Profiteers of Science Fiction

DATELINE: MOVIE & TV MASHUP

 ImageHOST RIDLEY SCOTT

Prophetic writers have been the backbone of imagination since before an anonymous scribe wrote The Book of Revelations.

The Prophets of Science Fiction illustrates the power of ten brilliant modern writers to foresee the future. The documentary series with host Ridley Scott may be suffering from a misnomer in the title of the series.

The ten writers under examination are each given an episode and a dominating theme from their works becomes the focal point. Soon, however, observers will note that experts and scientists cite the writer only in the context of seeing a movie version of a short story or novel.

Yes, stunning movie clips from the illustrated visions of the writers becomes Ridley Scott’s point as he sketches storyboards while narrating.

Even with the biographical information on Arthur Clarke, Mary Shelley, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and others, the literary works really are secondary to the prophets of movie science fiction. Let’s face the fact that these great writers have been resurrected by the technologies they foresaw.

Any child knows that the movie vision has hallucinatory impact that causes nightmares. And, the series delves into the psychological terrorism of computers, death, and the time/space continuum. Kids generally don’t have nightmares from reading the books.

None of this should denigrate the series that is both literary and cinematic. It contains insights the average fan of movies (or books) may not understand about the writers and their lives.

The episode count succinctly distills (is that a tautology?) each horrific vision (or even optimistic view) for its accuracy against modern science. The results are quite impressive and may drive you to download a book or two to your tablet.

Of course, some great science fiction writers have been left out of the loop—probably saved for a second season that never came. We should therefore look at what the series gives us as a crash course in the genre as a gift, not the end-all.

 

If you like movies and TV, you can find the complete reviews of Ossurworld in books like MOVIE MASHUP and MOVIES TO SEE–OR NOT TO SEE. All movie books are available for download at Amazon.com for smart readers.

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Red Sox Cruise on the Good Ship Lollipop

DATELINE: NEW YEAR OF HUMOR!

gilda meets kane

Fans On Board the Good Ship Red Sox

The Good Ship Lollipop sets sail for the year after winning it all. First stop is the place where Francis Scott Key sounded the anthem played before every game.

This time the Red Sox will also make a pitstop at the White House where the current occupant is a fan of the Other Sox from Chicago.

We don’t expect any embarrassing absenteeism, as befitted the Boston Bruins a few years ago when one goalie couldn’t stomach taking an honor from the Commander in Chief.

Baltimore may not be much competition this year, but that’s what they said about the Red Sox last year. It was the place Edgar Allen Poe went to escape from Boston.

Whether the Red Sox will be quoting, “Nevermore,” from the “Raven” or “gave proof through the night,” from the “Star Spangled Banner,” one opening day game will not tell.

We reserve the right to be optimistic for the first week of the season. Our metaphoric whipping boy and part-time albatross Jacoby Ellsbury has turned pinstripes into gold.

Today we have Size on our side. Yes, Grady ‘Where’s my camera?’ Sizemore has not been snapping anything we have seen in the bathroom lately. Instead, he has inspired us with his centered fielding and hitting.

We know that, once Big Papi, has digested the numbers, he will have a stomach upset to learn that Miguel Cabrera just signed a contract for twice as much as Ortiz receives in a year.

Jon Lester will start the opening game for a fourth time despite being without a contract extension. We want to extend our sympathies to him.

The waters have been smooth and chop free for the Good Ship Lollipop this spring training, and we think they will sail like it is regatta time on the Charles for the time being.

The first port of entry: the White House on Tuesday.

 

For the sentimental fans that want to bask in 2013’s World Series Champs, we offer RED SOX 2013: NAKED CAME THE LINEUP for your delectation. Available at Amazon.com.

Actor Goes Anonymous, Not Pseudonymous

 

DATELINE: DAMNED SCRIBBLING ACTORS

ImageJames Gertrude Franco-Stein

James Franco takes the same road as Errol Flynn, Orson Welles, George Sanders, and Kirk Douglas, by penning novels as part of his Renaissance Man act. Nathaniel Hawthorne once complained of his competition as “damned scribbling women.” Now we have an army of scribbling actors.

