Ivanka’s Wacky Future

Next Door Neighbor and Political Ally?

DATELINE:  Like Father, Like Daughter 

Where will the President’s First Daughter go after four years of delusions? She said she won’t go to the Biden Inauguration. She has that right: she wasn’t invited.

She has burned the New York Brooklyn Bridge to her former home.  She and hubby Kushner have bought property on Indian Creek Island, a billionaire playground in Florida.

She plans to build a new mansion, worthy of her. What’s interesting is that she purchased the land within days of Tom Brady also buying into the 30 manse island, with security that US Capitol would envy.

They both will build as neighbors. In fact, Brady once was the marriage partner choice of Daddy Trump, but Brady knew better. His wife is a genuine billionaire.

And, Giselle has social contacts that will open up the private golf course for Tom. It seems the residents are rather cool to Trump and his family. Ivanka and hubby Jared are not golfers, and they likely will be shunned by the community.

However, Ivanka is thinking politics. She may be on a crash course with Tom here too. Rumor has it that she wants to be a US Senator, and will challenge Rubio in 2022.  

Tom will have to wait for the next seat. They both will feel more comfortable with the conservative, senior voters of Florida than anything in the Northeast where bad weather and bad politics go hand in gloves.

By the time Tom Brady is ready to venture out from his Indian Creek luxury life, Ivanka will be running for president and Tom can step into her senate seat.

Poor Marco Rubio. All that loyalty to Trumps will end with ashes in his mealy-mouth.

Downtown Blast by ET Lizard Conspiracy Theorist

Miss Petula Clark

 DATELINE: Christmas Mess

The dismay and surprise is now palpable over the bombing in Nashville by Anthony Quinn Warner.

An alleged alarm expert, Warner parked his RV in front of AT&T and let off a tremendous explosion on Christmas morning. He apparently did this heinous act when few people were in the area, as if that somehow ameliorated his nutcase action.

Now we have learned that he played on loudspeaker, the seminal 1960s hit song, “Downtown,” by the perky Petula Clark. The actress and singer, now a grande dame, expressed shock that of all the housands of songs, the mad bomber chose her iconic little tune.

“Downtown” has been satirized many times over the decades as a happy song about ghettos, but no one has had the nerve to blow up the downtown of a city. The bomber could have proceeded a few blocks to the Country Western Hall of Fame, but chose not to.

The late actor Anthony Quinn (known for playing Zorba the Greek) would also probably object and wonder why someone named after him would turn into a mad bomber.

We have also learned that Anthony Quinn Warner (no relation to the movie studio however much like a movie it seemed) was a fan of Ancient Aliens. He believed that extra-terrestrial lizard people who lived underground have been trying to take over the Earth. 

We are sure more weird parallels are about to emerge.

 

 

New American Voting System

Trump Voter

DATELINE: Up is Down

If Trump and his psychopaths are humored, we must go back over the past fifty years and declare the loser of every presidential election to be the true winner.

Yes, Jimmy Carter beat that deadbeat Ronald Reagan and the election was stolen.

Barry Goldwater should have been inaugurated, not LBJ, but the election was rigged.

Mike Dukakis was the rightful loser and should have been installed in the Oval office.

Without a doubt, the correct way to hold elections is to let the worst man (or lately woman) be celebrated as the loser with the most votes ever achieved for losing.

Winning is not all it cracks up to be:  it simply means you are a cheater and a fraud. Damn the voting machines and the voters who cast ballots. If your candidate is the pits, he should be the incumbent.

Trump has smashed another tradition:  losers are better than winners, and anyone who voted for the other guy was a dummy. If you can’t have your way at the ballot box, have Nazi-leaning politicians negate the vote and make their own selection.

If you think this is crazy, you don’t know your history. Most democracies have fallen for less, and all dictators have risen by the din of the dolt supporters.

America has reached its nadir, and the loser is at the bottom of the barrel must be declared riot leader.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Friendly Ghost is Not Caspar

Happy Halloween?

DATELINE:  Haunted House at Halloween

A recent Geico insurance commercial shows a couple haunted by Caspar the Friendly Ghost. His child-like demeanor is irksome (as usual) as he chews popcorn in their ears while watching TV.

