A Star is Born – 8 .5

In a word: Captivating

     This is a great movie, with superb acting and an ample supply of modern-age music which, for some, could have been moderated a bit to allow for more appeal to all audiences.

     First a question: What does Janet Gaynor, Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand and Lady Gaga all have in common? They all played lead roles in a smash movie titles “A Star Is Born.” (1937, 1954, 1976 and 2018) This might well be considered the best of the lot. (Until the next rendition sometime in the mid 2050s)

     While the plot is basically the same in each film, (down and out show-biz fellow discovers a future star)  I cannot imagine better acting in the lead role than what Lady Gaga gives us in her first major film. She is virtually intoxicating, not only for her dramatics, but her music, which is not only singing, she renders the epitome of bridging modern rock with classic love songs. (I’ve never heard La Vie En Rose sung better) Gaga realistically crosses the gamut of raw emotion from learning that she is truly beautiful and vastly talented, as deeply imparted by a smitten

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The Polygraph Lie

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the prime accuser in the Brett Cavanaugh fiasco, took a polygraph claiming Judge Cavanaugh had sexually assaulted her 36 years ago when they were 15 and 17 years old, respectively. Setting aside other facts concerning the case, this appears to validate the accuser, because the examiner concluded that Dr. Ford was telling the truth.

     As famed newsman of yore, Paul Harvey, used to say, “Here’s the rest of the story.”

     First of all, there is no such thing as “passing” a polygraph. Polygraphs do not detect lies or truths, they detect stress or the absence of stress. Type A personalities may respond to polygraph testing much differently than Type B personalities.

     The results of a polygraph are determined solely by an opinion rendered by the examiner, based on physiological reactions to questions. Often, there may be no “pass” or “fail” if the test results are unclear. These are deemed “inconclusive.” I know all this because I worked in Miami-Dade Homicide 16 of my 30 years on the job where I often watched or assisted examiners testing witnesses and/or suspects.

     Later in my career, I attended polygraph school to become a licensed examiner. Now relegated to administrative

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I applaud reality star, Kim Kardashian for embarking on a mission convincing President Trump to commute a woman’s prison sentence who had been serving mandatory life plus 25 years, for her role in a Tennessee drug ring. Alice Johnson, age 63, is a mother of five who admitted her crimes for which she was sentenced by a federal judge in 1996.

     Mrs. Johnson had petitioned President Obama for clemency in 2014, but was denied. Hers was a significant drug crime, but also a first offence. During her prison time, she was considered a model inmate.

     While president, Barack Obama issued nearly two thousand clemency orders for inmates serving non-violent offenses. I was no fan of President Obama, but I do think he was right to address the issue of harsh and mandatory sentences for non-violent crimes.

     Mrs. Johnson certainly deserved prison time. But relegating a human being to life without a chance of parole, except in the most egregious of crimes, is barbaric. If Mrs. Johnson, and others like her, remained in prison until age 90 or 100, costs to the taxpayer would be enormous.

     Elderly people in prison is becoming the norm, not the exception. According to Wikipedia

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In a word:  Depressing.

     If you are adverse to a barrage of bad language, plus graphic violence, do not see this movie.

     Set in Detroit around 1984, this is a deep, dark film giving us a vivid peek into the underworld of drugs and dealers, depression, dysfunction and misery.

     Mathew McConaughey deftly plays the role of a struggling single father of two teens, one a female junkie who lives in the streets and the other, Rick Wershe Jr., age 15, who spends most of his miserable life interacting with dopers and thieves in the hood, often the only white person in the mix. This was during the crack epidemic of the 1980s.

     Wershe Sr. sells guns illegally to make ends meet but soon attracts attention from the FBI. Federal agents convince his son, Rick Jr., to become an undercover drug informant in exchange for keeping his father out of prison. When young Rick gets in too deep, he finds himself seduced by the lure of easy money and becomes a drug dealer himself.

     This is based on a true story which comes together at the end, which I will omit for this article.

     McConaughey is

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Vivien Marie Peterson was born September 13, 1910, Chicago, Illinois. Died: June 3, 1966, North Miami, Florida.

By age seventeen, she was an honor student in high school, played classical piano, winning a number of music competitions, accomplished dancer studying ballet and tap, loyal daughter to Anna Peterson, and sister, Frances Peterson.

At age 19, she moved to New York City and married vaudeville star, known as “Old Man Whoopee,” performing as straight woman for him in hundreds of performances around the nation. She shared stages with Burns and Allen, Ginger Rogers, Rudy Vallee, Ray Bolger, Edward G. Robinson, Ruby Dee, The Three Stooges, Marx Brothers, Sophie Tucker, the Dorsey Brothers and many more entertainers of note.

“Old Man Whoopee” died (natural causes) in 1941, after which she remarried to Queens mobster, Willie Strauss. She had already birthed two baby boys, the eldest of whom died by drowning in Flushing Bay, New York, when he was age 7.

Four years after moving to Miami Beach in 1945, her second husband died. (natural causes) Times were tough in Miami Beach, a single mom raising one child as she work playing piano at dance classes for $20 a week. Eventually, in 1955,

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(This Op-Ed appears in the 9/11/18 issue of Florida Today)


Nike, the sports equipment giant, dropped 3 points in the stock market following that company’s new alliance with former NFLer, Colin Kaepernick. Considering Nike is worth $36.4 billion in the global market, that translates to a huge loss. I suspect it’s only just begun.

I first learned of the rising movement to burn Nike shoes in protest of the protester from my 55-year-old firefighter son who says he will no longer buy Nike products. He claims most of his civil service compatriots are doing the same.

My issue with ex-player, multi-millionaire Kaepernick is not about his entitlements to protest. It’s about abusing his constitutional rights by wrongfully denigrating the very nation that has given him those freedoms by being American.

Much of this ballyhoo would not have happened without the knowledge and consent of NFL owners and coaches who haven’t the guts to do what’s right. When a coach or league commissioner tells players (employees) they are there to play football and entertain fans, they should not be making on-duty political or social protests. If they violate orders, they should lose their jobs. That’s Employment 101.

This has

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“Operation Finale”  –  8


In a word:  Chilling

     This is a well-done biopic film about the background and capture of Adolf Eichmann in 1960 by Israeli commandos, one of the highest level Jew killers from WWII.

     This takes place fifteen years after the end of World War II, Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad and security agency Shin Bet – led by heroic agent Peter Malkin (Isaac) – launched a daring top-secret raid to capture the notorious Eichmann (Ben Kingsley), who had been reported dead in the chaos following Nazi Germany’s collapse but was, in fact, living and working in a suburb of Buenos Aires, Argentina under an assumed identity. Malkin and his operatives plot and execute the abduction under the cover of darkness just a few feet from Eichmann’s home. Determined to sneak him out of Argentina to stand trial in Israel, Malkin and Eichmann engage in an intense and gripping game of cat-and-mouse in which they are barely able to get the plan off the ground in time.

     What seemed unrealistic, was the clumsy way the Mossad Israelis people went about the actual capture.

     I well remember this headline story in 1960, as people of the free world still

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