Mr. Franco has written a novella called Actors Anonymous about acting in movies, which likens the experience to being a member of Alcoholics Anonymous on the fame track. With his talents sewn together like a Mary Shelley novel written by Gertrude Stein, he is now Franco-Stein.

James Franco directs serious movies, acts in frivolous movies, trods the boards in Broadway plays, and now writes up a storm in Actors Anonymous, his experimental novel that has him hiding in many guises between the lines.

Eschewing traditional narrative and storyline, Franco reverts to the old Faulknerian style of multi-narrative voices, all roles acted by James Franco. It is reminiscent of his film As I Lay Dying, the multi-narrative novel of Faulkner he directed last year.

Franco may be writing autobiographically, but he is a chameleon actor. We were most impressed with his knowledge of Hollywood history—especially since our writing partner for almost 20 years has been Jan Merlin, another major actor turned writer. Merlin’s face was known as the bad guy in nearly every Western on television in the heyday of Westerns.

The young actor-Oscar host-novelist seems to be cramming a great deal of artistic aspiration into a small window of opportunity. We give him accolades for the energy he brings to his endeavors.

As with Franco’s directoral efforts, his novel is not for everyone. Indeed, his movie fans may be lost in the rich references to old stars and behind the scenes antics. From our limited knowledge of Hollywood business, he is on the money—much to the consternation of his pot-head fans of Pineapple Express.

We would have taken some pleasure had Merlin and Russo written this novella, but Franco beat us to the punchline.

Unequal Odds Against You?

DATELINE: TV MASHUP

 Image

The Equalizer (Edward Woodward’s famous silhouette)

With the interest in Person of Interest, we were drawn back to the earliest ex-CIA agent gone rogue incarnation. The original series about The Company featured Edward Woodward and Robert Lansing back in 1985.

For four seasons, with primitive technology (but computer savvy nonetheless), The Equalizer helped ordinary people in trouble, same formula as Person of Interest.

Taking in the first season of Woodward’s character, he broke so many rules of the era. He was a silver-haired, middle-aged dissident, going even a few steps beyond Patrick McGoohan’s Prisoner.

Robert Lansing equaled the Equalizer as put-upon Control, right out of a John LeCarre vision of secret agency. Yes, Person of Interest also has a seldom seen, evil Control.

Of course, the repertory of supporting actors in recurring roles was always a delight: Austin Pendleton, Mark Margulies, and Saul Rubinik, were constants back in the 1980s. Come to think of it: they have all appeared in Person of Interest, twenty-five years later.

Both shows were also filmed on location in New York City, providing a colorful backdrop that remains a throwback to the Golden Age of TV, all done in New York studios. Both anti-heroes had a penchant for a quick trigger finger when needed and used New York cops as errand boys.

Only the first season of Equalizer is available on DVD, but the Michael Sloan vision is being resurrected with Denzel Washington as a new movie version of Woodward’s Robert McCall. The update will likely have him texted, not phoned. Of course, the new movie would not have been possible without Jim Caviezel’s new incarnation of the vigilante with a moral compass.

Good ideas never grow old, and The Equalizer grew in its quality, much as has Person of Interest in its three seasons. Of course, we do prefer originals.

Wilfork Extends His Stay in New England

DATELINE: HUMOR

Big VinceAristotlePapi

 

Fat Tuesday has come for both David Ortiz and Vince Wilfork. The big boys won’t go hungry with their new contracts.

Vince Wilfork sticks a fork in the Patriots, and he declares the negotiations successful. He won’t be taking that jet plane out of Logan to the hinterlands to eat fillet mignon elsewhere.

The Patriots saw the eyes of the fans, and they decided not to fire another volley.

Vince Wilfork may have won the war of public relations. By threatening to go elsewhere and packing his bags, he put the New England Patriots on the spot.

Bad press does have its value when handled by smart players. The Patriots were taking a beating on the media scene for their stinginess, lack of loyalty, and dumb attitude. They saw the enemy and backed off.

