CLEAN UP WASHINGTON D C

While Washington DC was indoors hard a work earlier this month, reminders of month’s end were walking around every day before the American people. Most notable were John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi.

Nancy is older. John looks worn. But they each apply the instant sun tan lotion. Boehner doesn’t wear the stuff well. He always has an orange glow to his complexion, a bronze man of power looking for a woman of his ilk.

That’s Nancy Pelosi, but she won’t waltz with anyone of his color. She knows how to apply suntan or she uses a better brand. She lacks the orange tint and sports a brown skin tone which perfectly matches her dyed hair. Nancy’s hair is done right. It does not have the green or blue tint to it that Senator Diane Feinstein has.

Now that I’m talking about the United States Senate, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Harry Reid, who appears to wear no makeup except for flour. He’s as white as a bleached sheet and looks like Casper the Ghost.

Living under the government these guys are running is horrible enough. On all Saints Day, they should stop faking it, remove the make up and return to reality.

HORROR STORY I HAVE LIVED

Halloween is tomorrow, and I’ve wondered why I can’t get into costumes, parties and the feel for the day. I like having kids “trick or treat” and handing out candy, this year full Almond Mound bars. But adults should know better.

I’ve done what I’ve always done, be deliberate, remembering much and thinking about what is happening. I’ve seen a lot of stuff unrelated to the bad entertainment of the House of Representatives versus the President and the Senate. All the horrors I observed are about people, perpetrating interminable hardships on themselves, suffering from wrong choices in life, having inabilities to comprehend what is happening or why they are bound on restrictive mindsets, acting inappropriately and communicating wrongly causing them to linger longer. And they make the same mistakes or nearly identical mistakes again, again and again. I’ve done some of that stuff to myself.

Mostly, I watch those horrors of life, terrifying me but not them, and now arrives Halloween. What’s to celebrate? I don’t need a special day to remember that everyone else is entertained by contrived stories and sketches designed to shock them, meanwhile they’re oblivious. So other than handing out candy, I sit this day out.

I’ve come to my approach naturally. A while ago an older book-loving friend became a friend and influenced me to read War and Peace. He called me Pierre Bezukhov. I had many of the characteristics and traits of Pierre. When I told him I would read Anna Karinina, he said there was someone in that novel who was like me. It didn’t take long to realize who I was, Konstantin Levin. [He also told me to remember the rail station accident at the beginning of the story.] Both Pierre and Konstantin are surrogates for Leo Tolstoy. I don’t know if I’m like Leo, but I am still like Pierre and Konstantin.

I hadn’t written anything when I read those Tolstoy, but since then, I’ve written novels, long and short, for sale on the iBookstore, Michael Ulin Edwards. Each novel is carefully crafted, excellent works of fiction, easily belonging to the bosom of American literature. Buy and read each. Sorry for the promotional note. It seemed an opportunity to slide it in.

Encumbered by my disposition while everyone in society relishes in going ape (Halloween is not the only day), my life is slow and occasionally fast. I can’t live a normal life, fat, dumb, drunk and happy and try to ignore my predilections. Turning to writing full time has not been happily profitable, but I am productive. My abilities to write have grown while I don’t care if I talk only a little. I am generally happy. I figure I have deep seeded ideas and thoughts that I have not expressed, and that I could not release in any other way. Writing had afforded freedom and openings from a communication congestion and allowing a flow of conflict and uncertainty from my mind. I write more because I have more stuff jammed in here, or perhaps more stuff originates and needs expressing.

Part of this cycle or process was encouraged by going cold turkey on booze. Yes, I loved fine wines and single-malt Scotches (whisky for the Brits). I don’t feel better physically, but mentally I’m sharper. I can read at night. I suppose I’ll sort out the other benefits of no longer consuming alcoholic chemicals. I know only partly what I put myself through. For a while I had to drink to write fiction, and I excused my behavior by resorting to William Faulkner (paraphrased): The writer has four tools. Tobacco, alcohol, paper and ink. The most dangerous of these is paper. 

