This is a made-for-Netflix series about Clark Olofsson, the controversial Scandinavian criminal who inspired the term “Stockholm syndrome.”

You may be familiar with that Chuck Barris biopic, “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind,” which combined what was really known about Barris with his own fanciful tales of his secret life as an assassin. That resulted in a movie that was not a comedy, and in fact often assumed quite a serious tone, but created a sense of dark-comedic absurdity by taking all of Barris’s claims at face value.

This series proceeds from a similar premise. It assumes that all of Olofsson’s claims about his life are true and proceeds from there. In this case, as opposed to the Barris film, there is a light tone and a constant wink to the audience – sometimes literally, when the lead character breaks the fourth wall. As a result, it seems less like the story of a violent lifelong gangster than a Hal Needham film about a good ol’ boy who happens to be Swedish.

There was some brief, weird nudity in episode one, but I’ll get back to that later.

Let’s begin with episode two, which featured

Sophie Apollonia

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and Hanna Bjorn

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Episode three contains two scenes with Agnes Lindstrom

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And episode five brings back Hanna Bjorn for a second spirited session of sport-humpin’, and this one could be a candidate for our year-end list.

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Finally getting back to that scene in episode one – I don’t know what to make of it. CGI vag? Beats me. The actress is Sandra Ilar.

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This is a new HBO mini-series which takes “true crime” drama into a second derivative. It’s not really about the Kathleen Peterson murder, but rather about the making of the documentary that was made about the case, although such an approach also requires it to tell its version of the fatal incident, the investigation, and the murder trial.

Next year, we will probably see a documentary about the making of this drama about the making of the documentary about the case.

And so on.

I have HBO Max, so I tried to get into it with the best of intentions, but could not. I got halfway through episode one, got bored and gave up, but I did make clips of the nudity in the first three episodes. (Well, episodes one and three. Episode two has nothing.)

Toni Collette’s body was autopsied in episode one. You know how that goes. At the moment, there’s no way for me to say exactly how much of Toni appears in these images. Is it Toni covered with prosthetics? Is it a lifeless object molded from her body? I guess we will have to wait for the special features of the documentary about the making of this drama about the making of the documentary about … something. I forget what exactly.

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Toni has two brief scenes in episode three:

She is getting a massage and turns over, briefly exposing her breasts.

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Colin Firth eats her ass.

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R.I.P. Naomi Judd, age 76

I kinda feel that I write the best baseball obits, and can usually find things to say about old-time movie and TV stars that other people miss, but I’m out of my league here. The AP, linked above, did a much better obit than I could have.

As to the cause of death: “We lost our beautiful mother to the disease of mental illness.” People have interpreted that to mean “suicide,” although that has not been stated explicitly. Suicide does seem to be a reasonable inference, not only because of the cryptic wording of the daughters’ statement, but also because Naomi had discussed it the the past.

I see her name every day, but I don’t really know who she is. One thing I do know: she looks good naked.

There is a controversy circulating on the internet that Olivia Casta is not a real person at all, but might actually be the nom de toile of Maria Tretjakova, a 30-something Russian model who is using the Faceapp teen filter to make herself look younger.

(As the good lord intended when he gave Faceapp to Moses as a supplement to the famous commandments. It was years before anybody understood the technology because it turns out that god is pretty smart, as evidenced by that whole “creating the universe” thing. Fortunately the app was preserved, first in the Ark of the Covenant, then later in the basement of the Comet Ping Pong Pizza restaurant, until Al Gore came along. Some say that Gore invented the internet just so he could use Faceapp to look younger.)

I will have to ask my own secret identity, Socrates “Sock” Puppet, whether the Tretjakova/Casta thing is true.

Oops. I guess it’s not a secret any more.

Bill Murray behaved inappropriately? There’s a shocker! Don’t you hire Murray BECAUSE he will behave inappropriately?

(Kidding aside, I guess judgment should hinge on the nature of the inappropriate behavior. I am assuming he didn’t go full Polanski, but I don’t know that.)

