Stand Up Comic Jonas Gray Stands on Sidelines

DATELINE: BENCHED

Man without a Clock

Jonas Gray has become the new Stevan Ridley.

The Patriots used to sit out Ridley after he developed a bad case of fumbling. NFL insiders were shocked, shocked, shocked, to hear that Bill Belichick simply refused to play someone who screwed up.

Well, those who don’t learn from history tend to repeat it. So, fans and media insiders are shocked again, deja vu redux, to discover that golden boy Jonas Gray has gone from fool’s gold to grey ghost in one week.

Bill Belichick beat the powerhouse Detroit Lions without the services of SI coverboy and standup comic, Jonas Gray.

So much for laughter being the best medicine. Gray looked glum on the sidelines. He more than likely saw his career going up in gray smoke.

Not since the Papal Cardinals (soon to be an NFL franchise) at their enclave failed to elect a pope have we seen so much gray smoke.

It’s a foggy night in Foxboro town for the man who scored four touchdowns in his debut and looked like the Messiah last week. He has been lugging around a giant cross in the shape of a grandfather’s clock.

Ridley couldn’t believe what happened to him, but the punishment woke him up. Let’s hope Gray finds a clear path out of the slumberland that engulfed him this week.

Oh, by the way, stay away from tweets that disparage your coach, Jonas, or you will become the Patriot Jonah. Furthermore, the Belichick Patriots won handily without any scoring by Sidelines Gray who looked like a man whose jokes fell flat in the locker room.

Mona Lisa’s Last Laugh

DATELINE: MOVIE MASHUP

mona

Most documentaries are now falling into the re-enactment variation with sensational directors doing their best to enliven history. Mona Lisa Is Missing, a 2012 film by Joe Mederios, takes on an amateur-hour approach to stand apart from others.

We reluctantly settled into a crime melodrama with a little bit of everything to offer the viewer.

The film is actually quite professional. The researcher has made himself the Orson Welles of the movie: he produces, directs, writes, narrates, and stars. This might quickly devolve into a vanity project—but it does not.

One interviewed cemetery worker wonders why anyone would be interested in some minor thief who committed his crime 100 years ago. People become obsessed by much less.

Vicenzio Peruggia was a minor housepainter who worked part-time at the Louvre in 1911 and came in on the day the museum was closed, saw the smallish Da Vinci masterpiece, and decided it was the easiest to steal. His motives seemed to be patriotic—returning a masterpiece to his native Italy.

He kept the painting in his room for two years, perhaps even using it as a place-mat. It is painted on wood and fit neatly under a tablecloth.

The filmmaker interviews Peruggia’s family without much luck, except to find they were eager to learn the truth. However, an amateur researcher with no official funding source must rely on friends and volunteers who will read various police reports in French and Italian. Stacks of daunting material were available, but no English-speaking researchers had bothered. It is testimony to Mederios that he cared enough to find out what really happened, indicting the police for their quaint notion that an uneducated thief would never be able to escape with the greatest masterpiece in the history of art.

The film amuses when it should, fascinates often, and finally seems a satisfying explanation for a crime of the century.

Devilish Fun with Charles Coburn

DATELINE: MOVIE MASHUP

 Devilish fun

A cheesy porn film with a similar title has done a grave disservice to a chestnut movie way ahead of its time.

The Devil and Miss Jones would be called dramedy decades later, but it is a charming romantic comedy film of 1941. It is too often confused with the notorious The Devil in Miss Jones. What a shame.

We were stunned by the pairing of crotchety old Charles Coburn as a billionaire without a conscience and a shoe salesgirl in the form of Jean Arthur. It seems the department store chain is having union organizers burning the owner in effigy. Coburn, a recluse with billions, is offended and decides to go undercover to deal with the morons personally.

So many TV shows have played off the concept of an undercover boss, but this film is not a reality ripoff. It is a well-honed film from the classic period. Its politics and satiric approach are timeless.

On top of that, we were stunned in the opening credits with names like Edmund Gwenn, Spring Byington, William Demarest, Robert Cummings, and S.Z. Sakall. It is a who’s who of brilliant character actors from the great studio era.

The opening and the closing scenes make the entire film worth the viewing.

The film even uses some of the Citizen Kane set, thanks to genius set designer William Cameron Menzies. And, Sam Wood directs comedy deftly. Heretofore, we associated him with social dramas that extracted stunning performances out of child actors.

In the final analysis the movie is not revolutionary or one of the great films, but it is something special despite its hoary sexism toward women. Yet, star Jean Arthur has spunk and is clearly engineering the road to independent women in business.

Men with Two Movie Cameras

DATELINE: MOVIE MASHUP

movie camera men

Dziga Vertov’s Soviet documentary Man with a Movie Camera was filmed in 1929 and is not what you might expect. Its politics is overt only once or twice, and for the rest of the Stalin-era film you have something experimental on the lines of Koyaanisqatsi: Life out of Balance, the 1983 film with the Philip Glass music score. After ten minutes you realize that the Russian director used all those techniques 50 years earlier.