If you don’t believe Faulkner is correct, stare at a blank page or at a screen. How dangerous is that to a writer? Next stare at a screen full of words, or at a page of your words. How dangerous is that compared to ink, tobacco and alcohol. For a writer paper represents the product, good, bad or ugly. The processes of writing increases little terrors in every writer. It is uncertain, indefinite, unsuccessful, and every word made and page filled make the product a potential source of unhappiness, whether it be sold or not. Some writers realize that what is on the page, rather than the smile in the publicity photo and the dollars under the table, is not good. The writing was produced to pay the rent. Time to shrink from that work and all other sequels the publishing house wants to push.  

Consciousness of this commercialism and willingness to step into it is a horror story. One such tale has already been written, the best Halloween movie for writers [William Holden’s character] ever filmed: “Sunset Boulevard.” Unspecific vagueness, senseless eternities and meaningless musings all greet the writer. Who needs Halloween for terror? So I don’t spend much time dwelling on this day, or thinking about spooks or hoping that horrors will drop my way. I’m living them now, tomorrow and for much of the next year.

UNNOTICED

My favorite story of a band that few knew about and where worried about ever getting recognized happened at the Monterey Music Festival in 1967. One failing – they had no destructive tendencies. The performer who preceded the band was Jimi Hendrix. He played great and afterward burned his guitar. The performers who followed the band were The Who, who smashed most of their instruments. What is the name of the band in the middle?

The Grateful Dead.

WHY SPY?

America has a right to listen to Angela Merkel, and must do so for its own interests and for the interests of Europe. This opening sentence comes as a reply to a blog, my comment, a reply, my reply (incomplete).

The first observation is Angela Merkel looks completely Prussian. She never smiles; she is incapable of it. She sneers, but she hasn’t sneered for ten days.

What could dear sweet Angela Merkel, what could the Europeans be talking about that would interest Americans and make our decisions and lives better (and their lives better) if we knew what they were saying?

The Germans and their economy has benefitted more than any other country from the existence of the Euro, the Euro Zone and the European Community. Year 2010 intensified the Euro crisis in the PIGS: Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain. The European Community tried to resolve all the problems themselves. They could not. The United States of America got involved with support, advice and lots of money, before 2010 and during those years.

The biggest obstacles to the European effective action were the Germans led by sweet Angela and to a lesser extent the French. The Germans wanted to pay no money to any other nation for any purpose whatsoever. Yet the Germans were benefitting the most because the Euro-zone existed.

What was at stake? If Europe went into a deep rescission and possibly a Depression – lack of confidence, no economic activity, no way forward – the American economy would follow as well as the remainder of the world. Furthermore, all the nations of Europe as well as the USA know how the Germans react to end Depressions.

Listening into sweet Angela allowed the United States of America to advise, to cajole and to convince the European Community to go forward. We countered, blocked or tempered German and French arguments and proposals for inactivity, for conditional loans and for harsh policies that could never be implemented, that would prolong the Euro-crisis and that would end in Depression. Finally, the Germans had to put up much more money and agree to terms they did not like.

Amazingly, today, Halloween Week, 2013, France is protesting American actions and acting as the German lap-dogs. Meanwhile, in that country there have been protests and talk about France leaving the Euro currency, and resuming the French Franc [like the British have maintained the pound to good effect]. The French should reject the Euro. The French had beautiful banknotes, much better than the dour austere paper from the European Community. The French may not other choice but to leave. Requirements from the German-led European Community are onerous and detrimental to current conditions in the French economy. The French do not have the flexibility to react to local conditions to improve their economy and the lives of the French people.

Sour-puss, bad sport Angela wants payback because the Americans knew how to overcome German resistance. Current conditions now allow Germany to continue to screw all the other countries of the European community, just like it was doing before the Euro-crisis. Obama’s reaction to European protests should be to tell Angela and the other protesting clowns to cram it. The United States was correct. The Germans were wrong. Most of the European Community has an improving economy.

