Sex, swimming and smeared fins - 40 years later you look at Monkey Grip

Ken Cameron's film adaptation of Helen Garner's Monkey Grip is dark, wistful, strange - and incredibly sexy - writes Ronnie Scott. (Author: Gardener)

fins - 40 years laterThe woman's name is Nora, and she's stepping out of the pool as she looks at the guy she's meeting and sees something better: a sexy stranger, Javo, who exudes a kind of hurt depth. He hangs around the famous AQUA PROFONDA sign while Nora and the guy she meets, Martin, do their thing. He looks like he's going to cause trouble, but not the worst of troubles; the kind that might be interesting to catch. Nora learns from a pal that Javo likes heroin, though he appears to have kicked it; the pal is Nora's roommate's girlfriend, and in the time when anything goes, Javo soon hangs out with Nora and Martin, enough for Javo to be able to ask Martin how "together" they really are, and Martin's evasive answer is direct can pass it on to Nora - a clever move for such a lively guy. Soon she's taking him to an art exhibition she has to cover for the small, busy alternative newspaper she writes reviews for. After that, she asks him if he wants to stay the night. "That would be good," he tells her, and it goes on. In the morning, Nora's 11-year-old daughter, Gracie, finds out; Martin finds out. After Javo leaves, Nora relaxes in the kitchen and says, "I think I've done it again" - the wrong thing, the wrong thing - but of course the story we're talking about is Ken Cameron's Monkey Grip (1982) , and the casting of Noni Hazlehurst is one of his big coups. Resignation, joy, complacency, worry: everything is there in the delivery, and everything fades into the background to a wonderful feeling that it doesn't matter at all. She assumes she's done it again, and you're now aware of a disturbing question that's interesting to this film the way a mouse is interesting to a cat. Perhaps understanding the implications of what you do has little to no bearing on whether or not it is actually done? This suspicion becomes unbearable as the film progresses. Nora's carefree manner, which can be cruel but rarely evil, lifts the viewer and carries them through the film's darkest parts, but there's always a sense that something irrevocable is happening, a little behind line of sight, a little out of control . The film is based on Helen Garner's 1977 novel, and Garner and Cameron are listed as co-writers. On the must-read Ozmovies site, where the Monkey Grip entry blends an interview with Cameron by Peter Malone and an account of Cameron's DVD commentary into a narration of how the screenplay was written, Cameron explains that he cut up and reinserted the novel typed it "to resemble a movie," then in constant conversation with Garner honed the adaptation; he has a collection of letters in which she suggests solutions and scenes. Garner says in the DVD commentary that she saw 14 or 15 drafts of the script and then was there for filming because Nora's daughter Gracie is played by her own daughter Alice, who has a sharp presence through the film, cheerful and cheerfully alert and possessed of some uncanny wisdom. Garner didn't like the casting of Colin Friels as Javo, telling The Age's Peter Wilmoth in 2008: "I just can't believe they cast Colin Friels as Junkie. .] He was so healthy, a great, big, muscular surfer.” We all know people like Javo — if not the heroin then the grumpy mood — and it's true they're not Colin Friels. But I'm thinking of a point a friend once made about a different kind of story where two incredibly hot people meet on a tram. That doesn't happen in real life, someone complained at the time. But there are people in the world who look like that, my friend explained; When they meet, it's often with each other, and it has to happen somewhere. If Javo von Friels isn't realistic for the story, then maybe Hazlehurst's Nora isn't either, and you have to have someone like Friels to make the viewer think someone like Hazlehurst would give him the time of day. Monkey Grip is a film and it needs to have some shine. Sex was a theme for this film. At first no one liked it, neither the distributors nor "most" of the Australian Film Commission, which producer Patricia Lovell speculated saw it as pornographic. Stratton had interviewed Lovell for his 1990 book The Avocado Plantation, about the turbulent economy of the 1980s in Australian film. Lovell went ahead and produced Gallipoli instead; As tax breaks made production more profitable, other costs had risen so it was still a struggle to finance. When it finally got going, a new funding problem meant it looked like production could be delayed by two weeks - Lovell was sent to the hospital, where she was sedated for 48 hours from nervous exhaustion. When the film was finished, Lovell heard that Gilles Jacob, director of the Cannes Film Festival, had been told "by an authority figure" that "the Australian Government would not be pleased if Monkey Grip competed in Cannes" (although it did). ). Lovell screened the film for three Melbourne distributors, all of whom turned it down; One told her, "I hated it." Eventually, Lovell distributed it himself, and after the first week's earnings proved its ferocity, Roadshow officially picked it up. Many films are incredibly sexy or incredibly sexual (dark, wistful, funny); Monkey Grip is both. The first time Nora has sex with Javo is wholeheartedly, but at first it's so tentative you think it couldn't happen; they crawl under the covers and at first you think they might just go to sleep. Once it happens, you realize you were foolish to think it couldn't happen. The eyes are closed, the clothes are off, the facial expressions are working very hard; There's a finger sucking that the camera doesn't cut away and a kiss that's more sexual than the finger sucking. During the filming of these scenes, I had no problems with the actors. We all believed in the novel and the movie, so we thought those scenes had to be done that way. It's great, and sex shows up throughout the film as something that's perfectly normal — caught up in work, time, reading, eating sandwiches, meeting deadlines, having daughters, moving, writing lyrics, being in bands — and something like Javo: on a spectrum between complex and impossible. After Javo starts acting weird at a party, he says to Nora, "You just don't get it, do you?" When he told her earlier that he was "stoned," he meant he was stoned. Nora smiles and kisses him. Javo overdose. Nora visits him in the hospital where Javo smokes. He looks at an old man across the room and says, "Gosh, old people give me the shit." Javo comes to Nora's shared apartment and finds her in the shower and decides she's going to be the one to ambulate him provided. Someone who knows how to inject penicillin comes over to show her how. Nora gives the injection; Javo is upset. They make jokes about the penicillin injection that are actually jokes about junk; Gracie grabs the needle and says, "Don't do it - you'll get hooked!" Everyone laughs. Javo becomes part of the family, taking care of the children Nora lives with and sharing gifts. He's gone, and Nora finds him again, in some kind of dreary bohemian cave, a tall, dark brick building with arched windows, where he's allowed to gesture to a traumatic origin. He has sex with Nora. He says - or says so to speak; The line is being fed by Nora — that his dad is the reason women "never hit the mark." That night, Nora wakes up and Javo isn't there. And then he's really gone; He flies to Singapore with Martin (the guy Nora saw in the beginning - played by Tim Burns). Javo sends Nora a postcard. She hears the news in winter that Javo is in prison in Bangkok for stealing sunglasses (also with Martin). "I miss him a lot," she says to a friend she's seeing. And then, one sunny day, he's back - in a garden full of hanging ferns and deer antlers, Nora's new, less ramshackle shared apartment. "Now that he was back, all the fragments of my life made sense again," says Nora. Nora invites Javo over for coffee and gnocchi with her pension check, and Javo ruins it by talking to another woman on the apparent pretense that he wants to see what kind of cigarettes they have behind the counter. The woman is Lillian (Candy Raymond), a co-star in a play he is in, and he lurks across the restaurant chatting to her while the waiter brings Nora the food. "I mean, she's too much," says Javo to Nora; but Nora "feels like she's hiring you." Later the play is staged in a terrifying and effective little scene with Javo as a greasy bartender in a shiny vest while Lillian plays a "moment", a "babe" in a silver dress with slits. Nora runs off the audience to attend to him, and he continues to speak his lines while he's ill. Now there is a third act feeling; things start to escalate. But part of what makes it so hard to watch — the way relationships you've seen people have, relationships you've been in — is that there aren't any high points or peace-restoring moments, it there are only peaks that mean nothing, moments of understanding that distract from other problems, resolutions that are likely to be broken. Garner told Wilmoth that Cameron finds it difficult to adapt her novel for film because it's like a long-running television series. The film mirrors the novel, which mirrors life, yes, but it also mirrors Javo, whose personal appeal is all the more striking as the rest of him is stunning, exhausting. Cameron cast it after Angels frontman Doc Neeson dropped out and saw Cameron Friels play Hamlet at the Sydney Opera House. For all his seriousness, he's also disappointing and ordinary ("Jeez, old people give me the shit"); history must never settle around him. He crawls into Nora's bed to comfort himself like a sick child would. A needle lies on the dining table in the middle of a household scene in which the children hit Nora on the head with their dolls and ask her to make them Milo mugs. “I want to stop,” says Javo, “but