Rogue Male: Peter O’Toole Wasted

DATELINE: More or Less Dangerous Games!

rogue assassin Roguish Assassin?

In 1976 Peter O’toole was still looking like a major star. When he did Rogue Male, he seems to be going down the rabbit hole to disappear. It’s The Most Dangerous Game, redux and doubled-down.

The film postulates in 1939 that Neville Chamberlain was worse than a Nazi sympathizer and appeaser. As Sir Robert Hunter (no joke), he goes to assassinate Hitler, is foiled, and uses his British pluck to go after the Fuherer. This Fredric Raphael script is based on a Household novel.

The film is a string of incidents that reveal some smart, intriguing supporting characters along the way, from a German who aids escape, to O’Toole’s Jewish lawyer, his tailor, and on and on. Alas, the film does not rely on this network of adventuresome people.

They are ultimately all for naught.

The picaresque adventure of Hunter features many veddy veddy English creatures, but there are enough enemies to undercut the social amusement. He finds escape to England after torture simply means he trades in one set of vicious Nazis for the collaborators (Jon Standing) in Chamberlain’s government.

We know Winston Churchill is around the corner to save the day. And O’Toole is too busy embarrassing his uncle (Alastair Sim) who is a high-ranking cabinet member. Most film fans recall Sim as the best Ebenezer Scrooge on film 25 years earlier.

The film features one of the final performances of Sim as O’Toole’s breezy Earl of an uncle. He is all too infrequently seen. He is delightful with his nephew whom he calls “Bobbity.”

Les Miserable approach to having O’Toole parallel hunted by a clever government agent is heavy-handed. The agent reads a book by the would=be assassin on hunting and uses its contents to track him down.

Worse yet, O’Toole is literally trapped in an underground rabbit hole for the finale, but we are left puzzled as to motivations and logic between these dark characters.

 

 

American Experience: Gilded Age

 DATELINE: 1%ers Around 1900!

photog meets Morgan dollar Silver Dollar J.P. Morgan

Once again, the PBS series gives us an education. It’s rather painless and extremely informative with a political edge. “The Gilded Age” may not be what you think, or it may not be what PBS thinks. According to this two-hour documentary (with no re-enactors, thankfully) details the world of business and society from 1880 to the early 20th century.

That means a healthy dollop of Vanderbilts, Carnegie, and J.P.Morgan and their money-first philosophy of America’s business being business.

Gilded means there is a patina over the rot.

And, you can say that the urban blight and immigrant climb started with the Gilded Age. They wanted to have a good life, but found out it mostly came with wages, however high, or however low.

Though Americans wanted to be proud of their trade or profession, they learned through their socialist and unionist leaders that they were mere pawns for the 1% of super-rich.  And, this age is when those folks started amassing power and wealth.

Andrew Carnegie tried to save his reputation with charitable works, but it was a patina over rot. And, banker and heartless monster John Pierpoint Morgan never pretended to be anything but a creep with a huge purple nose who hated the press and media. His face should be on the Morgan silver dollar.

1% wealth is with us today in spades, as billionaires think they own the world. And, perhaps they do.

You may find the injustices against hard-workers hard to take, but even by today’s standards of enlightenment, you have an army of people who hate Bernie Sanders and his message. He would have been at home during “The Gilded Age,” and that may be a sad commentary after all.

 

Appalling Holmes & Watson

 DATELINE: Elementary, School That is.

elementary school.jpeg 

We were warned, and now you are warned.

The Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly remake of a comic Conan Doyle couple is not exactly a blue-plate special. It is going for .99 cents on Amazon streaming video. You know that price is rock bottom for rock bottom quality. This is a step down for the Step Brothers.

The film is horrific in terms of anachronisms. There are references to killer bees, protein shakes, and headlines that smell of National Enquirer in the 1950s.

Worse yet are the fake British accents on our traditional heroes, showing that they cherish good acting as much as a paycheck. The actors playing them as children speak with American accents (as do all the kids in London).

Mrs. Hudson is a trollop—and not from the British pages of classic literature.

We almost expected Judi Dench was likely offered the role as Queen Victoria—and that would have set us off on a tangent. Instead, we have Ralph Fiennes acting in a separate movie as Moriarty.

He has no flair for comedy.