I think you history buffs will find a lot to hate in this article.

Robert E Lee had some successes, but was not an especially effective general, and there are far greater ones left off the list. Two examples might be England’s Henry V and America’s Andrew Jackson. And I hear that Genghis Khan guy was pretty good, not to mention Hannibal, Frederic the Great and Jan Sobieski.

Napoleon? Well, he’s on the list and Kutuzov isn’t, but the last I heard, Napoleon invaded Russia with 600,000 men and was lucky to return with his horse and a couple of stale baguettes. Kidding aside, he left about 500,000 of his men dead in the Russian snow. As I’ve noted several times, Napoleon’s invasion of Russia was arguably the single stupidest thing any human being has ever done – in any field, not just restricted to the military. So he was bold and won many victories, but is maybe not the best general of all time.

(Yes, I know that Andrew Jackson was a despicable human being, but his military record was astounding. I suppose you could posit that his legendary victory at New Orleans was the result of incompetent opposition, but either way it was one of the most impressive triumphs in military history. He cobbled together a rag-tag army, and absolutely slaughtered a force of 8,000 British regulars, losing only 13 men in the process. For decades, January 8th and July 4th were celebrated with almost equal fervor.)

All comments and collages by Brainscan:

Students and faculty in the film department where I went to college talked of this movie with deep reverence and the sort of high falutin words otherwise reserved for the work of Eisenstein and Orson Welles. Beautifully written, wonderfully directed and photographed, edited and acted with consummate skill by everyone involved, and since one of the actresses was Marilyn Monroe at her most vulnerable – and she is in just about every scene – a healthy male cannot keep his eyes off the screen.

Clark Gable plays the part of an alpha male, a silver-backed primate with powers diminished and eyes grown cloudy. He was feeling his age, both actor and character. Within weeks of the movie’s completion, Gable was dead.

Monroe and her character were frightened and fragile, so clearly doomed that even someone who knows nothing of Monroe would have to feel the pain she shows in her face throughout the movie. Some scenes are terribly hard to bear, knowing as we do that Monroe would be dead from an overdose in a matter of months. And the last scene when Monroe and Gable ride away together is impossible to watch more than once. She looks as though she should be happy but she knows it is all temporary, this moment with him, and she knows what is to follow. Yikes, it hurts to think about. And Gable has the look of a man who knows he has won the prize again, one last time before the end comes so very soon.

Anyway, enough of this brouhaha. Marilyn gets very close to revealing her natural wonders a couple of times and now that The Misfits is on HD, I grabbed it and threw together a clip and a few collages.

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Scoop’s comments:

The film was released in February of 1961. Clark Gable had already died by then, leaving behind a pregnant, much younger wife. (His grandchild, Maria, was born two years before his son, John Clark!) Marilyn Monroe would follow him during the next summer, at the tender age of 36. In four more years, Monty Clift would complete the trifecta among the film’s stars when he was found dead in his apartment. He was 45.

They were three of the most troubled people in Hollywood.

  • Gable’s psyche never recovered from the grief he experienced after the death of his wife, Carole Lombard, in a plane crash.
  • Although Clift died of heart disease, his last 10 years, following his 1956 car accident, were called the “longest suicide in history” by his former acting teacher.
  • I’m sure you all know what happened to Marilyn.

Ain’t that the truth!

I used to watch a lot of Westerns on TV in the late 50s and early 60s. Even though I have not heard most of the theme songs since then, I can still sing a couple dozen in their entirety, even when I can’t really recall the show. I’m not just talking about The Rebel and Have Gun Will Travel, because those songs became charted hits and still pop up now and then. I mean the really obscure ones that I’ve never heard again in the past 60 years. For example, I can sing the themes to Johnny Ringo, Bronco (Layne) and The Adventures of Jim Bowie, although I can’t picture anything about the shows. And the songs bring back vivid memories of the old shows I really liked, like Sugarfoot, Yancy Derringer and Cheyenne. If the lyrics to the theme songs from Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp were poems or snippets of prose, I’d never remember them, yet I seem to remember every verse verbatim.

