Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Saturday, June 17, 2017
LOOK AT ME, EVERYONE! YOU NEVER HEARD OF ME BEFORE? I'm gonna be another Rudy Giuliani. I'm gonna be FAMOUS. The fighting D.A. I could become MAYOR. Maybe even GOVERNOR of PENNSYLVANIA. How about PRESIDENT? LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!
Kevin Steele took a case that the previous D.A. refused to prosecute, a case that was ten years stale, that involved someone who already settled a civil complaint that was sealed...and brought it back into the spotlight. It was a spotlight he hogged.
And now that he LOST, because NOT proving your case is a LOSS, this guy has vowed to have a retrial.
Camille Cosby this morning: “How do I describe the district attorney? Heinously and exploitively ambitious." She added, “How do I describe the judge? Overtly arrogant in collaborating with the district attorney.”
Remember, this case was SETTLED TEN YEARS AGO. You don't have to be married to Bill Cosby, or even be a fan of Cosby, to agree with "exploitively ambitious."
Many believe Cosby is guilty of abuses against women, just as Capone was guilty, just as O.J. was guilty. They got Capone on tax evasion. They got Simpson for making threats on somebody who apparently was illegally selling some of his memorabilia. People cheered that Capone and Simpson got jail time somehow. But can one cheer if the charge is trumped up, and a mockery of the law? Can anyone be delighted when a district attorney and a judge simply push and kick logic and integrity to the dirt in order to become famous for a witch hunt? Trying a case that was already settled is bad enough, but to demand a retrial?
Retrial is usually for a dire murder case, and even then, it doesn't always happen.
There are dozens, hundreds, maybe thousands of cases where there was no retrial and the offense was not digital penetration ten years ago, but murder. Maiming. Arson. And the evidence was fresh and clear.
"Exploitively ambitious?" That seems to describe Kevin Steele. It doesn't describe other prosecutors. Where was the prosecutor to demand a trial and prison time for an actual rapist who, no question about it, committed a crime? There was no "he said she said," no waiting around ten years to make a charge already settled.
Literally ON THE SAME page as the news of the Cosby deadlock, was a report on a judge who allowed a rapist to go free with probation. No trial.
Look to the right. Yes, the same day the news on Cosby was printed, there was the case of a PRISON GUARD who sexually attacked a defenseless inmate. He just pulled her into a closet (out of view of surveillance cameras) and attacked her.
Did she wait ten years to tell her story? Did she suffer in silence thinking nobody would believe her? She mailed her shirt, with the DNA evidence on it, to someone she trusted. She proved this was not consensual. No question it happened. And because the guard was not a celebrity, and there was no district attorney looking to make a name for himself, the case was routinely settled, and without jail time.
Read the headline. The Rikers guard ADMITTED to rape. It wasn't a fuzzy case involving he-said she-said from ten years ago, or blurry deposition information in which the man claimed the woman had an orgasm and enjoyed his advances. Here, a news story the same day as the Cosby trial verdict, is a case of rape that did not involve any trial and no jail time.
In the original Cosby case ten years ago, the District Attorney didn't see enough beyond "he said she said" for a trial. The case was about a man and woman alone, and when a romantic situation may have led to unwanted advances.
The situation was eventually settled in civil court, and the documents sealed. Case closed. Somehow, sealed court documents aren't SEALED if the media doesn't want them sealed, and somehow, a vain, fame-crazed District Attorney wanting to get recognition, can find a hanging judge to go along with the farce of trying a case ten years after it was settled.
There isn't enough crime in Philadelphia to keep this guy busy? Violent rape? Heinous murder? No? There was all the time in the world to play games with jury selection and venue location and all the rest of it on the tax payers dime-dollar-thousands-and-thousands of dollars?
Everyone knows who KEVIN STEELE is, the great fighter for justice, the next Rudy Giuliani. Everyone knows the allegations against Cosby, which caused his last concerts to be canceled. Everyone knows there are still a few women who are mounting civil lawsuits against him that could give them money but will certainly remind people of his damaged reputation. And everyone knows that Bill Cosby walks with a cane, is a figure of scandal and doubt, and will very likely never work again. Retrial? NO.
