One Fictional Night

Bill Russell Joins Ali & Brown 3 Years Later

 DATELINE: One Night in Miami

Upon hearing that a storyline made into a one-set play and thence a movie concerned a one-night meeting of Malcolm X, Cassius Clay, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown, all black men in the early 1960s on the cusp of change in civil rights for oppressed people, it’s hard to believe. It sounds like a fantasy of historical fiction.

Yet, it really happened.

The opening of the movie is not part of the original play and historical theories, though based on fact. The director Regina King had to open it up with white actors.

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had his bugs planted to listen in on a hotel room chat among these men in February of 1964.  It’s hard to believe they even knew each other or would have anything to say to the other. Yet, they did.

In fact, Muhammad Ali (not yet Cassius X) was a close friend of Sam Cooke. They truly hit it off:  an intellectual who read avidly like Cooke would seem to be swayed by the egotistic charm of Clay, but they had a kind of fame and cultural tie.

The training camp of Ali, he would attract the attention of Malcolm X and/or football star Jim Brown. Yet, it did, but the movie broadens the tale to include white hangers-on like Johnny Carson

Would a gospel Christian like Cooke even speak to a Muslim? Well, Cooke had been called the devil for singing pop tunes, and it would not be a big reach to be condemned for cavorting with a Muslim.

Would men whose personal ego and self-absorption in their careers be even remotely interested in anything larger? Well, segregation and racism would be a factor.

We suspect that Hoover had a detailed transcript of the discussion these men held: whatever fanciful chat that derives from the play/movie.  Two would be dead within a year, and one would become a political controversy. Was Hoover’s unseen hand involved? This story doesn’t say.

The film blatantly ignores Jim Brown’s assault history on women, which could also be a Hoover set-up, but this is not explored.

Only Brown still lives, having gone into movies (Ali later followed).  We suspect Cooke would have been a bigger star than all of them had he not been murdered (assassinated for black power over-reach?).

The movie is akin to a stereotype acting job, broad as a Marx brothers farce anchored in political doom. It’s ironic and iconic, but we’d rather see J. Edgar Hoover’s actual transcript of the night they all met.

On Jan. 22, Sam Cooke would have celebrated his 90thbirthday.

Pascali: No Man an Island

Dance & Kingsley Top of Acting Game!

 DATELINE:   Extraordinary Movie

Over 30 years ago, we missed Pascali’s Island, one of those “think piece” movies that have already become an extinct movie genre. It was too good for Masterpiece Theatre in 1988, and it is too smart for audiences today.

It’s a spy story set in the Ottoman Empire of 1908 where a lowly informer, Pascali (Ben Kingsley), toils without much appreciation, stuck in a backwater.  Into the mix comes a British archaeologist Bowles (Charles Dance) who immediately charms artist Lydia (Helen Mirren). You won’t trust any of them from the earliest moments.

Mirren was not yet big enough to have her name over the film title, but this is a 3 character drama of high order. Performances are stunning, and direction from James Dearden is top-drawer, and you won’t find a more spectacular setting or production.

It’s apparent that a minor functionary spy is in over his head when it comes to stolen antiquities. He knows he is caught in the middle of intrigue with a Pasha who will execute and ask questions later.

The Greeks are ready to overthrow the Sultan and a bloodbath of revolution is ahead for Pascali, though he won’t accept this fate.

Kingsley is marvelous as the man with nightmares, and spying that borders on voyeurism as he watches Dance and Mirren cavort naked. His own peccadilloes entail the Turkish bath boy who resembles, not accidentally, the 2000 year old bronze boy they dig up and plan to steal.

Kingsley is a tortured soul as Pascali works against himself and ultimately must find meaning in meaningless acts of violence. This is a brilliant film, worth waiting thirty years to see. Alas, there will likely be few more in this genre.

The days of moral turpitude being punished may be over in movies, and in life. This movie hales poetic justice .

 

 

 

Geopolitical Prejudice of COVID

Not for You, Buddy!

 DATELINE:  Wrong State of Being

When your doctor’s office tries to tell you to register for the coronavirus vaccine and realizes they made a mistake, you may be generous enough to overlook it.

In matters of life and death, however, overlooking an attempt to kill you makes you a candidate for the Congress. Every state in New England has a different way to deal with administering the COVID vaccine to senior citizens.

