Penultimate Twin Peaks

DATELINE: Down to the Finish Line

peaked

We’re going round the bend, literally, and figuratively, on the new David Lynch marathon in surreality, Twin Peaks.

For sixteen hours we have seen Dead People, People from Another Dimension, Weirdos, and maddening loose ends as well as standard plot holes. That’s the bargain with Lynch.

The recent show has started to blow up loose ends and loose characters, thankfully not waiting until ten minutes before denouement to drive the entire cast off one of the twin peaks of the title. So, Kyle MacLachlan has snapped out of his doldrum-idiot Doppleganger Dougie, and evil D.B. Cooper has dispatched his illegitimate son with electrifying alacrity.

In the meantime, Lynch has discovered a new star, Eamon Farren. Let’s hope he fares better than Dana Ashbrook or James Marshall in the next 25 years.

What more can be expected? Oh, Cooper’s assistant, long lost Diane turns out to be some kind of spirit from beyond, her connection to Dougie’s wife, Naomi Watts, now ignored in a puff of smoke and gunfire.

We saw Don Murray, formerly the leading man for Marilyn Monroe in Bus Stop, looking spry as he pushes 90 and thanked by Cooper for lending his old Hollywood fame to the tale.

There was a shoot-out in one of those foreclosed Las Vegas communities that didn’t make much sense. But, we never expect much sense.

When Cooper regains his wits, he is able to say, “I am the FBI,” with all the swagger fans of the show wanted to hear. Perhaps Sheriff Michael Ontkean will make an appearance in the final show.

Whatever will the final two-hour monstrosity of this TV Guernica give us? We know that Sherilyn Fenn has a revelation while looking in the mirror.

Twenty-five years passing will do that.

 

 

 

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Melania Trump: All Wet Look in Texas Flood

DATELINE: Capri Pants Optional

melania

Mr. Ed knew some thing about lucky shoes. He had four of them, for all kinds of weather.

Melania Trump should take a lesson from the knowledgeable TV star. She has now reached the exalted heights of a talking horse—and her shoes may be most unlucky. The heels were longer than a hummingbird beak.

Choosing to accompany the President on a trip to flood ravaged Houston, Texas, to meet up with Harvey the 50-inch rainfall hurricane, Mrs. Trump wore black stiletto heels on her bare feet. We presumed the open-toed look was to let the water in and out as she stepped into puddles.

No one told her that sunglasses were not needed on a cloudy day. Her bombardier jacket was, however, the right touch—because critics were about to dump on her shoddy shoes. We would be the last person to suggest rubbers for Melania, or even the President, mainly because they usually will be ill-fitting for stilettos.

Holy water, whatever do the Trumps think when they go out to become the first tourists in a natural disaster, the likes of which now rival the Johnstown Flood of the 19th century?

No one expects Melania to need waders as she slogs her way through flooded streets. Indeed, we don’t expect Melania to step over any puddles as she is taking Air Force One, not a puddle-jumper.

We also expect that Mr. Trump will be as gallant as Sir Walter Raleigh who doffed his coat and let the First Lady of England, Queen Elizabeth I, walk across water like she was the anointed apostle of the Church of England. Melania did not wear a crown, only a FLOTUS hat to the flood. No irony intended.

When Mrs. Trump landed in Texas, she skipped trying to look like Jackie Kennedy disembarking with her President. She wore her hair in a pony tail, a la Mr. Ed, and she had exchanged her stiletto heels for a pair of Michael Jordan jumpers for kicks.

No, she did not bring the wet T-shirt this time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Endeavour: S4, E2, ‘Canticle’ & Bad Acid

DATELINE: Morse in Swinging Sixties

Shaun

Doing a period murder mystery set in the Swinging Sixties is not easy, but Endeavour makes it pop culture time. So much can be a tad off, like scruff on the band members which actually came along a few years later.

The episode recreates one of those “Hullaballoo” style dance numbers with garish colors and plastic slick clothes to open the proceedings.

Inspector Morse (Shaun Evans) is thrust into the turn of the musical screw when rock became the season of flower children. He must investigate the band called Wildwood, which resembles so many of those one-hit wonders in the era when LSD became the tripping drug of choice.

