DATELINE: NBA Twits
File Under Inept Waiters!
Now and then we follow NBA nitwits on and off the court. We seldom follow Miami Heat anywhere, but when Dion Waiters criticized coach Spoelstra and ingested designer drugs making for a panic attack whilst flying with the team, we took notice.
He’s coming to Boston to play after a suspension worth a couple of million bucks. Maybe he can earn the money back by waiting on tables and receiving tips. We offer our tip right here.
Dion sang an apology to teammates and coaching brain-trust that sounds all the world like a statement from his agent/attorney axis. After all, fines and suspension took money and food out of their wallets and open mouths.
We know from the spellcheck that Dion Waiters never wrote that apology. Some low-paid minion earned his keep.
No one wants to provide real details about imbeciles, lest they be accused of discriminating against drug users and people with bad judgment. We are fearless in that regard.
When we meet a body walking through the rye, we know it’s a kind of Scottish whiskey on his breath.
We doubt that Waiters would be a winner on a team that contained players Bron, Wade, and Bosh. When you put a fly in the oinment, you mainly change the chemistry.
The rain in Spain does not always fall on the plain, no matter what apology/tune Dion sings, and we think as an ordinary waiter Waiters would spill our wry rye all over our spellcheck. Especially at 37,000 feet above the court at American Airlines Arena. It’s no slam dunk from outside the arc/ark.
DATELINE: Blood to Let?
Whether you consider the menu of godly appetizers to be forbidden fruit, Ancient Aliens offered us a repast of great delectable items.
Yes, our favorite show about those ancient space creatures who fiddled with our DNA has turned our stomachs upside down with the apple of knowledge.
Forget Jennie Craig, dieters. “The Food of the Gods” is what you need on your shopping list.
Forget salt. Aliens apparently have an aversion to salt, and when one contactee provided the CIA and Project Blue Book with a cracker a generous alien provided, it was salt-free.
Can you make manna on your Cuisinart? Or do the crackers of aliens fall from heaven? When the episode begins to suggest that blood-drained animal mutilation is tied into immortality, you begin to see ET as a new variation on Dracula. Swallow hard, Adam’s apple.
Yes, ambrosia is some kind of fluid or food that helps you travel for centuries on space craft. Eating it on earth helped Adam, Moses, and Noah, live to be about 1000 years old. So, Ancient Aliens is hot on the trail of the magic elixir.
Yes, aliens farm blood out of Homo sapiens. Yes, we have no bananas.
It isn’t long to jump to trans-substantiation or making the blood of Jesus out of wine. It would appear that ancient aliens need this stuff—and it is what will sustain humankind when they venture out into space
The problem with the series is that it often forgets its previous findings. Yes, there is a supply of blood to be let by abducted people, but the aliens originally came to Earth for its gold deposits.
There is your ambrosia, manna, wine of gods, soma, and all the rest on Gilligan’s Planet.
DATELINE: New Trump Godfather Movie?
New Don Trump!
In a new Godfather sequel, Don Vito Trump makes an offer that a whistleblower cannot refuse. Yes, if the anonymous whistleblower reveals his identity, Russian mobsters will not only break his legs, he will be able to meet the man he accuses of criminal deals as he is fitted with cement overshoes.
If you ever wondered why whistleblowers are afraid, you have only to ask Fox journalists who liken them to “rotten snitches.” Yes, so much for the fair and balanced approach to someone reporting on corruption found in the Washington swamp.
Like calling his lawyer Michael Cohen, his mouthpiece of yore, a rat, Trump envisions the world in movie mob terms.
We now know that if you drain the swamp, you will find a slime-ball with orange hair lurking in the mud. The Creature from the Black Lagoon is now POTUS.
Don Trump does have a right to meet his accuser—in a court of impeachment in the United States Senate. And by then, it will be too late to have him executed—unless the Senate decides that Trump is really a king, not a president.
As of today, we have received another request from Trump to pay for his impeachment defense: his billions are not enough. Now the Don Trump is baking canolis filled with creamy poison for the American electorate.
We are not sure if the Don knows that this is not the Vatican where you can have the Pope replaced (as in Godfather 3). In this sequel, the mob plans to supply the voters with Ukrainian voting booths.
We have seen a preview of the film in which Don Trump’s grandchildren are dressed up like the Storm Troopers in the Star Wars series. In case you forgot, the Nazi Storm Troopers in white plastic suits were the bad guys who went against the forces of good.