The new production of "Julius Caesar" not only has everyone in modern dress (zzzzz, as if that hasn't been done so many, many times before) but features a DONALD TRUMP LOOK-ALIKE as the leader who deserves to be killed. Well, in the photo he looks more like Conan O'Brien.
Look, let's be reasonable. Even in theater, where we suspend disbelief for drama, it's outrageous to have Donald/Julius stabbed by his own black, gay and female staff. He doesn't have any. If I remember correctly, Julius Caesar was betrayed by Brutus and the rest of his staffers. Trump is going to be killed by silly Sean Spicer, pious Mr. Pence, and his own son-in-law Jared Kushner?? Not likely, and black, gay and female versions are even more ridiculous.
Just recently, across the pond, Robert Hastie gained huzzahs for HIS production of "Julius Caesar," which featured somebody with Down syndrome, a whole lotta gays and blacks, and Cassius now played by a woman. Or was it a transgender woman? This thrilled the reviewer from The Guardian, and put Sheffield on the map. Sheffield is where you go to see crap that would never make it at the West End in London.
The great thing about this Manhattan production, over the one in Sheffield, is that it's a lot easier to get to, and it's FREEEEEE.
The tradition with "Shakespeare in the Park" is that it gives poor people a chance to see culture. That's poor people from Brooklyn who can only afford to wear the same porkpie hipster hat every day. That's poor people from the Upper West Side who need to save their money for a Zabar's lox and bagel. That's poor people from the Upper East Side who aren't used to walking anywhere and can't get the maid to bring out the baby carriage and trundle them into the middle of Central Park.
While FREEEEEEE is always a great way to gain attendance to "Shakespeare in the Park," it does help if there's tricked up gimmicks, edgy re-workings, and total outrage. Having a Trump look-alike stabbed got them lots of publicity. Why, it even has been mentioned on...blogs.
One thing "Shakespeare in the Park" is not likely to do, is an all-male production. In Shakespeare's day, women were not encouraged to appear on stage. But, listen, you can have a Transgender Macbeth. You can have a Chinese Hamlet. You can have a Muslim Shylock. But you'd be going way too far by having an all-male Shakespeare production with a few guys in drag. Guys in drag are, after all, going to hurt the feelings of transgenders.
If you're a real New Yorker, you've NEVER attended one of these shows. First off, it's hot, humid and uncomfortable most any summer night in Manhattan, and it doesn't get better sitting on a bench with flies buzzing around your eyes, and your ears assailed by the sounds of sirens and airplanes and, worse, Shakespearean speech which does need subtitles.
Which is worse, the audience of "pay attention to me" wrapper-rattlers, plot-whisperers and pontificating toffee noses, or the "pay attention to me" bad actors who upstage each other thinking "this is my discovered by Scorsese moment."
The show about stabbing the President got a shot in the arm when some Joan Wilkes Booth rushed the stage trying to prevent and protest an assassination. Why, it was a plot twist worthy of Mamet.
The Lady in Question, who helped give the production publicity, quite rightly called attention to the rather unpatriotic idea that it's OK to wishfully hope the President of the United States gets murdered, and preferably by members of his own staff.
In America, you will face FBI or CIA scrutiny if you Tweet or mutter any kind of death threat involving the Commander in Chief. And yet, at the same time as Joan Rivers wanna-be Kathy Griffin posed with a bloody severed Trump head replica, this was considered acceptable entertainment.
No, oh Ye who don't remember, Gore Vidal's "Evening with President Nixon" didn't imply that killing him would be a good idea. If Vidal was around now, he'd probably sneer that popular culture had reached a new low in taste. When some film studio thought it would be a great idea to title a comedy "The Pope Must Die," this was quickly overruled. But that was back in 1991. What is it about the 21st Century, and now, 2017, that makes assassination a credible subject for an evening's amusement? Should Sondheim's "Assassins" be re-staged with every President re-fitted with Trump rubber masks?
And so we have another season of "Shakespeare in the Park," and this one imagining Trump being murdered.
This production takes place in Central Park: CENTRAL PARK where THREE, count 'em, THREE dead bodies were found in three different man-made lakes in the past THREE weeks. Eh, so what. Homeless men, most likely? Their endings were not amusing at all, so forget they existed and don't care too much who they were or how they died.
Thursday, June 15, 2017
If you want to buy a kiddie book, why bother going to a bookstore? Or a library?