We certainly recall Jackie Gleason leading a crusade against the smut accusations against the Doors, and something akin parallels the latest episode when a young man may be sexually involved with a band member, giving us an early exponent of the groupie mentality. Prudish condemnation arrives from the older generation.

Morse in his blue suit is more a child of the 1950s as police detective—as his boss Inspector Fred Thursday (Roger Allam) fully epitomizes the gruff professional Scotland Yard type we have grown to expect.

The usual suspects are all present, but veiled appropriately from quick solutions to the crimes: the greedy business manager of the group, the female hangers-on of the band, an moralist crusader, and in-fighting boy band members.

Morse prefers Wagnerian opera to rock, but still manages to be sucked in by every woman who bats her lashes at him. It seems far more credible when one of the rock group’s sensitive song-writers flirts with him.

Don’t be fooled. A bad acid trip is not far off and could untrack the brilliant detective in another clever, fascinating murder mystery in the series.

If you have not discovered Endeavour, you have three full seasons to savor.

So You Want to Ban Gone with the Wind?

DATELINE: Goose-stepping Left Wingers

polar opposites

Scarlett and Mammy as diametric moral opposites.

We have now reached the point of philistine fatuity from the politically correct police squad. There has been a question raised in the New York Times about the racism and Confederate flags used in the classic epic American movie, Gone With the Wind.

Yes, political hacks now wonder if your home video ought to be burned, banned, and otherwise refuted. Please tell the hoi polloi how any suggestion of banning the book or movie version of GWTW puts distance between the Nazi regime of Hitler where banned books were burned and American literature.

Suggestions have mounted that the pre-Intermission waving of the Confederate flag over the wounded and dead Johnny Rebs at the train station is some kind of celebration. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You might also say that the flag commentary is as much to show the waste of human life over a misguided cause.

Those who see slavery in the movie and book as being endorsed are the kind of functional illiterates now graduating from a poor and pathetic American education system. In point of fact, Mammy is the spiritual center of the tale, a counterpoint to the rapacious and greedy Scarlett who destroys everyone in her path.

So much for putting privileged white people on a pedestal.

When Scarlett slugs Prissy the maid for her ineptitude, you cannot say that it shows the cruelty of slavery. It shows what happens to people under stress and how one spoiled bitch acts.

Gone with the Wind is historical soap opera, grandeur and grandiose combined, indeed showing how a generation of Southerners were living with delusions of grandeur. How can that be an endorsement of a lifestyle?

The marvelous Hattie McDaniel played domestics throughout her career—and shocked audiences by winning an Oscar for playing a slave in 1939. It is historic in many ways, flying in the face of discrimination and prejudice. She was a committed actress, not a slave and not a servant. If she suffered racism, it is all the more important her work be seen.

Those who do not learn from history probably went to bad public schools, or worse, went to private schools where they didn’t have to learn anything they didn’t want. Having taught at private and public colleges, we know of what we speak.

You may as well try to ban the American songbook because Stephen Foster glorified the lazy, hazy days of the Confederacy. You might as well ban the Band for singing “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.”

Where does the madness end?

 

 

What Becomes Legendary Cary Grant

DATELINE:  Transforming Archie Leach

Cary

With permission and cooperation of his daughter Jennifer, we discover Cary Grant took many home movies of his life off-screen—and wrote an autobiography never published.

These are the basis for an extraordinary documentary called Becoming Cary Grant. Indeed, Archie Leach became movie star Cary in a titanic demonstration of willpower. To go from a poor, abandoned child in Bristol, England, to the world’s epitome of a debonair, charming superstar was not an accident of fate.

Yet, fate played a hideous joke on Cary. At age 11, his mother simply disappeared—and his father went off to marry another woman and raise a new family. Archie Leach was sent to a grandparent. Lonely and confused, he discovered vaudeville where people were happy, had fun, cared and performed on stage. He joined instantly, settling in New York at age 18 to become a dashing stage actor.

Later he went to Hollywood where a test led to something akin to instant stardom. Around that time he learned his mother had spent 20 years in an English lunatic asylum. He rescued her from that fate—and became Cary Grant almost simultaneously.

Interestingly, he chose his darker film roles as autobiographical commentary. He let directors like Hitchcock, George Cukor, and Henry Hawks, transform him into something remarkable: a man for all seasons. He could play cold-hearted cads or epicene nerds with equal likeability.

