Friday Funny

Number 116 of a series

They want me to purchase their product. I might consider that, but I would not hire their advertising department.

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Your Friend The Handgun

Nothing new here, folks (number 116).

What’s better than encountering an active shooter while you are dining is three active shooters while you are dining.

Armed bystanders kill shooter at Oklahoma City restaurant

You may puzzle at why I am posting this story, since it obviously depicts the argument gun fans posit for arming citizens. Here a bad guy with a gun was thwarted by a good guy with a gun. Actually two good guys with guns. So how is this an anti-gun message.

Stop here for a moment. Who is against guns? You need to look somewhere else to find an anti-gun person. Coming from somebody who used to earn a paycheck by handling stuff that puts handguns in the same league as paper airplanes, that would be a hypocritical position for me to take. What I am opposed to is citizens walking the streets packing heat, and I additionally oppose the idea of having deadly weapons (handguns) much too convenient.

But wasn’t the convenience of handguns (on the part of the two good guys) exactly what solved this active shooter situation? Does somebody really want to argue that point? Examine.

First, a bad guy with a gun creates a deadly situation. All right, a potentially deadly situation, but I’m not giving him points for having a bad aim. Then the deadly situation comes to a conclusion as the bad guy exits the scene.

At this point the two good guys create a second deadly situation, only their aim is dead on, and the situation really is deadly. But what better outcome could you ask for? (you may ask.) Aside from having police arrive immediately and disarm the bad guy, I cannot imagine a better outcome. I can imagine a worse outcome, one of many. And that would be two more good guys with guns getting shot by a bad guy who suddenly finds his handgun’s front sight. Worse, some unlucky citizen getting caught in the amateurish crossfire, and the bad guy making a clean getaway.

For the information of those (that would include me) who have never been in such a situation, the outcome of this matter is less than rosy. Two good guys, heroes that they are, now face problems they never had before. To enumerate:

  • Facing charges of firing off a handgun within the city.
  • Facing charges of second degree homicide.
  • Facing a lawsuit from the bad guy’s kin.
  • Spending several hours out of the ones they have remaining on this planet dealing with the repercussions.
  • Having their gun permits revoked.
  • Having to pay for their own ammunition.

But wait! This series is about people discovering too late that their association with a handgun turned out not to be the walk on a beach they thought it would be. But, who here most regrets his decision to pack heat. Turn back to the news item. The prime loser is Alexander C. Tilghman, 28, of Oklahoma City, who would now be regretting his decision to slap leather, except that he is dead and unable to regret anything.

I don’t know about you folks, but I’m feeling safer already.

People Unclear

This is number 44 of a series

When I run low on issues to post about, I can reliably turn to the matter of people unclear. These are people who leave the impression they were taking a bathroom break when the operating instructions were handed out. Do I poke fun at these people? Yes, I do, and it’s not being cruel. It’s not being cruel when explanation has been provided again and again, and when the facts are clearly laid out but willfully ignored. Shame!

Here’s another one and additional proof that I usually do not conduct my own research. This came by way of Yahoo News, penned by Jack Baer, to whom thanks go for due diligence. The matter concerns Washington State University football coach Mike Leach and his off-kilter Sunday pastime. Here’s from Yahoo News:

Mike Leach spends Father’s Day arguing on Twitter about heavily edited Barack Obama conspiracy video

Mike Leach could have spent his Father’s Day doing so many fun things, like a family dinner or golfing (OK, probably not golfing). Heck, he probably could have just spent the day recruiting like Nick Saban probably did.

Instead, Leach honored the occasion by tweeting out a clearly fake video of Barack Obama and spending hours arguing about it with strangers on the internet [sic].

Whoa! Tweeting out a fake video? Featuring former President Barack Obama? Where’s the news in that? I recall a recent eight-year period when this activity was a nation-wide sport, with points given for originality. Before I go further, take a look at the video:

Since this is a competitive event, I am giving points for the various elements (1 – 5):

  • Originality: 1
  • Execution: 2
  • Difficulty: 1
  • Audacity: 5

If audacity were the only element scored, then Coach Leach would be heading for the playoffs. Writer Jack Baer has more, and it contains some interesting revelations.

First, Coach Leach has 100,000 Twitter followers. Who would have thought? And he shared the video with his 100,000 followers. See? That’s how word gets around.

Second, Mike Leach received push back from a number of the tweetees. An example:

Replying to 

This video is a hoax. This was given and selectively clipped from a speech to the EU in Brussels. Be better than this.

Now for the kicker. Coach Leach punted back:

Replying to 

Prove it. Irrelevant anyway. We are discussing ideas. Do one or the other

Prove it! Prove it? How many ways are there to spell “brass balls?” All that is necessary to “prove it” is to replay the original, unedited speech. Irrelevant? That the video is a fake is irrelevant? Has “irrelevant” been given a new meaning?

In his original tweet, since deleted, Coach Leach introduced the video with these words:

Listen to this. Text your thoughts. There is a lot of disagreement on government, so I think that an open discussion is always in order. Tweet your thoughts. Maybe we can all learn something.

He wants readers to listen up, pay attention. He wants their thoughts. He wants open discussion. For those still unclear, you do not seek open discussion by opening with a lie. As Jack Baer explains, responders presented proof the video was fake. When you are truly unclear, what do you do when  presented with evidence you are truly unclear? You provide additional evidence that you are truly unclear. Here’s another exchange:

Replying to 

He’s speaking about Russian aggression in Ukraine. You cannot say “Discussion” when you’re entire invitation is built on a false premise.

The link is to the unedited speech. The coach elects to dig in:

Replying to 

What is false. Please clarify. Does this ever happen to Trump or any other politicians?!

First, the sentence “What is false” should have been spelled “What is false?” It is supposed to be a question. Then, maybe not. Perhaps Coach Leach does not consider it to be a question. Perhaps he’s making a point. “Who cares what is false?”
Does this ever happen to Trump or any other politicians?!
Double punctuation question mark and exclamation mark. A question shouted out loud and with force. But what does the question mean? Is this actually a statement: “This kind of stuff happens to Trump all the time. And other politicians, besides, so I’m not picking on Obama.” Putting aside whether this should ever be done (fake videos, fake stories) by anybody about anybody, I want to dive into the mind of Coach Leach. How about Trump, and how about how he is treated? Is all this stuff about President Trump fabricated? Is it all fake, a bunch of lies? More so, is any of it fake? Let’s see.