I can't now. I can't perform when I come down.” Nora understands. "I'm fed up with the garbage," he says. Cut to Javo playing harmonica in the passenger seat of a Mack truck being driven by a stranger, Nora and Gracie in the back. They're soon sitting in a diner outside of Sydney, confronted with the problems faced by families on Australian road trips. Although Cameron seems embarrassed that Monkey Grip was mostly filmed in Sydney, he explains in the DVD commentary that he was based in Sydney, as was Lovell, the DOP and the production designer, so at the time of casting (in Sydney) . ) and they had secured the funding, "we dug a big hole in Sydney" - it's a big joke of the film that it does a pretty good Melbourne. "I would have loved to have done it in Melbourne," Cameron says of the week-long location he was able to film: "It's the plaster that you see outside the window, it's just all kinds of little things that you can see. "do not reproduce". But when Nora rides her bike down a wide, leafy street, it feels like a Melbourne suburb you just haven't been to. Since the film is iconic to Melbourne (as is the novel), it's gratifying that this doesn't seem to impact viewers, any more than the knowledge that Rear Window was filmed in LA. When they arrive in Sydney - scenes also filmed in Sydney - the house they live in is bathed in pink light. "What a good idea!" Javo says as Gracie jumps on the bed and they curl up. It's vacation time. With a clean shirt, Sydney Light and a comb in his hair, Javo transforms into a man on the rise. Nora catches him trying to get money out of her purse while she's taking a nap and says, "Gosh, you look good." He asks if $20 is okay; he will "just visit some friends". While on the road, Gracie consults the I Ching - big part of the novel, small part of the film - about the likelihood that the three will go to Manly tomorrow as planned. The universe replies and says "don't count on it, sister". Nora asks Gracie what she thinks of Javo admitting he's a junkie, which of course has its issues, but, "You should be nicer to him and leave him alone, that's what I think." When he When he finally gets home, Nora finds him in the kitchen, suspiciously going into town with a baguette. "It was supposed to be a holiday," says Nora. "What are you doing, what do you want?" He says, "I want some Vegemite," and it's all downhill from there. He turns an argument about gossip and empty promises into a discussion about whether or not he was understood. If she understood him, would she like him? A good question at the wrong time. Later, in bed, he says, "I do this over and over again. Whenever I get something good, I destroy it." But just when it's really exhausted your patience (you're losing patience with both of them), the film finds something new in the pair, which is one of the joys of the loose, TV-like structure, in which the characters don't have to change and grow; they can surprise you with qualities that disappear and then reappear as if mixed. When it's obvious that they're done with each other, generosity becomes possible. They have a tender disagreement over which of them will leave the trip early and return to Melbourne. It's him. As he drives away in the cab, he plays a little riff on his harmonica and gives it to Gracie. Gracie and Nora take the ferry to Manly. "You'll get over it," advises Gracie Nora. While Javo happened with Nora, Gracie has grown up. How many times do you see something like that in movies, the kid casually turning into the adult? In The Avocado Plantation, Stratton points out that Hazlehurst as Nora in 1982 looked like it would herald a coming age of complex roles for female actors that proved to be largely wasted in the rest of the 1980s. He also mentions Wendy Hughes' role as Vanessa in Carl Schultz's award-winning 1983 film Careful, He Might Hear You, another adaptation of a popular Australian novel. I got chills when Nora and Gracie got on the Manly Ferry; At the end of Careful, He Might Hear You, Vanessa, who is a snob, decides to cross the harbor by ferry for once in her life, gets into a collision and drowns. Over in Melbourne, Nora from Hazlehurst puts on her lipstick and decides it's time to give her life a little attention. Her metaphor is a tub running towards Javo; Now it's time to plug the connector back in. (It looks like The Corner, but I'm sure it's in Sydney.) One of the strange surprises of the film is that Divinyls frontwoman Chrissy Amphlett plays a muso in Nora's circle named Angela; At the gig, she performs "Boys in Town" from start to finish, but with actors playing the band (the rest of the Divinyls turned down roles in the film). Nora's hair is gelled down and tied back; She wears an elegant feathered dress. She cuts loose, dances, laughs with friends; She reconnects with former roommate Clive (played by Michael Caton with warmth). Nora's world remains prickly and young, but without Javo it's cozy. Soon she is writing in front of an open fire. She writes on a tram. She writes a short story addressing her feelings towards Lillian and doesn't think there's any particular reason to show it to her before publication. It's difficult to tell her roommate, but these things need to be done. "I just want to make it very clear," she says to the man she's moving in with, "that we're not moving into this house as a couple." She reads books; she looks up words in the dictionary. The framed picture of Virginia Woolf that Nora transports between residences takes its place above the new workplace, always stately and vigilant. "You look great," she says. It's Javo's softer side. "I had a really good time those days," he says. I've seen Lillian a few times.” Nora lies on the bed, deeply unimpressed. Unprompted, Javo declares that he never loved Nora; He really needed her when he came back from Thailand, but he's starting to feel better. "Come on buddy, we can outlive them all," he says. "We see each other so little, we have to," she says, as if that's the point. In another room, Nora's roommate is sitting on the bed, playing the guitar in his yellow socks and volleys. He knows Javo is there, but he's being tactful about it. Life unfolds around them. A woman at the party observes that men don't like liberated women. It's Lillian, and she has now read Nora's published story, which she has decided not to tell Lillian about. "Events don't belong to people," explains Nora. "Twenty people in Carlton isn't all!" says Nora. Lillian accuses Nora of only publishing her diaries — a criticism Garner notoriously insistent at the time, as if writing in an essay in 2001 and 20 years later Claudia Karvan was still telling Claudia Karvan in an ABC special that writing diaries isn't interesting , challenging, valuable thing to do. But there is no time for this discourse; Javo is inside and look - he's thrown up again. "Sorry yet!" he says. "I'm not sorry, people have had to do that for me countless times," she snaps as she picks him up and drags him away from the party. She tosses Lillian a letter: "Can you see this goes to Javo?" She continues to ride a bike - one of the skills Hazlehurst had to learn for the film; the other, she told Women's Weekly, was swimming - and soon she's in her old shared flat, where beautiful Clive still lives. She leaves the house and cries again in front of the cast-iron fence. Was this scene filmed in Melbourne? Again, if not, it's a pretty good fake. And now we're back at Fitzroy Pool and it's summer again. In the DVD commentary, Alice Garner points out that the poolside scenes, which were filmed at the Ryde Aquatic Leisure Centre, did every Melburnian who saw the film well, with even Cameron saying he was 'quite proud' to the rest. (When I watched it, I thought it selfish gospel that the bleachers at Fitzroy Pool used to be blue on the verticals.) Rachel Ang, whose comic swimsuit was filmed at Fitzroy Pool in 2018, told me that she loved the comic because "it's really an amphitheater, this stage for all kinds of emotional dramas". Victoria Hannan, whose 2020 novel Kokomo also has a critical poolside scene, told me that she did it as a "direct homage" to Monkey Grip — the scene in the novel where Nora says to Clive, "Nobody will understand, but this is paradise.” I wanted to spend this time on the storyline of Monkey Grip because I wanted to try and see the thing for myself if I could. What is evident by the end of the film is that the thing extends itself beyond the characters and the frame of the film, into the rich brilliance of the sunshine, the blue dip of the pool. There's fabulous clothing (Nora wears everything from a fluffy orange sweater to a pair of animal-print pedal presses; even Martin wears a denim jacket and knit mesh shirt at one point). It's the slowness, the detail, the gossip, the repetition. Everyone's always smoking in front of lamellas, which are always dirty, and although the men look inscrutable, they're always there too. At the pool, Nora goesssip with another old roommate. Gracie gossips by the water with the old roommate's kid. Javo is located by the pool under the AQUA PROFONDA sign. Nora approaches him in what is probably the best outfit in the film, a red beanie and lemon-colored bomber jacket over a one-piece swimsuit. It makes her happy that Javo is fine, but it also hurts like hell. It's like watching a kid grow up and take off. She liked that he needed her. "Buddy," says Javo. Maybe we could go out tonight or something.” But she's going to see a movie with Gracie. how we frolic, swapping and changing partners, like an intricate dance to which the steps hadn't quite been learned, and we all somehow tried to move gracefully in spite of our ignorance. A beautiful score rises, quite heavy with strings. Credit goes up. The movie ends. This essay is from Melbourne on Film: Cinema That Defines Our City (MSRP: $34.99), published by the Melbourne International Film Festival and Black Inc. Monkey Grip will be screened at the MIFF on Sunday 14th August.


