AVOID: A MOST WANTED MAN

An experienced German espionage agent [Philip Seymour Hoffman] trusts his superiors, internal German police and American espionage agents. He tries to conduct a successful espionage operation but in the end everyone he contacts is arrested.

From the beginning a wary German agent [Hoffman] lets his guard down. He is open, revealing everything. The denouement shows Hoffman telling of his plans, including the transfer of money to characters in an office building and how everyone involved with leave. What is annoying is the absence of spyycraft. Most of the people Hoffman meets leave by the front door, together.

More shocking is Hoffman is on the street and does not notice surveillance, or the people ready to make arrests.

If one is a wary spy, supposedly throughout the story, he must be wary at the end. People assembled in the office ought to leave individually by various exits – racing from the garage on a motorcycle, crawling three blocks through air conditioning vents or jumping off the roof and sailing along in a hang glider – that sort of thing, those sorts of thing. None of these happen. Spy Hoffman is surprised and enfeebled. He reveals he is unfit for the espionage business.

Thereupon, other than seeing Hoffman in his last movie, this is a film to avoid.

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CRIME 3: STUPIDITIES

When I watch real crime shows sometimes the stupidness of victims, cops, witnesses, friends and family, jump out, are truly incomprehensible, inexplicable mind-numbing and appalling. Herein I will attempt to give as many facts as I can remember, which are or seem connected to the incidences presented on the tube, to describe and define the utter failure of human behavior and investigation.

In April 2017 and in July 2017 I published CRIME I and CRIME 2. CRIME 3 is my latest summary of aberrant, decadent, deceptive behavior.

I. Fifty year old girlfriend has hot relationship with victim and plans to move to Florida with him. She leaves for the day. When she returns to his house, where she had been staying; boyfriend is not there. Girlfriend is crushed. She walks around the house. She sees boyfriend-victim inside. He does not move to her knocking. She believes he is ignoring her. She goes to a bar, has a few drinks and is disgusted he won’t answer the phone. She returns to her house, heartbroken. Three days later boyfriend’s daughter calls a friend who checks the house. The police get involved.
When girlfriend was knocking on the door and seeing boyfriend inside, murderers of
boyfriend were hiding inside. If girlfriend were aware and was not crushed, she was awake and engaged, she only had to call 9ll, wait and expect the crime to be stopped. NOPE.

II. Regarding Wills. A woman kills a second husband, also using anti-freeze. She goes to a
friend after the death; friend witnesses a new will of the second husband. Does perjury come to mind? How about forgery? How about conspiracy? How about civil actions of conversion and conspiracy? Would no one notice any of these acts in an investigation of the husband’s death?

III. Too dumb. Man marries a childhood sweetheart as soon as possible. A kid came. Financial hardship. Divorce. Other partners. Husband has no idea how to handle exes and his present women. His IQ descends to 61, but no one who knows or associated with him sees his decline. While visiting with his ex, he is shot in the chest with a shotgun, but the verdict is manslaughter – 12 year sentence. Nobody can believe the victim’s behaviors in life. The ex-wife serves only two years of the 12.
The apparent moral of the story: A murderer can kill as many stupid human beings as she wants.

IV. Two family murders, or relive your childhood. Mother-daughter, father-son forget all sense of family. They are comfortable because they are familiar with each other. And frequently it is the parents who succumbs to the child’s violent actions and ways of thinking. The murderous parents learn that telling lies as an adult is less convincing and less excused than lying as a teenager.

V. No one can understand unless they’ve gone through a horrible crime (rape, kidnapping, home invasion, etc.) themselves. This statement has nothing to do with solving a crime, and is irrelevant. It is also WRONG. People who say such things have no imaginations; they do not understand the significance and importance of books and intelligence. Law enforcement understands enough, or more, to capture such criminals. Novelists, non-fiction writer and journalists must understand to relay the stories.

VI. A woman can have a high IQ, be bright and engaging, have a promising imagination, be the star of her school, garner awards and achievements, and be in a lucrative profession. Next, the world learns this woman is a complete moron about love – dating bad boys, failing to use her intelligence to discriminate, differentiate and judge among men, and finding herself at great disadvantages physically, mentally and emotionally.
MORAL: A woman should use her strengths to investigate and decide before socially
engaging.

VII. Female victim works at a donut shop. She’s likable. Cops patronize the shop. Victim is
found dead. During the investigation the same cops find the body but don’t or can’t
identify her.

