Why We Still Need James Bond.


He may need Viagra now, but the trigger finger still works.  He’s the man with the golden gun, but we still need him.

M calls him out of his retirement at the Playboy Mansion.  For the game is afoot.  General Flynn has resigned and left for Moscow.

He laughed like a loon, as he fled to the Moscow neighborhood, now called Snowdonville.

M glared at Bond.  “Your nation needs you.”

“Of course my nation needs me!”  He hadn’t had his first martini yet, he was grumpy, and not his usual suave self.  Then, in a gravelly voice not yet awake, he growled, trying to sound like Churchill, without the cigar.  “The Russian Bear, ma’am, is still a bear.”  The name of their secret service may change, but Russia is Russia, Czarist, Communist, or Putinist.  What is my mission, Ma’am?”

“Get Goldfinger!  I mean Flynn!

 

 

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How Patriots Train.


Joanna Harker first tried to interview Coach Bill Belicheck at Castle Belicheck in Foxborough, Massachusetts.  He unceremoniously ejected her.  She wasn’t one to take defeat easily.

Joanna made her struggle to learn about the Patriots public.  Most New Englanders laughed it off.  No one gets that close, they snickered.

People around Foxborough got used to seeing her around.  They were polite to her face, but laughed behind her back.

Joanna was noticing the Patriots weren’t using the practice field.  Of course, no one in town would say anything.  Then one day, Joanna was near the practice field, when she saw some buses.  At a distance, she watched the Patriots players and coaches pile in.  Where are they going?  She wondered.

She immediately got in her rental car and started it up.  The caravan  headed up Interstate 95 through Boston, where she fought to keep up and out on 128 to 95 and into New Hampshire, then Maine.  Where are we going, this is insane?

The trip finally ended in a wooded clearing with dormitories in the distance.  Joanna prepared for a long stay, calling the BBC office in New York to tell them where she was, according to GPS.  “I need a camera crew up here, I found a secret Patriots practice place.”

Someone with a sense of humor said, “It’s not secret anymore, you found it and told us where it is.”

“Very funny, just get someone up here!”

“It’ll be a few hours.”

“So quit chatting and get here, I need to find a hotel.  I will let you know when I get settled.”

 

Joanna, now knew where they were, but needed a place to stay.  Many closed in the Winter.  She finally found a place along 95, where most of the guests, were truckers heading to Canada.  The staff didn’t ask why she was there, and she didn’t volunteer.  As nightfall approached, her camera crew arrived.  No one asked, why the hotel was full of British accents.  This is Maine.  People mind their business.

Joanna asked her camera crew how the trip was?

“No problem except for moose on the road.”

Early the following morning, the camera crew followed Joanna to the clearing.

The site horrified them as they stood in the woods on the edge.  Moose heads nailed to trees.

With zoom lenses, the amazed cameramen whispered, “They’re practicing barefoot in the snow.  Then they noticed the bloody footprints.  Those who read about George Washington’s ragtag army at Valley Forge will get the irony of well paid athletes barefoot in the snow.  All you can ask is why they would put up with it?

They suddenly heard a command.  “Release the moose.”

Suddenly, angry male moose were charging at offensive and defensive linemen, who were using them as tackling dummies.  Sometimes the moose won though.  Antlers sometimes win with shoulder pads.  You could hear Belichek across the field.  “Hard training makes easy playing!”

“There’s a quote,”  Joanna smirked.

“Only if we get out of here alive,: the cameraman muttered.

“Let’s go,” Joanna snapped.

They turned to leave, well several huge linemen surrounded their vehicles.  “Coach wants to see you!”  One of them snapped.

“Our ambassador will hear of this outrage!  You cannot detain us!  Out of our way!”  Joanna with her shouting tried to sound confident, but the occasional squeak in her voice betrayed her fear.

“You can leave when Coach says you can, without your cameras and notebooks.  Let’s go!!  The linemen put burly hands on the camera crew, a smaller safety led Joanna, who tried to kick him.

