Trump Lives Free in Airport Hangar

 DATELINE: Rally ‘Round the Flag?

If you follow the weather in New England, you only have to wait a minute to discover Trump just had his rainfall checked.

A big rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, at an airport hangar was postponed for Saturday because Tropical Storm Fay wanted to intrude. The White House chose to back down from getting their supporters all wet.

The problem is that Fay will have been long gone by the time of the rally. So, what is really going on here? It may be actually that the crowd was going to be so small, lessened by raindrops falling on their head, that the campaign decided to bail out.

The image of Air Force One surrounded by 50 people just didn’t cut the mustard of big rallies.

The hangar where no UFOs are stored was a small venue for Trump, but the visual would show crowds pouring out into the tarmack. Alas, if there is no drizzle of crowd noise, Trump will be stuck with another bad optic effect: he’s losing support.

He thought at one point he could muster the racism of New Hampshire into an eked-out victory in November, but polls now show he is trailing badly to Sleepy Joe, the man whose pillow talk soothes the country.

The White House no longer gives crowd expectation size, having been burned in Tulsa where the few supporters now all have coronavirus. It seems they were willing to hand out masks in New Hampshire, but no one likes to be sick—and supporting Trump has now become a symptom of being so sick you belong in a psycho ward.

We also would point out that the supporters of Confederacy, Robert E. Lee, and the night they drove old Dixie down, are few and far between in Yankee New Hampshire where living free is only slightly more popular than to die.

 

 

 

 

 

  Sinatra in Palm Springs

DATELINE: 50 Years in the Desert!

 1948 Home!

One of the least frequently used ways to examine a life biography is to study the place called home. For Frank Sinatra, that place was not New Jersey or Las Vegas: it was Palm Springs where he first moved in the late 1940s and fell in love. He was one of the self-professed “desert rats.”

When he commissioned a house, it became a sleek modern style that so fit the area. It soon became a compound, and with his marriage to Ava Gardner, she took over much of its design, including a recording studio within for when he had the urge to sing.

Before long, the social and gregarious Sinatra had many of his show biz entourage there. It was an exclusive place which did not cater to his Jewish friends, and with Jack Benny and the Marx Brothers, they built a golf club that was open to all, especially celebrities. Even Bob Hope soon moved to the Springs area.

The home was the site of famous fights between Ava and Frank, resulting in damage that is now part of the legendary design. After their divorce and Sinatra’s resurgence after From Here to Eternity, he moved about ten miles across town to Rancho Mirage where he stayed for the rest of his life. He is buried in the Springs as well.

Sinatra even allowed his home to be used for Joan Crawford’s house in The Damned Don’t Cry. Later, his new compound had many guest houses for his frequent gatherings. He loved to entertain and be entertained. Only his mother’s death in 1977 in a plane crash on her way to be with him seemed to be a bad time.

Sinatra loved to drive around at night—and frequented many of the well-known restaurants of the area, from the Doll House to Melvyn’s. He had his own table in many—and he owned the town. If he came to your restaurant or bar regularly, you had it made.

In the early days of Palm Springs, celebs could walk around unbothered by fans. It was an increasingly cosmopolitan place away from the business centers of Hollywood, and the Racquet Club was part of Frank’s world.

The word most often used to describe Sinatra was “generous.” He was charitable beyond his moodiness or occasional blowup. Most called him a pure gentleman.

His entourage was not only the Rat Pack, but many stars from different films who vied to be part of this Vegas legend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four Little Letters at ESPN

DATELINE: Idiots from the Show-Me State of Mind

 Imbecile at Large!

 The limits of telling off an elected official have now reached critical point. A fairly well-known sports journalist has been suspended by that bastion of free speech, ESPN, for telling a closet-idiot senator known for his Trump edge to go “f” himself.

We’ve heard worse diatribes aimed at immortal beings. It seems many in the NBA (whom the un-pronounceable journalist was defending) have come to his aid and comfort.

Billion-dollar corporations and billionaires are now defended by a gaggle of ungagged neo-racist fools and idiots. Josh Hawley is a 40-year old exploitative politician who wants to make hay fast. He is also from the “Show-Me” state of Missouri.

We’d love to show him total disrespect due his rank smell.

