Summit with Rat Pack

DATELINE: Ocean’s 11 History!

  Frank & Jack!

A bad, inconsequential movie seldom is a watershed of history. So, to find a film that provides a great context for politics, social life, entertainment, and cult of celebrity, you have to stand back and simply be agog at its temerity.

Ocean’s 11, the original 1960 movie, turned out to be seminal and a turning point in mindless fluff having serious impact. The Ocean 11 Story will surprise you.

This gang was called the Summit (and it’s a pinnacle of some lunacy). Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford, Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, Sammy Davis Jr., were denizens of the Las Vegas show world. That was the descendant of vaudeville—taken a turn toward Godfather syndicate crime and gambling.

These entertainers brought thousands to the desert to pack five casinos along a neon strip. They created a world of entertainment unto itself.

And, the mob was beholden. Their pranks, self-deprecating humor, and interjecting in each other’s shows became an act itself. They soon were joining forces: “maybe” someone else would show up and liven up the audience. Tickets were prized.

Sinatra’s mob connections (notably played out in the Puzo tale, Godfather) made him royalty. His friends like Sam Giancanna could guarantee a Hollywood career however he wanted it.

Then, his hostility to Lawford ended when the actor married into the Kennedy family—and JFK ran for President with Franks support. It was the first time a pop star turned his hit song into a campaign rally tune.

Ties between Sinatra, beautiful Hollywood starlets, and a Kennedy president, became legend: Marilyn Monroe was in there too.

A double-edged mob could protect Kennedy—or kill him.

And, the Rat Pack lived it up, never sleeping, making a cheesy movie with the casino help. It was a movie about robbing the casinos—and the mob loved it.

You could have High Hopes and a Kind of Fool as these loose show-stoppers unloaded on screen and off. They moved off second-banana status with Sinatra’s Oscar coming from here and going to Eternity, Martin’s break from Lewis, and a black man on equal footing.

The Summit of talent heckled each other—and brought in tons of money and popularity. They would never do more than one take in their movie—which was merely an extension of their stage shenanigans. They lacked self-discipline, but who needed it?

They made Las Vegas, and they made Kennedy president. They loved the danger of the Mob, and no one dared cross them. It was a golden age of promiscuity and booze.

This hour documentary turns out to be highly significant about how silly inanity could dominate a century.

 

 

Thomas Crown: An Affair Not to Remember?

DATELINE: What Should Have Been?

 Stand-in graveyard?

In 1968, one of the ultra-cool movies that was meant to be an antidote to the growing counter-culture of long-hair and hippies, was Norman Jewison’s stylish caper film. Sexy cool, with dune buggy rides on Crane’s beach in Ipswich and rooftop brunch on a patio in the South End of Boston, this was your ultimate sophistication.

The Thomas Crown Affairwas meant to be a vehicle showing off a Brahmin Bostonian outsmarting a beautiful insurance agent at his hobby of “crime.”

It has all the looks of a film back in the late 1960s when Alfred Hitchcock wanted to drag Grace Kelly out of retirement with the promise of another Cary Grant co-star vehicle. It’sTo Catch a Thief in reverse. However, nothing panned out. The film settles for second-best.

Hitchcock also had Tippi Hedren under contract—and so they could not even bring her on as the beautiful insurance agent. Yet, Faye Dunaway is clearly wearing the designer outfits and living the life of a millionaire investigator meant for Grace or Tippi. She tangles with a guy in a Brooks Brothers suit who pretends to be a millionaire executive, but looks like a motorcyclist in posh dress.

No doubt that Steve McQueen looks dashing, but we never believed for a second that he could play polo or chess. Not only that, the film looks like it was supposed to play out in London, but they had to settle for Boston. McQueen reportedly could not master a Boston accent and gave up half-way through the film.

It’s the ultimate double-cross thriller that Hitch loved to do, but Jewison throws in modern elements like split-screen moments (all pointless) and Noel Harrison (not Rex) sings “Windmills of Your Mind.” It seems even Dusty Springfield turned them down.

