Thursday, December 27, 2012

First Impressions: Affairs Valentino

If you want a fully researched, well documented, and accurate biography of former superstar Rudolph Valentino which reveals groundbreaking discoveries about his life, then you owe it to yourself to read Evelyn Zumaya’s Affairs Valentino – a volume covering not only the actor’s life, but his afterlife as well.

Although we have written previously on the major findings of the author’s research, we are taking a second round with the screen legend’s life and legacy after finally obtaining and reading a rare copy of her book.
We should like to dispense quickly with remarks about the book’s format and literary deportment by first stating that it is written in an engaging style facilitated by a technique which may leave it open to undue criticism – a point we will address momentarily.

The book is a large 8 ½” x 11” paperback volume with lean production values. The text is double spaced as one would expect in a term paper, but this format makes reading a breeze. It is also illustrated with rare photos – and some not so rare – which add interest to the narrative.

The book sadly lacks an index and footnotes - in spite of its rich bibliography, the former omission hardly explainable in the days of electronic word processors. The text is speckled with grammatical, lexical, and typographical errors which should be cleansed in a second edition.

Returning to our point of narrative style, the author has chosen to use dramatizations to vivify the story, a technique which may make it appealing to a popular audience, but one which will not endear it to establishment historians and academics. All of which is unfortunate because the substance of this scholarly triumph makes it worth every penny this out of print book may cost.

Aside from some of these rather pedantic remarks, we must admit that the author is a very capable writer who has selected a fluent style which makes the book a rapid read. She alternates between history of Valentino’s life, and the very complicated aftermath left in the wake of his death – complications which extend to the present time.

Valentino is probably an easy character for many people to like if for no other reason than he was rich, famous, and good looking. On the other hand, once you look past the glitz, you see a highly flawed man whose life swung out of control and flamed out at a very young age.

A teenaged Valentino arrived in America 2 days before Christmas 1913 on the USS Cleveland at the instigation of his family who, for all practical purposes, disowned him for youthful indiscretions which brought shame to his very traditional southern Italian Catholic family.

Although lacking absolute proof, Zumaya speculates, with reasonable evidence which she presents in her book, that Valentino had a fling with an older Italian woman resulting in a pregnancy which embarrassed the family. The solution was to send young Rudolph into the cold to America where a padrino, Frank Menillo, awaited to sponsor him in his new country – in the vortex of America’s melting pot – New York City. Frank would come many times to Rudy’s aid to pry him loose from some sticky predicament – often of a financial nature.

The child would be given to his brother Alberto for rearing, a responsibility we believe he resented.

With limited education, Valentino scraped by with dancing jobs which put him in high society and in bed with another man’s wife. Escaping that melee, Valentino eventually wound up in California where he spent a few years as a starving actor before making his big break in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse under the tutelage of June Mathis, a major screenwriter of the day.
Along the way, he married an actress, Jean Acker, who refused to consummate their marriage. Although no conclusive evidence is rendered, the best explanation is that she was a lesbian who rashly entered into the marriage under outside pressures. Other legal documents indicate she had a physical condition preventing sexual relations, but she lived with her companion Chloe Carter for most of her life.

It did not take long for the emotionally wounded Valentino to find solace in Natacha Rambova, a stepdaughter of a wealthy businessman who maintained many residences worldwide, including one on the French Riviera and San Francisco’s Nob Hill – facts unknown to Valentino until well into their affair.
Although they met in a torrent of love and lust, their marriage would end 3 years later in a torrent of hate and anger. She was an avant-garde, bohemian free spirit who wanted to share professionally in Valentino’s career, but who in the end was shut out.