The notorious Sen. Josh Hawley is the bright light of the dim GOP and may well be a candidate successor to Donald Trump when the present presidente is sent packing to a Moscow address after the next election.

You cannot use four-letter words in an email at ESPN. To argue our usual line of thought, a good writer need not stoop to profanity. Isn’t the education of a wordsmith that he can express his exasperation without four letters being the custom of boobs and thugs?

We certainly understand the need for a Republican senator of the United States to perform an impossible sex act on himself. However, we might couch it on the couch with more genteel verbiage.

Part of our divided America is that those who have intelligence and education must not stoop to conquer the profane idiots of the crypto-Nazi field, like Senator Hawley, a near-Cro-Magnon Republican stalwart.

Shatner Returns for More UnXplained

DATELINE: Great Escapes Explained!

For History Channel to bring back a series with such alacrity, you know it is a big winner. So, we are not surprised that William Shatner has returned for another batch of UnXplained.

His delivery is deadpan, hambone, hilarious. He has found another career at age 90—as robust as ever. His latest show opened with a look at “Greatest Escapes,” and the underlying notion is that some supernatural or paranormal power may be at work. Perhaps.

The first vignette put focus on Houdini and his inexplicable escapes from sure death under water. There is no explanation as he took it to his grave, only noting his “brain” was the “key.” Though Conan Doyle, of Sherlock fame, thought it was some supernatural psychic ability, Houdini dismissed that. Shatner raises the issue again.

Another anecdote is about a man who escaped a submarine 200 feet under the Mediterranean in a primitive pressure suit in 1941. No believed him until the wreck was found 50 years later with all the tangible evidence proved him right. And, there is the report of a Cuban escapee from Havana in 1969 who hid in a jet wheel well for nine hours, going into suspended animation, frozen.

All of these incidents are beyond science: and your usual History Channel expert, Dr. Travis Taylor, shows up again and again to tell us how this defies physics.

These relatively unknown, but documented cases, are always the backbone of the series, and they are handled with marvelous re-enactments, or archival footage.

Perhaps the most two fascinating episodes of the paranormal invoke the story of one of four survivors of the Twin Towers on 911. He was pushed to choose the only stairway unblocked to walk down 84 flights. Brian Clark is interviewed and explains how he has no idea who pushed him in the right direction.

And a little-known Alcatraz escape story involves Native American legends about positive spirits on the Rock leading the only 3 escapees to succeed in their plan. It seems gulls only land when the omens are good. And that was when the prisoners made their swim. Who knows?

Shatner is back, and that is all that matters.

 

Churchill Unwrapped but Parboiled!

 DATELINE: Interesting Take on Great Briton!

 Cox as Churchill.

Every actor appears to want to sink his acting chops into one of the most melodramatic and imperious roles you can face. Heavy, middle-aged men are particularly apt to apply their skills to the role of Winston Churchill.

It is something off the track in 2017 with Brian Cox in the title role: Churchill.At least one critical judge called it a “hit job.” We are not prepared to go that far, but this is a meddlesome, troublesome, cantankerous version of Churchill in the hours before D-Day. It is not his finest hour.

There is no doubt he was opposed to the timing and the action as planned by others. This film attributes his motive to the catastrophe often linked to his name: Gallipoli where thousands died needlessly. Here, Winston becomes a first-level pain for everyone with his opposition to the landing on Normandy. He feels it is history repeating itself, and he does whatever petty temper tantrums to prevent this.

In this version, Churchill tries to pray and ends up ordering God, much to no result. Cox emotes, confabs, and blusters through every scene with smoking cigar and scotch in hand. He throws more than a few dinner plates off the table in arguments with Clem (his wife as played by Miranda Richardson).

No one can control him, and he is diminishing as leader and hero by the moment, not the same man who led the country through the Blitz. And, the country would soon turn him out of office as if it knew all these behind-the-scenes actions that seem fanciful and imagined.

Not Eisenhower, not Montgomery, not his wife, can make him listen. It takes a visit from the King, half-stuttering, to remind him his duty is not to fight or make military strategy. He is a mere symbol.

Though some purists and devotees of Churchill may take umbrage, toward the end of his term in the War, he was growing more marginalized and ultimately dismissed by voters. Director Jonathan Teplitzky takes a chance tacking an icon in an unfavorable light.

