THE YEARS AT OCCIDENTAL COLLEGE IN THE LATE SIXTIES CHARLES E. ROUSE

Events in this book are about the author. The college setting is an accidental backdrop.

The book does not tell about the effect of significant, outside events on the Occidental College campus or among the students: Were there anti-War protests, demonstrations and writings on campus by teachers or students? What were the effects of rioting elsewhere? The author did not see Martin Luther King speak at Occidental College in 1967, but in less than a year Doctor King had been assassinated. Where there reactions about assassinations at Occidental? What did the administration do?

An odd fact out: I doubt if the yippies organized the 1967 Pentagon demonstration, as the author reports. This demonstration was inserted like other significant events: Tet, student riots, student politics campus to campus. Merely mentioning events does not tell what happened to anyone or to anything at Occidental College.

The author is loyal and devoted to Occidental. He identifies every class he had and every professor. But little is told about the teaching, the learning or the students action and growth of the author, or of other students. Everyone at Occidental was smart. They liked to drop names and supply authorities, venturing into German philosophy or onto someone’s newly discovered poem. The author’s favorite authorities were Thomas Wolfe – Electric Kool Air, etc – and Ayn Rand.

The author was awkward around girls, but the psychological diagnosis is incomplete. The reader does not learn if the trouble with women is the root cause of psychological disabilities, or merely one manifestation of other problems. Lots of pages are given to girlfriends (ambiguous suggestions of sex: Everyone was chaste at Occidental?), to mental issues, to eastern religions and to meaningless comments from persons or others in quotes.

For IRONY, try. On the back cover squirb, the author mentions that Barack Obama spent two years at Occidental College during the 1980s. Not mentioned is a state legislator, decades later always trying to please Obama, had a stretch of the 134 Freeway named after Obama. Those four miles, east of the 2-Freeway to Figueroa Avenue, is the route to the Scholl’s Canyon Dump.

Avoid this book.

THE SEA WOLVES, 19

Gregory Peck, David Niven, Roger Moore, Trevor Howard and a group of middle aged British actors.

Being unaware of this movie set in India in 1943, I noticed it was done well. But the story and characters seemed like a mediocre script writer’s effort written and produced to do a World War Two story to compete the spy thrillers in 1980.
NOPE, the story is TRUE, and events happened as casually, awkwardly and as surprising as shown, likely with little input from the script writer’s craft.

One set of images, as an undercurrent, is also present. The British in India, and their elevated, privileged place in society held by Britons, the last vintages of colonialism. Within four years the British were removed and India and its people were free.
Since the events are true, it is a movie to see.

CALIFORNIA RECALL

The Recall is five weeks away, so I thought I ought to pass on my impressions.

Leave it to Californians to demonstrate how wacky residents here are. Whatever you think appropriate about the Recall of Governor Gav, the recall has brought out the strangest sorts of persons who want to replace Newsom. Most of these people are Republicans, 46 of them. I don’t know all the names and I don’t want to know. But this is the Internet age. Let’s shorten the reference to Reps. Democrats can be called Dems. Dems might mistakingly call their opponents, the Reps, Reptiles.

Most Rep candidates have local constituencies. Most notably is Caitlyn Jenner, nee Bruce Jenner, an Olympian athlete before the operation. I do not believe Caitlyn will corral the transgender vote, so I don’t know why she is running except to get some publicity and perhaps money will come her way from that. The media report Larry Elder, radio talkshow host, is rising in the polls. But who wants a less prominent entertainer (has no TV shows and no film prospects) as governor?

The Dems are counting on Gav, and have brought in big-gun supporters like Elizabeth Warren, known throughout America as Pocahontas. A biography of Pocahontas told the two women are not alike. The native American was a diplomat supreme, persuasive, and urging and working for peace and cooperation between her peoples and the recently arrived immigrants. On the other hand Liz Warren is stringent, distance, pretentious, scowling, condescending, know-all, mean- spirited and not credible. She should not be involved in the anti-Recall effort. And I don’t mind calling Elizabeth Warren a half-breed Scandinavian immigrant.

THE HADES FACTOR

Avoid

This made for TV movie taken from a Robert Ludlum story unsuccessfully tries to replicate the thrills from the Bourne movies. The bad guys are everywhere – Afghanistan to the Middle East, in the government and among pharmaceutical companies. And not everyone else is squeaky clean or filthy dirty.

Characters do stupid things. Sophia Myles plays Stephen Dorff’s wife [girl, financee]: Let’s go to dinner. She steps from the hotel. I need a sweater. Another ten minutes of film later, she and Stephen have checked out of the hotel, yet she leaves her cell phone in the room. I would hope her work as a medical researcher of infectious diseases was handled with more care, but she seems soporific. She is clearly seems someone to be murdered, and later she killed.