In Trump’s world, life is like a box of chocolate movie sequels: all covered in Rambo Blood.
DATELINE: From Wine to Cigarettes
‘Swedish’ lady sells coffee!
We now interrupt your viewing pleasure for a word from many, many sponsors from the alleged Golden Age of Advertising. For you more historically-minded, but young readers, that’s apparently the 1960s when this documentary collection of old black and white commercials dominated the airwaves.
The World’s Best Commercials is a misnomer at best. It was surely the Era of Advertising.
Your favorite TV show or movie was at the mercy of two or three minutes of sales pitches with a curve ball—or maybe that’s a screwball.
Yes, you may have the mad impulse to turn the channel, but you are facing 90 minutes of unrelenting, idiotic, culturally-altering advertisements, often lasting a minute in length. You will see rare cigarette and wine commercials, complete with marching cigarettes (after all, LS/MFT).
Attention spans were greater back then, or sponsors fewer.
In any respect, you will shock your sensibilities to learn about the Swing-Ding in which kids give themselves a self-propelled concussion with a tie-on toy. You wil meet again the “Swedish” Mrs. Olson who hucksters Folger’s coffee. You will learn that Miami is a hotspot as America’s Riviera.
And, without any organizing principle, or narrator, you simply sit back and are hit repeatedly with an endless barrage of products, many that are now gone (we think) or evolved into something else. We saw Baggies in three sizes. They were all the suburban rage back then, when you could pour silver dollars into them—and they would not rip or shred.
Several times we were moved to get up and go to the bathroom.
This compendium has nothing to do with quality, but likely what was readily available to the producers of this collection. Were we the only masochists who would force this stuff upon ourselves? If you are a student of sociology, marketing, or sociological marketing history, this film will thrill you.
This stuff is campy and may have even been humorous in its day.
You clearly see what was on the minds of the people controlling the purse-strings in those days: suburban Mom. Kids, husbands, pets, all were at her whim to purchase or allow such items into the home. If you want to know who the big powers of the era were, this little ad ditties will tell you.
Pay TV reportedly was to end this blight on America’s vast wasteland of free TV.
DATELINE: All Points Bulletin on Antonio Brown!
AB & NDA in NFL
If you thought the New England Patriots were immoral and unscrupulous, you surely are not surprised that Antonio Brown is laying on a thick residue of scandal on the beleaguered franchise. Even worse, he wore a notorious short suit in hideous design to the game.
Brown’s goop is knee-deep—ranging from Kraft’s massage parlor problems to an artist who came to paint a mural in Brown’s home and found the star walking around in his short suit birthday suit.
Is anyone shocked nowadays? How quaint that must be.
Only a Victorian throwback would find the Bill Belichick approach a shock to the system: money & ratings move the team’s off-field antics.
Yes, the Patriots have found a way to rekindle interest in their boring team. They had grown into old-hat, like the Yankees in the 1950s, standing too pat, losing interest even from fans. They were your grandfather’s bowler hat and Fred Astaire’s top hat.
Now, they have enlivened up the entire NFL season, which is built on the sandy castle of money. It shifts, and it is a porous foundation for anything permanent, except a gaudy Super Bowl ring around the toilet.
Football games are violent, scandal-ridden and off-limits to normal human civilizing influence. You may break an arm, have you clavicle broken, develop water on the brain, but it’s all for the entertainment of men with testosterone deficiency that undevelop every Sunday afternoon.
The Patriots have found a sure-fire formula to bring in fans and more money than ever: Gronk may be gone, but long live the boorish mean-spirit of AB. From A to B, you will have more alphabet soup than any spelling bee deserves.
We begin to wonder how many non-disclosure agreements there are in the NFL among players: Start singing the ditty: “you’ll never know.”
You can pour your soup into a saucer in New England, as long as there is no chowdah involved. Sip slowly with adequate slurps: with other teams collapsing all around, New England is on the road to the Super Bowl.
Move over, dead spirit of Aaron Hernandez
DATELINE: German View of England’s Finest!
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.
DATELINE: Casa de Orient Express
A man named David Heathcote is billed as a design historian of all things Art Deco, and he hosts this four-episode series. Each program is about half an hour, and the selected areas of study are not the best examples, but they will serve as a teaching tool.
Heathcote visits Claridge’s, the swank Art Deco hotel in Mayfair, London, as well as the London Transport building. He also takes in Casa del Rio, and the juiciest of all, the Orient Express train.
