Celtics Choke Again.

DATELINE: Once More With Feeling

Boston Celtics used to be a subject we could write about with amusement. Not now.

Since the Great Bubble Experiment of the NBA where home court is a myth, you have the Celtics not playing home games on their notorious parquet floor. It used to give them a superstitious advantage.

Nowadays, home court is somewhere in Florida where alligators await being made in a sow’s ear. The Boston Celtics have fisticuffs in the locker room, and their vaunted stars (Kemba, Smart, Brown) are proving to be lesser lights.

Long live the Celtics. The team is dead for this year. There is one word you never hear in the Boston media: choke.

 We hear the strangulation gasps for air. We hear the air leaving the bubble.

The Celtics have epitomized the concept of choking under the pressures in big games during a series against the Miami Heat.

There is no other way to describe a team that is fighting amongst itself more than against the opposing team.

You have the great Kemba Walker not exactly performing well. Maybe there is a reason why he never played in playoffs all these years. Now in the playoffs, he is choking. He does not know how to play big games, with no experience.

Marcus Smart is dumb, and his insanity now is the noose choking the team. Jaylen Brown is playing chopsticks on his piano most of the game.

Jayson Tatum, Bird in waiting, is now proving that he knows not what a dagger to the heart means.

Bird did.

So, we have a team in disarray, in stress, playing poorly when they need to be their best. Something’s gotta give, folks.

Wait till next year may mean more than the Curse of Kyrie Irving.

Nobody gives squat about the Celtics anymore.

 

 

 

 

 Apocalypse Earth as Frozen Popsickle

DATELINE: Doomsday Glacier

  

Now blizzards are something we can warm up to. The latest doomsday show starts off with the 1300s and the Little Ice Age, which was bad for a 100 years but lingered until almost 1900.

If the series is correct, everything from the Black Death to the French Revolution could be traced back to failed crops and angry people. And, the worst may be about to return.

It’s enough to make you want to colonize Mars where it’s cold, but there is no snow. This is another of those compilation from the lost burial ground of snow documentaries.

Smack in the middle of discussing ice ages, there is a sidebar in which climbers of a Himalayan mountain barely escape an avalanche. It is adrift from the rest of the show, under the odd heading of survivor stories. You mean there was no one who could speak to the Blizzard of ’78 and how hard it was?

Not in this oddball pastiche.

The best part of the show came in the final 30 minutes or so when glaciers and hailstorms came under discussion. Rock gouges indicate that there have been a dozen glaciers coming and going over the past million years.

One glacier may have been four times as high as the Empire State Building over New York City.

Another shocking moment was the home video of a family home in Oklahoma being decimated by softball size hail. It is terrifyijng, and this few scenes make up for the drivel also poured over the audience.

These “specials” from History are hit or miss, every other week. And they are hit and miss within their own hour or two. The final episode of the “season” will be shown next week on the topic of tsunamis, again with no particular order or progression of development.

 

 

 

Hurricanes of the Apocalypse

DATELINE: Raindrops on Your Head! 

 1938

This series on unpleasant natural phenomena now adds big wind and rain to the mix of devastation. Apocalypse Earth is offering no relief from the Weather Channel.

If you want to see the most disappointing of the Apocalypse Earth specials, welcome to hurricane city. It’s nowheresville done up big.

As one of the longer entries in the series, we thought we might receive slightly more indepth scenes of rushing water than News at 11. Don’t count on it.

Human folly is the theme of this episode:  experts told that the New Orleans levee system can withstand a category 3 hurricane seemed to think that it would hold up against a Category 5. Hunh? We learn the system of water dispersal in the city actually encourages storm surge right into the downtown area. What?

If you want a catalog of follies, here is the episode you have been waiting for:  since the 1990s Florida has had a boom of population from the Midwest, people who never experienced a bad hurricane and had no idea what might happen.

