We give that a thumbs down.

In short, Bill Belichick has moved on from the 21st century technology. He is on to the Stone Age. And our fellow Neanderthals love it.

Belichick Sends Tablet to IR

DATELINE: Technophobe


Bill Belichick has rejected use of the Surface, a Microsoft version of the iPad for in-game, on-field usage.

The grumpy old man of football has given all those post-60 types cause to celebrate dumping tea into Boston Harbor. Yes, we saw Swami Bill smash his tablet during a game a few weeks ago. Now he has tossed his tablet into the harbor as a form of protest.

We were reminded of Moses smashing the tablets he brought down from the mountain for similar reasons.  It was hard to get a handle on them.

Of course, Microsoft has responded with more than a bit of shock that the greatest coach in the NFL today has tossed out their product as unreliable. It seems they need an aspirin tablet after failing to live up to Swami Belichick’s high standard.

Younger types might snicker at the old reprobate turned technophobe, but purists will take pictures over fancy screen words every time.

The Patriots head coach didn’t just reject tablets with a wave of the hand. The laconic Belichick who never has words for any occasion, devoted five minutes to run down the notion as, “I have given them as much time as I can give them.”

Wow, this ought to make Stephen Gostowski worry about his next missed point-after.

Belichick went on to dun all technology—from headsets to the abacus. “Those fail on a regular basis. There are very few games that we play, home or away, day, night, cold , hot preseason, regular, season, postseason where there aren’t issues in some form or fashion with the equipment.”  Talk about taking a broad brush in a high handed fashion.

In short, Bill Belichick has moved on from the 21st century technology. He is on to the Stone Age. And our fellow Neanderthals love it.

Victory for Brady & Pats Again

 DATELINE: Unsportsmanlikefulvous yellow

The Patriots had a Bengal Tiger by the tail for the second half of the game at Foxboro, according to the referees who came to the game directly from their meeting at the Old Ladies Sewing Circle.

A most unhappy lot of Bengals were playing over their heads in the first half, mostly heady over sacking Tom Brady repeatedly. Thank heavens the offensive line gave no more offense by half-time. Tom does not approve of Tony the Tiger and Sugar Frosted Flakes, and so the Bengal Tigers probably incensed him.

When the momentum changed, the Bengal pussycats started to show their claws. The Cincinnati team had a lean and hungry look—and such teams are exceedingly dangerous.

They even took to baiting Gronk, who never quite lost it as he did in this game. We saw a most uncharacteristic Gronk being called for unsportsmanlike conduct, worse apparently than taunting the enemy.

We know Gronk was not feeling well because he was doing a shimmy shake at the goal line when LaGarrette Blount mixed it up with the Bengals.

Gronk agitated is a sight to behold. When he came off the field, he seemed to make a case to a mostly sympathetic Swami Belichick, but the real support came from Jimmy G and Devon McCourty who congratulated him on his bad sportsmanship on the sidelines.

Brady seemed to need a few extra minutes to raise up his hackles. By the second half, he made mincemeat of the Bengals—and gave Gronk one of his biggest career days for yardage.

It seems highly likely that Brady may have more yards than quarterbacks who will have played all sixteen regular season games, having done his work neatly in a dozen games.

On to Pittsburgh with the Roger Goodell Memorial Tour.

Heads Up for the Cincinnati Game with Patriots

DATELINE: Gost or Ghost?


We’re on to Cincinnati.  The only problem is that the Patriots are not going to Cincinnati. The Bengal lancers are coming here to Foxboro.

For Patriot fans, it’s like Caligula reading in the programme that he’s on to the lions. No, not those in Detroit. The lions come to Caligula.

Local media are celebrating this occasion as if Guy Fawkes succeeded in blowing up Parliament.

The Bengals can’t change their spots for this game. And, they are on the spot for sure. What? You mean they prefer pinstripes. Who do they think they are? The Yankees?

If the lowly Bengals garner any sympathy, it is for being brave as they are thrown across the sacrificial altar before having their heart ripped out or head chopped off.