Burger King confuses fans with email

If you've woken up to an email from Burger King about an order you apparently placed in your sleep, you're not alone. But is it a "whopper" of a mistake or a marketing tactic? (Author: Gardener)

Burger KingIf you woke up to an email from Burger King about an order you apparently placed in your sleep, you're not alone. According to multiple reports, "thousands" of blank order confirmations were sent from an official Burger King email account to people around the world Monday through Tuesday morning. A message with the blank receipt reads, "Thank you for ordering from Burger King! Your order is ready for pickup at Burger King at the address.” The order information is completely blank. The emails were sent from a legitimate source: Burger King's primary promotional marketing email address. Did anyone else happen to get a blank #burgerking receipt this morning? 🙃🤣 - Amy Harriss (@AmyHarriss4) August 9, 2022 People who received the email flooded Twitter with confusion. Some said they use the BK app or ordered food online, others claim they don't even eat Burger King and never shared their email with the company. Many wondered if their email accounts had been hacked or if Burger King was the target of a data breach. Burger King tripped me up in the wee hours - I thought someone had stolen my credit card because I'd received a receipt via email. #Burgerking #notokay -🖤 𝑳𝒆𝒕 𝑷𝒓𝒆𝒕𝒕𝒚 𝑳𝒊𝒑𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒄𝒌 🖤 🖤 (@100queenesther) August 9, 2022 thought that my bank card was returned when I opened my inbox this morning to an e -mail receipt of Burger King around 5.04a . for a “purchase” – Khye Vern (@vernis_tweeting) August 9, 2022 Well it seems this #BurgerKing email isn't limited to those with the app. I also got it sent to a different email address that is not linked to my account.— Dave Moreno (@aeromat) August 9, 2022 The love of free publicity #burgerking gets from accidentally sending everyone a blank receipt. I was on Tiktok and saw that some other people had received the same random email from @BurgerKing around 5am BST yesterday morning and I was just wondering who else got that email? Is it some kind of #burgerking publicity stunt or just a good old SPAM #Wednesday Thought— PinheadMike (@Pinhead_Mike) August 10, 2022


Marcus Rashford (and Man United) need a fresh start and Paris could be good for him

Marcus Rashford has had a start to the season suggesting his form problems are yet to be resolved. A fresh start would do him good. (Author: Gardener)

Marcus RashfordMarcus Rashford has had a start to the season that suggests his form problems are yet to be resolved. A fresh start would do him good. There was a time when eyebrows would be raised when the conversation turned to whether Bukayo Saka or Marcus Rashford should start front. But a year later, the paths of these two players could hardly have been further apart. At this time of year, the transfer chaos can make it easy to forget the talent your club already has at their disposal. On Sunday afternoon at Old Trafford, Marcus Rashford played for Manchester United with the expression of someone who couldn't understand where he was or what he was doing. Rashford is from Manchester and came through her youth system. Any fan knows there is something special about a player who does that and to see his time at Old Trafford now seemingly coming to an end marks the conclusion of a chapter that could have ended very differently. The good news for him is that at 24 he still has time to pursue a career elsewhere and he is exceedingly happy PSG could be interested. It's difficult to imagine many other players who need a move from a club more than Rashford does at Manchester United. There has already been much speculation as to what could be causing this, but the fact that the player himself seems more than ready to go to Paris tells a story in itself, which Rashford believes is a faltering one career will revive. There could certainly be potential issues completing such a transfer. Rashford has just one year left on his contract with Manchester United but the club have the option to extend their contract by a year and have had a habit of doing so in the past. It has been speculated that this is done routinely to maintain a higher transfer fee and increase the company's value on its books. In that case, of course, Rashford would still have two years on his contract instead of one and the transfer fee PSG would likely have to pay would increase. Many clubs amortize these values ​​and by thinking this way his costs would double as the time to his free agent would also be delayed. Of course, Manchester United can set any transfer rating for him and PSG can make any offer, but an increase in the value could hardly say that this summer's transfer is more likely. It can just be that a season in a league that isn't as physical, at a club that isn't constantly trying to run in four different directions at once, surrounded by some of the best footballers in the world - including someone who plays the legitimate Claims to be the greatest the world has ever seen - could be good for him. His departure could also be good news for Manchester United. The Glazers might even consider regaining a tiny chunk of good publicity if everyone - including supporters - agrees it's time for him to seek a new challenge elsewhere. After they got him through themselves there are no pesky transfer rates pending so all they get for him is pure profit and taking a player £200,000 a week off the payroll would free that money up for other uses . And Manchester United would have to keep that in mind. Rashford would need to be replaced and there are now just three weeks until the transfer window closes. With that in mind, he might be keeping his eye on the season leading up to the World Cup in particular. Because his form over the last few years - although it was a new low, penalties and reaction weren't the start of this slide in form - he has some work to do to secure a spot in the squad, whatever the top 11. At 24, Rashford is nearing a crossroads in his career. Moving to Paris would not be without risk. But there certainly comes a point when all involved have to face the fact that his time at Manchester United has gone sour and it would not be to the benefit of either of those involved to continue it unnecessarily. The risk with this whole process, however, is that United sometimes appear tied to the paper value of their players, even when that paper value may not represent their true value to the manager or club. If that can be overcome, there could be a transfer here that works for everyone. On the other hand, Manchester United have their mysterious ways in the transfer market and that means nothing is ever entirely guaranteed – although the benefits to all should be obvious in the case of a player badly lost and needing to be brought back on track. The article Marcus Rashford (and Man United) needs a fresh start and Paris could be good for him, appeared first on


What does it mean when Donald Trump invoked the Fifth Amendment in response to all but one question on Wednesday?