My favorite was one with quite a touch of bittersweet poetry:

Cheyenne, Cheyenne, where will you be campin’ tonight?
Lonely man, Cheyenne, will your heart stay free and light?
Dream, Cheyenne, of a girl you may never love
Move along, Cheyenne, like the restless cloud up above.

The wind that blows, that comes and goes, has been your only home.
But will the wild wind one day cease and you’ll no longer roam?

Move along, Cheyenne; next pasture’s always so green.
Driftin’ on, Cheyenne, don’t forget the things you have seen,
And when you settle down, where will it be? Cheyenne

In a similar, less personal vein, if you have ever run into an occasion where the theme songs to The Brady Bunch or Gilligan’s Island have come up, you realize that almost every baby boomer can sing these songs word for word, note for note. That was an old-time thing wasn’t it? So many shows used to have theme songs that explained the entire premise of the show.

People even recall the tune and words for songs they used to hate, like Copacabana. It is an amazing phenomenon, and not always a pleasant one, as you know if Seasons in the Sun has ever become an earworm.

Shocking, politically incorrect, crude, insensitive, unfiltered – and always fucking hilarious.

Gilbert’s roast of Joan Rivers, in which he even manages to crack up the prickly Greg Giraldo:

The Post paid homage to Gilbert’s most tasteless jokes.

Norm MacDonald spends two hours with Gilbert on the former’s podcast:

Part 1

Part 2

(In that podcast, Gilbert turns out to be a surprisingly good mimic. I read somewhere that in his early days as a comic he insisted on coming out last, whereupon his entire act consisted of mimicking and ridiculing the other comics. Allegedly, Seinfeld refused to appear in any show that also included Gilbert.)


As I mentioned in a previous post, my friend, who has mainstream tastes, rated CODA about an 11 out of 10, and didn’t really like any of the other nominees that much. She ranked Belfast second, but a distant second, and King Richard third. She totally despised Licorice Pizza and Power of the Dog.

I am also OK with the choice of CODA. I liked it a lot, and I might have voted for it myself, although I’m not sure because I liked some of the others as well, and I haven’t watched Drive My Car yet. CODA is basically an entertainment picture that is at heart a typical coming-of-age picture, albeit involving some atypical people. (CODA is an acronym for Children of Deaf Adults.) It has some deep underlying themes, but never preaches, and it buries the messages subtly inside a good story. It is totally family-friendly, in addition to being totally accessible to mainstream audiences. Even the critics liked it (95% at RT), which is unusual for a schmaltzy Disney-like story. I’m fine with heart-warming material. I still cry when I think about Old Yeller. Anyway, I haven’t really heard of anyone who saw it and didn’t like it. The only really critique of it is that it is neither bold not challenging. Of course, few people have seen it, but I hope the Oscar will change that.

Will Smith – what can you say? He had the best moment of his life and the worst only a few minutes apart. This was supposed to be his night to get respected, and instead the world sees him as a cowardly little bitch, sucker-punching a guy who is much smaller and obviously can’t fight back in that situation. Rock stayed amazingly calm. Man, it’s a good thing Will and Jada never attracted any attention at the Golden Globes. Imagine how Will would react once Ricky Gervais started in on Jada and her pretensions!

Rock’s joke wasn’t mean-spirited. It was just cutesy, and presented no reason for that kind of reaction. On the other hand, Rock did make a mean joke about Jada on a previous Oscar night, and Will may still have been seething about that one.

The tepid alopecia joke Rock made tonight:

“Jada I love you, ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it.”

The mean joke he made in 2016:

“Jada boycotting the Oscars is like me boycotting Rihanna’s panties. I wasn’t invited.”

The Power of the Dog is the favorite to take home the Best Picture award at the Oscars but the public loves CODA.

CODA has a lot of heart and is a warm, enjoyable movie with a lot of entertainment value. Power of the Dog is an art film disguised as a Western. It’s not surprising that average people prefer CODA. Put me in the camp with the average people. I’m not saying CODA is a better film, but given the choice of rewatching one or the other, I’m on team CODA. Power of the Dog may be a great film, but it is the least enjoyable to watch among the nominees I watched.