With long and flowing silver hair, Heathcote has a tendency not to look into the camera, which leads us to think he is talking to someone other than his TV audience.
We always want to explore other areas or spend more time in a certain place the host shows us, but we are at his peripatetic mercy. He always moves on, blithely climbing staircase after staircase. Perhaps he just wants to show us the decorative elements in hallways, but we of lazy bones yearn for an elevator.
In the first episode, Heathcote seems befuddled by a butler in his hotel suite, unpacking. And, he calls having breakfast in his hotel room a bit too much, when that is what we always prefer. We generally rise from bed when it is delivered.
Heathcote notes that the Art Deco Transport of London is quite modern and American. Indeed, some of the stations look like flying saucers, not train depots. They hold up their modernity quite well.
Not until the final two episodes does the show hit its stride magnificently.
Heathcote clearly is more comfortable with the camera and the presentation. He visits two major art deco sites: Casa del Rio and the Orient Express train.
The hacienda in England is as out of place as you might expect: it is Pickfair on the Devon, a Hollywood version of a Spanish mansion in Olde California. Of course, there were old haciendas in California, but seldom in England. It is stunning in silver, black & white tiles, verandas, and wrought iron.
The Orient Express, restored in the 1980s, used actual cars from the original train—and used in the Agatha Christie movie version. It is romantic, exciting, and delightful to observe the detailed carvings and colors.
If you want to cherry-pick your episodes, opt for the final two.
DATELINE: You Need a Biscuit?
With Oreo Cookies in the news this week, another one of Trump’s “stable genius” appointees mixed up the distinction between an REO and an Oreo.
It came to our attention that the Oreo was invented and launched to the public on March 6, 1912, while the RMS Titanic was launched on April 12, 1912. So, we checked our First-Class Titanic menu for April 14, and learned that British-style biscuits were not proffered to passengers among the fancy pastry tray items.
The elite on the voyage had a choice of apple meringue, custard pudding, or assorted pastry. We think Animal Crackers were not on the docket.
Our spirit of choice, who stays in our haunted home, never had a chance to partake of an Oreo Cookie from the National Biscuit Company. He was a teenager during the years that the American cookie revolution hit: oh, you would find Fig Newtons, Graham Crackers, Animal Crackers, and even Saltines, all invented in the first decade of the 20th century. Oreos came on the tail end.
In all likelihood, Richard White—who died on the Titanic at age 21—never heard of an Oreo Cookie.
Oreos have since been sunk into a billion glasses of milk by children, while the Titanic sank but once as it steamed into oblivion.
When first on the market, the Oreo was sold as an elegant, first-class “dessert sandwich.” They came in a tin box to prevent dampness and water from turning them into soggy spoils.
Snobs of America, those lovers of all things Anglophilia around 1900, likely preferred ‘biscuits’ to ‘cookies’, in language terms. The cookie was a term around since the American Revolution, derived from a Dutch sounding word for little sweet cakes.
Since the Titanic was of British registry, you would not find a cookie aboard, though unkind people might have referred to Titanic passengers, artist Francis Davis Millet and his friend Archibald Butt, as a couple of sweetcakes.
By 1912, American children who had been introduced to snack-food cookies began a journey that would bring them to an epidemic crisis of diabetic proportions 100 years later.
And we have not even dunked our blog cookie into the racist use of the term Oreo.
DATELINE: Learning Curve Bends Light Waves!
The Internet seems to teach us the impossible is not improbable, Sherlock Holmes notwithstanding.
We just read that Prince’s memoirs will be published posthumously. You mean he is not a vampire?
Another article tells us that Twitter is not America. Well, we already figured that out when 33% of our followers on Twitter are from Turkey and apparently do not speak English.
A new study on the concept of BS has proven to be overblown. Rich guys tend to exaggerate their abilities. Having more money apparently still does not make up for having little confidence and less talent. We even wonder if self-designations like “rich” are suspect.
We also found a journalistic piece that states that Twitter fuels anxiety. Well, that is one explanation for the Twitter-storms of Donald Trump.
A business named “mailchimp” claims to make marketing easy. Monkey see; monkey may do, as long as you have the money to pay the monkey to dance to the organ grinder’s tune.
Some people believe that slave-owner and man who turned down Lincoln to save the Union, one Robert E. Lee, was a kindly soul and gentle man. We call them white nationalists, but General Lee is not just a motor vehicle in a hick TV series. He is down by the levee with Kate Smith, watching their statues be torn down by the new majority in America, the Minority.