VIII. Do not rely on any person to kill another. If captured, the killer always talks and you’re screwed. Do not try from jail or prison, to have someone on the outside killed. Fellow inmates are not reliable, and THEY are hearing everything.

IX. Older men/younger women. It is easy to deceive the woman. Inexperience. Guy is no
good if he has no money. He will be insecure and possessive. He will demand she love
him always. Don’t mother him.
The woman usually jumps at the chance for security, and perhaps a kid. But the old man
can’t do everything she wants. That blank in a women’s life, a huge area for mischief
and wrongful acts, usually is.

X. Do not have long term relationships, and not many short term encounters, currently
known as “friends with benefits.” That will become the first social connection the cops
will find and stick to as a motive for murder.

XI. The odors and smells in morgues and around corpses are why deodorants, air fresheners and strong cleaners are used. Those products also cover up animal smells for humans who keep pets. But if there are no pets and the cleaning smells are present, there is likely a dead human nearby.

XII. Parents, especially mothers, should not sleep with their children. The children will never learn independence, self-reliance or gain confidence -physically, psychologically and emotionally. These arrangements may open a road to crime: These children will not grow up to be complete, mature human beings.

XIII. Do not murder someone and a few days later go to the police station wearing the same clothes for an interview about the killing. The cops will notice and arrest you.

XIV. If you have a criminal business that provides you with a decent income, and the cops don’t seem interested in you, don’t commit other crimes like murder, rape, kidnapping or assaultive robbery. You’ll be arrested and the whole enterprise will shut down.

XV. Idiocy in California. Sister and drug-addicted brother live together in city. She is a
graduate student. He gets her started on drugs. With her remaining wits she finds a
boyfriend and plans to move to New York City to live with him. Brother does not like
that; sister goes missing. Thereafter, brother withdraws money from her account and forges her checks to support his drug habit.
Parents call cops. Sister/daughter is missing. Cops have found her car; they do not
process it. They go to daughter’s apartment; brother/son refuses their entry. They leave
and wait.
Family arrives. They cannot find daughter/sister.
They move from the apartment. Cops get a search warrant after brother/son and
family leave, and after new tenants have moved in. Cops find blood; they find blood in
the car. They never find a body.
Drug-addicted brother refuses to talk to cops; they get nothing. Family supports him; they are sure he did not kill his sister.
MORALE: Women are expendable. Having a drug-addicted son is better than a happy
daughter in New York City. Daughter may as well have been born dead.

WISDOM OF THE CROWD?

This politically correct TV production from California, and I suppose Hollywood, is UNREAL. This production is set in Silicon Valley. Everyone in it is of dark complexion but salient places are ignored: An entire continent is missing.
NO ASIANS – the sub-continent Indians, no Vietnamese, no Malaysians, no Thais, no Chinese and no Japanese. As for Europe the characters look like they come from the Mediterranean places. There are no Frogs, no Krauts and no Limeys. No one looks ready to play a a role in Fargo except for the blonde victim. Where are the Ruskies, the easiest characters to write and cast: Thin guy, big eyes always looking at the walls, generally incoherent and absolutely brilliant. And there are no Irish!
There is also a black/white element present in the production. Everyone wears black. The bad guys were Northern European/North American.

THE NEXT OPERA

Cinderella & Company, by Manuela Hoelterhoff

This excellent book about the inside of the world of opera is amusing, well-written, to the point and short.

Initially, an impression comes to the reader. The book is a story of antedotes – the opera in the 1990s and in the past – but there is more.

A growing realization comes that the author has written the outline for a new opera libretto: Singers of all sexs, shapes and ages are themselves; most have great talent but do not want to sing. Every singer in a libretto based upon this book can sing a few bars from a famous aria and quit, as if to say, “see I know the whole thing.” In the songs of the opera singers sound out their excuses, reasons, or disgust why they will not perform. NOTE: Sets for the new opera cost zero because everything is backstage. It is all in this book including the ending where some singers mature and otherwise grow up, getting over their juvenile, wanton ways in order to return to the silly world of the opera stage. There’s a lot of money at stake.

Read this book to be entertained, or to write a libretto.

REMINISCENCES OF A STOCK OPERATOR

by Edwin Lefevre

This book came highly recommended, and for someone intensely interested in financial markets, it has value. It may be an Investment Classic. It is written in textbook fashion, meaning it is poorly written and prolix. It is a blue pencil special.