My friend and I try to watch all the nominees each year, and our reactions give you a look across the spectrum of viewers. I have an analytical approach, occasionally love an art film, but always prefer a movie that leads with its heart rather than its head. She is a mainstream viewer who wants to be moved and/or entertained. Mind you, these notes represent our visceral responses, not my opinion about the quality of the filmmaking.

The two we loved were CODA and Belfast. She loved CODA the most of all nominees by far, while I loved the two about equally.

I also loved Nightmare Alley – I even went back and watched the older version – but I didn’t even ask her to watch that one because she would find it dark and depraved. I’m OK with darkness and depravity, at least when they are at arm’s length. I was shocked, however, and kind of pleasantly surprised that this kind of genre pic made the list of nominees.

I really liked Licorice Pizza, which was just weird enough for me (Sean Penn’s greatest role since Spicoli), but she hated it, didn’t understand the humor or the references, and considered it a complete waste of her time.

We both liked King Richard and kinda liked Don’t Look Up, but didn’t really consider them Best Picture material. You can make a case for King Richard, but the nomination of Don’t Look Up shocked us both.

We were split on Power of the Dog. I admired it, but didn’t admire it enough to vote for it over Belfast or CODA if I had a ballot. She hated it almost as much as she hated Licorice Pizza.

She didn’t watch West Side Story with me. I was lukewarm about it in general, but just loved Rita Moreno and was shocked when she didn’t get a nomination.

Neither of us have watched Dune or Drive My Car yet.

I liked two films better than some of the nominees: Cyrano with Peter Dinklage and Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch. Those are both way better films than, for example, Don’t Look Up. OK, to be honest, I’d place the new Spiderman film and even Being the Ricardos ahead of Don’t Look Up. I think the Academy was sort of dazzled by the fact that the biggest stars in the world agreed to appear in that film.

I guess if I’m really honest, I might place some Pauly Shore movies ahead of Don’t Look Up.

Yeah, I’m exaggerating, but you get the point.

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Welcome to the year 91.

Different people reckon the start of the new year with different methods, and have varying ways to calculate how many there have been. At the end of September in our calendar, the Jewish community will welcome the year 5783. The Chinese just celebrated the beginning of 4719. In a site dedicated to crap, we have no choice but to count the birth of William Shatner as the beginning of time (or at least any time worth living in), so today is the beginning of the year 91 A.S. (Anno Shatner).

Referencing the great day to the common calendar, the day known to most of the world as March 22, 1931 was the greatest day in history, for it marked the birth of the promised one … the golden child … the chosen one. Know him. Embrace him. For as surely as crapped is the past tense of crap, Shat is the past tense of shit.

So happy birthday to the greatest Canadian in history. Oh, why limit it to Canadians? He is probably the single greatest human being in the history of our species, possibly excepting the anonymous inventor of the wheel, and of course Bobby Troup.

On this most sacred of holidays, let us recall a Shatmas past, and the joy of celebrating it with our family and our loved ones. (May they never meet.)

Stay crappy, Bill. You have already lived long and prospered, so just keep up the … er … good work.

Plenty of nekkid women. No idea who any of them are.

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But there are plenty of obscure sub-plots for sports geeks.

First, there’s the tale of Leon (Lee) Riley, father of the ultra-successful Lakers coach, Pat Riley. Lee’s story was really emblematic of an era in American sports that no longer exists. From the 19th century until about the 1960s, it was possible to be a career minor league ballplayer, thrilling small-town fans in the summer and working pedestrian jobs in the off-season. Lee Riley was such a man. His career got off to a promising start at age 20, when he found himself in single-A ball in his first year as a professional, by-passing all the lower levels except for a very brief stint (23 games) in class D. In his first full season in the tough Western League, he tore it up at the plate, batting .370 with tons of extra base hits. He was the league’s best hitter for several seasons, but developed a reputation as an inept glove man with a weak arm. As one observer put it, “He batted .375 but his fielding average was just about the same. He couldn’t field pumpkins if they were tied in a sack.” So he worked and worked on his fielding until he earned a well-deserved promotion to the Rochester Red Wings, the top farm club of the St. Louis Cardinals, with his major league dream seeming within his grasp.

