David Ellington narrates his unbelievable past. After WW I he was hiking through Central Europe when a sudden thunderstorm disoriented him and he sought shelter in a hermitage. The brothers were unwilling to give David shelter but he passes out and when he wakes up, he hears a wolf howling. He follows the sound back to a man imprisoned in a cell who begs him to release him. Before he does, he is brought to Brother Jerome’s office. Brother Jerome, the head of the hermitage, informs David that the man in the cell is actually the Devil. David seems so skeptical that Jerome explains that since he had imprisoned him the Devil had no longer been able to wreak havoc on the world. And he warns David that if he escapes again, he’ll devastate the earth. But David couldn’t believe the story so he removes the “Staff of Truth” that was barring the cell and the Devil escapes.
It’s many years later and we see that David is telling this story to his maid. He tells her that after many years he has recaptured the devil in a room in the apartment and tells the maid not to remove the “Staff of Truth” from the door. When David leaves to arrange transportation back to Brother Jerome’s the maid removes the staff and the Devil is loosed on the world again.
The set is reminiscent of some Universal Classic Horror movie and Brother Jerome is played by John Carradine who looks sufficiently gothic with his big beard and haunted eyes. I’m a sucker for classic horror ambience. B.
“Do you know that one of the great problems of our age is that we are governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas.”
“What is success? I think it is a mixture of having a flair for the thing that you are doing; knowing that it is not enough, that you have got to have hard work and a certain sense of purpose.”
Bartlett Finchley is a food critic who detests people almost as much as he does machines. When we first meet him he is castigating his tv repairman for cheating him and failing to sympathize with his battle against his household machines. The repairman states that Finchley has thrown his transistor radio down the stairs and kicked his foot through the picture tube of his television. He considers Finchley a crank.
But once Finchley is alone in his house we see the inexplicable behavior of the machines. A clock starts ringing endlessly even after it’s been broken in fragments. His electric razor came alive on his own and struck at him as if it were a cobra. His automobile escapes his control and crashes into his house and later on releases the emergency brake and rolls into the street barely missing a child. Later on a typewriter and his tv set both start telling him to leave the house.
When his typist shows up and he insults her she quits. But before she can leave Finchley begs her to stay because as much as he dislikes her, he fears his machines more. Before she leaves, she mocks him and tells him he’s paranoid. After the horrors of his day Finchley gets soused and passes out. When he wakes up all the appliances attack at once. All of the speaking devices tell him to get out and the razor slithers down the stairs in pursuit.
As he runs out the door his car chases him around the property until it pushes him in the swimming pool. The next day the cop and ambulance driver discuss how he could have ended up that way.
Alright, the fussiness of Benchley and some of his diatribes are a little amusing but this is really thin. C+.
Listening to the Powerline interview of Michael Anton. The interviewer asked a very salient question. Who comes after Trump? Anton said maybe Senator Cotton might be the closest to Trump in policy position, but that nobody else had the loyalty of the Deplorables the way President Trump does. And that is true. And also Trump is the one with the instincts to know who is real and who is “fake.” I’ve said this before but it bears repeating as we progress through President Trump’s term in office. He needs to be the one to anoint his successor.
I think it will be very interesting to see if Mike Pence will be his running mate in 2020. I think Pence probably will be but I wouldn’t be shocked if he weren’t. President Trump has a great responsibility to try to extend the time during which changes to the troubled status-quo can occur. Sixteen or even twenty four years is only a part of the time that is needed to repair the damage that has already been done to the Republic. We need to think of even eight years of reform as just the start of what must be done if we expect normalcy to ever recover. We need a string of Trump like presidents just to get back to zero.
Sounds impossible. But stranger things have happened. Meanwhile hopefully Trump is already thinking about who his successor will be in five years.
Michael Anton wrote the Flight 93 election back in 2016 and he is one of the people who recognized how important it was to beat Hillary Clinton. He has served in the Trump White House and he is a Claremont guy. I think he is one of the smarter guys out there and he’s on our side. I found this podcast very interesting.
The Power Line Show, Ep. 110: After the Flight 93 Election
Jackie Rhoades is a small-time racketeer who lives in a cheap motel room in New York City waiting for his mob boss George to tell him his crime assignment for the night. Jackie is afraid of everything but most of all George. He’s biting his fingernails and sweating like a pig.
When George shows up, he mocks Jackie for being a coward and tells him that he’s going to graduate to murder. He has to shoot an old bar keeper who won’t pay George protection money. Jackie begs George not to make him commit murder but George tells him if he doesn’t shoot the old man then his own life is over.
After George leaves, Jackie agonizes into the mirror about his predicament and even as he insists that he’ll be caught doing it he decides to kill the old man. But as he’s getting ready to leave, his reflection in the mirror starts talking to him. It’s a more assertive, more confident version of Jackie. He tells Jackie that he’s the better side of Jackie’s personality and he’s been submerged all these years while Jackie has sabotaged their life with criminal activities and knuckling under to racketeers and gangsters.
Scared Jackie tells his alter ego that he has to kill the old man and nothing will stop him. His alter ego tells him this is his last chance. If he kills the old man he’ll be caught and their life will be over. Scared Jackie lashes out at the mirror and spins it around but now he sees the mirror image growing and coming at him.
In the next scene George shows up in Jackie’s room and finds Jackie sitting in a chair with his hands over his face. George confronts Jackie and tells him he’s gonna skin him alive. But now Jackie tells George he quits and when George gets angry, Jackie punches George in the face and throws him out. As the episode ends Jackie, now called John is leaving the flophouse for good to get a job and start his new life and Jackie in the mirror is trying to understand what’s happening to him.
In the comments on an earlier episode I expressed the opinion that having a discussion with someone is a lot better than a soliloquy. Now granted that technically it’s really just one person but without a doubt dialog beats monologue. The technique was effective and the episode benefited by it. It wasn’t Shakespeare but it was good. B.