Jonathan Pryce reads Cary’s own words over many film clips that have new insight to his real issues. Grant was neither English, nor American, in his tone. He appealed to both men and women, and he was always well-mannered and self-deprecating. No wonder he remains the camera’s favorite leading man.

Whatever Cary’s personal troubles, he worked hard at becoming a better person and happier in his personal work and life. The documentary exudes with his hypnotic personality, his magnetic appeal. No matter what problems beset him, he gave the world something special.

 

 

Trump & Roach Motels

 DATELINE:  Hurricane Harvey Solutions

Astro

Hurricane Harvey may cause millions to flee areas about to be devastated by a Category 4 storm with winds over 140 mph.

Fear not, citizens. The Trump Homeland Security promises that checkpoints along the route will operate as usual, even if you are delayed from escaping the fury of Nature.

You must bear with the Homeland Security folks who put your life in danger because they have a job to do:  find those pesky illegals who are trying to save their lives from natural disaster.

Of course, this means you are damned if you do, and deported if you do. The upshot is that an unknown quantity of people will stay in harm’s way.

President Trump sent out one of his patented tweets that essentially said, “Rotsa Ruck,” like he was a Jetson dog.

“Good job, Brownie,” as President Bush once notoriously said as thousands died in Hurricane Katrina, and countless others suffered violence and lawlessness..

To that end, Emergency Shelters will become Roach Motels. Illegal aliens will check in—but won’t be allowed to check out.

roach motelFEMA Emergency Shelter

Yes, the storm will become the Trump Pied Piper, leading the tired and huddled masses to deeper dangers and fears.

What’s a little phobia?  Every day brings a little death in Texas where you cannot trust civil servants to be civil, or provide you with food and water unless you have papers to prove you are an American citizen.

There is no rest for those seeking refuge from poverty—or from impending doom. Your federal government is at work, like the Post Office, neither rain, wind, nor President Trump, will stop them from doing the work of the Grim Reaper.

Good job, Trumpie.

Trump’s Modest Proposal

DATELINE:  Cooking Up a Storm

trump apron strings

For a summer treat hot off the griddle, you may want to partake of a menu that caught the eye of Newt and promises a cheery Sessions of law enforcement.

The repast of yore starts with a DACA salad, with only the most tender of sprouts, with lettuce picked by illegal migrants under the hot sun.

Don’t forget to use the TPS sauce on those Haitian wings for an unforgettable dinner that Friday used to enjoy with his master Crusoe. TPS sauce can be poured onto countries like El Salvador, Honduras, and any African nation of your choice.

Home, sweet Secure Homeland, will be securer once more if you have the bug zappers in place and dis-invite any rebel republican senators who tend to be like ants at a picnic. We think the best BBQs are held behind great border walls to keep out the riff-raff.

German sauerkraut mixed with KKK-kale provides a kick that only a neo-Nazi could endure. You may want to mix that salad up with some tough police elbow grease.

Make sure you have enough alt-right to offset the Antifa pesto.  Red beets should be ready once you light the torches.

Roasted deported citizens who have a litany of civil violations always goes well with a Chianti and fava beans for those who like to watch the lamb go to slaughter. Civil rights and civilian clothes are optional.

Remember that this recipe at Kent State College once made America great. Nowadays you may want to have some congressional bicarb to hold down the dyspepsia and general sense of existential nausea after watching Master Chef Trump dump another hog into the pit.

Bone-head appetit, all you strict constructionists. The cookbook was made to be followed.

With apologies to Jonathan Swift.

Required Reading of Darryl Stephens

DATELINE:  Actor Transcending

 Darryl Actor & Author Darryl Stephens

As stars go, Darryl Stephens has been on low-profile phase for a decade. With cult movies and a cult TV show, he has become a face, an attitude, and a symbol of the modern gay actor.

Now, after years of hearing fans of his 2006 show, Noah’s Arc, ask him for advice about how to live in America in the 21st century as a gay man, he has actually come up with the book to tell us:  Required Reading: How to Get Your Life for Good.

Stephens is educated, intelligent, and writes well. It is to his credit that he has been deeply moved by dedicated fans to his black sitcom, once trivialized, then discovered by those in deep need of optimism and standardization of lifestyle.