Stepping into Sophia’s place is Mira Sorvino, once a bedmate of Dorff’s. For the first 90 minutes of film, the former lover waiting in the wings, is her role. She supposedly is outside all agencies, so she has no connections. She’s completely free lance, yet she is well-informed. She suddenly appears in Afghanistan, having previously been in Paris. It’s convenient to have extra friends show up to help kill bad guys.

Stephen Dorff’s, former secret agent, has a bad time in this movie. In every fight he is outweighed by 30-50 pounds, and every opponent is at least six feet tall. Right off, when Stephen Dorff returns to the hotel room to retrieve Sophia’s phone, he get into a fight with a bad guy. He turns his opponent around – face to the wall – and the audience can see what’s coming next: An elbow from the opponent sent Stephen sprawling. Next is a foot chase which Stephen loses.

At that point I realized there would be many scenes ahead in this overlong movie where fast forward on the DVD could be used – one-quarter, perhaps a third of the movie. Every time Stephen confronts a bad guy the audience knows he’s going to get pounded. This is not “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” Yet, like the Champ, Stephen emerges with no bruises on body or face. Indeed, no ill-effects linger from the last fight: Stephen, wounded, fights bad guy, wounded, on a bridge. They fall off, into the sewage treatment plant known as the Potomac River.

By The End Stephen Dorff doesn’t seem much mutated, but I noted that Mira Sorvino had the grace to avoid the final scenes.

JUNGLE CRUISE – Review

I’ve now seen enough trailers, snippets and scenes from this movie during its promotion to cobble together the story and players.

For decades producers have tried to put an attractive guy and a good-looking babe in the jungle, as happened with Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn in The African Queen. [I’m not mentioning Tarzan and Jane.] I’m not sure which was more drunk – Bogart or the crocodiles.

Upon seeing ten minutes of The Jungle Cruise on TV, to support the story line and good- character development, I’ve concluded that Emily Blunt’s character should not be around when the boat returns to home port: Either she goes missing in the jungle (happens all the time) or she’s swallowed whole by a python. The audience can have a good cry, and the movie can garner loads of sympathy and big bucks for people who have gone missing in far-off places.

LOSER MOVIES

A friend said, perhaps prematurely, “Let’s go to the movies.” I agreed but refuse to patronize the Marvel stuff, the cartoon stuff, the comic book stuff or the animation stuff. I got her to agree to the new James Bond Movie. It is out! The August release was bumped to October – the producers are looking for giant box office in the early Holiday season It will have to be another movie.

Don’t say Scarlett Johansson is a fine actress. She has obvious attributes but appearing in cartoon movies will do nothing for her career. In the past younger actresses have taken that career path and gone nowhere.

A suitable movie will not be the Disney release, The Jungle Ride, starring Emily Blunt and The Rock. I know the story will bring back fond memories of my friend’s Orange County childhood with a weak story, poorly acted while emitting lousy jokes.

I further object to movie companies making mediocre theme park rides the underlying concept for a movie. Disney ought to know better with those loser Pirates of the Caribbean movies, bad stories acted poorly. Don’t you think The Rock is an improvement over Johnny? Note the rides, The Pirates and the Jungle Cruise no longer require E-Tickets. I’ve never see a movie where the only charge for the ride is a B ticket – put me on a horse drawn tram on Main Street. So The Jungle Ride is out.

WARLORD

Carlo D’Este

This excellent history/biography uses Winston Churchill as a model to show British ways of war, the British mindset during war and British systems of making war. This biography is enlightening yet unsympathetic to Churchill and British diverting methods as World War II dragged on. The book overall tells the World War II perspective of the British.

For a long time before D-Day Churchill was against any landings in Northern Europe. He proposed and applauded Anzio in Italy which was greatly pared down (five divisions to one and reduced logistics and supply). {Politicians have long been deceived by U.S. Grant’s amphibious landing south of Vicksburg in May 1863 and eventually surrounding and obtaining the surrounding of that river town.] Churchill devised and held to the idea that taking over Greek islands in 1944 in the Aegean Sea was the masterstroke that would end the War in Europe. He insisted Rome be taken in June 1944 rather than attack and weaken the German army. Churchill opposed the American invasion of Marseilles in August 1944, opening a second supply route for American armies: Forty (40) percent of the supplies for those armies came through Marseilles.