Friends often say I ought to have guests visit on Halloween for fun

In real life, such as it is, when your home is haunted by a friendly ghost, even more when he is  is college-aged, you may have some amusing experiences.

For example, just this week, the friendly ghost here, named Richard who died at age 21 in a horrible disaster, knew I had retired to my upstairs office for the night when I discovered I left my new box of cough drops downstairs.

To kill two birds with one stone, I would fetch them when I went downstairs with something else. Laziness leads to all kinds of trouble.

So, half-an-hour later, I traipsed down the narrow stairs to the kitchen where I put away some stuff, and promptly turned to leave. At that point came a loud crashing sound.  As a retired college professor, I am more or less accustomed to college age student antics.

 

 

When I turned around, there I saw my cough drops had fallen off the shelf and onto the counter, knocking over several items. Oh. I profusely thanked my ghostly assistant.

He likes to toss things about to call my attention like this occasion. The next day he tried to use modern technology, my smart watch to communicate.

I found a rather large bug on the wall in my bathroom. Not being Zen, I removed a shoe to bang it to the next world. As I did so, my smart watch went on with a text message: one of those spam notices: “Do you need pest control?” it asked.

Oh, Richard, you are too too much. No, I haven’t saved any money with my friendly ghost, but he is quite helpful around the house and makes for witty comments.

 

 

 

Jack Benny & Marilyn

DATELINE:  An Innocent Age

Back in 1953 for the first show of his second season, Jack Benny garnered the biggest name and biggest star of the year:  Marilyn Monroe. It was called the Jack Benny Program.

As all the set-ups in the Benny program were at the expense of Jack’s delicate ego, he took the barrage of raps and insults with his usual aplomb.

You might be ready for some outdated racial profiling when Rochester showed up: Eddie Anderson always played Jack’s valet who goes with him everywhere and calls him “Boss.” Here they go to Hawaii, and we find Jack lugging all the luggage with no Rochester.

Jack sits on the dock, ready to leave, while flower leis are given to all the departing guests for their generosity, kindness, and friendship. Alas, even a dog gets a lei, but not Jack. Finally a delicatessen owner shows up and gives him a lei of chicken livers. He is warned to be careful of the seagulls.

We learn too that Jack is carrying Rochester’s luggage because he was late for the ship.

When Benny falls asleep on deck, he dreams about the star he saw that night in a ship’s nightly movie: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes megastar, Marilyn Monroe.   And, in one of her designer gowns, she drops into the barcalounger recliner next to Jack in his dreams.

She professes her love for him despite their age difference. She points out she is 25 and he is 39, but in 25 years she will be 50, and he will still be 39. She is enchanted by his big blue eyes.

It was Monroe’s first TV appearance as a guest star (we don’t count her TV commercials, satirized in All About Eve).  She is lovely and charming, and so is Jack.

You simply don’t have that kind of weekly series surprise, even with cable nowadays. It was a gentle treat of a bygone era, and a lovely little escape from today.

 

Off on the Wrong Bigfoot?

 DATELINE: Not Again?

Topless Bigfoot.

You cannot expect originality all the time, so with its recent reincarnation, Monsterquestreturns to the thrilling days of Bigfoot. Yes, we are back to Sasquatch, Yeti, and all things worn out by fakes, re-enactments, and grainy old photos. The show takes on Bigfoot, again, for all you déjà vuenthusiasts.

This may be a cannibalized show, taking from other recent Bigfoot studies. There are some newer bits of information, like there have been 50,000 Bigfoot, Yeti, etc.,sightings.

The Native American folklore begins to resemble modern American folklore:  You should never look Bigfoot directly into the eyes because it sets him into a rage. We have heard recently the same said about Ellen DeGeneris.

They also recommend that you do not whistle at night in the woods. This is not quite the same as a dog whistle from President Trump, but it can get you into trouble.

The FBI has also broken its rule and taken on testing some evidence considered Bigfoot DNA. They have tax-payer money to burn, and they report in 2019 that the DNA is apparently belonging to deer. Oh, dear.

The same can be said about hairs that test as elk or deer, and recorded noises are thought to be coyote or elk.  Our Monsterquest  tteam of experts finds nothing, but as usual, they are undaunted. Never inter the remains of a cryptozoologist.