Vince Wilfork has signed a new three-year deal that will likely keep him a Patriot until the term “retirement” is bandied about. He may be around as long as Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. He may have a combined retirement party with Big Papi Ortiz over at Fenway.

Perhaps all of them will exit Gillette Stadium hand-in-hand.

After letting Aqib Talib, Wes Welker, Adam Vinatieri, Richard Seymour, Lawyer Milloy, and Willie McGinest, all go off into the sunset, the Patriots discovered their bank account of goodwill running on empty.

Your billion-dollar franchise isn’t worth much if you have no fan capitol to count. The Krafts surrendered before any more damage was done—and now they can claim victory.

Vince Wilfork put the Patriot owner’s feet to the flames—and now the fricassee is complete. Like David Ortiz, Wilfork has had his owner for lunch.

 

 

Rondo Readies for His Close Up

DATELINE: HISTORY IN THE MAKING

 RondoLaughsgarbo

All you need to be a great media commentator is good lighting and mood music. Move over, Garbo.

As the perennial winner of our annual contest about what Boston athlete most resembles the Great Garbo, Rondo has taken up the mantle with his usual mettle. Rondo will be jumping into the Star Chamber with both feet firmly planted in the clouds.

Rajon Rondo is about to put the theory to the test. On Monday night, his off night during this off season, he will service on the TV broadcast desk as color analyst.

He promises to show how he may be ready to follow in the great Tom Heinsohn’s footsteps. This makes Tommy laugh, but we would expect that Rondo will criticize those pesky officials who keep giving him fouls.

As a player au currant, he has the blessing of his coach and the Celtics organization to go out on the limb—and saw it off.

Rondo professes to have approached Mike Gorman, the TV gold standard for basketball play-by-play several weeks ago to say he is just sitting on the bench on the second night of back-to-back games. He wanted to sit on the broadcast team because Tommy no longer makes road trips.

Gorman has been sitting with a variety of fill-ins over the past few years as Tom finds long travel too difficult.

Whether Rondo will become Garbo or just another denizen of Sunset Boulevard, we are giddy with anticipation to discover.

Rondo has been preparing for his close up now for several weeks. If he puts as much effort into his potential TV commentator career as his court play, viewers may be watching Rondo playing Gloria Swanson playing Greta Garbo.

Be still, our hearts!

 

For those with a taste for the bizarre, we offer RAJON RONDO: SUPERSTAR and RAJON RONDO & THE GREEN NEBULA. Both books depict the Twilight Zone style of the Celtics legend-in-the-making and are available at Amazon.com.

Bill Belichick Disdains His Fellow Man

DATELINE: Belichick’s Folly

Belichickgarbo

Belichick & Garbo: Together in Spirit

 

New England Patriot diva and hermit cookie, Bill Belichick, now adds the Greta Garbo Award to his litany of achievements.

Like the mercurial movie star of the Golden Age, Bill Belichick has disdained his fellow coaches and expressed his wishes to be left alone.

Coach Bill Belichick went to the NFL Coaches Association meeting and declined to be in their group photo. He later opined that they could ‘Photoshop’ him into the image.

This was heady stuff from a man who doesn’t know a Facebook page from his Tweets.

After seeing the NFL coaches gathered together in a variety of moo=moos and Hawaiian shirts, we can understand why Belichick took a powder. Not one coach had the good taste to wear cut-off sleeves or a hoodie.

We are certain Belichick’s feelings would have been hurt had he not been invited to say, “Cheese.” Even if you never attend an event, it’s always nice to be asked.

In recent years Belichick has jousted with the media enough to earn the sobriquet as Heidi’s Other Grandfather. Now he is anathema to his own kind: the looney association of obsessed meglomaniac football coaches.

These are the men who make self-importance a virtue. And, now they have been outdone by the Zen master of Lone Ranger head coaches.

Belichick may have left a silver bullet as he rode off on his white charger, yelling, “Hi-Yo, Welker.”

Belichick has now stiffed everyone who did not send him a Christmas Card this year. It was his Hallmark moment to scoff at media events that are condoned by the League of Gentlemen that pays him.