Perhaps the most surprising couple in the film are the Road Trip movie stars: Rob Brydon as Lestrade and Steve Coogan as the one-armed tattooist.

We almost wish they had played Holmes and Watson. Of course, this may be the only version in which Lestrade is smarter than Holmes.

The movie moribundly moves from one witless encounter and set-up to another. Killer bees are inexplicably in a glass case at 221b Baker Street, allowing for a madcap moment without suspense.

Another stupid setup is Holmes surprise birthday party thrown by the Queen.  Who wrote this drivel? Mindless is the Zeitgeist of the age: and if this is you, you will be in your element.

Yes, it’s elementary.  Elementary school.

Secrets of the Dead? WWII Pep Pills!

DATELINE: Deadline Pep!

james holland Holland Invades Germany!

We never heard of this PBS marvel of history documentaries. It sounds like a bad show from the History Channel, something morbid about ghosts or Egyptian mummies.  It is entitled Secrets of the Dead!

Of course, it is none of the above. It is an intelligent look at historical events, uncovering little known information and formulating new theory.

For this episode from Season 17, it is called World War Speed. It is about the shocking notion of amphetamine usage during the second World War!

Who knew?

What’s worse, who suspected that the governments of England, United States, and Nazi Germany, condone and required drugs to stimulate the soldiers.

We’d like to think that only craven Hitler demanded his soldiers take amphetamines to remain awake for days: like good Aryan supermen.

However, Generals Montgomery and Einsenhower learned of the practice and decided it was a good strategy. You see, not only did it keep men awake but made them act out in deranged, but heroic ways. Men would volunteer for death missions and do utterly suicidal actions.

Hitler had experimented on victims of concentration camps to see how the pep pills effected people who were starving to death. However, even Hitler decided the side-effects were too grave to continue on his army. Not so with the American and British.

They gave pep pills to men in tanks that were deathtraps. It gave them courage beyond logic. We are horrified to think that this show, hosted by James Holland who most recently worked on the History Channel “Hunting Hitler”—and he has not lost his yellow journalism style here.

It is appalling to think that innocent young men had no idea that “pep pills” drugged them out of their minds.

We may tune into this series again. It is a shocker and provides teachable moments.

 

 

 

Free Agency Strikes America!

DATELINE:  No Free Lunch Anywhere?

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This week we heard a comment that we stopped writing about sports because of “free agency.”  Well, no, not exactly, though it is an appalling condition in society in general.

You have to understand that lack of loyalty and love of money is rampant across America, not just in basketball where Avery Bradley has signed up to re-join Rajon Rondo, and Kyrie Irving left the place he swore he would stay in front of a million fans.

We have seen “free agency” at work everywhere. If there had been DNA tests thirty years ago, we would have exercised free agency and gone to Harvard University to work as a professor: we have learned we are a descendant of Miles Standish and Massasoit (for whom Massachusetts was named). If we knew we had more Native American in us than Elizabeth Warren, we might even be running for President today.

We have seen free agency in the legal profession. The same lawyers who work for Donald Trump also work for Jeffrey Epstein. You go from billionaire to billionaire. Is it more money? Better opportunity? More challenges? It is not loyalty to a brand.

You might switch banks for better interest rates, or switch social media to be with different influencers.

In recent years we have experienced our primary care doctor whom we loved, move to the Sun Belt, where she said in her letter of departure to patients, there were “more opportunities.” To what? Cure cancer? Lower blood pressure? Deal with fewer insurance forms?

This year our dentist, who had a beautiful office and seemed happy, left for “more opportunities.”  That likely means “more cavities to fill,” or “fewer teeth to pull,” or just where weather allows for fewer snow days.

Free agency is everywhere in society today, and it simply means people can go where they want, for whatever dumb reason strikes their limited fancy. We have an endemic pandemic epidemic of movers and shakers in sports, law, medicine, education, and politics.

Heaven help our society. We need a new prayer, and it must be time to move on from the Lord’s Prayer. Hell, no, I won’t go.

The Lonely Man, 1950s Latency Period

DATELINE: Another Oddball Western

not so lonely Tony Meets Jack at Gay Bar?

The Western lone rider is the loneliest guy this side of the Maytag repairman in the 1950s.

After appearing as the despicable gunfighter in Shane, there was only one place to go for Jack Palance: revisionist hero from hell. So, he was cast as the good guy in The Lonely Man. This was a trend, as Ernest Borgnine had just transformed into an Oscar-winner after a villainous streak. Rod Steiger was around the corner.