The climax of the movie takes place at Cambridge City Cemetery, a stand-in for ritzy and prestigious Mount Auburn Cemetery across the street, no doubt. We were a tad shocked to see filming near my mother’s recent burial site back then, not far from her grandmother.

Some films you may remember for all the wrong reasons.

 

 

 

 

 

Boston Stars Join Police Lineup in California!

DATELINE: Wine Chaser?

Call it Selfie Destruction?

Julian Edelman is preparing for off-season surgery by jumping on the hood of an expensive car in Beverly Hills. It’s called drunken vandalism.

Only in Beverly Hills is jumping on a MB SLK considered a misdemeanor.

Now arrested for vandalism, he will appear in the airport courthouse next month—that is, if he’s out of the hospital and Bill Belichick’s doghouse.

Tom Brady’s close chum was out celebrating not being in the Super Bowl with a bunch of former Boston stars; Danny Amendola (his usual mate and partner in crime, and the unusual addition of Paul Pierce, notably of the Celtics Past).

One can presume the stars were imbibing beyond the limits of good sense.

It may be that Edelman is planning to jump ship and is checking out the teams on the West Coast (he is originally a Bay butt). If he is on a mission to scout out teams for Brady, they may be going there in tandem. He may be practicing his jump skills by jumping on car hoods.

We presume Pierce is a technical advisor, and Amendola (as always) is a partner in crime and unnatural activities. They have also done Mexico last year on a skateboard tour.

The latest scuttlebutt from the butt buddies of Edelman is that he will have at least 2 surgeries to repair damage from his insane play at age 34. It’s enough to figure that Bill Belichick wouldn’t take him back or give him a plug nicklel for his future.

No wonder Tom is sending him out to test the TB12 market in the Bay area. Unfortunately, Julie has been derailed in Beverly Hills, a far cry from the Raiders  franchise. Josh McDaniels can have Cleveland! Give the Brady Bunch something of Hollywood.

The Peter Pan Syndrome is alive and well in anyone who thinks they can play NFL football beyond a certain age. How low can down-low go?

Patriots Receive Their Come-Uppance!

DATELINE: The Empire Collapses 

 

Many Patriot haters have waited 20 years for the moment. The parallel in history may be the Fall of the Roman Empire: the barbarians are at the gate, and Belichick and Brady are fleeing the chaos.

The Mighty Patriots have struck out.
There is no joy in Mudville or Foxboro. The Pats have lost their bye week—and probably their souls.
If anyone is stunned by the Dolphins beating the Pats, you have not been paying attention. For weeks now Tom Brady has been playing like a man who will be at quarterback until he is 50—in the sandlot league.
Bill Belichick is like one of the Magnificent Ambersons: he is receiving his come-uppance.His vaunted defense looked like Swiss cheese and most of his players will leave in free agency. Even Brady is expected to go out with a bang elsewhere.
History runs in cycles, and the Patriots have been top dog for a couple of decades, but now they are heading back to the rubbish pile years of the 1970s. They may spend the next two decades as outliers in the AFC.
We expect that Josh McDaniels and Julian Edelman will jump ship. Already the Florida authorities are emboldened to file new felony charges against owner Robert Kraft for human trafficking, however preposterous that seems.
Now they will feel Miami is on a roll.
On the eve of an ice storm in New England, the New England Pats may be entering a new Ice Age. The berg has hit their flank—and the unsinkable franchise has sprung a leak.
About 20 members of the team are ready for free agency—and don’t let the door hit your rear on the way out.
Don’t cry for the Patriots, Argentina. Tom will be playing there next season.

Brady Leaves New England with No Sentiment

DATELINE:  Finger of Choice?

In case you were wondering about Tom Brady leaving his “home” of 20 years, he told us: “I’m not the nostalgic type.” Goodbye, Gillette. And rotsa ruck.

The sound you heard is Jim Morrison singing “This is the End,” from a vandalized cemetery in Paris. The cacophony of noise is the Flying Elvis fallen from Graceland.

Tom Brady is gone.