We found most intriguing the notion that Bigfoot, like your gray aliens, is being accused of abducting people. Mostly, they abduct men, not women. We presume this is because they run into more men in the woods, unless there is another element we are missing.

A few scientists conclude he once existed, but is now extinct.

 

Speaking of which, there are no reports of missing time associated with Bigfoot, unless you count the 1000 years of cave painting and rock carvings.

 

All in all, we were left where we were at the start of the hour-long show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author, Author: Go Away Again!

DATELINE: Unwanted Gifts Redux

 Latest Affront to Re-Gifting.

A friend kindly scoffed at me for a bad habit.

He claimed how I had a tendency to give away gifts to people who did not necessarily want them. He was referring to my bad habit to bestow a copy of one of my books to people who have been nice to me.

I usually inscribe them with thanks for some generic kindness. It is, I am told, not appreciated because I have given people something that they cannot repay or reciprocate. After finding my personally autographed books for sale on eBay (with warm wishes to someone who sold the book to a used bookstore), I have re-dedicated myself to not giving away books.

Well, okay. I realize that not everyone can write a book and return a copy to me in standoff fashion. However, I thought that providing a free, gratis copy of a personal creation would qualify as an act of generosity, not as a slap with my velvet glove.

However, my friend argues that it is not that at all: it is a brazen show of ego.

Well, you can knock me over with a dust-jacket. I would never have thought that giving a personal gift would be construed as an act of selfishness. In fact, I always thought the creative process was something to be shared.

Alas, if you share it with those who have no appreciation, no interest, or no good manners, the writer of a book may well deserve to have the gift accepted without thanks or acknowledgement.

I often note that I give away my book as a token of my gratitude and not as homework assignment. I will not quiz the recipient on the book’s message or contents. If I did, we know the result would be a failing grade. We’ve seen enough of that in the nation’s body politic.

As a resolution, I have now promised my old friend that I will be more circumspect in sharing my books. Never give a page away that is not requested, or at least has some kind of interest expressed by another. It means I will save money on copies and postage.

It is an age when reading is a chore, not a pleasure, and the disrespected writer is a prophet without honor in any country.

Dr. William Russo is too prolific for his own good, and he has written too many movie history books and biographies. He will continue to write, but not to send out complimentary copies.

Maugham: Rain in the Face

DATELINE: Somerset

Willie Maugham was one of the most successful of writers in the 20thcentury. He wrote one short story, “Rain,” that made him over one million dollars in the 1920s. You could say he was the rich man’s Truman Capote.

A short documentary gathers together some rare photos and film clips of his high-living. It’s called Revealing Mr. Maugham. But it is mostly apologetic for his transgressions and motive to write for money.

Maugham suffered from a stammer that made him less media attractive—but like Capote, he wrote about the gossip he heard, transforming the mud in novels. He was no great writer, like many contemporaries (James Joyce, Virginia Woolf or even Noel Coward) but he made big bucks and commanded movie versions (The Razor’s Edge).

Being secretly gay, he never played out or up his personality like Capote. Yet, he was notorious in his world travels to seek gay pleasure spots around the world. His “secretary” was actually his lover and procurer.

Maugham learned about human nature at medical school where he studied with Dr. Bell, the model for Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. And, his understanding of sexuality was scientific and ahead of its time.

He was scarred by his brother Harry’s suicide over a homosexual scandal—and it may have sent Maugham into the closet for the rest of his life.

His companion Gerald Haxton helped him create Cap Ferrat, the idyllic “Fairyland,” that Edna St. Vincent Millay declared one visit. Her insight is not in the film. Nor does the film tell us of the monkey gland injections to maintain his masculine vigor in old age to host boys, boys, boys.

The documentary tries hard to give Maugham literary chops, but he was interested only in fame and money, whether as a playwright or as a story writer. Yes, he wrote spy stories before LeCarre and Greene, and he was an actual spy for the British government.

Yet, he became in senility a rather unpleasant, vindictive and manipulated old fool of his new “secretary,” who managed to steal everything through poisoning Maugham’s old mind.

The documentary shows how one can outlive his own standards.

Pointless and Pointed at West Point

DATELINE:  Drinking Underhanded?

Only Trump could confuse West Point with Waterloo. Water, water, everywhere, but he could hardly raise the glass to drink.

