Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Great Piano Scam

I'd read about this case a few years ago. British pianist Joyce Hatto hadn't performed in years and might not have been that good to begin with. She quit performing after suffering a breakdown on stage. But in 2003 she and her husband started releasing CD after CD of a wide range of classical music.

She died of cancer in 2006 at the height of her comeback.

It wasn't long after that that the whole thing was exposed as a fraud.

Here is a 23 minute British TV documentary on YouTube. The recordings were plagiarized. Hatto's husband took recordings off other CDs, modified them slightly and released them on their own CDs.

It seems like a problem with classical music in general. You're playing the same piece note-for-note that's already been recorded countless times, and apparently people can't tell one recording from another. In this case, the fraud was discovered because a guy played a track from one of Hatto's CDs and someone else's name appeared on the screen.

Her husband still denies everything.

I don't approve of actual fraud, of course, but I've always found charlatanism strangely appealing. In this case, Hatto's husband created fake quotes from non-existent critics enthusing over his wife's performances, he claimed that recordings had been made during live performances that never took place. 

It turns out that there's not much money in classical CD sales. I'm not sure why that is. Classical music actually sells pretty well compared to jazz and some other categories. But classical musicians make their money from live performances.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Foreign films in English

Dustin Hoffman et al in Alfredo, Alfredo (1972), shot without sound in Italy, dubbed in Italian and subtitled in English.

The link above is to an article on foreign films made in English. Lars Von Trier, for example, films everything in English now.

I've said this before, the problems started when they stopped using foreign accents in movies. Roger Corman started it when he made a movie about the Red Baron---he argued that Germans don't speak English with a German accent, so American actors playing Germans should speak English with an American accent, which doesn't make sense either.

Germans speak German with a German accent. So English with a German accent seems like a good compromise.

The Odessa File starred Jon Voight speaking in a phony German accent. Because English with a German accent stood in for German in the movie, he was able to act alongside German actors who spoke English but didn't have perfect American accents.

There was a time when foreign films were dubbed into English and they'd be dubbed with a foreign accent that made them seem more authentic. Dubbing in everything in standard American English is what killed dubbing and made it necessary to film in English.

I should note here that Americans and Japanese prefer subtitles. Europeans including Russians are fine with dubbing. I heard that Latin American teens preferred Beavis and Butt-head subtitled, but I don't know if that extends to different shows and movies.

I watched The Three Musketeers as a kid and was confused because everyone was speaking in a British accent. I knew they were French, but I had to keep reminding myself . One of them travels to England and doesn't understand the language even though he was speaking English the whole time.

Are British audiences confused by American actors speaking in American accents who are supposed to be foreigners speaking foreign languages?

The article linked above suggests the possibility that foreign directors filming in English are trying to get picked up by Hollywood. It could also be that the American market is the most difficult to break into. Americans are too dumb to watch foreign films so filming is English is the only thing that gives them a fighting chance.

The electric guitar is dying, says Washington Post

Maybe I was wrong to attack guitar players. Here's something on the "slow secret death of the electric guitar". (The guy in I am not a Hipster played an acoustic guitar).

On the other hand, so what?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Schools and Trump

Where did he get that thing?
I was in high school when Reagan got shot. I don't remember any students being upset about it. I just remember them being pleased or at least amused. It's a little strange. He was elected president, supposedly by a landslide (voter turnout was so low that Richard Nixon got more votes in 1960 when he lost that Reagan got when he won). There must have been SOME Republicans in that school, but nobody cared that he was nearly murdered.

I couldn't stand Reagan, but I didn't see any big advantage to him being shot. Carter was barely to the left of Reagan. Bush, Sr, was vice president and he wouldn't have been much better.

There was an alternative grade school in town which had held a mock election. Barry Commoner of the Citizen's Party won, Jimmy Carter was a close second. Ronald Reagan might have gotten one or two votes. The Libertarian and Communist candidates each got one vote.

I was tutoring a kid at the school at the time. I'm pretty sure I knew which kids voted Communist and Libertarian. The kid whose mother was in the Communist Party went on to be a leader in the African-American Student Union in college and served on the city's Human Rights Commission. But I couldn't imagine any kid in that school voting for Reagan.

And now you have Trump. He won, yet, in schools, it's the kids who support him who are being isolated.

Here, the principals are posting messages urging kids to be tolerant of others even if they are Trump supporters.

A middle school boy in Alabama was paddled for writing Trump's name on the chalk board. You'd think it would be uncontroversial in Alabama, but the school banned the president's name from being uttered because it would be disruptive. You could only mention who the President of the United States is in history class, although I'm not sure how that would come up while they're studying the War of Northern Aggression.

A confused reader commenting on the article claimed that liberal teachers were paddling pro-Trump children. All those pro-corporal punishment Alabama progressives.

Imagine. Your candidate has almost zero chance of winning. Even he assumes he'll lose. You're plainly the underdog. His opponent has raised far more money. Everyone anticipates your bitter disappointment. Then your guy wins a truly stunning victory no one thought possible, and YOU'RE the bad guy.

I don't want to give people the wrong idea. I hate Trump. I was afraid of Clinton because her only real campaign promise was to start World War Three, but Trump is moving in that direction anyway.

I don't know how far to the right Trump really is from the DNC. The only thing they're willing to attack him for is being a Russian spy. I think it's because they don't really object to anything else he's doing.

Every president turns out to be far worse than anyone dared imagine. I thought Trump would be an exception just because everyone thought he'd be another Hitler. Anything short of actual Nazism would be a relief. But he's getting worse and worse and impeaching him won't do any good. Look at his vice president. We're just going to have to sweat it out.

The Las Vegas Serial Killer, (1986)

Ray Dennis Steckler in an earlier film.

I sat up watching the late Ray Dennis Steckler's Las Vegas Serial Killer which he directed under the name Wolfgang Schmidt.

He did the editing and cinematography under the name Sven Christian and wrote the scenario using the name Christopher Edwards.

I'm all for fake names in credits, but he should have used them to create a backstory. He should have used fake names with the same national origin so viewers would picture it as a foreign production--- they'd imagine a crew of Greeks or Norwegians coming to Las Vegas to make their low budget movie. Let the audience see the place through their eyes, as an exotic locale.

I went to Las Vegas for a trade show one time and was surprised at how many Asian and European families were on the flight, apparently going to Las Vegas on vacation. I wasn't sure how I should have felt about that as an American. They weren't getting a very good impression of us.

The film had some dialog and narration but it was essentially a silent movie which I rather liked. Steckler was always the Alfred Hitchcock or the Sergei Eisenstein of the extreme end of low budget commercial film.

Had a lot more nudity than his earlier films, and way more strangling.

