The Lighthouse Provides No Beacon

DATELINE: Masterpiece Emerges

 Dafoe v. Pattinson vs. Lighthouse

It was a dark and stormy movie.

If there are two actors making films for intelligent audiences, they are Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson. Now they have teamed up for a Robert Eggers film called The Lighthouse, and the result is electrifying. Set on a Maine island in the 1890s, it is an amazing setting for an unusual encounter.

Sold as a dark horror picture, that’s a simplification. This may be black and white and filled with atmosphere but this movie sends metaphointo a new realm, away from picturesque seaside imges. This lighthouse is perpetually gloomy and dark.

We have not seen a teaming of two actors in point-counterpoint performance since Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton. You may have had a few of those encounters in the 1960s when thoughtful scripts inspired brilliant actors. Well, we have it here.

The third performer in this weird triangle is the setting of the Maine lighthouse on a rocky, barren, unpleasant little island filled with squawking seagulls. They are, Dafoe tells us, the spirits of sailors lost at sea. To kill one is bad luck, to say the least.

Pattinson is the younger, but no means a lad, but he looks the part. Dafoe is grizzled and the boss who has power on the brain. What results is cabin fever that might make Charlie Chaplin eat his shoe.

With impending doom around every corner, it is hard to look away from Eggers camera. He has provided a compelling picture, nothing short of hypnotic and suspenseful. What we have here is “what?!” which is a scene that shows us an arrangement of derangement.  The dialogue is a battle of single word argument: “What.”  There is no shortage of seamen in this film.

In terms of overall impact, there is something akin to Kubrick’s Shining here, but the overall doom is far more reminiscent of Edgar Allen Poe. In any case, you will be watching a most unusual film.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Louis Hayward in & Out of Iron Mask

DATELINE: Musketeers Save a King 

 Two Faces of Louis Hayward

Forget the big budget Leonardo di Caprio version of Dumas’ classic novel, The Man in the Iron Mask.  In the 1939 version, you are seeing something completely different and refreshing.

Louis Hayward stars in the double role as the evil, ruthless king—and the twin brother he does not know, but uses as a body double. Was Hayward ever so young and good-looking? Yes, and in a double-your-fun role.

He manages to create two quite different personalities to the twins: the friend and ward of D’Artagnan is quite adventurous and plays off Joan Bennett as young Marie, his betrothed.

How could such an entertaining period drama be made in 1939? We can mention the director: the great James Whale, ending the decade he started with Invisible Manand Frankenstein. He was on the downslide in reputation, but could still put together a brilliant bit of folderol.

The iron mask does not actually show up for over half the movie—and watching Hayward play off his “twin” in great special effects scenes is a delight. His queen-in-waiting is Joan Bennett, positively glowing as she bounces between the impostor and the wicked king.

The diabolical mask is saved for a short period for Philippe, the good twin, and awaits a cruel fate for the king. Whale takes this story off-kilter, but no matter. If it looks like a Western at the end, it may be the foible of the times. And was that really Peter Cushing in a first-time role? And we barely recognized Albert Dekker as the father in his few moments.

Warren William is dashing as the older D’Artagnan—and the quartet have one of those rides into the clouds, so popular in the 1930s.

 

Project Blue Book, S2 Backtracks to Roswell

 DATELINE: More Malarkey! 

Since the veracity of the series means that the actual investigators of Project Blue Bookcame after Roswell by six years, there had to be a way to send them back.  Season 2 makes a start in that direction.

 

Aiden Gillen returns as the historical figure of Dr. Allen Hynek amid a bunch of fictional supporting names. Hynek was a major opponent of UFOs, but in this series he is the archangel of UFOlogists. Go figure.

Out of clever re-construction of history, however dubious in the entire science fiction genre, nothing is impossible. And, the impossible ties to the past are made. If you’re claiming a spaceship landed in Roswell, you can claim anything.

