Yes, We Have No Trump Bananas!

DATELINE: Accused Felon

Trump with recently arrested harridan predator.

Fox News, that bastion of journalistic integrity, has now taken to cropping any photo of Jeffrey Epstein with Trump so that the POTUS is MIA. They forgot all the pix of Ghislaine Maxwell with him.

This is almost identical to sticking your head in the sand, if you are an ostrich. If you don’t show it, it never happened. A Trump supporter went for our throat recently when we sent a picture of the president and Ghislaine. She foamed rapidly that it was “photoshopped,” but did not feel any picture of Bill Clinton might be equally photoshopped.

Of course, the nervous nellies of Fox are photoshopping Trump out of the images because the summertime heat is increasing. It seems the prosecutor’s office may be looking at a tie to “public officials.” Hmm, that means you, Trump.

 

 

It could mean AG Barr too, whose father was an early Epstein enabler at the Dalton School, a fancy prep where words like rich and scandal never are put in the same sentence.

 

Sexual predators seem to travel in packs.

 

Fox News clearly is thinking that their news watchers who are Trump supporters do not need to hear how their brazen leader knew and supported the child abuse of Ghislaine and Epstein. Heavens, no!

 

The problem is a pattern of sexual abuse and accusers over many years around the President. The problem is that Ghislaine’s father (and her friend Epstein) may have been selling video, audio, and bugged footage to Vladimir Putin over the years. Yes, Epstein was a salesman who met death from the business of selling images of  famous politicians in compromising positions.We do not use “positions” lightly.

A cold steel dossier on Trump would surely mean his cooperation. Putin has that.

Of course, some Fox intern left Melania in the original picture, apparently not recognizing her in her pre-First Lady coquettish days.

Fox News may switch its theme song to “Yes, We Have no Bananas.”  It’s fitting for those going crazy and living in a banana republic like Trumpworld.

 

 

 

WW2 Race to Victory: Second Episode

DATELINE: No Re-enactors!

 

  FDR & Winnie

History Channel’s new series Race to Victory  started off shakily in the second installment by suggesting that both Stalin and Roosevelt were surprised by the attacks on their countries. Putting the drunken bender of Stalin in line with philatelist FDR. It seemed bad taste, and outright preposterous.

The excellent photo footage is most remarkable in its selection and usage. The second episode began in early 1941 well before Pearl Harbor to show how much Churchill tried to entice FDR to give up isolationism and convince America to fight with the British Empire.

FDR was a capitalist against empires, and Churchill was the epitome of the colonial mentality. Though they met and personally liked each other, there was no agreement on this sticking point. And, both were reluctant to accept Stalin, but his massive country was important if they were to stop Hitler.

The series skips with balletic care the idea that Pearl Harbor was a deliberate set-up to bring America into the war. However, we know from our father, a Naval officer in the war, that he and others believed it firmly.

The end of 1941 was Hitler and Japan’s run to victory on both fronts. The Japanese immediately took hold of all the key ports of the Pacific, making America’s requirement for two fronts. It undercut Churchill’s plans for the US to fight strictly in Europe.

However, this compelling series manages to pull together extraordinary historical film and pictures to make this a a refreshing and powerful series that depicts the Big Three in ways you may not expect.

 

 

Inner Circle of Jeffrey Epstein

DATELINE: Friends in High Places

Ghislaine Maxwell and friends.

The second part of the Who Killed Jeffrey Epstein  series delves into his close associates, while hinting that his accumulation of wealth may have been by fraud.

Epstein skates away from every investigation by dint of his personality, or bank account. His true rise to superpower came from a woman named Ghislaine Maxwell, a daughter of media mogul Robert Maxwell. She came to Epstein at a low point: her father died in a strange boating accident, some suggesting he was a spy for Israel and was assassinated.

Ghislaine moved into the New York residence, becoming his partner in sex crimes—procuring young girls. She was also a bon vivant and knew everyone from royals to movie stars, to celebrities of all stripes.

She and Epstein had pinhole cameras in every residence and amused themselves with video scenes of the rich and famous at parties, in bedrooms, on the private jet, and wherever Epstein set them up.