This film is an emotional upheaval, perhaps inaccurate but perhaps not. Cox chews the scenery and the role often puts Churchill alone, a small figure, in big landscapes and big halls with nary a security guard. There is no mistaking the message.

Absolutely interesting take on Winston.

 

 

 

John Wayne in Forsaken TV

DATELINE: Wild West Satire with Wayne

 Not Laurel & Hardy!

Back in the 1950s when John Wayne was the number one box office attraction, it was a treat if he made a guest appearance on TV. The series is called Forsaken Westernsand features a plethora of deplorable episodes with Michael Landon, Leonard Nimoy, and many others before they made it big.

One of those syndicated series that collects odd-ball appearances of noted TV stars when they were unknown in lost pilot episodes, has also brought us a true peculiar and weird little dollop:  John Wayne in a satiric, overextended TV skit called The Northwest Killer,in which Duke Wayne is falsely accused of murder and hunted down by a relentless RCMP Mountie.

Now this is supposed to be comedy, a throwaway extended bit for a variety show in 1959. The host of the show is none other than the irrepressible Jimmy Durante.

Yes, Durante, the Schnoze, plays a variation of Sgt.Preston of the Yukon, in his Mountie outifit, red jacket lost in black and white. Durante marches around and pivots to Wayne’s amusement as he plays unlucky Pierre, trapped in bad TV comedy

This is probably 15 minutes of most excruciating and unfunny bits, done like a multi-scene Western ever put on TV. There are several fistfights between Durante and Duke—and hilariously (we supposed) Durante bests the box-office champ. Wayne turns to the camera and promises the kids, “I win the next fight.”

Of course, being funny was secondary here: the treat was to see Jimmy Durante and John Wayne in a western satire. It has all the promise and none of the quality you’d hope. Pratfalls are outrageous, and Wayne likely enjoyed doing some comedy as a change of pace. Also on the bill is a guest appearance of Gary Cooper with Jack Benny, equally unfunny, in which Benny in high-heeled boots is the same height at Coop. He nearly falls over several times and is rescued, unscripted, by the laconic Gary Cooper.

It was a surprise to find such stuff after 50 years, and the ghosts of Wayne and Cooper likely wish they had lost these horrors permanently.

 

 

Racist? Not According to Hoyle or Trump!

DATELINE: A Rose by the Name of Racist?

 aka Karen?

Yes, you can be a virulent Nazi-styled genocidal racist, but just don’t let it slip out. For years, these closet racial purists have kept mum. Now they are emboldened to strike out at coronavirus masks and the old ladies who wear them.

We don’t share Harvard birder Chris Cooper’s charitable view that Amy aka Karen, the racist, has suffered enough.

These so-called “Karens,” (what an oddly almost-innocent sounding term) are ready to call the police on their smartphones and accuse any black birdwatcher of attacking and threatening.

You have these people filmed by witnesses, which is fairly damning, but they immediately issue an apology (through legal advice we suspect) and pronounce this aberration is not proof they are racist.

But they are!

We seem to be in a world where self-knowledge is about as far-fetched as Trump’s SAT scores. Deny, deny, deny, and then claim the Nazis are those who don’t want to die of coronavirus and want people to show some humanity.

In America in the 21stcentury there is no educated redneck. They are illiterate slobs only interested in the next beer and football game. These are all civil libertarians ready to defend their freedom against science, medicine, and common sense.

You may have a sense that the Black Death was perpetuated by the same idiocy—but the world of the United States is a special location in history that may self-destruct owing to its own hubris.

So, next time a Karen or Ken mouths off some vile race-baiting hate, you know they are part of the effort to destroy the greatest experiment in liberty and freedom in the history of the world. And, their fearless leader is the one who thinks he belongs on Mt. Rushmore with a couple of other slave-holders, a monument created by a KKK sympathizer (sort of like Trump’s father).

 

 

 

  306 Hollywood Avenue: Archaeological Digs

DATELINE:  How a Life Matters

 Grandma as Empress!

One of the most original documentaries and fascinating undertaking belongs to a film by siblings Elan and Jonathan Bogarin. When their grandmother dies at age 93 in New Jersey, they undertake to deconstruct her life though the house she lived in for 67 years.