No one gives them much of a chance against the Tom-Brady-Jack-the-Ripper-Slash-and-Smash-the-NFL World Tour.

We almost feel sorry for the Bengalese, except for the dictum that on any given Sunday anyone can win. We feel that complacency may be playing on the wrong side of the gridiron this week, though we are sure the vigilant Swami Bill Belichick won’t let his team forget their mission, Mr. Phelps.

No, if you want to feel sorry for anyone, it’s probably Stephen Gostkowsky, one-time perfect kicker for eleven seasons and replacement for Tom Brady’s kicking counterpart—the ageless Adam Vinatieri.

The man replaced and sent into Indianapolis exile by Bill Belichick is still kicking like a chorus girl. Gostkowsky has started to miss—and the traveling guillotine show of Darth Belichick may make the Sunday afternoon more ghoulish than the Marquis de Sade passing judgment on field goals.

Tom Brady as Yul the Gunslinger in a New HBO Series


tom-brady-as-gunslinger Cowpoke Tom

In this week’s episode of NFL Westworld at Gillette, automaton Tom Brady relived his role from the western script again as he has for 17 years: making TD passes to other paid guests who pass through the NFL and make a stop for a few games with the Patriots. It’s a fantasy thing for young men; they all want to go up against Tom Brady.

Robert Kraft is played by Anthony Hopkins in the Jonathan Nolan version of football persons of interest.

The deranged killing machine known as Aaron Hernandez has been relegated to the dungeon of broken down men in black with Yul’s robot. He has been only carted out for sanity hearings to find out why he goes on killing sprees. No, wait, that was a different reality series in a Boston court room. Or, was that the movie with Yul Brynner as the Terminator?

We often confuse HBO with the Hub of Boston.

Aaron Hernandez is played by Ed Harris on HBO’s latest version. Tom is the good looking robot who is victimized by bad scriptwriting by Roger Goodell. However, he seems poised to rebel against the NFL Westworld and go on a season long shoot-out.

This Westworld reboot at Gillette is based on a movie from a generation ago. In that version Tom Brady was twenty-years younger and looked exactly the same. No, wait, that was Lost Horizon with debonair Ronald Colman who encounters the High Lama and learns the secret of eternal youth.

Tom found the Fountain of Youth from his old pal, Ponce de Leon, an old coach from the Miami Dolphins.

Whenever you try to explain the phenomenon of Tom Brady, your metaphors immediately become mixed up.

Tom Brady Never Lets His Composure Slip



Tom Brady gave a press conference this week, but he didn’t like what he heard—and what he said was only visible if looks could kill. Tom was saintly.

With Tom’s old golfing buddy Donald Trump under assailment from women who claim they knew the mogul all too well, Tom was assaulted with a media question that usually sends Bill Belichick into his most miserable demeanor.

Tom cannot help but look charming, even if he wants to vomit.

So, when asked about the effect of Trump’s sexual peccadilloes on his children, Tom smiled benignly, like St. Francis of Asissi had just freed a llama from a heavy load up the Andes Mountains.

He thanked all and walked briskly off stage and into the bowels of Gillette Stadium, leaving a few tittering sports reporters, and a few other cursing the interloper who put a banana in Tom’s tailpipe.

This coincided with an Uggs commercial he made recently with Julian Edelman.  His primary receiver has been at him to make one of Julie E’s patented humor videos for years—and Tom has graciously declined, leaving Julian to cast punting roommate Ryan Allen as Everyman.

In his Uggs debut, thanks to Tom’s divine intervention, Julian wants Tom’s full attention as Tom plays couch potato—and engages in every irritating activity a little brother might use—from playing drums loudly to snapping popcorn package filler. Whatever looney device emerges from Julian’s demented mind, Tom ignores him until finally Edelman is prostrate on the floor, comatose from hyperactivity.

We are not sure whether the Uggs commercial was art imitating life, or merely a psychological depiction of the order of Brady’s mind.