“Don’t resist, or Gisele gets you.”

“Bring her on!”

“Might be your funeral.”

“No wonder you’re the most hated team.  You’re all mad!”

“Might be true, but we win.”

They were led to a conference room.  Coach Belichek walked in.

“Miss Harker, have you ever seen Goldfinger?  Once an accident, twice a warning.  I wont have you in my affairs again.

“Coach, why wont you or your players speak with the media?  People are curious…”

“About our practices?  Miss Harker, I invented Spygate, I won’t be caught at it.”

Joanna noticed a bookshelf.  The books were not about football, but Ancient Rome.

Coach noticed her looking.  ” You will leave your cameras and notes.  I will autograph these and give them to you.  You seem like an intelligent woman.  You read these and you will understand our team and style.  Enjoy your trip.

The BBC crew were escorted back to their vehicles.

 

To be continued.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Build That Wall!


Donald Trump was at a Boston Red Sox game, with supporters of his campaign and business associates.  He was mumbling about the primitive facilities and said a little too loudly   That brought angry looks from Red Sox fans, who protect their beloved 1912 ballpark.

 

Trump was watching the field, as the Sox played the Yankees.  Then he looked over at the left field wall, the Green Monster, thirty seven feet high.  

“That’s it!”  Trump exclaimed all excited.  “A wall with Mexico!”  

A murmur spread through the Fenway crowd like fans doing the wave, only darker.  It was like schoolchildren playing telephone.  By the time it got around the ballpark, the rumor was that Trump wanted to buy the Green Monster and ship it away.  Not a way to win friends and influence people among New Englanders.  

Of course, the Boston Globe reported it.  “Nasty press,” Mr. Trump cried.  

Then Mr. Trump’s campaign picked up.  Someone gave him a basic intro about the Great Wall of China.  The idea went further in Mr. Trump’s head.  “The wall isn’t finished.”

An aide looked at him baffled.  “Not finished?”  

Mr. Trump grumbled, “It ends in the middle of the desert and doesn’t surround the country completely.”

“Sir, parts of the wall are over two thousand years old.  It was only meants to keep barbarians from invading from the deserts.  The rest of China is protected by sea, mountains and jungle.”

    “After Mexico, I want to surround China.  They cannot export their goods to us.  I also bought some construction companies, it’ll be huge!  We’ll start with Mexico.”

When Donald Trump becomes President, he speaks with the Mexican President.  I suspect the call went something like this:

President Trump:  You’re gonna pay for the wall.

President Pena:  To quote my predecessor, Mr. Fox, we’re not paying for your fuckin wall!

President Trump:  Oh yes you are!

(Sounds like little kids on a playground, doesn’t it)?

President Pena:  How are you gonna make us do it?

President Trump:  Your illegals in our country will have their remittances taken before I throw them out.

President Pena:   You do that.  Meanwhile, I will make sure your winter vegetables are expensive.  Six million Americans have jobs depending on NAFTA.  You keep saying, we steal your jobs.  You are wrong.  Maybe I will pay for the wall…In Pesos!  You helped to devalue the Peso.  See how much wall you can build!  Vaya con dios Amigo!

 

President Trump:  The SOB hung up on me.

The President realizes he can’t get Mexico to pay for the wall, and Congress won’t provide money.  The President went straight to the American people via a GoFundMe site.  When that didn’t work, he threw up his hands, and said “I tried.”

 

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President Trump’s Slavic Playground


Now Donald Trump is President of the United States, the most powerful country in the world.  As he was busily signing Executive Orders, a light bulb went off.  

“I’m annoyed about NATO, but there might be some use to it. I’m willing to work with my new friend, Theresa May.  We will have a great relationship, the two of us, Britain and the United States.  She is not my type, though, I will look East from Britain.    He cast an eye East, stopping at Berlin.  He grumbled about Angela Merkel.  “Nasty woman, I want to fire her!”  

“Your majesty, I mean Mr. President, you can’t fire  Chancellor Merkel, we don’t own Germany…”

“Yet!”  President Trump snapped.