We keep wondering how Boston sports media can twist this heartless slam into something not negative. We know fans are imbeciles and won’t see the insult, but you do have to recognize that the media birds eat the crumbs left by the management of the Patriots and the NFL.  Bill Belichick has won: he will unload Brady and Krafty will let him. That kiss on the cheek is right out of the Judas Iscariot playbook.

They also have to make “friends” with those athletes who hate their guts to make it seem like it’s all a fun game. It isn’t. You hear it more nowadays: it’s a business.

And with that, Tom Brady basically told New England fans to go and shove it. He never was a Bostonian or a New Englander: this was the place he worked, and now that he may not work here any longer, he’s headed for a better place.

May he rest in peaceful retirement.

But we think he is returning to the circus of the West Coast where Hollywood is a leap-frog away—and his model wife can bask in the limelight with her billion dollars. He may finally earn enough in the next three or four years to buy the franchise of his dreams.

Tom Brady has no love for the Patriots anymore: the affair is over, and you likely can blame Belichick for making it a most unpleasant few years. Those six Super Bowl rings were never meant for New England. They are worn on his fingers—not yours.

He is leaving you only one finger. Pick-six indeed.

Rudolph Valentino’s Hometown

DATELINE: Past is Prologue

Of all the horrid discoveries one can make on any of those DNA-test sites, and we have had more than a few shocks, here is a bizarre and amusing detail we can share with only a tad of embarrassment.

It is always difficult to realize that your ability to trace ancestors has its limits: after all, most people were illiterate hundreds of years ago—and if the local church did not keep records, you had to be some kind of royal figure with historical clerks at the ready.

On mother’s side of the family, going back to Scotland, the Livingston clan is easily traced back to the 1300s, with some kind of baronage and hermitage at their beck and call.

The paternal side proved more elusive. However, we recently found that one direct ancestor goes back to his birth in 1738 in Castellaneta, Italy. Where the hell is that?

Thank heavens for Wikipedia, where all secrets are revealed (thanks to the Wiki police who make sure you scam artists and fraudsters don’t pollute the Internet).

It seems this city is on the arch of the boot of Italy.

It seemed appropriate that our ancestor came from the heel of geography, likely being a man with a sole, if not a complete sandal in his flip-flop past.

No, the big draw of Castellaneta is its hometown hero: Rudolph Valentino. It seems here, around the time that grand-dad (going back 3 generations) was born, so was Rudy. Not in the same place, not even remotely related to the family.

However, if there is a lady in black still dropping rose petals at Rudy’s Beverly Hills mausoleum, we now discover there is a city offering a flower to his memory: a museum, complete with costumes, posters, and a recreation of his Sheik tent.

We do not have plans to fly out there to visit either the mauso or the museo,not in a black dress, not in kicks. We were, however, greatly amused at the connection.

Kick to the Groin by Patriots

DATELINE: Brady Boys Up a Tree

New England’s Patriots have done the near impossible: they have kicked themselves in the keester after a cramp nearly decapitated them of a head below the belt.

Bill Belichick has reached a stage of joking.

This week he thought about recalling Wes Welker out of retirement to be his emergency kicker. You know this idea did not emanate from Tom Brady—or it would have been seriously dead on arrival.

Welker is now coaching Jimmy G in San Fran where the Pats’ true heart is in little cable cars, halfway to the stars.

Brady himself pulled his foot out of the kicker sweepstakes by claiming his boot is in Denver. It may be where he ends up playing for the next five years.

With appendectomy, halitosis, and assorted ills, every kicker in the Patriot backfield has found himself unable to lift his leg to do more than pretend to be a Rockette at Radio City Music Hall for the holiday show.

Can a team go to the Super Bowl without a man with the kick-ass power to kick ass?

Julian Edelman may want to consider his role as slot receiver unfulfilled when word filters out that slot receiver and former Brady favorite Welker holds a record of sorts for kicking while catching.

So Julie may need to catch Welker while he can.

Practice makes perfect, but a full-blown rehearsal may be needed.

Can it be the Patriots are ready to lose every game for the remainder of the season? Can it be they will be out of the playoffs sooner than later?

Kick the Patriots in the scorecard and maybe they will wake up with their boots on.