 

Celtics Disdain Lottery Picks for Trade Chips

jelly O'Sully SUPERSTAR Jelly O’Sully

 DATELINE: HUMOR

 

Danny Ainge has spent two years collecting draft picks like a teenage girl collects Valentines.

Now he dismisses the entire concept of draft picks as overhyped.

He never had any intention of picking a new rising star. The Celtics don’t care about that—and their refusal to “tank” has proven that, much to the consternation of media insiders who don’t know anything about the Celtics strategy—even when it looks right at them.

Danny Ainge has already proved his template for success. This summer he will trade draft picks for superstars. He did it before, and he will do it again.

People seem to forget he created instant champions when he procured Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. He will be scouring the ranks of other teams and sending them draft lottery Valentines to win the best players possible.

Rebuilding with a lottery star takes years and is a crap shoot.

Winning with proven stars merely takes creating some chemistry in preseason. Danny has some experience in discerning what players will get along with what players.

He knows who wants to be in the Rondo camp—and if the cannot find stars of that proclivity, he may send Rondo packing and restock with chemically altered superstars.

Danny already has his young stars—Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger. Jelly O’Sully is the tandem that will be at the core. A year under their belts will make them the reason a championship is around the corner.

Perhaps Paul Pierce will return to give more shape to the proceedings.

Brad Stevens is now the magician and alchemist who will take what Danny gives and weave it into the gold standard of instant championship.

 

 

Vince Wilfork Cleans Out His Locker

DATELINE: HUMOR

Pals & Patsies!

Patriots owner Robert Kraft pulled his usual act with the media this week.

He lamented the alleged departure of Vince Wilfork. To Kraft, Vince was someone with whom he had a personal relationship. They were close, and they liked each other.

Kraft recognizes the impact of Wilfork on the team over the years, and he hopes that something can be done to keep Vince with the team—like Tedy Bruschi, Troy Brown, and Kevin Faulk.

Lest we forget: Kraft said almost the same for Wes Welker not a year ago. He must have a template committed to memory.

Shortly after those words, Wilfork cleaned out his locker and removed his nameplate at Gillette Stadium.

And, we can easily predict that when Vince goes, the entire Patriot organization will express shock and dismay. They will have made a serious effort to keep him on the roster (short of honoring his contract).

If there are still Patriot fans who buy this crapola, they likely would say what Bill Belichick says all the time: he only answers questions about those on the team.

Then sometime next season Belichick will hold a press conference and accuse Wilfork of making some to the dirtiest plays he has ever seen, demanding the NFL investigate.

The Patriots never mix business with pleasure—and they likely never have real social interaction with their players. As we recall, he loved Aaron Hernandez too. It’s all a publicity machine’s invention.

As for Robert Kraft, a billion bucks buys many friends and plenty of excuses. Fans love a man with money who hobnobs with them, even if it’s all the height of insincerity.

Crypto-History & UFOs Stop at Hangar 1

DATELINE: Taken By Our Leaders

 ImageKlaatu & Gort

From Area 51 to Hangar 17, there have been myriad UFO series on networks that once seemed to deal with history, like cable channels National Geographic, Discovery, and History 2.

From prehistory to unwritten history, we have evolved now into crypto-history where the history of conspiracies dominates. As one series host tells us, this is the stuff they never taught in school.

The latest is Hangar 1: The UFO Files, taken from a delapidated, old airport hangar turned library archive under the control of MUFON, the Mutual UFO Network. Yet, these are not your crackpot depictions, but come across as yellow journalism at its most fulvous yellow.

Hangar 1 provides a new batch of old reports. One of the first episodes featured the role of U.S. Presidents in the coverup and protection of the American people. President Dwight Einsenhower, it is contended, met with aliens at Edwards Air Force Base in 1954 and made a deal with them to allow the spaceshots freedom to research and abduct Americans in exchange for some technology.

Why did we never hear of this? When we asked friends, apparently everyone knew this, but us. We are always the last to know.

Subsequent shows examined underground and underlake alien creature bases, including Area 51 where Bob Lazar told us thirty years ago about things now that have come to pass. He is discredited and lost in history, but his predictions and insights about Element 115 have come true.