The film may surprise with its modern sensibility. It moves and has quick pace. You may not expect a film with attention deficit disorder from the silent era. The narrative power is completely unexpected in a silent film.

On top of that, the film uses devices and special effects that would not be seen until computer generated graphics became the norm in the 21st century.

Vertov actually presents one summery day in the life of the city of Moscow in 1929. It is fascinating as a sociological document and as documentary history. Filming a cameraman in jodhpurs filming the movie actually helps to present a double vision, presenting everything from racing trains to women giving childbirth to athletic high jumps.

What became more impressive as the 68-minute film moved closer to its finish was the increase in the speed of the telling.

Vertov insists in the beginning that there is no screenplay, no actors, and no plot. He is disingenuous. This film is carefully created with editing and deliberate selection of images. Though he wanted to separate his motion picture from literature and theater, like all experimental filmmakers, he really falls smack into the pack of literary and theatrical movies.

Like the pulsating Koyaanisqatsi, the film has a certain feel like a sewing machine gone amok. And the music doesn’t separate it from Reggio’s movie, but increases the parallel. And, the music was added by Kino’s reissue.

Nonetheless, we found it hypnotic—which can also mean a sledgehammer to our attention, ponderous and incessant, yet intriguing all the way. For discerning film buffs.

Rondo Naps During His Slumber Party

DATELINE: Dreamland

scene from Rondo's PJ Party

Pajamas Optional Slumber Party for Celtics

 

Rajon Rondo held his annual slumber party on Friday night. This season he waited until game-time in Memphis to cast sleepy-time dust everywhere.

The theme of this year’s snore-fest was Sleeping Beauty with Rondo in the lead role. Though most Rondo fans expected him to wait until the team returned home on some cold winter night, Rondo decided he wanted to experience the thrill of falling asleep at the wheel while out of town.

Not only that, everyone was waiting until the new NBA uniforms were ready to serve as pajamas. For Rondo the uniforms were optional.

Rondo surprised everyone by calling Mr. Sandman to do the play-by-play: bad passes and sloppy misdirection were on his highlight reel. He phoned in one of the worst games of his career, showing total disinterest in assisting players.

Rondo had fewer than five assists for the night, one of the worst numbers in a game where he was not injured. Last time a Boston athlete fell asleep and ruined his season, it was Clay Buchholz who awoke with a stiff neck that lasted until half a season.

Rondo’s annual slumber party usually is a freak show of oddball antics and odder-still friends.

And, without Kendrick Perkins leading the rousing pillow fight among teammates, there just seemed to be lethargy and yawns.

Rajon’s party favors usually include a home cooked meal for the team, or at least a couple of hors d’oeuvres served chilled.

This year’s event left Coach Brad Stevens utterly befuddled at his unofficial assistant’s inability to hit the snooze button with any accuracy.

Jelly O’Sully seemed ready to call the EMTs when Rondo could not be roused from a semi-comatose state. Fortunately for all, Avery Bradley is a whiz at telling bedtime stories. You could wish everyone a good night, but it was a gone-bad nap-time.

Time to Say Goodbye, Jonas Gray

DATELINE: Hourglasses

blacklist

Bill Belichick’s Timekeeper Pictured Above

 

On the week’s most important practice day, Friday, rising star Jonas Gray decided he would rather be a stand-down comic.

Claiming his cell phone alarm did not go off because of a dead battery, Gray was sent home when he showed up at the Belichick facility late.

Time and tide wait for no one in Belichick’s world.

The clock is now ticking on the career of Jonas Gray. He has a timebomb for a coach.

Young men frequently oversleep after partying for the flimsiest of reasons. Gray’s 15 minutes of fame for his four-touchdown day may have just petered out. As a rookie, he is on borrowed time.

You may well ask why the moron threw the clock out the window. Or, you could just ask Jonas Gray.

In the classic film Beat the Devil, actor Peter Lorre used his most creepy voice to complain, “Time is a thief.” Jonas Gray tried to beat the devil with a tweet and a prayer. He seems to have forgotten that Bill Belichick is the only man allowed to beat the devil.

As Bob Dylan often warned, “The times are a-changing,” but the clocks were turned back a few weeks ago, Jonas. Time to catch up to the rest of the world.

Frank Sinatra noted in a tune you could be flying high in April and shot down in May. Jonas Gray has gone him one better: flying high on Sunday and shot down on Friday.

Jonas Gray merely experienced the proverbial stitch in time—and he lost nine…yards, that is.

Panda and Babe: Bookends of a Century

DATELINE: HISTORY ON THE MARCH

Matt Slocum AP Panda

The Torch May Be Passed!  photo Matt Slocum, AP

 

Talk has grown in Boston that the Sox ownership will soon be singing, “Yes, yes, Nanette,” trying to undo the wrong of 100 years ago when Babe Ruth went to the Yankees for a song.

It’s allegedly “Pandamonium,” with the Sox interested in the heavy-set, young Ortiz-Mo Vaughn-George Scott style hitter.