 

One Last Addendum for Quinto’s Season

DATELINE:  Voice-over Satire? 

 …of a Big Paycheck!

 

Sometimes you see or hear celebrities in the least expected places—or exactly where you thought you would hear one.

While watching the Celtics play a game on the local sports channel, we thought we saw a commercial for the Quinto series In Search of…

Apparently we were ignorant of the fact that Zachary Quinto is a frequent endorser of products, often in voice-over. However, we think he has not done such an overt parody of his own TV host persona.

Yes, those dulcet tones were talking over the image of an asteroid heading to Earth. Quinto spoke with his deadpan authority about how the world likely was to end around 2023 with doomsday because of an asteroid. Only a week earlier he had hosted the final season episode about the subject.

However, as we watched an asteroid hurtling toward the planet, Quinto reveals that we can buy furniture –all interest free until 2023 or the rest of our lives!

Stunning.

Apparently you can watch sports events not only to see your favorites sitting in the stands, or courtside (Gronk was there enjoying the game, and not dancing with the Celtics cheerleaders).

Watch and listen carefully for what you may hear and see.

 

  

 

 

More NFL Mayhem Considered “Inexcusable”

DATELINE: Kill or Be Killed?

 Mason Rudolf is red-nosed by Miles of NFL Violence!

In case you are still sitting on the fence about the thugs in the NFL, you have only to watch as a Cleveland Brown star player Myles Garrett rips off the helmet of his opposing quarterback and wallops him on the head with it.

Somehow, inexcusable seems a mild rebuke for assault and battery with a deadly weapon. He should have been removed from the field in handcuffs by police.

Nice guys finish last with a concussion or bleeding out of the ear.

Cleveland has been coached this year by a novice imbecile who has lost all control over his team. Earlier in the game another Brown player delivered the good on another Steeler, knocking him senseless. Well, that’s one way to win the game: knock out your opponent’s key players one by one.

Low-level QB with low IQ Baker Mayfield, in a self-serving condemnation of sorts, allegedly called his teammate’s behavior “inexcusable,” but actually he said that hurting the team  is inexcusable. Trying to kill your opponent is considered normal.

Mayfield may also start to worry that the crosshairs now are on his back: if you start to shoot the dogs, you go for the alpha dog first.

Coach Kitchens of the Browns has been cited repeatedly all season for his inept discipline of the team. If you want an example of a team out of control, this is it. We suspect you would never see a Belichick team play this way.

We can assume that Myles and Miles to go before the season ends. He is expected to be suspended for the remaining half-dozen games In all likelihood, he will be released by the Browns—but will also be picked up by another NFL team before you can say Colin Kaepernick.

Inhuman Heiroglyphs!

DATELINE: Worst Episode in Series History 

 

An empowered creature?

Reaching its most squeamish and unpleasant episode in a dozen years, Ancient Alienstackled the big issue of human self-mutilation: tattoos and body modifications practices. They are definitely scraping the crusty bottom of the alien pie plate.

If you are of an older generation that eschews such practice and are horrified by the endless human billboards walking around society, you may be turned off here. These people are called “Human Hieroglyphs,” as opposed to petroglyphs.

Of course, those Ancient Alien theorists think this is deep-rooted habit from the desire to show connections to space creatures who were those gods of yore.

Painful and ugly body transformation may be a right of expression, but it seems a stretch mark to call it inspired by outer space connections. Our typical Aliens hosts, all devoid of tattoos or other distinguishing marks, speak blandly about a habit (or obsession) to put ink stains on every part of the body.

You will be subjected to seeing people covering their skin with unsightly designs in order to appear more extra-terrestrial. Perhaps the most appalling is the praise for a young man who colored the whites of his eyes black to look like a gray alien.

Then, they claim the Internet has inspired this “creativity.”

It’s more like a fad of depravity.

We decided to shut down this episode and its rationalization of creative impulse to be other worldly. When one clown called this activity “empowering,” we knew we were on another planet. Perhaps these oddities will be the first to go to Mars, or the first to be sent there when it becomes the Devil’s Island of the 22ndcentury.