Foreign Policy experts and historians had thoughts of Occupied Germany.

President Trump had his phone call with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.  One of the things they discussed was control of the Slavic world.  Not Russia of course.  For President Trump wants something.  Young, thin, Slavic women.  

They agreed to beauty contests and research.  With DNA, we can figure out the origin of the Slavs.  He has had a Czech wife and now a Slovene.  Where to next Mr. President?  Will it be Poland?  Slovakia?  President Trump can have DNA tested, but not manufacture one.  He may think it, but he won’t live forever.

So was created the Slavic Playground, for both Putin and Trump.

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Nicholas Wade A Troublesome InheritanceA


I enjoyed the book, and am having fun take notes.  I enjoyed the excerpt in Time Magazine from Nicholas Wade’s book and was looking forward to reading the entire book.

My disclaimer.  I’m not an expert on genetics, just an interested layman.  I will throw in some of my own views on what Mr. Wade brought up.

Political Correctness and Race.  There is a fear among many that mentioning race will bring out the worst.  The American Anthropological Society considers race a recent concept.  Well, without genetics, we had no real scientific baseline.  People used to refer to the “Irish race,” for example.  In the past, race was really anything that was, “the other.”  Us and them.  Nothing scientific about it.  On page seven, he states, racism and discrimination are wrong as a matter of principle, not science.   Also academics interested in intelligence fear a gene will prove one race with more intelligence than others.  Intelligence has a genetic basis, but no genetic variant has been found.  Look at the 100 yard dash.  All Olympians have West African ancestry.  Few question that.  There is also much about the human genome we still do not know.

On page 59, Wade mentions Marxists.  Probably see less about Marxists now, but I remember them on my college campus.  Marxists don’t like the idea of genetics driving certain things, because their entire idea was based on the idea of developing the “New Socialist Man.”

Now we get to the beginnings of agricultural society 15,000 years ago.  Hunter Gatherer societies were fairly egalitarian.  With agricultural, you had territory and something you had to protect.

Herders had even more to protect.  An agricultural village can lose some of its crop, like the peasants in the Kurosawa movie The Seven Samurai.   A pastoral society loses all its animals in a raid, they starve.   I’m thinking of the George MacDonald Fraser book The Border Reivers.   These are tough people.  No wonder they were sent first to Ulster in Ireland and then to the North American frontier.  These groups create elite warrior groups, like the Zulu.  In herder societies, you are raised to fight, you are constantly fighting.

In an agricultural society, you now have a headman, who organizes defenses for his community and diplomacy with neighboring areas.  When you grow more, you have city states.

There seems to be a pattern.  A certain size equals a certain level of civilization.  Learned behavior in culture goes along with some genetically driven social behaviors.

Wade mentions on page 71, if the races continued to be isolated, we would have drifted apart into different primate species.

OK, we come back to the question, what is race?  Some say there are three main races.

1.  Sub Saharan Africans.

2.  Caucasians.  (Including Europe, the Near East, and Indian Subcontinent).

3.  East Asians, who split apart from Caucasians about 30,000 years ago.

As we learn more about the genome, we can have some more classifications.  You might be able to consider Tibetans as a separate race, because they have the genome for surviving at high altitudes.  (Other studies have said the Ancient Denisovans mixed with them).  Australian Aborigines split apart so long ago, they can be considered a race.  Some classification schemes recognize as many as 60 races.

 

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A Tongue in Cheek History of Ireland


Many of my readers have read my History Made Fun stuff.  I want to travel to Ireland and thought I would do my tongue in cheek Irish History.

Why am I writing this?  I’m Jewish, not Irish.

According to DNA, Britain and Ireland were settled by people from what is now Northern Spain 10,000 years ago.    People kept heading North, these people were certainly not interested in the Costa Brava, but headed for the cold and damp.  It was before we knew about coffee, writers and Seattle.   We didn’t call them the Irish yet, nor were they writers.