If you live on the border of a state, like New Hampshire and Massachusetts, and your doctor is in the other state, you are likely about to be victimized by ludicrous geopolitical medicine.

Hospitals have put profit over patients. Several doctors at the nearby clinic have quit in disgust over political football with patient lives.

Yes, in New Hampshire Senior Citizens can now register to receive the vaccine. If you live one mile from the border in Massachusetts, you may not be vaccinated until this summer at earliest.

If you are 65 in Massachusetts, you are a dead man walking, but you can walk to the clinic in New Hampshire for your shot. In some states, you can go for an injection and find out they don’t have any vaccine.

And, in incompetent Mass., you may notice that one hospital unplugged the freezer this week, spoiling almost 2000 doses of the vaccine. If your name was on the vial, you are a dead man walking.

If your doctor’s office thinks you are in New Hampshire, you are given a green light to receive the vaccine—until they realize you live in the wrong neighborhood. Talk about a new version of red-lining.

So, a nation divided along lines of COVID treatment is not a unified country. When your neighbor may be protected and you are not, despite being old and having a pre-existing condition, there may not be enough vaccine for you in any respect. Good luck, pal.

 Well, they say it’s only temporary. You will eventually be a recipient of the vaccine. The race unfortunately is between you and infection.  You are now Seabiscuit.

Alas, you may be a dead horse when the injection arrives.

Sam Cooke: Legend

Ali Sings with Sam!

 DATELINE:   MLK Day Special  

Putting over a song like Sinatra or Crosby was no mean feat for a young black singer in the 1950s. Graduating from gospel and soul music to mainstream, Sam Cooke wanted to be a crossover between white and black, between teeny-bopper and adult performances.

Had he lived a few more years, he would have left the concert trail for the world of movies. By 1964 he would have been a giant in music and film. Instead, he wound up a victim of violence.

The documentary Legend  will amaze you. Jeffrey Wright narrates the film.

His music was emboldened by personality and charm. He wrote his own tunes, from “You Send Me,” to “Chain Gang,” or “Wonderful World,” he was astounding in his ability to put over a song with nuance and flash. He wanted to own his own record company, publish his own music. It was unheard of in segregated 1950s Nashville music. He was a pioneer in equality for audiences with their stars.  He was an avid reader and intellectual, a well-rounded personable extrovert.

You might think the segregated audiences of the South were over, but the true Civil Rights movement was only starting to become a norm when Cooke was making inroads. He was gone before Martin Luther King, Jr., made Cooke’s dream a reality.

The biographical documentary features a few rare performances of Sam in the 1950s, but glosses over some other great songs with a teasing snippet. We would be thrilled to hear a potpourri of his TV show performances on Dick Clark, Ed Sullivan, and other variety shows.

Though his friendship with Aretha is known here, it is his connection to Muhammad Ali (singing together) that astounds. He said he should have written “Blowin’ in the Wind,” and came up with a Civil Rights song, “A Change is Gonna Come,” but he would not live to see it.

Sam’s death remains to this day an unfathomable act.

Many, including Elvis, believed he was murdered because he was becoming another Civil Right icon, like Malcolm X or Martin Luther King. Other movie stories have also raised this issue.

 

 Out, Out, Damned Spot! Trump Cut!

Trump Cut Out of Movie

DATELINE: Fans Direct Home Alone Cut

You know Donald Trump’s legacy is in trouble when his innocuous scene in Home Alone 2 is now under editorial attack. You can yell, “Cut” or “Hang Mike Pence,” but Trump is about to be given the digital age’s equivalent of Marie Antoinette’s fate.

Called Lost in New York, the sequel to the beloved movie that launched Macauley Culkin now will cast fate to the wind and Trump to the dust bin.

Off with his head is now a movie production shot heard round the world. Donald Trump is being digitally removed from a scene of several seconds as he gives Macauley Culkin direction to the hotel lobby.

Culkin has given his imprimatur to the action.

Not since Kevin Spacey was edited out of a finished and unreleased movie two years ago have we seen such a use of movie-making techniques. Spacey was sliced and diced out of the movie for his sexual peccadilloes. Trump now shares an infamy with sex abusers (though that is another story).