You can probably find the book on YOUTUBE.
Somebody (or several people) will gladly read the book for you and show you ALL THE PICTURES.
To paraphrase the cop in "They Shoot Horses Don't They," what can you say except:
There were several people reading "STOP THAT PICKLE."
Admittedly, it's not much of a book. Most children's books are, after all, aimed at children, who have the mentality of idiots, imbeciles and morons.
Still, is this justification to a) prevent an author and publisher from making a sale, or b) lessening the number of people who visit the library, which could lead to shorter hours or branch closings?
Ah. But on YouTube there's MONETIZATION. The person reading and uploading the story can make the money. Yum! Yum!
Here's another uploader offering the story. THIS one has disabled comments. Perhaps she doesn't want to hear: "Have you ever heard of copyright?"
YouTube of course has the DMCA law on its side. The company has NO obligation to remove posts like these, or waste time and resources by asking the uploader for proof of a licensing agreement. It's up to the author to jump through the hoops, send in the papers and forms, and then wait for a ruling.
The title of the book here is 'STOP THAT PICKLE' not "STOP THAT COPYRIGHT ABUSE."
Sunday, June 11, 2017
Dave found an authentic psychic, and asked her to tell, by divine intuition, what kind of sandwich was under wraps.
She couldn't do it.
In fact, Dave was more of a "psychic" in figuring out what flavor of pie his mother had baked the night before.
In his typical wiseguy way, Letterman was telling the world that PSYCHICS are fakes.
Most of the world is not listening. Then again, most of the world never watched "Late Night" or "Late Show."
So, PSYCHICS continue to scam and cheat people.
The gypsy "Bajour," the palm-reading scam and the rest of it, was once the subject of a comic, short-lived Broadway musical. The con games live on. There's no Reed Hadley to warn that more money is lost via confidence games, than to all the thugs and hoods with their violence.
Why is it we have government agencies to protect the public from scams, and the FDA making sure peanut butter isn't loaded with roach legs, and consumer affairs groups blowing the whistle on fake doctors and shoddy contractors...but PSYCHICS aren't against the law?
There's no such thing as a "psychic." As David Letterman's "psychic sandwich" routine proved, NOBODY is psychic. As common sense tells you, why in the world would somebody who pretends to be a mind-reader, or a sayer of sooth, or an astrologer, or a PSYCHIC, be a grubbily dressed peasant working out of a cheap storefront in a crap neighborhood?
"Oh," safety the soothing soother, "I can't pick a winner in a horse race, but I can change your luck if you just give me all your tainted money."
And old people, and lonely people, and immigrants do just that. Even people who "know better" have been taken by these con artists. That the city doesn't shut these people down, as they do with bookies or whores, is reprehensible. The gypsies are often not content with laying in wait in their grubby grottos, like spiders with a web. They defy the police by leafletting, and defy Sanitation by chaining up signs to lamp posts. They count on apathetic councilmen to say, "It's hard to pass a law saying that a sign can be confiscated, or that repeat offenses require double and triple the fine."
And a local freebie newspaper, METRO, will tell you they need PSYCHICS to help keep them in business.
Yes, TWO SOLID PAGES of mostly adds from so-called PSYCHICS.
Not one of them could name the contents of a wrapped sandwich.
THEY are full of baloney, more than the sandwich might be.
Freebie newspapers used to be loaded with "masseuse" ads. Somehow, this stopped. But getting fucked by a phony Psychic is ok.
This includes illiterate ones.
"I NEVER LOOSE" says one.
Another ad seems to suggest that while most Psychics are fakers, ONE is guaranteed to satisfy:
"YOUR ARE DISAPPOINT WITH ANY ASTROLOGER MEET HIM ONCE SEE THE DIFFERENCES."
While most any neighborhood will have a crappy walk-up building with a roach-like greasy-faced psychic-bitch lurking in the basement, one too ugly to get paid for sex, it seems the majority of psych newspaper ads resolve to BLACK neighborhoods in Harlem and in Brooklyn.
Perhaps a reason politicians don't want to do anything about psychics is that superstition is very common among minorities, and it would be "racism" to ban the con artists. Whether black, Puerto Rican, Haitian or Muslim, there are people who swear by lighted candles, incantations, goat killings, palm readings, and simply obliterating people with bombs because instead of praying to an invisible friend, they are attending a marathon in Boston, a nightclub in Florida or a rock show in England or France.