They built places like Newgrange.  So that’s what the Flintstones were based on.  Who played Fred, Barney, Wilma and Betty?  🙂

Then the Celts came.  Great jewelers, love of poetry, song and a good fight.  DNA has now shown us, the majority of the Irish ancestry, no matter who came is still from the original settlers.  The Celts brought ideas and language.  Because of DNA, we are finding this is the pattern throughout much of the world.  A small population with ideas and possibly better weapons.  I called a previous blogposts Irish with sticks.  No insult intended here, but I need the rhyme, so here we go, Micks with Sticks.  (I would love to have someone come up with some Gaelic rhymes).  So the Celts had sticks and other toys, I mean weapons.  Hurling was better than using swords and spears…Maybe.

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John Cleese and Eric Idle Bring Monty Python to Tucson


 

John Cleese & Eric Idle Poster

 

 

 

 

Those who know me, know I’m a major fan of Monty Python.  In the Spring, we found out John Cleese and Eric Idle were invading, sorry, coming to perform in the Old Pueblo, what we call Tucson.

We bought our tickets immediately.  I’d seen Eric Idle back in 2002 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, New Jersey.  I was in the balcony,  Anyone in the orchestra was fair game to for Eric to pull them out of the audience and on stage.  Newark’s incumbent mayor was a man named Sharpe James. He was being challenged by someone many Americans have heard of, Senator Cory Booker.

Eric Idle had great fun with that.  He mentioned Sharpe James, but asked, if he was sharp?  That got some laughs.

It was something to look forward to, with the crazy 2016 year.  Our crazy election year and in the United Kingdom, Brexit.  

November 22nd is an inauspicious day in the United States, for those who are history buffs.  The day of the JFK Assassination.  I digress though.

Well they were coming here from Mesa, Arizona.  Not Phoenix, Mesa, still in Maricopa County though.  

This is important, because Phoenix comes up.  Hey, I don’t know what wisecracks about Tucson they may have made, but that’s an aside.  As I stated, Mesa, is still Maricopa County, home of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department and soon to be ex Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  Foreigners?  They were lucky to escape tents and pink underwear, though Sheriff Joe was defeated in the election.  They were able to escape down Interstate 10 to Tucson.  To the best of my knowledge, Sheriff Joe doesn’t have warrants out for them.  They made it on the Butterfield Stage past the Apaches, sorry that would be Tombstone.  I’m waiting for the Graham Chapman letter Dear Sir, silly just silly!  Sorry, I’m a writer, I have my flights of fancy.

We went with my childhood friend Lizzie Svenson, to the performance.  The venue?  Centennial Hall on the University of Arizona campus.

Centennial Hall is by the Main Gate of the University, and in front on University Blvd. is Main Gate Square with shops and restaurants.  It’s fun to be down there, especially with the Streetcar going through.  

After dinner, we walked to the hall.  I know there were tickets available, but when all were seated, not many.

We were seated in the orchestra near the back, but dead center.  The crowd was older, old enough to remember Monty Python  Some were dressed fairly formally for Tucson others in the usual Tucson outfit of jeans, tshirts, and sneakers.  Two guys behind us were dressed as the Gumbys.   There was a screen on stage where some of the skits were shown and that included the Gumbys.  

First skits were shown, then the audience had their legs pulled by an announcement, that the show would be delayed, while the performers ran out to get alcohol and drugs.  Why am I not surprised? I thought with a laugh.

There were two chairs on stage, wide red, very comfortable looking chairs.  I thought the Comfy Chairs of the Spanish Inquisition skit.  We knew which chair would be Eric’s, it had the guitar next to it.

They finally came out on stage.  I’d never seen John Cleese live before, and forgot how tall he is.  This is Tucson, and our great University of Arizona basketball team.  Where are Lute Olson and Sean Miller, when you need them?  McKale Center is just across campus, you can walk it John.

What made the evening fun, was not just skits, but the history and the asides.  They talked about working with David Frost pre-Python.  The play that ended in New York, stranding John Cleese.  See, no matter what we do, will no one, but no one rid us of this meddlesome Cleese?  Yes, I’m playing with the English Language.  I’m not as good as Winston Churchill, my hero and the master of the English Language.  