In 1957, the way to do this was to play either a wronged teenage son or a well-meaning father. The James Dean phenomenon was at work: so, they cast Anthony Perkins as the fey son, long separated from his gunslinging father (called an ‘aging’ gunfighter).

Perkins plays it so silly as rebel with a cause that James Dean would have laughed. He likely would have laughed too that mid-30s Palance was considered aging as a father to mid-20s Perkins. It could have been Tab, but Tony will do.

Yet, that was the style of those days. Daddy didn’t know best, but he tried.

And, you use the baritone country music of Tennessee Ernie Ford instead of Tex Ritter.

Some bad guys are unremitting: Neville Brand, Lee Van Cleef, and Elisha Cook.  They are planning on gunning down Palance first chance that comes their way. Elisha Cook’s revenge comes after Palance gunned him down in Shane.

Brand would turn goodie on TV within a few years, but it would take Van Cleef more than a decade to turn to goody-two-shoes roles. All are in their evil-doer prime here.

If you have a strong sense of homoeroticism in this movie, you are not paranoid. Palance “picks up” his son in a bar for the price of a drink. Perkins boasts anyone can have him at those prices. These guys are all interested in their male on male relationships over all else.

As a piece of Hollywood Western ersatz history, this film is a true curio.

 

Endeavour Wraps Up Season 6

DATELINE:  Shootout for Morse!

Dr. Max in the library Dr. Max in the Library!

We never expected our intellectual detective show would go big time corruption at the highest levels of government. And, we have to admit surprise when the show’s climax turns out to be Gunfight at the OK Corral.

The old gang re-gathers in high form. And, corrupt politicians may escape, but never dirty cops.

Some shocks do occur along the way: Dr. Max DeBryn (James Bradshaw) hardly seems the sort to be a mob target, but threats to nearly every member of the cast leads us to worry some may not be returning for season 7.  Yes, there will be another year, 1970.

In the meantime, we almost thought we were watching Ancient Aliens or Curse of Oak Island when the foremost villains turn out to be Freemasons.

We can almost be assured that next summer there will be a few more of these precious and rare gems. Endeavour has behaved badly to end this season, which may be a cliff-hanger for this series, but we already know the middle-aged and older Inspector Morse survives to make the prequel post-quel episodes with the late John Thaw as Endeavour.

Nevertheless, you should not say “nevermore,” to this Shaun Evans outrage. Abigail Thaw (John’s daughter) remains a staple news reporter here to bring the two series into some kind of karma.

Some of the highlights of the finale include Inspector Thursday noting to an Oxford don that he was partial to Holly Martins (good grief, shades of The Third Man). We did enjoy seeing Dr. Max DeBryn in the library with the ice pick.

Well, we love this show for a good reason. You will have to wait for a year to see the good works rewarded fully with crime busting for four more episodes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second Season Civil War Gold Finale! Fake Gold!

DATELINE:  Hook, Line & Sunk

hook, line, & sunk One Born Every Minute?

If Alex Lagina had any effect on a first-season disaster for Curse of Civil War Gold, he turned it into something far more compelling. As with conspiracy theories and history, you can become more outrageous along the way.

However, he bailed out when his father Marty Lagina blew up over the lack of careful preparation. After firing the diver who found gold, and failed to properly mark its location, Lagina personally escorted John Chatterton to the show.

The dive expert indicated something was amiss. And, a second dive at the last moment revealed that a conspiracy may exist within a conspiracy. The lack of professionalism and giddy accusations may have backfired on Dykstra and his theory.

Yup, the Masons may have salted the mine with gold bricks.

It seems unbelievable that Marty Lagina will sink more of his cash into producing another season, but ratings may be the real gold.

We didn’t see a great deal of Jesse James, as promised, but the inclusion of John Wilkes Booth was inspired stuff from the Lagina investors. They have turned the dross into gold, no matter what Kevin Dykstra ever finds.

The transformation of a small-time rich banker named Charles Hackley into a big-wig with connections to Edwin Stanton also has proven to be magical when it comes to plots to kill Abe Lincoln who might have objected to the Masons taking the Confederate treasury.