 

Yeah, that will about do it with whether this stuff is fake.

There is more from Jack Baer:

All told, Leach asked Twitter users to “prove it” nine different times (123456789) as he continued to march through the internet battlegrounds, conveniently missing the many people trying to provide him with proof the video he shared was fake.

At one point, Leach asked a Twitter user a point-blank question that essentially summed up the whole exercise: “What’s a fact?

Specifically:

Replying to  

What’s a fact?

And that does it. When you are arguing a point with somebody, and they ask, “What is a fact,” it’s time to throw in the towel. That’s another sports figure of speech, and it means it’s time to quit. You’re wasting your time. You are obviously dealing with somebody unclear.

The matter of questioning fact is a topic covered in two books I finished reading this month:

Here are some pertinent excerpts:

My hope is to capture and share the experience of more than fifty years in the intelligence profession, to impart the pride that intelligence officers take in their work, the care with which they consider the ethical implications of surveillance and espionage, and the patriotism and willingness to sacrifice that they bring to the job. And finally, I intend to show that what Russia did to the United States during the 2016 election was far worse than just another post–Cold War jab at an old adversary. What happened to us was a sustained assault on our traditional values and institutions of governance, from external as well as internal pressures. In the wake of that experience, my fear is that many Americans are questioning if facts are even knowable, as foreign adversaries and our national leaders continue to deny objective reality while advancing their own “alternative facts.” America possesses great strength and resilience, but how we rise to this challenge—with clear-eyed recognition of the unbiased facts and by setting aside our doubts—is entirely up to us. I believe the destiny of the American ideal is at stake.

Clapper, James R.. Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence (p. 4). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Deeply involved in this is the question of truth. It was no accident that the Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year in 2016 was “post-truth,” a condition where objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief. Liberal British academic and philosopher A. C. Grayling characterized the emerging post-truth world to me as “over-valuing opinion and preference at the expense of proof and data.” Oxford Dictionaries president Casper Grathwohl predicted that the term could become “one of the defining words of our time.”

Hayden, Michael V.. The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies (p. 3). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Both of these writers are retired military generals, both worked in military and civilian intelligence for the United States Government. Both consider, rightly, that useful intelligence is based on fact and not on hopes and preferences. When you want to know how many battle tanks the enemy has facing you, you might wish there were only 15, but if there really are 400, then you need to  know this fact. There is evidence we have an administration for which facts are negotiable. Call me concerned.

An additional fact came out of the Yahoo News story, besides the fact that his employer responded to the episode by issuing a statement: “As a private citizen, Mike Leach is entitled to his personal opinions,” the statement said. “Coach Leach’s political views do not necessarily reflect the views of Washington State University students, faculty and staff.” That additional fact is that Coach Leach is the highest paid employee of the state of Washington—$3.5 million.

Quite obviously there are a number of people unclear in the state of Washington.

This is your President speaking.

Number 119 in a

long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Why was the FBI giving so much information to the Fake News Media. They are not supposed to be doing that, and knowing the enemy of the people Fake News, they put their own spin on it – truth doesn’t matter to them!

You tell them, Mr. President. While you still have time.

Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

I reached back 30 years to retrieve this one. From 1988 it’s Eight Men Out, based on the book of the same name by Eliot Asinof. Of course, it’s about the 1919 baseball scandal involving players of the Chicago White Sox, who took money from gamblers and threw the World Series. It’s currently streaming on Hulu, where I obtained these screen shots. Details are from Wikipedia.

Opening shots tend toward sepia, supposedly to reflect the era, 99 years ago. A jazz track overlays the opening credits to enhance the mood. We see two young boys, avid White Sox fans, coins in their fist, ditching a sandlot game to run down to Comiskey Park, home field of the Sox and at the time named after team owner Charles Comiskey (Clifton James). They pay their quarter and take grandstand seats, barely able to see the game over the adult fans, who are constantly on their feet, cheering their team as it clenches the American League championship against the St. Louis Cardinals.

But others in the stands are not so much interested in the game as in the players. They are already looking forward to the World Series and figuring out which Sox players can be compromised. Later in a bar a one-time prize fighter introduces himself to a couple of the Sox players and begins the process of grooming them to throw the game, at the rate of $10,000 per participant.

Nobly assisting the grooming process is Comiskey, notoriously stingy, low-balling players’ salaries (this was decades before free agency). Here he confronts pitcher Eddie Cicotte (David Strathairn). He had promised Cicotte a $10,000 bonus if he won 30 games in the season. But Comiskey pulled Cicotte after he won 29 games and saved himself $10,000.

The schemers find an underwriter for their scam in the person of New York mobster Arnold Rothstein (Michael Lerner). He will front the money to pay off the players, and he will take his profit by laying bets on the National League Cincinnati Reds. But the scammers scam the players, as well. They pay them half in advance, and put the other half out on bets, which half the players will never see in this life.

And the center piece is the Series, best 5 out of 9. In game 1 Cicotte takes revenge on Comiskey by dribbling balls to the Cincinnati batters. Presently the Sox are two  games down, but they catch fire in game 3 and show their true form. Here a Sox fielder snags an inning-ending fly ball and tosses his glove as he prances from the field. It’s a scene I found hard to fathom, since leaving a glove on the field was something never done even in sandlot ball.

Yeah, it’s obvious to any who watched that the Sox were throwing the games. Word of the scheme is afloat, and concerned officials scan the stats as the series progresses, pinpointing where players performed well below expectation.

The Sox lose 3 to 5, and word is out the series was fixed. There is a trial, an odd one at that. Since playing poorly and collaborating with gamblers was not, in itself, a crime at the time, a complaint is lodged against the player by a gambler who lost money betting on the Sox. He claims he was a victim of fraud. Crowds watch as players file in and out of grand jury hearings, and the iconic scene has one of the young fans confronting Shoeless Joe Jackson (D. B. Sweeney) begging “Say it isn’t so, Joe.” Of course this is a bit of fiction. There never was such an encounter. It’s from a headline written by a sports writer at the time.

Surprise! The players are acquitted. No surprise, they are banned from professional baseball for life.