As per usual in a crisis, you have drunken young men having a party. Some stand out in the 150mph wind to test their mettle, and some die. Par for the course, as we have learned in a pandemic.

A meteorologist in a cinder block house never thought he’d lose his roof. The show is rife with bad decisions, and there are names of infamy like Katrina and Andrew.  We learn the obvious: Florida is the most likely hit by hurricane state.

Hurricanes are the most predictable of major disasters, but that doesn’t mean much when complacency and apathy are the hallmarks of an uneducated public.

One of the storm chasers is a callow youth when we realize he was interviewed in 2005. We do not see his viewpoint recently, and again this is a pastiche show of long-ago footage, including interviews.

One of the most interesting segments was on the great hurricane of 1938 that hit New England. Color newsreel helps to bring it to life, and there is also evidence shown of the hurricane of 1893 that devastated Far Rockaway, New York.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, My Gog! Not to Mention Magog!

DATELINE: Forgotten Classic? 

 Infamous Gog and Herbert Marshall.

Back in the early 1950s, one of the way-ahead-of-its-time movies was something called Gog (out of your Bible as a nasty evil force). The movie turned Gog into a “brain machine,” because no one dared to call it a computer back then.

Gog and Magog are robots with independent thinking skills. The computers must deal with out of control nuclear power where no man can go. Without much overt horror, this thinking man’s vision of the future went down the tubes with nary a fly-by.

More than a decade before Kubrick unleashed the HAL computer as villain on A Space Odyssey,Ivan Tors of Flipper fame turned his vision loose in a desert military base, top secret, a few years before the government created Area 51.

No wonder this movie in 3-D was a bomb. No one in the days of flying saucer mania believed in this stuff really would take over TV in the 21stcentury. The movie plot was years ahead of crypto-zoology and Artificial Intelligence with evil intent.

The movie starred Richard Egan, or is that Richard Carlson? You know any good sci-fi/horror effort in those years had to star one of them.

And, as the distinguished scientist, you had Herbert Marshall heading down the road that Vincent Price would later own.  This is a few years before Marshall had a big hit with an original shocker, The Fly. Marshall is also long-past the razor’s edge here.

Apart from the high-tech predictions, you have a great many silly low-tech, insipid notions, like a windshield wiper on the glass of a lab window—and steam radiation heat out of pipes.

Gog was a big disappointment to the drive-in audiences of the age, and its lost color and 3-D view on TV never helped it achieve any kind of post-release respect.

 

 

Off on the Wrong Bigfoot?

 DATELINE: Not Again?

Topless Bigfoot.

You cannot expect originality all the time, so with its recent reincarnation, Monsterquestreturns to the thrilling days of Bigfoot. Yes, we are back to Sasquatch, Yeti, and all things worn out by fakes, re-enactments, and grainy old photos. The show takes on Bigfoot, again, for all you déjà vuenthusiasts.

This may be a cannibalized show, taking from other recent Bigfoot studies. There are some newer bits of information, like there have been 50,000 Bigfoot, Yeti, etc.,sightings.

The Native American folklore begins to resemble modern American folklore:  You should never look Bigfoot directly into the eyes because it sets him into a rage. We have heard recently the same said about Ellen DeGeneris.

They also recommend that you do not whistle at night in the woods. This is not quite the same as a dog whistle from President Trump, but it can get you into trouble.

The FBI has also broken its rule and taken on testing some evidence considered Bigfoot DNA. They have tax-payer money to burn, and they report in 2019 that the DNA is apparently belonging to deer. Oh, dear.

The same can be said about hairs that test as elk or deer, and recorded noises are thought to be coyote or elk.  Our Monsterquest  tteam of experts finds nothing, but as usual, they are undaunted. Never inter the remains of a cryptozoologist.

We found most intriguing the notion that Bigfoot, like your gray aliens, is being accused of abducting people. Mostly, they abduct men, not women. We presume this is because they run into more men in the woods, unless there is another element we are missing.