But Obama is weak and forgetful. He acts like someone wanting to be the popular Student Body President of his high school. This was a success of his administration. He is now willing to give all the credit to the Germans, apologize and promise, so he can call that Kraut, “Sweet Angela,” and Merkel can give her Prussian sneer again.

 

JFK ASSASSINATION – IV

Errata: In a previous blog I mentioned that the brass in the School Book Depository, Sixth Floor, had been policed. RATHER, the brass had been left on the floor near the window. The police did a poor job of forensic work. There are no photographs of it in place. There were no finger prints on the brass, “hulls” which is what the Warren Commission calls them.

Also, Oswald got a ride to work the morning of November 22, 1963.

ISSUE 14. Secret Service: The primary job of the Secret Service is to guard the President and to protect his life. Secret Service agents are trained to handle weapons and to shoot weapons. They cull threats to the President, and determine appropriate responses to each threat. They determine which threats are eminent, pending or on-going.

There is nothing good to say about the Secret Service on November 22, 1963. Although many people believed Shot One was a backfiring car, some people realized it was a shot from a firearm. Every Secret Service agent apparently believed the noise was a backfire. None alerted anyone that a shot had been fired, although there was additional noise from a ricochet. All that Secret Service training was useless.

On Elm Street driving slowly comes Shot Two. The driver of the limousine apparently was a Secret Service Agent for a day. He was at the airport and had a cap that said limo driver. Someone came up and asked, “Do you want to drive President Kennedy around for the day?” “Sure, sounds like a blast. I’ll work for free.” Texas Governor was riding in the Presidential limousine that day, heard Shot Two and thought, “That’s a hunting rifle. Who’s shooting?” He was wounded. Rather than realize – two loud noises, someone’s shooting – the driver didn’t accelerate. He reportedly (in 1963) turned to see what was going on. Shot Three hit the President killing him.

CONCLUSION

The strongest evidence of Oswald’s shooting the President is he qualified as a Marine Corp marksman, barely, a few years before. His Marine Corp career was mediocre. Oswald was a screw-up. He lacked discipline. Also Oswald owned a rifle of the same make as the one found at the window of the Sixth Floor of the School Book Depository. That rifle was not found. Only a rifle of that make was found at the window.

HOWEVER,

Oswald lacked discipline throughout 1963. He had various jobs, a few from which he was fired. He moved his residence many times, but could always be contacted. He used his name and did not rely on a Selective Service card in his possession in another name. His wife moved out to share a house with a Russian/English speaking woman. Oswald went to New Orleans and traveled to Mexico City.

The rifle in the FBI’s possession is the make Oswald ordered and received in March 1963, but is it the same weapon? Investigations into the rifle and the scope were inconclusive. No one remembered Oswald at any gun shop or store. No one remembered Oswald buying ammunition. One person remembers a rifle of that make with the cheap scope having no shoulder strap, unlike the FBI/Sixth Floor rifle. 

There are holes and omissions in all the investigations and analyses of each. It is impossible to explain the discrepancies by looking at Lee Harvey Oswald as a lone shooter. Supplying another shooter – one with a reliable weapon (like the reenactments) and a capable shooter (unlike Oswald) – fills in holes and omissions. 

Oswald’s fingerprints on boxes near the Sixth Floor window is inconsistent with no fingerprints on the brass (shell casings, the “hulls”) found on the floor there. There is no indication when and how Oswald’s fingerprints got on the boxes – did he move them from a lower floor to the Sixth Floor?

If Oswald had shot the President would he act innocently after the shooting. He was cool and civil, unlike most of his behavior throughout 1963. He did shoot the Dallas Police Officer, but no one actually knows what transpired between them. In 1963 carrying a concealed weapon in Texas was not unusual, so carrying a handgun was not evidence of Oswald shooting the President.

We do not know if Oswald was part of a conspiracy. It is concluded early on that Oswald likely did not know any other shooter. It may be that Oswald, unaware, helped a shooter in the School Book Depository. After the shooting he put two plus two together and knew he was in trouble. During any interrogation Oswald knew his life, however non-criminal and disjointed, and all his acquaintances and “friends” would come under scrutiny. He did not like the government and its meddling. He tried putting distance (not much) between himself and the scene.