A few girls tried to escape—but they found his long reach of checkbooks would thwart any FBI or prosecution. In fact, he had a future Trump cabinet official in his hip pocket when he was a mere Palm Beach prosecutor.

Girls were plucked out of Trump’s Winter White House, the notorious Mar-a-lago. One 14-year old named Virginia Roberts began a nightmare relationship with Epstein, only escaping to Thailand when he ordered her to bring back a 12-year old girl.

By the new century, Epstein had broadened his social world to Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton, and scores of the richest men in the world. He redefined himself as a philanthropist despite a conviction as a pedophile. He was tied to MIT, Stanford, and Harvard, as a big donor to research. Many fell prey to his clever manipulations.

Once ensnared, many famous men were likely unable to break out unless there was payment of some sort.

Marilyn Declassified

DATELINE: Patsy Monroe? 

In a new documentary called Marilyn Monroe Declassified,  director and writer Paul Davids in 2016 tackled the thorny subject of the probable suicide (its official designation) almost 60 years later.

He takes much archival footage and tries to find rare insights to give a background in his premise that it was more likely her death was an improbable suicide.”

No doubt that even decades later, Marilyn is a glowing and beautiful icon, transcending time and place. She may be up there in a few thousand years with women like Helen of Troy. Yes, legends easily pass into mythology with a background like Marilyn.

This film purports to examine both FBI and CIA documents only recently released to public scrutiny.

Using some fairly reputable scholars and researchers, the film veers off the standard biography patter for the final 20 minutes or so when the revelations about affairs with the Kennedy brothers (President and Attorney General) devolves into a mob contracted hit to embarrass the Kennedy Administration, led by the CIA guru and demonologist, James Angleton.

Sam Giancana, who believed the Kennedys betrayed him, was an eager contractor for Angleton. All stones could be unturned and thrown into the ocean when used. You may well ask yourself why it took 4 hours to call the police to report Marilyn was dead by her housekeeper (allegedly a CIA agent). After that, all bets are off.

The connection to Kennedy revealing to Monroe about the truth of the Roswell incident is documented in CIA/FBI reports. Whether true or not, she believed it and was prepared to use it, but the CIA was not about to accept that reality.

This documentary may seem to have gone off the rails, but it also seems grounded in the horrors that not even Ancient Alienswill tackle. It appears Oswald was not the only Patsy in a  conspiracy-ruled world.

Older than Dirty Gringo

DATELINE: Mexico & Villa

 Peck & Fonda

Years ago we passed up Old Gringobecause of Jane Fonda. It seems a generation past, and it was. She had the temerity to be the only one to make a movie about Ambrose Bierce, the extraordinary American literary figure.

We thought there would be others to make such a film, but in 30 years, no one has.

So, we turned to it now, on streaming view, to see old Gregory Peck playing Old Gringo. He is always marvelous, and here was another role in which he could shine: as the cynical, burned out, angry writer who ran off to Mexico because the fake media had used him his entire life.

This story is fiction and speculation. Bierce meets a naïve governess who has gone there to Mexico without knowing Villa’s revolution is in progress. She is used like a pawn by a rogue general under Villa played by the hot tamale of the time, Jimmy Smits.

The film is one of those tortilla Westerns with plenty of shoot-outs and western action. It seemed incongruous for both Peck and Fonda as they played out a freakish firing squad scene and tourista Americans.. Fonda is now 80+ and Peck is long gone.

When the gratuitous action calms down, they play a May-December love scene that is actually brilliant and touching. She is a spinster never expecting love, and he is an old reprobate whose career prevented him from smelling the roses.

If one scene can make a film, two legends brought it to life. The old politics is now long lost in today’s society, and so are these great actors.

Better to have waited to view this strangely literary movie amidst the chaff of movie crap.

Ambrose Bierce disappeared in Mexico in 1912, and this is only one theory of his demise. Yet, in movie annals, it may be the last word.

Half-way through the film, the American woman falls in love with the foreign revolution—and we had some sense of Fonda still fighting the Vietnam War. When the end comes, she has betrayed the identity of a great man for self-interest, perhaps a moment of ultimate guilt.