Shows explain the crashes at Kecksburg, PA, and Aurora, TX, but we were most surprised by the crash in Missouri in 1941. Yeah, even we knew the space aliens were working with Nazis in 1936. So much for advanced intelligence.

We have to say we love Hangar 1, but want to keep our distance lest the conspiracy theory engulf us to the point of visits and death threats from Men in Black.

Of course, the most disturbing feature of the series is the commercials that are dominated by ads for those suffering from erectile dysfunction. Now that is truly scary.

 

 

Johnny Weir Skates on Thin Ice

DATELINE: MARRYING KINDS

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Johnny Weir wants a divorce.

Well, who could blame him? Biting his spouse Victor Voronov, a  would-be Russian lawyer, was distasteful, which seems a tautology at best and an oxymoron at worst, and has proven to be unappetizing for the public that follows him on Facebook.

Johnny married his Russian boyfriend in a twittery and glittery world of social media. Their abusive relationship may be setting gay marriage about as far back as the Battling Burtons set back marriage 40 years ago.

In case you missed it, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were violators of the sanctity of marriage back in the 1960s. After they died, Hollywood started making movies about them (we rather enjoyed Helena Bonham Carter’s Liz).

So, we presume in a decade or two, we shall be casting the roles of Johnny and Victor for the docudrama of queens.

Soap opera-style lives and dirty laundry seem to go together. If it isn’t Dallas, it must be Moscow.

Weir insists that his husband was not a kept boy, but the old barrister never worked once Johnny married him and supported him. We haven’t heard about such shenanigans since Lana Turner’s daughter allegedly killed her non-working thug boyfriend in a scandal that set marriage back again.

All in all, marriage seems to be traditional fodder for misery and jokes, television shows and historical epics.

We commiserate with Johnny Weir, but would recommend that once his divorce is final, he stay single for a while. However, the crime of marriage is usually serial in nature.

Gay NBA Player Jason Collins Finds a Fly in His Ointment

Jason Collins and his long-time friend from the Celtics, Rajon Rondo

DATELINE: Phobic Reactors JC & Pal Rondo

Jason Collins, the first openly gay NBA player in history, has revealed that not everyone is copasetic with his sexual orientation being out on the court.

Though peaches and cream and a rosy-fingered dawn seem to be the league’s political approach, there is at least one Neanderthal (what, only one?) in the NBA who has been giving Collins a finger that is not so rosy.

Collins said he has been taunted by abusive words from one homophobic tough guy.

The insect in question is what we usually call a gay basher.

Of course, sticks and stones, etc., may be the high road approach of Collins and the Brooklyn Nets, but one suspects that as rules of statistics apply, the statistical outlier of NBA gay acceptance may be the tip of not-so-out liars.

If history has any validity, we can safely presume that the unnamed player has certain characteristics that usually identify a gay basher in spades.

Psychologists tell us that gay bashers resemble Fred  Phelps, the late member of the “I Hate Gays” Church of No Redemption. That is to say that the NBA player in question is likely hiding in his closet for dear life.

He may wrap himself in religious zeal and family values. He likely thinks anyone who does not behave in missionary positions like himself is a commie pinko or worse.

Such a wordsmith of abusive taunts likely has no sense of civil rights unless you try to take his gun away. Many African-American men as you may find in the NBA have a hard time equating their racial struggles with sexual struggles. They can father a dozen children to prove their manhood, but it is whistling in the dark.

If we can say anything in defense of Mr. Collins, it is that we know who you are, Mr. Gay Basher. You are the coward who will run and hide before speaking your piece in public.

We expect that the basher will not be offering his confessions to the media any time soon.

 

Edelman’s Lap Dawg is None Other than Tom Terrific

DATELINE: HUMOR!

 

After signing with the Patriots for four years, which is till the end of Tom Brady’s career in dog years, Julian Edelman gave an interview in which he explained why he re-upped with the New England team.

 

If you guessed Tom Brady was the reason, you are 100% right. Edelman called Tom his “dawg.”  A woof by another name would sound as sweet.