There is someone blackmailing the overzealous and fictional Gen. Harding (Neal McDonough in a bravura rotten villain role). He has made more enemies than a commie traitor facing the Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s. The entire town of Roswell may be out to get him. His loyal aide, Captain Quinn (Michael Malarkey) is a ramrod cutie-pie who is starting to have doubts about his mission (not his sexuality).

Some kind of soap opera subplot continues with a Russian asset (or alien asset) now romancing Quinn on the side, after going after Dr. Hynek’s wife. Who said the 1950s were dull?

The show continues this season to be atmospheric and suggestive of the era: the names have been changed to protect someone. There is a great deal of cigarette smoking, swallows of whiskey straight, and pay phones on every corner.

The show suggests the government paid off many residents of Roswell with money, not necessarily with threats of death and maiming. We have again heroic Americans standing up to their corrupt government, however inaccurate that is.

In a two-part opener, we are back at Roswell where dead aliens may still lurk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Become a Recluse

DATELINE: Social Isolation by Choice

You do not become a recluse overnight. If you are in the style of B. Traven, J.D. Salinger, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, or other celebrities, you have withdrawn from public scrutiny—because of public scrutiny.

Yet, there is at the base of these departures from social exposure a feeling of having suffered disrespect in your privacy and personal space. In order to guarantee it, the subjects removed themselves from easy access by all levels of society.

Imagine their horror today with social media, Internet intrusions, and tracking by advertisers. Whatever you research, whatever you question, however you reach out, it is saved by some little cookie somewhere. You can only cut so many cords to remain independent and isolated.

The last option is simply to withdraw from any public course of activity. It is easier than you might think.

You may go out on a shopping trip, though this too is less likely if you are willing to use Internet services for grocery delivery or Amazon products. You do not go out to theatre, movies, concerts, or the like after years of doing so. Your main interaction is with delivery service workers who likely drop off materials at your door—sending you an online notice. You open the door, grab your item, and shut it again.

You may go out once in a while to start your car, drive to the doctor, or go to the local service station for fuel. You may try to avoid credit cards, but it is difficult if you want to stay apart from society. You have to pay for upkeep of property with a crew of unreliable snow shoveling grass mowers. You could simply let the property deteriorate, but that may bring intrusions.

If you no longer work or work at home, you can increase your isolation. A writer is a perfect avocation in that regard, though you cannot meet readers in libraries, bookstores, or classes to whet their reading appetite. They see your author page, that is updated now and then.

You may limit your friends to phone calls, or now the more isolating text message. There is contact ongoing to an ever-decreasing number of people. As you grow old, you may even find your contacts decreased by infirmity and death, dementia and lack of response.

Family is easy to disregard if you are unmarried and have no children. Nephews and nieces prefer a distant, oddball relative who will one day out of the blue die and leave them money. No contact beyond that is required.

You may learn how uninvolved people are with your existence. Once separated, your distance becomes normal and your contacts are even more deeply absent for weeks, then months. Your well-being check-up is hardly a priority with anyone. Don’t worry about wellness checks.

If winter is long and cold, you may not step outside—and you have a legitimate excuse or explanation that neighbors accept. Good fences still make good neighbors—and those who are quiet and invisible are even better to the locals.

You may be seen going to the mailbox or putting out the trash, unless you do this at odd hours. Those actions then become mysterious and occur almost magically without anyone thinking twice. You are at long last a recluse.

Oak Island Turns Its Eye to Gary Drayton

 DATELINE: Oak Island Trifecta

  Lead Tag!

If you thought Gary Drayton changed the show since he came into his own, he made yet again another major discovery—as big as his Templar Cross of three years earlier. Curse of Oak Island is on the verge of a treasure trove of winning: a trifecta.

His insights, his luck, and his attitude, makes him a compelling figure. Gary went a long way to make Oak Island’s series the so-called #1 show on cable.

It is Gary who finds “bloody silver,” what the treasure hunters have always wanted: the most brazen evidence yet.

