One of my favorite films ever.

B&W | 1h 34min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

DIRECTOR: Richard Brooks
WRITERS: Gore Vidal (screenplay), Paddy Chayefsky (play)
MUSIC: Andre Previn
CAST: Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine, Debbie Reynolds, Barry Fitzgerald, Rod Taylor

Bronx NYC mid-1950s.

Jane (Reynolds), the only daughter of the working-class Irish Hurleys--Tom (Borgnine) and Aggie (Davis)-- decides to marry her middle-class boyfriend Ralph (Taylor) within 5 days. They would prefer to elope, much to the pleasure of her taxi driver father who has been planning to spend his life's savings to buy his own cab. But, before long, neighborhood gossip about a possible pregnancy and social pressures to impress the well-to-do future in-laws cause Mrs Hurley to snow-bal the plans into an expensive, fully-catered affair for 200 guests. This leads to much anxiety for Jane, dashed hopes for Tom and conflict between the betrothed couple themselves.

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Watched it last night.

It is a story for the ages. Brings together a ton of once-vague urban knowledge into a coherent history lesson.

Many of the real life mob players we'd heard about as kids (Joey Gallo, Tony Pro, Hofffa, etc.) were finally explored more deeply for wider audiences. (actually Hoffa has been done on film a couple of times before...but this was a new interpretation).

There were some problems with the casting (Scorcese should have used a different actor (like Leo DiCaprio) as the younger version of Frank Sheeran. Sadly, DeNiro's aging body was just too old (not nimble enough) for the younger scenes, especially when whacking punks with is .38 Special or stomping on someone who touched his daughter. He even looked like a grandpa holding a steering wheel in scenes where he is supposed to be in his 30s.

Al Pacino was terrific as Hoffa. Same for Joe Pesci as Russell Bufalino. The always good mob actor Stephen Graham as Tony Pro. Graham and Pacino got into some very funny scraps a couple of times.

Lots of fun cameos by famous people: Little Steve Van Zandt as Jerry Vale, Bo Dietl as Hoffa's underling, Ray Romano as a mob lawyer, Father John Morris (of Fox News) as Frank's priest and last confessor.

Needs to be watched as a miniseries to absorb all the info. I am going to watch it again in a few parts.

The only thing that is still nagging me is this: The story ends with Frank refusing to confess the true story to anyone. If he died with those secrets, then how did this story get told?

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Jane Austen and Base-Ball

Tonight watching Jane Austen's "Northanger Abbey" on PBS and in the opening scene I was fascinated to see a game of "base ball" being played by English kids in 1797. So I Googled "Northanger Abbey" and found this paragraph:

"It was not very wonderful that Catherine, who had nothing heroic about her, should prefer cricket, base-ball, riding on horseback, and running about the country at the age of fourteen, to books."

This was not the first time I had heard the game of base ball mentioned during the colonial years in UK and US.

Years ago, i'd also read that President John Adams once wrote to a friend about playing a form of base ball when he was child growing up in Massachusetts in the 1740-50s:

"Mornings, noon and nights, making and sailing boats, in swimming, in skating, flying kites and shooting, in marbles, ninepins, BAT AND BALL, football, quoits, and wrestling."

At the time of Adams' youth the game may have been called "ONE OLD CAT" in his neighborhood.

So, I did some additional poking this evening and it turns out the story of Abner Doubleday as inventor and Cooperstown as the site are both unsubstantiated. A double-edged fairy tale. I am attaching a 1983 article from American Heritage magazine in the comments below which explains the reason we got railroaded with this hoax by three men with personal agendas.

According to the article:

"The blame can be placed primarily on three men: Albert Goodwill Spalding, the sporting goods magnate; Stephen C. Clark, an extremely wealthy resident whose chief goal in life was the promotion of tourism in Cooperstown; and Abner Graves, a ne’er-do-well who liked seeing his name in the paper. The three men never knew one another."

The three men hyped a fundraising campaign to build a museum in their town and hoodwinked both Ford Frick (National League President) and Judge Keensaw Mountain Landis (Commissioner of MLB) to endorse it, despite more cogent evidence pointing to other historical origins of the game.




Categories: History, Baseball

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Film Review: The Remains of the Day (1993)

PG | 2h 14min | Drama, Romance | 19 November 1993 (USA)

DIRECTOR: James Ivory
WRITERS: Kazuo Ishiguro (novel), Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (screenplay)
CAST: Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, James Fox, Christopher Reeve, Hugh Grant

SYNOPSIS: A butler who sacrificed body and soul to service in the years leading up to World War II realizes too late how misguided his loyalty was to his lordly employer.