This reader read 100 pages and stopped. The first problem is the text is a narrative using I: Everything must be explained by I, and neither I nor the author do that. I does not explain well the stock market, stock picking or timing. It seems out of nowhere I is in a brokerage shop or a firm where he buys or sells. I happily tells when he’s made money, based upon what analysis of the market, a stock, conditions or being drunk or using drugs? (e.g. Union Pacific)

This reader tired of reading that I had talked to friends, brokerage people, or there was this stock or that, and all the while this reader knew he was reading too many words. There ought to be one-quarter or one-third fewer words in this book, because there is no explanation of analysis or the market or stocks. This reader did not need to read that many words about I’s social career. Hence, the text should be 200-225 pages instead of 300 pages.

GOOGLE GUY

Like everything else on the Internet, this incident has arisen to cartoon character status, because those are the only persons many Americans will believe. The Google Guy was given space on Saturday’s Wall Street Journal op-ed page.

In 1790 in Vienna an honest observer would say Mozart was the most original composer of the times. Franz Joseph Hayden was equally excellent, but in a different way. What about Beethoven? He had arrived and played the piano for Mozart, who unjustly wasn’t impressed. When Mozart heard Beethoven improvise, he said, “The world will hear from this young man.”
Hayden took Beethoven on as a student. The pupil fought with his teacher all the time, but something was conveyed. Fifteen years later during the performance of The Seasons the old man got up to leave. Beethoven was kneeling before him. Embarrassed and overwhelmed, Hayden got Beethoven to stand so he could look at his peer.

In 1793 who would have known the disagreeable student would be the best composer to live, ever. By 1808 Hayden knew it. Beethoven’s collective work shows a steady improvement and use of the imagination. Later pieces are consistently better than the earlier. And who knew after 1808 Beethoven would compose the Fifth Concerto, the Seventh Symphony, Eighth Symphony, sonatas, quartets and when deaf, the Ninth Symphony. He wrote Wellington’s Victory to pay the rent.

I’ve seen the Google Guy interviewed, and who is he? He does not realize there are big grand issues he is not addressing. The issue is, how to prompt an employee’s imagination to do the work presented. The answer is not forthcoming by comparing men to women. To do that one needs gobs of data, personal knowledge and be educated in teaching the disciplines which Google finds important. We’re talking about higher forms of mathematics where 2 + 2 = 5. If a Google employee can teach that, one might be able to evaluate other employees, if there is complete access to academic and psychological reports for each individual.

Remember the Google Guy is looking for distinctions in imaginations. In 1830 Chopin left Poland on his way to Paris. He stopped in Germany to hear Mendelssohn perform. They were both 20 years old. When the music wasn’t very good, Chopin went on his way: “No use meeting Felix.” Mendelssohn had every musical gift Mozart had, but did not know how to use the talents – focus to produce compelling music. Polish speaking Chopin was fleeing a failing revolution at home against the Russian occupier. Chopin’s music is almost always precise, surprising and pleasing.

Somebody who collects gross data off the Internet, and tries to make it comprehensible does not have the facts and figures to conclude anything about anyone. Hence, the Google Guy, likely has a storied career in education, perfect scores on the SAT, and everything else – ornaments for the resume. He also has a list of letters following his name longer than the alphabet, reflecting victories in science and wizardry contests and extending far into his Wazoo. Such credentials are why this guy should not write. There have always been exact answers in his world.

I can tell Google Guy that how he did it is not how writers do it. Sources may be available but what do they indicate? They are not formulas, equations and therms. The studies produced are by researchers seeking answers. Do they ever ask enough questions? Like a political poll the best any one can derive from studies are inclinations and trends. I assume that the A-Hole U which Google Guy attended did not teach him how to research any better than it taught writing and interpretation. Google Guy’s abilities are best left in the imagination, working through math problems, conceptual relationships among sets, numbers and equations and hoping to arrive at a defensible conclusion or a better product. Most human beings and situations are far from those efforts, and being human they don’t always act predictably.

What specifically is not happening at Google? Work is not being done? Someone in management is to blame. Employees need better training. Google is a choice employer. There should be enough scrutiny of new employees so urging them to work is not a problem. They are self-motivating; they have initiative; they use their brains to confront issues before them.

Or does Google hire employees who are not qualified? Are Google employees happy with their performances in academia, and now want to coast during employment? And since this is California, are there substance abuse issues? Perhaps some employees have psychological problems, and a few physical limitations.

What do Beethoven, Hayden and Mozart have to do with Google? I suppose Google hires employees hoping each will contribute often over the long term. Some may be standouts but not fully noticeable today. In a decade how will these people have helped?