And then he ran smack into the Peter Principle, which suggests that each person rises until he reaches his level of incompetence. For Lee Riley that level was the International League. He batted only .276 with no power at Rochester, in an age when just about every major league outfielder batted .300 or better against actual major league pitching. It was especially difficult to break into the St. Louis Cardinals’ line-up. In 1930 the St. Louis Cardinals were the highest-scoring NL team of the 20th century. They had 13 players with 100 at bats or more, and twelve of them batted in the .300s. When Leon Riley went to Rochester, the Cardinals were the defending World Series champions, and it was soon obvious that Lee could not fit into their major league plans.

How did his performance drop so dramatically from class-A ball to AA? Lee himself said that it was because he couldn’t hit lefties at that level. That formed the basis for one of Tommy Lasorda’s best stories, as recounted in the L.A. Times, July 13, 1988:

When Tom Lasorda was pitching for Schenectady of the Canadian-American League in 1948, the manager was Lee Riley, father of Laker Coach Pat Riley.

“We were playing Gloversville, and I’ve got ‘em beat, 2-1, and it’s in the top of the ninth inning. As I go out to pitch, Riley, who was coaching third, came to the mound, picked up the ball to hand it to me and he says to me, ‘You’re in good shape. You’ve got three left-handed hitters in a row.’ And I was a left-handed pitcher, which meant things should be easy.

First left-hander doubles. Next left-hander triples. Next left-hander doubles. And now they’re winning, 3-2. And he comes to take me out, and as he starts to take the ball from my hand, he looks at me and he says, ‘Know why I couldn’t hit in the major leagues?’ I thought that was a very unusual question, but I said, ‘No, Skip. No, why?’ And he said, ‘Because I couldn’t hit left-handed pitchers. But if you’d been there, I’d have been a star.'”

But an equally cogent explanation was given by sportswriter Whitney Martin. Lee could not hit the curve at that level.

Whatever the explanation for Lee’s failure, the Cards would soon assemble the famed Gas House Gang win another championship – without Lee Riley, who would by then be playing in a C league.

That’s how his life went. He’d have a couple of good years, earn another promotion, then find himself back at a lower level than when he started. By the time 1938 rolled around, he was a 31-year-old veteran of 12 minor league seasons, but was in D ball with the 19 year olds, playing full-time while also acting as the team’s manager. He once again tore it up at the low levels, batting .365 and .372 in those two years in class D. That superlative performance temporarily stalled his managerial career, since his hot bat earned him yet another promotion to the International League as a player, this time with a Dodgers farm club. The result was even more disappointing than his first trip through that league. In 38 games he batted .212 with one homer. By then he must have understood that the majors were only a dream, but baseball was his job and he was no quitter, so he accepted another demotion and resolved in earnest to seek a managerial job. He found himself as a player/manager in a C league, where he had his best season to date, batting .391 with a league-leading 32 homers in the obscure Canadian-American League.

Given his track record, a solid performance at such a low level would not normally have led him back on a path to the majors, but fate intervened, in the form of Adolph Hitler. America needed able-bodied young men to fight in WW2, including young ballplayers. While the best and youngest major leaguers went to bat for Uncle Sam, the desperate major league teams were looking for bodies to fill out their depleted squads. This opened spots for older guys who would otherwise have retired, for a one-armed outfielder, for a 15-year-old pitcher, and especially for career minor leaguers desperate for a chance at the big show. That was Leon Riley’s cue. He was too old, and had a family to support, so he could not be drafted, and the Philadelphia Phillies eventually offered him a spot on the roster in 1944. He was a 37-year-old major league rookie.