The movie ends as an older Joe Jackson is shown playing amazing ball for a semi-pro team.

Actors were hired for their playing ability and the film features some excellent plays, but you need to wonder how often the actors had to reshoot scenes to get the plays right.

This is your President speaking.

Number 118 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Democrats are the problem. They don’t care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13. They can’t win on their terrible policies, so they view them as potential voters!

Although I do so much appreciate hearing what the president has to say, there are times I wish he would discuss matters related to home-grown criminality.

Dying to Believe

Number 110 in a series

This site features a list of people who died while relying on alternative remedies. One of those is Silvie Cousseau:

Died March 31, 2001; age: 41
Paris, France

Sylvie was diagnosed HIV positive, but pursued alternative treatments for her disease including homeopathy, acupuncture and drinking her own urine. She eventually died of AIDS.

Son of Snake Oil

I may need to  start a new series

First some history. I have a gym membership, and I spend some time on the treadmill. The treadmills come equipped with cable TV, and you can punch in the channel you want. I was strolling and scanning CNN when they went to a commercial break. The first thing that caught my attention was this.

Some call me skeptical, and some call me cynical, but I’m cool with that. No surprise ,the first thing that popped into my mind was the F-word. No, it’s not the word you’re thinking of, but it’s a word you do not use when describing somebody’s business if you don’t want to get sued.

So I watched the ad, and I figured it would show up on YouTube back home, and here it is. Follow the link to watch.

Listening, I caught the correct pronunciation, and it’s re-VI-tive. You purchase one of these things—easy payment terms are offered—and you crank it up and put your feet on it—don’t know if you’re supposed to stand on it—and it sends electrical impulses into your legs, causing your muscles to contract and not, and the result is supposed to be less pain. Assuming you had pain to begin with.

Here’s a guy using it sitting down. The claim is you only need one session a day.

See the image at the top. This is “clinically proven.” Do we know what that means? They don’t elaborate. They do mention—see image number 2 above—the device is “FDA Cleared.” I wondered about that. They have an ad site on the Web, and there is additional language:

FDA Cleared: Giving you peace of mind

OK, not much. Another site was more informative:

What Does “FDA Cleared” Mean?

According to the organization, FDA cleared means that a device has been submitted to the FDA along with a 510(k) premarket notification, showing that it is “substantially equivalent to a device that is already legally marketed for the same use.”

In other words, “FDA cleared” does not mean that the FDA has approved the device, that they’ve confirmed it works as advertised, or that they’ve even tried it in the first place.

The Food and Drug Administration explains more on their site: From there I snooped further and pulled up this document. I have a copy in case this link ever goes stale, and the critical wording is this:

Food and Drug Administration
10903 New Hampshire Avenue
Document Control Center – WO66-G609
Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002

􀆏 John J. Smith, MD, JD
Regulatory Counsel
Hogan Lovells US LLP
Columbia Square 555 13th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004
Re: K143207
Trade/Device Name: Revitive IX (OTC)
Regulation Number: 21 CFR 890.5850
Regulation Name: Powered Muscle Stimulator
Regulatory Class: Class II
Product Code: NGX, NUH
Dated: November 7, 2014
Received: November 7, 2014

Dear Dr. Smith,
We have reviewed your Section 510(k) premarket notification of intent to market the device referenced above and have determined the device is substantially equivalent (for the indications for use stated in the enclosure) to legally marketed predicate devices marketed in interstate commerce prior to May 28, 1976, the enactment date of the Medical Device Amendments, or to devices that have been reclassified in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (Act) that do not require approval of a premarket approval application (PMA). You may, therefore, market the device, subject to the general controls provisions of the Act. The general controls provisions of the Act include requirements for annual registration, listing of devices, good manufacturing practice, labeling, and prohibitions against misbranding and adulteration. Please note: CDRH does not evaluate information related to contract liability warranties. We remind you, however, that device labeling must be truthful and not misleading.
If your device is classified (see above) into either class II (Special Controls) or class III (PMA), it may be subject to additional controls. Existing major regulations affecting your device can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, Parts 800 to 898. In addition, FDA may publish further announcements concerning your device in the Federal Register.
Please be advised that FDA’s issuance of a substantial equivalence determination does not mean that FDA has made a determination that your device complies with other requirements of the Act or any Federal statutes and regulations administered by other Federal agencies. You must comply with all the Act’s requirements, including, but not limited to: registration and listing (21 CFR Part 807); labeling (21 CFR Part 801); medical device reporting (reporting of medical device-related adverse events) (21 CFR 803); good manufacturing practice requirements as set forth in the quality systems (QS) regulation (21 CFR Part 820); and if applicable, the electronic product radiation control provisions (Sections 531-542 of the Act); 21 CFR 1000-1050.
If you desire specific advice for your device on our labeling regulation (21 CFR Part 801), please contact the Division of Industry and Consumer Education at its toll-free number (800) 638-2041 or (301) 796-7100 or at its Internet address
http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ResourcesforYou/Industry/default.htm. Also, please note the regulation entitled, “Misbranding by reference to premarket notification” (21 CFR Part 807.97). For questions regarding the reporting of adverse events under the MDR regulation (21 CFR Part 803), please go to

http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/ReportaProblem/default.htm

for the CDRH’s Office of Surveillance and Biometrics/Division of Postmarket Surveillance.
You may obtain other general information on your responsibilities under the Act from the Division of Industry and Consumer Education at its toll-free number (800) 638-2041 or (301) 796-7100 or at its Internet address

http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ResourcesforYou/Industry/default.htm.

Sincerely yours,

Felipe Aguel -S for
Carlos L. Peña, PhD, MS
Director
Division of Neurological
and Physical Medicine Devices
Office of Device Evaluation
Center for Devices and Radiological Health

I have omitted some uninteresting stuff to leave room for the uninteresting stuff I did not omit. I am sure you are as impressed at the thoroughness of our government agencies as I was upon going through this very professionally-prepared document.