Grandma Annette saved everything and they, at first, plan to shred documents and toss everything out for a quick sale. However, strange evocations in the house lead them to stop everything. Even the undertaker tells them her spirit may be in the house for up to 11 months.

Whereas most of our possessions are trashed in a bin immediately, like her lifelong collection of paperclips, the grandchildren now want to sift through her ordinary life like it is the pyramid of a great personage. The result is astounding, heart-rending, and illuminating. You must look at how our lives end up in a trash heap that no one wants or cares about. It could be your address or anyone you know.

In one segment, they visit the archivist for the John D. Rockefeller house, the saved heirlooms and collectibles of the rich family. They have the resources to do what middle-income people cannot—and they have selected what will survive to prove the Rockefeller legacy.

They then ask the archivist about his family. He has saved his grandmother’s cookie recipes and her log of making dozens for her children.

As Annette made dresses, beautiful copies for herself too, they have an interesting take on the fashion as icons. A conservator tells how she can feel the spirit of the owner in the clothes, and physicist Alan Lightman talks about how molecules and atoms never die, but become disarranged: the dead person is no longer assembled, but parts float around the universe.

They keep the house for six years until Jonathan hears his grandmother call his name. As Alan Lightman states, houses are universes, and like the universe, they can be reduced to fit into a thimble.

Dark Dirk’s Shadow

DATELINE:  British Murder Mystery

 As a Charming Killer!

Of course, Janet Greene is no Agatha Christie, but English female mystery playwrights were big in the 1950s. Her big play has more sociopathic psycho than most.

So, the big cheese to play the role was a perfect choice.

From light comedy to darkest character drama with sociological implications, Dirk Bogarde stormed onto the scene in British, arty films in the 1950s. He could play a charming medical students in the film series, Doctor in the House,or he could be a dangerous sexual predator as in Cast a Dark Shadow  all within the same year!

No actor in the Hollywood system could do that sort of range.

In 1955, he managed to play one of his creepier wife-murdering fortune hunters, cast as the darkest shadow, Teddy Bare who is married to oldster Mona Washbourne. Her name is Moni, but it sounds like Mommy when Dirk speaks.

Moni makes a will, against Teddy’s wish. With no will, he receives all her money. He is forced to dispatch her immediately and must find another wife/victim.

In some ways, the young man after old ladies is not credible, but the idea of a young man hustling an older man was not feasible in 1955, but we give Bogarde credit for his unspoken suggestion. In one scene he is reading male health magazine with men in bikini photos.

That was about as blatant as you could be to send a gay message in 1955.

In glossy black and white, the film is a beautiful production with sharp sets and lovely photography from director Lewis Gilbert. The other women victims are younger and more apt, Margaret Atwood and Kay Walsh.

This is a lost gem that now is found on streaming services.

 Go West, Young Voter!

DATELINE: IQ Not a Barrier!

 

If you did not already believe that any idiot can become president of the United States, Kanye West is the example to prove the point.

His campaign motto shall be, “Go West, or Go to Hell,” and voters of an ilk will likely respond. He doesn’t need the senior vote, and has no intention of putting the Pointer Sisters into his cabinet.

Yes, this musical maven has announced he is fit and ready to be your next president. Despite being a Trump lackey, he has found the limelight too much to his liking.

He first big donor has lined up: another half-wit billionaire by the name of Elon Musk. He’s the guy ready to send you to Mars with no return ticket. And now, Mark Cuban who famously was called out by his player, Kevin Durant, with the words, “Cuban is a idiot.”

Spaceshots are already clamoring to be president of Mars. No mail-in ballots will be allowed on Phobos.

It’s now clear who has been abducted by space aliens and who is the pilot of your local UFO. Kanye will hold his convention and nomination rally at Area 51 where long runways and reverse engineers are preparing his Oval Office décor.

To balance the ticket, Kanye needs to find the right Veep and Justin Bieber may be a tad young, but he won’t be in line to succeed for eight years. Justin Timberlake is too far left. Taylor Swift has turned him down.

Kayne West already will tell you his black life matters more than others: he makes big money and has a famous wife. Kim Kardashian may not be Jackie Kennedy Onassis, but she certainly will give her best imitation. Jay-Z is set to be campaign manager. And Drake has promised to bring in the LGBT vote.