Yes, John Cleese keeps turning up in this country.  I found out there is a special Python Visa.  Someone in the State Department had a sense of humor, and I don’t think it was John Kerry.  Eric Idle lives in our fair country.  He’s on the tour to make sure John has an escort.

I enjoyed the Fish Dance skit, when John explained how the water dropped in the lock. Michael Palin is always a good guy.  In Arizona though, they would have had to do it on the imported London Bridge at Lake Havasu.  How many times would Michael Palin have to be dropped into the lake?  (Thanks to London Bridge, Lake Havasu is the second biggest tourist attraction in Arizona, after the Grand Canyon.  Like the comment in the Holy Grail about Camelot being just a model, the Grand Canyon is just a giant sinkhole.  There I said it.  What’s wrong with Tucson?  We have Mission San Xavier.  We have casinos, the Congress Hotel, John Dillinger was captured in.  Is it our fault Indiana let him go again?  We have the University, shops, museums, and a new sleek streetcar).  

Enough about the fish dance, we are in a desert.  Spiny Norman here would not be a hedgehog but a cactus, OUCH!  Jumping Cholla are no joke.  You can get all stuck up here and needled.

Then the beginnings.  They showed their college at Cambridge, only they called it Trump University and stated they majored in fraud.  Their first dig at our President-Elect.

OK, who brought us Brexit?  I shouldn’t laugh, Nigel Farage may really be presenting his credentials to President Trump.  

Ah the bookstore skit.  They took a swipe at Phoenix and their ability to read.  They have a newspaper, the Arizona Republic.  We have the Arizona Daily Star, so there!

Then came Bring Out Your Dead.  Oh just hit him over the head and be done with it.  Leading to the Brain Specialist.  Yes, the Gumbys behind us in Row Z.  

The Undertaker sketch.  Plenty of desert washes to throw up in.  

Yes, and the wisecrack, Tucson will be a nice city when they finish it.  Hey, it’s a work in progress.  So what if Stone Avenue looks as though a giant mole burrowed its way through.  Like the Norwegian Blue plumage we have a bright blue streetcar.  Of course we are building.  We’re Americans, always pushing and pushy.

Ah yes, the Guards scene from the Holy Grail.  Two days later, Thanksgiving Night I watched Father Ted.  Ted talks to Dougal, like talking to the guards all the time.  Like talking to a wall.

Of course Life of Brian.  Crucifiction.  Yes, out to the left, one cross each.  As though you would want two.  

I enjoyed the discussion of how they came up with ideas for the movies.  A Fish Called Wanda.  A steamroller, Italian, and Russian.  The things stories are built around.  Or Life of Brian.  Jesus Christ Superstar, or Meaning of Life.

I enjoyed the bit about the front row in Winnipeg dressed as caterpillars.  You told us not to bolt for the border.  Oh you meant THAT border.  When we hear border we think the one with Mexico and the one with Casa Grande, which is to us as Hadrian’s Wall is to England.  Our wall is just in our minds,  We know we are driving in Maricopa County, when the quality of the roads improves.  

The songs of course were great.  Words were up on the screen.  None of us needed them.

Then they showed Hells Grannies.  I’m picturing grannies  on motorcycles, defended by our local motorcycle law firm, the Law Tigers.  See, let Hells Grannies loose on our open roads…

    That leads to Eric telling the story about his friendship with physics professor, Brian Cox.  I enjoyed the film where he was speaking, until, what’s this?  Dr. Stephen Hawking, hotrodding and running Dr. Cox down?!  Good grief!  A bit like the horse riding the historian down in the Holy Grail (of course the only non coconut horse).  He then fled the scene.  No ticket, nothing.  

Thanks for coming, gentlemen.  Now you can write the book about the tour or I can write it and you can come back for the Tucson Festival of Books.  We have it every March at the University of Arizona.  No excuses, you know how to get here now.  

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