The attempted assassination of Walker [April 1963] has been challenged. The bullet fired at Walker may not have been fired from a rifle Oswald had access to. Two men may have been involved. Suppose Oswald did not attempt that shooting: He still had a very unreliable weapon with which he had not practiced up to November 22. Indeed, while doing the investigation, the FBI was unable to shoot with the Sixth Floor rifle without shots drifting.

I note no reenactment and no analysis has its expert, its marksmen, its sharpshooter, etc. adjusting sights, moving and reloading before each shot and taking all the shots within the five seconds. Also no reenactment expert, marksman or sharpshooter missed the Shot One by so wide a margin, yet put the next shots on target.

Supposedly, Oswald had a ride to work, and he carried a length of “curtain rods” in a brown grocery bag. Some say the bag was Oswald’s lunch; he had carried one on many work days before. [He was eating something in the lunch room.] Almost everyone agrees that if the “curtain rod” bag was the rifle, Oswald had to assemble much, some or part of the rifle. It seems Oswald had no time to test it. He likely put it together in a hurry. [Indeed, the FBI found the weapon in poor assembly.] He shot and missed Shot One.

Summarizing, Oswald’s marksmanship credentials are old; he is not a good shot. He’s not the same guy in November 1963 as he was when he barely qualified as a marksman. The rifle is very mediocre; it is unreliable. Shot One is the strongest support for refuting Oswald’s role as the lone gunman. He couldn’t hit the broadside of a limousine. Because of poor police work (state and federal), the American people will never get answers and receive a definitive answer.

 

JFK ASSASSINATION – III

Previous blogs discussed issues 1 – 4, about the basic condition of Oswald’s rifle and Oswald’s qualities as a marksman. This blog will discuss Lee Harvey Oswald.

ISSUE 5: Politics.

Oswald’s politics have been investigated, considered, hyped and misinterpreted. Oswald said he was a “Marxist, not a communist.” In the Leftist world that is like saying “I’m a Christian, not a Catholic [Lutheran, etc.]” Marxism is a philosophy; Christianity is a faith rooted and using philosophical means to bring followers to Jesus. Unlike Islam or Judaism there is no law by which to structure a civil society based upon interpretations of the teachings of Jesus. Indeed, in the Christian world most of the wars among Christian nations have stemmed from disagreements from one interpretation of Christianity or another. Marxism elevates economics to primary importance in civil society and attempts to structure society around these economic truths. Communism unsuccessfully uses Marxism to establish and perpetuate itself. 

I believe Oswald understood these differences between Marxism and Communism. He moved to the Soviet Union intending to live his life there. He married a Russian. When he decided to leave the Soviet Union, remarkably his wife was allowed to go with him. That freedom of travel might indicate that Oswald was going to spy or be a sleeper for the Soviets in America. 

But little about Oswald recommended him to the Soviets for espionage or sleeper purposes. He was an American; his returning made him high profile. He had a Russian born wife. He wasn’t very intelligent. After returning to the United Stats, he joined leftist organizations and met leftists, and at some points distributed leaflets. He bought a rifle and was photographed with it, writing a leftist mentor a caption, Fascist killer. All this plus other facts suggest Oswald was a blowhard and a braggart. That’s not someone to put on anyone’s espionage payroll.

ISSUE 6. Rifle Ownership.

Oswald owned a rifle from March 1963. That rifle was fitted with a cheap scope. Ownership and possession are not the same thing. Indeed, Oswald did not possess the rifle the whole time. Presumably it was in storage, at someone’s house. It is unknown who had access to the rifle or if Oswald let someone use it. Note, Oswald did not have a car; he did not drive. Days before November 22 Oswald returned to the place where the rifle was stored claiming he was taking curtain rods. In subsequent investigations the curtain rods became Oswald’s rifle. 