After watching the History Channel TV series, Project Blue Book, the United States military has decided to junk the term UFO and call those flying saucers, “unidentified aerial phenomena,” but a rose by any other name will still be high-flying space creatures.
Low-income people are apparently more devastated by scams on the Internet than rich people. When you’ve got nothing to lose, you lose everything, according to experts.
The latest notion of pollution is microplastics, which seem to be so small that they are floating around cities and landing in lakes, though you can’t see them. It is no longer smoke that gets in your eyes.
Ten minutes on the Internet has undermined all knowledge you thought you had avoided in school.
DATELINE: Whale of a Story
Moby Rams Essex!
You may have blanched at reading the mammoth novel by Herman Melville—few professors require its reading nowadays: too long, big means Moby Dick.
The true story of what intrigued Melville may be better fodder for the short attention span of a one-hour documentary. And so, we have come down to Moby Dick: the True Story, made in 2001.
Out of Nantucket, the whaler called Essex sailed in 1819, not long after Frankenstein appeared, and it was its own horror story, all true. Though Melville made the First Mate named Starbuck, that was actually the name of one ship’s owner. The captain was Pollard, and his bossy First Mate was Owen Chase (who wrote the memoir on which Melville based his whaling epic). He is played by Shawn Reynolds in the film.
Yes, the Essex encountered the largest whale ever seen at the time, and he was old and cranky. Though one expert on the documentary insists that whales are basically docile, some old males can be aggressive. To say the least in this case.
Perhaps he knew what the ship’s purpose was: and it infuriated the whale. According to the reports, he rammed the ship once until he was nearly unconscious and then came at it again to sink it.
Therein lies a novel by Melville. The whale did his worst, and as a force of the universe, sailed off, leaving his Ishmael on Queequeg’s coffin.
In real life, three small lifeboats fled the scene for a horrific sail for months. They resorted to cannibalism, and ultimately drew lots to murder one of their mates for dinner.
Three men chose to get off at something akin to Gilligan’s Island in mid-Pacific, which would have been our choice too. They survived and were rescued months later.
The cabin boy Thom Nickerson (played by Trevor Ralph in re-enacting scenes) was 14, and he survived to write his memoirs too, but they were not discovered until 1980, hidden in an attic.
Other survivors did not fare well: Owen Chase went mad, and the captain became a night watchman on Nantucket. Melville’s book flopped, and he watched a mountain in the distance from his home in the Berkshires that when white-capped with snow reminded him of Moby Dick.
DATELINE: Wile E. Coyote with Orange Hair?
Pelosi’s Bronx Cheer?
When Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi applauded President Trump on finishing his epic State of the Union with 82 minutes of cram-packed disinformation, she added something to the lexicon of American culture.
We used to have the Bronx Cheer, a rather crude and effective means of making its recipient know how low he has fallen.
You cannot smell a Bronx Cheer, only hear it. You cannot smell a Pelosi clapback, but its visual image will resonate on Twitter and social media forever.
Now, when you want to skewer a blowhard, you point the middle fingers in your pointed hands and make little slaps like a jaw opening and closing on a fool on the hill’s neck.
Among hundreds of political observers—and Trump himself—and countless viewers and re-watching viewers, Mrs. Pelosi stuck it to Trump who had to stand there and take it. His mendacious speechifying was over. Now he had to look like the man with egg on his face or yellow feathers in his mouth. However, the canary just ate him.
Speaker Pelosi looked like Tweety Pie, sitting in the gilded cage, and about to tell us that, indeed, she saw “a Putty Tat.” Yes, indeed, like Sylvester, Mr. Trump just was given his quota of suffering succotash.
If she had been the Road Runner, she would have stuck out her tongue and beeped at him before dashing off and leaving the man and his moment conjoined forever as the biggest damned fool in history.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and the priceless expression of the Speaker is visible, and only the back of a head of fake hair comes from the Trump vantage.
If you believe in emblematic moments, you know that Marshall McLuhan is laughing somewhere in the universe.
DATELINE: Great Art Restoration!
Warhol Takes on Whopper.
We know that iconic artist Andy Warhol enjoyed pop culture, and perhaps he’d be intrigued with the Super Bowl antics every year.
He might be as surprised as we were to find him in a commercial, a highly expensive proposition, endorsing Burger King.
You might think the little scene was filmed by Andy himself at his Factory, but it was merely an appearance he made in 1984 for another director. Here is Andy in 2019, thirty years after he died, now on the big stage of Super Bowl party night.