Three sites simultaneous digs meant to receive permits and going into the swamp foremost to dredge out water to show a 1200 AD structure.

They also now seem to have found the original Money Pit that was flooded first in 1805. That was not a factor in the 21stcentury where there is an arrogance that the flood tunnels can be shut off.

What this all means is that there could be three treasures on Oak island. It gels with the theories that different people, at different times, came to the island to do major excavation to hide mysterious historical treasures.

Metallurgist Dr. Christa Brousseau tells them that the tag is not silver, but it is impure lead. It was deliberately created possibly a thousand years ago.

Over in the swamp Dr. Ian Spooner is back, which is a sign that he is on hand for anticipation of something big.

Fred Nolan’s son believes they are looking at vindication of the surveyor’s lifelong hope.

Another metallurgist reveals in the War Room that this tag of impure lead is from an area well-known to the Knights Templar and may even be of similar origin.

The big payoff may be, however, undermined by Hurricane Dorian that is on the horizon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summit with Rat Pack

DATELINE: Ocean’s 11 History!

  Frank & Jack!

A bad, inconsequential movie seldom is a watershed of history. So, to find a film that provides a great context for politics, social life, entertainment, and cult of celebrity, you have to stand back and simply be agog at its temerity.

Ocean’s 11, the original 1960 movie, turned out to be seminal and a turning point in mindless fluff having serious impact. The Ocean 11 Story will surprise you.

This gang was called the Summit (and it’s a pinnacle of some lunacy). Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford, Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, Sammy Davis Jr., were denizens of the Las Vegas show world. That was the descendant of vaudeville—taken a turn toward Godfather syndicate crime and gambling.

These entertainers brought thousands to the desert to pack five casinos along a neon strip. They created a world of entertainment unto itself.

And, the mob was beholden. Their pranks, self-deprecating humor, and interjecting in each other’s shows became an act itself. They soon were joining forces: “maybe” someone else would show up and liven up the audience. Tickets were prized.

Sinatra’s mob connections (notably played out in the Puzo tale, Godfather) made him royalty. His friends like Sam Giancanna could guarantee a Hollywood career however he wanted it.

Then, his hostility to Lawford ended when the actor married into the Kennedy family—and JFK ran for President with Franks support. It was the first time a pop star turned his hit song into a campaign rally tune.

Ties between Sinatra, beautiful Hollywood starlets, and a Kennedy president, became legend: Marilyn Monroe was in there too.

A double-edged mob could protect Kennedy—or kill him.

And, the Rat Pack lived it up, never sleeping, making a cheesy movie with the casino help. It was a movie about robbing the casinos—and the mob loved it.

You could have High Hopes and a Kind of Fool as these loose show-stoppers unloaded on screen and off. They moved off second-banana status with Sinatra’s Oscar coming from here and going to Eternity, Martin’s break from Lewis, and a black man on equal footing.

The Summit of talent heckled each other—and brought in tons of money and popularity. They would never do more than one take in their movie—which was merely an extension of their stage shenanigans. They lacked self-discipline, but who needed it?

They made Las Vegas, and they made Kennedy president. They loved the danger of the Mob, and no one dared cross them. It was a golden age of promiscuity and booze.

This hour documentary turns out to be highly significant about how silly inanity could dominate a century.

 

 

‘Orb’ Watches Titanic Movie Again!

DATELINE: Insider Viewing!