The ex-president has in the past heaped scorn on people who invoke constitutional protections against self-incrimination. Now he says he understands their motivation. (Author: Gardener)

Donald TrumpNEW YORK (AP) - Former President Donald Trump appeared Wednesday to be questioned under oath in New York's civil inquiry into his business practices, but he quickly made it clear he would not answer the questions asked. NEW YORK (AP) - Former President Donald Trump appeared Wednesday to be questioned under oath in New York's civil inquiry into his business practices, but he quickly made it clear he would not answer the questions asked. CNN's Nic Robertson goes to a field hospital in a secret location that has been hit by shells multiple times. CNN's Nic Robertson goes to a field hospital in a secret location that has been hit by shells multiple times. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has sought legal advice following reports that his predecessor, Scott Morrison, was secretly appointed to key ministerial posts during the COVID-19 pandemic and was duplicating some portfolios. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has sought legal advice following reports that his predecessor, Scott Morrison, was secretly appointed to key ministerial posts during the COVID-19 pandemic and was duplicating some portfolios. Why the Mar-a-Lago search is unlikely to affect the January 6 investigation Why the Mar-a-Lago search is unlikely to affect the January 6 investigation CNN goes to a secret field hospital near the frontline. CNN goes to a secret field hospital near the front lines. CNN goes to a secret field hospital near the front lines. CNN goes to a secret field hospital near the front lines. Video: Trump Says He Conducted Fifth Civil Inquiry in NY (Associated Press) Video: Trump Says He Conducted Fifth Civil Inquiry in NY (Associated Press) News Pulse: Trump Says During Deposition In New York pleads for the Fifth Amendment He pleaded for the Fifth Amendment during New York's deposition. The ex-president issued a statement saying he had done nothing wrong but invoked Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination. It's a constitutional right that gets high-profile attention from everything from conventions to television crime shows, but there are nuances. Trump is said to have invoked the Fifth Amendment some 440 times as of Wednesday -- at least according to an NBC report, which added that Trump failed to invoke constitutional protections against self-incrimination in the event of a single question about his name. Here's what it means - and doesn't mean - to "plead on the fifth," aka taking or calling the fifth. The Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution establishes a number of rights related to legal proceedings, including that no one "shall be compelled in any criminal proceeding to be a witness against himself." In the most immediate sense, this means that criminal defendants do not have to make damning testimonies in their own cases. "It reflects many of our core values ​​and noblest aspirations," the Supreme Court wrote in 1964. Among those ideals were: preventing people from being tortured into confession or pushed into a "cruel trilemma of self-accusation, perjury, or contempt" in court. Many decades earlier, the court had also questioned the credibility of confessions made under duress. If the amendment relates specifically to criminal cases, how does it apply to civil investigations? Over time, Fifth Amendment protections have been understood to cover witnesses—not just the accused—in criminal and civil courts and other government agencies. The Supreme Court has even ruled that Fifth Amendment rights protected the jobs of public employees who were fired after refusing to testify in investigations unless granted immunity from prosecution. The Fifth Amendment also reinforces Miranda's famous warning about the right to remain silent and have a lawyer available while being questioned in police custody. By what has become the legal standard, the witness must face real risk of criminal prosecution, said Paul Cassell, a professor of criminal law at the University of Utah. That means prosecution for every charge in every US court. There is sometimes dispute as to whether the right is being exercised improperly. The questioner can ask a judge to explain that someone must answer or face contempt of court and possible penalties. But "courts have generally felt that they should agree with someone who could be prosecuted, rather than forcing someone to testify and then be like, 'Oops!'" Cassell said. Can one refer to the Fifth for some questions, but answer others? But even choosing to answer selectively could be risky: answering one question may allow the other side to argue that the witness cannot refuse to answer other, related questions. Another concern: Seemingly safe questions could be used to provide evidence of a claim that the witness isn't already on the radar. When you invoke self-incrimination protection, does that work against you? Legally it depends. In a criminal trial, prosecutors cannot comment on a defendant's refusal to testify, and a jury cannot be told that it is okay to take a defendant's silence as a sign of guilt. The Supreme Court has stated that allowing this conclusion penalizes the defendants for simply invoking constitutional protections. But in civil cases, juries are generally allowed to remain silent to a defendant or witness. Then there is the court of public opinion. As understood by the general public, yes,” says Howard University criminal law professor Lenese Herbert. The former federal prosecutor often reminds her students that while the jury wants to hear the defendant's side, it's a defense attorney's job to make sure the jury understands that the client has the right not to comment. How can Trump, being questioned in a civil trial, argue that he could face criminal exposure? His attorneys have previously claimed that New York Attorney General Letitia James' civil investigation is essentially a fact-finding mission to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's parallel criminal investigation, which many believe ended without charges. From the Archives (March 2022): Former Manhattan DA: Trump "guilty of numerous felonies" James said her investigation found evidence that the businessman-turned-politician's company, called the Trump Organization, was inflating the value of real estate assets to snag credit, insurance, and tax breaks for land donations. Trump has denied the allegations, and the Republican has called the investigation a political "witch hunt" by Democratic officials. Meanwhile, other findings from James' investigation prompted prosecutors to file criminal tax fraud charges against the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer. The defendants have pleaded not guilty in the case, which includes claims for unscheduled compensation. What has Trump said about taking the Fifth - this week and in the past? Trump has repeatedly implied in the past that self-incrimination protections are only used by people with something to hide. He once explained that "the mob is taking over the Fifth". But on Wednesday he said he had no choice but to do so. "I once asked, 'If you're innocent, why are you accepting the Fifth Amendment?' Now I know the answer to that question," he said in his statement, calling the investigation "a vengeful and self-serving fishing expedition." "The United States Constitution exists precisely for this purpose, and I will make full use of it to defend myself against this malicious attack." Trump attorney Ronald Fischetti had said he would advise Trump the Fifth to take over unless he would be given legal immunity for his answers, although Fischetti lamented that publicity surrounding such a decision could harm Trump's defense if an indictment later came about. "How can I possibly pick a jury in this case?" Fischetti said as he tried unsuccessfully to block Wednesday's testimony. Three of Trump's adult children - Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric - were interviewed. Eric Trump invoked the Fifth Amendment more than 500 times during his 2020 testimony, according to a court filing. Donald Jr. and Ivanka reportedly recently made their statements, and it's unclear if they invoked the Fifth to protect themselves from self-incrimination. READ MORE: FBI's Wray denounces threats after Trump home search as 'regrettable and dangerous'