Not safe for children may be the new mantra when parents want to show Home Alone 2 to their kids: you better make sure that liars, provocateurs, and sedition-guilty insurgents are out of the picture.

An adult Culkin not only supports the move, but is prepared to replace Trump as the man in the lobby. So, an adult version of himself addresses the child, which is fairly funny and poetic justice. It’s also a little creepy.

Trump may suffer more inglorious fates in the years ahead, but like Benedict Arnold and Aaron Burr, he has reached a new low in American movie history.

 

Trump’s Alamo Visit

Cheaters United

 DATELINE: Taking Belichick Down with Him

All metaphors are imperfect, and nothing could be more imperfect than the notion of Trump at the Alamo. It’s the ultimate union of insanity and patriotism.

The fighters who died to the death at the Alamo wanted to have a separate country in Texas. They were the original Republicans.

In movies and TV, you saw John Wayne and Fess Parker play their careers to the hilt of martyrdom on the screen. And, now the disgraced POTUS who instigated sedition and high crimes on a level with Aaron Burr wants to play himself as the end closes in.

He makes it worse for his supporters when he decides to give the Ultimate New England Patriot, Bill Belichick, a gift for his support; the Medal of Freedom as one of his last disgusting acts. It’s typical for a man who started his political rise by bashing Mexicans as rapists and drug dealers and ends with the symbol of a wall against Mexico at the bastion where Mexican soldiers  killed Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie.

Belichick intends to visit the White House as the Congress votes a second impeachment of Trump. Who is the mad man here? We count Belichick among the NFL cheaters with Spygates 1 & 2 and Trump with Impeachment 1 & 2.

And, now, the Patriots should fire Belichick, sacrifice to the cause of a coup d’etat,the supporter of Trump and coach of historical arrogance and now hostage to his own hubris.

Losing the season, losing Tom Brady, and losing his mind, Bill Belichick now will regain infamy by going to the White House and accepting honor from a man who has made honor a badge to kill legislators at the U.S. Capitol, and claim he was a victim of voters.

If the owners of the Patriots do not fire Bill Belichick for this egregious act, then we have the demise of a franchise, self-perpetuated by the Kraft family (Trumpists too and big lonely New England supporters of the American Hitler) in the most of antithetical states standing against Trump: New England went overwhelmingly for anybody but Trump.

We are watching the spectacle of the last gasp of a political movement and the gasping greed of a sports dynasty. America never had it so wrong and may be sinking into its own miasma of Nazism, white supremacy, and stupidity.

The Damnation of the United States?

Waving Distress Call

DATELINE:  Oh, the horror! The horror!

Yes, the apocalypse of democracy may be at hand.

Over 200 years ago, we had a Vice President named Aaron Burr who spat on the Constitution of the United States and wanted to destroy the fledgling, infant government. Today, history repeated itself. It was not infanticide of an American Dream: it was murder of the American republic.

We saw the same kind of gleeful faces running riot on the United States Capitol, self-righteous mobs that were empowered to destroy. This mentality occurs regularly in history.

We think these were the faces on people who threw Christians to the lions. We believe, had we been there, these were the faces of the people who tortured and killed others during the Inquisition.

We are fairly sure these were the kind of faces and attitudes that inspired the French Revolution where a social class of people were unceremoniously executed by guillotine.

We know these were the faces on mobs that rounded up Jews and sent them to gas ovens, marked for death with yellow stars.

We saw it again today: how easy and facile it is for those who want their way, and no other, to have it their way. It was easy to take down the American flag and replace it with the Trump banner.

We think the expulsion from government of men named Trump, Cruz, Hawley, for their self-serving violent ends and power plays is warranted, and must be demanded.

We believe that there are such people in America today who are not confederates of the Old South, are not white supremacists, but are simply Nazis.

Purely Nazis our fathers and grandfathers fought against in a war to save humanity. That generation of American heroes would be appalled that it has come home to roost in Capitol where people who cry out to burn down D.C.

Yes, Nazis took hold of America today. Not crypto-Nazis, or wannabe Nazis.

We saw the genuine article, a great swarm of insects, of Americans who have no respect for anything except their own willpower and wanton political agendas. These were the red fire ants on attack.

There was no hidden agenda today about democracy. It was a brazen attempt at a coup d’etat by people who think they live in a banana republic.