Literary Howl from the Rock-a-Billy Old Folk, Blues Singers

DATELINE: Mr. Nobel, Send Cashdylan.jpg

We are feeling bad for Klaus Nomi, Johnny Cash, Don McLean, Phil Ochs, Joan Baez, and Peter, Paul, and Mary. They are today’s song-writing losers. We aren’t even thinking Irving Berlin.

Long time poetic roaming troubadour Bob Dylan has now won the Nobel prize for literature. Don’t think twice about it.

We suspect he’s been knock knock knocking on Nobel’s Door for quite some time. We believe his nomination was blowing in the wind and how many roads can a man walk down before he wins?

The answer is no longer blowing in the wind.

Dylan has been on the road to the Nobel prize like a Rolling Stone for decades—since the folk era of the 1950s, which probably means Mick Jagger is next in line.

Dylan is probably ready to leave Desolation Row, wearing his newly designed leopard-skin pillbox hat for the Swedish occasion. We suspect that Dylan’s nomination likely means everybody must get stoned. As for us, we have stayed on Highway 61 of life for decades. We probably need to dust off those old LPs.

We refuse to lay, lady, lay on the highway.

When Dylan wins the Nobel, you know the times are a changing; it may have been his 115th dream. We suspect he never thought twice about it.

When he received the news, he was positively on Fourth Street looking for a rainy day women, numbers 12 and 35.

When told he was the winner, Mr. Dylan said: “It ain’t me, babe; it ain’t me.”

Don’t think twice, Bob. Yes, it’s you,  and you’re alright now.


Howling and Baying with James Franco

DATELINE:  Poetry in Motion


Howl—the movie– from 2010 is a depiction of the 1958 obscenity trial in San Francisco over Allen Ginsburg’s epic poem, Howl.

With Whitmanesque elan, Ginsburg presented a work of art that certainly did not encourage prurience. If you were titillated by his images, you were down in the dumps spiritually.

His ground-breaking work set the stage for later events—like gay liberation at Stonewall, adult entertainment on a broad scale, medical marijuana, ghetto rapsters, and even transgender bathrooms. As played by a prettified James Franco, Ginsburg is a cutie-pie bard of the alternative lifestyle.

Stunning in its 1950s atmospheric attitude, the film uses actual words spoken by the principals—taken from interviews with Ginsburg and the trial transcript. Time makes buffoons of many so-called experts, especially English professors who teach the young– leaving them largely uneducated.

An all-star cast supports Franco who has never found a gay role to back away from. His Ginsburg is infatuated with most of the Beat Generation writers. As he said, there was no beat generation—just a bunch of writers trying to be published.

Hollywood has certainly discovered them. The past 20 years we have seen movies about all the famous names of Dharma bums—from Burroughs to Kerouac in multiple depictions.

This film uses flashbacks of Ginsburg explaining how he came to write Howl—and intersperses this with Franco’s lively reading of the poem to a beatnik audience in 1957 as young Allen. Under the voice comes a rather interesting animation to enliven and underscore the lyrically parallel poetry.

As a lively history of 20th century angst, the film is amusing in its use of language, now free to be expressed on screen and in music, thanks to Ginsburg and his publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

Howl is a hoot from history.




Donald Trump Defines Locker Room Talk

 DATELINE: Talk, Talk, Talk


What exactly is “locker room talk”?

We have been curious for years, as we constantly hear gossip about professional athletes. Their talk is likely more elevated than average locker room banter.

We suspect that pro athletes paid millions of dollars likely talk about their stockbrokers and killlings in the market. We are not sure whether this entails Bears or Bulls.

They could also discuss the billionaires who own them and their teams. These men (i.e., Mark Cuban) are like Donald Trump. They always seem to have more money than the players; no matter how much stars are compensated, they are hard-pressed to find a billion dollars in tax loss.

We know that Kevin Durant has said, outside the locker room, that Cuban is “a idiot.” Let’s mark that one sic, please. We know better. Players seldom call owners “geniuses.”

Some locker room talk centers on whether to stand, lock arms, or take a knee during the National Anthem. That may be tied into new discussions on the attractiveness of Ruth Bader Ginsburg who lately had disparaging words to speak of athletes in the Supreme Court locker room.