According to my housemate and ghostly companion, orbs or spheres are small balls of light energy that are used by spirits to go through vortices or to find pathways for time travel.
Sometimes, they just want to watch a movie on tape without using a VCR or DVD player. They simply fly into the tape.
For example, twice in the past few weeks, the spirit of Richard White has knocked a videotape off the bookshelf in my home library. It is the same videotape each time:Titanicfrom 1953, starring Clifton Webb and Robert Wagner.
I suspect he likes this version of the luxury ship catastrophe (where he died) because his brother Percy knew the producer and writer, Charles Bartlett. They. were a couple of Harvard guys. Percy was a Madison Ave. type who advertised movies. He may also have given Bartlett a leg up on his Oscar screenplay with some insider details about his father and brother who died on the ship.
It seems the movie featured a main character named after the ad man’s brother—playing his father who died on Titanic. “Richard” was a version of Percy White, Sr. He was lost on Titanic, his body never recovered. The actor hired to play this victim was Clifton Webb who just happened to look like the real Percy White, Jr.
In typical happenstance in my life, the actor who played a version of the real Richard (a college student on Titanic) was Robert Wagner, whose acquaintance I made 15 years ago by sheer coincidence—or was it Richard White’s ghostly intercession?
Why did the orb knock this film off the shelf again? The film mentions family secrets of Percy and Richard White that no one except close family would know. I was made privy by Percy’s grand-daughter.
It may be too that the ghost went into the film, as a doorway to the past, to re-live or to re-watch the film.
It intrigues me that the second time, the film is out of its plastic case and both tape and case are face down in front of the wall-to-ceiling books shelving.
What message is being conveyed to me this time? I am not yet certain—but these points become apparent in time.
So, my ghost, Richard, has sent me another message, not in a bottle from the Titanic wreck site, but from a bookcase in my library.
Dr. William Russo’s new book is called SPOOKY GEOLOGY & TITANIC, featuring 25 unusual details about the geographical ties to Titanic. Available on Amazon in both softcover and e-book.
Videotape on floor.

Butt-Slapping Reaches New Bottom

DATELINE: Hard Knocks?

 Culprit caught red-handed.

You know society has hit rock bottom when pro athletes now are being tossed out of games—and arrested—for going for the formerly acceptable cheeky assault.

We cannot recall when butt-touching went public in our sports arenas. It must be a carry-over from hauling ass around the gym. Once upon a time, it was considered a means of expressing male “affection.”

We are unsure if we have ever seen this activity in a gay bar, but we believe that it will now be forbidden even in the inner sanctums. Queer as Folk avoided such behaviors. But, Downton Abbey’syoung butler may be guilty.

A pinch on the cheek used to be quite continental, but continence has reached a new plateau when it comes to below the belt buckles with knuckles.

OBJ recently slapped the butt of a mall cop, or pardon us, arena security after a college game. It was the locker room and one can almost explain how these things become viral.

The alleged hard-ass cop took umbrage and wanted to sock OBJ, but held his piece instead. New Orleans used to be a place when Fat Tuesday meant any buttock passing was slugged. No more!

Now, former Celtic Jae Crowder was innocently standing at the free throw line, ready to cut loose when Tristan Thompson, apparently without Iseulte by his side, added insult to injury by shocking Crowder with a tap on the buttocks.

You’d think he’d been given an injection of penetrating flu vaccine. Crowdah jumped like he fell into a bowl of hot chowdah.

Tristan Thompson claimed it was a means of bonding between former teammates. Heavens, high fives and man hugs, all now chaste and robotic, are the new currency. No one is paying for their erogenous zone to be invaded, and short of a porno film, we don’t expect to see this impact on our cable television when we are not on the LOGO network.

We remember when a crime was committed if your fist hit the tip of another’s nose. Now, the blow is lower than the standard for congressional oversight.

We believe the five-second rule should be enforced. If your food falls on the floor, you can still eat it within five seconds of being retrieved from any dirty crevice.

We hold that a slap on the butt that does not linger or return for second helpings should be excused with heart-feltmea culpa.

Slapping a bun of steel of your pro athlete of choice may be injurious to your digits. And spare us a fist pump.

Thomas Crown: An Affair Not to Remember?

DATELINE: What Should Have Been?

 Stand-in graveyard?