There was a short story, popular before illiteracy won the day, called "The Emperor's New Clothes." The lesson was to tell the truth and prove fact over bullshit.
But the 21st Century is now more like the 14th Century.
As late as the 1940's, "seances" were de-bunked. The methods used by the con artists were revealed in books and movies. The "seance" con is no more.
But the psychic con, the mind-reader con, the astrology con lives on. So does the promise of religious fanatics that joining their cult will be the best thing that could ever happen to you.
And so the emperor can claim to have special powers and special clothes, the same way the leader of the Mormons claimed to have magic underwear.
We are not allowed to tell the truth, nor prove the truth. We can't say, "Psychics are fake" or "Lighting a candle or putting a needle into a doll is NOT going to affect your enemy." The reply is "Don't tell me anything. I choose to BELIEVE."
BELIEF is to be respected over REALITY and FACT and COMMON SENSE. Even to the point of stealing money from people and taking their lives in the name of a crackpot religion that involves someone you can't draw a picture of, or a guy like L. Ron Hubbard whose froggy face is well known thanks to brainwashed hucksters pushing copies of "Diabetics."
When will we stop allowing religious fanatics to rule our lives?
When will we allow cults to be tax-free havens for evil?
When will we padlock the stinkholes inhabited by palm readers and astrologists?
Should I consult a psychic to find out?
Saturday, June 10, 2017
What can I tell you.
I remember a time when I wandered down the street thinking, "there are people who'd pay THOUSANDS to do what I just did..."
...which was to chat with Adam West over dinner.
As you might expect, I was a little bit in awe of BATMAN. I'd spent over a decade doing celeb interviews, but it's easy when you have a tape recorder and purpose. It's a little daunting in a social setting, and when it's a surprise. This was a little dinner gathering that I knew would include my friend Julie Newmar. But I didn't know her friend Adam West would be in the party.
And I was seated next to him?? I wasn't sure what to say, except to NOT lead with a reference to Batman. So we sat there for a while, eating dinner. We'd been introduced, but that was about it. While I still pondered what I could say that he hadn't heard before, he initiated the conversation. "Talk to me, Ron!"
Well, old chum, that's how to break the ice.
TV LAND had thrown a gala party. Stars from beloved shows turned up, and I found myself at a pre-show party talking with Barbara Feldon, Tina Louise and Martin Mull among others.
Afterward, I was invited to be part of a relatively small celebration table that seated maybe 10 people, among them Dawn Wells, Julie Newmar and Adam West.
Here's a shot of them during the TV LAND event.
At the dinner party after, I was across from Dawn, and seated between Adam and Julie.
I hadn't met Dawn in person before, and since I'd written her up (doing a phone interview) in "Sweethearts of 60's TV," I talked to her more than anyone else. I didn't know Adam from Adam, and I wanted Julie to feel free to chat with other people.
OK. Adam turned to me with THE REQUEST. "Talk to me, Ron!" So I said, "I thought you gave a funny little speech at the TV Land event. I know a lot of actors have hosted shows like "Live at the Improv" or "Saturday Night Live." Did you ever consider stand-up?"
"Oh no, that seems much too difficult..." he said, and we were off, talking about this and that.
About a year later, I was similarly situated. It was one of those Comic-Con deals, and I was again between Julie and Adam. I was just there keeping Julie company, not selling or autographing books. I sometimes explained the pricing to fans, or answered a trivia question. If somebody asked Julie some question starting with "Didn't you once..." she waved her graceful fan and said, "Ask him...he knows more about my career than I do!"
While Julie was ebulliently talking with fans, I found Adam in a talkative mood. His manager Fred was running interference, telling fans not to take flash pictures and or shake Adam's hand. They did it anyway. Adam put up with it, even if his eyes were sensitive, and his hand was getting numb if not painful from the constant signing and enthusiastic hand-squeezes.
"What time is it...when do I leave!" he joked.
I say "joked." Because he appreciated the fans. All of you, who have expressed condolences on Twitter or on message boards, either about loving his show, his other work, or being able to meet him...he knew your love. He appreciated it. He was proud of it, and I think he lived up to what everyone expected from "Batman," which is morality, decency, a will to serve, a desire for excellence, and a sense of humor.