It seems these maligned people and groups may have bitten back at Kevin Dykstra. Tune in next year to find out who’s behind the fraud.

Sweet Tooth for Murder on Endeavour

DATELINE: PBS Masterpiece Mystery

evans Shaun Endeavours

With only a handful of episodes this season, Endeavour is making the most of its short-sighted insights. This year it returns to its four episode arc of murderous delight.

There is a great focus on the personal lives of the characters for this showing: Bright (Anton Lesser) has a marriage falling apart because his wife is sick; Thursday (Roger Allam) has a wife sick of him. And, as for Morse (Shaun Evans), he continues to look for love in all the wrong places. For a great detective, he seems to miss the obvious.

James Bradshaw’s coroner is busier than ever—and has more personal connections to Endeavour and Bright, with an easy integration of personal and professional conversations.

Morse is looking for a rental detached home in a charming Oxford village that is rife with murder, hate letters, and the big business—a candy factory with rich and powerful victims.

The episode also starts off with a fox hunt that seems almost a throwback to the 1960s British movie, Tom Jones. There’s the rub.

Red herrings are always thrown about, but the show remains clever beyond everything else that is contemporary TV detective series. American shows are childish, and this one is cerebral.

We see dark times ahead for Endeavour as the season wraps: even his trusted Thursday mentor is not to be trusted. Jim Strange (Sean Rigby), another long-time colleague/friend, warns him off.

This magnificent series will be off too for a year with all too few brilliant cases.

 

Mystery Files Presents 13 Cases

DATELINE:  Fake Controversies

mystery files

Well, prepare yourself for undercooked conspiracy theories and the usual suspects. It’s called without much originality, Mystery Files.

Amazon Prime gives us a British series from 2010 with thirteen traditional topics and claims they will solve the mystery behind the story.

We are inclined to give 30 minutes to a documentary series about the usual suspects. We also decided to sample the half-dozen topics for which we have an interest and have done some study. A few of them are actually people on whom we have written a book or two.

Mystery Files looks at Jack the Ripper, Leonardo da Vinci, Billy the Kid, Rasputin, Abe Lincoln, and the Romanovs, and the Man in the iron mask not necessarily in that order. We picked the names randomly to see what problem they intended to solve. We suspected that we would have the pedestrian, traditional mystery, but the series went out of its way to try to debunk something not often considered. The others we did not sample included Cleopatra, King Arthur, Nostradamus, and Joan of Arc.

Though the Leonardo show claimed it would look at his works like Mona Lisa, it actually tried to illustrate that Leonardo’s scientific reputation is largely based on plagiarized ideas from other seers of future technology.

They were going to identify the real Jack the Ripper, hinting that it was not one of the usual candidates, and they wanted to point out that Billy the Kid was not the violent serial killer dime novels claimed. (Yeah, he murdered only 4 people.) And, Rasputin may have been murdered, not by Russian nobles worried about the Czar, but by British secret service agents.

A double episode also looked at what happened to Anastasia and her sisters.

The findings all had a distinct British connection: even the Billy the Kid episode focused on his English friend John Tunstall and that the Kid was hell-bent on vindicating his murdered benefactor (avoiding the sticky issue of their consenting adulthood).

Prince Yousoupoof had an Oxford friend who worked for British intelligence and used the Czar’s relation as an excuse to stop Rasputin from convincing the Czar from brokering peace with Germany (to the detriment of England).

And, they wanted to prove that Abe Lincoln used mercury-laced pills to control his chronic depression and was poisoning himself. As for the Voltaire story, there seemed to be a prisoner in a velvet mask, not an iron one, in their assessment.

For the most part, their plans are grandiose, and not fully proven in half-an-hour, or worse they back down from the outrageous claims in nearly every case.

Yet, we give them credit for cram packing the episodes and trying to give us a different perspective.

Sad State of Victimization

DATELINE: Crime Does Not Pay Victims!

img_4972 Behind You or Dead Ahead?

We took in more victim notions this week. There are no victims, only claimants to the condition, if you are to believe people like Mitch McConnell.

Does it pay to announce you have been attacked, shot, threatened, raped, or otherwise tell the American media and the world of Trump politics?

Apparently, victims are by their definition, people who have been injured by nasty and aggressive hate under the guise that nobody cares about you. Guess what? They epitomize apathy that killed Kitty Genovese nearly 60 years ago.

