Farewell, Marie Antoinette

DATELINE: Odd Sex Life of a Queen

Off with her reader’s head.

If you rely on the trailer for Farewell, My Queen,a French historical drama about the week the Bastille was attacked and started the French Revolution, you will think you are looking at some kind of Lesbian revisionist history.

Before rolling your eyes, you should give this film a view.

Of course, some believe the real Marie Antoinette was bisexual, and others think she was accused of this in an effort to try to denigrate her character. It was, after all, considered a moral leprosy to be gay a hundred years ago.

In fact, if you stick around for this film, you will be hooked into an intriguing study of the people who worked at Versailles, the underlings and minor functionaries, who received word their lives and livelihood were now in jeopardy with a list of beheadings of those associated with the monarchs.

By staying outside the riots and beheadings, this drama shows how people in the court were horrified and terrified of their own fates. Those who worked in person with Marie Antoinette are the truly endangered. One such girl is her librarian reader, a plain-looking young girl who finds herself devoted to the Queen to her ever-lasting detriment.

The depiction of a strata not usually seen is fascinating, but shows too how deadly it could be merely to be a servant of the King and Queen. Marie Antoinette’s haughty love interest is a woman of great beauty—and the ultimate order of the Queen to her reader is to be bait to help the royal mistress escape France.

You may find yourself riveted to mad decisions of Louis and Marie Antoinette to endanger themselves by refusing to flee when they had the chance. Others desert Versailles, and some commit suicide rather than be sent to sure death by the mobs. If you are intrigued by side stories of history, this film will be fully satisfying. In subtitles that caused us to miss the Austrian accent on the French-speaking Queen (Diane Kruger).

Lafayette: We are Still Here!

DATELINE: Not Honored in France 

It’s seems this one-hour documentary is built on the assumption that no one remembers the Marquis de Lafayette. It starts out with the premise that history books have somehow cut his name from the important people of the American Revolution.

Lafayette: the Lost Heronever was lost. He was always there, always a hero, always known. He was the youngest Major General in American history: 19 years old.

So, all those Americans who have gone to France to rescue it in times of trouble, shouting out, “Lafayette, we are here!” have simply confounded fellow citizens.

There are about 50 cities named after the French officer around the United States.

Lafayette did not lose his own head in the French Revolution mainly because he eschewed the royal trappings of France. Yet, he was royalty and one of the richest men of the country. He had open access to the King who did lose his head.

Lafayette was, most surprisingly, a rebellious teenager. We don’t mean growing up: we mean he shocked Gen. Washington when he arrived in Philadelphia because he was 19. Yes, he bought his own ship, paid for his own army, and bought his commission. But, he believed in the American dream of freedom and democracy. He taught himself English to be able to speak to Americans.


You have to be surprised that he danced with Marie Antoinette at a ball and was laughed at for his bad dancing. You have to be shocked that he had dinner with the King of England’s brother—who also supported the American colonists.

He was super-rich and had influence at the French court and was married at 16. So, when people call him a man, we are puzzled. When the re-enactor looks like he is 40, we are non-plussed.

Yes, we were shocked at how little we knew about this boy leader who turned out to be the son Washington never had. When he visited America on its 50thanniversary, he scooped up some dirt from Washington’s grave: he wanted to buried with some American soil in France.

The French, of course, moved his American bought statue from a place of prominence in Paris to a backwater location. He is without honor in his own home.

We must say we are seldom amused by our lack of knowledge, but this documentary amused us.





Hope Diamond: 45 Carats & Down-graded

 DATELINE: Hopeless but Not Serious

Your Best Friend? Cold Ice!

The Smithsonian Channel ought to give us some interesting stuff to view. We anticipated that the Mystery of the Hope Diamond might be that bauble of historical documentaries. Instead, they try to debunk their own information.

Ostentatious beyond all blue diamonds, yet still mysteriously cut down after it was stolen in 1792, the Hope Diamond remains a big draw.  And that is despite its legendary curse.

Blue diamonds are considered the least happy for those who want a date with carbon facets. This one, purportedly, served as the eye of an Hindu goddess unceremoniously snatched by a thief.

Yes, like King Tut’s tomb, the Hope Diamond gives its owners a run for their lives, and their money. It cost Marie Antoinette her head as she so admired it.

There are gaps in its history—long disappearances—as we do not know who cut the diamond down to its present 45-carat size. It once weighed in at 70 big carats.

And we can’t say that fool who pared it down was toast soon thereafter. We presume so, based on this pedestrian documentary astutely narrated by Kim Basinger.