This may be the single-worst episode in the history of the long-running series.

Tenth Victim: Futuristic and Dated

DATELINE: Murder in the 21st Century

 Andress in Undress?

The expiration date on using The Tenth Victim probably ended in the 20thcentury.

A social satire about murder in the future, this Italian film has all the earmarks of Fellini and Antonioni. It is excessive, flamboyant, and beautifully filmed. Its main conceit was that in the 21stcentury America, violence would be rampant and institutionalized as a game.

You would have hunters and the hunted. Alas, nothing racial or insulting to minorities occurs. In fact, there is not a minority to be seen in a colorful landscape meant to be the United States.

The male victim is a highly successful hunter with a dozen kills to his credit, but now the computer system has turned the tables and sent a stunningly beautiful woman out to get him. He does not know her identity, and that is part of the game. Everyone dresses in eye-popping fashion, and the future is squeaky clean, streets bright and cheery.

The cast is exemplary for the time: Marcello Mastroianni bleaches his hair blond (it was big that year as Terence Stamp did it too), and he is pursued by the American killer Ursula Andress. Hunh? You mean it’s not Anita Ekberg? Or Sophia Loren?

The sets are spectacular, and the music is jazz out of the classic Fifties mode, what you’d expect in a Euro-entertainment of the period.

As for the plot, it is neither violent enough, bloody enough, or shocking enough to make it controversial. It is played for light-hearted satire, and there is not a drop of blood to be seen.

Other touches indicate that comic books are great literature in America in the 21stcentury, collected like first-edition Francis Bacon.

In 1965, this flashy film grabbed them at the art house. Today it is more akin to a flash in the pan, though we are reluctant to pan something that is original, singular, and cute.

Yes, Tom Brady Wants Out of New England

DATELINE: Better to Receive than Deceive 

 Unimpeachable Source?

If you listen to the experts in Boston sports, apart from us, you have learned this week that Tom Brady is greasing the skids to slide out of town at season’s end.

Tom knows which way the wind blows:  and it is blowing westward toward the San Andreas fault, where Tom can shake the earth on his own terms.

We must agree with the details that Tom Brady is done in Boston, though the bigger picture may be smaller.

It seems that Tom has two reasons to leave: and they are Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft, both of whom have left him stranded without a receiving corps in an annual denuding of first-rate players. Whenever Tom finds someone to his liking, that player is sent packing for reasons usually salary-related.

And Tom remains among the lowest paid superstars at QB position. Taking a hit for the team has grown tiresome for Tom.

It may be that Tom wants to prove, finally, in his golden years, that it is he, not Belichick, who won six Super Bowls.  If New England wants a seventh, he may provide it on the way out. The door may slam on someone’s ass—but it won’t be Tom. Bill Belichick will stay on. Perhaps Josh McDaniel, beloved Babe, will follow out west.

Tom can win two or three more Super Bowls playing for the Raiders in his hometown. Fifty may be the new retirement goal.

Then again, Tommy—and Belichick too—want to show they never needed the other to win the next SB. Unfortunately, they both do need each other—and only will a final separation prove it to them and to the world. Belichick will hold on until his son can become the new King of the Patriots coaching corps.

For New England fans it will be too late and a bitter pill. Tom doesn’t love you anymore.

In the meantime, Tom snipes at the Boston press—whom he has grown to dislike more than ever—and he and his best friend-trainer, the Svengali of TB12 methodology—have put their Massachusetts homes up for sale in prep for the next season in Oakland.

Yes, you can go home, Tom. And Boston was never home, even after 20 years of suffering through fame and fortune, bad weather and a hundred-fold of receivers.

Another Oak Island Fake Documentary

 DATELINE: Kidding the Kidder?

The second attempt to whet the appetite of the fans for the seventh season of Curse of Oak Island proves to be a phony countdown. Here are the 25 most likely theories about the what explains the mystery on the island.

This list of “top” items has no particular logic to it.

How does it differ from the top 25 moments on the series? Well, it all covers the same ground, atop and underneath.