The plot was wildly implausible. A convicted, confessed serial killer is released from prison on parole after only five years in prison. He immediately goes back to serial killing. The subject matter was terribly grim but it wasn't that bad.

Available on Fandor along with some of Steckler's other films including Blood Shack, The Lemon Grove Kids, The Thrill Killers, Rat Fink A Boo Boo, and The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017



"I've never seen more than 5 minutes of a Transformers movie yet I feel like I've seen all the Transformers movies."
--Josh Elvis Weinstein

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Another article about Tom Cruise in Variety

I really never liked Tom Cruise, but here's an article I found interesting by Owen Gleiberman who does like him. Below are excerpts. Read the whole thing here.

...But Cruise now seems to be throwing franchises against the wall to see which of them will stick. Another “M:I” film, another “Jack Reacher” mystery, now “The Mummy,” and what’s next? He’s all these characters, but in another way he’s none of them, because the characters (except for Ethan Hunt) aren’t sinking into moviegoers’ imaginations. They’re like suits of clothing he’s rotating through. He has just announced the sequel that no one was clamoring to see, “Top Gun: Maverick,” which sounds like a case of cannibalizing his greatest star hit by grinding it up into another franchise. What could be less of a maverick move?


...Cruise, as an actor, is like an image consultant, or a studio executive giving notes to himself (“I think there’s an opportunity here to make the character a little more likable…”). What’s insidious is that the reason he was drawn to playing Jack Reacher in the first place is that he obviously regarded it as an act of image management — a way to keep pace with the times by letting himself get down and dirty (but not too much). Is it any wonder that these films are tonally out of focus? With deadening calculation, they whipsaw Cruise’s image in two directions at once. That’s why they barely even feel like a franchise. They’re just two more middling Tom Cruise films.

...He now seems devoted to working with anonymously talented journeyman directors (Bryan Singer, Christopher McQuarrie, Joseph Kosinski, Alex Kurtzman). Is that his way of retaining the power? Let me say up front that I’ve always been a Tom Cruise believer (just check out my gallery of his 10 best films, in which my reverence for movies like “Top Gun” knows no shame), but the eerie thing about Cruise’s career in the last decade is that he has been churning out the cinematic equivalent of holograms. It walks like a Tom Cruise movie, it talks like a Tom Cruise movie (it’s got speed and “intensity,” even a soupçon of cleverness), but it’s a Tom Cruise movie that leaves no shadow. It’s a piece of virtual entertainment.

 Tom Cruise could still be a powerful actor, but the irony of his career, at least for now, is that at the very moment when he should be taking on more character roles, easing into a post-superstar creative freedom zone (as actors from Julia Roberts to Kevin Costner to Meryl Streep to Leonardo DiCaprio have done), he’s doubled down on one thing and one thing only: the awesome global transcendence of his image. He’s still choosing movies like he’s king of the world. He’s got it half right: He is Hollywood royalty. But proving that, each and every time, by making movies that exist for no organic reason but to win the box-office contest they’re not even winning anymore has become, for Cruise, a game of diminishing returns: for his fans, and for himself, too.

Hidden Driveway

You know what's a coincidence? That you have George McFarlane and Jacob Switzer starring in this and their names are sort of like George "Spanky" McFarland and Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer.

Greaser's Palace, 1972

Allan Arbus (Diane Arbus's husband) blaspheming Christ.

"Didn't your father used to be a successful director? Whatever happened to him? Boy, he sure died, you know, he sure went to hell."
--Chevy Chase humiliating Robert Downey, Jr, on the set of Saturday Night Live, 1985.

Robert Downey, Sr, is still alive, by the way. I didn't know he was ever a "successful director". He's now 80. He's also Jewish, but in 1972, he made what was supposed to be a surreal Christian satire, Greaser's Palace, a western set in the 1800s. There's this place called Greaser's Palace owned by hilariously-named character, Seaweedhead Greaser.

Allan Arbus (who played Dr. Sidney Freedman, the psychiatrist on TV's M*A*S*H*) plays Jesus (called Jessy) who wears a zoot suit and says he's going to Jerusalem to be a singer-dancer-actor.

It was the sort of movie Luis Buñuel would have made if Luis Buñuel had been an idiot.

Greaser keeps murdering his homosexual son named Lamy "Homo" Greaser, but Jessy keeps bringing him back to life. And Greaser is constipated all the time. And he has a daughter named Cholera. The Holy Ghost is a guy with a sheet over his head. Jessy parachutes into the movie.

It was all crap. Not one funny, clever or interesting thing.

With Robert Downey, Jr, as a seven-year-old who gets his throat slashed. A year earlier, when he was six, his father gave him marijuana for the first time.

I happened to come across an article about Deluxe. You know in movies when they say in the credits, "Color by Deluxe"?  Deluxe has thousands of negatives to thousands of movies lying around and is trying to return them to their rightful owners. They're hoping the owners will pay them to make a digital print. They're having some difficulty doing this. In some cases the owners have died, some belonged to companies that are out of business or to businesses that don't want them or to individual filmmakers who don't want to be reminded of the film that financially ruined them. And one movie they have stinking up the place is Greaser's Palace

Maybe Robert Downey, Jr, now an elderly Republican millionaire, will put up the money.

I found it on Roku. You can see it for free on Amazon if you have Amazon Prime. I have no memory of getting Amazon Prime or paying for it, but apparently I have it.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Drive in Colorado to ban smartphones for children

A few years ago, my car broke down and I was surprised to discover that there were no payphones anymore. That was when I gave in and bought a cell phone. My mobile communications budget went from 35 cents every six years to use a payphone to $80 a year for the cheapest cell phone I could find. I have nearly 800 minutes on this thing because I have to add more time every three months and I never use it.

I haven't had anyone make fun of my phone yet. If they do, I'm ready to tell them it's a Tracfone, the brand favored by criminals. When Sean Penn went to interview that big drug guy in Mexico, he bought a new Tracfone every day to make the arrangements.

So it's fine with me if Colorado bans "smartphones" for children.

The idea is that smartphones make children dumber. You should limit how many hours a day they stare at screens.

On the other hand, why protect rich kids from themselves? Smartphones cost a lot. Only wealthy preteens have them. Let the poor kids have an advantage for once.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Bill Cosby's trial ends in hung jury

How Bill Cosby might have looked when he heard.

Okay, now Bill Cosby's trial ended in a hung jury. Not surprising considering everything. He was charged years after the alleged crimes.

Prosecutors want to try him again. I don't know if there's much point in it. It's not like the Menendez Brothers who got a hung jury the first time because they blubbed on the witness stand. Repeating the performance was too much for them and they were convicted the second time. The judge let more evidence in during Phil Spector's second trial. But what will change in Bill Cosby's case? They might let more accusers testify---only one accuser from an unrelated case was allowed to testify this time. Nearly 60 women have accused him of similar acts.