Perhaps they do. The rest of us do not.

Don Trump, Mafioso Thug

DATELINE: Mad Dog Donald Trump

If you are the Secretary of State of Georgia, you have been served a warning by the head mobster of the United States, the Don of the Trump Family.  He has promised a dangerous end for crossing Trump.

All he wants is 12,000 votes to be “recalculated” to give him an undeserved, unwarranted, and unvoted win. If you don’t do it, he threatened the elected and not rich Republican of Georgia.

Trump has money and wants to keep his power. Look out! When you have a man who calls democratic elections “illegal,” you are walking in the shadow of Adolph Hitler.

There may be something to the Trumpist threat. We recall another man who crossed Trump was named Jeffrey Epstein. He ended up in prison with a couple of bedsheets tied around his neck.

Raffensperger could end up in the Potomac River with cement overshoes. It is not beyond the reach of a billionaire who hires hitmen with aplomb.

Some of Trump’s supporters, like Louis The Gun Guhmert, have promised violence in the streets. He hasn’t threatened the life of President-Elect Biden, but he is a razor blade to the throat close.

When you run with criminals, you have the godfather part 4.  Yes, we are worried about the future of the United States and its shredded Constitution of genius. Mad bomber Anthony Quinn Warner had one point correct: a reptilian ET is now in the White House.

 

Tom Brady Petition: Give Back That $$$

Brady’s Disgusting Loan from Trump

DATELINE: TB12 Fake Loan

 We complained in several blogs, but only Dillon McMahon has actually done something about it. He now is approaching 75,000 signatures on a petition that protests the SBA loan Tom Brady received out of need to meet his payroll of one.

Tom Brady, multi-millionaire and his semi- billionaire model wife received, as Trump supporters, nearly a hefty loan for their small business, TB12, which sells copper-infused pajamas, and various vitamins.

Now a petition on Change.org is demanding they give back that money, repay it, or do something to help the millions of poor with no rent money or food money.

Brady, slimeball that he is, took the loan and promptly went out and bought a yacht for his new Indian Creek Island home. If that weren’t galling enough, on Xmas Eve, he sold his Massachusetts mansion for about $30 million.

Yes, he needs a loan like the Kansas City Chiefs need a young quarterback.

If you have a moral scruple, you will go to Change.org and sign the Brady petition. It may not have much power except to embarrass a slug.

 

Bela Lugosi’s Death Kiss

No Deadly Kiss from Bela Lugosi

Only rarely do we have a chance to see or to review a Poverty Row movie from 1932 that stars Bela Lugosi.  Death Kiss was made on the heels of Dracula. (1931) and provided the cast to reunite and play it for laughs.

Death Kiss starts out like a house afire. Its opening scene is well-produced and puts a movie within a movie. The star is shot to death in pivotal scene while on the sound stage. It seems real enough.

The film released 90 years ago, almost to the day, features colorized, tinted scenes. That alone was intriguing enough to want to watch a bad murder mystery.

Lugosi is a studio manager working under a bad impression of L. B. Mayer in New York Yiddish accent. The studio novelist/writer thinks he is Angela Lansbury, but acts like a supercilious Hercule. He is insufferable, as played by David Manners.

On top of interfering with inept Los Angeles police (how things never change), he is having an affair with the leading lady who is prime suspect as the ex-wife of the victim who is in for an insurance wind-fall.

Adrienne Ames is stunning in the movie star role. Her B-movie career was short and she died young, but she is highly watchable here.

Lugosi telegraphs villainy at every step. Indeed, he seems to be the shadowy killer in at least one scene where he can identified. He is the tallest member of the cast, imperiously straight-backed.

The film progressively deteriorates, but does end with a surprise or two. As far as the color tints are concerned, it was a weird experiment to say the least. It is minor and pointless.

Autopsy on Andy Warhol

No House Calls Please: Dr. Hunter

DATELINE:  Squeamish Forensic Show

Dr. Michael Hunter, host of the Reelz network series called Autopsy, is said to be a leading forensic pathologist in a major American city. It’s unnamed to protect the innocent.

