DUCKWORTH DREW: RIVALS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES (1973)

rivals of sherlockFor Balladeer’s Blog’s review of the very first episode of this 1971-1973 series about London by Gaslight detectives from both the Victorian and Edwardian Ages you can simply click HERE

Duckworth DrewEpisode: THE SECRET OF THE FOXHUNTER (February 3rd, 1973)

Detective: Duckworth Drew of the Foreign Office, created by William Le Queux. The first Duckworth Drew story was published in 1903. Apparently the creative team on the television show found “Duckworth” to be too silly sounding so they instead gave the character the first name of his creator, William. 

Comment: In Drew’s adventures he wasn’t so much a rival of Sherlock Holmes as a detective, but more in terms of the handful of Holmes stories in which he served as a spy. Duckworth, or “Ducky” as he’s called by intimate friends, is the archetypal British spy whose diplomatic titles are just a cover for his espionage antics. Derek Jacobi shines as the intelligence operative.

Drew is often cited as one of the many, many supposed influences on Ian Fleming’s much later character James Bond. He does periodically use Q-style devices (Was Q a subtle nod to Le Queux?) like drugged cigars and drugged pins that can render people unconscious or paralyzed.

Duckworth Drew againSomething I found interesting about the Duckworth Drew spy stories was the way that, despite their national chauvinism in which it is just assumed that Great Britain is “the good guy,” the rival powers of Germany, Russia and France are not depicted as devils incarnate. Certainly they’re never presented in truly sympathetic ways but since these stories were written before the World Wars and the Cold War, they’re comparatively restrained in dealing with Drew’s opposition.     

That restraint is typical of the relative maturity of the stories. England would often adjust its policies to court support from one or two of those powers against the others. Therefore, it wouldn’t do to hysterically demonize those other nations since HMG is sometimes in league with each of them in turn. And – another refreshing element – it is taken in stride by Drew and his superiors that Germany, Russia and France do the same thing. There’s almost an air of the Mario Puzo attitude “It’s not personal. It’s strictly business.” Continue reading

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ISLAND OF THE LOST (1967): MOVIE REVIEW

Island of the LostISLAND OF THE LOST (1967) – Directed by John Florea and written by Richard Carlson and Ivan Tors, this family adventure movie starred Richard Greene, known for playing Robin Hood in the 1950s television series and for playing Sir Denis Nayland Smith in a few of the Fu Manchu movies from the 1960s.

In addition to Greene, Island of the Lost provides additional cultural kitsch appeal: You’ve got producer Ivan Tors of Flipper fame dragging along Luke Halpin, the boy star of that series. Ivan also seems to have brought along a LOT of Flipper stock footage for the underwater scenes. Jose de Vega from Blue Hawaii is also in the cast as are soap opera queen Robin Mattson and the ubiquitous Irene Tsu. Plus the screenwriter is THE Richard Carlson, star of many b-movies.

Island of the Lost 2Richard Greene AND Richard Carlson? You know that with a couple of Dicks like them around we are in for some campiness and lame special effects that might have been acceptable in the 1950s … in black & white, not color. 

Greene portrays Professor Josh MacRae, a scholar who is convinced that there are undiscovered islands in the Pacific Ocean, islands on which live creatures long thought extinct. Like so many movie professors, he organizes his own expedition to try to prove his theory. And if he dies in the attempt he plans to take his whole family down with him! Continue reading

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DYSTOPIA NATION – TECHNO TYRANTS

mascot sword and gun pic

BALLADEER’S BLOG

Here at Independent Voter site Balladeer’s Blog, I can’t help but reflect on how less than three full years ago when this blog post used America’s increasingly totalitarian Big Tech fascists as examples for dystopian literature, it seemed like the dire possibilities explored might come within a decade or just under.

Unfortunately, in less than those three years that I mentioned we’ve seen privileged white male one-percenters like Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg EXCEED many of the abuses I wrote about in what was then (2018) fiction.

If you enjoy the article below, HERE is a link to a 2018 article about AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL pointing out how Google and Facebook threaten human rights. And HERE is a link to another such article. The lesson being “Don’t try to say that Big Tech won’t abuse their money and power after all that we’ve seen.”

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THE TECHNO-TYRANTS OF SILICON VALLEY (2018) – The modern-day versions of the disgusting old Robber Barons might well be the corporate fascists aka techno-fascists in assorted tech industries, not just regarding Silicon Valley but also privacy-violating rich pigs at Facebook and elsewhere.