"We can never overestimate the blinding power of celebrity," said celebrity attorney Gloria Allred who represents some of the women, "but justice will come.‎"

Like I said here before, I never thought The Bill Cosby Show was funny and I hated the authoritarian, discipline-oriented Cosby Show. I did watch his Saturday morning cartoon, but look at the other crap I watched back then---Speed Buggy, Funky Phantom.

And I didn't care for his other crap. In the words of  Hannibal Buress, Cosby "gets on TV, 'pull your pants up, black people, I was on TV in the '80s. I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom.’'’ (Click the link to see Buress in the You Tube video that set all this off.)

In 2004 Cosby spoke at a gala event honoring the 50th anniversary of Brown v Board of Education. Among other things he said about young blacks:  "...with names like Shaniqua, Taliqua and Mohammed and all of that crap, and all of them are in jail."

13-year-old Kiah Thomas responded in part:
When I read the remarks you made, I wondered whether Shaniqua was sitting in the audience that night, and what she felt when she heard you mention her name. I wonder if she went to school the next day feeling proud to have been able to attend a gala event to celebrate a historic occasion like the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, whether she felt like she had been kicked in the stomach, or whether she just blew off the whole thing as just another old man talking too much.

Cosby had an illegitimate daughter he sent to prison and was alienated from at least one of his "legitimate" daughters. When his daughter Erinn was sexually assaulted by Mike Tyson in 1989, Cosby convinced Tyson to get counseling rather than going to the police. He cheerfully advocated child beating on the Phil Donahue Show, telling a "funny" story about hitting his son with a stick.

And, this was certainly the least of it, but there were the promos he did for Turner Classic Movies. He said he liked old gangster movies better than new ones because there were no dirty words in them. He was so dumb that the only thing he could think of to say about classic movies is that they weren't obscene.

I Am Not A Hipster (2012)

There was a young woman I knew who went to audition with her sister. They were serious jazz singers. The audition was for musicians who performed children's music, and the girls were shocked that most of the people there were basically non-musicians singing and strumming guitars who assumed that children wouldn't know the difference.

And you know that song "On Broadway" with the line:
They say that I won't last too long  
On Broadway  
I'll catch a Greyhound bus for home they all say 
But they get wrong, I know they are 
'Cause I can play this here guitar
Is there really that much call for guitar players on Broadway?

There's a stigma attached to singing and strumming a guitar and it's because of people like the wretch in this movie, I am not a Hipster, the story of an obnoxious guitar strumming "singer-songwriter". He composes "music" in his room wearing headphones yelling and pounding on a drum. This sullen mumbling alcoholic works in a school strumming his guitar for the children.

And the people who like this movie enthuse over how wonderful the music is.

The movie starts with him being interviewed on the radio. He mumbles one syllable answers to every question then gets his panties in a bunch over a question and stomps out. 

Later, at a party, he bellows out a song he wrote as an attack on his ex-girlfriend, he attacks his hipster artist friend for being inadequately intellectual and physically attacks people at another party.

The guy's a fictional character. He can be killed without consequence. They should have given that some thought.

Maybe I'm wrong not to hate hipsters.

Available on Fandor.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Military joke thievery

I read in John Baxter's excellent biography of George Lucas that, as a film student, George was advised to join the military. This was during the Vietnam War. You'd think that would be something to avoid like the plague. But, as a film school grad, he would automatically be made a cameraman and given excellent training.

Lucas lucked out. When doctors checked him out to be drafted, they discovered he was diabetic and told him to get to a doctor, quick.

It turns out that so many military cameramen were killed in Vietnam, that once you were in the Army they wouldn't let you leave. One guy enlisted for three years and was there for seven.

But I've also heard about comedians who got their starts in the Army entertaining the troops. I never understood that. It's hard to imagine draftees being ordered to be comedians.

But I just listened to Marc Maron interview Dick Van Dyke, in his late 80's at the time, and it's been explained.

Both Dick and Jerry Van Dyke got their start in comedy in the military, Dick Van Dyke in World War Two, Jerry Van Dyke in Korea. And here's the secret. They stole freely. Nobody cared. In civilian life, stealing another comedian's material makes you a pariah. In the Army, they steal everything. It saved Dick Van Dyke from becoming a tail gunner.

Hell, I could be a comedian if that's all you had to do. If my life depended on it.

Clinton supporters blame Sanders for shooting

You know, I was kidding when I blamed Democrats for the guy in Alexandria shooting at Republicans playing baseball. But Clinton supporters are serious. They're blaming Bernie Sanders.

An article on counterpunch:

From the article:
“I hope we have the maturity as a country to confront facts like this at the same time we’re thinking of the victims and keeping level heads,” MSNBC’s Joy Reid tweeted in response to a random Twitter user falsely claiming Bernie Sanders owes his political career to the NRA, who heavily funded his first congressional opponent. InfoWars’ Paul Joseph Watson tweeted, “here’s me on video a year ago warning that violent anti-Trump Bernie supporters were being radicalised by the media.”

The New York Times’ Yamiche Alcidor, who infamously asked Bernie Sanders if it was sexist for continuing to campaign toward the end of the Democratic primaries, wrote a hit piece linking the shooting to Bernie Sanders’ movement.”Not far from Mr. Sanders’ own message,” Alcidor wrote trying to weave a narrative that linked the shooter’s disdain for corporate influence in politics to Bernie Sanders‘. The article claimed the attack was a test for Sanders’ movement, in a desperate attempt to punch left by shamelessly trying to tie the shooter’s motives as a symptom of being progressive.


Throughout the New York Times’ hit piece, none of Sanders or progressive politics are actually discussed. The inequalities and injustices progressive policies like single payer healthcare and free college tuition aren’t cited. Rather, Alcidor claims critical rhetoric toward institutions like Wall Street, that have helped create an environment of desperation and destitution in the United States, is inherently violent. To top off the hit piece, the only actual person named in the article is Trump supporter Harlan Hill.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Cosby jury deadlocked

I did watch Bill Cosby's cartoon as a kid and we had a Bill Cosby record  I used to listen to. I was amused by the Chicken Heart thing. But I never liked The Billy Cosby Show, his first sit-com where he played Chet Kincaid, and I couldn't stand The Cosby Show which spawned a wave of horrible discipline-oriented family sit-coms. I found it disturbing that they called him "America's Dad". Is that what people picture as the ideal father?

Looks like Cosby's serial drugging and raping trial will end in a hung jury.