A few scientists conclude he once existed, but is now extinct.

 

Speaking of which, there are no reports of missing time associated with Bigfoot, unless you count the 1000 years of cave painting and rock carvings.

 

All in all, we were left where we were at the start of the hour-long show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Machine That Made Us? Really?

DATELINE: Gutenberg, Not McLuhan 

Docudrama re-enactment from 1880s, not real scene.

A quaint British documentary made over a dozen years ago thrusts the premise at us that the Gutenberg Press is the most important invention of civilization. Hmm, we are skeptical as usual.

As host and presenter Stephen Fry notes, it may be more important than the car, the computer, or other accoutrements of the latest centuries. The little one-hour film The Machine That Made Us never mentions Marshall McLuhan, which is a shame.

Fry is a bibliophile, which is to say he loves books, though that is hardly historical or cultural expertise. He is also an excellent actor and charming as  host for a travelogue and investigation into Johannes Gutenberg and his invention.

There are no pictures or illos of Gutenberg or his press. One early image from Albrecht Durer of a press is 50 years later. So, all pictures and lithographs are actually re-enactments imagined, just like in today’s so-called documentaries.

There are those, however, who’d point out that books are fading fast. That includes authors who find that their sales are now comprised mostly of e-books. We print out of nostalgia for the most part.

Nobody really wants dust-collecting libraries in their homes or even in their universities. When Fry walks down miles of stacks of books, we think the cost of protecting them (miles and miles of books) is staggering. You could probably fit them all in a file cabinet of Kindles.

Fry is no technocrat—and he leaves the making of an original press to a woodworker, and the making of the actual letters to another metallurgist. Since it would take a few years to make one page of letters to print up a Bible, they send to America for pre-made, and use their one “E” in the print block.

Vellum too would mean the death of hundreds of cows, so paper is made the old-fashioned way of 1439 and it is cloth bits into pulp. You make Bible pages between the Black Death that gripped your pressings with old clothes.

There are only a handful of the original Bibles left from Guttenberg’s endeavor—and he never made money from publishing. That fell to his creditors. And, the beautiful illustrations in the margins were always hand-done anyhow.

It is fascinating to watch, but a tad dull—and we never see them actually bind a book or stich it together. When Fry thumbs through one of the surviving books in cotton gloves, you fear he might sneeze on the book and let water vapor take its course.

Franchise Detectives: Blanc and Poirot

 

DATELINE: TV or Not TV

As if one fiasco performance was not enough in Murder on the Orient Express,Kenneth Branagh has pasted on his giant fake mustache for a second Poirot adventure based on Agatha Christie.

Yes, he is sailing down and down: Death on the Nile. will render another horrible remake of the murder mystery. Put aside the diminutive expert work of David Suchet a few years ago, Branagh is a behemoth in the role (too big for his tiny mincing steps).

Why would Branagh chose to do a franchise murder mystery series on the bigger screen after doing every Shakespearean play that fit his mood on film?

Likely it is the same reason that Daniel Craig has given up James Bond’s franchise to play a cornpone detective named Benoit Blanc from New Orleans. As one character noted, it was CSI by ways of KFC. Knives Out  will be followed by Knives In and Out.

Craig’s character is not even clever, except as the writer lets him solve the crime. Bombast seems to highlight these new detectives who’d never cut it on TV weekly in the old heyday of McCloud and  Rockford.

All-star supporting casts seem to be a draw for these films now: you find faces (some old TV stars) that yearn to be back in the public favor, and you have a cast of suspects that is often highly amusing. Their biggest crime is wanting a comeback role.

So, we will have more of these franchise detectives. The roles are not exactly Prince Hamlet, but great roles often have been reprised by different actors. For almost a century Basil Rathbone was considered the be-all, end-all Sherlock until Jeremy Brett gave him a run.

Now we have new actors (well, very old actors) in new versions of old wine. We toast their hubris.