This gives the series host a bunch of short bridge moments between three or four-minute segments. These rehash topics are not in any sense of urgency or chronology, as presented by Matty Blank, er, Blake.

In fact, the oldest theories about what happened on the Nova Scotia island may be the earliest and oldest items: like this is the treasure of a couple of dubious pirates: Captain Kidd or Sir Francis Drake. As we recall from our 33rddegree Mason great-uncle who went up there every summer from the 1920s to the 1960s, this was the common belief of residents.

To lesser extent, there was a belief that Marie Antoinette’s jewels may be there, or Shakespearean folios hidden by Sir Francis Bacon.

Recently the show has bought forth a bunch of neo-experts, including Travis Taylor (he brought the star map theory), or people who believe that the Aztecs reached up to Oak Island where Spanish conquistadors put the Mexican treasure,

Don’t expect answers: after all, they want you to tune into their best kept secret shows that begin in a few weeks. You will be teased with Columbus and Washington as potential treasure plotters.

Hang in there, fans, (or as Matty Blake calls you–“Acorns”) but these alleged hook shows are really counter-suspense and point-killers.

 

 

Removing Another Satiric Barb

DATELINE: Un-wigged!

 Scalp Problem?

We see that a TV graphic headline has been called “racist,” and we thought how terrible. Then, we saw what the offensive words were: They alluded to the Atlanta/Boston/Milwaukee Braves and the situation of losing a playoff berth. Now, we have for some time thought that naming teams after Native Americans—or, as racists call them, Indians, whether they are from Washington, D.C., Cleveland, or Boston (where the Braves originated) is dicey.

We were never sure what Indians they referred to in Boston. It could be that Braves are simply people with courage, though young Native American warriors were called Braves. It was sort of like ‘grunts” or “GIs” in another framework.

So, Indian and Redskin are harder to justify. If this seems like a hairy tale, you will be forewarned to avoid head-hunters.

Back to the point of the racist claim: it struck us as a play on humor and defeat. It is known that some brutal Indian raids resulted in “scalping” of victims. This was not necessarily an action limited to Native Americans but was a kind of trophy hunting.

To say the Braves were “scalped” seems rather oxymoronic. Who did the scalping? People who sell tickets to games outside a venue?

We seem to have entered a world in which words have either lost their meaning or have become metaphoric bonfires of the vanities.

If this full lobotomy assault continues on satiric wordsmiths, we shall soon be de-fanged, de-clawed, and shorn of our satirizing locks. In a crew cut mode, we may not again use Scalpicine on our collective itchy head. Sign language could also be offensive to Native Americans, to which we raise a well-placed finger in response.

Ancient Aliens: Second Half 14thSeason

 Rock Carving or UFO?

 

DATELINE: Stardate, 14.15

Coming back after a short hiatus, the Ancient Aliens series picks up by giving another of its regular cast members a vacation trip.

This time it is William (Don’t Call Me Bill) Henry, stalwart reporter, who takes time to visit Italy during a glorious summertime trip.

We don’t know if he saw Naples, took in Rome, or went on a paddle down the streets of Venice, but he surely examined Turin in depth.

Who knew it was a hotspot of extraterrestrial history, superseding even the Romans and the Etruscans?

The ostensible opening gambit is ley lines, those straight lines points around the globe that seem to indicate some deeper power of magnetism or mineral-laden waters. There is a line going directly from Ireland to Italy, and you don’t have to join Ancestry.com to find it.

You might cry out, “Macaroni,” but the series is claiming that the Italian Alps are the embassies of the UFO visitors. The other comment to raise your eyebrow is that conjunctivitis is caused by radiation.

In any respect, the Mt. Musine area near Turin is highly active. The show notes how important Turin is in history and economic terms without ever mentioning the Shroud of Turin.

This was the place where Emperor Constantine saw something in the sky that converted him and his men to Christianity, making this one of the earliest UFO encounters on record. There’s more: Turin is a smorgasbord of activity, ranging from stone carving and geoglyphs to dragon stories, fiery chariots, missing time abductees, and UFO chases by the Italian Air Force.

It seems there may be underground bases here along the Italian Alps: skiers are hereby warned.