Never an A-list star, Darryl has nonetheless selected his roles judiciously enough to be recalled by the producers of Boy Culture: The TV Series, about to start filming with the original star ten years later.

The first half of his book gingerly feeds us details of growing up as a middle-class kid with a growing awareness that he is a stunningly beautiful black young man. From the angst of learning his gay soul, he shares his insights and wisdom like a male Dear Abby.

Darryl has taken on the difficult responsibility to subsequent generations of gay men with worries that seem new, but are old-hat if they can find a role model to explain. Because of this, he does not really delve into the film work and world of acting in Hollywood until the second half of the book.

He omits much about Boy Culture, except to express his pride back in 2015 when the book first appeared.

Darryl Stephens was a pretty face and attractive body, always a passport in Hollywood, but the onset of middle years is a true test of character acting. Once the toast of gay beauty, he deals frankly with the difficult life of an actor in eclipse, losing youth and money too.

We want Darryl to be happy and to succeed, unlike so many critics who bashed him along the way. We have joined in the backing of the new series with his reprise of the key character in Boy Culture.

We know the world is ready to recognize Darryl Stephens.

 

Going, Going, Gone in Boston Sports and Trump Politics

DATELINE:  Time to Outline a New Book? 

In the immortal words of Don Corleone in Godfather 3, “Every time I try to get out, they pull me back in.”

Yes, Boston sports humor is like that.

We want to say, “Book’em, Dan-o,” but is there really another book here? Celtics or Pats?

Now, we feel sucked back into calling Trump the cause of turning the Patriots into the most despised team in the NFL, and now we are sucked back into the Celtics who have sent another oddball point guard into the LeBron Twilight Zone. Move over, Rajon Rondo.

Word has filtered out after the fact now that Isaiah Thomas, our dear little cousin IT, was actually not liked on the Celtics team by his mates. What???

Yes, his martyrdom status as midget wrestler and tiny tot grew thin on the nerves of many fellow players. His ego seems to have been bigger than his player status. Hence, he is now playing on the all-ego team with LeBron James, another character we try to avoid in any humor discussion.

Cousin IT was doomed when his closest friend and longtime Celtic player, Avery Bradley, was sent packing earlier in the summer.

Head honcho Danny Ainge was not about to pay big bucks to secondarily big stars. It did not matter that Tom Brady liked IT. Tom Brady likes Donald Trump. In the end, Tom only can save himself in Boston. In Boston, Trump is a lost cause.

We told various sports fans there would be no book this year on the Celtics or on the Patriots, which seemed to bring much relief when it was not greeted with a yawn. But, now, we are cast into the depths of indecision.

We could do a book on Donald Trump’s season in hell, but Bobby Valentine already did it for us. On the other hand, we suspect Mr. Trump will quit in the middle of our book—leaving us with a Charlottesville Web conundrum on whether it’s crypto-Nazi or neo-Nazi. It could be ether, or eye-ther.

Should we just call the whole thing off?

We are offering up a trial balloon on Trump to see if the media shoots it down as more fakery from the news bakery.

Is Trump the newest sports satire?

We know Trump’s on third, because he is going down yet again, but always rises anew like a rally in Phoenix.

Ossurworld has done a series of books of humor on the Celtics and Patriots. He may or may not do another one. His latest is NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS MOST OFF OFF-SEASON EVER. It’s available for smart readers. Just put it on your tab.

 

 

Celtics Send Cousin IT Packing to LeBronWorld

DATELINE:  $$ Talks to Celtics

 Thomas & Tom In Happier Days

Wowie Zowie, the Celtics are not letting the Patriots run for another championship without a Boston competition. We may have to renew our season tickets to the Celtics this year.

It now appears that Isaiah Thomas, Cousin IT himself, who has worked assiduously to improve the team and lure free agents to Boston, now is being sent to the glue factory in Cleveland. He became a folkhero for playing a day after his sister died–and his just reward has come in payback form.

Yes, Cleveland’s the place where both Kyrie Irving and LeBron James want to escape from more than ever.  It is tantamount to Napoleon’s exile island.