The British pound may be down, but the San Francisco pound is up in Boston. Pablo Sandoval offers the Red Sox more pounds than Shylock could slice in a month of Sundays.

The man who is known as Kung Fu Panda seems ready made for Boston, and the Sox have a ready-to-wear uniform with his DH spot guaranteed. After all, David Ortiz will be collecting Social Security soon, and the Sox will need a hitter for the remainder of the decade.

Jake Peavy, our man in the duck boat, noted that Sandoval has the same shape as Babe Ruth and may share other qualities too.

We fully expect Panda to throw a piano into Walden Pond at some point during his Red Sox career, or at least toss a harpsichord into the Charles.

Will our writing about the emergence of Panda Sandoval go the way of our Love blogs? We felt there was a man born to play here too, and after a month in Cleveland, Kevin Love may be in agreement he went to the wrong city.

So, when David Ortiz had dinner with Kung Fu Panda, he likely provided the cautionary tale of the “Road Not Taken.” We doubt that Big Papi knows the New England poem, but the sentiment may be the same in any language.

Arrogance Knows No Politics

scene from Rondo's PJ Party

Celtics Players Undressed for Rondo’s Annual Slumber Party

 

DATELINE: APOLITICAL HUMOR

We are amused by liberal arrogance and conservative hubris. We aren’t sure if there’s a dime’s worth of difference between them.

Bill Cosby won’t discuss the growing mass of women who claim he raped them.

The Westminster Board of Health chairwoman won’t dignify the Neanderthals who refused to agree to ban cigarette sales in their town.

President Obama won’t pay attention to a Republican Congress on matters like immigration.

Outgoing midget governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts keeps going on political junkets around the world that he calls “business” trips.

Adrian Peterson refuses to take responsibility for child abuse by suggesting it’s merely a parental decision.

The FSU Police Department has finally found a student they cannot excuse or cover-up. He’s not a football player and they shot him 20 times.

The Red Sox have offered Jon Lester a multi-year contract that is a year short and several dollars below what four other teams can offer.

Facebook states there is no such thing as privacy, thereby taking a page out of the Wikileaks website.

The NBA applauds the retirement of openly gay Jason Collins and snickers because no one would let him play.

People who figure they are humanitarians because they work with Ebola patients believe they are immune from illness.

The NBA has designed uniforms that now look like every team is a road show company of Broadway’s chestnut hit Pajama Game.

No Flash in Pan: Blount Talk

DATELINE: GRINCH TIME

Belichick

 

Stand-up comics may not inspire Bill Belichick like the proven tragedian. Hence, the New England coach has returned the Native, LeGarrette Blount, to their awe-inspiring roster. Belichick has brought in the veteran to help clarify the Gray area. At the same time, he reprises his role as the Grinch in the NFL.

Jonas Gray had one great game, but can he do it week after week? Can he do it during the all-important playoff games?

Who can say? LeGarrette Blount has a proven track record. He’s been there and done that. Having been tossed unceremoniously off the Steelers this week, he may also have motivation that Belichick can exploit.

Now the Patriots have running and gunning to go with Brady’s lofty victory patterns.

This is a no-lose situation—unless the Patriots revert to losing. In that case, it’s a no-win situation. We can offer pungent analysis with the best of those media darlings and insiders.

Belichick is the sort of man who might want to marry Flo and the Gecko, making for double insurance. As we have seen in the recent run up of scores, Belichick firmly believes you can never have too many points.

You can start accusing Belichick of piling on starting this Sunday. He has his foot on the accelerator and his hand on the throttle. NFL rivals look like their Stanley Steamers are about to break down.

If the Patriots were a snowstorm, they’d be playing in Buffalo.

Retiring but Not Retired Gay Athletes

DATELINE: GAY HUMOR

UhohJC & Pal Rondo

Michael Sam and Jason Collins in Pre-Retirement Mode

 

Gay NBA player Jason Collins is throwing in the trick towel.

The former Boston Celtics player who came out of the closet to the rush of product endorsements and a plethora of public appearances, now, as it must for all, face the fame-killing moment of retirement.

It’s always a bit of a shock to be put out to pasture at age 35. However, Collins never played much, spending his ostensible career on the bench, keeping his keester warm.

Collins had a 13-year career, notable for nothing much, but still made the cover of Sports Illustrated for the achievement of being in the center ring of a media circus. He will now tour the country every summer as grand marshal of gay pride parades wherever a handful of celebrants can be mustered.

Of course, being put out to stud may be a blessing in disguise for a handsome, attractive young man in today’s gay world. Free drinks at any gay bar in America will be part of his NBA retirement package.

His main competition now will be football player Michael Sam, another handsome, attractive young man. Throw in the popularity of black athletes in the gay world, and you have a tandem that could rival Brady and Gronk for touchdowns in the red zone.

Sam and Collins may want to team up and produce a workout video for adoring fans. If it’s on Amazon Instant Video, we know how popular they will be in the privacy of your home.