It is perhaps this controlling feature which secured the wedge between them, but in the final analysis, it seems that Natacha loved Natacha rather than her husband. Through the use of detectives, Rudy caught her carrying on with a cameraman, a discovery which broke the camel’s back of their unraveling marriage. Any complaints from Valentino on this score would probably resemble the pot calling the kettle black, but what hurt Valentino the most was his wife’s refusal to bear him children. She allegedly had 3 or 4 abortions, a matter which caused Valentino considerable pain, making reconciliation impossible.
Valentino’s career zoomed upward after The Shiek which made him the first cinematic global superstar – a fame he retained even during his walkout on The Famous Players-Lasky which lasted into 1923. His astute business manager, George Ullman, kept him afloat financially by taking him on tour to promote Mineralava beauty cream. Ullman was hired on the advice of Valentino’s closest advisor – Black Foot – a demon he conjured up in one of his daily trances and automatic writing sessions.

Ullman forms an important part of the story – especially after Valentino’s death. The two men became fast friends with Ullman constantly performing a 7 ball juggling act to keep his boss solvent. Valentino was accustomed to high living from his first steps on American soil – even though he spent some very  lean years with Natacha in a cramped bungalow with an odd assortment of animals he picked up from the studio.
In his final 18 months – especially after his divorce from Natacha – Valentino's boozing, womanizing, and smoking took its toll – to the point where Valentino was a certified alcoholic. It is possible that his alcoholism finally undid him when he died of acute perforated ulcers – a condition insufficiently treatable at the time.

The disintegration of Valentino before his friend and business manager’s eyes was a painful sight, a sight Ullman craftily hid from the public - along with Rudy's many other indiscretions.
When Valentino died unexpectedly, the task of burial and estate executor fell upon Ullman, as Valentino had wished it in his will, but a task made enormously more complicated by one of the dishonest men he kept on his sizeable household staff.

We find that his handyman, Lou Mahoney, a corrupt former New York City cop, tore out a page of Valentino’s will which left the estate to his ostensible nephew Jean. We learn along the way that Jean was most likely his son from his affair in Italy which caused his family to exile him to America. The will stipulated that George would be the executor of the estate and continue to run Rudolph Valentino Productions in the event of his death.
This chicanery by Mahoney created a series of interminable legal battles between Rudy’s brother Alberto and Ullman. George only knew about the unamended will which named Alberto, his sister Maria, and his former wife’s Aunt Teresa as heirs. The amendment stated that these persons would only receive a monthly stipend until Jean reached the age of 25. Oh, and Natacha would receive a one dollar bill.

George mistakenly advanced disbursements to the presumed heirs from the estate for which an appeals court would find him liable some years later after a copy of the missing page turned up in the divorce attorney’s files and was submitted to the court. This ruling, even after George had rehabilitated the estate's finances to the point where he paid off all of Valentino’s staggering 300,000 USD debt, and built equity to 300,000 USD at the onset of the depression. The greed of Alberto would undo all of this heroic accomplishment.
These legal battles ruined George financially but eventually vindicated him against charges of incompetence, embezzlement, or fraud in an appeals court's stinging rebuke of the lower probate court’s decisions. Alberto was a sleaze of the first order whose first question to George when he walked the plank off the boat for his brother’s burial was, “How big is the estate?”

The battle lines were drawn with the Valentino family bitterly opposed to George. Jean inherited this animosity especially when the depleted estate left him with precious little except for intellectual property which he used to "extort" large sums of money in his life as a semi-professional litigant. Jean finally relinquished George from the staggering debt he owed him by court decree 30 years after his father’s death.
Prior to that, the story took an even more fascinating twist. Famous Hollywood producer and executive William Self formed a fake friendship with George in order to swindle him out of the few Valentino memorabilia he managed to salvage from the Valentino estate.

Self, a very well to do executive living in exclusive Bel Air, would later steal George’s few remaining mementos which he kept in his garage, even after George had naively given him one of them each year for his birthday under the assumption that Self would safeguard them. In reality, he was passing them along (for sale) to Jean, or trading them with a person whom Zumaya identifies as the Evanston collector.
Self – it appears – stole the probate court records exonerating George from the County Courthouse in Los Angeles and sold them to the Evanston collector. Self, who also had an intense interest in Frank Baum, creator of the Wizard of Oz, also apparently stole Baum’s probate records. If these accusations can be proven, it makes Self a felon and I believe that they could be proven.