Final analysis: the FDA has not tested this device, and it goes without saying they are not vouching for its effectiveness. Buy it if you wish. Use it if you wish. Complain or don’t complain. Some have (excerpts):

15 Consumer Reviews for Revitive (2.7 on a scale of 1 to 5)

Got scammed by these guys

I tried to place an order yesterday, May 16th, at 3:49 AM and their associate said my order did not go through. I told her to hold while I call Discover and she agreed. I get through to Discover and they said she put two charges on my card for $394. She did not hold one minute to hear this. I called back several times to speak to supervisors and other associates on phone, and now they give me the run around that they do not see my name in their system nor phone number. Two charges pending on my credit card are sure showing up for $394. I have contacted to inform them of their scamming associates. Never will I attempt to do business with this company!

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Swollen leg and ankle.

  • By David Wardley,
  • Auckland, New Zealand,
  • May 12, 2018
  • Verified Reviewer

Swollen right leg and ankle for nearly three years and getting worse. Arthritic right foot too. Leg scan last week showed no clots. Compression socks helped a but slow progress. After only three days of Revitive use while watching the 6 o’clock news, leg calf and ankle is back to normal size, foot is much better too, and pain is gone. Believe it!

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend [gave it 5 stars]

Disappointment

I don’t know if you can say it’s a fake or scam, but it’s not any good if you have much pain. It may help tired feet and legs, but it’s worthless when it comes to diabetic pain. I think it’s way overpriced, and I’d never buy one thinking it was going to help, believe me, I have one built in. I know they will never print this because they know it’s the truth, I’ve been typing this just for fun I guess, but I tried. Good luck, I hope it helps you more than it did me.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend [gave it 1 star]

It may not be the snake oil of legend, but it could pass for the son of snake oil.

Quiz Question

Here’s another one I got off the Internet. Which goes to show I don’t make these up. Don’t go searching the Internet for the solution.

A number of regular pentagons and squares are arranged around the outside of a large blue regular polygon. Just the lower part of the arrangement is shown below.

How many sides does the large blue regular polygon have?

Post your answer as a comment below.

This is your President speaking.

Number 117 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Why was the FBI giving so much information to the Fake News Media. They are not supposed to be doing that, and knowing the enemy of the people Fake News, they put their own spin on it – truth doesn’t matter to them!

Somehow the word is getting out. Must be osmosis.

Don’t drop the soap.

Number 9 in a Series

Facing possibly the rest of your life behind bars? There are a number of things you will need to  keep in mind. One is that you can only go so long before you will need to take a shower. No problem. Just don’t drop the soap.

Screen shots are from MSNBC on YouTube and ABC World News Tonight with David Muir, streaming on Hulu.

Paul Manafort was born on 1 April 1949 (bad omen), making him 69 years old. During these past 69 years he has accumulated a number of notable accomplishments, including a short law career and working for the Gerald Ford,Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Robert Dole, and Donald Trump campaigns. He also did some consulting work for now deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, some of this work involving lobbying the United States government. A problem is that some of the work Manafort performed involved illegal activities, and the FBI has been on his trail for several years.

Come the 2016 election, and American intelligence services, including the FBI became aware that the Russian government was inserting its influence into the process. Time passed, and Donald Trump was elected president, and he fired FBI Director James Comey, who persisted in investigating this stuff. The Deputy Attorney General appointed Robert Mueller as special prosecutor to look into the business behind Comey’s firing and the Russian misdeeds, and Paul Manafort came into his gun sights. Last October Mr. Mueller had enough evidence, and he filed criminal indictments against Manafort. Others were similarly indicted, with some pleading guilty and at least one serving his term and walking out.

Paul Manafort was not one of those to plead, so he remained out of jail on bail, confined to his quarters and wearing two ankle bracelets to track his movements. The problem was they forgot to put ankle bracelets on his cell phone, and shortly the FBI, having obtained a warrant, noticed criminal activity salted among his communications.

Yes, he was caught attempting to influence potential witnesses against him. He wanted them to lie.

Of course, when Robert Mueller’s prosecutors presented evidence of this to federal judge Amy Berman Jackson she laughed it off.

Just kidding. She had some choice remarks relating to what actions she could take.

And she didn’t. She revoked Paul Manafort’s bail and ordered him to jail on Friday, where he has been since. Given his age and given the charges against Paul Manafort, if convicted he will possibly spend the remainder of his life behind bars. President Trump came forth quickly to comment on this obvious miscarriage of justice.

And, we have to wonder why, since Mr. Trump assures us that Paul Manafort was not a major player in his campaign. Here he is with Paul Manafort’s not being a major player in his campaign.

Here is some more of Paul Manafort not being a major player in the Trump campaign.

Here is Paul Manafort not being a major player in the Trump campaign by being the person who brought in Mike Pence as the Donald Trump vice presidential nominee.

Here is President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliano lawyer reminding us how matters will really turn out.

Mr. Giuliani, and possibly Mr. Trump, may be thinking that dangling the promise of a presidential pardon will reassure Paul Manafort and encourage him to keep his mouth shut. This is short on two levels.

  • Paul Manafort is additionally under investigation on state charges in New York. The president cannot pardon somebody from other than federal charges.
  • Once pardoned, Paul Manafort loses his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, since he will no longer be able to incriminate himself. At that point prosecutors can force him to  testify about what he knows relating to the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and any other criminal matter. If he refuses to testify he can be held in contempt of court, and will serve some jail time. If he testifies falsely, he can be prosecuted for perjury.

In any event, Paul Manafort can look forward to the shower experience in the slam. He needs to take care to not drop the soap.

Bad Movie of the Week

One of a series

This seems to be the penultimate of The Falcon franchise, from 1948. About time. It’s Appointment With Murder, featuring John Calvert as Michael Waring, The Falcon. This time the notorious adventurer is working for an insurance company interested in recovering from an $80,000 loss. It runs for 66 minutes, but the plot is unnecessarily intertwined.

The opening shot shows two pairs of shoes, one pair of which is worth noting. I never figured out why women wear these things.

Anyhow, the one in the steeple-jack heels is Lorraine W. Brinckley (Catherine Craig), and she is finishing her walk with shady art dealer Norton Benedict, played by Jack Reitzen. Lorraine is proprietor of Brinckley Art Gallery, and the two examine a valuable painting by Italian artist Andrea Mantegna. Benedict has sold it to Lorraine, and she hands him an envelop with cash. They examine the painting, which appears to be uncatalogued and also wanting a mate, which object is next on  her list to acquire.