Man Utd on the doorstep of disaster, Chelsea-Spurs come alive, Madrid rally as Barca stutter

Manchester United are unlucky again, Gabriel Jesus is in full swing for Arsenal and LaLiga kicks off: it's ESPN's weekend recap. (Author: Gardener)

Chelsea-SpursWith the Spanish LaLiga and Italian Serie A starting this weekend, all of Europe's major football leagues are back in action. And while seasons in leagues like the English Premier League and German Bundesliga have only just begun, there has already been plenty of drama and storylines. ESPN correspondents Rob Dawson, Alex Kirkland, Julien Laurens, Sam Marsden and James Olley round up everything you need to know about the weekend. - ESPN+ Guide: LaLiga, Bundesliga, MLS, FA Cup, more (U. Jump to: Talking Topics | Top Goals | Teams in Trouble | MVP of the Weekend Erik ten Hag has scored after Manchester United's 4-0 humiliation at Brentford on Saturday, and Lisandro Martinez is one of them. Since his move from Ajax Amsterdam there has been debate as to whether the Argentine can handle the physicality of the Premier League and it has been conspicuous that he has been targeted by Brentford with long balls all the way up to Ivan Toney. Ten Hag replaced Martinez at half-time and brought on Raphael Varane in his place and while it's still very early days there will be concerns that Ten Hag got one of his key summer signings wrong.You just have to look at the substitutes and the other names linked to the moves to see Ten Hag has been central to United's recruitment this summer and Martinez's performance at Brentford does not reflect well on the new manager.Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte have had nothing but nice things to say about each other before, but Sunday's tumultuous 2-2 draw between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur was marred by clashes that will certainly require a new manager - Will spark rivalry. On an unusually hot London afternoon, temperatures were at their highest on the sidelines as first Conte and then Tuchel took turns celebrating with increasing hostility as the teams traded blows in a vibrant 90-minute encounter. Twice they had to be separated from players and coaches from both clubs, the second time after a handshake in which Tuchel took offense at Conte's lack of eye contact. Referee Anthony Taylor sent off both managers after the final whistle as Spurs celebrated salvaging a point from an underwhelming performance through Harry Kane's 96th-minute header. Tuchel launched a furious attack on Taylor afterwards, claiming he shouldn't be allowed to officiate Chelsea games in the future - a proposal that will almost certainly land him in even hotter water with the Football Association - but it was his falling out with Conte that drew the brunt most attention. But here was a new chapter and with Spurs under Conte keen to close the gap on the Premier League's best sides, it could come and go. Somehow, Real Madrid's LaLiga opener in Almeria on Sunday was familiar: a dramatic 2-1 comeback win that saw the champions bounce back from a deficit to take all three points. In fact, it was a rather tame turnaround by Madrid standards, with goals from Lucas Vazquez and then David Alaba – who provided one of the moments of the weekend with a superb free-kick that rolled into the top corner seconds after moving in as a substitute – coming in the 61st and 75th minute instead of stoppage time. ALABA FREEKICK GOLAZO WITH HIS FIRST TOUCH OF THE GAME 🤯 - ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) August 14, 2022 Madrid had been troubled by a well-organized Almeria side after coach Carlo Ancelotti left the team after five changes The team lacked some dexterity, particularly in midfield where Casemiro and Luka Modric were absent. The game went on, although the visitors' superiority began to make itself felt, and when Vazquez made it 1-1, only one exit seemed possible. The fact that Ancelotti had Modric, Eden Hazard, Alaba, Casemiro and Dani Ceballos as substitutes showed the remarkable depth of Madrid's bench. Barcelona's new stars are yet to band together Barcelona have spent over €150m on signings this summer but they were faced with a goalless draw on the season's opening day at the Camp Nou from Rayo Vallecano, who hasn't spent a dime off-season. Barca gave debuts in attack to Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha, who together cost €100m, but neither of them managed to mark their debut with a goal. Things could have been even worse for Barca too, as Sergio Busquets was sent off late and Rayo striker Radamel Falcao was ruled out for offside shortly after. Barca had, as expected, dominated large parts of the game against a side they lost to twice last season, scoring more than 20 shots on target but it looks like it will take some time for their newcomers to click. At the training ground, Xavi Hernandez has to work ahead of a difficult trip to Real Sociedad next weekend - although he used the draw to say Barca "still have to step up" before the transfer window closes this month. Romelu Lukaku needed 81 seconds to score on his return to Internazionale. The Belgian was in the right place at the right time after Federico Dimarco's cross and Matto Darmian's header. It was a typical Lukaku finish with his eye for goal and anticipation in the box. It's the dream start for the second stint at Inter Milan and in Serie A. The expectations of Lukaku are high. He is back to reclaim the title after rivals AC Milan beat the Nerazzurri last season when Lukaku was at Chelsea. Lukaku didn't have much more to show than his goal (just one more shot in the whole game, 32 touches, 15 passes) but he led the line well and that's the most important thing. Of course, a goal on his debut doesn't mean much to him. Remember he scored just 15 minutes after making his Chelsea debut at Arsenal last season. We know what happened in the rest of the campaign. Lukaku is back home. Alex Baena had already scored his first LaLiga goal and given Villarreal a 2-0 lead at Real Valladolid when he caught the ball down the left flank in the 90th minute. What happened next surprised everyone - even himself - as the youngster, 21, sliced ​​inside before firing an unstoppable, vicious shot past goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo, flying off the crossbar and hitting the net to make it 3-0 achieve. The Villarreal players ran away to celebrate, laughing madly, seemingly stunned by what they had just witnessed. Starting the season with an away win is a radical reversal from early last year when the side went without a win away from August to December and is just the start a team with Champions League aspirations needs. Another academy product, Nicolas Jackson, also scored a goal in the game. While Villarreal tweeted "kids are fine" after the win, The Yellow Submarine could be. Takefusa Kubo has a great pedigree, having graduated from Barcelona's academy before joining Real Madrid via Tokyo FC, but his career has yet to really take off. The 21-year-old showed a glimpse of his potential on loan at Mallorca but the moves to Villarreal and Getafe didn't go so well. A permanent move to Real Sociedad followed this summer and judging by Sunday's goal he could benefit from finally having a stable home. Mikel Merino's passing was superb and Kubo's brilliant touch and finish on his debut gave La Real a hard-fought 1-0 win in Cadiz to open the season with three points. It's almost impressive that Manchester United always seem to find new ways to sink to new depths. Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse, they manage to concede four goals in 35 minutes in Brentford and drop to bottom of the Premier League table. Last season United lost nine of their last 14 competitive games and six of their last eight. No one is suggesting that could possibly happen, but they look like a side who don't know where their next goal will come from, let alone their next win. United's next two home games are against Liverpool and Arsenal, with trips to Southampton and Leicester in between. The start of the season is already a disaster, but things could get even more chaotic very quickly – Dawson Bayer Leverkusen were so entertaining last season, scoring for fun, Patrik Schick and Moussa Diaby took the Bundesliga by storm and Gerardo Seoane won first season at the club. Bayer have just been beaten twice in their first two league games, in Dortmund (1-1) and this weekend against Augsburg (2-1), when they lost just two in their first nine games last season. Also in the DFB-Pokal in the first round against third division Elversberg (4: 3), Bayer is unrecognizable. They created many chances over the weekend with an expected goal of 2.57 and 24 shots, 10 of them on target, but failed to finish. The pressure on Seoane is already great, and next weekend against TSG Hoffenheim we have to react again at home. Gabriel Jesus marked his home debut against Leicester City after a £45m move from Manchester City with exactly the kind of all-action display he was signed for. The 25-year-old scored his first Premier League goal for Arsenal with a clever 23rd-minute finish before a header from behind doubled his contribution 12 minutes later. Jesus also recorded two assists - for Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Martinelli - as the Gunners maintained their early-season 100% record with a 4-2 win at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday. Jesus was always expected to impress the Arsenal press with his energetic run, but the great unknown was whether he could prove productive in front of goal apart from Manchester City's relentless scoring machine.