As far as talk about rape and women, we suspect that is limited to legal limits, such as the case of Derrick Rose and his friends who are presently in court, sued by a former girlfriend, for an unauthorized group sex.  Rack’em up.

Tom Brady’s locker room is different than most. He points downwind to the” low-rent” district in the Patriots locker room. Up in his neck of the woods, they discuss the merits of avocado ice cream.

Our survey of locker rooms has not quite vindicated Mr. Donald Trump for his snatch and grab approach to conversing. Half-naked and wholly naked men we think are more likely to contemplate their navels. We have rarely found a hands-on locker room.

Angels with Angles: God-awful Entertainment

DATELINE:  Last Stop for the Desperate


Never give a sucker an even break, said W.C. Fields. He’s a character in Angels with Angles. So are Elvis Presley, the Marx Brothers, Mae West, Jack Benny, and others played by imitators.

The central character is a dead George Burns. Yes, that George Burns.

He is an angel trying to reunite with long-gone Gracie, but God (Rodney Dangerfield) is giving him a hard time.

What? How did we miss this 2005 fiasco of a film that was the last for Dangerfield and the last onscreen performance of Frank Gorshin as Burns. His butler Alfred is played by Adam West. Also showing up: Jerry Mathers and Dwayne Hickman, with Soupy Sales thrown into the mix.

So, whether this trivial piece of weird is worth it or not as a film hardly applies. It is utter drivel. Yet, to see these old stars of yesteryear in one last glorious supernova forces old movie/TV fans to give up on quality. It’s enough to make you cry.

This atrocity was written and directed by the late Scott Edmund Lane, long-time bit actor. He ought to be commended for roping in these aging celebrities for one last glorious appearance on the silver screen. He probably worked with them years ago.

The film proves that the lure of being in a movie transcends good taste. Money may be the carrot, but fame is the stick. Jack Benny once did a TV show episode in which he was prepared to do anything to be cast again on the big screen. Indeed.

Gorshin’s George Burns is perfect. Some of the other imitators are not so blessed by the hand of talent. Most of the name performers show up for nothing more than a cameo.

We don’t usually review, let alone recommend, bad movies. In this case, we feel compelled to warn viewers with one hand—and wave them on with the other. This train wreck defies you to turn away.

Halloween Comes Early at Presidential Debate


 DATELINE: Disgusting Display

If you want to know what’s wrong with America in the 21st century, you had only to watch this latest October presidential debate. In a second encounter, you had everything wrong about the United States on display for the world. It was revolting, not revolutionary.

If you liked this debate, or approved of it, you should be ashamed of yourself. It detonated the pledge of allegiance. If athletes sitting, kneeling, and kowtowing to the National Anthem irks you, you had presidential candidates throwing the Bill of Rights off the Empire State Building.

This debacle was like witnessing the reality of Dr. Strangelove in the War Room. They were prepared to drop bombs on the Bill of Rights, and the Bill of the Clintons.

This was Mr. & Mrs. Smith fighting to the death, instead of divorcing amicably.

What does America stand for? Do these candidates know? Their visceral hatred buried the concept of the loyal opposition. Their lack of civility and politesse were victims of media terrorism.

There is no longer one nation. We have bicoastal plains surrounding an arsenic filled center. There is no Snickers candy for America behind its mask of grim reaping what you sow. We are indeed now engaged in a great civil war, testing whether this nation or any nation can withstand despising one’s neighbor.

Are we a banana republic that tosses the losing candidate into jail, or orders the secret police to round up the usual suspects?

We suspect the Founders of America never foresaw this basket full of deplorable candidates. It was a kettle of bile boiling over with Shakespearean witches predicting an ironic future.

For shame, America. You are lost.

Brady Does Not Meet Expectations in 1st Game Back!

 DATELINE: A Modest Performance


Tom Brady disappointed his fans in his first game back from Deflategate.

Instead of focusing on his two most reliable receivers (Gronk and Julie E), he threw the ball to seven or eight different players, thereby keeping individual yardage to minimum standards for all his offensive weapons.