I don't know if he's guilty, but it would be fine with me if he got convicted. He sent his own daughter to prison.

America's Dad had an illegitimate daughter who was in her 20's. She was going to sell her story to the Enquirer which she had every right to do, but, realizing it would be hurtful to Cosby and his other family, she thoughtfully offered to sell the story to the multi-millionaire instead. This act of kindness got her arrested for "extortion". The mother of two served two years in prison. Cosby thought nothing of separating his grandchildren from their mother.

Had to happen sooner or later

A Trump-hating Democrat, no doubt inspired by the Democrats' bloodthirsty rhetoric----by Hillary Clinton's cackling over the murder of Muammar Gaddafi, Rachel Maddow who can't talk about killing people without smirking, Kathy Griffin's severed head gag photo----opened fire on  unsuspecting Republican Congressmen innocently practicing for their annual baseball game against the Democrats.

Remember Obama's "jokes" at the White House Correspondents Dinner? His "joke" about using drones to murder the Jonas Brothers because his daughters liked them? He had already ordered the murder of a 16-year-old American citizen, Abdulrahman Anwar al-Awlakia. They blew him up in a restaurant in Yemen, a country we're supposed to be at peace with. What kind of mind would bomb a restaurant full of people? Obama is as evil as any child-killing Israeli and it didn't bother Democrats a bit.

Abdulrahman Anwar al-Awlaki
The boy's 8-year-old half-sister, Nawar, was later killed by Navy SEALs in an attack ordered by Donald Trump. She was shot in the neck. It took her two hours to die. The Democrats condemned Trump---not because of the seven children ages 3 to 13 who were killed but because one of the SEALs fell down and hurt himself.

There was Brian Williams on MSNBC gushing about how "beautiful" U.S. bombing is---reminded me of Mussolini's scumbag son who said that dropping a bomb into the middle of a large group of Ethiopians looked like a flower blossoming.

Can these monsters deny responsibility for one of their followers trying to murder a few idiot Republicans they've been demonizing all these years?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Did Tom Cruise louse up The Mummy?

Tom Cruise acting.

So Variety is reporting that people are blaming Tom Cruise for the apparent failure of The Mummy.
As Hollywood is playing the blame game on what went wrong on The Mummy, which had a measly domestic opening of just $32 million, many fingers are pointing to Cruise. In the same way that he commanded the stage at the film’s premiere, leaving his cast standing awkwardly by his side, several sources close to the production say that Cruise exerted nearly complete creative oversight on The Mummy, essentially wearing all the hats and dictating even the smallest decisions on the set...

Universal, according to sources familiar with the matter, contractually guaranteed Cruise control of most aspects of the project, from script approval to post-production decisions. He also had a great deal of input on the film’s marketing and release strategy, these sources said, advocating for a June debut in a prime summer period.

With terrible reviews, The Mummy, which insiders say cost as much as $190 million to make and more than $100 million more to market and release worldwide, may struggle to make its money back. The film is performing much stronger overseas, where it was Cruise’s biggest international rollout with a $142 million opening weekend. It’s not clear if the movie will break even, and it’s cast a shadow on the studio’s plans for a Dark Universe franchise that’s supposed to feature A-list stars like Johnny Depp (as The Invisible Man) and Angelina Jolie (in negotiations for The Bride of Frankenstein).
Kurtzman was already being considered to direct, but it was Cruise who selected him. Kurtzaman worked as screenwriter on Mission: Impossible III.
In the wake of The Mummy’s failure, the decision to tap such an untested director on a sprawling action-adventure seems to have been foolhardy. Kurtzman wouldn’t necessarily rank high on a studio’s wish list for a project this big, given that he’s a producer and writer who only helmed one small feature that debuted to mixed reviews (2012’s Chris Pine drama People Like Us). As Kurtzman struggled to adjust to scope of the project, it felt more like Cruise was the real director, often dictating the major action sequences and micro-managing the production, according to sources.

There were other ways that The Mummy was transformed from a scary summer popcorn movie into a standard-issue Tom Cruise vehicle. The actor personally commissioned two other writers along with McQuarrie to crank out a new script. Two of the film’s three credited screenwriters, McQuarrie and Dylan Kussman, an actor-writer who played small roles in The Mummy and Jack Reacher, were close allies of Cruise’s. The script envisioned Nick Morton as an earnest Tom Cruise archetype, who is laughably described as a “young man” at one point. [emphasis added].
 Read the whole thing here.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Frosties Kid

Sven Ruygrok 

I don't remember where I heard about this. But the English call Frosted Flakes (formerly Sugar Frosted Flakes) "Frosties". And there was a British commercial some years ago that featured a young teen actor singing enthusiastically about it.

The commercial annoyed some people terribly. There were cruel rumors, that the young fellow in the ad was terminally ill and being in the commercial was his last wish, that he was so ashamed of his performance that he committed suicide by shoving pencils up his nose or that he was murdered while being robbed of the stuff he bought with the money he made. A lot of rumors about his dying. On YouTube there were several "funny" videos of English kids beating him to death in the street.

There was an interview last year with the actor, now in his 20s. That wasn't his voice in the commercial.

"I was 14 years old and auditioned for the advert with loads of other boys. I remember the casting being really weird. They asked me to imagine all sorts of things and be all sorts of things, like pretending to be a dragon, a ballerina and acting like an imaginary crate was exploding in front of me."

He was South African. The rumors didn't affect him. "I was 14. I wanted to be outside and play. I was more concerned about pimples and hormones ruining my life than a commercial, but I do vividly remember my parents being affected by it. I mean, what would you do as a parent if your child's name was being thrown around the internet like a rag doll under a truck by people who have never met them?"

If I had been a twelve-year-old Briton when that commercial came out, I imagine I would have clambered onto the bandwagon of cruelty attacking that poor boy. At least I would have gleefully repeated any rumors I heard around whatever horrible English school I would have attended. Also, I would have secretly liked the commercial.

Sunday, June 11, 2017


Imagine the kind of mind that would film a scene like this.
This was years ago, of course.

My sister had seen the movie E.T. and it was apparently the most deeply moving experience of her life. I had seen it three or four times---a friend wanted to see it, then his girlfriend wanted to, then I saw it yet again for some reason, then I was forced to watch it on videotape. I didn't especially like it to begin with.

So my sister started ragging on me. I was trapped at my grandmother's house and couldn't leave. So I had to listen to her insist that I was trying to conceal how deeply moved I was watching that crap.

"That little boy loved ET," she kept saying.

I explained that that wasn't true. The plot was that ET had somehow latched onto Elliott and was literally sucking the life out of him, basically murdering a child to keep himself alive.

It went on and on and on, her smirking the entire time.