Thomas reportedly has a bad hip. As any senior citizen can tell you, a bad hip is the first indication that a nursing home in Cleveland may be on your itinerary.

Kyrie Irving will come to Green-land where Brad Stevens is the coach of choice for superstars who want to be appreciated.

Together with Gordon Hayward, we may have quite new 2007 dream team when Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett showed up and chewed up the league.

Now we understand why Danny Ainge held off on bringing Hayward to Boston for a dog and pony show. He had another big star in the wings to join in the fun. Whether another big star may be in the offing seems unlikely, but this is now the year of unexpected Trumps, and not always in bridge.

We still wonder where the big men are, as Danny keeps dispatching them to Westworld, or some other limbo.

If Kevin McHale is not coming out of retirement, perhaps we will yet see Kevin Durant in green. In the meantime, the Boston Celtics ask, “What have you done for us lately?”

 

 

 

Farewell, My Lovely Film Noir

DATELINE:  In with a Bang

mitchum

One of the last of the great film noir in the classic tradition came out in 1975 with Robert Mitchum, one of the last dinosaurs of the original movement. This is called Farewell, My Lovely.

Based on Raymond Chandler’s Murder, My Sweet, the latest incarnation of the tale and character of detective Philip Marlowe has all the world-weary cynicism you’d have expected from Humphrey Bogart

Mitchum’s voice-over is so dry it will crack your lips.

You might think film noir cannot possibly be faithful with full color, but the production is so murky and neon with night that it might as well be inky grayscale.

To top it off, there is Charlotte Rampling looking for all the world like Lauren Bacall, seductive and untrustworthy match for Mitchum.

This time, the language and sexual situations are so modern that they defy anything that the 1940s created. Yet, it all fits, down to the hard-bitten police detective played by the marvelous John Ireland.

Poor Marlowe is shot at, slapped, drugged, kidnapped, and drinking up a storm. Indeed, one of the delightful goons is none other than a young stud, Sylvester Stallone, along for a hoot. The plot has more confused suspects than a month of Murder, She Wrote.

The dialogue is delicious. The murders are abundant, and the entire sense of corruption is so outrageous as to become entertaining.

Mitchum is not quite 60 in this film, but still has the tough guy in full throttle still under his belt. When he dons the trench coat, you may well squeal with delight.

What a movie!

The President Rings Twice, and the Patriots Answer

DATELINE:  Ring-a-Ding Trump

off off-season   Mr. Kraft to you bradys-friend

Having eschewed humorous sports reports on Boston travesties lately, we are forced into a return to the topic one more time.

For this, you can thank Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots and close friend of President Donald Trump.

In April, one of the first big sports events of the Trump era was the visit of the Super Bowl champs of 2017 to the White House. This fiasco was decorated with many missing members of the team who protested the new President. One can only wonder how many of the black players might find their lives hardly mattering after the incidents of KKK and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville or Charlotte’s Web.

They might feel some blame for the violence, making their livings through one of the most concussed and violent games around.

However, we beat a dead horse when today’s news is not fake enough for the alt-right. Yes, Robert Kraft has bestowed one of his $36,000 diamond-studded Super Bowl rings on Mr. Trump.

Usually the President receives a jersey with Tom Brady’s partial number, 1, on it, if it is recovered from international thieves.

However, this year, the man who often breaks bread with Trump and flies on Air Force One often, decided to break precedent and give the President one of those prized rings.

Reportedly, Kraft wanted Trump to have something to put into his presidential library when his term is up, sooner than later, with not much to show for it so far.

Kraft also gave a ring to Tom Brady’s mother for her valiant battle against cancer, which felled Kraft’s wife several years ago. It was Trump’s condolences back then that sealed his friendship with the billionaire NFL owner.

 

 The White House is not talking about when the ring was made or bestowed. And, the Patriots have only made a sly announcement this week in the midst of the pre-season after a tumultuous off off-season.

You can read all about it in Ossurworld’s notorious book, The Patriots Most Off Off-Season Ever, perhaps the last in the Patriots series of hilarious, if not nasty, accounts of their dynastic years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Endeavour Morse Returns & “The Game” is On!

 DATELINE: Oxford Sleuth

 Endeavour 1

PBS has brought back another highly intelligent detective show for a fourth season, Endeavour. Of course, strawberry-blond Inspector Morse patrols the territory around Oxford University where culture and mayhem seem to go hand-in-glove.