UFO Cover Up on Unidentified

DATELINE: Mellon as Head of Ops

We’re not sure who’s covering up what and if you think you will have clarification on this series, Unidentified, which delineates military investigators and UFO cases, you will find yourself going down (or up) another rabbit hole.

Our intrepid hosts, insiders at the Pentagon, who are tied into the Navy release of actual pilot video of mystery craft in the sky, will not exactly give you the answer you want.

This series may have just realized it is poisoning its own audience with listening to UFO drivel (or alternative theories) it never believed to begin with: the experts cited continued to say that all UFO stuff is disinformation put out over their secret programs, including drones that now shoot out of submarines and return to their source under water. It explains submerged craft or USOs.

The military apologists also contend that the radar is now filled with technical ghosts, phantoms that appear on screen but are not real to hide the real aircraft.

And the AF is playing mind games with the US Navy, taking their information after eating them up with experimental encounters with mystery UFO-but really US top secret aircraft.

If the technology is far superior to anything belonging to the US government (as host Skip to My Lu Elizondo contends), we are in big trouble. The is now on the defensive or is that offensive, attacking the government who feeds it for hiding more videos.  Information at the Pentagon is now routinely confiscated by Air Force honchos, riding roughshod over other military branches.

So the series is fighting back to retain its unhappy UFO audience who are fervent believers. The hosts now claim that is is impossible that Area 51 is a base of fake UFO operations and saucers that are of this Earth, not so galaxy far far away.

We’ll see if this response is too little too late to save the series from becoming a coverup in itself.

Doubles and Fakers on UnXplained

 DATELINE:  Local Connection!

 Imposter, Not Tony Curtis.

Here is another fascinating subject, not usually covered in any depth by the spate of paranormal, mystery investigators. These are stories about near criminal impersonation.

The UnXplained came across with another winning episode.

If the show were worth its weight in truth, it had to deal with the most famous impostor and faker in my resident town:  yes, Ferdinand Demara stayed here a while in the 1950s, pretending to be a elementary school teacher with fake credentials. A neighbor was actually in his class that year—and she laughed he was no Tony Curtis (the movie star who played Demara in The Great Impostor).

This faker and poseurpretended to be a Canadian doctor and performed surgery during the Korean War. Yes, he operated on suffering wounded soldiers!  Caught, he was still deemed a hero for saving them. He went on to act out his fantasies as a Trappist monk, a lawyer, a college professor, and other stolen identities.

Demara’s life was always pretending, but did not much evil other than deception. He died a fat faker of 350 pounds, not pretending to be a health nut.

However, subsequent figures that Shatner’s show uncovered were increasingly sociopathic and homicidal. A French fake in the 1990s took over Hollywood as an investor and party-thrower, friend to stars. He was stealing their money and allegedly wanted to produce movies. He claimed to be Sophia Loren’s son.

Then, there was Clark Rockefeller, a German low-brow who went by several identities—and he was no Rockefeller. He was, it seems, a murderer with a yard with at least one victim—and another still missing.

These were the worst: the women were a brain damaged Polish peasant who convinced herself she was Czarina Anastasia. They made movies and plays about her fakery. And, given a short shrift was Billy Tipton, famous jazz pianist, who was found to be a woman upon his death.

This was another fascinating show, featuring rare clips, interesting insights, and the underplayed narration of William Shatner who knows something about playing roles.

GOP Racist Taunts

DATELINE: Pinocchio & OJ 

 

If you think Trump Republican senators are fair and without prejudice, we submit for your consideration: two examples of racism from Senators Lindsay Graham and David Perdue.

The two senators claim their offensive ads were created without their knowledge or approval. That alone should be enough for voters to dismiss these two nitwits for incompetence.

Perdue went after his Jewish opponent with a media image that distorted him in an anti-Semitic vein, and Graham went after his black opponent in similar fashion.

The trickery is subtle: image enhancement or distortion.