So some time later, my brother came to town. I guess we were going to watch a movie. So my sister insisted that we watch ET. I didn't want to sit through it again so again she starts in with her crap about me trying to hide my emotions. So, fine, I'll sit through the garbage again.

But before she turned it on, she hesitated. Had she done the wrong thing? Would it be socially awkward, all of us unable to keep from sobbing hysterically after being overwhelmed by ET? She warned that it might be too emotional for us.

So we sat through the thing. Nobody gave a crap.

She asked my brother what he thought.

"It's about the same as all those other movies," he said.

ET was Spielberg's most autobiographical film, a movie about an evil repulsive monster that ruthlessly exploits children, slowly murdering one of them (remember two children killed making The Twilight Zone Movie?) but has the rubes convinced that he's some sort of Christ figure.

RT is back on Roku

Or, I don't know. Maybe it never went away. I don't know what happened. But it's back on my Roku, anyway.

I posted sometime back that it had been removed---it no longer worked on Roku and someone commented yesterday: 
Well after several post with no resolve I simply went back to channel search on roku and "added" RT while never removing it from my lineup and it quickly installed and played back! Don't understand it but I do have it back playing. Just a goof or its been put back in. No answer but it worked and is playing just fine. Try it and post results.
I did it and it worked. Thanks to the anonymous commenter!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Adam West RIP

Adam West has died of leukemia at age 88.

I saw a documentary about him years ago. One of his friends told a story. I think this happened in the 1990's. West invited him to go to Argentina with him. I'm big there, West said. I'm like the Beatles. His friend didn't quite believe it until he saw the crowd greeting him at the airport.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Shia LaBeouf's latest movie can't find American distributor

Say, he IS a good actor!

Well, here's some good news, I think.

The public has grown increasingly weary of Shia LaBeouf. His latest movie can't find an American distributor. They're hoping they'll stumble upon one at the Toronto Film Festival.

The movie is Janus Metz Pedersen's Borg, about Björn Borg (played by Sverrir Gudnason) and his rivalry with John McEnroe (LaBeouf).

According to the internet:
Ten years ago Shia LaBeouf was the next big Hollywood thing, on the cusp of starring in Transformers and cast in Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull.

But his last two movies American Honey and Man Down made less than $250,000 between them and LaBeouf’s presence in movies is increasingly not being viewed as an asset by movie industry.

My God! Has this Shia LaBeouf crap been going on for ten years? Even he should be tired of it by now.

Trunk Crime (UK 1939)

aka Design for Murder

It sounded pretty good. Bentley, a sensitive wealthy college boy, sits playing the grand piano in his large rented room. Some of his rich drunken classmates force their way in. One goes to vomit in his bedroom. They trash the place. They smash his record collection, break his tea set, they manage to tear one of the legs off his piano so it topples over and they vandalize a painting.

The next morning, the hung-over leader of the vandals comes to apologize. They've been doing this to him for years, since their days in boarding school.

"I'm ever so sorry, old chap."

Bentley is awfully good-natured about it. He's a chemistry major and offers the fellow his hang-over cure. The guy drinks it, finds himself paralyzed, and Bentley dumps him in a trunk explaining that he's going to bury him alive in a swamp.

What could be better! A obnoxious wealthy youth being murdered by a somewhat sympathetic wealthy youth! He should kill them all! Then go to prison!

Things go wrong rather quickly. For one thing, the other drunken vandals decide to apologize to Bentley, too, so they get on a train to follow him to his cottage where he's gone with the trunk.

Quota quickies

The film was what they called a "quota quickie", a British movie made simply to meet the British government  quota for British-made films as their country was being overrun by Hollywood.

Crushing other countries' movie industries under Hollywood's massive weight is actual U.S. government policy. The last demand the United States made before giving aid to France under the Marshall Plan was that they remove limit on the number of foreign films shown in the country. Of course, the result was The French New Wave---those guys became fixated on American B movies.

In the words of anti-fascist Spanish novelist Juan Goytisolo, who died this week at age 92:
“The vitality of a culture is in its capacity to assimilate foreign influences. The culture that’s defensive and closed condemns itself to decadence.”
The British in the 1950's were taken over by American youth culture. British youth wore blue jeans and hung around in milk bars listening to rock and roll. There was even a special news report on U.S. network TV about it. The eventual result was the Beatles and the triumphant British Invasion which reduced America to what it is today.

The movie is a modest 48 minutes which is plenty long. I saw it on Roku on the public domain channel Pub-D-Hub.

A warning

I did an image search to find the poster above. Discovered that if you google "trunk crime", you mostly get pictures of actual dismembered murder victims in trunks. You don't want to see that. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Jaden Smith, vegan, ricotta cheese

Jaden Smith eating like a normal youngster with Justin Bieber and friends.

Okay, it all makes sense now.

Jaden Smith got whatever religious undergarment he wears in a bunch and tweeted his outrage because the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes he ordered from The Four Seasons room service were "spiked with cheese".

The young fellow is a vegan and doesn't know what ricotta cheese is.

 It's been pointed out that even non-ricotta pancakes contain non-vegan ingredients.

When I was his age, I had never purchased ricotta cheese or understood its purpose, but I knew what it was because I would shop for groceries and I'd see it in the store. I lived at home---I wasn't forced to survive on my own. I just happened to buy groceries like a normal person.

It was around that time that some friends and I were watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and I took them down to Safeway to show them what headcheese looked like. They were shocked.

Poor Jaden Smith has been sheltered to the point that he can't function as a vegan without constant supervision.

Also, he thinks that eating anything non-Vegan is likely to cause his immediate death. He tweeted:
"The Four Seasons In Toronto Spiked My Pancakes With Cheese, I'm Surprised I'm Still Alive."

Don't judge the boy too harshly. The Four Seasons weathered his blistering attack just fine without our help.

I myself have been served pancakes prepared with cottage cheese, the poor man's ricotta cheese, and I didn't care for it. They're pancakes. Lousy stinkin' pancakes. Why try to turn them into a gourmet treat?

Racist Israeli plays Wonder Woman

The Donald Trump of Israel didn't bother to shave for his own wedding.

So this new Wonder Woman is played by an Israeli called Gal Gadot. Her family's real name was "Greenstein"---they changed it to make it sound "Israeli". She was born in Rosh HaAyin, a Jews-only town (99.8% Jewish) built on top of the ethnically cleansed Palestinian town of Majdal Yaba the history of which goes back to 3,000 BC. Its inhabitants were driven into the desert to make way for the Chosen People.

Gadot's husband is the Donald Trump of Israel, a "real estate developer" called Yaron Varsano. Varsano is a Dutch Jew who somehow feels entitled to Palestinian land.