At first we thought it was a body double—something Warhol was fond of using. He looked thin, but in good shape, making it a little difficult to discern when this was made. He had done all kinds of things—like a Love Boat episode and a cameo in an Elizabeth Taylor movie back in the 1970s.
This filmed scene was after the Studio 54 craze, and he sits quietly, well-dressed as always, his messy wig appropriately placed, and crinkling, opens a bag for Burger King.
We heard he was disappointed to find it was not going to be a Big Mac, but he was always game for product accessibility.
Perhaps the most curious part of his eating the burger, as that is the total action, is that he lifts the top of the bun off the sandwich as if he will pour some of the Heinz ketchup on it. Instead, he has difficulty pouring it onto the wrapper.
Like a cookie in coffee, he dunks the burger in the tomato paste which he even painted in one of his inspired moments.
Though the commercial was only a few seconds, the actual film was a tad longer. It showed him discarding the top of the burger and folding it over for another swipe at the Heinz. All his actions are fastidious. It’s on Youtube for those interested.
We hope his estate and museum was well-paid for this appearance. We doubt he would have been a Patriot fan. In all likelihood, only a fraction of viewers even understood the identity of the slight man in the burger commercial.
DATELINE: Beyond the Twilight Zone
Whose Acting Chops?
If you thought nutcase movies are here today, you are about 30 years off. Brazil is a movie aficionado’s fantasy and nightmare, defying convention and logic. You just passed the signpost of Ipanema.
Terry Gilliam (of Monty Python fame) went out of his way to make the Citizen Kane of kookoo-bird movies in 1985.
This was no small achievement as the film holds up as beyond modern and relevant. Its madness may yet to be realized in the future.
Like Blade Runner, the future is the past. There is an aura of 1940s film noir interspersed with superhero comic fantasy.
Jonathan Pryce is some bureaucrat by day and by night, in his dreams, some kind of flying circus performer out to save a damsel in distress. In the meantime, he works in mindless government agencies that are after Harry Tuttle (Robert DeNiro) in an early comedic performance as a heating engineer who is a wanted man for doing duct work without a license.
Pryce’s mother Ida Lowry is played by the youth-conscious Katherine Helmond in a face-stretching performance with Jim Broadbent, as her fey plastic surgeon, striving for tighter skin.
Included in the shenanigans are such familiar faces as Bob Hoskins, Ian Holm, Michael Palin, and Ian Richardson. If they wanted to kick off the unorthodoxy of their careers, this film is definitely the forerunner.
If you want a plot, you will fall into a black hole and likely be stretched to kingdom come.
You can ride the wave of this movie from one loony tune moment to the next, not bothering to connect the dots or the scenes. It’s like being in the Trump Administration: you just sit back and experience the Cinerama of movie magic to the mambo-jumbo notes of the song “Brazil.”
Heavens, or is that Land of Goshen?
DATELINE: Ben-Hur Takes on The Rifleman?
In 1973 came a prophetic movie about greenhouse gas and environmental calamity in the ruse of a murder mystery. Its cast stuns: Charlton Heston, Edward G. Robinson, Joseph Cotten, Chuck Connors, and a raft of familiar second bananas like Cyril Develanti and Whit Bissell.
Apart from the all-too-soon prediction, suggesting the calamity arose by 2022, the film is prescient. We think it may be the world of New York in 2073 when crowds teem the streets and heat and lack of supply dominate the lifestyle.
Only the rich have soap and beef. When Heston the cop goes investigating, he is awestruck by the luxury.
His roommate (perhaps college professor mentor of years past) is Edward G. Robinson in his final acting role.
Chuck Connors has a wig also as outrageous as that on Heston. You keep wondering why it never fell off during those crowd scenes.
From its opening montage of fossil fuel guzzlers and growing population, the film has several bravura sequences. Reminiscent of Nazi liquidation and final solution, there is a “home” base where people go to die.
Cue up the Tchaikovsky symphony “Pathetique,” used also in Howard Hughes’ movie called The Outlaw.
It remains a highly prized movie by aficionados of the genre, making it the second act of sci-fi flicks for Heston after his epic heroes like Moses and Ben-Hur. This one is less known than Planet of the Apes.
You don’t have to be clairvoyant to figure out the problem with soylent green, the new foodstuff. And, it all seems quaint in the age before computerization. An early computer game is played in 1973, a half-dozen years before the craze caught on.