Your racially insensitive president (according to black Republican Sen. Tim Scott, SC) insisted that the young officer graduates of West Point be called back from home for a two-week isolation period. They had to do it as it was an order. He wanted to have them listen to his speech sitting shoulder to shoulder, no distance or masks for them.

More than a dozen cadets in the class have tested positive for COVID-19. They didn’t take their hydroxy swigs.

Yes, in a month of disasters, Trump managed to create another in his re-election bid.

These feckless West Point graduates also would be denied having family and friends in attendance by presidential order. No wonder the applause meter was broken at the ceremony—and Trump was about as flat as you ever heard him.

If matters were going from bad to worse, you had a president who displayed now more strange symptoms of a malady of unknown origin.  It underscored his inability to stand still at the graves of the Unknown Soldiers at Arlington on Memorial Day.

At West Point Trump could not pronounce words like Douglas MacArthur. He could not lift a bottle of water to his lips with one hand: he needed two hands, which showed that the sound of one-hand clapping is strictly Zen in this administration.

He also had trouble negotiating the ramp down from the dais. Trump was angry when people suggested he was a doddering old man who needed assistance. It reminded many of his catcalls to Hilary when he said she was not healthy enough to be president. He claimed the ramp was wet (no rain had fallen) and there was no guard-rail to hold onto.

Those who have called the POTUS a madman, a psychiatric mess, and worse, now were able to note in excusing the Commander in Chief that he showed all the characteristics of a man with a neurological disorder.

Something akin to a brain tumor.

This tumor rumor set Trump into a Twitter tirade, which is exactly what you’d expect from a man with a brain lesions. Next, he’ll be on the roof of the White House shooting a rifle aimed at Democrats.

Is there no one to take Trump to have a brain scan? It may be a thankless job, made more difficult by finding where they put his brain.

Gone, Forgotten, and Dismissed: Obit for a Colleague

DATELINE: Corona of Career

It’s minor and troubling to almost no one, except perhaps me.

A colleague of many years passed away not quite ten years after retiring. She was on the faculty of our small college for thirty years, same time and same length as I.

As Robert Frost once said, happiness reaches in height what it lacks in length. We were the disgruntled, unhappy “employees” of the College, even denied being called “faculty” by administration in our living and breathing careers.

The rank of professor meant nothing much, a professor emeritus was denied to us.

How much worse can it be when we die off?

The announcement of her death form the Human Resources Center came from a director who never knew her. It was a pithy two sentences saying she had “worked” at the college in Nursing Department for many years. Because of the pandemic, there would be no services. There was no additional information.

And apparently no other remembrances or comments. This was her final moment on the college register. No eulogy, no thanks, no appreciation, no nothing.

It shall be the same for me. In a tight-knit department like Nursing, she was anathema: disliked by her colleagues for being a stickler for the regulations, and not participating in the social life of fake camaraderie among those with whom you share no politics. So it was for me.

There once existed a half-dozen of us from differing departments who sat together, a huddled small group, at all faculty meetings. We recognized each other as pariahs of the school. If we didn’t sit together, no one would sit with us.

In the past decade we retired to no particular fanfare. Now we are dying to no particular notice.

I visited her at her office now and then, gave her copies of my books that were published, and she was appreciative. Two other faculty of that ilk have also died in recent years. We were a grim little group of despised faculty members: not by students, but by our fellow faculty.

If no department head colleague will do cheerleading of your credentials, hard work, accomplishments at the college at death, then there is nothing more to be said.

You are relegated to non-person, name stricken from the record, students never to breathe your name unless in curse for a low grade.

Thus, the end came for another kind associate. It made me hope the college will be one of those they say may close its doors in a few years: let all of them on faculty for those decades  share the same fate.

This memorial eulogy is anonymous for an unnamed, unknown faculty member from a breed of small liberal arts colleges that are fading away one by one.

 

 

Danger Man to Prisoner: Patrick McGoohan

DATELINE: In His Mind 

Notorious Village at Portmerion, Wales

 

Portmerion is in Wales and was built in the 1960s to be an anomaly Italian resort by the sea. When actor Patrick McGoohan went there for an episode of his Danger Man series, he was struck by the rococo isolation—and it inspired him to create a seminal 1960s TV series, the cult-favorite The Prisoner.