Gadot is known for gleefully supporting Israeli bombing of Gaza.

Israel Hayom, the ultra right wing Israeli newspaper bankrolled by parasitic casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, called Gadot a “woman of valor" for some reason.

I wouldn't have watched Wonder Woman anyway, but now I really won't see it.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Nazis humiliating a dog

Don't worry. They're probably all dead by now.

Contrast that with the kindness this American GI shows his tiny kangaroo friend.

More Russian conspiracy crap

Russians live in apartments, use public transportation and make much more use of passenger railroads. You could replace every car in America with a Prius and we would still produce far more greenhouse gases than Russia. Why blame Russia for global warming?

But Democracy Now is claiming that Trump pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement was a Russian conspiracy.

"Another country that would very much like to see the world not make a commitment to move off of oil and fossil fuels is Russia, a country, of course, where there is a great deal of concern about the relationship of Donald Trump to Putin and to Russia." blathered Antonia Juhasz, pictured above.

For years, anti-Communist proaganda consisted largely of attacks on Russia for their lack of massive over-production like that in the rich capitalist countries. But now they're blaming Russia for exporting natural gas to Western Europe. Germany won't even put speed limits on the Autobahn. The Black Forest is dying from the excessive pollution caused by commuters driving 180 miles per hour or more and the German's still cling to Hitler's dream of a freeway where you can go as fast as you want. But American "progressives" have decided that the pollution the ex-Nazis keeps belching out is Russia's fault.

Meanwhile, Al Gore travels between his three mansions in a private jet. He lives alone since his wife dumped him but thinks he needs three giant houses that use more energy than a Russian apartment block.

If there were a Russian conspiracy to cause global warming, it's being thwarted by China:
The U.S. is now a rapidly declining figure on the world stage politically and, in the future, economically as the Unite States remains fixated on polluting industries and protectionism while China is stepping into the breach politically and financially under the  leadership of President Xi to exercise global leadership on climate and  sustainable development.

China is  crafting agreements with willing partners on climate and sustainable development around the globe ranging from the Belt and Road initiative and now with the EU and U.S. states like California. Governor Brown can find  partners for sustainable development in Beijing,not Washington.
China has swiftly become the world’s best hope for sustainable prosperity and building an ecological civilization through green investment and cooperation. China is already the world’s leader in photovoltaics, solar water heating, and wind. China Grid, the world’s largest utility, is planning to help wire the world with high voltage direct current power lines (HVDC) for global renewable electricity. China is global leader in reforestation for carbon dioxide  capture. China is now also  global leader in building gigafactories for electric vehicle batteries.  China is now embraced on a crash program to “Make the skies blue again”, replacing coal plants in major Eastern cities this year with natural  gas. China is  ahead of schedule in meeting its carbon dioxide reduction targets and ledges under Paris Climate agreement.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Is Johnny Depp becoming the new Nicholas Cage?

So, Johnny Depp is suing his former "management team" for allegedly taking out tens of millions of dollars in loans without his knowledge. Didn't Nicholas Cage try to blame his accountant for his financial problems? I have no idea what the facts are, obviously, but here, from TMZ:
Attorney for TMG, Michael Kump, tells us, "Johnny Depp's outrageously false claim that he didn't know about $40 million in loans is beyond preposterous. Depp and his sister knew about each and every loan; Depp signed every document and spent all the loan proceeds.

"Tellingly, Depp is now seeking to prevent all discovery from Tracey Jacobs of UTA and Jake Bloom of Bloom Hergott. Depp knows that these two critical witnesses will fully support TMG’s case and reveal Depp for the extraordinary liar and spendthrift that he is. It is no mystery why Depp is trying so hard to prevent this core discovery."
They told Depp in 2015 that he would have to sell much of his French properties just to remain solvent.

Didn't he cash in on Greece's EU-imposed economic crisis by purchasing a Greek island? He already owned three islands in the Bahamas. 

Kathy Griffin's picture

There's nothing funny about a severed human head. Or a severed head of any kind, really.

Kathy Griffin was perhaps unwise to produce a photograph of herself brandishing what was intended to look like Donald Trump's bloody head. I guess it was sort of funny, her wearing that blouse.

Here she is without the head.

I didn't really understand it. Why was she holding Donald Trump's head? What was the joke? Was it some kind of ISIS thing?

Apparently poor, sweet, innocent little Barron Trump was upset by it. Of course, his father has, like pretty much every other president, actually killed a number of people since taking office. I'm sure some of his victims had preteen children who were more upset about their parents' actual deaths than Barron was about Kathy Griffin's gag photo.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Murder on the Orient Express

Agatha Christie reportedly regretted making Hercule Poirot such a weirdo. When I first watched Murder on the Orient Express (1974) I assumed it was a comedy. The fact that plot involved the murder of a child should have given it away and I did catch on that they were serious.

The 1974 version was directed by Sydney Lumet, starring Albert Finney as Poirot, with Lauren Becall, Ingrid Bergman, Jacqueline Bisset, Sean Connery, Anthony Perkins, John Gielgud, Vanessa Redgrave and Richard Widmark among others.

You think this new Kenneth Branagh version with Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer will be any good?

Branagh plays Poirot. Johnny Depp is in Richard Widmark's role--he dies in the first reel but still gets top billing. Michelle Pfeiffer plays whatever character Lauren Becall played. Becall was 9 years younger than Pfeiffer is now.

It was filmed in 65mm to be released in 70mm even though the whole thing takes place inside a cramped railroad car.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Dustin Diamond back in action

I don't know what I have against Dustin Diamond. I should identify with him! The poor devil. He had a brother who died in childhood and his mother died during the run of Saved by the Bell. Half his family died before he was fourteen. Nobody on Saved by the Bell liked him. Mario Lopez was rude to him when he got a black belt in karate. He became a stand-up comedian and all the real comedians hate him. He paid a band to let him perform with them. He threw an empty water bottle harmlessly into the crowd and someone threw a full water bottle back at him, hit him in the head and he had to be taken away in an ambulance which the rest of the band found extremely funny.

He has just enough fame to keep his career barely limping along and since he has no education he has no hope of earning any kind of a living doing anything else.

On the other hand, there was the sex tape, the horrible tell-all book and the "celebrity" boxing. He's the poor man's Tom Cruise in terms of people hating him.

Anyway, there's this guy called Eric Roberts who is apparently a movie star. He and Dustin Diamond have just starred in a direct to video movie being put out by Sony called Joker’s Poltergeist about the mass murder in the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.

One article announcing the movie listed Eric Roberts and Dustin Diamond as the stars although, on, you have to click "see full cast" to find Diamond's name. The movie is listed there as Joker's Wild. Users gave it one star.

