The Princess & The Gangster: Margaret & Bindon

DATELINE:  Truth as Shocker

bindon Snapshot of Margaret & Bindon

John Bindon was a 1970s British character actor who played a series of dangerous thugs in movies like Performance (with Mick Jagger & James Fox) and Man in the Wilderness (with John Huston & Richard Harris).

He was also real-life gangster in London, a violent shakedown artist. He mutilated and thrashed men and abused women. His acting chops were not far removed from his life on the street.

There was one big difference for him:  when he met Princess Margaret, the royal bad girl before Princess Di, he was smitten. She had a thing for younger men. They vacationed together in posh resorts and spent time in magnetic attraction. She never met anyone quite like the witty mobster.

He was a Jekyll/Hyde character:  he could be as witty as Oscar Wilde—amusing the Princess often, or as scary as Jack the Ripper—chopping off an arm of another mobster in retribution.

His life, as it was, is show-cased in The Princess and the Gangster—a documentary that reveals how Margaret, sister of Queen Elizabeth, immersed the Royals in scandal.

When it was rumored that he had compromising photos of Margaret in flagrante delicto—the British secret service threatened him with extermination if he were to breathe a word or sell the pictures.

When he went on trial for murder, someone pulled strings—and he walked free, the jury compromised apparently.

When he died of AIDS before he was 50 in the scourge of the 1990s, the crime world was shocked. Yes, he was known for his foot-long talent, which he displayed often in bars to win bets, but he must have used his prowess on more than the Princess and a few queens.

It is a staggering story, deftly told in this short film.

Advertisements

A Conspiracy of Dunces in the NFL

 DATELINE:  NFL Collusion

3some

Word is now seeping out, as it does like swamp gas, that certain owners of the NFL have received subpoenas for their records of email and phone logs that pertain to conspiracy to defraud a player of his rights.

It seems the lawyers of Colin Kaepernick are charging them with collusion to keep the kneeling QB out of the league. The NFLPA, the union of the players, is trying to stay far away from this radioactive leak.

Why do we think the name of Donald Trump will be invoked sooner than later?  He demanded that players like Kaepernick be “fired” for daring to express their political opinion. By that standard, Trump should have been impeached months ago.

The blowhard President can’t keep his mouth shut about anything remotely not of his jurisprudence, whether it comes to football players protesting police brutality—or keeping mum about a soldier who was charged with desertion or a terrorist who killed innocent people on a bike path.

The nitwit President Pinocchio fails to realize that his words jeopardize justice.  And soon, Kaepernick’s attorney will make mincemeat of the NFL Kollege of Kollusion.

The American public, or at least those with minimal understanding of the US Constitution, will want lynch-mob justice—at the behest of their caped crusader in the White House.

Make no mistake:  Robert Kraft of the Patriots, Jerry Jones of the Cowboys and Bob McNair of the Texans are ripe Trump followers. Their subpoenaed documents will provide better laughs than you might find at a Grand Jury on Russian subterfuge.

That likely means they are ripe for the picking by a shrewd lawyer with the Bill of Rights on his side.

We may soon know what the conversations among billionaire owners of the plantation and their president encompassed. We know it will not raise the level of discourse, nor prove that bright minds are the richest fat cats in the country.

So, we have NFL owners against black players—and a president touting white privilege. When did we lose America? The answer is forthcoming.

 

 

 

 

Brain Bankruptcy of Aaron Hernandez

DATELINE:  CTE, or Water on the Brain

abby Normal

The lawyer of Aaron Hernandez has just come out and said that Hernandez had what is essentially in the old-fashioned term of ‘severe water on the brain.’

By today’s standards this is called CTE and is brain degeneration caused by repeated concussions. Scientists and researchers call Hernandez one of the worst cases they had ever seen in such a young man.  It now seems the death findings on Hernandez may be the best deodorant for him and his murderous rage.

Yes, the concussions made him do it.

According to the VA-BU Brain Bank (no, we did not make this up), the 27-year-old former New England Patriot football player had the brain of a 67-year-old man. This is not good news if you’re a senior citizen on Social Security. It’s not good news if you are Roger Goodell. It’s not good news when the Patriots face a lawsuit.

Hernandez was in Stage III of CTE, out of four stages. His brain was undergoing some severe atrophy. This resulted in aggression, explosive behavior, out of control impulses, forgetfulness, depression, and other assorted cognitive changes. That just about covers it, short of murder and suicide.