In 1968, one of the ultra-cool movies that was meant to be an antidote to the growing counter-culture of long-hair and hippies, was Norman Jewison’s stylish caper film. Sexy cool, with dune buggy rides on Crane’s beach in Ipswich and rooftop brunch on a patio in the South End of Boston, this was your ultimate sophistication.

The Thomas Crown Affairwas meant to be a vehicle showing off a Brahmin Bostonian outsmarting a beautiful insurance agent at his hobby of “crime.”

It has all the looks of a film back in the late 1960s when Alfred Hitchcock wanted to drag Grace Kelly out of retirement with the promise of another Cary Grant co-star vehicle. It’sTo Catch a Thief in reverse. However, nothing panned out. The film settles for second-best.

Hitchcock also had Tippi Hedren under contract—and so they could not even bring her on as the beautiful insurance agent. Yet, Faye Dunaway is clearly wearing the designer outfits and living the life of a millionaire investigator meant for Grace or Tippi. She tangles with a guy in a Brooks Brothers suit who pretends to be a millionaire executive, but looks like a motorcyclist in posh dress.

No doubt that Steve McQueen looks dashing, but we never believed for a second that he could play polo or chess. Not only that, the film looks like it was supposed to play out in London, but they had to settle for Boston. McQueen reportedly could not master a Boston accent and gave up half-way through the film.

It’s the ultimate double-cross thriller that Hitch loved to do, but Jewison throws in modern elements like split-screen moments (all pointless) and Noel Harrison (not Rex) sings “Windmills of Your Mind.” It seems even Dusty Springfield turned them down.

The climax of the movie takes place at Cambridge City Cemetery, a stand-in for ritzy and prestigious Mount Auburn Cemetery across the street, no doubt. We were a tad shocked to see filming near my mother’s recent burial site back then, not far from her grandmother.

Some films you may remember for all the wrong reasons.

 

 

 

 

 

Pink at Heart for Grant Williams

DATELINE: In Romeo’s ‘do?

At least one Celtic player in the NBA wants his three teammates to be on the All-Star team.

There is some doubt that the Celtics will be able to muster Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown, on the team. It seems a glut of wealth may be the Celtics counterweight.

There is a great disbelief that the Celtics will have enough support to see their three hot stars in the All-Star lineup. It seems especially so since Tacko Fall holds more votes than almost anyone else.

Much to our amusement, fellow Celtic, the intriguing Renaissance Man off the court, Grant Williams, is making an offer we can’t refuse. No, this is not the Incredible Shrinking Man: this is the incredible, smart Celtic.

Grant is quite a genius, in case you are wondering, with a nerdy photographic memory, the ability to speak several languages, and play several instruments of music. His specialty de la Maison is the piano, but we have yet to demand a duet with the other piano player on Celtics: Jalen Brown.

But we are ahead of ourselves: Grant made a deal that if fans vote the three starters on the All-Star team, he will dye his hair pink for one month. Now, this is not so earth-shattering and may not be much of a stretch for the non-traditional Grant. We’d like to see Grant with pink hair regardless of the all-star vote.

So, vote often for the trio of Celtics. We love Grant in Pink. No, not Cary, and not Ulysses. We mean #12.

Madman & Rebel: Dennis Hopper

DATELINE: Don’t Forget Drunkard!

 He’s Not in this Doc!

Dennis, Our Favorite Menace!

A semi-interesting documentary on James Dean contemporary, Dennis Hopper, whose career went through many incarnations, is allegedly told by his “co-conspirators”! The film on his life is called Along for the Ride. With friends like the intense Hopper selected, he was in for a long run toward Doom.

Hopper underwent many transformations in his life—and it mirrored his career, or vice versa. He started out as an All-American wholesome-looking boy, became a slimy and bushy-bearded druggie and drunkard, and ultimately became a haggard and highly respected character actor. He survived, which is the truly amazing fact.