The plot, according to an online review:
At an illustrious movie premiere in a packed theater of, at best, 23 people, a madman in a clown mask opens fire on the audience. One year later, the theater is reopening, under objections from the public. As the theater makes it’s return, to the shock of no one, clowns start murdering people, or taking them to a nightmare dimension, or hell, or something equally uninteresting.
I haven't seen it. I might watch a little if it's free somewhere. Sounds like it's in terribly bad taste.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Gallagher once again

Okay, so I'm sorry to bring up Gallagher again. Gallagher is the '80s prop comedy sensation known for smashing watermelons with a large mallet. He's turned racist, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, anti-gay and has started lecturing comedians on the importance of not drinking water on stage.

Gallagher was interviewed on Marc Maron's podcast. From the interview:
Gallagher: "Most comedians are terrible. They should listen to me..."

Maron: "Okay. I will hear you out."

"...and I help them when I can."

"What is your problem with most comedians?"

"Well, like I just said, their show has no dynamics [sic] and it's not a show based on their knowledge of the audience; it's a show about them. And comedy is not therapy. Just because it's a--"

"Wait a minute. But if you're talking about a show about them, if some--if you're saying that a person that talks about themselves on stage is not a comedian then you're dismissing a great many great comics."


"Yeah. So you--"

"They did it wrong."

"No, they didn't do it wrong."

"Okay, you walk in a doctor's office and he talks about his problem instead of---"

"That's an old joke. If a comedian talks about himself and that is funny--if a comedian is a storyteller---by your rubric, you're dismissing---"

"He can't work a state fair."

"Who the fuck wants to work a state fair necessarily?"


So imagine my surprise when I stumbled on this from seven years ago about Gallagher alienating the audience while performing at a county fair:

From the article:
About 2,400 people attended the free show, which headlined opening night for the 2010 fair. Many of those 2,400 left before the performance was 30 minutes old.
Gallagher, best known for wielding a sledgehammer to smash food onstage, started his show with a 45-minute set that included dozens of profanities and off-color jokes, particularly disparaging to homosexuals.
Many of the jokes are not fit for publication in this newspaper. Here are two we can share with you:
“Why didn’t Ted Kennedy mind dying of brain cancer? Because he wanted to have a hole in his head like his brothers.”
“You’ll notice there are no Mexicans here. They’ll be here to clean up later.”
Golladay was also bothered by the comedian as he was throwing mini candy bars from the stage. As Gallagher spotted a woman in a wheelchair, he said, “Let’s give it to the lady in the wheelchair. Maybe it will cure you and you’ll jump up.”
Inside the amphitheater, many members of the crowd were younger children, who cheerfully chanted his name before the show started and wore ponchos in anticipation of the watermelon smashing. Gallagher launched his first profanity two minutes into his performance.
She said when she hired Gallagher she was thinking about what kind of crowd she wanted to cater to.
What crowd was that?
“Fans of Gallagher. We hired Gallagher knowing he had a good fan base, and fans would come out to support him,” she said.
But don’t many people just know Gallagher as the watermelon guy?
“I couldn’t tell you what people may or may not know about him,” Perkins-Hagele said.

First time I saw Gallagher was when he was on the game show Make Me Laugh. Some years later, in high school, I had this friend whose family had Showtime and HBO and little else. They lived in a small rental house. The family--the mother, my friend and his sister--slept every night in beanbags in front of the TV. The lights were all burnt out and the TV was their only source of light. I sat there watching Gallagher's comedy special. He was rolling around on roller skates the whole time. I remember this one bit he did but I don't want to talk about it.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Roger Moore again

Here's an article on Roger Moore:

Starts with this quote:
“You can’t be a real spy and have everybody in the world know who you are and what your drink is.  That’s just hysterically funny.”
— Roger Moore
Years ago, some comedian made a joke about the Beverly Hillbillies movie. He quipped that Buddy Ebsen was the Sean Connery of Jed Clampets, like anyone taking on the role later was somehow lesser. But this article quotes those who disagree:
A.O. Scott, penning for the New York Times, tired at the reminders that Connery was the better one, “real” in so far as these approximations can be. “The Connery consensus seemed like part of a larger baby boomer conspiracy to bully people my age [he's 50] into believing that everything we were too young to have experienced firsthand was cooler than what was right in front of our eyes.”
Sinclair McKay, reviewing Simon Winder’s otherwise compelling The Man Who Saved Britain, also states his allegiance to Camp Moore.  “There was just one error of judgment and it’s a mistake most Bond aficionados make: Winder has little time for Roger Moore, who was in fact the best screen Bond of all.”
I see the James Bond movies as being about a guy who works for a horrible, abusive boss who is openly hostile to him, but his job lets him get away from the office for days at a time, drive around and stay in hotels. In Roger Moore's first James Bond movie, M and Miss Moneypenny barge into his apartment in the middle of the night and start pushing him around in his own house.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Work on your titles for God's sake

I'll say this----Rick Schmidt (author of Feature Filmmaking at Used Car Prices) really needs to work on his titles. None are very inspiring.

Here are his movie titles (most available on Fandor):
A Man, a Woman, and a Killer

1988: The Remake

Emerald Cities

Morgan's Cake

American Orpheus

Blues for the Avatar

Loneliness is Soul

Welcome to Serendipity

Crash My Funeral

Sun and Moon

Maisy's Garden

Chetzemoka's Curse

Release the Head


Rick's Canoe

White Stork is Coming


Tears of Bankers

Sticky Wicket

Here are some much better titles of movies written by Schmidt's erstwhile collaborator, Wayne Wang:
Chan is Missing

Life is Cheap...But Toilet Paper is Expensive

Blue in the Face

Chinese Box

The Center of the World
I don't like the Toilet Paper one, but the others I like okay.

Now, George Kuchar's work was very different. lists 237 movies he directed, and the list is probably incomplete. But here are just a few of his titles. How could anyone not want to see THESE movies:
A Woman Distressed

Lust for Ecstacy

Confessions of Babette

Hold Me While I'm Naked

Corruption of the Damned

Eclipse of the Sun Virgin

Pagan Rhapsody

The Devil's Cleavage

Symphony for a Sinner

The Nocturnal Immaculation

Muffled Darkness

Mecca of the Frigid

The director of A Hard Days Night was talking with a couple of the Beatles. One of the boys asked if he had heard Ringo's odd way of speaking. For example, once, when they had worked late rehearsing, Ringo said, "That was a hard day's night." The director instantly recognized that it would be a great title. The boys dashed off the song that evening.

The title was better than the song. 

Was Anthony Weiner victim of Republican dirty trick?

Weren't there claims at some point that it was all a Russian conspiracy?