Although Zumaya mercifully spares us psychologizing about Valentino, I am not so generous. Valentino was a self indulgent, irresponsible, reckless spendthrift who luxuriated in the finest things money could buy. But at the same time he could be quite generous as the author documents. He enjoyed life, spent beyond his means, but I think in the end he wanted to transcend his materialistic morass.
By transcending, I believe that he wanted a family – a wife and kids. His two failed attempts to acquire these elusive possessions sent him into a depression from which he never recovered, and whose pain he medicated with liquor and 100 Turkish black tobacco cigarettes per day. The refusal of the fascist Italian courts to grant adoption of his son Jean probably sealed Rudy’s fate.

Zumaya has faced viciously barbaric opposition to her work, which has compelled her to cease publication of this fine book. This is a disastrous pity for she has done more than any other researcher to advance our understanding of this fascinating screen legend.
If you find her book, buy it and don’t flinch at the price. It tells a story worthy of any Hollywood scandal.

Affairs Valentino, Evelyn Zumaya, 2011

Copyright 2012 Tony Bonn. All rights reserved.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

First Impressions: Enemy of the Truth

Sophisticated crime investigation forensics has finally caught up with the threadbare lies used to deceive Americans about the murder of John F Kennedy in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963. Sherry Fiester’s latest book, Enemy of the Truth, steps us through the somewhat arcane field of forensics to reveal the truth about the crime scene.
If you are a fan of the CSI crime scene investigations shows, you will be right at home with Ms Fiester who is herself a Certified Senior Crime Scene Investigator who is also certified in about 50 state and federal judicial jurisdictions as an expert witness in forensics matters, including blood spatter analysis. Now retired from police work, she has devoted her time to exploring the forensic evidence of the Kennedy assassination.

Before discussing the content of the book, we must expose some of the weaknesses in the present volume. Although its prose is competent at best, its editing is subpar for a work of this quality which is college level material in any sense of the term. Numerous typographical, grammatical, and lexical errors abound throughout the book, making comprehension at times a bit of a challenge.
On the other hand, we elevate substance over form and cannot in any way allow these denigrations to deter us from seeking the truth and advancing our understanding of the crime of the century. To that end, this book is unparalleled and is deserving of the fullest attention, especially since Lyndon Johnson shut down the investigation in Dallas the evening of his first day in office.

Warren Commission Report fans will find very little of comfort in Fiester’s book as she shreds nearly every shibboleth of the Lone Nut community to kingdom come. But, while we are on the subject of Johnson, his contempt of the report is legendary – for some rather obvious reasons which we will not develop here.
Enemy of the Truth contains a series of essays organized by chapter which largely stand on their own. Yes the author refers to material presented in previous chapters but she nonetheless repeats it so that full detail of the previously treated subject is not required in its present application. One subject receiving considerable repetition is blood spatter analysis of which the author is an authority as we noted above.

The chief conclusion of the book -  though not necessarily its thesis – is that President Kennedy’s fatal head shot – one captured so eloquently by the Zapruder film especially – was fired from the front from the triple over/under pass. Blood spatter analysis and wound ballistics devastate the case of a fatal shot coming from the Texas School Book Depository (TSBD).
That facility, by the way, is a hysterical joke with its fake museum fooling passive people into believing that Oswald created a sniper’s nest on the 6th floor – again, a subject of another post.

Fiester waylays many cherished myths of the establishment as well as of the conspiracy community as she follows the evidence where it leads regardless of the philosophical preference she or others may hold.
The Zapruder film has been the subject of charges of alteration due largely to the blood spatter and body motion of Kennedy at the moment of the assassination. Fiester shows that modern blood spatter analysis – a veritable science – demonstrates that the effluents coming from Kennedy are authentic and the result of a front shot. Forgers would have needed to possess knowledge about blood spatter science which simply was not available prior to 1975 when the film was first publicly aired.