They gave the Jewish opponent a long nose (considered a stereotypic feature) and they made the black candidate look darker and more foreboding.

You can count on the fact that these ad agencies do not create images lightly: they are paid well to meet demographic ideas to win votes. It is a million-dollar operation.

If you think these candidates did not see the images beforehand, you are an idiot.

Now, we could note that the long nose on Perdue’s opponent may be reminiscent of Pinocchio, and calling politicians liars is no surprise, but the image is coupled with money references and another Jewish senator’s image (Chuck Schumer of New York).  Not exactly innocent.

As for Graham’s nasty racist baiting, he resorts to the old-fashioned trick we haven’t seen since Time magazine did it years ago:  you may not recall how they darkened the skin of O.J. Simpson to make him appear more sinister.

 Well, folks, the trick is back, and Jamie Harrison’s photo is blacker than a racist heart, and he is leering over the shoulder of a distressed white woman!  Yikes, indeed.

Trump Republican senators are Nazis in these two cases we have uncovered, but likely in many others too.

 

 

 

 

 

Dubious Tribute to Olivia De Havilland

DATELINE: Worst Movie of Her Career

Caged Lady!

Leave it to Amazon Prime to honor the memory and career of Olivia De Havilland with the worst movie she ever made.  Long forgotten, Lady in a Cage,  is one of those 1960s hag horror movies made after Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.

This features Miss De Havilland who recently passed as age 104 in her attractive, dignified middle-age as a poet trapped in her million-dollar mansion in a private elevator. She is beset upon by a gaggle of horror creatures called in the trailer: the psycho, the wino, the hustler, the weirdo and the wildo.  No kidding. These low-lifes do not rescue Miss DeHavilland, but torment, torture, and drive her to the edge of insanity.

This passed for entertainment.

The following year De Havilland replaced Joan Crawford in the Bette Davis murder horror called Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte,a truly dignified and marvelous murder horror. This warm-up is a cold turkey.

In Ryan Murphy’s miniseries, Feud,about Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, there is a scene where Miss De Havilland tosses the script for Lady in a Cage into her trash. Apparently, she changed her mind and agreed to contractual terms. Did she need the money? Was the limelight as star so great that she tossed away all semblance of taste?

All we know is that she chose to make this horror, which horrified us.

The supporting cast is equally shocking: there is Ann Sothern, who had just come off ten years as a TV comedy sit-com star. She apparently had no scruples and appears as a fat, middle-aged prostitute. Another wasted actor was Rafael Campos whose career was playing Puerto Rican slimeballs in movie after movie. His talent was never treated properly, and in his movie debut, there is James Caan as the head monster, looking and acting like Marlon Brando. He is a young lookalike here, and ten years later ended up playing Brando’s son in The Godfather.

We do not recommend this travesty of movie shocks. If you are curious, watch the preview in which demure, attractive De Havilland as herself, talks about the message of the movie: apparently under the surface we are all animals.

Yikes.

Another Trump Supporter & Assassin!

DATELINE: Den Hollander

In case you missed it, another killer (Roy Den Hollander) is a trump supporter. The man who tried to kill an appointed Obama judge Esther Salas, but only managed to kill her teenage son and shoot her husband, was a Trump fanatic.

How many of these killers in the past two years seem to be working under the aegis of Preisdent Trump’s agenda. This anti-feminist shooter (the polite way of avoiding to say he was for Trump’s agenda) probably has a MAGA hat somewhere in his closet, but police won’ discuss his motives.

He killed himself, which may be the best solution for failed Trump fanatics. Usually they try to kill themselves by refusing to wear a face mask and trying to spread the corona virus.

You can expect Trump apologists will say he is not responsible for deranged followers. Yet, he sends storm troopers into Portland, Oregon, and incites racist rhetoric for Confederate causes. Well, that is hardly the work of independent followers. They are responding to the dog whistle, as apologists like to say.

How many more killers will attempt to subvert the Constitution, undercut the judiciary, and stop the next presidential election? You can bet your bottom dollar more is coming.