He even threw passes successfully to rookies, thereby increasing their egos to a point where they will boast about the game for the rest of their natural lives.

On top of that, Brady failed to score on every drive. Leading only by 23 to 7 at the end of the first half simply fell short of all the predictions that pundits offered.

Brady also failed to perform a quarterback sneak when given the opportunity. It almost proved that the 40 year old QB is aging rapidly.

Everyone across the board expected Brady to throw for a thousand yards and eight touchdowns. When he failed to reach these levels, he was compared to Batman and Superman in their recent failed movie.

The only person who had a much worse day that Brady was his old friend Donald Trump.

If Brady continues to play like this, Rex Ryan will not be looking forward to Halloween this year when the Pats show up to trick or treat the Bills.

Nobody expected Brady to be perfect. Well, yes, everyone expected him to be perfect—even Tom himself.

In the fourth quarter Coach Bill Belichick removed Tom from the game and replaced him with Jimmy G, still suffering from a bad shoulder. Tom will likely be himself next week.

Kirk & Spock Return in Fine Form

DATELINE: Beyond Star Trek


The latest entry in the ageless series of movies and TV shows is decidedly less than warp driven Star Trek. New devotees who think this one ranks up there with the best were likely born yesterday, not during the heyday of the TV series.

The franchise has survived worse entries than Star Trek Beyond. When the cast of characters is allowed to peek out from behind the noisy, endless special effects, they still glow with humanity and humor.

Alas, this latest version devolves into one of those car chase in space epics. And, when will they realize that lizardoid villains are tiresome? We prefer the deranged humans like Khan, not Klingons on steroids.

Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto are the perfect new partners of the series as Kirk and Spock. They continue to delight—and Simon Pegg and Karl Urban continue to play Scotty and Bones like the original actors. Everyone must have a showcase scene nowadays as there are no second bananas, like in the old TV shows.

One controversy here was to make Zulu (the ageless John Cho) as gay as his first real life actor George Takei. It is nearly pointless in its depiction. And, yes, there is a testimonial to the late Leonard Nimoy who graced the two earlier reboot movies.

In two or three years another episode with this marvelous cast will reappear, minus the charming presence of the late Anton Yelchin, the latest Chekov. We hope the remaining actors will have more banter and interplay, as well as psychological depth.

Fans will not be deterred from this one. It is what it is.




It Smells to High Heaven, Mr. Trump

 DATELINE: Long Walk Off a Short Pier

Dumb America

The Boston Red Sox collapse in the playoffs shows that there is no hope when the best pitching money can buy goes down in flames.

It’s about the same for Donald Trump. Unlike his friend Tom Brady who has returned from four weeks in outer space after Deflategate, Trump has no phone to destroy that rids him of the evidence.

Trump has started to deflate his own gate.

After video footage from over ten years ago showed Trump putting his tax-free foot in mouth, you have the worst case of political anthrax in American political history. It’s like Napoleon drank his own self-prepared arsenic.

Republicans are fleeing Trump faster than traffic evacuating Florida because of Hurricane Matthew. Republicans are finding the highway out of town crowded with those jumping off the bandwagon.

Extremism in the defense of idiocy is the biggest vice, to paraphrase Barry Goldwater—an honorable presidential candidate who went down in flames over ideology in the GOP.

That sound you hear coming from Washington D.C. is the Congress falling off its Founding Fathers’ foundation.

The cornerstone to the White House has been lost for years—and it looks like Donald Trump is not going to find, folks.

Things are now so bad that some Republicans are singing a song of Mike Pence.

When Trump attacks Hillary on moral grounds, we can safely presume he hasn’t a leg to stand on. Being a celebrity can mean you are an equal opportunity groper, but it could mean the voters are about to slap you silly.

We are placing our “I Heart Trump” coffee mug and our “Make America Great Again” baseball cap right next to the water bucket. Their value will grow in years to come as icons of hubris.

Trump is down for the count—and the voters will likely count him out real soon.