FIRST PERSON NARRATIVE

In literature this voice is not used often; there are good reasons why. Having “I” tell the story greatly limits the options a writer has available in any writing. The reader and world already know whose point of view is being presented: I, and to be consistent I must fill in all the action and description. A derivation into description present in a third party tale is noticeable and a flaw.

It may seem that dialogue can be accurately reported by using I. Indeed, some of the sentences may have been previously uttered, but there is not enough paper in the world to record every conversation completely. In all literature conversations reported in dialogue are edited and representative. That selection process picks the jewels coming from the human brain through the mouth rather than a jumbo mix of participles, prepositional phrases and adverbs. Someone writing dialogue I, the first person narration needs to tone down and eliminate as many words as possible: First, the words come from I, a person the reader is familiar with. Second, unless the dialogue drives the story forward, it should be dropped. In a first person narration I is the primary mover of the story. If points in dialogue have not been made, they may have already been implied, or they are not important and possibly conflicting. An author cutting his dialogue – this is my styleHORRORS! It is an impossible task.
Writing a novel is the first person narrative and having flashbacks seems an impossibility. I have tried reading such a novel. The author tried to clarify by dating each chapter of the multi-decade story: Chapter 1, Winter 2008; Chapter 2, Autumn, 1982, etc. Embracing I along with keeping track of incidences in I’s life over the decades is more than a reader should endure: Chapter 3, Winter, 1983; Chapter 4, Spring 1984; Chapter 5, Summer 2008.

The author jumped relying on dates and seasons and dialogue from those times, but I wondered, why bother. The author supposedly wanted to tell a first person narrative about a police investigation of a local heroin distribution ring. It seems a timely subject beset by the awkward telling.

So I put the book down. There are others to read, one by Joseph Conrad.

SHERLOCK – Season 4

This series has begun the slide into fantasy and surrealism. Points are blocked out and seemingly follow one another. But do the blocks make sense? A headline from Favorite Internet Site leads to Sherlock and Watson to follow a line; a note discarded in the Underground on the other side of London stirs them in other directions.

The cartoonish coincidences of blocks mock the whole Sherlock idiom. Most of Season 4 is taken up with the future crimes predicted by past bad guys, James Moriety, killed in Season 2. Note that a few years or more have passed by Season 4. The dead man has joined forces with Sherlock Holmes brilliant sister, who supposedly has not been released from confinement for 30 years.

According to the cartoon story she knows everything. She’s more brilliant than either of her brothers, although she is severely mentally retarded. She keeps that handicap in check while having her brothers jump through her hoops. Episode three of Season 4 is not good science fiction, science fantasy, detective fantasy, etc. It’s more like a pseudo-psycho story with gaps, and the audience is to fill in the blanks while trying to follow improbable actions: A cross between Survivor and Alien [the original].

The Sherlock Holmes idiom presents a man who is different from other human beings. Note that Sherlock is not in a different setting. In the settling that is known to the audience, what delights readers and viewers is Sherlock’s observations of the unknown and unnoticed. When Sherlock pursues criminals, he does not leave reality, the setting the audience is in. When using fantasy leaps, grand coincidences and changes of setting in SHERLOCK – Season 4, the Sherlock idiom is lost. [Robert Downey Jr. movies came close but did not cross this line.]

What the audiences and the writers lose? Nobody cares about Sherlock or how the crimes are solved. Most of the crimes are obvious {cereal (serial) killer}and solvable by the cops; Sherlock isn’t needed. SHERLOCK – Season 4 lost its strongest human being when Mary, John Watson’s wife, is unnecessarily killed. If the truth be known the original Terminator movie has more human beings in it (including Arnold) than SHERLOCK – Season 4.

CRIME 2

On April 23, 2017 I gave a rundown of criminal situations that arise frequently on crime shows. I gave 15 much scenarios, and I’m adding another 15. I cannot say I’ve covered the whole range of basic facts leading to crime. I may write more, but the 20 categories I’ve identified can help anyone to analyze any scene. Here comes Crime 2:

l.   No adult or adolescent female should ever attempt to mother a man who is a boyfriend. There is no reforming the male. That relationship will end badly – violently with psychological issues rearing and separating the couple, and an ugly aftermath.

2. There is a different between support, care and attention and mothering. A mother has
to accept all great aberrant behaviors. But a woman in a relationship does not to go
beyond care, nursing a scrapped knee; she should support criminal acts but she should to ready the man for the consequences of his actions, striving to improve his state of mind if the idiot is capable. She should never tell everyone her man is right and righteous.

