Archive for June 19, 2022

Yesterday after opening day in my face to face Tabletop league (My Nationals took 2 of 3 from the world champion Rockies) and an unexpected nap I found myself alone in the house with a couple of hours to go before my wife got home. Normally I’d head to Happy Jacks but their surprise closing drove me a bit farther down route 12 to Longhorn Steakhouse home of the Spicy Chicken Bites, the Best Appetizer for the price in town.

There was a woman behind the bar. When I sat down she was in the process of reconciling her drawer but recognized me from visits with DaWife for dinner and knew what I wanted. I watched her between pitches and it brought to mind my mother watching bartenders and being able to tell who was stealing and who was not (she wasn’t btw). She was rather busy as a good bartender is, constantly washing glasses, busing the bar, fixing drinks for customers in the primary restaurant. I’ve always enjoyed watching a person do a job well and like the late Mike Romano who cut meat like the pro he was, this Bartender knew her craft and was able to keep all of us taken care of while still cashing out for her replacement.

Farther down the bar there was a thin fellow whose arms suggested he did some weightlifting. We struck up a conversation and it turned out he was formally employed at the same Market Basket as my son and a friend now working at one closer to his home.

He talked about working six days a week, about trying to keep up with his department, how hard it was to get help and the extra time that meant for him, but he also talked about his granddaughter and how he made it a point to put away money from those all those six day weeks so that when she was 18 and he was about to retire he could give her some cash to get herself started.

Noticing the time I headed home as DaWife was at work and was scheduled to get out at 10 PM. I got in at 9:35 and did some picking up so the place would be more presentable when she got home, but she didn’t get home at 10:15 as expected. It was past eleven when she walked in the door. She was the only nurse on duty at her place and there was work that had to be done which kept her for an extra hour. This was something that was not unusual on days when she was alone and she was happy to finally be off her feet and only deal with the aches and pains that are standard as you prepare to complete a sixth decade of life.

As I watched her go to the recliner I thought about the fellow working six days a week and the bartender who was busting her ass at her job and realized that based on the materials I had been given which I wrote about yesterday children all over the country are being taught how these three hard working people are members of a privileged class of oppressors who are keeping others down and that moreover there are people making a fortune off of selling this lie and shaking down corporations, perhaps even the ones these three are working for, to help finance this lie to not only school kids but to the public at large.

This is how you create division and how you bring down a republic.

By John Ruberry

Earlier this month Season Six of the BBC gangster drama, Peaky Blinders, began streaming on Netflix.

The show centers on a Birmingham Romani organized crime family, the Shelbys, and the leader of that gang, Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy). He’s a World War I veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome, who manages to build a business empire, while getting elected to Parliament as a member of the Labour Party.

This will be the final season of Peaky Blinders, although a movie is said to be in the works.

The next two paragraphs contain some Season 5 and 6 spoilers.

During Season 5 a new major character, Oswald Mosley (Sam Claflin), a Birmingham member of Parliament like Tommy Shelby, is introduced. He’s the founder of a British fascist party–and Mosley was a real person. Shelby’s relationship with Mosley is complicated, which fits the show as the plot lines are anything but simplistic. Shelby’s plot to assassinate Mosley–the real Oswald died of natural causes in 1980–is foiled by the Irish Republican Army. The IRA kills the would-be assassin and other member of the Peaky Blinders, the “muscle” end of the Shelby operation.

While Tommy is the leader of the gang, his aunt, Elizabeth Pollyanna “Polly” Shelby Gray (Helen McCrory), was the glue of the enterprise, formally known as Shelby Family Limited. But McCrory died at 52 of lung cancer in 2021, just as production of this season started. Other than Tommy Shelby, Aunt Polly was the most important character in Peaky Blinders. Her off-screen death was a tough blow for the show. To compensate, the role of Tommy’s sister, Ada Thorne (Sophie Rundle), is elevated, but Rundle is placed in an impossible position. Meanwhile, Polly’s son, Michael Gray (Finn Cole), holds Tommy responsible for Polly’s murder.

Also back in Season 5, another new character Gina (Anya Taylor-Joy), Michael’s wife, makes her debut. We learn in the new season that Gina is the niece of South Boston gangster Jack Nelson (James Frecheville). He’s a not-too-thinly disguised characterization of Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. Like the patriarch of the Kennedy dynasty, Nelson has anti-Semitic and fascist leanings. Calm down my liberal friends, it’s true about Kennedy. With Prohibition over, Tommy and Nelson hope to offset the end of it by smuggling opium into Boston. 

Mosley has a new lover, Lady Diana Mitford (Amber Anderson). She declares herself to Ada, in cruder terms, as a bisexual but she also has her eyes on Tommy. The real Mitfort was the first cousin of Winston Churchill’s wife, Clementine. Unless this plotline is being saved for the Peaky Blinders movie, I am stupefied why this angle wasn’t developed into the storyline. The future wartime leader, amazingly is portrayed by three actors over the six seasons, makes a cameo appearance in Season 6. 

Season 5 ends and Season 6 begins with Tommy wallowing in mud. And mud is fitting metaphor for this season, while good, falls short of the greatness of Peaky Blinders, although I didn’t care for the Russian diversion in Season 3. The final episode of this last season, nearly 90 minutes long, is the best, as Tommy’s older brother, Arthur (Paul Anderson), emerges somewhat from his alcohol and drug induced haze as the Shelbys face a two-front war. A third front of sorts is there too as Tommy’s marriage with Lizzie (Natasha O’Keeffe) faces challenges. 

In regard to Nelson, Season 6 would have been much more interesting if instead Joseph P. Kennedy was the Boston foil for Tommy.

Surprisingly, while the show continues with a dark and gothic soundtrack, the unofficial theme song, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ “Red Right Hand” is sadly missing. But arguably the worst song Bob Dylan ever recorded, “All The Tired Horses,” covered by Lisa O’Neill, is included.

All six seasons of Peaky Blinders are currently streaming on Netflix. It is rated TV-MA for nudity, drug use, foul language, and violence. 

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.