Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Look Back At W.C. Fields On The 75th Anniversary Of His Great Film, 'The Bank Dick'

Martin Chilton at the British newspaper the Telegraph offers a look back at W.C. Fields and The Bank Dick.

W. C. Fields, a most defiantly disreputable comedian, has fallen out of the public consciousness, but the 75th anniversary of his masterpiece film The Bank Dick seems like a good time to salute one of the 20th-century's most original comic talents. Fields was doing Python-esq things long before Python, admits John Cleese. 
William Claude Dukenfield has not been entirely forgotten since his grim alcoholic's death on Christmas Day in 1946, aged 66, of course. He is one of the faces on the cover of iconic album Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and he even pops up in an episode of The Sopranos: Tony does an imitation of Fields after watching The Bank Dick. Cleese believes that Fields "had the courage and brilliance to make riskier and more profound jokes than Chaplin and Keaton”, and that's certainly true of the subversive humour of The Bank Dick.
At a time when Hollywood was offering a cloying version of family life (such as MGM's Andy Hardy movies), Fields showed the family as a festering hotbed of resentments. In the Bank Dick, written by Fields under the glorious nom de plume Mahatma Kane Jeeves, his character Egbert Sousè is at war with his wife, daughter and mother-in-law. With Fields, there is usually a subtle malice in play about family life, masked by mock affection: "Did you warble my little wren?" he says to his grim-faced wife Agatha. His status-minded wife insists that Sousè "is pronounced Sou-sè. Accent grave over the ‘e’”. 
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link: 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Frederick Forsyth: Where Were All The Have-A-Go Heroes In Paris?

Frederick Forsyth, author of the classic thriller The Day of the Jackal and The Outsider: My Life in Intrigue, wonders in his column in the Sunday Express why no one rushed the terrorists in Paris

Some weeks ago on a train speeding from Brussels to Paris an IS inspired thug emerged from the lavatory with a Kalashnikov assault rifle, virtually a light machine-gun.
He entered the first compartment he came to and intended to conduct a massacre. In a carriage full of French and Belgians only four men rose from their seats without thinking things over, and charged him.
He fired, his gun jammed – unusual but possible in the hands of a nervous shooter. Maybe he neglected to flick off the safety catch. All four men hit him.
As he went down he pulled a craft knife and sliced the thumb of one of those pounding him to the ground. Within seconds he was flat, with a large male backside on his head.
Duly trussed up, he was handed to the French authorities and now resides in a French jail where he will hopefully stay for life. Those who charged him down were lucky but fortune sometimes favours the brave or we would not have a regiment with the motto: Who Dares Wins.
But even if he had got off one slug into a man’s chest the other three would have flattened him. Here is part of my puzzle.
All four were Anglo-Saxons, three Americans and a British businessman. Two weeks ago three IS thugs strolled through the Bataclan rock club in Paris among a thousand Frenchmen.
Eight hundred must have been muscular young men. The gunmen fired. Paused, turned their backs, reloaded, fired again. It took 30 minutes and they killed more than 80 victims.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Philippine Protests Likely After Verdict In U.S. Marine Murder Trial

Paul Alexander at Stars and Stripes offers a piece on the murder trial of a U.S. Marine in the Philippines.

Protests are likely in the Philippines no matter what verdict is issued Tuesday in the trial of a U.S. Marine accused of killing a transgender woman whom he picked up in a bar and took to a hotel for sex.
The case — which has been heard sporadically since March in a courtroom in Olongapo City, about an 80-mile drive from Manila — has cast a pall over the renewal of military relations between the U.S. and the Philippines, providing fodder for those who object to any American presence.
Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton is charged with killing Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, 26, on Oct. 11, 2014. The two met in a disco in a red-light district of Olongapo — the main city along Subic Bay — while Pemberton was bar-hopping with other Marines after joint U.S.-Philippine military exercises. They checked into a nearby hotel, and Laude’s strangled body was later found in the bathroom.
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Amazing Life Of Fredrick Forsyth

Elise Cooper at the American Thinker offers an interview with Frederick Forsyth, author of the classic thriller The Day of the Jackal and The Outsider: My Life in Intrigue. 

When reading Frederick Forsyth's The Outsider, people may wonder if art imitates life or if it is the other way around.  This memoir is not an autobiography of the prolific writer, since it is a series of recollections and not a chronological narration.  It's as if a family member is sitting there, telling his life experiences.  Unfortunately, this will be Forsyth's last book, because he is retiring.  American Thinker had the privilege of discussing with Forsyth his life and the book based upon it.

Although this book reads more like a thriller, readers get a glimpse of those events and personalities Forsyth has come in contact with.  He noted to American Thinker, "I consider myself a journalistic writer, keeping to the facts and making sure they are accurate.  I do not write much emotional stuff or fancy language.  My books were all contemporary current affairs based on what I had seen.  Hell, I made mistakes and have done so many things I chose to write about them, or maybe not."

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link: 

Feds Again Fail To Make Their Case In A Big Mob Trial

Veteran organized crime reporter and author George Anastasia offers a look at the recent "Goodfellas" federal trial and other federal trials of reputed organized crime figures at

Have the feds lost their mojo when it comes to the mob?

That's certainly a reasonable question after another organized crime prosecution ended with a not guilty verdict last week. The acquittal of Vince Asaro, an 80-year-old reputed mob capo, in a case in federal court in Brooklyn, is the latest example of federal authorities coming up short in a high profile Mafia trial.  

The same could be said for the last three Mafia prosecutions in Philadelphia where, at best, the feds could only claim partial victories.  

Asaro, an alleged member of the Bonanno Crime Family, was charged with murder, extortion and robbery, including being one of the organizers of the infamous Lufthansa Airline heist celebrated in the movie Goodfellas. Mobsters made off with more than $5 million in cash and $1 million in jewelry after hitting a storage facility at JFK Airport in 1978.

While the robbery was allegedly set in motion by mob associate James "Jimmy the Gent" Burke (Robert DeNiro played a character based on Burke in the film), no one had ever been charged with the crime until Asaro was indicted two years ago. By then most of the others involved were dead. Burke died in prison after being convicted of other offenses.

The Asaro trial was billed by the New York Times as the last big mob trial in New York, a development based in part on the steady demise of the American Mafia and in equal part on a shift in prosecutorial interest to terrorism, drug trafficking and corruption.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Sailors, Marines Enjoy Thanksgiving At Sea

The Defense Department released the below information and the above photo.

Officers and staff noncommissioned officers with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, and amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island, serve food to Marines and sailors aboard the Makin Island on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 27, 2014. 

The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group and the embarked 11th MEU are deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. 

Note: The above U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Laura Y. Raga

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Modern-Day Slavery: My Piece On How ICE's Homeland Security Investigators Are Combating Human Trafficking

The Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security Interantional published my piece on HSI and human trafficking.

You can read the piece below:

Note: You can click on the above to enlarge.