Mr. Stevens really wasted his life.
The lesson for him was he should have permitted himself to give into to his own feelings, convictions and personal needs even while serving Lord Darlington.


The most painful scene for me was the night Miss Kenton wanted to know what book he was reading and he backed into a corner to keep it away from her. Even when she moved in close to take the book from him he remained withdrawn, confused, embarrassed, repressed. If he had kissed her it would have changed everything for them. Or maybe she should have kissed him?

I certainly hope that this was not a common syndrome among service people at that time. If so, it is tragic. But I think this really did occur. Which is part of Ishiguro's brilliance. He explores human stagnation at the simplest level.

Hugh Grant in one of his first roles. He is so young you hardly recognize him.

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Find What You Love and Let It Kill You

Categories: Passion, Bukowski

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The Courage to Be Unpopular

Categories: Political Correctness, Rugged Individualism

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Book Review: THE IRON HEEL (1908) by Jack London

"The Iron Heel" (1908) was author Jack London's (White Fang, Call of the Wild) socialist manifesto set in a futuristic dystopia. It is widely credited as being THE FIRST "dystopoian novel"...influencing George Orwell (Animal Farm & 1984), Aldous Huxley (Brave New World) and Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged).

Given the work-place horrors of the 2nd Industrial Revolution (1880s-1920s), it is easy to understand the Labor-centric ideals of writers from this era. London, a San Francisco-based thinker, hung out with lots of socialists. They sure had a bone to pick with industry back then. But today's liberals (during the era of OSHA, for Pete's sake) are still swimming in the same vat of hate and willful ignorance.

The supreme irony here is that most of London's predictions of the fall of capitalism (by the 1930s) never materialized and (since he died in 1916) he never even saw how U.S. industry won 2 world wars.

But one prophecy that DID materialize (sort of) was the rise of a fascist oligarchy that would rule and oppress labor (industrial and agrarian) and the middle class. I say "sort of" b/c he did not think that the oligarchs would emerge from his own, beloved socialist left!

Also, he predicted that the oligarchs would build a magnificent city called Asgard where the wealthy class could live in splendor while the proletariat would live in poverty. Sounds a lot like today's San Francisco.

-Nick P

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Film Review: Silverado (1985)

I just realized that I have attempted nearly 8 times over the years but have never been able to watch Lawrence Kasdan's SILVERADO (1985) all the way through. Something about it never seemed quite right to me. And then I got to thinking last night: "Hmmm. A western that has ONLY liberals in the cast doesn't feel like and authentic western to me."

The cast is a bunch of lightweights and Commies.
Danny Glover? Kevin Kline? Jeff Goldblum? Linda Hunt? Roseanna Arquette?
And Scott Glenn, Brian Dennehy and Kevin Costner are all liberals pretending to be conservative tough guys. If you were opening a Pizzeria, would you hire a bunch of vegan chefs?

So, I had it on for over 90 minutes last night. I just listened to it as I was blogging and it DID NOT EVEN SOUND LIKE a Western. Just a lot of preachy, touchy-feely crap about feelings and do-goody liberal bull-shit. 2 hours of pure virtue-signaling.

The characters talked like Ivy League lawyers about the horrors of all sorts of discrimination.
A horse opera with modern-day "woke" morality.
Like an episode of West Wing in 1880s cowboy costumes.

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Greta Thunberg - Sniveling Liberal Progeny

Why do liberals think it's OK to put a 16 year old into the spotlight as a professional authority on science? Would a marine grunt dictate orders to an audience of superior officers? Would a pre-med student criticize a convention of brain surgeon's on their technique? Our world is upside down.

It seems like they incubate these creeps in a placental soup of hate. So that they emerge from the womb with acerbic dispositions and an air of discontented hubris: Irrational, entitled, juvenile, condescending, ignorant and disgusting.

Categories: Caricature

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The All-State Guy

We all know why All-State Insurance keeps pushing the All-State guy. After what seems like an eternity (16 years), this cat is still going strong.

Pure & Simple: It is virtue-signaling and Political Correctness.

All-State is run by Liberal Zealots.
To them, the majority of Americans are just dumb white folks who need an hourly dosage of racial sensitivity training to re-calibrate our white privilege.

Eventually we are all supposed to feel better about ourselves by letting the authoritative-sounding black man (with a deep voice) talk down to us 30 times a day. He knows more about everything than we could possibly ever hope to understand. He is like god on Earth. Like Obama.

The "Obama syndrome" in perpetuity.

Most TV spokesmen have a shelf-life of 3-5 years. Longer if they are playing themselves in more serious situations. Actor Dennis Haysbert has been doing this tired gig since 2003. 16 years is unheard of, especially when it is just a running joke. Jokes get tired after 2 or 3 years. So something else is going on here.

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