Complicating matters is the fact the series setting is the 1960s. The new fangled technology is not yet upon Scotland Yard, and brainpower still reigns supreme. His nemesis at the station is a world-weary Roger Allam, always in rare form.

The first episode is called “Game” about early computers taking on Soviet chess champs.

Young Morse (Shaun Evans) is slight and, like all attractive Brit men, looks decidedly gay. Women do seem to like him, often to the detriment of his work, but Morse remains stalwart and impervious to their attentions, considering them impediments to crime resolution.

The latest case puts everyone in crisis mode: Morse’s superior has personal problems with his grown daughter moving away—and Morse’s attempts to try to achieve promotion seem thwarted by unknown forces.

He remains the most brilliant detective in Oxford, holding his own against Russian chess-masters, ruthless members of the media, and assorted weird supercriminals. The suspects in this go-round are professors, media snoops, and a smug best-selling novelist.

With a spate of peculiar drownings among an assortment of victims with not much obviously in common, Morse finds himself at odds with superiors and those who would undermine his talents.

You will find these short movies (90 minutes usually) a challenge to solve and admire the acting and the writing, lost arts in most films nowadays. There will be three additional episodes to consider.

Unsolved History: Death in Dealey Plaza

DATELINE:  Photos at Kennedy Assassination

Dealey

Once again, the 2004 TV series Unsolved History provides a definitive look at mysterious events in history, this time at the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

This time the old standby streams some of the juiciest and most impressive technical analysis of your standard conspiracy theories.

This time they look at the 30 camera angles from 30 known photographers that covered the 45 seconds leading to the murder of President Kennedy. There could be other, lost, withheld photos, heretofore unknown.

From the opening moments when they show their models in orange coats standing on location where the actual cameras were located as a limo drives past, you will be hooked.

Interviewing a few surviving photographers, but mostly their children who now as old adults pass on what their parents saw at Dealey Plaza as they took pictures.

As historical record, this 45 minute show about a 45 second moment in history is compelling and fascinating.

If there is any complaint, it is that the images move by too quickly to see the truly odd details. We kept wondering about the odd men who slowly walk in the opposite direction of the panicking crowds.

This insightful episode brings and merges all 30 still photos and color movie pictures together into a montage for 45 seconds that is not for the squeamish. It does show a graphic, hideous murder.

To the show’s credit, it recognizes that amateur photographers had no idea they were about to enter the annals of history—and their amateur mistakes prevent any resolution of the crime.

Culminating in the Zapruder film, the ultimate montage is staggering, given warnings that the subject matter would be upsetting to viewers. Indeed, so.

 

Invaders from Mars: Revisiting 1953

DATELINE:  William Cameron Menzies Masterpiece

 

Hunt v. octopus  Jimmy Takes on Octopus

William Cameron Menzies turned in one of his best efforts as director and set designer on this classic science fiction thriller, entitled Invaders from Mars.

Menzies employed stylized sets, especially barren trees along a perimenter of sand dunes, imposing and overwhelming police offices, and garish color. It created a nightmare scenario for a ten-year old boy thrown into a paranoid delusion.

Actor Jimmy Hunt was the perfect little all-American boy who sees a saucer land in the yard up the hill from his cottage home. There, his parents turn malevolent after being sucked under ground by strange forces that turn dunes into quicksand. It does not help that his parents are well-known  standard villainous actors Leif Erikson and Hillary Brooke. You are also treated to an unusual display of child abuse when Erikson slugs his son.

The music is choral voices mimicking the noise that foreshadows horror when adults are sucked into the alien den and replaced with a probe inserted into the base of their skulls, turning them into automatons. This played on the greatest childhood fear—that parents can become hideous zombies.

Ancient aliens turn out to be robotic slaves to a reptilian octopus in a fish bowl. Yikes, what could be more hallucinogenic? Special effects don’t need CGI to be breathtaking.

At the peak of the Cold War when communists were hiding under every bed, you had an equal paranoid takeover by creatures from another world. The film stands out as one of a handful of remarkable science fiction to emerge from the era.

This holds up to the test of time and remains as creepy as what you might find today in Twin Peaks.