ISSUE 7. First Assassination Attempt.

Documents found in the possession of Oswald’s wife support the theory that Oswald used his new rifle in April 1963 to shoot at General Walker, retired. Oswald surveyed the shooting site for two months. That shot was at night. The general was sitting at his desk in a lighted room. It was an easy shot at a stationery target. Ballistics were inconclusive about the rifle. Oswald left instructions with his wife about what to do if he were arrested.

ISSUE 8. Oswald’s Ventures Until October 1963.

Oswald moved around a lot. His wife lived with another woman, speaker of English and Russian. Oswald held various jobs. He traveled to Mexico City. He went to New Orleans. He returned to Dallas.

ISSUE 9. Employment Along Motorcade.

It was certainly fortuitous that the presidential motorcade passed by the building where Oswald had a job from mid-October 1963. The motorcade route was presented in the newspapers no later than November 20, 1963. What we’re supposed to believe, this Marine Corp marksman decided to kill the President when the motorcade passed his workplace. This spur of the moment decision is unlike the care he took when trying to kill General Walker seven months earlier.

The suppositions for the Oswald’s mindset to commit this assassination are highly speculative. There are not written ramblings about JFK {Robert Kennedy and Sirhan-Sirhan}. Whether Oswald was mentally -ill is supported by sketchy evidence. He wasn’t overly intelligent. He was a flake and unstable. Oswald was paranoid about the government surveilling him. Many of those disabilities would make his ability to act as an assassin on three days notice (November 19, 20, 21) unlikely. Initially bothering Oswald would be self-preservation: If I shoot from the School Book Depository, every cop in the world will be in the building in a minute. I’ll be trapped like a rat by a government I don’t like. I wish I were in the Soviet Union. How does Oswald get the rifle to the building? On the bus? No bus driver or passenger saw him carrying a rifle or curtain rods onto the bus. No one saw him bring in his show-and-tell exhibit in or put it anywhere.  No one saw Oswald construct a sniper’s nest along side the Sixth Floor window. No one saw Oswald outside the building looking the site over on November 19, 20 or 21. 

These are concerns that would enter the mind of every Marine marksman because getting away or defending the position is the training.

ISSUE 10. Sixth Floor. Shot One.

Below the Sixth Floor window, Houston Street approaches the School Book Depository on the perpendicular. At the intersection below traffic can make a 270 degree turn onto Main Street, or a 300 degree turn onto Elm Street roughly running on a diagonal toward the underpass.

All vehicles in the presidential motorcade had to slow to a crawl, 5 miles an hour to turn, for appearance, comfort and safety. 

President Kennedy was in the right backseat of the car. The First Lady, Mrs. Kennedy, was in the left backseat of the car.

Any shooter in the Sixth Floor window is standing (a more difficult shot) looking down at the intersection. Oswald purportedly aimed at the President 90 feet away. He fired. This shot was “mistaken” for a “backfiring” car.

Shot One missed. Oswald missed by yards. It has been analyzed and tested that this bullet hit the road or something in the road. It broke apart and a fragment went as far down Elm Street as the overpass about 150 yards off.

For the ricochet to travel that distance, it had to hit the street on the left side of the Presidential limousine, where the First Lady was sitting and at least nine feet from the President.

If Shot One had hit the street between the School Book Depository and the Presidential limousine [on the right side where the President was sitting], the ricochet and all fragments would have gone into the car. Apparently, no bullets or fragments were found in the limousine.

ISSUE 11. Oswald’ State of Mind.

Shot One was Oswald’s kill shot, easy, close very slow moving target, everything a marksman ought to be able to hit at 30 yards. He missed.

It is very likely Oswald intended to take one shot, the easy kill shot. He shot, left the window and did not know that he missed. Trees obscured his view. He put the rifle to the side and hurried away. He was on a lower Depository Floor, in the stairwell. He didn’t seem rushed; he was cool and civil. He passed a police officer who didn’t notice anything unusual about him.