Now it's being claimed that Anthony Weiner's teenage sexting case was a Republican dirty trick. The girl was sixteen when she started talking to Weiner, not 15 as she claimed. She was above her state's age of consent, but not the federal age of consent that applied in this case, or the age of consent in New York that also could have applied.. And the girl falsely claimed to be "big fan" of Hillary Clinton when, it's claimed, she celebrated Trump's victory on social media---her father was a Republican with connections to high ranking Republicans in his state, her mother was outraged on social media at the suggestion that Black Lives Matter and her grandmother was a Teabagger.

This is from an article is by Russ Baker who also claims that George H.W. Bush took part in the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan. He claimed that John Hinkley, Jr's, parents cheerfully sacrificed their son so Bush could become president.

The Hill repeated the allegations and Democrats are spreading the story online, but no one has contacted prosecutors or the FBI for comment. And for some reason, Anthony Weiner's lawyer failed to bring any of it up as their client prepares to go to prison.

Read it here:

If it was a "dirty trick", it succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, like Trump's campaign itself.

Somebody should make a movie. A girl's conservative parents push her into sexting a degenerate in the Democratic Party, but the Republican Party turns on her when she falls in love with the big lug.

Anthony Weiner disturbing the peace with a bullhorn while waving the flag of a hostile foreign power.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Roger Moore, RIP

Roger Moore has died at 89.

When I was a kid, I was forced to sit through all the James Bond movies made up to that point. They were playing every Friday night on one of the networks and my brother wanted to see them for some reason. I liked Roger Moore better than Sean Connery. They were about the same age but Moore seemed younger and hipper, perhaps because he had his own hair.

But I didn't really like the movies. Even when I was ten I thought it was absurd that SPECTRE had a far more advanced space program than the U.S. or Soviet Union. The fights weren't exciting, the gadgets were stupid and I didn't understand what women saw in the various James Bonds.

Roger Moore thought it was ridiculous that James Bond was a spy but he walked around with everyone knowing who he was and what he did for a living. He told Dick Cavett that he was on the set of that terrible James Bond movie--the one where he was in Venice in a specially outfitted gondola--and a woman asked him if he was ever going to do a serious movie. He told her how much this movie cost per day of shooting and thought that made it pretty serious, but he said he knew what she was talking about.

Reminds me of Robert Downey Jr responding to a similar question, except Downey had no sense of humor about it.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Brief quote from "Ja Rule"

"That's not fraud, that's not fraud! False advertising, maybe. Not fraud."

--Middle aged ex-convict "Ja Rule" assuring Fyre Media employees that they're not going to prison.

In 2010, Ja Rule had been sentenced to two years in prison for attempted criminal possession of a weapon. In 2011, he was sentenced to an additional 28 months in prison for tax evasion.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Weiner apparently going to prison

Prosecutors are recommending a 20 to 27 month sentence for obnoxious New York Zionist Anthony Weiner.

He should have fled to Israel like I said.

Weiner blubbed as he plead guilty to sending obscene material to a 15-year-old  North Carolina shiksa. 

According to Politico:
A tearful Weiner said his “destructive impulses” led him to send the explicit images, and he admitted to “encouraging her to engage in sexually explicit conduct” in late 2016.
“This fall, I came to grips for the first time with the depth of my sickness," Weiner said, his voice cracking.
"I had hit bottom," he told the judge, and said he began “to take a moral inventory of my defects. … I accept full responsibility for my conduct. I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse.”
 Now he'll be a registered sex offender.

Weiner the Zionist

It's from 2011, but here's an article by Juan Cole on Weiner. He writes:
"A social liberal in American terms, Weiner is so blinded by his allegiance to Israel and so studied in his ignorance of the Middle East that he has played a uniformly sinister role in that aspect of foreign policy."
The article lists things Weiner did that were worst that sexting. He:
1. Called for Columbia University professor Joseph Massad to be fired for being critical of Israel; Weiner thus spearheaded a new McCarthyism.
2. On the Israeli attack, in international waters, on the Mavi Marmara relief ship, Weiner sputtered: “”If you want to instigate a conflict with the Israeli navy it isn’t hard to do. They were offered alternatives. Instead they chose to sail into the teeth of an internationally recognized blockade.” The blockade of Gaza civilians is a breach of international law; it is not internationally recognized and has on the contrary been condemned by almost every nation and human rights organization.
3. Alleged that the New York Times is anti-Israel: “Amnesty International in particular, has always had bias against Israel, and frankly I would argue that in many cases, the New York Times has, as well.”
4. Alleged that the Palestine Liberation Organization is still listed by the US as a terrorist organization. It was dropped from the list over 2 decades ago.
5. Tried to bar the Palestinian delegation to the United Nations from New York.
6. Alleged that Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestine Authority, is not the head of the PLO. He is.
7. Refused to condemn the use by Israel of cluster bombs on the civilian farms of south Lebanon in 2006.
8. Alleged that the Israeli army does not occupy the West Bank and that there is no Israeli Army presence in the West Bank.
9. Called Israel’s war on Gaza a “humane” war. 400 children were killed.
10. Voted for Iraq War authorization in 2002, before later turning against the war.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Clouded Yellow, 1950


Trevor Howard uses his secret agent skills to help Jean Simmons escape an apparently false murder charge.

James Bond movies reportedly boosted the British "Secret Service's" public image, but this movie, made in 1950, was kind of a mixed bag. Trevor Howard is fired for a single mistake and unable to find work because he can't put being a secret agent on his resume, then the Secret Service threatens and spies on him to keep him from revealing any of their secrets. He's forced to work for a wealthy eccentric helping him catalog his butterfly collection. Jean Simmons plays his disturbed niece.

In this thing, Howard can only outsmart the cops up to a point. He karate chops a couple of guys and says Sorry, old chap, as he does it, but that's it. The revelation of who the real killer wasn't much of a surprise and I don't think it was supposed to be.

There were a couple of odd things. At one point, a woman is taking her son to the bathroom on a crowded train and Howard escapes his captors by telling her he'll take the kid for her. He picks him up and carries him away and the mother is happy to let him do it. The other secret service guys are blocked by the crowd. Things were very different back then.

There's a scene where Jean Simmons is on the roof of a tall building. She runs to the edge and barely stops in time. There's no wall or railing to keep her from falling over the side. I don't know if they had some other safety apparatus but it looked terribly dangerous.

I watched this on a cheap Roku channel called "Pub-D-Hub" which carries only public domain movies. Some, like this one, are pretty good, but most are old B movies which are usually terrible. In some cases they use movies they simply recorded off TV---there are couple with the TCM logo in the corner, and some were copied from DVDs with the company logo in the corner. For this one, they had a very good copy from Janus films.