In his series, you must come to trust his judgment and theories, as he either confirms or adds to the official closing on the lives of famous singers, celebrities, or people in the news. We thought to look at his outlier, Andy Warhol, surely a famous figure, but one highly misunderstood and often dismissed.

Since Warhol died in 1987, at age 58, there are only a few first-person friends who agree to be interviewed for their insights. These include a biographer, a fellow photographer of lesser note, and Warhol’s two nephews. They are all highly devoted and deeply mournful over his loss, even decades later.

The case of Andy Warhol starts in youth, as Hunter points out that he had rheumatic fever as a child and watched his parents succumb to hospital ineffective treatment. It made him cautious of hospitalization, and finally terrified of even driving past one.

Andy never took recreational drugs, which seems a surprise to Hunter, but he leaps on two points. Warhol took one diet pill every day and was hooked on painkillers like Demerol (and for good reason).

Despite his suffering and weird social life, Warhol was a hard-working and productive artist whose playful media image made him seem slightly ridiculous.

Hunter does describe the horrific attack by nutcase Valerie Solanis who shot Warhol multiple times in 1968 and left him a pitiful shell. He had incisive hernias and had to wear a girdle to hold in his intestines for 20 years. Adhesions and scars gave him intestinal pain, and he never wanted to see his naked body, riddled with scars.

What Hunter fails to note is that Warhol’s would-be killer was a free woman after 3 years in a mental hospital. He was terrified she would return and finish the job. He used body doubles (also apparently unknown to Hunter) and photos may be of a double, not Andy. He also used assumed names and avoided public appearances where Solanis might find him.

He refused gall bladder surgery for years, and finally relented. It went well, but the patient still died mysteriously. Warhol’s death is inexplicable even by modern pathology, and you may feel Andy’s pain. He did not deserve the horrid fate he suffered.

Ancient Aliens Take on Noah & the Great Flood

Ganymede: Boy-napped!

 DATELINE: They’re No Angels!

You can call this week Land of the Giants, Part 2. After looking at the Big Deal of Big Men around Campus, we turn now to a Biblical evidence of angels and cutting problems down to size.

Ancient Aliens love a tall tale. This week we continue to rattle off pie in the sky.

The theory is that Noah was a giant albino, genetically engineered to save mankind from a group of unpleasant giant aliens. And, for good measure, those angels were actually physical beings working as messengers.

So, we have Enoch and some of the first alien abduction stories. This includes Zeus boy-napping Ganymede with a giant eagle for more than prurient reasons. It was truly abduction with an abusive angle.

These are dangerous texts not meant for everyone’s eyes. So, the Hebrew and Christian Bibles were much smaller than the Book of Giants that predates Genesis. It seems those Big Boys weren’t playing nice, being cannibals of human flesh. Noah had to rid the world of these pests.

And, Noah had help: 200 Watchers, who were angels with clipped wings. They were using misunderstood technology to ferry around the world. The Great Flood is more likely to be indicated by geological evidence.

If you’re wondering why there was a Great Flood after the Great Pyramid, you have to look for solar flares that melted the ice caps and flooded the world. This burnt layer is 50 feet deep all around the world, proving the theory, say the alien theorists.

Enoch took off with his alien buds, but announced he’d return eventually.

 

 

 

John le Carré’s Cold Spy Diamonds

George Smiley’s Best Friend

 DATELINE:  Spy Writer of Cold War

With the passing of  John le Carré at age 89 at the end of 2020, we have the true ending to the Cold War. If anyone managed to portray it for forty years in all its cold-hearted, ruthless, black and white ennui, it was this master writer.

If you wanted spy humor, you went to James Bond. If you wanted spy thrills, you turned the the former spy who worked for MI-6 and then worked for himself as a novelist.

Back in the 1960s, if you  wanted a thinking man’s spy thriller, you went to a film based on John le Carré, and if you wanted a thriller with twists, you went to Mission: Impossible. If you wanted laughs, you turned to James Bond.

He created one dull master spy who was deadlier than 007. That was George Smiley. Some of the greatest actors jumped at the chance to play him—even if they changed his name to something less ironic in the adaptations.

You can find Alec Guinness, Richard Burton, Denholm Elliot,  Gary Oldman, and James Mason, all playing Smiley.

In one film version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, you will find Tom Hardy as a slimeball gay agent. Now he has graduated to be the next James Bond.