Oh, yes, the judge target, Salas, was also involved in Trump’s bank case (Deutsche Bank) where she found connections to the Jeffrey Epstein money laundering situation. They are all related, folks.

 

 

 

Ozzie Nelson & Family

DATELINE: Minor Director

 Ozzie Directed His Troupe.

While on a TV bender, we saw that an old series from the early 1950s was showing on the classic sit-com channel: it was called Here Come the Nelsons, or The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.  We could not recall if we saw it originally (doubtful) or in some rerun return years later.

What a curio it was back then. It featured a rich Hollywood family (the Nelsons) as themselves, imitating a middle-class suburban TV version of themselves in some kind of antiseptic style.

They were pleasant and dealt only with blemish-less problems. They seemed so real that people thought the set was actually their home. What an innocent age that was!

Ozzie Nelson wrote, directed, produced and starred in these shows. He was no Orson Welles, but he gave America a kind of template of sit-com heaven. He wrote the shows with his brother Don, and Ozzie himself played some kind of retired gentleman. He had no job, but lived well and was always home to chat with his two sons. We presumed he was himself, a retired band-leader living off his royalties.

We were struck at how small he was: truly! He was short and small-boned, almost like a child. It was something we had never noticed over the years.

It was the forerunner of Leave It to Beaver,  but far more successful and lasted many more years. The episode we saw was about the two young brothers wanting separate rooms in their tiny little suburban home. Their parents seemed to eschew that in real life their palace likely had a dozen bedrooms.

Harriet, the mother, is ubiquitous in an apron, but she never does housework—and we kept wondering where her black maid was (Louise Beavers anyone?). Every show seemed to be the servants’ day off. Only the nosy neighbor, Don DeFore, showed up not playing himself.

The sons were charming and pleasant too, and Ricky would grow up to be rival of Elvis on a weekly TV show! For a season or two they did a radio version each week, live, separate from the filmed series. David tried his hand at playing movie villains in subsequent years, but ended up being an executive producer.

This was either delusion or illusion at its worst or best. They came across as so real that it defied all Hollywood backdrops.

Ozzie Nelson directed, created, and oversaw, this production for decades: he was the master of a disrespected art form, the family sit-com, but he turned out his miniature artwork faithfully and tirelessly. We should give him some credit.

 

 

 

Junk Food Impresario

 DATELINE: President Goya, Not Artistic

 

When Donald Trump poses with junk food, you know in your heart he’s right of heart disease. Now, the burger king of hamburglars is posing with Goya beans.

Trump never heard of Goya the artiste, but he knows his hot sauce. The picture of a United States president with cans aligned is enough to put you off your feed.

You know he’s never eaten that stuff: too healthy.

The man with thumbs up on his empty Oval Office desk is tanking in the polls, but not in the hearts of taco lovers.

A few purists of integrity might claim that the POTUS has cheapened his job to that of a TV huckster. Well, he already consults with Chuck Woolery of game show fame for advice on science and medicine.

Trump only plays a president on TV. In real life, he is an escaped inmate from some madhouse of the 18thcentury. This is a man who knows haute cuisinefrom the back of his hand where he usually spills the ketchup. Gourmands of the world have a new pinup boy, the man who loves a can opener only as a last resort. He prefers to unwrap his lunch from cheap paper.

We seldom see Trump smile except when he thinks he is making a profit. The smile on the face of this man is so fake that it ought to become the yardstick for fake news.

If hunger pains are consuming you, your president is now a man strictly from hunger for supporters who refuse to remain distant (and how we wish they’d be distant) and only wear masks when they are about to steal your election and right to vote.

If Goya foods survive this endorsement, they will be using Nazi insignias on the next K-ration can.

If Trump plugging nachos is your idea of humor, you have been outside the box with Alexander Pope far too long.  Generic fish and chips would have been adequate to put us off our feed.

  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.