Switch to Milan, where The Falcon is also after the Mantegna. He deals with painter and art forger Giuseppe Donatti (Peter Brocco), who claims to  have painted the reproduction he is trying to sell. Donatti’s shady partner, Martin Minecci (Ben Welden), looks on.

Only, Minecci turns up murdered, and The Falcon returns to America with the painting. After an adventure at customs in New York, he journeys on to Los Angeles, where he barges in on Lorraine, seeking to get the two Mantegna’s together for the insurance company.

The plot becomes too involved. The Falcon takes his painting along with Lorraine’s, and he deposits the pair at a baggage check in the train station. He tears the claim tickets in half, and hands Lorraine half the pair. That way the two of them will need to stick together as they seek to find a buyer for the two Mantegnas. The reason for this is not clear. But Lorraine conspires with Benedict to obtain both paintings.

Somebody, apparently Benedict, sends two thugs to abduct The Falcon, and they take him to a warehouse space and proceed to slap him around in an effort to obtain his half of the claim tickets. The Falcon turns the tables on the thugs and escapes in a blazing gunfight.

Benedict and Lorraine go back to the claim check and convince the clerk to hand over the checked items when shown only the torn halves. But The Falcon has been a step ahead. He has checked a bird cage and a bird and has swapped out half of the new claim tickets for those he purloined from Lorraine.

Now Benedict shows his true self, and he resorts to his trusty pistol, which weapon he apparently used on the unfortunate Sr. Donatti. They go back to The Falcon’s hotel to collect the two paintings, The Falcon alerts the police. The desk clerk gets involved and is killed in an exchange of gunfire. The police arrive and subdue Benedict as he attempts to make an escape with The Falcon as a hostage.

The Falcon returns the two paintings to the insurance company, and he hands a wire recording he has made that will show Benedict’s culpability and also will exonerate Lorraine. And that is very much the plot, though I left out a few details.

What’s wrong with the movie is the whole lot of foolishness put forth as a plot. Here it is.

An Italian count had the two paintings. He claims they were lost in the war (Italy lost). The insurance company paid off on the claim. Now the company wants its money back, because the paintings are being returned to the count. That’s not the way it works. First, this is a war casualty, which claims are typically not covered by insurance policies. Second, The insurance company has the paintings, and they want the count to return the money he was paid. But that’s not the way it works. When an insurer covers a loss, the client gets to keep the money. If the company can recover the loss, then they own the recovered item. It’s up to the insurance company to recover their loss by disposing of the recovered item.

The Falcon is working for the insurance company. Early in the movie he and Lorraine have both paintings. That should have been the end of the movie. Aha! The paintings were stolen. We have them. Call the police. Seize the paintings. Hand them over to the insurance company. The movie is over. For reasons not made clear The Falcon wants to enter into a scheme with Lorraine to pair the two paintings and sell them for more than $80,000. That’s crazy.

The Falcon goes to Milan to meet up with Donatti. He has the other Mantegna, which he claims to have painted himself. How does  this painting later turn out to be a real Mantegna?

When The Falcon arrives at Donatti’s studio, there is a gorgeous American model posing. The Falcon makes a dinner date with here. We later see he never keeps the date.

When The Falcon is in Donatti’s studio, Donatti and Minecci endeavor to speak English. They continue to speak English when they are alone without The Falcon.

During the flight back to America, another passenger contrives to slip contraband into The Falcon’s valise. But The Falcon gets wise and turns the smuggler in to the customs agents. This is a pointless side bar to the plot, having nothing to do with the story.

The Falcon slips the hotel clerk a note telling him to alert the police. The clerk phones the police from the back room and then engages Benedict in a gun fight and is killed. Nothing more is said about the poor clerk, whose body lies ever more stiff on the floor while the movie continues toward an end.

It is obvious Lorraine has conspired with the murderous Benedict to double-cross The Falcon, but in the end he absolves her of any complicity, and the two go off together for a night on the town. Yeah, let’s hope he never turns his back on her in the future.

Like I said, the plot is just crazy.

This is your President speaking.

Number 116 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Wow, what a tough sentence for Paul Manafort, who has represented Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other top political people and campaigns. Didn’t know Manafort was the head of the Mob. What about Comey and Crooked Hillary and all of the others? Very unfair!

Tough break, Mr. President. It’s a good thing you didn’t hire crooked campaign managers the way the Democrats did.

People Unclear

This is number 43 of a long series

This series is dedicated to the few who continue to have trouble with some of basic facts.

One thing I like about Facebook is the way it daily brings me snippets of news as well as some opposing views. One thing I do not like about Facebook is the way it mangles conversations, making them difficult to follow and to continue. My way of dealing with the problem is to snapshot the conversation and lay it out for analysis in a blog post. This is one.

It started off when Dan posted the following:

June 11 at 1:27pm ·

It’s so sad to me that people like Maher, “Stewart*,” Madcow, Matthews, etc have such sway with the REAL “bitter clingers,” those of the left (collecto-fascist) bent.

(* not his real last name – his family members are big on Wall St. & he didn’t want that associated with his TV persona)

Here on FB, I’m in touch with people I knew when we were kids.Those who were the angriest, most bitter, and most snooty (and snotty) are all rabid leftists. One used to be shy and gently, but here she is just as angry and bitingly sarcastic… and irrationally Trump-hating.

More puzzling is that several of them grew up in millionaire-plus households. Several of them married into big money as well. I itch to ask them: “WTH do YOU have to be angry about?”

I don’t mind if someone doesn’t like this or that policy or comment from Trump. There’s plenty of that to go around. But why wishing his family a fiery death? Why fly off the handle at someone who disagrees?

Maybe one of you therapists out there can figure it out. I can’t.

Some analysis is in order. Start with Dan’s first sentence.

It’s so sad to me that people like Maher, “Stewart*,” Madcow, Matthews, etc have such sway with the REAL “bitter clingers,” those of the left (collecto-fascist) bent.

Maher is, of course, comedian Bill Maher, and Stewart is comedian Jon Stewart. I am supposing “Madcow” stands in for Rachel Maddow, who does commentary on MSNBC. Matthews is Chris Matthews, who has a talk show on MSNBC. Past this point Dan loses me with terms like “bitter clingers” and “collecto-fascists.” Clarification requested.

Dan is correct that Stewart was not his original surname, he being from an east European family. Anyhow, there is more to the conversation. After some back and forth, Dan issues forth with this, responding to Robert.