Which is worse, never to get a chance to prove what you can do, like Moonlight Graham, or to get a chance after two decades of trying, only to prove that you really couldn’t do it, like Leon Riley? Facing only the diluted wartime pitching of 1944, he batted an embarrassing .083 before the Phils demoted him to the Utica Blue Sox, roughly the American equivalent of being sent to Siberia. The next year he found himself back in D ball yet again, playing against kids who could be his children, starting from the lowest player-manager level for the third time in his career, hoping once again to move up the managerial ladder. He was not a man who gave up easily, so he stubbornly lasted five more years in the low minors as a player/manager in the Phillies’ farm system. As a player, he would never again reach as high as single-A, the level where he had played in his very first year, nearly a quarter of a century earlier.

When he finally stopped playing, he stayed in the Phillies’ organization as a full-time minor league manager, and was awarded some promotions until he was finally back in class A, as manager of the Phillies’ Eastern League teams in 1950 and 1951. The Phillies did a bit of manager-swapping in 1952, and Riley found himself managing the Wilmington Blue Rocks, who posed a respectable 72-66 record in the Interstate League. Unfortunately, the economics of baseball were changing. The Wilmington Blue Rocks went belly up. The entire Interstate League collapsed. Facing a dwindling bottom line, the Phillies announced after the 1952 season that they were trimming their farm system from 12 teams to 9. Along with many others, Leon Riley lost his job that day, his baseball odyssey complete after 11 years as a manager, and a playing career that spanned 22 summers. He had accumulated more than 2,400 hits in pro baseball, including about 900 for extra bases, in the process of compiling a .314 lifetime average. At various times he had led minor leagues in doubles, triples, home runs, walks, RBI and batting average. He had once managed a team to a pennant. He had always done what was asked of him, having played D ball at age 20, then again at age 30, and finally at age 39. Despite his loyalty and hard work, he found himself unemployed at 46, with no non-baseball job skills. Feeling betrayed and abandoned, he went up to his attic and discarded all of his memorabilia dating back to the mid-20s, symbolically casting baseball out of his life, as documented by the eyewitness testimony of his son, the future Lakers coach.

This explains why the Pat Riley character in Winning Time walks around with his dad’s fire-damaged bat. The implication is that the dad tried to burn it and the son rescued it from the fire.

The second obscure tale involves another fella, name o’ Jack McKinney. You may not remember him, but he was once the Lakers head coach – for a grand total of 14 games! Obviously, he did not achieve the level of fame of Pat Riley, Jerry West or Phil Jackson, but he was important to the franchise. Through 1978-79, the Lakers had been playing a very slow, very traditional type of ball, using the usual man-to-man defense, and an offense that consisted of getting it to Kareem and letting the big man do his thing. When McKinney took over from the disgruntled West in 1979-80, he found himself working with a new owner open to change, and a slick rookie named Magic Johnson, who would prove to be one of the greatest players in history. McKinney decided to institute a running offense and a controversial zone defense, technically illegal at the time, that would remake the Lakers, bring them an immediate championship, and became the hallmark of their play in the subsequent years.

So why don’t you remember him? Those 14 games were his entire Lakers career. Shortly after the season began, he went out to ride his bike one day and took a near-fatal spill. A head injury resulted in a coma. By the time McKinney was ready to return, the Lakers owner no longer wanted him back, and he ended up coaching the Indiana Pacers. He did get picked as coach of the year in his first year with the Pacers, when he took the team to the NBA playoffs for the first time, but it was all downhill from there. The head injury had taken its toll on him. His players told the local media that McKinney had had memory lapses while coaching.

His Wikipedia entry sums up his contribution to the Lakers: “Pat Riley won four titles with the team and became the coach most synonymous with the Showtime Lakers. However, Norm Nixon credited McKinney with creating Showtime. ‘That should never be forgotten,’ said Nixon. According to Riley, McKinney ‘might have won five or six titles for the Lakers in the ’80s’ were it not for his accident. McKinney was deferential. ‘I just put in some ideas that were accepted, and the rest was up to Paul and Pat and some great players.'”