If Oswald took shots Two and Three, he had to reload before each shot. Rather than shoot from concealment, inside the room facing Houston Street, he had to move to look down Elm Street. While reloading, adjusting his position so he doesn’t lean over and not to shoot while his body was partially twisted, trying to keep the barrel of the rifle from sticking out the window. What’s a snapshot of Oswald’s thinking at that moment? I missed! How did I do that? I shot at the General and missed an easy shot! I took an easy shot at the President and missed! I’m a lousy shot. I can’t hit the broadside of a barn. This rifle is not good. It’s in poor condition! I should have spent more time at the firing range. I never should have done this. I have to hurry to take more shots!

This is a lot of think about for anyone to consider while moving himself to shoot at a moving target that was moving away at 12 miles an hour.

If Oswald carried three rounds with him, what happened to the other rounds? Where did he keep the added rounds, 2, 3 and more?In his pockets? I’ve heard and seen no evidence of rounds on the window frame, handy and ready to load. Oswald wasn’t wearing shooting gear, a vest where ammunition could be quickly obtained. Presumably, he was in work clothes. No vest was found in the School Book Depository. If Oswald had put out rounds, he likely would have put out more than two rounds on the window sill or someplace handy to the Sixth Floor Window.

Oswald did not lose a bullet on the Sixth Floor Window. None was found. Remarkably, Oswald policed his shots. No one found shell casings on the Sixth Floor floor at or near the window. No one found a spent casing in the chamber of the rifle left at the scene. Oswald did not have bullets or shell casings on him at home. None were found anywhere he traveled by bus or taxi.

Needless to say, if Oswald had to fish rounds from the pockets of his work clothes, he could not have taken Shots Two and Three. It would have taken much too long. If he were rushed to extract rounds from pockets, he likely would have dropped some on the floor near the window.

ISSUE 12. Psychology of Assassination.

When shooting at a high profile target, most assassins get close. It eliminates doubt and intensifies hatred, delusions and demented motivations. Assassinations with rifles, at a distance, have different methods and motivations. For instance James Earl Ray in 1968 had an escape plan; he was tracked and arrested in Europe. But Oswald’s after-the-incident actions are at best poorly conceived and distorted, unlike a Marine marksman who is trained to get away.

Either Oswald was plenty stupid or he had no reason to get away. Americans do not know if Oswald was on his lunch hour at the time of the shooting. Oswald left the School Book Depository by the front door before it was closed. He went home, got a jacket and went out, taking a bus to a business district. He was stopped by a Dallas police officer, whom he shot with a handgun. 

At that time he knew the cops were after him for the death of the officer. Whether he knew he was a “person of interest” in the death of the President, we don’t know. Oswald next went to the movies, albeit without paying, where he was arrested.

An intelligent assassin would have assumed a disguise – mustache and a wig, using a cane, and he would have traveled away. Not for Oswald. He was in public and not running. In March 1963 Oswald left instructions for his wife, with whom he was living, when he tried to shoot General Walker, but left no writing or instructions for his wife in November 1963.

ISSUE 13. Killing of Oswald. 

On Sunday, November 24, 1963, the American people watched Jack Ruby kill Lee Harvey Oswald. 

The American people never got much of the story of Oswald, his background, his intelligence, his abilities and every detail of his life from November 20-21 and especially on November 22, 1963.

Oswald was dead. Quick resolution. Case closed.

 

JFK ASSASSINATION – II

There was more than one shooter in Dallas on November 22, 1963, and that person(s) was likely killed soon after the President was dead. It is unlike that Oswald knew this other person(s). However, these other persons were much better shots than Oswald. 
Throughout these blogs I assume Oswald owned the rifle that was recovered by the FBI.

ISSUE 1: Condition of Oswald’s Rifle. After the assassination the American people were told that Oswald had purchased a rifle of Italian make through the mail for $13.00. It presumably was war surplus, or a knock-off of a World War Two model. There aren’t many improvements that can made to a rifle like that. Oswald got what he paid for. The idea that Oswald’s rifle could be modified to improve it is wrong.