Robert: I see that as a justification only for doing away with the evil, violent, confiscatory, deadly gangs called ‘govenment” and turning to voluntary, competitive organizations to accomplish the few things that need done by large organizations.

Illustrating one of the reasons I look forward to posts by Dan. Spellings and grammar are from the original. I copy and paste from Facebook. More from Dan.

Ricky: I think that’s what mystifies me. We’ve had presidents who have raped women IN the White House, caused murders from assassinations to genocide, and have foisted awful programs upon this country’s children.

Another quality of Facebook postings. Scandalous statements without qualification, elaboration, justification, or corroboration. Plus more in the same vein. But the “… here she is just as angry and bitingly sarcastic… and irrationally Trump-hating” bit caught my attention. I (belatedly) weighed in with a heavy dose of sarcasm:

John Blanton I object to all these people pointing fingers at Trump and running him down. That’s my job.
https://skeptic78240.wordpress.com/…/the-golden-shower-33/Manage

Adding a link to a previous blog post. I will give Dan’s response and explain his references to the blog post.

  1. You make some good points, e.g. the political tool used by both iaginary parties: “Whataboutism.”
  2. It’s ironic that you hold Clapper up as an icon of truth. He was CAUGHT publicly lying to us and Congress about the NSA spying on us.
  3. Not to worry, since it’s just one party, neither Clapper, nor Hillary, nor (convicted) Holder, nor (caught) Menendez, nor (admitted) Comey and Lynch will be charged, let alone indicted, let alone tried, let alone convicted.
  4. Being among the elites, all those listed MUST go through those steps to do prison time, unlike us mundanes, who merely need suspicion by a member of the ruling class to be captured, bound, hooded and jetted off to Gitmo… or worse… never to be heard from again.
  5. I did get a kick out of your “focused skepticism,” which ignored that the supposed “Russian hacking” of the DNC was most iikely a huge leak to Wikileaks.
  6. Even in your analysis, none of the contents of those emails is questioned. Not even whether there’s one stick of evidence of Russian hacking, let alone “collusion” (which is not a crime).
  7. The DNC has never disavowed the veracity of those leaked emails’ contents, they just questioned where they came from.

Nice use of “golden shower,” to revitalize the debunked Russian hooker story about Trump!

As usual, the politicians and pundits, including of course supposed comedian John Oliver, don’t discuss real issues. Instead they waste OUR time on the real Pissing Contest.

Someday… I’m SURE I’ll see some unbiased skepticism from you. I have faith in you!

Ignoring Dan’s point number 1 — “2. It’s ironic that you hold Clapper up as an icon of truth. He was CAUGHT publicly lying to us and Congress about the NSA spying on us.”

I responded in a follow-up. When James Clapper’s statements first popped up on TV it was apparent what had happened. Senator Ron Wyden asked James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, a question that would have been difficult to answer in an unclassified briefing. Clapper knew about NSA’s collection of American telephonic meta data, which is records from phone companies about what number called what number and when and for how long. The fact the NSA was doing this was a secret matter, and Clapper would have been prosecuted for revealing it. However, what Wyden asked was whether NSA was collecting dossiers on American citizens. This the NSA was not doing, and that was the question that he answered. If he had declined to answer the question for reasons of national security, then that would be a revelation that NSA was monitoring phone traffic, again violating the laws concerning national secrets.

I previously treated this matter back when it surfaced, reminding readers that expectations of privacy are oversold.

Did I mention how much I enjoyed “you hold Clapper up as an icon of truth?” Creating a new definition for the term “icon of truth,” to  which I respond, “Really?” A review of of the post Dan refers to shows the James Clapper references comprise three excerpts from his recent book.

The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations. The recent disclosures of alleged hacked e-mails on sites like DCLeaks.com and WikiLeaks and by the Guccifer 2.0 online persona are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process.

Clapper, James R.. Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence (p. 352). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

We knew now that the Russians had thousands of Twitter accounts and tens of thousands of bots that posted more than a million tweets. They posted more than a thousand videos on YouTube with days of streaming content. Facebook has said Russian content reached 126 million of its American users—an astonishing number, considering that only 139 million Americans voted.

Clapper, James R.. Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence (p. 395). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

In April, Mr. Trump first used the phrase “lying, crooked Hillary” to refer to his likely opponent in the primary election. RT, Fox News, and paid and unpaid trolls across social media latched on to the moniker. Russia and the Trump campaign seemed to be quite in sync, but that didn’t necessarily mean they were colluding—coordinating their efforts behind closed doors. They may simply have had a lot in common: a strong dislike for both the Washington political establishment and Hillary Clinton personally; a proclivity for social media, particularly Twitter, which meant they’d end up sharing each other’s ideas on the internet [sic]; and a genuine delight in wallowing in conspiracy theories.

Clapper, James R.. Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence (p. 334). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

An examination of the text reveals there is no need  to hold James Clapper up as an icon of truth, since the statements in the book are verifiably true, whether General Clapper made the statements or not. So much for icons of truth.

3. Not to worry, since it’s just one party, neither Clapper, nor Hillary, nor (convicted) Holder, nor (caught) Menendez, nor (admitted) Comey and Lynch will be charged, let alone indicted, let alone tried, let alone convicted.

That’s a bit to swallow. Passing over “Clapper” and “Hillary,” otherwise not elaborated, there is “nor (convicted) Holder,” which I am still trying to figure out. Is Dan implying former Attorney General Eric Holder has been convicted of something? I need Dan to clear this up for me.

The matter of “(caught) Menendez” is more clear. Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey without a doubt had questionably dealings, for which he came to face a federal indictment. Not convicted, he continues to hold office and is running for re-election this year.

Neither does Dan spell out the details of “nor (admitted) Comey and Lynch.” Real life issues with former Director of the FBI James Comey and Attorney General Loretta Lynch are newsworthy, but there is nothing in either case approaching criminal activity. A report released just recently faults Director Comey for bad judgment in his public handling of the investigation into the Hillary Clinton emails. Particularly, his missteps are credited for swinging the 2016 election to Donald Trump. Loretta Lynch’s fault was having a private conversation with President Bill Clinton during the time Mrs. Clinton was being investigated (emails). If Dan thinks these are indictable offenses, then both of us need to polish off our passports and head for Cape Verde, which does not have an extradition treaty with the United States.