McGoohan played the notorious #6 who is kidnapped as a secret agent and imprisoned by #2. It turned out to be 17 episodes, though he wanted only 7. And, the show, a marvel of modernity, became his Citizen Kane: a creation from top to bottom.

You may recall McGoohan chased on the beach by a giant white beach ball that returns him to the Village of imprisonment. Every episode he was bedeviled by a new #2. Number One was a mystery. He was #6. In My Mind is his story.

Under pseudonyms, he directed many episodes and wrote them. He was officially listed as executive producer, a man who was not a number. Imagine agent John Drake’s horror today when he would be even less than a number.

McGoohan created the props, the costumes, the settings, to be exactly what he wanted. It was a marvel that not even Orson Welles could critique.

McGoohan always played some kind of secret agent in so many films before he moved to Hollywood and did smaller character roles for the final 20 years of his career.

Director Steve Rodley was a superfan—and dug up a rare 1977 interview aobut The Prisoner, and he begged the reclusive McGoohan to talk with him in the 1990s in Los Angeles. To his surprise, the actor acceded. He also took over the interview, actually directing it. He was irascible and always quick to anger.

They once asked Lew Grade how he managed to get along with McGoohan—and he said he had no problems because he gave him whatever he wanted.

McGoohan’s daughter Catherine agreed to speak on behalf of her father, with reluctance, but knows his great series deserves an honor on its 50thanniversary in 2018.

The interspersing of McGoohan footage, on and off screen, at Portmerion and by amateur photogs, is amazing to behold. The actor manages to annotate his own great film role and project—and it was all in his mind from the start. After giving an interview about the Prisoner, McGoohan offered a blank check to buy back the video footage. it was refused.

Fans of the show cannot miss this documentary, and it may well bring more people to watch the original 1960s masterpiece.

Two Coreys in the Hopper?

 DATELINE: Feldman Exploits Haim?

 A Final Picture.

 There are conspiracy theories that Stanley Kubrick was assassinated partly because of his hostility to the pedophile strata in the film world.

You can hardly put actor/director Corey Feldman into the same category as Kubrick, though he has produced and directed a film that has been trashed and disbelieved: his documentary on his friend Corey Haim and his sexual history as a teen, has been in production for a decade.

The Rape of the Two Coreys, as it is called, may be more fantasy than reality in terms of film production. If there is a second rape of Haim, it is by his so-called friend Feldman and done posthumously.

Its premiere in Los Angeles a few months ago may have been lost in the pandemic news coverage. His ill-fated showing of his documentary went into the trashcan as the audience waited before a blank screen with “technical difficulties,” and he didn’t help matters by taking a powder rather than face angry people who thought they would be in on a scandal bigger than Michael Jackson.

Whether Feldman is a con man, or merely an exploiter of his friendship with Corey Haim, we may never know truly. Allegedly a half-dozen witnesses gave input into the film to contend that the prettier Corey was raped during the filming of a cheezy movie called Lucasby another Hollywood personality mess. You know his name. At the time one was 13 and the elder was 19.

With statutes of limitation, dead victims, and big money as the foundation, it would seem that no one should be surprised if the Feldman documentary was, first, fake, or second, derailed by powerful forces.

Kubrick would have tend toward the latter view, and the living Corey would hope you agree. He claimed to have a million dollars in sales lined up for his film—and where that money will go is anyone’s guess.

The digital film could not stream, but two months later, the entire project has disappeared like the Los Angeles police investigation of Feldman’s charges in 2017. Police found no basis for pursuing the crimes, and the alleged perpetrator (unnamed here but well-known on the Internet) has skated away with denials.

We can figure out the truth by percentages of possibilities, but exploitation of pathetic people is never going to be a pleasant topic to discuss, view in a movie, or prove in a court of law. As of now, there is no avenue for Corey Feldman’s movie documentary to reach an audience, if it is even a finished film or a real documentary.

Recently, Feldman claimed he left the country because of death threats. He apparently took his film with him. It may never have a public release

Westworld 3.3, Even Robots Get the Blues!

DATELINE: AI Goes Bananas

One of the Hemsworths.

 We are back to mad robotic Dolores and her plan to take over the human world. She has found an ally in human Caleb, who apparently is taking the place of James Marsden who died last season (if robots die forever).