Meanwhile, the British used Montgomery (seemingly the best general the British could produce). Churchill did not like other generals and summarily dismissed them. Between August 1944 and November 1944, Montgomery lengthened the war by losing opportunities to destroy German armies at Falaise Gap in Normandy; he did a risky, men-wasting incursion of Belgium and Holland called Market Garden – supplies had to go up one long road; he failed to open the Scheldt Estuary, depriving the allies of using the port of Antwerp for three months.

So the British fought World War II using men expensively, and Winston Churchill was a Warlord, not a cabinet position of the British government, but akin to Warlords of yore commanding armies, promoting strategies, wanting to join the fight, always in political control, urging actions leading to non-profitable military measures, sanctioning incompetence from military underlines, and craving compliance from the British people and every person in government for each of his decisions.

MORGAN

Jean Strouse, AVOID

This fat, prolix book suffers from the weight it carries. It is the Life And Times of JP Morgan, meaning that the world JP Morgan knew and grew up into should be told in this volume.

Immediately, the times of JP Morgan are misrepresented and erroneous by relying on cliches. Cliche #1 is Alexander Hamilton prepared to use government spending to support industry. Jefferson and Andrew Jackson disliked government and government spending and tried not to do that. Note the national debt under Jackson nearly disappeared, but canals and roads were built. Observe also that the United States had more miles of railroad track than Europe by 1855.

Relying on Hamilton/Jefferson-Jackson distinctions when writing about the 1850s misses issues, points and the whole political and social situation. This biographer is a complete novice about writing history. Either that or the times of JP Morgan, indeed, allowed him to know nothing of issues giving rise to the American Civil War. That is a too secluded life for America’s foremost banker.

TOO CLOSE TO THE SUN

Diane Dempsey

The spiel on the back cover of this book describes openly what is wrong with this novel: “…Will Henley appears on the scene. With his good looks and Ivy League pedigree, he’s on the prowl for his next business acquisition” – a winery.

Apparently Old Will is destined to come the master vintner after a season or two. Good luck with that.

I once considered a career in the NBA. I did not go to an Ivy League school and don’t have that pedigree. Hence, I never made it to the NBA. But I know people who went into the Ivys, and they didn’t play in the NBA either.

When they send astronauts to Mars, they return, and none has radiation sickness and die during the trip or upon return, Too Close To The Sun may be worth reading.

GENESIS OF QANON

Hunter Thompson originated QAnon. He advanced the Thompson Report concept in a book or periodical proposal to his publisher in 1968, The Gonzo Papers, Vol II, p. 15-16. Thompson called it root-hog journalism:

[15] “We have to keep in mind that various outrages are in fact being planned, and that I probably wouldn’t have much trouble getting a vague battle plan…but of course that wouldn’t be enough. I’d have to mix up fact and fantasy so totally that nobody could be sure which was which. We could bill it as a fantastic piece of root-hog journalism – The Thompson Report, as it were. This courageous journalist crept into the sewers of the American underground and emerged with a stinking heap of enemy battle plans – and just in time, by god, [16] to warn the good guys what to watch for. Oh, I would have a ratlin good time with it…I could even compost a fictitious interview with Guru Bailey, the Demo chieftain, during which I try to warn him of this impending disaster and he reacts first in anger, then with tears, throwing down hooker after hooker of gin during our conversation. And a private chat with Johnson, who heard of my dread information and summoned me to the White House for a toilet-side interview with two recording secretaries – a bracing fag and a nervous old woman from New Orleans – taking notes on a voice writer(s) – echoing my words, and Lyndon’s, for the private record.

…(The Case of the Naked Colonel…did you ever see that? A fantastic story and absolutely true..a Pentagon colonel found naked in his car, passed out on the steering wheel with a pistol in each hand… no explanation.)

…Richard Nixon… calls me at my Chicago hotel, during the course of my research and offers me $20,000 for my information…then a meeting with Nixon and his advisors, they want to exploit the freak-out…but an argument erupts when one elf Nixon’s aide makes a crude remark about his daughter – undertones of drugs and nymphomania, Julie, caught in the 14th green at Palm Springs with a negro caddy at midnight, the caddy now in prison, framed on a buggy count.”

It is shameful that the Republicans can originate nothing of their own. The Reps have to reach into the 1960s and Hunter Thompson’s prowess for their journalistic ideas to produce fantasies. The Nixon fact might be raw in 1968, but today anything goes, do your own thing, I have freedom. Every Rep. believes that. They bare all and welcome any overt violence by fragile white people, exhibiting truly hippy behaviors like those manifested during the 1960s in San Francisco., and later elsewhere. Indeed, most of the participants of January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol in Washington DC looked like hippies – unshaven, unclean, sneering, uncontrollable, likely on meth…

Thompson’s media proposal is being used by the Reps today.