4. Being among the elites, all those listed MUST go through those steps to do prison time, unlike us mundanes, who merely need suspicion by a member of the ruling class to be captured, bound, hooded and jetted off to Gitmo… or worse… never to be heard from again.

I will pass on that and give Dan an opportunity to provide additional thoughts.

5. I did get a kick out of your “focused skepticism,” which ignored that the supposed “Russian hacking” of the DNC was most iikely a huge leak to Wikileaks.

The presumption, based on how I read Dan’s comments, is that the Russian government was not behind the hacking of the DNC correspondence, which emails were later distributed by WikiLeaks. Were Dan to research the matter a bit deeper he would learn there is factual basis for Russian (government) involvement. For example:

The U.S. Intelligence Community concluded that some of the genuine leaks that Guccifer 2.0 has said were part of a series of cyberattacks on the DNC were committed by two Russian intelligence groups.[12][13][14][15][16][17] This conclusion is based on analyses conducted by various private sector cybersecurity individuals and firms, including CrowdStrike,[18][19] Fidelis Cybersecurity,[19][20] Fireeye‘s Mandiant,[19] SecureWorks,[21] ThreatConnect,[22] Trend Micro,[23] and the security editor for Ars Technica.[24] The Russian government denies involvement in the theft,[25] and “Guccifer 2.0” denied links to Russia.[26][27] WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said that multiple parties had access to DNC emails and that there was “no proof” that Russia was behind the attack.[28] According to various cybersecurity firms and U.S. government officials, Guccifer 2.0 is a persona that was created by Russian intelligence services to cover for their interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.[29][30] In March 2018, Special Counsel Robert Mueller took over investigation of Guccifer 2.0 from the FBI while it was reported that forensic determination had found the Guccifer 2.0 persona to be a “particular military intelligence directorate (GRU) officer working out of the agency’s headquarters on Grizodubovoy Street in Moscow”.[31]

The Wikipedia entry for Guccifer 2.0 provides links to its sources, which sources Dan may want to dive into were he to have real interest in whether the statements are factual.

Dan says that “Russian hacking of the DNC was most iikely [sic] a huge leak to Wikileaks [sic].” Apparently it was both. The DNC mail system was penetrated by outside agents, paid for by the Russian government. The load of emails was then given to WikiLeaks, which took some time to verify them, following which it released them to the world. It released them in a drip by drip manner to most embarrass the Democrats.

6. Even in your analysis, none of the contents of those emails is questioned. Not even whether there’s one stick of evidence of Russian hacking, let alone “collusion” (which is not a crime).

I will touch on the matter of the email contents next, addressing first the matter of collusion being a crime. Working with (collusion) the Russian government is not a crime. What would be a crime is for an American party to solicit and employ the force of a foreign government to further a campaign. Refer to 11 CFR 110.20:

11 CFR 110.20 – Prohibition on contributions, donations, expenditures, independent expenditures, and disbursements by foreign nationals (52 U.S.C. 30121, 36 U.S.C. 510).

The motivation behind this and related legal codes is that the American electoral process could be completely undone if foreign governments, even foreign nationals, were allowed to participate by providing material aid. An American political party might spend $500,000 and up to secure the election of a president. With the backing of the Russian national treasury, that amount could be easily swamped.

To be sure, the leaked emails were real. The Democratic Party leadership dealt harshly and some would say unfairly internally, and the leak of these doings did them great damage. The Russians did not want the Democrats (Clinton) to win the election, and they had great motivation to swing the election away from Clinton and eventually toward Trump once he became the nominee. Anybody finding fault with this analysis is invited to debate the issue with me, but they will need  to bring facts and not idle speculation.

7. The DNC has never disavowed the veracity of those leaked emails’ contents, they just questioned where they came from.

True. See above.

Dan concludes:

Nice use of “golden shower,” to revitalize the debunked Russian hooker story about Trump!

As usual, the politicians and pundits, including of course supposed comedian John Oliver, don’t discuss real issues. Instead they waste OUR time on the real Pissing Contest.

Someday… I’m SURE I’ll see some unbiased skepticism from you. I have faith in you!

Dan is correct in my use of the “Golden Shower.” This is a bit of tawdry gossip featured prominently in the Steele dossier, and I enjoy so much bringing it up that I have a series of postings, 33 and counting, of these. As I say, I keep bringing the matter up to throw in the face of those who voted for Donald Trump, hoping it will be their last vision as they lie dying. And no, it has not been debunked. If Dan wants to claim it has been, then he is invited to state his case. This appears to be an additional point on which he is unclear.

Regarding comedian John Oliver, yes he is funny, and, in case somebody asks, no he is not a certified authority on anything. However, the episode of his show, “Last Week Tonight,” which I cited in my Golden Shower posting, is based on verifiable fact. It consists largely of video clips showing people saying and doing the things Oliver says they said and did. Dan is invited to refute any of the statements made on the show. And yes, Oliver is discussing real issues. Fox Network is campaigning heavily for the Trump administration, their activities not being limited to issuing true statements. Oliver does not waste our time. He is funny, vulgar, and factual. You want something more?

Finally, regarding a “pissing contest,” Dan is unclear on this point. The definition of a pissing contest is where two people face each other and piss on each other. Nobody wins. This is not one of those cases. What we see is Oliver pissing on some people who are in no position to piss back.

And that’s my short analysis of Dan’s comments. Once again I show my generous nature. And may Jesus have mercy on my soul.

Bad Joke of the Week

One of a continuing series

So, this was a long time ago, and I met this women, and I went over to her apartment with the idea of taking her out to dinner. When I got there she was not quite ready to go, so I sat on the couch in the living room of her apartment.

She had this little dog there, and he wanted to play. I threw his ball across the room, and he would fetch it and bring it back to me. I did that a couple of times, and the ball bounced out the window. The little dog went right after it, five stories up.

I was sitting there, wondering how to break it to the woman, when she came out and said, “Let’s go.” She didn’t notice the dog was missing.

So, as we were getting in my car to go, I thought a bit, and I turned to her. I said, “I couldn’t help but notice that your little dog seemed very depressed.”

Don’t drop the soap.