While none of the assassination films shows the presidential limousine stopping, many witnesses swore to the fact that it did. We even adopted that position in a previous blog, but have since divested ourselves of the notion based upon better evidence and explanation. Fiester delves into some specialized theory and science to explain the phenomenon of the witnesses' empirical perceptions to show the stress of the moment led to time dilation which in turn gave the appearance of the stopping vehicle.
None  of this exonerates the Secret Service in any way as Fiester later reports analysis from a study sponsored by  House Select Committee on Assassinations which showed that the vehicle indeed slowed from about 12 mph to 8 mph just prior to the head shot.
One of the highlights of the book uses ballistic wounds, math, and physics to triangulate the location of the shooter. This evidence is used to disabuse us of the Grassy Knoll theory. While the author does not claim that no shots were fired from behind the fence – and indeed there is an abundance of witness to weapons fire from the parking lot behind the knoll – she does claim that the fatal head wound could not have come from the famed grassy knoll.
We have skimmed just a fraction of the information and analysis found in this fabulous and long overdue book, so readers will have to obtain a copy to get the full monty as they say. We are delighted that the lone nut theory has been wasted with the devastation it so justly deserves.
We have seen the release of a near avalanche of first rate books over the past 2 years which demonstrates with court quality evidence the fact that Kennedy was killed by skilled and powerful assassins whose authority for the murder came deep within the Military Industrial Complex – a complex which includes the Bush Crime Syndicate and Rockefeller Axis of Evil.
The time for debating whether Oswald or a kook killed Kennedy is long past. The real work of tying  to the crime the most likely suspects may begin in earnest.
Enemy of the Truth, Myths, Forensics, and the Kennedy Assassination, Sherry P Fiester, 2012
Copyright 2012 Tony Bonn. All rights reserved.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Bombshells in Dallas: Miscellaneous News from November in Dallas