All-star casts wanted to play small roles in these chess-match movies. You needed nerves of steel to be an espionage agent who was treated like T-paper at the end of the roll. Great actors like Toby Jones, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ciaran Hinds, Oskar Werner, Hugh Laurie, Maximilian Schell, and others wanted roles in various versions.

The stories and characters are all of a piece, no matter who directed and when they came together. The seminal opener was The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, or two versions of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.  You might find The Night Manager a surprise, or Deadly Affair  so different from your usual spy novel/movie fare.

This grand writer of espionage and spies has left us with a brilliant legacy and a smorgasbord  of human drama. Whether it happens in the rivalry between Soviets and Americans, the psychology and personality of the men who did this work make for compelling tales.

We think John le Carré (a pen name for David Cornwell) will live forever, and we did enjoy his cameo appearance inThe Night Managerin his latter years. Start anywhere. You can’t go wrong with watching—or reading a master storyteller.

 

 

 

  Tom Brady Hates New England Weather

 DATELINE:  Snowy Brady

Once upon a time weather in New England was one of those rare subjects you could talk about safely, no controversy to ensue, no political opinions offered and offended.

Tom Brady, Grifter Emeritus of the Trump Administration, has changed that.

This week in a presser, Brady gave the unsolicited opinion that he would never “be caught dead in the Northeast again.”

He loves Florida weather. He has not put on a hoodie this year, and he can play outdoors to his heart’s content. He did not use the term New England, but Northeast. But we know what he meant. He spent 25 yars in hell. Now it’s Death in Miami Beach, or Tampa Bay.

He plans to build a mansion on Indian Creek Island where there are 30 residents, including Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. He will be right at home with his political allies.

Brady gave that number, 25 years, to indicate how long he suffered in the Northeast. Of course, four of those years were in Michigan. Forgive him:  he’s a general studies major, not too up on things like geography. He can’t tell whether Michigan is part of Vermont.

Come to think of it, his math skills seem a little off too. He was in New England 20 years, and 6 Super Bowl titles, 3 flopperoos. So, half his time in cold unpleasant New England weather were his best professional years. And, New England thought he was a natural for cold weather playing.

Of course, Mark Twain once said he counted 70 different kinds of weather in New England in five minute. Tom cannot reach those heights.

He hated that his son Benjamin played hockey, and that’s now over. If you don’t play warm weather football, you are skating on thin ice with Tom.

He recently sold his Manhattan condo for $30 million and will never return to New York either. Too cold, especially when it comes to cold cash. The grifter knows his bucks. He took one million from Small Business Admin to infuse his copper-infused TB12 pajama game.

That gave him the down-payment on a hot yacht, and the rest came out of the cold weather profits from selling his overheated condo.

Tom Brady, not exactly a Native Son of New England, though we do feel comfortable in calling him a snow bird.

 

 

 

Captain Tom Brady, Avast!

Adrift with the Grift

DATELINE: Drifting with Grifting

When we reported earlier this week that grifter Tom Brady used his friendship with Grifter-Elect Donald Trump to procure a one million dollar loan from the economic crisis fund, no one cared much. Business as usual among thieves.

Up periscope!

Brady actually had the temerity to apply for a government grant of one million dollars for his “small business.” This revelation was just released by the Small Business Administration, as the Trump crooks are heading for the exits.

Yes, believe it or don’t, Tom Brady needed a loan to help his company TB12,

Now we learn that landlubber Brady aspires to be among the captains of sea lore:  Captain Queeg, Captain Wolf Larson, Captain Kidd, Captain Bligh, and now Captain Brady.

He bought a $multi-million 40 ft. yacht with his spoils and loan from the government. Apparently sales on his copper-infused pajama bottoms were dragging and baggy in the crotch. To cheer himself up, the newly fangled Buccaneer Pirate has gone shipshape with a yacht.

Yes, now Brady can make Julian Edelman walk the plank and cast his fate to the wind. Gronk can now party until he’smal de merry. Tom won’t be swimming with the fishes, but he will be looking out for Flipper. It won’t be Superman up in the crow’s nest. It will be a bird of another feather: the crooked yellow-bellied sapsucker Buc.

Maybe we’ll get lucky and he’ll strike an iceberg on his maiden voyage.