Number 8 in a Series

Screen shots from World News Tonight with David Muir streaming on Hulu

In case you were waiting for the other shoe to drop…

Extending the play on metaphors, this train appears to be coming into the station. Last night on ABC World News Tonight with David Muir, the lead story was Trump lawyer Michael Cohen. We (I) never heard of Cohen until the matter of porn star Stormy Daniels (Stephanie Clifford) began to appear above the fold. I had hoped the terms “porn star” and “President of the United States” would not occur in the same sentence until I had time to catch my breath, but I seem to have lost control of events. Who would have known a one-night stand could have such legs?

Anyhow, Cohen, President Trump’s lawyer, fixer, and close associate for over ten years paid Ms. Clifford $130,000 not to tell everybody in the world about a one-time poke in the sack with Mr. Trump—this just days before voters surged in historic numbers to elevate Mr. Trump to the highest office in the land. Matters have gone downhill since.

Clifford began to figure she had been engineered, such connivance being between Cohen and her own lawyer Keith M. Davidson. She hired a new lawyer, Michael Avenatti. Avenatti’s aggressive prosecution of the case led him to perform intense investigation, which turned up more than anybody bargained for. Besides colluding with Davidson to stifle Clifford, Cohen had been involved in bunches of other dirty doings, some of which crossed the line into prosecutable offense. Came the time when federal investigators obtained a warrant to dig into Cohen’s business dealings.

President Trump was visible upset, and he likened the treasure hunt to McCarthyism. Here he is denouncing for the cameras.

As the pressure continued to build, Cohen vowed he would always remain loyal to President Trump. Here he is asserting his deathless loyalty. “I will do anything to protect Mr. Trump.”

Except go to jail, apparently.

Yeah, dudes, time to get fitted for stripes, and also time keep in mind sage advice I have offered all along. Don’t drop the soap.

Your Friend The Handgun

Nothing new here, folks (number 115).

 

What is important is for you to have the right to protect your family. So far, so good:

The triple homicide that stemmed from the Tuesday night shooting on Quinlan Court has been ruled a murder-suicide, Springfield Police Chief Lee Graf said Wednesday:

  • Eric Sirons shot his wife, Jennifer, and stepdaughter Andrea Heiser before shooting himself
  • A handgun used in the killings was found in the home
  • The couple was going through a divorce

If Mr. Sirons left a note thanking Wayne LaPierre, nobody has been able to find it.

This is your President speaking.

Number 115 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

So funny to watch the Fake News, especially NBC and CNN. They are fighting hard to downplay the deal with North Korea. 500 days ago they would have “begged” for this deal-looked like war would break out. Our Country’s biggest enemy is the Fake News so easily promulgated by fools!

This is from somebody who knows fake news.

Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

This is one I missed when it came out. It’s Sleepers from 1996, featuring such notables as Kevin BaconRobert De NiroDustin Hoffman., and Brad Pitt. It’s streaming on Amazon Prime Video, allowing me to get these screen shots. Details are from  Wikipedia. This is a crime, social justice, courtroom drama, with a story going back to 1966. It takes two and a half hours to run, so I had to wait for some serious slack time to watch it.

Four kids grow up in Hell’s Kitchen in Manhattan, which I will explain later. Suffice it to say, in those days this was not the toniest place in town. It’s also the setting for West Side Story.

Anyhow, the place is the definition of multi-ethnicity, with scads of Italians, Hispanics, Jews, maybe some Irish, but I couldn’t tell. The four pals live in the streets, and about the time their hormones are beginning to kick in their lives go to shit in single day. They hit upon the grand idea of ripping off a hot-dog vendor, and they end up making off with his cart. When the cart goes down the steps to the subway and puts a man in the hospital the law cracks down on them with a vengeance.

They are sent to Wilkinson Home for Boys, a place in upstate New York that is dressed out as a prep school but is in in actuality Attica writ small. The guards brutalize the boys, employing beatings and sodomy. One boy who helps in a scheme to humiliate the guards in a touch football match is beaten to death. The boys remain quiet, under threat of retaliation, and they vow to carry their debasement to their deaths.

But one, Michael, has taken an interest in The Count of Monte Cristo, the story a man, falsely imprisoned, who escapes and plots vengeance.

Thirteen years after they get out it’s 1981, and two of the boys are hardened criminals, one with a record of multiple murders. The two are in a pub one evening when they spy the key guard, Sean Nokes (Bacon). They sit themselves across the table from him, introduce themselves, and shoot him multiple times.

Unfortunately,  there are multiple witnesses, and the men are put on trial for second degree murder. One of the kids, Shakes (Jason Patric), has grown up to become a newspaper reporter. Another, Michael (Brad Pitt), is now a prosecuting attorney, and he wrangles the job of prosecuting his two pals. The back history of the four is secret due to their age at the time of their crime, so Shakes’ scheme is to get the two killers off and also to work justice on the Wilkinson Home and its guards. He arranges for washed-up lawyer Danny Snyder (Hoffman) to defend the killers. His scheme is to throw the case.

A part of the scheme is to bring back one of the guards, a friend of Nokes, to testify as a character witness for the victim. Snyder has all the dope on the Wilkinson guards, and his cross-examination eviscerates the corrupt Wilkinson culture.

Additionally, a friendly priest (De Niro) testifies he was attending a Nicks game with the two killers at the time of the crime. The killers are not convicted, and after the trial they meet for the final time in their lives. Within a few years both the killers are dead from their life styles.

It’s an interesting story and one that could have been told in less than two hours, but I had the time. As a historical  note it’s the tale of a place whose time has passed. Hell’s Kitchen came to my attention while I was still in high school and before West Side Story. Out of high school and in the Navy, I got a glimpse of Hell’s Kitchen when my ship docked on the Hudson shore. One of the guys in my division was from the neighborhood, and he went by for a visit and got knifed.

A few years later I was back, doing some work at the Post Office building nearby, and we would sometimes wonder over to Manganaro’s for lunch. This was in the early 1970s, and at the time it was not a place you wanted to be alone or after dark.

Times have changed:

Since the early 1990s, the area has been gentrifying, and rents have risen rapidly. Located close to both Broadway theaters and the Actors Studio training school, Hell’s Kitchen has long been a home to learning and practicing actors, and, in recent years, to young Wall Street financiers.

It does take some of the spice out of the story.