This week is cryptically called “Absence of Field.”  Its absence will not make you nostalgic for previous seasons.

In the Tessa Thompson subplot, we have the robotic charade version of Charlotte Hale now running Delos Corporation. Alas, she is informed that some version of a Howard Hughes billionaire, the richest in the world, is buying up their stock.

This is the employer of robotic Maeve who is being groomed to do battle with Dolores to put the automatons back in Westworld where they belong. This week Thandie Newton and Jeffrey Wright are off on their subplots, likely to return next time.

We miss Luke Hemsworth who has bulked up over the past year and now is a little muscle robot.

If you are lost and confused, this is part of the chess match Jonathan Nolan plays with Lisa Joy to show you that dumb viewers are watching mindless sit-coms on another network.

In the meantime, robot Charlotte is having stress pangs—perhaps controlled the spirit of her dead human counterpart. Charlotte’s six-year-old son senses this is nothis mother.

This child-parent motivation has now gripped several characters: notably Maeve and now Charlotte, as impostor robots seem to feel actual biological ties. And, thrown in for good measure, we also have a mother-son relationship with the real person of Caleb who seems to have an inordinate amount of machine in him.

Whether these turn out to be red herrings, or plot keys, you know only that Dolores holds the key everyone seeks.

 

 

 

No Coronavirus Test, What me Worry?

DATELINE: Walking Along the Dead Line 

The President of the United States is the New Alfred E. Neumann.

Donald Trump is prepared to kill himself with coronavirus—and infect you too.

We know that self-destructive behavior is the mark of people who think they are immortal demigods. So, it does not surprise us when Donald Trump deliberately fills his Air Force One and his winter home in Florida with people who have shaken hands with a man who died of coronavirus.

Madness is a relative condition, and flu symptoms are not usually associated with losing your mind. However, opening the barn door to let the microbes enter may be a first for a world leader who thinks he is part Ghengis Khan and part-Superman.

Without a flu shot and without a coronavirus test, Trump is able to leap over CDC doctors in a single bound.

Whether he starts to cough and then re-enacts the role of Von Aschenbach in Death in Venice may be the third act of his election campaign.

Ted Cruz has yet to respond to calls to infect his president, but others have taken off their gas masks and gone into the lion’s den. Next, they will stick their heads into the lion’s mouth, bad breath and all, to defy the medical advice of science.

Self-quarantine is for those who have humanity at heart, not for those who enter King Tut’s tomb before going home to Downton Abbey or Mar-a-Lago, or whatever that black hole of Florida is called.

 

 

Many Years Ago at Marienbad

DATELINE: Classic Movie Requires Another View

 

The amazing classic French “art” film called Last Year at Marienbad was a tremendous influence on TV commercials. It was too esoteric to do much else for dumb audiences.

Well, the film has been re-mastered—and is stunning to see. The rococo corridors we saunter for long ambling walks are fresh with elegant details.

The narrator with ennui seems even more parfait for the job. And, you cannot find a more stylized actress than Delphine Seyrig. She couldn’t follow up this act with any other film performance, which is a career defining acting job.

You soon are staggered by the actors who wander the hallways making the same comments repeatedly. They never blink. It is rather disconcerting, but Resnais never let them blink in a scene, and most of the time they are moving at a snail’s pace.

We loved the cameo of Alfred Hitchcock to set the tone in the first 15 minutes.

Is it Marienbad or Frederiksbad? The grounds outside the hotel are so bizarre as to fit the nature of the tale.

And, the tale is a ghost story. Long before Stephen King took us to a Colorado haunt, the Marienbad location is even more horrific without one shred of blood. However, there are mysterious deaths. Who shot whom? And who fell off the balustrade?

The game with matchsticks is maddening—and fate.

The characters often refer to seeing phantoms or not being alive. Well, yes, they are all dead, reliving that hideous season when the lake frozen over in 1928, or was it 1929? They have lost track of time for good reason. They keep reliving every creepy moment.

This is a hypnotic and truly overwhelming movie that will be beyond the attention-deficit audiences of today. Watch in small doses. You will fall back under its influence almost immediately—and you will re-live every moment at Marienbad forever. Years will not matter.