 

 

 

 

Trump’s Confederate Roots

DATELINE:Pass the Buttersworth!

Is there an official tally somewhere?  Just how many slaves does Donald Trump own?

Trump will miss Aunt Jemima when she’s gone.

Based on his vehement defense of Confederate generals, flags, and plantation mentality, we presume he is the last slave owner in America. Or, are we mistaken? Those people surrounding him are zombies, not slaves.

Maybe it was Fred Trump, the KKK wannabe wizard, who owned the slaves or treated his workers like slaves.

The brain dead seem to gravitate to the man whose billions of dollars may well be in Confederate currency.

Throw anyone in jail who dares to malign Gone with the Wind.

Donald Trump may be the only person in the United States who is standing on the dock awaiting the arrival of  Mississippi gamer boat, Waiting for the Robert E. Lee, of Al Jolson fame.

No doubt Trump prefers Jolson in black-face singing, “Mammy,” as he pours Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup on his Uncle Ben rice.

He likely hums “I Wish I Were in Dixie,” before going onstage for his notorious political rallies.

Jeff Davis would be proud. John Wilkes Booth would not shoot Trump.

Jerry Jones & Bill Belichick: Birds of a Feather

DATELINE:  Systemic Problem in NFL

The two foremost social thinkers of the 19thcentury remain powerful symbols of racial injustice:  the NFL now claims it did not listen to those uppity black players who believe they are living in an unequal and unjust system of police rioters.

The two biggest symbols of the NFL –Jerry Jones and Bill Belichick—have maintained their deafening silence on the subject of George Floyd and racial brutality.

Their defenders claim that, in private, both are dismayed that their black players are not happy.  But, they are not moved much more than Trump on the scale of justice. Oh, yes, they are both MAGA men.

In the Massachusetts senator debate last night, Joe Kennedy, grandson and great-nephew of Robert and John Kennedy said the Patriots ought to sign Colin Kaepernick. Fat chance: that white snowball in hell belongs to the NFL.

Oh, yes, Robert Kraft is a Trump supporter too.

Defenders of the symbols of NFL victory lappers will never come out and admit their worlds are backward and their views are racist.

It’s hard to draw any other conclusion in the face of such rampant ostrich head burying.

There are those rednecks who line the streets holding automatic weapons as a show to intimidate peaceful demonstrators. There are those resemble the Boston Strangler who put a knee to the neck of the helpless victims but wear police uniforms or NFL neckties.

85% of America think the country is out of control. Among the minority here are Jerry Jones and Bill Belichick: they are always in control, even if your civil rights are thrown out the window.

These are members of the Orange Pips.

Vatican and Third Reich Wholly Unholy

 DATELINE: Vatican Coverup

 Sunday school Nazis!

You can figure that Pope Pius XII will not be a candidate for sainthood anytime soon. If half of what this French documentary contends is the truth, the pontiff of World War II was a fairly reprehensible being.

Even today the Vatican refuses to declassify its Nazi documents that show collusion.

According to this account, the Pope and his minions at Vatican City were not anti-Semitic (which is a racial prejudice), but they were simply irrational religious zealots who blamed Jews for the death of Jesus.

When you have Hitler trying to win over the Vatican and trying to show his Nazi regime actually was based on Christian principles, you have twisted logic and those willing to accept it. Bishops were given the privilege of joining the Nazi party (heretofore Catholics were banned from this) in the early 1930s.

The Nazis quickly put priests in Nazi uniforms and made them chaplains on the Russian front.

Pius XI was not as thrilled with the Nazis as his successor who happened to be the Vatican’s German ambassador for a dozen years. When XI died three months before the war started, Hitler had his man in Pius XII who never met a Nazi he didn’t like.

By 1943 Pius heard reports from his spies that the Nazis were killing hundreds of thousands of Jews. He said nothing—even when everyone thought he might condemn murder. He didn’t.

When the war ended, the Vatican’s work with the Red Cross just started to warm up: they managed to procure passports for Dr. Mengele and Adolph Eichmann as well as Klaus Barbie, to move to South America. It was Pius Xii’s right hand cardinal who orchestrated this.