Just when we thought we had uncovered the most important clues in the murder of President John Kennedy on November 22, 1963 in Dealey Plaza by the Rockefeller Crime Syndicate, new ones keep popping up like weeds. A case in point is the role of the Texas School Book Depository as a decoy.
To be more explicit, there were no shooters in the TSBD. This revelation hit us like two tons of lead bricks when we first heard it from our correspondent who viewed a lecture by Barry Ernest, the author of The Girl on the Stairs, at the recent November in Dallas conference sponsored by JFK Lancer Publications which presents new discoveries in the JFK murder case to the public at its annual gathering.
Ernest found a critical witness to the Kennedy murder after years of on again off again searching. Although she appears in the Warren Commission Report, her testimony was falsified by the committee and FBI. When Victoria Adams told the FBI what she saw in the immediate aftermath of the shooting in front of where she worked, they severely intimidated her to change her story to match the fabrications they were weaving about Oswald.
When she refused to do so, the commission falsified her story. She has remained deathly quiet since then, not wanting to find an early grave as have so many other who knew too much or dared to utter the truth.
Adams worked in the accounting department of the TSBD along with 3 others on the fateful day in November. When Adams’ coworkers heard the shots, they ran down the stairs to see what the commotion was, while Adams’ was certain that the president had been mortally wounded.
Two of the co-workers went down the stairs while Adams and a colleague remained on the fourth floor where they worked. From this vantage they could see anyone who ascended or descended the stairs. The only two people they saw were police officer Baker and building manager Roy Truly.
This observation is extraordinarily important. It is important because the stairs in the TSBD did not run straight up from the first floor to the sixth. In order to get to another floor, a climber had to  stop on the fourth floor to transfer to another flight of stairs to go up or down. The fourth floor housing the accounting department was wide open with an unobstructed view of the stair wells.
The girls who went down did not see anyone go down or up – to say nothing of Oswald. The girls who remained on the 4th floor in the open area did not see anyone go up or down save for the two men just mentioned. The story completely contradicts the lies the Warren commission uttered about Oswald.
It also completely undoes our own understanding that CIA's assassins were manning the 5th floor to shoot at the president. The truth is that the TSBD was NOT an assassin’s lair as long believed by the public and told ceaselessly by the state controlled news media.
The CIA staged an elaborate hoax  on the 6th floor in order to frame Oswald. His handlers had maneuvered him into that job to create an association between Oswald and the TSBD. The 6th floor sniper’s nest was yet another delusion with which the CIA blinded the public.
And to think that there is a museum there to keep the public stupid is a farce which would give Joseph Goebells sheer delight.
But that’s not all. Lyndon Johnson was rolled under the bus earlier this year in yet another solution to the crime. This time LBJ was painted as the master mind who had the will, motive, and power to murder a president. As usual, the truth is more complicated than that.
Johnson was easily the most foul president until George Bush, Jr. He was a mass murderer who sent men to Vietnam for no reason other than to line the pockets of his plutocrat bosses. He ordered the sinking of the USS Liberty when it was attacked by Israeli forces. And he participated in the murder of his nominal boss.
Johnson was a small cog in the Rockefeller / Wall Street plan to stage a coup. He was greedy enough to want to be president and wicked enough to obtain it by murder. His scandals were on the verge of sending him to prison. So it was no small gift to be invited to help in the American coup of 1963.
Johnson worked closely with his protégé John Connally to plan Kennedy's trip to Dallas which would allow the plutocrats to murder the president. When Kennedy was assaulted, Connally yelled out, “They are going to kill both of us!” Jackie Kennedy told William Manchester this quote when he was preparing his history of the Kennedy years. However, the publishers would not allow the quote to be published. So they altered it to, “They are going to kill us all!”
This statement meant that Connally felt that he was being double crossed after all of the work he did to funnel Kennedy onto Elm Street at the right moment.
Not to be outdone, Johnson called the Dallas Police Department to inform it that it should stop its investigation of the Kennedy murder because it already had the guilty party – Lee Oswald.

One of the interesting casualties of the discovery about the TSBD is in connection with the Tegan Mathis book claiming to deconstruct Executive Prvilege by Lynne Cheney. In particular, the claim that Colin Powell was the sniper in the TSBD becomes more farcical than it already was. We believe that Mathis is due for an even steeper discount than we had given previously.
The Kennedy killing and its cover-up by the CIA operating on orders from the Rockefeller murderers is one of history’s most fascinating and darkest crimes. Satan is laughing with delight the day the music died.
Personal correspondence with attendee to November in Dallas

Copyright 2012 Tony Bonn. All rights reserved.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

First Impressions: The Star that Astonished the World

Since Humbug comes but once a year, we thought that we would take another excurses from our regularly scheduled programming to review a fascinating book providing the actual date and time of the birth of Jesus. The results may surprise you.