These ambulances on bikes save lives

Paramedics reach those in need by pedaling, sometimes faster than motorized vehicles (Author: Gardener)

The London Ambulance Service's Cycle Response Unit is helping sick people faster than motorized vehicles can. The unit has been around for two decades, providing rapid assistance when it is too difficult for a car or ambulance to reach people. The Cycle Response Unit has paramedics on bicycles, allowing them to get through narrow streets, pedestrian zones, and shopping malls much faster than a motorized vehicle. The unit's goal is to get to the patients as quickly as possible and provide life-saving treatments while the ambulance is passing by. Once the patient is stabilized, they can board an ambulance and drive to the hospital. This bike cycled 1.5 miles to a 999 for chest pain, ran checks and an EKG👉 diagnosed a heart attack, cannulated and treated. The ambulance came and the patient was ready to go to the hospital. Wow - what a preclinical experience and life saving work! #sundayvibes #NHS The paramedics on the bike have a custom built Specialized Rockhopper that comes complete with flashing lights and of course a siren! Although the medical equipment capacity is less than that of an ambulance, responders still carry a lot of equipment. So instead of having 108 ambulances on the main roads, we have these jugaads driving around with no paramedics and poorly sprung patients. Regina, for example, has added bicycles to her team of emergency vehicles. "We're on the bike, it's small, the paramedics are much easier to interact with people than they are in the ambulance," Mike Slater, a paramedic with Moose Jaw and District EMS, told CTV.


Salma Hayek shares a makeup-free selfie in a pink bikini

Actress Salma Hayek lets her natural beauty shine in a makeup-free selfie, which she snapped in a pink bikini. (Author: Gardener)

Salma HayekActress Salma Hayek shows off her natural beauty in a makeup-free selfie she shared with her followers on Sunday afternoon. The Mexican-born actress, 55, has starred in everything from telenovelas to Marvel blockbusters, but fans love her hilarious and candid Instagram photos the most! On Sunday, the House of Gucci actress posted a selfie snap of her lounging on a couch indoors. She wears a bright pink bikini under a black and white robe and her brown hair falls in curly waves over her shoulders. In the caption of her Instagram post, the "Frida" actress wrote: "Happy Sunday!!! Her fans loved it the most, showering it with heart and fire emojis. Nigerian actress Oghenekaro Itene commented: "Have a nice Sunday ❤️❤️❤️." Another follower called her "Charming🔥", while another fan praised her for "amazing beauty 😍😍😍". Another fan wrote: "So pretty 😍❤️" while another follower just wrote "HOT". Other fans thanked her for the positive mood on Sunday. 🙂😘,” added another fan. "Happy Funday Sunday!!!❤️," said another follower. "Have a wonderful Sunday Salma 😍," added another fan. Earlier this year, Salma shared another Instagram snap that showed off her clear skin. She doesn't quite smile as she looks past the camera. It looks like she's in a pool as her long dark hair is damp on either side of her shoulders and fans can see drops of water clinging to her sun-kissed skin as she shares a selfie in a navy blue bikini. She also took this photo on a Sunday when she tagged the post #selfiesunday and #nomakeup. Fans also praised this post, with one fan calling her "Stunning 🔥" while other fans showered the post with heart-eye emojis. "You are so beautiful," wrote one follower. "Beautiful natural picture 😍," added another fan. "Nice photo," said a third follower. "You never need makeup," commented another fan. Salma looks better every day!" another shared. A day earlier, the "From Dusk Till Dawn" actress shared another photo on Instagram. She didn't tag this #nomakeup but it looks like just another angle of capturing her first photo as she's wearing the same navy blue bikini top. Fans couldn't stop complimenting this post either, with one fan calling her a "Beautiful lady ❤️🔥" and another saying "Ur beauty is freaking natural." Other followers called her "so good," and another Fan commented, "Beautiful talented love ❤️ her acting in every single movie was a work of art. Always beautiful," added another fan. "You're gonna kill me!" joked another follower. Wow!!!!" said another fan. In another Instagram photo, Salma can be seen swimming through the water with her arms outstretched to either side. Her hair is loosened in the water behind her as she relaxes in a light blue bikini top with matching cheeky bottoms."Beautiful mom😈🔥," wrote one fan. said another fan. ❤️," another follower commented. Other fans showered the post with peach emojis... for obvious reasons! Since it's only August, fans are hoping she'll share a few more bikini selfies before the summer is over!


News summary on Sunday morning

The National Weather Service forecast for the greater San Francisco Bay Area on Sunday... (Author: Gardener)