If you want to be infuriated, disgusted, and horrified, this documentary Unholy Alliance: Vatican and Third Reich  will certainly make you sick to your stomach.

 

 

Orson Welles in a Western?

DATELINE: Have Horse, Will Travel.

 Orson, Horse Optional.

When we saw the listing, it was beyond credulity! Can it be that Orson Welles made a Western?  Even worse than that, the film is listed as a “tortilla-Western,” made in 1969.

The film is called Tepepa. It would appear that the film never made it to the United States for release—probably to Orson’s great relief.

Well, if there was a chance to see Orson on a horse, we needed to view it and give a report to faithful fans. No, he did not direct this Spanish-Italian production. It was made when he took all kinds of roles for the money to bankroll his own films. This was done for a few dollars more without Sergio Leone.

You cannot expect much—or have we grown too cynical? The film is a dubbed mess, some of it in English, some in Spanish, and some in Italian. Dubbing was optional.

Welles does not appear on a horse. The tortilla setting is Mexico, beautifully filmed in clean, clear settings. And, the Western is actually set in 1920. This gave Welles the chance to ride around in an antique red automobile, obviously a man of the future.

He plays some kind of prison commandant, or colonel of the villainous order. He is the foil to Tomas Milian who plays some kind of revolutionary folk-hero in the Che Guevara mode.

The movie’s director reported that Welles was most disagreeable on the set—and particularly nasty to his costar. Yet, they had merely a few scenes together. Mostly, Welles appeared opposite blond John Steiner who played a British doctor who also wants to kill the revolutionary hero who raped his girlfriend.

One of the main characters is a Mexican boy who serves as a ping-pong ball between the other actors. As for Welles, you’d expect he’d phone in his scenes and act with nonchalance. Though he mumbles some lines in disdain, he actually gives a nuanced performance, as if he can’t help himself. He clearly enjoys playing the baddie and savors each moment. He chomps on a stogie and is half-apologetic for his evil.

No, this isn’t Citizen Kane,and it’s not even For a Fistful of Dollars, but it is an hysterical historical gem with Orson Welles. We hooted openly.

The Most Racist President in U.S. History?

DATELINE: Trump Tweets Nazi Soldiers on US Flag!

 Yes, Trump Tweeted It in 2015.

In case you buried your head in the sand like the Republican ostriches in the United States Senate, President Adolph Trump has been bolder each day in his brazen racist attitude.

His latest example of tone-deaf racism has been to maintain the names of United States forts that honor men who owned slaves and fought against the Union of Lincoln.

He earlier supported keeping the Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond on its pedestal. He likes to hum that wonderful tune by Stephen Foster about a Mississippi barge named after the Confederate slave holder.

In case you wonder where Trump’s racism is going next: we suspect that he may rename some American military bases after men who dominate the public daring to oppose them. Look forward to Fort Eichmann, Fort Rommel, and Fort Hitler, to be training spots for stormtroopers meant to keep Trump as president for life.

Trump is also going after that Black Lives Matter bastion of left-wing terrorists: the Roman Catholic Church. He believes that a 75-year old peace protester is a “provocateur” who staged his own cracked skull.

There’s a cracked skull in here, but we think it was cracked running into the White House bunker. If we recall, Hitler’s bunker and Trump’s bunker share the safety from registered voters and pollsters.

Joe Biden said on late-night TV that he expects that, if Trump loses in November, he may resist leaving the White House and will need to be dispatched. We hope it happens swiftly, or Biden may find himself locked up (right after Trump arrests Colin Kaepernick), as if he were president of a banana republic.

The Mad Mad Mandela Effect

DATELINE: Wild Theoretical Movie!

  Robin Lord Taylor.

David Guy Levy has directed, written, and presented us with a highly clever paranormal mystery movie. It’s able to straddle the world of presenting us with dubious Internet info interspersed with a fictional movie. It is highly entertaining and thought provoking.

A young father loses his daughter to a drowning at the beach—and goes into a philosophical crisis that upends his world. Indeed, he begins to think his world is simulated reality in an attempt to reach the spirit of his dead child.