As a consequence of this, attorney Jose Baez is suing the Patriots and the NFL on the behalf of Aaron Hernandez’s little daughter.

Who could not have sympathy for his three strikes of rage and murder if it’s all caused by playing football in the NFL?

So, it now seems that Aaron Hernandez is the ultimate victim.

In our 21st century twisted logic, this is someone who victimizes everyone else through no fault of his own, like Jack the Ripper, or Jeffrey Dahmer, or Caligula, or perhaps some other killer of your own choice.

There seems to be no better way to end this ongoing soap opera and slog-fest of a murder mystery.

We know they’ll be more dirt in the future, as much as it takes to make a scrimmage, or make us cringe

Feud: Ryan Murphy & Olivia DeHavilland

DATELINE: Creepy Producer

 

coda

The spry legend, Miss Olivia DeHavilland whose Oscars outnumber anything Ryan Murphy will ever compile, has fired another volley at miniseries Feud: Joan & Bette, created by Mr. Murphy.

Right before the series is about to reap Emmy glory for its hilarious and entertaining depiction of two movie stars in a death throe struggle like scorpions, more turns of the screw emerge.

Miss DeHavilland’s character, ‘herself’ it appears, is a mere supporting figure. Yet, she does not like how she is portrayed. In a deposition through her lawyers, she tells the world she never called her sister, actress Joan Fontaine, ‘a bitch’ to any director or producer.

That may mean she used to term privately among friends, or even to hapless Joan Fontaine’s face, but her point is the script and series misrepresented her behavior. She said: “The false statements and unauthorized use of my name, identity and image by the creators of Feud have caused me discomfort, anxiety, embarrassment, and distress.”

Yes, being violated is like that, no matter what your age.

Murphy’s glad-hand attitude demeans Miss DeHavilland by calling her “Olivia,” despite her age, her position, and the fact that he never has met her, let alone sought her permission to use her as a figure in a docudrama.

In blatant admission, Murphy’s mouthpieces claim: “The fact that the words attributed to her and the purported endorsement are false does not transform the character into anything other than an exact depiction of de Havilland.”  Hunh?

That’s quite an admission: they know they have misused her by having her say words she never uttered, but it’s all for the profit of Ryan Murphy—and to give us viewers a few guffaws.

We wish to point out that Miss DeHavilland is a real human being, not an emblematic symbol like the White Whale, appearing in a work of fiction.

Murphy is betting that the 101-year old Oscar winner may pop off at any time—thus giving him the last word, which he will have anyhow as time will likely bestow on him the honor to be standing at the end of all this mess.

In all likelihood, the arrogant TV producer probably thought DeHavilland was already dead—and it didn’t matter how he used her identity.

What the old legend is showing here is that identity theft can occur in many ways:  when you profit from stealing someone’s personality, you’re a thief, Mr. Murphy. But, as Hollywood producers go, that is no crime at all.

 

Logo Wars: Michael Jordan v. Gronk

DATELINE:  Sports Deadlock

 logo warsIt takes balls.

 

Michael Jordan’s silhouette image on all the junk he markets, around since the 1980s, is called Jumpman. We never knew his dunkman had a nickname.

Now, because Gronk has filed an image for his brand of products that resembles a silhouette of an athlete in action, we have a conflict that will be settled in the biggest court/gridiron, that of the boardroom of highly paid corporate lawyers.

Jordan and Gronk are prepared to go head to head, or shadow to shadow for the title King of Greed.

The problem for the two athletes and their endless money making operations is that some dumb kid will confuse Jordan with Gronk. Yes, you may buy a basketball sneaker and think it’s for playing football.

We know our educational systems are dumbed down more than ever—but we thought the emergence of emoji and sign language has sent kids back to the level of cave dwellers with an eye for cave art.

So, you mean they cannot tell the difference between a football shape and a basketball shape?

We are talking apples and oranges here, or at least spheres of another world.

Two tall athletes, arms raised, legs akimbo, holding some totem object is sending legal minds into overdrive. You can never tell when someone may spike a basketball, or dunk a football.

We have seen idiot players score a touchdown and then dunk the football over the goal bar. You can easily forget what sport you are watching.