We suspect that most folks believe that December 25th is a surrogate for the real birth date of Jesus, whose actual birthday is lost in the sinking sands of time. However, that date has been rescued from obscurity by the indefatigable work of the late Dr Earnest Martin, a Biblical scholar of the first rank.
Martin uses a number of evidentiary sources to inform his conclusion that Jesus was born on September 11, 3 BC. In addition to the Biblical account, he relies upon secular histories, and most significantly, astronomy to reverse engineer the time of Jesus’ birth.
The Magi of the East, who provide the pomp and circumstance in modern religious interpretations of Christmas, were important persons who visited the future Jewish king in Bethlehem. They also point the modern scholar to the key to unlock the details of the birth of Christ.
While the popular imagination supposes three wise men, their actual number is unknown, although early sources suggest as many as 12 magi, in addition to their substantial entourages. These men were indeed important figures in the ancient world whose craft as star gazers was the right one – as we shall soon see - to anticipate the arrival of the new born king.
The importance of the wise men stems from the prestige they commanded in ancient times as counsellors to kings, and sometimes as king makers. Not only were they convinced that a king was to be born, but that he was so important as to justify a long, arduous journey from Parthia to Bethlehem  - the very definition of Podunk.
The Magi – from which we get magician – were powerful counselors to royalty whose stock in trade was soothsaying, a vocation which had a strong crossover to astronomy as astrology depends heavily upon celestial interpretations.
If one surveys the historical and religious literature,  one can find Jesus born in every month of the year and a wide span of years at least 10 wide. Most modern critical scholarship insists that Jesus was born prior to 4 BC due to a brief reference by Josephus concerning his birth. Given this plethora of opinion and material, one would think it nearly impossible to determine the year, let alone date and time of his birth.
With odds stacked so against the historian, December 25 seems as good a date as any other. What Martin discovers in his studies about the Magi is that they observed a star rising in the east which they eventually followed to Jerusalem and then to Bethlehem. From there, many of the other astronomical evidences fall into place.
Their arrival in Bethlehem occurred around the winter solstice whereupon they presented their costly gifts to Jesus on December 25. But Jesus had long left the manger and was no longer a babe – something deduced from Matthew’s account of the birth where the term used is παίδία – denoting a toddler or someone who passed the stage of babyhood.
Martin concludes December 25th as the meeting of the king and Magi from historical astronomy where he determines that Jupiter – the king planet – is at a relative point of inflexion where it appears to stand still due to the reversal from proper motion to retrogression consequent to the relative motions of the earth and Jupiter. Hence the “star” appears to be stationary to those of us on earth much as Matthew described.
The Magi, with their interest in celestial phenomena, are an excellent point of departure for the heavy lifting Martin does with the astronomical sign given by John in the book of Revelation, specifically 12:1-5.
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

Although theologians are frequently found interpreting this passage as a reference to Mary, or allegorically to Israel, Martin sees it as a reference to the constellation Virgo, who assumed the persona of Ruth in the Hebrew zodiac. She later became the reference for Mary as the virgin mother of Jesus.
More intriguingly, he interprets the covering by the sun as a reference to its position in the middle of Virgo, and the moon under her feet as the position of the new moon relative to the constellation. Given the positions of the planets and stars, and working backward with historical astronomies provided by world class astronomers, Martin deduces that Jesus was born on September 11, 3 BC between the time of 6:15p and 7:45p.
More surprising is the discovery that this day was Rosh Hashanah, the commencement of the Jewish secular new year – also known biblically as the Feast of Trumpets. Martin proceeds to explain the significance of this date  - a fascinating subject we leave to the interested reader.
But astronomy is not the only tool in Martin’s bag. He relies upon secular and religious histories to help box the time of the divine birth. The reign year of Tiberius given in the gospels coincides with Jesus’ age given by Luke as does the story of the census about which Martin spends considerable time.
The census is well attested historically as occurring in 3 BC due to the once recent discoveries about it. The census was proclaimed in advance of Augustus' proclamation as Pater Patriae – a supreme dignity bestowed by the Senate. The census also entailed an oath of obedience to Ceasar.
Other events framing the time of birth include Herod’s death – a subject of considerable dispute which can now be resolved conclusively. In addition, Martin uses the schedule of Jewish priestly courses, the conception of John the Baptist, and the dumbfounding of his father Zechariah the priest by the angel who admonished him for his unbelief in the birth of his son.
Finally, Martin is not remiss in acknowledging the scholarly legacy by many of the early church fathers who are nearly unamimous in their views that Jesus was born between 3 – 1 BC.
We have only skimmed the surface of material covered by Martin, and so urge our dear readers to read the book online if so intrigued. There is material for both the religiously and historically minded student.
Reference, Earnest Martin, c. 1996
Copyright 2012 Tony Bonn. All rights reserved.