It threatens his sanity and worries all those around him, including his gay best friend (Robin Lord Taylor, once again in a creepy performance).

The Mandela Effect is a theory that mass memory errors are not misremembered events, but seepage from a parallel universe (like Jif Peanut Butter, or it is Jiffy Peanut Butter—or is Mr. Moneybags called something else without a monocle here and now). We all have these strange false memories that cannot be explained.

Some of us are clairvoyant and may think we are part of the interdimensional brigade. You may not be seeing ghosts, merely interlopers from a parallel universe.

Particle simulations being what they are in computers, the hero Brendan (Charlie Hofheimer) is increasingly drawn into a parallel universe where everything is a Looney Toon. He meets the designer of a quantum computer at a local university, and it resembles the Monolith out of Kubrick’s Space Odyssey, and it may be exerting forces on events.

As a computer programmer, Brendan tries to overload the godly computer of quantum physics to blast through to a parallel universe. Considering its low budget, this is a a clever, intriguing, and ultimately thought-provoking sci-fi paranormal entry coming in at under 90 minutes of dangerous ideas.

 

 

 

Mysterious Works of Stanley Kubrick

DATELINE: Faked Moon Landing?

Young Kubrick.

This is the ultimate close reading of Kubrick’s oeuvre.Alas, the narrator is a nasally turn-off, whatever interesting and looney stuff he feeds us.

Yes, this one-hour biographical conspiracy movie seems to hint that Kubrick was assassinated for being difficult, for revealing too many secrets, and for being moral. Taken one at a time: Kubrick was a perfectionist who was used to fake the Moon landing(s), all of them.

He knew too many buried skeletons in Hollywood about pedophilia, and he was an enemy of freemasons, billionaires, and world controllers in government.

Yes, that will get you killed. Just ask Jeffrey Epstein.

There is an interesting opening sequence about young Kubrick and his development into a movie director. His singular idiosyncratic, autocratic self-controlling career began after Spartacus (which the documentary says he hated). It’s a great film, nonetheless.

But this doc thinks his greatest film is Eyes Wide Shut(which we dismissed as overwrought and overindulgent).

The narrator goes on the reveal all the people he offended with each subsequent film. He had to do 2001: A Space Odysseyas a cover for his work making the Moon landing footage that was shown to the public. Those pesky astronauts were laden with guilt and hypnotized, according to this film.

The Shining (misspelled in the film documentary) is rife with references to Apollo 11 and to child molestation in case you missed it. And, the examples are startling to behold.

His final film, Eyes Wide Shut,took 18 months to film, and when important people saw the finished cut, Kubrick was alleged to have been assassinated by lethal drugs to imitate a heart attack in 1999.

Then, his final cut was altered so as to not offend billionaire government powerful figures.

The documentary is as frenzied as those monkey-men, faced with a giant monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

 

 

 

 

Best Agatha Christie Bio

DATELINE:  Mystery Maven

You have to delve into the Britbox archives to find the 1990 biography of Agatha Christie done a dozen years after her passing. The thinking at the time was that she was a surprise to have her popularity survive her death.

Indeed, one interviewed critic dared to say he thought she had great staying power and would keep her fame and interest alive well into the 21stcentury. Imagine that!

This is, perhaps, a highly intelligent portrait called An Unfinished Portrait.It is based on the title of one of her nom de plumeworks that passed unheralded for years. Her furtile and creative mind is boggling.

This delightful film is narrated by Joan Hickson (who played Miss Marple several times) and features appearances by David Suchet (the definitive Hercule).

Using archival interviews with the grand Dame, you have an understated genteel woman who fairly much is dumb-founded when an interviewer asks her if she likes crime. She retorts, she likes detectives and puzzles.

She worked as a pharmacist during World War One, and learned all about poisons. The documentary uses words from her novels that parallel her personal feelings and biographical events.

IN one creative period from the 1920s to 1950, Dame Agatha wrote about 35 classical titles, all still known. Several include plays like The Mousetrap  or Witness for the Prosecution.

 

We could list 30 titles here that you’d recognize.