Chances are you don’t know about Kitty Genovese that created a shocking tenor of American life so many decades ago. How soon they forget? To say the least.

Indeed so, we saw the proof this week that nobody cares about victims, and even worse, the hate squad will “double down” in violating your dignity. We refer to cases involving David Ortiz (shot), Jussie Smollett (racial attack), and E. Jean Carroll (raped), migrant children (government indifference), or Haitians (discrimination).

If you want presidential sympathy, you are living on the wrong side of America upside down. If you draw a comparison to concentration camps, other victims will claim you cheapen their pain.

It’s the double-down and hit them repeatedly philosophy of Donald Trump by him and his stand-ins. If you dare to indicate that you have been mistreated, have been ignored, or fear reprisals, have suffered discrimination, you are looking at a world that laughs twice. And that you cannot forget.

The nemesis for rape, racial hate, and discrimination, is Trump, and you cannot avoid his neo-crypto-Nazi nationalism. He is proud to stomp on you, deny you medical treatment, and take a step toward extermination.

What makes a victim most? Victims will be a woman, gay, blacker than black, and a non-voting child or refugee. If you dare to speak out, you will be shot down faster than a conspiratorial bullet, by those able to deny charity, and promote greatness at the cost of belittling.

Yes, if someone is made small, you are made greater.

The price of being victimized has reached inflation levels. Goodwill is worthless.

Alas, the sum of the parts adds up to a return to a world where you climb the evolutionary ladder by wiping out “inferior” races, cultures, or people.

Welcome to Great America today.

 

 

Hostile Witness: Not Agatha Christie

DATELINE: Good Intentions Not Well Done

ray Milland, director and star.

Alas, Oscar winner Ray Milland loved movies and he directed several feature films and a dozen TV anthology episodes during the 1950s and 1960s. He was not box-office, except as a character actor—and movies had changed.

So, the Welsh actor returned to England to film his final director effort in 1968 in which he also starred as a barrister whose mental breakdown makes him a prime murder suspect.  It’s a second-rate court-room murder mystery on the lines of Agatha Christie, called Hostile Witness.

Milland is juicy with those eyes and old Hollywood’s courtly gestures. However, the material (a Broadway murder mystery, no less) lets him down. All the actors are superior Brits like Felix Aylmer as the court justice.  Sylvia Syms plays a surprisingly modern career woman working in Milland’s office, removed when Milland arrogantly decides to defend himself in court.

The barrister cracks when his daughter is killed by a hit-and-run driver. It elicits little sympathy from fellow lawyers whom he regularly embarrassed in his court-room victories. His professional colleagues let him stew in his own juices.

The film means to be another Witness for the Prosecution, but even with intelligent actors and directors, they cannot overcome a wild script that uses color-blindness as a red herring and a frame-up as the plot devices.

It just simply isn’t clever enough than to be an overblown film that would soon become a staple of TV made for movies in 1968. It might have made a passable anthology court drama. Within a few years, he gave up all pretense of being a leading man, removed his toupee, and played it as an old reprobate usually.

As it is, with nicely appointed sets, the main action is the second-half in the courtroom with testimony and outrageous and unlikely court etiquette.

We stuck with dapper and aging Ray Milland to see what he tried to do with no budget, no script, and relying on his talents. As he said in an interview, “The problem with being a director is that you also have to eat.” We admire his attempt to make movies no matter what.

X-Files History & Piltdown-Man Fraud

DATELINE:  German View of England’s Finest!

dupes & dopes

Dupes & Dopes with Piltdown Man

You know this miniseries will be confused with the old crypto-investigators series with David Duchovny, but this German import felt no compunction about using the title and adding the word “X-Files History”. This is a German documentary that has only four episodes, and the one we sampled was juicy enough to stand alone.

One of the longest frauds perpetrated was by a gang of British scientists from 1912. Back then, methods were loose and discipline was nearly negligible. You could salt a dig site and no one would be the wiser.

A decade before Howard Carter in Egypt, there was Charles Dawson in England. He was no academic, no researcher, not a scholar, and only made his money through dubious means. He was born middle-class in Hastings.

Like many Brits of the era, he was offended that everyone rival to England was finding archaeolological gold. The United Kingdom was offended by being left in the dust of antiquity.