It’s all the same when it comes to millions of dollars and corporate greed. It’s all part of the modern gladiator combat of American sports. We think Gronk and Jordan ought be holding tridents and nets, versus short swords and shields.

Oh, wait, they already did that sports combat scene in Spartacus. It was Woody Strode versus Kirk Douglas, all for the edification of decadent Laurence Olivier.

We are always happy to assume the role of Olivier in a combat between Gronk and MJ.

Return to O.J. Unnecessary

DATELINE:  Guilty Even If Found Not Guilty

Rick Investigator Rick Levasseur

Before there was Aaron Hernandez shooting up the serial killer sports figure, there was O.J. Simpson who slaughtered his way into fame after doing light comedy in movies and heavy sports in youth.

Now O.J. is back with several examinations of his alleged crimes. One is enough for us. The 6-part miniseries documentary/crime expose is called Is O.J. Innocent? The Missing Evidence.  Yes, some people think the jury was right.

During the course of an overwrought investigation, it became clear no one wanted to re-open this case. We were astounded that Nicole Simpson’s sister and Ron Goldman’s father stood for additional tormenting interviews. Were they paid for their time?

It was rumored way back at the time of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and waiter Ron Goldman that the real killer was O.J.’s son. Yes, the story was a kind of Mildred Pierce in which the parent is willing to take the blame for the crimes of their child.

As hard as it is to picture O.J. Simpson as Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest mode, he seems tailor-made to save his troubled son, or more likely to throw him away. On the other hand, theorist William Dean was hell-bent on finding the “true” culprit whom he labeled Jason Simpson, O.J.’s son.

With glossy production values, the miniseries documentary features Martin Sheen as narrator. Chief honcho William Dean selects two matinee idol types, right out of central casting as forensic psychologist (Kris Mohandie) and former police sergeant (Rick Levasseur) as his leg men. They couldn’t be cuter if you cast real actors.

Bill Dean has been enterprising for years: he took possession of Jason Simpson’s diaries and hunting knife out of a storage locker. It sparked his manhunt attitude like something out of Hugo’s Les Miserables.  He is a dogged Javert.

Showing up to provide insights include Dr. Henry Lee and Detective Tom Lange from the original case. They give both sides of inept police work. No one from the prosecutor’s office would bother with this investigation.

The two boy-toy crime busters try to reach reclusive Jason Simpson, and he is stalked by private detectives hired for the series, showing only a rather sad, downtrodden, and unhappy man, but is he a murderer?

Ultimately Jason Simpson’s time-card from his job at the time of the murder would prove to be the investigation’s high-point. Yet, we ended up nearly as disgusted by the rehash as all the surviving original people.

Was any of this necessary?

 

Predictions of Billy Mitchell at His Court Martial

DATELINE: Court of Public Opinioncoop-as-mitch

If you have a fondness for court room drama, you may have overlooked an Otto Preminger film, starring Gary Cooper. It’s out there if you look: The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell.

It was not well-received back in 1955, though it was fascinating even then to look back on Col. Billy Mitchell, an aviation pioneer in the U.S. Army who was court-martialed for decrying the incompetence and negligence of the 1920s military authorities.

Cooper always brought a built-in sympathy to his biographical roles—and Col. Mitchell was, above all else, a patriot—even when his peers, a who’s who of military heroes, came together to demote and to suspend him. History vindicated him and the short-sightedness of the Army.

An all-star cast, by later standards, filled out the ranks: before they were really big, Darren McGavin, Peter Graves, and Jack Lord, played Col. Mitchell’s friends. And, the cast even featured a Douglas MacArthur lookalike as one of the judges. Well, MacArthur was among the real life judges.

Charles Bickford is his usual tough-guy general—and usually comic Fred Clark is the prosecutor who is relieved of duty to bring in the big gun: Rod Steiger, to shred Col. Mitchell in the climactic testimony scene. James Daly and Ralph Bellamy are his defenders.

It’s all rather pedestrian in its film style, but Billy did predict an Air Force Academy, jets that could fly 1000 miles an hour, and the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese in 1923.  We don’t hear the name Billy Mitchell on Donald Trump’s list of military heroes—but he should be. The film is color, but feels like it’s black and white.

Mitchell went after government and tried to change it abruptly with a turn toward the future. He failed, but hindsight recognition is better than none at all.

We thoroughly enjoyed this historical episode, brought to life by a generation of top-drawer professionals.