 

If you find yourself barking up the wrong tree, you should remember what Tom told his pal. Take care of your family first. Since Julian has no girlfriends or wives, or children out of wedlock, Edelman had to think about this parents and siblings.

 

He has become more of a transplanted New Englander than a dog in the manger.

 

Not since Elizabeth Taylor went palzy walzy with her BFF named Lassie have we been so doggone mortified.

 

Yes, Edelman (whose nickname came from Tom–Minitron) may be heard at practice calling out, “Yo, Rinty Tin Tom.”

 

Without a doubt, this case is closed Yukon Brady—or so you may hear from that man in a Halloween Mountie costume, Sgt. Preston Edelman.

 

We never were in Kansas, Toto Tom. This is Foxboro where only Bill Belichick flies on a broom.

 

We suspect Julian was singing, “How much is that doggie in the window?” when he signed his contract. Tom is always on his mind. You know how to gain Tom’s attention, don’t you? You put your lips together and whistle.

 

Only the most sensitive ears may hear Edelman making a call of the wild.

 

Yes, Man’s best friend may be a dog, but Julian’s best friend is a dawg—and no deputies need apply as substitutes to the Reno 911 Man.

 

Tom Brady Comes Home to Massachusetts

 DATELINE: LANDLOCKED HUMOR

best buds

Tom Brady is selling Xanadu.  Or, does he call his $50million home San Simeon South? Whatever the name, the Manderlay of his dreams is going up in a puff of real estate profit.

Tom and his hausfrau Giselle want to leave the moat-protected sanctity of a Camelot home in Los Angeles for the tales from the mossy manses of New England.

Perhaps that recent tremor sent shock waves into Tom’s heart.

The native Californian has always had a heart in San Francisco, but now it appears the Patriot has Tom Paine’s growing desire a common sense abode. Brady and wife will pull up stakes and build a gridiron style home outside of Boston.

The quarterback may be planning for a life in Massachusetts politics after his days of throwing balls to Julian Edelman is over. There always had been talk of his interest in becoming governor, and eventually president.

Now he is building a new headquarters in Brookline, likely a hop and skip from the palatial manse of King John Henry VIII, owner of the Red Sox.Duckboat keelboat

Next thing you know Tom will have a little country house in Foxboro to shorten the commute. We heard some of the cottages in Newport may be available.

At least now Tom will be close to his favorite charity, Best Buddies, which he hosts every off-season.

We don’t know why he’s building in Brookline when the mansion of Aaron Hernandez in North Attleboro is likely going up for sale when the former Patriot ends up a lifer at MCI Cedar Junction.

We welcome Tom back to Massachusetts, but fear the property values near his new home will take a leap through the roof.

More Grist for the New England Patriot Millstone

DATELINE: HUMOR

blacklistAs owner Bob Kraft so eloquently put it, his team would not sell their soul for a bowl of porridge.

Even if the Patriot version of David Copperfield himself asked for more in the cafeteria line, Vince Wilfork would be sent away hungry.

The Pats will, however, throw pearls before swine.

Julian Edelman received four years on his new contract, while Wes Welker couldn’t get a month in a Nebraska jail from Bill Belichick.

The Patriots neither reap nor sow, but pay their players with birdseed. All that birdseed made Aaron Hernandez an eagle-eye shot at the rifle range.

A-Her Gun Mad

New Patriots players are singing about a jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and a fickle finger of fate having moved on.

Tom Brady intends to feed his team with a couple of loaves of bread and two fillet of fish sandwiches from Mickey Dee. We know they will all be sated.

Newly minted Patriot Brandon Browner won’t see his greenbacks till after game four. Alfonso Dennard should be released from the chain gang by then too.

Bill Belichick once read that Robert Frost claimed good fences make good neighbors. He is now putting the finishing touches on his Great Wall of China between the Patriots and the sports media.

The Krafts have finally decided to cancel the charter jet contract for this season with Malaysian Airlines.

Bill Belichick has been having trouble differentiating between the Denver Broncos roster and the Blacklist of Red Reddington.