ISSUE 2: Marksmanship. In the mid-1950s Oswald joined the U.S. Marines, and he qualified as a marksman. That means in a shooting position or shooting positions, he hit the target frequently on the firing range at a given distance, 100 -200 yards. BUT Oswald was not a sniper. He did not receive that training, which involves much more shooting with different sorts of weapons. It involves firing many more rounds at targets from various positions. Oswald likely could not meet the psychological and other standards which Marine snipers must have.

ISSUE 3: Practice. There has been a dispute about a photograph in which Oswald holds a rifle similar to the one he bought for $13.00. I do not know if that photograph was real.  As a “marksman” Oswald needed to practice. Did Oswald practice on a firing range, or did he just occasionally shoot at tin cans from the back porch of his house? How much did Oswald practice? Did he shoot off 5,000 rounds, or was it 35?

When did the route of Presidential motorcade become known to the public and to Oswald? It is obvious that Oswald did not have months to prepare. He may have had a week. Any sniper as well as any marksman will explain to anyone that it is necessary to practice such a shot from the actual shooting position, if possible. If not shots can be made, it is very helpful to stand with the weapon in the position and project circumstances at the time of shooting. Where to aim for the kill shot?  It is doubtful if Oswald did anything like that, although in the Sixth Floor of the School Book Depository, Oswald would have to turn his body some to take shots Two and Three. 

It has not been explained how devoted Oswald was to firing his rifle. A single photograph of Oswald holding a rifle does not make Oswald a fiend for guns or for that rifle. Under normal circumstances it is improbable Oswald would have made shots Two and Three without intense practice. Oswald’s marksmanship qualifications are a red herring.

ISSUE 4: Reenactments. The History Channel [Military Channel, Assassination Channel] have reenacted the setting of the November 22, 1963 site down to the last millimeter. They have used the same model of Oswald’s rifle, but have not used Oswald’s rifle. It is probable that the rifle being shot is in as fine a condition as that rifle can be (and very much unlike Oswald’s rifle). The shooter is a sniper, or someone with sniper abilities. He knows he has three shots to fire, not one. And it is to be assumed that the shooter practiced, including with his body turned (for shots Two and Three).

The reenactments are wrong and misleading.

More in the next blog.

 

JFK ASSASSINATION – I

FIFTY YEARS AGO sitting in a classroom in 1963 I got the news from my teacher. John Fitzgerald Kennedy had been assassinated.

LB JERK was the new President, and how bad was LB Jerk? Nine (9) year Vietnam War with 56,000 deaths and hundreds of thousands of casualties, fighting for what?   Two more assassinations, a political opponent of The Jerk and a meddlesome troublemaker.    Trillions spend on well-intentioned, ineffective social programs that don’t work to this day despite 45 years of legislative tinkering.   Being president in 1968, a weak, unhealthy old man.

A joke, black humor, about the assassination fits the Sixties:  LBJ couldn’t go hunting this year. Why not? Oswald would give him back his gun.

TIDBITS of Movies

Having read and previously posted (two weeks ago) about John LeCarre’s early novels, Call of the Dead and A Murder of Quality, I got the movies. The movie title of Call of the Dead is A Deadly Affair(James Mason). My advice: Stick with the novels.

“A Murder of Quality,” scripted by LeCarre is best but lacks the adult setting, subtle politics and society of adults. Set around a boy’s boarding school there are too many classroom scenes which convey little but expose a youthful Christian Bales as one of the boys to a grand future in the medium.

“A Deadly Affair” is Le Carre’s first George Smiley novel. It is necessary to know the novel to follow the movie. In the book not much time is devoted to George’s marriage to Ann and its dissolution, it is a big part of the movie. It seems Ann is played by a foreign actress (wrong – it is Harriet Anderson) who does not well represent Ann’s character in the book: a woman of means from gentry or nobility. There are senseless arguments between husband and wife. Indeed when husband and wife appear on the screen together, there is ridiculous bongo music. Throughout much of the music is not suited to espionage/murder, but more geared toward “The Thomas Crown Affair.” Much of the politics and pettiness in the Intelligence Community is overlooked or ignored. The script does not build to the end, but to save itself, the script slows and seems written from one chapter of the novel before going off on the screenwriter’s whim.