SundayThe National Weather Service forecast for the greater San Francisco Bay Area on Sunday calls for sunshine, with highs in the mid-70s along the coast and in Oakland, mid-to-high 80s in the northern and southern bay areas, and upper 90s inland near Stockton. Sunday night will be clear with lows in the low 60s around the bay and high 50s near Napa. Inland areas will be monitored for excessive heat Tuesday through Thursday this week. Contra Costa Fire announced on Friday the completion of Fire Station 86 in Bay Point, which began operations on Wednesday. The new station replaces historic Station 86, located one mile to the east, which has operated continuously since 1949. Unincorporated areas of Bay Point, Pittsburgh and other communities along the Interstate Highway 4 corridor will be served by the new station. Con Fire said. The three-bay station is large and can accommodate oversized equipment such as bulldozers. A kitesurfer was rescued in San Francisco Bay on Saturday night, the San Francisco Fire Department said on Twitter. The person was rescued and examined by medical personnel and "will be fine," according to the fire service. An Oakland man faces up to 60 years in prison if convicted on federal charges of alleged narcotics trafficking in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood, the U.S. Department of Justice, Northern District of California, said Thursday. Elio Hernandez-Zuniga, 25, allegedly sold fentanyl and methamphetamine to an undercover agent over five transactions, prosecutors said. After his arrest on August 4, authorities claimed they found 162.2 grams of suspected fentanyl, 180 grams of suspected meth, 120.7 grams of suspected cocaine base and 35.3 grams of suspected heroin in Zuniga's possession. Officers also claim $2,000 in cash, several drug scales, and packaging materials for narcotics sales. A doctor in Stockton has agreed to pay nearly $2 million to resolve allegations of healthcare fraud, the US Department of Justice's Eastern Division said on Friday. D. Inc. have agreed to pay $1.9 million based on allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by filing millions of dollars in false claims with Medicare, prosecutors said. Kamali and his company admitted making claims to Medicare for surgically implanted neurostimulators, even though they had never had surgery or implants. These devices are non-reimbursable from Medicare, the DOJ said. Two men were arrested in connection with a murder early Friday morning, Union City Police said Saturday. Officers were dispatched to the 2500 block of Medallion Drive at 12:20 am for a reported shooting. Police discovered a woman, Joan Dolly Delsied, 28, of Union City, with a single gunshot wound. Two men were arrested around 5 p.m. and the weapon used in the crime was also seized, police claim. Francisco Alvarez, 29, of Union City, was arrested on suspicion of murder. John Collins, 60, was subsequently arrested on suspicion of complicity. A youth has been arrested on suspicion of shooting and killing a man at a Brentwood gym early Thursday morning, the Brentwood Police Department said on Friday. The shooting injured three other people and killed 21-year-old Cesar Arana of Antioch. The shooting was reported around 1:55 a.m. Thursday at the 24-hour gym on Lone Tree Way, where Brentwood Police said a fight had broken out on or around the gym's basketball court and was continuing to its parking lot, where at least two people opened fire, based on surveillance footage. Police arrested a 17-year-old Brentwood resident on suspicion of manslaughter. A Fairfax man has been sentenced to 188 months in prison for possessing and distributing child sex abuse material, the US Department of Justice in the Northern District of California said Thursday. Ryan Michael Kannett, 39, pleaded guilty to possession and distribution of child pornography in March. Per his plea agreement, Kannett admitted that between December 6 and December 9, 2019, he used a messenger app to distribute multiple electronic files over the Internet that contained both video and still images of sexually explicit material involving children. He further admitted that he had over 600 child sexual abuse images, including images that contained sadistic or masochistic behavior, involved preadolescent children, and depicted the sexual abuse of infants and young children. A Vallejo man has been charged with possession of a gun and ammunition as a felon and the subject of a domestic violence protection order, US Attorneys said Thursday. According to court documents, Guthery was pulled over on June 9 for driving an unlicensed car. Officers allege he posed as someone else, denied being on parole or probation and denied being armed. Copyright © 2022 Bay City News, Inc. Republication, retransmission, or redistribution is prohibited without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. Bay City News is a 24/7 news service covering the greater Bay Area. Copyright © 2022 by Bay City News, Inc. Republication, redistribution, or other reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.


Harry Maguire is a hate figure and a victim of a cruel age

During the heady, feverish midsummer of 2018, washed by the pheromones of World Cup euphoria, England fell briefly and giddily in love with Harry Maguire. D (Author: Gardener)

Harry MaguireDuring the heady, feverish midsummer of 2018, washed by the pheromones of World Cup euphoria, England fell briefly and giddily in love with Harry Maguire. Novelty companies carried Harry Maguire masks. An article in the Mirror reported that "Maguire has garnered millions of supporters with his down-to-earth attitude, good sense of humor and spectacular defending skills." A million memes were sparked by the compelling photo of Maguire blithely leaning against a barrier, being admired by everyone watching his girlfriend while looking like a brave Trojan war hero and a member of the Inbetweeners. A deeper explanation for Maguire's popularity was that he attended the previous major tournament, Euro 2016, as an England fan. In doing so, he represented and sanctified the sometimes tenuous bond between the nation and its football team. His presence in the England shirt embodied every fan's dream in the stands. He was something of an everyman hero, not least because he remained charmingly unfazed by his sudden deification: He arrived at a warehouse in England with his belongings in a black bin sack. With three months to go before the World Cup to follow, Maguire's status as an English player is rock solid. He played every minute of England's last five games at Euro 2020. England have conceded just two goals in open play in the seven knockout tournament games he has started. He was one of only two players to score on penalties against Italy in the EURO final. But in the past four years he has emerged as one of the nation's most hated athletes. Maguire was loudly booed when he came on as a late substitute against Hungary in June in the Nations League and again during a pre-season friendly in Australia last month. A study by the Alan Turing Institute released last week found that Maguire is the most abused player on Twitter alongside Cristiano Ronaldo. The start of a new season hasn't stopped Maguire from getting it in the neck for pretty much everything he does. On Sunday he accidentally lined up on the wrong side of the Old Trafford Tunnel - somewhat understandable as Erik ten Hag has reversed the home/away orientation that has existed for years - and was pilloried online as a 'loony'. donkey", a lazy embodiment of the "state of this club". But that was also the charm of Maguire, a player who, even at his best and most popular times, always had something slightly ramshackle and homely about him. Needless to say, Maguire has played an incredible amount of football in recent seasons (his ranking among all outfield players in Europe by minutes played: first 2019/20, third 2020/21); that he has never faced a top-flight defensive midfielder at Manchester United; that he was embedded in a failing and dysfunctional club where almost nobody improved. Maguire's popularity has soared from one extreme to the other since joining United. He was poor last season and probably isn't a centre-back at the absolute highest level, but he's certainly not a bad player: Maguire is approaching 50 caps, and in the club's three seasons before last his teams have had seventh-, third- and fifth-best defensive records in the Premier league. It's hard not to revisit that extraordinary transfer fee which, even three years later, still makes Maguire the most expensive defender of all time: a status completely incompatible with his skills and career. In the current football climate of immense wealth, there will be Premier League teams who will persuade themselves to overpay for players when the need arises. Maguire is the prime example of why this is not only bad business, but also a pastoral error, a misunderstanding of how people function. Slamming that absurd galactic bounty on Maguire's head made him hostage to it and severed the affinity he had for viewers. Still, Maguire makes an odd hate figure. These things are not his fault. His slur follows a strange shift in our relationship with the players we watch. In the old, analog world of sports fandom, the players who angered the most were the ones who didn't put in shifts, whose lack of effort and care was palpable. While the digital universe of fantasy football and managerial video games has encouraged a colder, more executive attitude. Now it's normal to hate players just because they're not good enough. Being angry at Maguire not only feels self-destructive, it even feels self-harming in a way. Maguire is one of us. He was sitting in the stands in a polo shirt and now he's out there, within those hard white lines, scrutinized by every lens, doing his best to defend himself against the lockpicks and lightsabers of Premier League and international teams. Like Nick Kyrgios' see-through anger at his own crate, Maguire seems more an avatar for our anger than its true object. One thing is clear: the World Cup will really be a unique mental challenge. There have always been players who felt the disappointment of a bad season before an international tournament. But that will be different: stepping out of the turbulent psychodrama of a Premier League campaign into nothingness, the historic charge of a World Cup. England were just one step away from winning any of those things. Maguire was a mainstay of the team. Pan, take a deep breath and Maguire is just a good, tireless, somewhat limited player who pushed the best of himself and propelled the men's national team to the precipice of glory in their most successful period in half a century. He is also a person with the same roots and traits that captivated us four years ago. His extraordinary journey from cult hero to anger magnet feels slightly tragic and tells us something uncomfortable about the whiplash of the zeitgeist.