Of all the intriguing details that pop out of this 46-minute featurette, it is that in the 1960s, scientists discovered that ultra-violet light has a weird effect on the diamond:  causing it to glow in the dark like a red ember.

Size does not fit all curses: speculators think size makes the red shine last longer than most diamonds sitting in the dark after basking in ultra-violet light. Who knows when it comes to cursed stones?

The curse may take longer than six months to hit the owner, but when it does, look out. It’s a tough nut for sure, about the size of a cheap walnut.

Right now, the crown jewel of diamonds is housed in a bullet-proof and bomb-proof case at the Smithsonian, donated there by Harry Winston because you can’t get a good price for the damn thing on the market.

The Hope Diamond is named after a greedy banker named  Hope, not Bob, one of its cursed 19th century holders. It now is on display and has as many visitors as Mona Lisa every year. Look, but don’t own up to it.

The film falls on its own lightweight when it tries to prove the curse of the diamond is fake news. Their expert insists only old people (already apparently facing death) have expired upon owning it. This undercuts their own information about the young family members who were collateral deaths from ties to the diamond.

This diamond is nobody’s best friend.

Rondo’s Famous Last Words


 Prof. Rondo

As Celtics star Rajon Rondo slowly sinks into the team’s worst season with him at the helm, we note that he is in illustrious company.

Some day in the future, the ghost of Rajon Rondo will show up at a training camp like the ghost of Jacob Marley. He will be dragging his baggage behind him in a great sweep of chains. He will tell some future captain of the team: “The Boston Celtics were my business,” when faced with saving some slug from himself.

Rondo has taken on the mantle of Marie Antoinette, and not just in fashion. He now walks a hard road in her sneakers: Told of the suffering of the Boston Celtics, Rondo responded: “Let them eat birthday cake!”

Surrounded by the media, besieged by the enemy, like a general in World War II, he has every reason to surrender and offer his apologies. Instead, he comments, “Nuts,” when asked what was sprinkled on his birthday cake.

Like Winston Churchill, he will give every last ounce of blood, sweat, and tears, to fight off the media. “We shall defend our right to eat birthday cake. We will fight them on the beaches. We will fight them at Chuck’E Cheese. We will fight them at the parties.”

Like Richard Nixon, Rondo is even now collecting an enemies list of those in the media who hound him. He plans to make a television appearance to announce, “There will be no whitewash of the white frosting at the birthday party.”

We just hope he won’t be quoted in a final bitter press conference saying, “You won’t have Rajon Rondo to kick around any more. I quit.”

He has even cried out, “Et tu, Brad Stevens!”

For more shockers about Rajon Rondo, you should read RAJON RONDO: SUPERSTAR and its companion piece RAJON RONDO & THE GREEN NEBULA. Both books are available at Amazon.com in ebook format for smart readers, as well as traditional softcover.

Rondo Lets Them Eat Birthday Cake



Mother of Mercy, can this be the end of Rondo?

The mercurial Boston Celtics star Rajon Rondo was not scheduled to play in the back-to-back game in Sacramento.

It was also his birthday. So, as the logic goes, he decided to skip the team flight and stay in Los Angeles to celebrate his natal day.  If you are looking for logical explanations, you might be advised to avoid NBA point guards.

RondoBulksUp More birthday cake, please!

Talk about being born yesterday!  Rondo seemed oblivious to any kind of issue with his skipping the jet jump up the California coast.

Like Marie Antoinette facing the guillotine, Rondo told the assembled media in regard to his teammates, “Let them eat birthday cake.”

Rondo has always been an advocate of noblesse oblige, which may be a term too fancy for Celtics fans and parvenu media members. We use the royal “we” only slightly less than Rondo.

We don’t think Rondo sees himself as the Queen of Sheba, but many others now most certainly do.

If you want to create an atmosphere that greases the skids to the summer lottery and a trade to heaven knows where, Mr. Ainge, then Rondo is on his way.

Watch that first step, Rajon. It falls out of the captaincy and into oblivion.

Though Rondo saw the hullaballoo as a tempest in a teapot, Trader Danny Ainge was less trivialized. He plans on speaking to Rondo when returns to Boston. This is about serious as Ward calling the Beaver into his study.

We expect Rondo to be given forty lashes with a wet noodle, grounded for a week, and forbidden to read GQ magazine for a month. Ainge is a hard taskmaster.

Of course, the real punishment will be forthcoming when Rondo will be sent packing in the summer when the trades come fast and furious.

Be sure to read RAJON RONDO: SUPERSTAR to best follow the royal headaches suffered by Rondo at the hands of cruel fans. Available on Amazon.com for smart readers.