EXTRA. I was an extra in the now filming Helen Hunt/Robert Downey Jr. movie. I know I won’t be invited to the wrap party, but they’ll always remember me. When Helen and Robert are sitting on the park bench, I’m in the background waving at the camera.

“The Swiss Family Robinson” – When I was young, I saw this movie multiple times in movie theaters. I also read the book. I visited the tree house at Disneyland. John Mills is in it. James MacArthur, Danno of “Hawaii 50,” is in it. The guy who played and was “The Shaggy Dog” was in it, as the second son. For a scene he was wearing a Yippie Hat, something Abbie Hoffman might wear. This is very advant-garde for a Disney movie. The bad guy pirate in it was Colonel Saito in “Bridge on the River Kwai.” He wears a necklace that has torquoise. At the end there are lots of pirates to kill, as many as 150,  more than there are on Wall Street, especially after the second wave, 50 or so brigands hit the beach, off-loading from a small Chinese junk. MY CONCLUSION – This movie sucks.

“The Court Jester.” I saw this movie in Yosemite Valley at the movie theater that was there before it burned down. I remembered little about the plot, but I remember that the movie was very funny. I laughed very hard throughout. I liked Danny Kaye thereafter until I lost track of him.

Match the rhyme:       Flagon – Palace

                                     Vessel – Dragon

                                     Chalice – Pessel

Perhaps it is fond memories, but “The Court Jester” holds up. I recommend it.

I’ve read and recommend Film in the Third Reich, David Stewart Hull. In this short history Hull tells about a 1934 German movie, “Gold.” It is science fiction. In it is depicted an atomic reactor, used in an alchemy process to turn lead into gold. Hull writes,

“When the film was reviewed by an Allied censorship board after the war, the viewers wondered whether the German scientists had invented an atomic reactor long before they were supposed to have done so. An effort was made to seize every known print, and the film was put under a restricted category. It is even reported, on reliable authority, that a copy was flown to the United States to be viewed by atomic scientists to see if the machines could actually perform….” (p. 57, UC Press, 1969)

BRAVO! The film maker had his triumph – imagination over reality!  

 

 

LUST CAUTION

Movie – Ang Lee, Director; Tang Wei, Actress

This two and one-half hour movie was on a DVD for sale at BigLots, $3.00. English subtitles, Chinese language film shot in China.

This movie is worth seeing. It drives to its denouement, set up well and can reached by acting. The story is about a novice spy (Tang Wei) enlisted to set up a Chinese man  who is collaborating with the Japanese during the occupation of China during World War Two. The sets, costumes and art direction are excellent. The novice is part of a cell, the politically leaning of which is not entirely clear except every person detests the Japanese.

The first attempt to set up the collaborator fails. He moves from Hong Kong to Shanghai. the novice returns to her family in Shanghai and lives simply while attending classes. She is recruited by a member of her former Hong Kong cell to approach the collaborator again. She is controlled her handler, who is more senior and experienced in spy craft. He dismisses her inexperience and asks her to do too much.

Tang Wei plays the novice very well in her relations with the collaborator. She mixes the emotions of her first long romance [with any man] with the desire to arrange the collaborator’s killing. Toward the end she is unhinged when she demonstrates her unsettled mind – job and love. It is never stated, but the collaborator suspects the novice of being part of the Resistance.

She fulfills the plan to get the collaborator in a place where he can be killed. But in offering her a ring, the collaborator shows love and care. The ring is on her finger. She wants nothing bad to happen to him; her emotions run against the mission. She warns him, indirectly. He avoids assassination. She has signed her own death warrant along with arrests and death of everyone in her cell.

Only an actress like Tang Wei can pull off the non-verbal communications to tell this story on film.