In fact, you could make the case that people like Mark “Skippy” Zuckerberg and his fellow corporate fascists are even worse since I don’t recall bloated rich pigs like E.H. Harriman or Cornelius Vanderbilt trying to police other people’s every thought, word and deed. The invasive and ever-expanding tentacular reach of techno-fascists or in this fictional case Techno-Tyrants would make these villains a very credible threat to political freedom and freedom of expression. Continue reading

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MY COUSIN’S AIRSHIP (1902): ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION

Thank you to all of you who have expressed condolences over recent family events. You people are the greatest! 

My Cousin's AirshipMY COUSIN’S AIRSHIP, A TALE OF 1950 (1902) – Written by W.F. Alexander. Though written in 1902 this story is set in a fictional 1950 which has seen incredible scientific advances.

The action begins in England, where our narrator lives with his true love Margaret. His cousin Stephen Rankin – a former rival for Margaret’s affections – is a nasty mean-spirited mad scientist figure.

Stephen has invented a new type of aerocar which can travel 45 miles per hour, which we readers are told makes it the fastest aircraft of 1950. (!) As a peace-making gesture the inventor invites our narrator along for a joyride in the airship. Continue reading

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FLASHMAN ON THE GOLD COAST – LOST FLASHMAN PAPERS

For Flashman Down Under, Flashman in the Opium War & Flashman and the Kings click HERE   For Flashman of Arabia click HERE Balladeer’s Blog now moves on to another Harry Flashman adventure referred to but never completed before George MacDonald Fraser’s death. FOR MY COUNTDOWN OF THE TOP FIVE FLASHMAN NOVELS CLICK HERE.

elmina castleProjected Title: FLASHMAN ON THE GOLD COAST

Time Period: Third Ashanti War (1873-1874)

The Setup: Queen Victoria’s Empire – specifically the British Gold Coast – bought the Dutch Gold Coast from Holland in 1871. The nearby Ashanti People of Africa had been at peace with the Dutch for over 200 years but were wary of their “new neighbors” and were protective of their enormous wealth in gold. They invaded the British Gold Coast in May, 1873.  

flashman shieldIn June the advance of the Ashanti was halted at Elmina and back in England Her Majesty’s Government made plans to send additional troops to the Gold Coast to deal with the situation. By August 13th General Garnet Wolseley was chosen to lead the army.

The Story: Wolseley, personally familiar with Flashman from the Crimean War and the Great Mutiny, would draft the reluctant Colonel-on-Half-Pay into his campaign. Sir Harry’s knack for picking up languages and his years of experience as a colonial officer would convince Wolseley of our hero’s fitness for this type of warfare, no matter what excuses Flashman would try to use.  Continue reading

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DENNIS QUAID FILM FESTIVAL

dennis quaidDennis Quaid aka Furious DQ is the subject of this list of brief film reviews. Ignore Buzzfeed reports that Dairy Queen (DQ) is partnering with Balladeer’s Blog to sponsor a Dennis Quaid Film Festival in Rio. In fact, you should just ignore ALL Buzzfeed reports, period, at this point.

Let’s dive into this look at some of the films of Ed Miller himself from The Long Riders: Dennis Quaid. NOTE: These will be films in which Dennis was the male lead, hence no Right Stuff, Wyatt Earp, etc. Quaid should have been made the new Indiana Jones right after Harrison Ford’s Last Crusade in 1989. Magnificent missed opportunity.

big easyTHE BIG EASY (1986)

Role: Police Detective Remy McSwain

Female Lead: Ellen Barkin

Comment: One of the most underrated films of the 1980s. Think of The Big Easy as Cajun-blackened Film Noir, which, of course, makes it colorful and upbeat Film Noir with kickass music.

Set in New Orleans (known as the Big Easy for you overseas readers) this hardboiled mystery features Assistant DA Anne Osborne (Barkin) clashing, bickering, flirting with and falling for Quaid as Lt Remy McSwain. Remy is investigating Wiseguy murders that hint at an impending gangster war while Anne is probing police corruption.

The sparks fly between McSwain and Osborne but we viewers wonder if he’s playing her because he has too much to hide or if she’s playing him A Taxing Woman style. We also wonder if the omerta practiced by Remy and his police colleagues is simply because of the casual graft they’re into or if they’ve graduated from being crooked cops to being outright soldiers of organized crime.