 

The film is unflinching in examining her strange, staged disappearance in 1926 that cast a murder charge over her philandering husband, Col. Christie. She set him up, or so it appears. She later married an archaeologist, 14 years her junior, who gave her many plot ideas.

Miss Marple was based on her grandmother, and Dame Agatha always maintained good manners in her personal life and in her storylines. She just enjoyed giving people a good mystery to figure out: chess on an entertainment level.

What a refreshing look at the great mystery writer.

Hollywood Lens of Murray Garrett

DATELINE:  Eye on Hollywood 1950s

 Odd Couple: Marilyn & Dale Robertson?

You may not know his name, but the photo-journalist of choice among Hollywood minions of the 1950s was a New Yorker with a keen sense of beauty. He protected his subjects—and they appreciated it.

Murray Garrett started out at age 16 taking photos of celebrities. He even apprenticed with one of the big Broadway photogs and learned how to visualize stars on stage, meeting the likes of Brando and Ferrer In their stage phase.

As someone who met and worked with a few celebs, we can confirm that the lessons and observations of Murray Garrett are more than a means to live with stars: it is a sense of decency that sensitive people, artistic souls, easily spot.

The documentary of his career and life shows that Murray knew how to see the best in people—and took a photo of it.  His pictures show clarity of heart, beauty and honesty in every subject.

At 16 in New York, he was to take a photo in Frank Sinatra dressing room in 1943, when the singer was first going solo. Sinatra asked for a print—and Garrett said, of course. Sinatra was snidely disbelieving, but the kid returned the next day with an envelope and left it.

Three years later he was in Hollywood at a studio and walked through the commissary—and Sinatra recognized him! He told others the kid was a great photographer from New York, and Garrett was on his way.

He was a personal photo-journalist, and took pix at Sinatra parties.

Later, he met Bob Hope who grunted at him from the stage during a radio broadcast. Thinking he’d offended Hope, he went to apologize after the show, but Hope liked him—and wanted him to be an exclusive photographer for his shows. Their relationship last 25 years. He became a personal photo-journalist for Red Skelton and Louella Parsons too.

He was the antithesis of an “ambush photographer,” and stars could trust him to destroy any unflattering images.  Yet, it was more than that: he actually talked to his subjects before shooting and seemed to win relaxation that showed up in pictures.

 

 

 

 

Powell & Pressburger Early Effort

DATELINE: Forgotten Classic Film

Stars together in scene not in movie.

The two creative powerhouses who gave us The Red Shoesand Stairway to Heaven within a decade provided the free world a marvelous morsel called 49thParallel in mid-World War II.

Michael Powell and his film writer Emeric Pressburger chose to give propaganda a shot in the arm. The only real German in the movie, Anton Walbrook, plays a pacifist: Eric Portman, a Brit, is the worst of the Nazi officers.

Perhaps the only war movie set in America where invading Nazi forces have landed at Hudson Bay, the film is a curio and a delight of originality.

The cast is stunning: Leslie Howard, Laurence Olivier, Raymond Massey, and Anton Walbrook, Finlay Currie, with Eric Portman as the Nazi Uboat officer stranded near a far-off trading post after their U-boat is sunk by RAF bombers. The Nazis think they are the first wave of invaders to conquer North America.

It is amusing to see Heathcliffe, Abe Lincoln, and Ashley Wilkes fighting Nazis. This movie gives you these cerebral actors breaking form. The film is done in picaresque style, which is to say, your stars do not have scenes together.

The Nazis are ruthless monsters to the point of hyperbole, your typical propaganda approach of the era. They are their own worst enemies and self-destruction is half the battle.

One by one, the hunted Nazis fall by the wayside, deserting or captured along the way. One of those they meet is a writer, effete and genteel, who is Leslie Howard—of course, and for whom the Nazi has utmost contempt for his “degeneracy.”

Filmed in Western Canada in black and white, you still feel the majesty of the setting among the grand forests and stunning mountains that dwarf the Nazi menace.

If the final Nazi, celebrated in Germany on radio, can make it to the neutral United States in 1941, he can be repatriated to Germany. His final encounter is with a boxcar rider named Raymond Massey.

By the way, the young teenage girl at the commune is Glynis Johns.