I humbly think he was talking a lot to me just to detox from all the "You're the best BATMAN" stuff, which can be pretty exhausting for five or six solid hours. If he was taking a moment to talk to me, or his manager Fred, it was just a break from answering predictable questions.
At one point he began to softly sing old songs to himself. I joked, "Are you doing to do "Miranda?" He said, "Now now..."
I noticed that unlike Julie's table, which was festooned with pictures from all phases of her career, Adam's was sparse.
There was an 8x10 of his cartoon character from "Family Guy," two iconic Batman photos to choose from, and a nice photo of the real Mr. West.
I said, "You don't have a photo of yourself with the Three Stooges? I'd think that a lot of Stooge fans would love to get an autograph on an "Outlaws is Coming" still." [I'd given him a copy of my book "The Stooges Fan's IQ Test," which included a still of him and "the boys" from the movie.
"My philosophy is 'keep it simple,' Ron." They see a few pictures and don't spend a lot of time picking one. It keeps the line moving." He did spontaneously start talking about working with the Stooges. He recalled, "They were very polite and quiet. They sat by themselves, and waited for the director to tell them when he was ready for them."
I thought Adam was an underrated actor. He had a unique voice. Like Clayton "Lone Ranger" Moore, Adam's voice was key to giving a masked man personality. His voice and cadence made his Batman scenes highly entertaining, and sometimes quite funny. In fact, you could argue that his Bruce Wayne scenes had no humor at all. Of course, Bruce Wayne was supposed to be a bit of a dull fellow. Unlike Batman. Unlike Adam himself.
Julie's phone was ringing almost constantly today, as reporters asked for her recollections.
She told the Daily News: “I will miss him in the physical world and savor him always in the world of imagination and creativity.”
And for Entertainment Tonight:
"Adam set the bar so high for portraying the role of Batman. He was wonderful, spot on, with a twinkle in his eye. He had it all -- looks, charm, intelligence, I could go on and on."
"In conversation, he was very animated and once told me that Batman was the father that everyone wanted! I never thought of it that way! He had a great way of playing that 'tongue-in-cheek' nature in so much of the dialogue."
"If I had to describe him in a word or two, they would be 'stellar' and 'exemplar,' qualities that we want to encourage in ourselves and in young people."
The illness that took Adam apparently was quick, as Julie saw him about a month ago, and he seemed fine.
You can go back to even his earliest TV appearances and notice what an individual he was, how distinctive, and that even in a minor role on some WB TV show such as "Sugarfoot," he was showing the potential for stardom. I suppose Roger Moore was the same way; obviously good looking and tall, but don't underestimate his ability to dominate a scene and make it look effortless.
Many of you had the chance to meet Adam West at a memorabilia show, and so you know that he wasn't one of those "head down" signers. While his manager (who passed on a year or two ago) played "the bad guy," and wanted fans to move it along, Adam always made eye contact, even if risking a flash camera going off. He didn't restrict himself to a one-word reply if a fan wanted to ask a question. Not that he didn't find some of this rather boring. I remember him doodling on the white plastic fake-table cloth with his Sharpie pen. He was a very good artist, by the way, but the doodling was just his way of staying creative and breaking up the inevitable monotony of the same compliments over and over.
I remember that around 4pm or 5pm one day, probably Sunday, last day of a week-end of signing, there was no more line, just the occasional fan, and he was relieved when manager Fred agreed, "we can pack up."
All the tables at the even were covered with plastic-paper to protect the tables from ink stains and scratches. I thought Adam's doodles on it were worth preserving. And so, using a key, I cut away the section of the disposable table cloth and rolled up the drawing. Later, I stretched it onto cardboard backing, and put it in a plastic frame to protect it.
Adam and I both appeared on the A&E Biography episode on Julie Newmar. Adam's most amusing quote on the show was to say that as a personality, the marvelously eccentric, beautiful and talented Julie was "out there."
Now Adam is "out there," in an existential way.
He left behind a wife, children, grand-children, fans, memories, TV shows, movies and art.
The odd doodling bit of art below? Symbolism anyone? Like his "Batman" character, it's deceptively simple, citizen. There might be a horse's head outline on one side, lips, there's definitely an eye, a woman's leg...Holy Dali!