Winners, grades, reaction and analysis as of August 12th

The SmackDown landscape changed forever with the return of Karrion Kross and Scarlett, who didn't hesitate to send a message loud and clear to Undisputed... (Author: Gardener)

August 12thKarrion Kross and Scarlett discuss their shocking return to SmackDown on Friday night./Credit: WWE.comThe landscape of SmackDown has changed forever with the return of Karrion Kross and Scarlett, who didn't hesitate to cheer the undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns loud and clearly convey a message and top contender Drew McIntyre. What would Kross say about his return to WWE and what it means for SmackDown's elite? Find out now with this recap of a show that also includes the latest from the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship Tournament and an Intercontinental Championship Defense from the seemingly unbeatable Gunther. WWE Women's Tag Team Championship Tournament: Raquel Rodriguez and Aliyah vs. Shotzi and Xia LiThe WWE Women's Tag Team Championship Tournament opened the show on Friday as Shotzi and Xia Li battled Raquel Rodriguez and Aliyah for the right to compete for the vacant titles to advance. After the break, heels dominated, with Li separating Aliyah from her partner. A hot punch to Rodriguez sparked a comeback, but Shotzi finished it off with Sliced ​​Bread No. 2 for a near miss. A spear from Aliyah to Shotzi and Rodriguez's Tejada bomb to Li gave the Babyfaces the hard-fought victory. The match was good enough for what it was, but beyond the quality of the competition was the fact that the women's division was highlighted in the opening segment, with neither Ronda Rousey nor Charlotte Flair to be found. Four NXT exports battled it out in a high-stakes match, with Rodriguez taking the spotlight again with another quality win. She and Aliyah may seem like a makeshift tandem, but given brackets as we know them, don't be surprised if the babyface tandem makes it to the finals and potentially wins the titles. Shotzi and Li looked solid in the loss here and should benefit from more screen time and in-ring opportunities under the new regime. Rodriguez and Shotzi settled their differences, taking out Sonya Deville and Natalya ringside before brawling at half-time. Shotzi's Sliced ​​Bread #2 near-fall was a strong seat. Backstage, Karrion Kross cut an ominous promo, teasing that he was within striking distance of Drew McIntyre at all times. McIntyre entered the arena before the commercial break without his sword, Angela, and all was right with the world. Drew McIntyre got into the ring for a promo, threatening to throw Karrion Kross in the graveyard, and reminded Roman Reigns that that the Tribal Chief, as much as he struggled to beat Brock Lesnar, did it with his bare hands at WrestleMania 36. Scarlett interrupted the procedure and the distraction it created allowed the Usos to enter the ring and jump the No. 1 contender from behind. The Unified Tag Champions offered Scarlett a warning, which she ominously returned. Triple H and his creative team did an effective job early on in creating this three-way world title feud. Introducing the Usos and using Scarlett as more than just a voiceless sidekick were solid steps that prevent the central characters from overexposure to the startled faces: Roman's not at work!" exclaimed McIntyre. "Tell your boy, Karrion Kross that The Bloodline will lay his butt down if he gets close to the tribal chief!" Jey Uso warned Scarlett. The Viking Raiders knocked out Kofi Kingston; A trip down hit RowKofi Kingston's ill-fated sneak attack on The Viking Raiders proved costly, when the former WWE Champion was crushed and left in a heap. Given WWE Creative's recent efforts not to book repetitive matches, it was probably the right booking. That being said, the feud is stone cold and Kingston could really be in at this point almost anything can be used better Hit Row returned on Friday night with the new Triple H's ten make rights back to WWE B-Fab received a big bang as they entered the ring for a touch-up match against local opponents. Energy ran high throughout the sprint of a squash match and charisma abounded as the three NXT exports appealed to the crowd after the match. B-Fab dubbed the three "3OG", no doubt a nod to the fact that AEW's Swerve Strickland is no longer with the company due to their athleticism, charisma and energy they bring to every gig, the potential to grow a hugely popular act for the company. C for the Viking Raiders beatdown; an admittedly partial 'A' for the return of Hit RowKingston attacked the Viking Raiders and still managed to get knocked down. Backstage, Drew McIntyre jumped onto The Usos while Sami Zayn ran away. The return of B-Fab alongside Ashante and Top Dolla was a great redemption story for a performer who was summarily cut before she could ever really make her mark on the main roster last fall. Ahead of the scheduled signing between SmackDown Women's Champion Liv Morgan and top contender Baszler, suspended Ronda Rousey jumped the guard rail and clipped a promo. The champion got into the ring next, vowing to beat Baszler after calling her a "Ronda Rousey rip-off." Rousey showed more personality here than in any of her promos since returning to Royal Rumble, and fans reacted accordingly. Flipping Morgan Heel seems like the wrong move as her underdog climbs to the top, but fans could be demanding it, especially if Rousey stays over as she has been so far. Of interest is the interaction between Baszler and Rousey. Or will Baszler turn on Rousey and ignite the rivalry that seemed like a sure thing not too long ago? "Being the baddest gets expensive, but I can afford it," Rousey said, handing money across the contract table. Baszler to Rousey: "You have to play by the rules." Rousey responded, reminding The Queen of Spades, "You used to be a killer." Drew McIntyre and Madcap Moss vs. The Usos demanded after a backstage attack from The Scottish Warrior The Usos outed Drew McIntyre in a tag team match The No. 1 contender for the undisputed WWE Universal Champion wasted little time storming the ring but quickly found himself at the end of a numerical disadvantage Madcap Moss hit the ring , equalized the sides but found himself on the receiving side of the tag champions' rush off the break McIntyre exploded into the match after a hot day from his former rival, unloading on Jimmy and Jey The Usos benefited from a late distraction by a disruptive Sami Zayn, but McIntyre kicked out of the top rope splash and delivered the Claymore to Jimmy to win A high-energy tag match that allowed McIntyre to gl. before Clash at the Castle dancing, and Moss lent a bit of the friction of the main event thanks to the sizzling hot baby face and who also via Usos. There will be some who would slam the idea of ​​McIntyre and a random partner beating the tag team champions, and they'd be right. Hopefully we'll get more of that as Triple H entrenches himself as the undisputed creative leader in WWE. After much hype during the overnight broadcast, Intercontinental Champion Gunther defended against Shinsuke Nakamura in the main event of SmackDown. A motivated Nakamura took aim at his arm opponent who is attempting to take away his signature powerbomb finisher while also setting up an armbar submission. Gunther responded with his ferocious power, temporarily overpowering the challenger. Nakamura rocked The Ring General in the face with a knee and seemed to have the win in his hands, but the tough champion kicked out. It was a hard-hitting, physical encounter that reminded fans that quirks and performances aside, The Artist is still one hell of a ring performer when motivated. Gunther continued his streak of excellence in the ring, but Kaiser glared at him on two separate occasions for the IC Title in the post-game moments that proved most interesting. Could The Ring General's mouthpiece have championship aspirations of its own, and could Gunther's greatest challenge eventually come from the remnants of Imperium? That a seething Nakamura was staring at Gunther as the show went off the air suggests their troubles are far from over. Prior to the Main Event, Nikkita Lyons and Zoey Stark edited a pre-taped promo ahead of their SmackDown debut at next week's Women's Tag Team Championship Tournament. Little things like this help familiarize audiences with talent and prevent dead silence when they finally make their way into the square circle. Backstage, Happy Corbin grabbed Ricochet during an interview with Kayla Braxton and almost fell. Nakamura glared at Gunther to hint that a rematch could be on the horizon.