Ned Beatty, Grace Zabriskie and John Goodman are in supporting roles in this enjoyable mystery/ rom-com/ travelogue for New Orleans.

great balls of fireGREAT BALLS OF FIRE (1989)

Role: Jerry Lee Lewis

Female Lead: Winona Ryder

Comment: What The Buddy Holly Story was to Gary Busey, this movie was to Dennis Quaid. Hollywood bio-pic rules apply so the emphasis is on old-school rock music and a rip-roaring good time instead of accuracy. The movie plays its story so lightly and entertainingly that the approach works. Continue reading

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DEMOCRATS REFUSE TO LET THE REST OF US GET ON WITH OUR LIVES

Consider this an abbreviated version of my recurring Transgress With Me feature.

mascot donkey and republican heads*** I WAS PLANNING ON GOING TWO OR THREE WEEKS WITHOUT MAKING A BLOG POST ABOUT POLITICAL ISSUES BUT THE DEMOCRATS REFUSE TO STOP WITH THEIR HATE-FILLED AND DIVISIVE ANTICS. Yet, being Democrats, they simultaneously make with hypocritical lectures about “unity.”

*** THAT’S BECAUSE DEMOCRATS ARE SUCH EMPTY PEOPLE THAT THEY HAVE NO IDENTITY OUTSIDE OF THEIR POLITICAL OPINIONS. They feel that espousing those opinions makes them safe within the fascist mobs they call “home.” They certainly have no individual strength.

*** One of the reasons Democrats seem so desperate to act quickly against President Trump is because they just had 4 years of crying wolf against Trump and though they’re crying wolf AGAIN they hope that they can ram through some extreme foolishness before the passions they’ve inflamed have a chance to cool down … as happened with “Russian Collusion” and all their other lies up to and including their previous failed Impeachment Trial. Democrats and Republicans alike are terrified that a post-White House Trump may upset the corrupt apple cart of the two-party/ uniparty/ Republicrat system that lets them grift all kinds of money from the Federal Treasury.

*** Career Democrat politicians, apparently terrified that there are still people in the U.S. expressing opinions that they disagree with, are more determined than ever to push for a totalitarian system under which anyone who strays from the Democrat Party line must be eliminated.

*** The Republicans in office? Well, they’re too clueless, timid and impotent to do or say anything until they see which way the winds are blowing. Sometime around October of 2022 maybe they’ll release a terse message saying “Hey, c’mon now!” to the Democrats.

Democrat rat

DEMOCRAT PARTY

*** Career criminal HILLARY CLINTON of all people, proved to be utterly lacking in self-awareness by saying the Republicans should publicly say that senile groper Joe Biden won the election. This after Hillary and her supporters STILL claim she really won the 2016 election. And Democrat Stacey Abrams still calls for violence by claiming she really won the Georgia governor’s race.

*** AS LATE AS MAY 16th 2017 NANCY PELOSI TWEETED THIS ABOUT THE 2016 ELECTION –

Nancy Pelosi
@SpeakerPelosi
Our election was hijacked. There is no question. Congress has a duty to #ProtectOurDemocracy & #FollowTheFacts.    12:44 PM · May 16, 2017

*** AND REMEMBER, DEMOCRATS STILL CONSIDER IT OKAY TO POINT OUT THAT THE AWFUL GEORGE W BUSH STOLE THE YEAR 2000 ELECTION. They still make remarks like “Bush only won ONCE” when clueless Bush supporters say he was elected President twice. Obviously it does not result in “insurrection” to make such statements.

*** THE DEMOCRATS CONTINUE TO PRETEND THEY CARE ABOUT AMERICAN LANDMARKS LIKE THE CAPITOL BUILDING AFTER DECADES OF TELLING US IT WAS THE SEAT OF WHITE SUPREMACY AND SYSTEMIC RACISM. Prior to January 6th they always acted like people were patriotic hicks if they revered such “symbolic” institutions while they put on faux “intellectual” (LMAO) airs of contempt toward the U.S. government, claiming it was the greatest menace/ terrorist threat in the world.

*** Even worse, Democrats pretend to embrace the “symbolic” value of the Capitol Building after trashing it themselves in 2018. And they dare to lecture the rest of us about that symbolism while real people were killed and lost their livelihoods during the MONTHS-LONG JOE BIDEN RIOTS OF 2020.

*** IT ISN’T JUST THE SOCIAL MEDIA TOTALITARIANS LIKE JACK DORSEY WHO PROVE THAT DEMOCRATS LOVE CORPORATE FASCISM. THE NFL, NBA AND MLB WERE TAKING A PUBLIC RELATIONS BEATING OVER PERFORMANCE ENHANCING DRUGS AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE YEARS AGO.