Like most under-educated people in Hollywood, Hopper was sensitive to his intelligence and self-education. The film ignores his youth and early years—and picks up with his personal assistant in 1970 who owns most of his correspondence and memorabilia. He is the power behind this portrait, which really puts emphasis on his directorial ability in The Last Movie, a big flop. Having made a fortune with Easy Rider,his counter-culture friends and attitudes were given free-reign in the 1970s Hollywood-in-transition.

Hopper was never helped when friends like Satya keep telling him he’s a genius. Inevitably, his Last Moviebecame Waterloo in Peru. Hopper was a colorful show-biz personality, but he was notOrson Welles. The low-lifes and sycophants around him convinced him otherwise.

You won’t have to see The Last Movie to know from this picture that it is an unmitigated disaster. When working on Apocalypse Now, Marlon Brando refused to do any scenes with him. He had told the most powerful Hollywood moguls to go “f” themselves. He was on Ruination Row in a self-constructed prison.

There is a passing nod to his mentor and progenitor, James Dean, but really he was on his own trip far from his rebel youth movies.

Blue Velvet resurrected him. He always felt he was personally difficult, but not professionally so. In the end he made so many movies that any idea that he was blackballed cannot be believed.

Hopper’s right-hand man and behind-the-scenes acolyte does his job to the bitter end.

 

  Oak Island Pays Dividends for Fans!

DATELINE: Gob-Smacked by Gary Drayton

 Steve Guptill

At long last, not even bad delaying tactics of the show’s producers can stop the progress to something important. Long-suffering fans who have put up with endless recaps and repetitive reminders may now be able to see a mystery unfold.

Well, it’s not quite the same as having the UFO land on the White House lawn, but finding giant structures under a long-submerged bay area tells us that the rise in oceans has complicated the treasure hunt.

Young surveyor Steve Guptill has emerged this season from nowhere to be Rick Lagina’s right hand.  He is in on every discovery and has the complete trust and attention of Mr. Lagina. We are happy he has found a true companion with talent, beauty and brains. He has located the first tunnel made to avoid the flood drains in 1805.

Once again, members of the team find unusual features—and then Rick Lagina shows up. Yet Smith’s Cove now has giant logs, not smaller, meaning the engineering was overwhelmingly difficult. What were they doing hundreds of years ago?

The other big news is the Swamp. They may have found the Eye of the Swamp as the theoretical center of the treasure. Again, an art expert has used French paintings to reveal secret information—which makes Marty Lagina particularly cynical.

Expert Dr. Ian Spooner returns—and Steve Guptill is in charge of digging in the swamp eye, a coring operation to determine the swamp’s age.

Not to be undone, Gary Drayton finds a wooden peg or two at the cove. What we have here is massive structure made on a grand scale 1220 A.D. in Nova Scotia. Significant human activity is discovered in 1675 or so, as well.

We are now in the area of Knights Templar.

New England Legacy: Video Cheating?

DATELINE:  The All-Seeing Video Eyeball

Spygate crashers?

What’s with video cheating and Boston’s managerial brain-trusts? Their genius may be all in the eye of the camera.

We have somehow come to accept every sordid charge that Bill Belichick somehow in some way has cheated his way to win six Super Bowls. From Deflategate to Spygates 1 and 2, he seems to appear in sequels more than Rocky.

This is now the New England championship ring of truth around the world. World champs here come from the bottom of the barrel. The ring is worn on the wrong finger.

And if you had any doubt, you had only to note that now Alex Cora, winner of the 2018 World Series for the Boston Red Sox is up to his video eyeballs in cheating for both the Houston Astros and the Red Sox.

He was awarded the Sox job, it now appears, on the false pretense that he was a mastermind of winning. Well, it now appears he was indeed the mastermind—of a video spy scandal in Houston as their coach. The manager and his general manager have now been fired as a result.

Cora is hiding in plain sight. MLB states he is being investigated for making a video conference room in the Red Sox clubhouse for cheaters to view signs and other insider activities of the opposing dugout.