By the way, the Federal Election Commission is investigating Kanye for false filing information. The joke will be over soon enough.

 

 

  Mae West: Dirty Blonde

DATELINE: Way Ahead of the Curve!

 Mae in Lion’s Mouth!

When PBS Masters finally recognizes Mae 100 years after her astounding Broadway run, you know she is still years ahead of the rest of society. How did this woman whose first plays were called “garbage,” or “lewd” or worse, manage to transcend Sexand The Dragto become a sotto vocecomic?

She was hardly a dirty blonde, but she was stunning to behold.

Her first play about a sex worker resulted in a week-long jail sentence that became the best publicity stunt New Yorkers ever saw. Her second play, she scoured the drag queen bars of the 1920s to find 60 gay men and women to do her ground-breaking shocker about homosexuality!

It took her thinking about why few women attended her plays (she wrote, directed, and starred). So, she came up with Diamond Lil, in hour-glass dresses, fancy lingerie, and big hats: add a few off-hand jokes, and she was Mae West forever.

You could say she saved Paramount Studios with her astute performances: she was in charge of everything and made $1 more than the highest paid executive. She insisted on black performers with billing in her movies, and she gave Duke Ellington his first Hollywood exposure!

Mae hated negativity—and she liked to be in control. Slowly she evolved into a real version of her creative version. She was forty and overweight when she made her first movie, and she was run out of Hollywood by censors. By the 1950s, she was considered a man in drag herself–and she was ripe for parody everywhere.

In the 1970s in her 80s, she made a comeback as a sex symbol, a shocking parody that was hilarious inSextette  and Myra Breckinridge. With her half-baked singing, shimmy, and snide overcurrent delivery, she was a striking original.

 

 

 

Yes, We Have No Trump Bananas!

DATELINE: Accused Felon

Trump with recently arrested harridan predator.

Fox News, that bastion of journalistic integrity, has now taken to cropping any photo of Jeffrey Epstein with Trump so that the POTUS is MIA. They forgot all the pix of Ghislaine Maxwell with him.

This is almost identical to sticking your head in the sand, if you are an ostrich. If you don’t show it, it never happened. A Trump supporter went for our throat recently when we sent a picture of the president and Ghislaine. She foamed rapidly that it was “photoshopped,” but did not feel any picture of Bill Clinton might be equally photoshopped.

Of course, the nervous nellies of Fox are photoshopping Trump out of the images because the summertime heat is increasing. It seems the prosecutor’s office may be looking at a tie to “public officials.” Hmm, that means you, Trump.

 

 

It could mean AG Barr too, whose father was an early Epstein enabler at the Dalton School, a fancy prep where words like rich and scandal never are put in the same sentence.

 

Sexual predators seem to travel in packs.

 

Fox News clearly is thinking that their news watchers who are Trump supporters do not need to hear how their brazen leader knew and supported the child abuse of Ghislaine and Epstein. Heavens, no!

 

The problem is a pattern of sexual abuse and accusers over many years around the President. The problem is that Ghislaine’s father (and her friend Epstein) may have been selling video, audio, and bugged footage to Vladimir Putin over the years. Yes, Epstein was a salesman who met death from the business of selling images of  famous politicians in compromising positions.We do not use “positions” lightly.

A cold steel dossier on Trump would surely mean his cooperation. Putin has that.

Of course, some Fox intern left Melania in the original picture, apparently not recognizing her in her pre-First Lady coquettish days.

Fox News may switch its theme song to “Yes, We Have no Bananas.”  It’s fitting for those going crazy and living in a banana republic like Trumpworld.

 

 

 

Stone Monuments & Rocks in Trump’s Head

DATELINE: Trump Version of Disneyland

Mt. Rushmore or Less!

The so-called Garden of Monuments proposed by Trump will be nothing less than an ode to Hollywood versions of American heroes. A close look at Trump’s selection of heroes features a good number of 1950s TV icons—from Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett, to a plethora of Walt Disney depictions.

 

We suspect in Trump’s rock head, the faces of Boone and Crockett will belong to Fess Parker.

You may have noticed war hero Audie Murphy on this list, but not war hero Alvin York. York’s movie came too soon for Trump, but you can count on the fact that when Lou Gehrig is included, he will look like Gary Cooper.