                     MAGICALLY, ONCE THEY MADE THEIR LEAGUES MOUTHPIECES AND CASH COWS FOR DEMOCRAT TALKING POINTS AND ORGANIZATIONS THE FASCIST CORPORATE MEDIA STOPPED COVERING THEIR BEATING AND RAPING OF WOMEN, THEIR CHEATING AND THEIR P.E.D. USE. Continue reading

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FREE-SPEECH “GAB” GAINS 600,000 NEW USERS IN ONE DAY

gabMany times over the years, Balladeer’s Blog has recommended Gab for people tired of the heavy-handed abuses by Techno-Fascists like privileged white male Jack Dorsey and his ilk.

Be sure to join all the daring, iconoclastic and free-thinking adults at Gab.com / Gab Social

Speak truth to the fascist power of the modern Robber Barons, some of whom are trying to land Pentagon IT contracts by pandering to political partisans. 

Freedom of expression amnesty international

techno fascists attack libertyAnd, if you haven’t had enough laughs so far from Democrats – yes, DEMOCRATS (LMAO) pretending they care if the U.S. government got overthrown after five decades of telling us the U.S. government is the greatest menace/ terrorist threat in the world, below is a great bit yesterday from Gab about TWITTER LOSING 4 BILLION DOLLARS IN ONE DAY.twitter lost 4 billion

(Although, I grant you, under the Corporate Fascism embraced by the Democrats no company that supports their politics will ever again truly lose money. If worse comes to worst the Democrats will conjure up excuses for a bailout of their cronies. Just like they did recently with Hollywood rich pigs getting Covid relief money but not small theater chains, who can’t open back up because of Democrats’ Covid regulations.)

 

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CHARLES DALLAS: RIVALS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES (1973)

rivals of sherlockFor Balladeer’s Blog’s review of the very first episode of this 1971-1973 series about London by Gaslight detectives from both the Victorian and Edwardian Ages you can simply click HERE

Charles DallasEpisode: THE MISSING Q.Cs. (April 9th, 1973)

Detective: Charles Dallas, created by John Oxenham (pen name of William Arthur Dunkerley). The first Charles Dallas story was published in 1898 in Harmsworth London Magazine.

Comment: John Oxenham’s crime novels and short stories deserve to be rediscovered and made available to a much wider audience. A Mystery of the Underground, his 1897 detective story about a serial killer committing seemingly impossible Phantom of the Opera-style murders on the London Underground was his best-known crime thriller. However, his mystery-solving lawyer Charles Dallas should also be remembered since he was basically a Victorian Age forerunner of Rumpole of the Bailey.

As an example of the impact of Oxenham’s writing consider this – it’s a historical footnote that while his subway killer tale was being serialized, Tuesday night use of the London Underground plummeted to record lows because the fictional murderer only struck on Tuesday evenings. You can look it up for yourself.

Synopsis: Handsome young lawyer Charles Dallas (Robin Ellis) is a Junior Defense Barrister for Queen’s Counsel (Q.C.) defense attorney Sir Revel Revell (seriously), played by John Barron. Like the Victorian Age’s fictional master thief A.J. Raffles, he’s also a top-notch Cricket player whose athletic accomplishments are often in the newspapers.

Milly Revell and Charles DallasCharles has been dating Sir Revel’s daughter Milly (Celia Bannerman), a practicing nurse who keeps pressuring her beau to ask her father for her hand in marriage. Between his law career, his Cricket games and his sleuthing he just can’t seem to find the right moment for it, which causes periodic tensions between the two lovebirds. Continue reading

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POLLS: TRUMP APPROVAL RATING AS HIGH AS 51%

How about a headline that reads “PEOPLE WHO HATED TRUMP BEFORE LAST WEEK STILL HATE HIM, PEOPLE WHO LIKED HIM STILL LIKE HIM.” Independent Voter site Balladeer’s Blog as always feels WE NEED THIRD PARTIES given what jokes are the white-collar criminals who run the Mafia style bust-out operation masquerading as our government.

twitler And it goes without saying that the Techno-Fascists at Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere are even more zealously biased than ever before as they move to ruthlessly eliminate competitors while feigning concern over “safety”.

Presidential approval polls from Rasmussen and elsewhere have shown that de facto Third Party President Trump ended last week with approval ratings of anywhere from 51% to 48% despite all the frothing at the mouth from America’s notoriously inaccurate and corrupt media.

Since Rasmussen had the low with 48%, even if we go by THAT, it reveals how little people trust our corporate media, especially when it comes to their incessant attacks on Trump. Their take on events, like the make-believe “insurrection” (LMAO) at the Capitol last week, is shrugged off as the shrill, make that VERY shrill, propaganda that it is. Or it may also indicate that so many of us have tuned out the infamously biased (in one direction or the other) media that they aren’t really shaping anyone’s opinions like they used to.  Continue reading

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