How long Cora stands up to this withering accusation is anyone’s guess! Chances are, like Belichick, he will hunker down and figure winners never face punishment. Don’t look for Cora to resign in disgrace any more than Trump will for his impeachy behaviors.

Those old interviews in which Alex Cora waxed eloquent on his admiration for Bill Belichick now take on sinister tones.

No, it will be for the true-blue Red Stockings front office to fire him. Will they? It now seems like he may fall under the New England umbrella of winners never quit and winning is the only deodorant. Managers like Casey Stengel belonged to a different century and a different club.

Boston Stars Join Police Lineup in California!

DATELINE: Wine Chaser?

Call it Selfie Destruction?

Julian Edelman is preparing for off-season surgery by jumping on the hood of an expensive car in Beverly Hills. It’s called drunken vandalism.

Only in Beverly Hills is jumping on a MB SLK considered a misdemeanor.

Now arrested for vandalism, he will appear in the airport courthouse next month—that is, if he’s out of the hospital and Bill Belichick’s doghouse.

Tom Brady’s close chum was out celebrating not being in the Super Bowl with a bunch of former Boston stars; Danny Amendola (his usual mate and partner in crime, and the unusual addition of Paul Pierce, notably of the Celtics Past).

One can presume the stars were imbibing beyond the limits of good sense.

It may be that Edelman is planning to jump ship and is checking out the teams on the West Coast (he is originally a Bay butt). If he is on a mission to scout out teams for Brady, they may be going there in tandem. He may be practicing his jump skills by jumping on car hoods.

We presume Pierce is a technical advisor, and Amendola (as always) is a partner in crime and unnatural activities. They have also done Mexico last year on a skateboard tour.

The latest scuttlebutt from the butt buddies of Edelman is that he will have at least 2 surgeries to repair damage from his insane play at age 34. It’s enough to figure that Bill Belichick wouldn’t take him back or give him a plug nicklel for his future.

No wonder Tom is sending him out to test the TB12 market in the Bay area. Unfortunately, Julie has been derailed in Beverly Hills, a far cry from the Raiders  franchise. Josh McDaniels can have Cleveland! Give the Brady Bunch something of Hollywood.

The Peter Pan Syndrome is alive and well in anyone who thinks they can play NFL football beyond a certain age. How low can down-low go?

Death on 8 Legs

 DATELINE: Ouch!

A documentary on scorpions is not for the faint of heart.

With 1500 different species, these venomous biters are among the most feared insects—and not just by humans. They are prolific in desert, jungle, dry and wet country. Scorpions: Death on Eight Legsis how disaster strikes in small ways.

Though they can kill a horse in five minutes with a bite, they only have enough venom to last one bite every two weeks or so. You could luck out.

Unwary mammals who are nocturnal can find themselves bitten. Little mice might run, but cardiac arrest will soon stop them in their tracks.

These creatures are, we learned, photophobic: the vampires of the insect world. They must hide, not from heat, but from radiation in sunlight. Shade, caves, old shoes, anything that can give them refuge will be sought—and makes your old boot something to be shaken before inserting foot.

Scorpions are cannibalistic; they will suck the life out of anything, including their family members. Their natural enemies are hedgehogs (who chew with care) and the ever-threatening praying mantis.

The documentary is narrated by a Brit named Stephen Martin with funeral irony and understatement. And, one of the highlights is a fight between a yellow scorpion and a black one in Africa. Their armor makes a fight to death not an easy kill, and they seem particularly incensed by their own kind.

One re-enactment is showing how Bedouin campers are potential victims. Cutting open the bite may help bleed out, but not often enough. Sweating profusely, foaming at the mouth, and great discomfort usually precede your nervous system shutting down and your heart going into arrest.

Sex for scorpions is a 400-million-year dance in which a truce is called for perhaps a few hours. Babies are protected and stay on mother’s back for several weeks before going off into the darkness.

We are glad we don’t usually see any scorpions.