3. DO NOT EVER believe having plastic surgery will rekindle a marriage/love affair.
Marital problems usually go to he bone – far beyond skin deep.

4. Marriage, living with another, is real. DO NOT EVER believe a spouse who commits fraud or steals from other is a mate. Theft is theft, whether it be money, time, attention or caring.

5. Missing persons: When a child, adult or relative are missing – not were anyone expected them to be and not found anywhere else – call the cops. When anyone waits for the cops to call them to report, your missing person is dead.

6, Women of all ages, but primarily adolescents and a bit older, should never feel sorry for a guy who tells a sad tale otherwise instantly recognized as a sob story. His life is one
of hard knocks. The guy wants you to cry; he wants you to take care of him; he wants your body. He wants your attention. He wants your money. He says he does but he does not care about you.

Corollary: A sob story is not a good basis on which to establish a long term
relationship.

7. Boys and girls who insist on confronting someone who has wronged them, and they don’t want to go to the cops, frequently their end up murdered or hurt. When a crime is committed, the perpetrators frequently are emotionally dangerous human beings and easily act wantonly a second time.

8, If perpetrators of crimes have a successful run, treat it like a job. Save the money. Have an exit strategy. Train replacements. Leave town. Remain silent. Live a quiet life somewhere afar. Spend time reading books taken from the public library. Try not to see the old gang again.

9. A single adult with a child must realize: Grow up, be mature. The child or any adult the
needs attention and care. The child is offspring; you are not a child. Rules of being single no longer apply. The single person is first an adult. The most important person in life is the child – not the single socialite, and not the pretty person who is offering attention to the single parent. There are no good reasons for ignoring a neglected child.

10. Human thought puts too much emphasis on experience, and not enough on the imagination: identifying an activity, playing through the actions, consider the consequences. The thinking is much better than the reality: Do a stupid, wanton, wasteful act will forever change lives including your own, and your life will be gone.

11. Being a parent means you must also carry the responsibilities of being an adult. But being an adult, does not mean one is capable of being an parent.

12. A teenager of a small town who is going to college, in a larger town should reflect. Where you are going is much more exciting than anything in the hometown. It is not time to paint the hometown red. Too much can happen which usually does, involving crime, injury and death. Instead, rest and read so you can paint the college town red.

13. In America today are large subcultures, devoid of or producing their own morals and
ethics and inflected with with addictions. Citizens live on the edge or off the grid
because they are incapable of joining society in any way.

14. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Right? There are towns and neighborhoods,
elsewhere, where the Vegas rule also pays out. One such place is the Haight-Ashbury in
San Francisco. There are also yoga communities along the coast of Southern California;
and there’s the spiritual community of Sedona Arizona.

15. Marriage. If you are on drugs, or your marital partner is on drugs, do not marry. If you are on drugs, and the potential spouse is not, neither person knows the other. If both persons are on drugs, neither person has a chance to know the other.
When writing about marriage, any author should mention drug usage when writing a story – crime, romance, family.

NO NOVELIST HERE

I bought 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel, Jane Smiley, and wondered if it was also overblown and overwritten. Yes, it is. The laudatory sentence on the back cover underneath the author’s photograph has errors in it. It states that Smiley possesses a mastery of craft. Mastery is difficult to justify and not complimentary. Stating there is a facility of craft suggests an acuity and uniqueness unmatched in others; they are essential traits in all literature: Every story has its own style and its own way of telling – the characters, the setting and the events are different. Having a facility means the author tells one story from another without effort. If mastery is the standard, there is trouble e.g. A Thousand Acres, derived from King Lear by William Shakespeare. Did old Bill got a lot of stuff wrong or loose in the original?

Next buyers of the book learn Smiley has “an uncompromising vision.” Is this the same uncompromising vision held by that politician, aka the orange turd? The word vision needs no adjective, no adverb, no particle modifying it. Visions are brain images which the brain uses to compile and put together persons, settings and events, essentials to a story. Saying that a story is uncompromising, or a vision is so wrong. The effort is not in its adamancy. Work accomplished by visions are sustained. Visions become continuous, prompting the imagination to prolong them.

When critics like authors use adjectives to puff a piece, inflate a book or aggrandize a writing, the language should be exacting and specific. Otherwise, persons reading the outside of the book [like in the movie Tropical Thunder] may infer an improperly put comment may reflect the author’s abilities, masteries and visions.