A couple of patriotic Englishmen may have started a cottage industry to find relics of the past. They, in fact, faked them brilliantly. The most brilliant and dubious was the Missing Link, corroborating Darwin’s theory of Ape Man descendants.

Dawson was a reprobate who lived in a fake castle, artificially aged and with a fantasy dungeon. He climbed the social ladder and married well, but his real hobby was aging bones to look like they were thousands of years old.

His greatest hoax was the find the Missing Link in England, not Africa, or China. As improbable as it seems, he had allies like Arthur Conan Doyle who wrote the Lost World the same year Dawson found the Missing Link.

The Dyle fans went bonkers when it was suggested that Sherlock’s creator might have a part in the fraud.

Even if he didn’t conspire with John Bull and the bull crap, Doyle was a prime dupe. He was into everything, including the paranormal. So, it was not a far jump for him to buy into the Piltdown Man and give him credibility.

The ultimate payment for the fraud (which took 40 years to expose) was the chemicals Dawson used to provide an old patina to the bones. The heavy metal fumes killed him and his wife in mid-experiment, like a grotesque Sherlock Holmes story.

Moon Landing for Endeavour

DATELINE: Aging Badly.

aging badly Allam & Evans.

Sixth season, episode 2, takes place at the time of the Apollo Moon landing. So, it is only natural that the murder victim at Oxford is an astrophysicist. Endeavour is more earthbound than the astronauts in July, 1969.

Morse is an exhibits officer who routinely oversteps his bounds. His new superior sees him as a condescending twit, and he may be right. Morse’s friend, Jim Strange, notes that the brilliant detective has not lost his heavy-handed social skills.

This episode is directed by star Shaun Evans.

Thursday (Allam) keeps reminding him that they are part of a bureaucratic system that follows chain-of-command, but Endeavour is the rebel within the system.

While astronauts make giant leaps for mankind on the Moon, back on Earth there are small steps toward crime solving by hard-working detectives.

Perhaps what’s most interesting about the historical inaccuracy of the series is that the days when cops were despised by youth movement types, you have them with more virtue and dedication than Joe Friday ever showed.

As a mystery show, Endeavour always puts together disparate elements into a stew that may be overly complicated. Punch and Judy has now reached marionette TV space shows of 1969, where jealousy and spousal swapping are the hot topics of the day—and motive for murders.

The regulars (Roger Allam, Anton Lesser) and others recognize now how good they had it in the previous five seasons. Now, they are reduced to working under lesser talents while bigger events overwhelm the world.

Though this series is not as elegant or finely tuned as an Agatha Christie story, you may find it convoluted on the side of intellectualism. That’s a rare problem in this age of unusual idiocy in TV shows, detective programs, and characters in general.

 

 

 

 

 

Happiness is a Protective Cup

DATELINE: Chernobyl Goes to Dogs

up on the roof Suicide by Radiation?

Young conscripts sent to the Chernobyl disaster are given crude and useless cups for their scrota. It won’t help. They are not told the truth of the dangers of their mission, though it may not be hard to figure out.

The despondent faces of the young men ordered to commit suicide is quite evident.

Yet, critics of this series noted that the Russians in the series use the wrong type of drinking glass for vodka. Yikes! your world is ending! The type of glassware you select seems a minor consideration.

Episode 4 of Chernobyl reaches an apex of appalling. Cheap and homemade lead cups are tied loosely around the underside of young soldiers as they walk around camp.

Soviet bureaucrats begin to rebel against a mentality of their leaders to hide the notion that the Soviet empire can do anything wrong. It may be the last straw that will lead to the fall of the Communist rule.

One group’s job is to go into deserted and evacuated towns and shoot the stray dogs and cats that are dangerously radioactive. It is part of the mental strain that can break men.

In the meantime, Stellan Skarsgard and Jared Harris want to use lunar robots to push graphite off the roof of the power plant. However, the Soviet leadership will not accept American help (only West German)—and they provide false information to the Germans, who make a rover that cannot withstand radiation.

It leads to the most horrific of all concepts: bio-robots. Men will go into the roof area to sweep up the most radioactive debris. They will likely be dead in a short time, especially figuring on the thin lead aprons and headcovers.

If you fall during the job, you are likely to be dead before the sun sets.

A Russian general gives each man his pay at day’s end and wishes them “good health and long life,” knowing full well that neither will be available after their work.