Oh, in a show of good faith and black face, Trump includes the ubiquitous Martin Luther King, Jr., and Harriet Tubman (she’s good enough for the $2 bill but not the $20).  We expect there will be a lot of Confederate money tossed about: though he does not mention Jeff Davis or Robert E. Lee, they will have a spot in Trump’s American heritage.

 

You can put the monument park next to one of his golf courses, thereby raking in more money to the Trump Organization.

You should include George Patton (in the likeness of George C. Scott), but forget Ike. For that matter, you should include the movie star president, Ronald Reagan, but forget the Democrats like FDR or JFK. Not invited.

 

We expect there will be a spot on Trump’s Rushmore for Nixon.

 

You can find Wilbur Wright on this list, but no Neil Armstrong.

 

You can find a few foreigners like Columbus, but don’t look for any Native Americans like Sitting Bull. The only bull here is Trump.

 

 

 

 

 

Next Step in the Epstein Investigation?

 DATELINE: Costume Ballers

 Weinstein/Epstein/Maxwell.

 What a trio!

When Prince Andrew threw a costume ball, Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein joined Harvey Weinstein for fun and games.

Word is now filtering out of the Southern District of New York federal prosecutor’s office that the arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell is opening up a Pandora Box. They may be looking at an investigation into public officials tied into the Jeffrey Epstein case.

You have political types jumping up and down on both sides of the aisle:  Republicans think Bill Clinton is under the gun, and Democrats think Donald Trump is the person of interest.

The term “public official” certainly rules out Prince Andrew, the son of Queen Elizabeth and a royal slime-ball of another country’s color.

Trump’s firing of the US Attorney Geoffrey Berman last week indicates that he was attempting to de-rail any investigation into Rudy Giuliani or Alan Dershowitz, two Trump allies with connections to Epstein’s unsavory sexual history. Bill Gates and Elon Musk have taken to the powder room to keep dry.

Everyone denies their culpability, but the rumors for years of loose morals among these people can be uncovered on many websites and news feeds over the past decade or so. Like Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey, all seem to be connected to each other, crossing paths or socializing with no distance too close. Ghislaine’s photo with Kevin Spacey from 2002 has been unearthed, and pix of Weinstein with Epstein are also now easy to find.

If you want to believe in a network of sexual predators, you don’t have to stretch the mind too far. Nearly all these people were flight risks on the Lolita Express, Epstein’s aptly named jet to perdition.

Some experts think Ghislaine will talk a good game to escape a long prison term; others believe she will never make it to trial. Accidents do happen when you cross billionaires and political power horses.

 

 

 

 

 Not Birds of a Feather: Birders

 DATELINE: Central Park 

 Cooper, Starr with director Kimball.

 

If you want to escape viruses and racial problems, you may go to Central Park in New York City where over 200 varieties of birds come to spend time each year. The film is from 2012 and is called Birders: the Central Park Effect..

Seasonal birders are bird-watchers who come in spring or fall to see the most friendly and unusual birds ever to congregate in a small urban space.

One of the most charming of people in this documentary is Chris Cooper, a gay African American man who calls the art of birders “a treasure hunt,” and explains he disappears for a month of delightful fun every spring. He compares birding to stamp collecting.

You may recall the incident (not in the movie) about the white woman (clearly a racist who could never apologize with a name, only calling her victim “that man”) who called police on Cooper who complained her dog was not on a leash and was frightening the birds. Her attack on Cooper went viral.

That shows how even birdwatching has become dangerous in our racially charged world lately.

What a shame about the racist attack on Cooper, but it draws attention to how real the problem is—even when we try to escape the horrors of our society lately.

Cooper is articulate, intelligent, and a marvelous birder to introduce the artful hobby that entails The Central Park Effect on birds.

Other birders in the film include an old woman named Starr Saphir who charged a few dollars to lead people on watching tours. She usually finds a dozen birds, identify them, and give their history. She kept records for each year for decades before her passing in 2013.

Another character in the story compares birders to those seeking movie stars. The stars are not pigeons or geese, but rare birds you may know from books and pictures. To see one in person is like meeting a movie star, according to Jonathan Franzen.

The film now resonates in ways never intended, but it remains a delightful study of human nature in natural setting. If there is bad news, the number of birds is declining everywhere.