Rondo Faces the Hard Press

DATELINE: HARD KNOCKS on KNUCKLES

rondoprometheus

As Senator Howard Baker used to ask President Nixon, “What did you know and when did you know it?

Rajon Rondo is not a crook, but he had to ask the media: “Am I under investigation?” But his black arm band proves there is reason to mourn. Someone killed the Boston Celtics season and buried them with the Red Sox and Patriots.

Questions bounced off him like an NBA star off a trampoline.

Yes, Rondo, the truth police don’t buy your alibi. For the first time in history, Rondo mentioned his family—which has been verboten for the past seven years. So, if the NFL or NBA offers a shield, it is hiding behind your kids.

At least no one took a switch to Rondo. He plays switchies with himself. You don’t need the Watergate plumbers to solve this scandal because there was no whitewash at the Rondo house.

Since every reporter in Boston now thinks he is Woodward or Bernstein, we would point out that Edward and Leonard were great at their jobs, but never at journalism.

Alas, poor Rondo. This new era of coming clean means you have to knuckle under.

He can thank the NFL, Aaron Hernandez, Ray Rice, and Adrian Peterson, for this plight. No rock will be left unturned, and every screw will be turned.

You may well ask, “Who killed Cock Robin? And who killed the Celtics season?”

We don’t need Sherlock, Hercule, or Columbo, to give us the answer.

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Bingo Long Meets the Boston Captains of Success

 DATELINE: HUMOR

Paul Pierce

 

Red Sox manager Dudley Do-Right John Farrell spoke after the last game of a horrible season (but still not as horrific as 2012) and said it was time to “put the season to bed.”

Without its supper, we presume.

Yeah, early to bed makes somebody a wise guy and the lousy players get richer.

The Sox season ended on a celebratory note—the other train wreck, the New York Yankees, came to town with the Bingo Long All-Star Retirement Tour for Derek Jeter.

There’s nothing like celebrating anything when you have nothing to celebrate. With two out of three hideous Sox seasons now over, we can move on—but we may be done with Red Sox diaries of the season for a while.

Jeter has played against the Sox for 20 years, which certainly deserves some accolades. When was this concept born in a test tube?

So, the Red Sox trotted out famous past captains of Boston in their uniforms—Carl Yastrzemski, Bobby Orr, and Troy Brown. What a delight to see these symbols of success in Boston. They must have felt like the trolley let them off at the wrong station.

The best was to see the only man not retired—and no longer a Boston captain, dressed in his Celtic green. You guessed it: Paul Pierce returned to Boston, but he eschewed that ugly Washington Wizard uniform to wear a Sox cap with his Celtics jacket. You have to love the optimism in Boston. Fans haven’t had much to buzz about lately—and seeing Paul Pierce back here was a delight. It left us wondering why he isn’t playing for the Celtics.

Rondo would have been there, but he’s still recovering from a punch that broke his hand.

Person of Interest Downgrades to UHF

DATELINE: TV MASHUP

The more things changed, the less we like them.

Take Person of Interest, for example. This season the world is topsy-turvy because an evil artificial intelligence has killed off a major character and flushed our heroes out of their lovely closed public library headquarters.

What’s worse? The producers have apparently changed the film stock and the style of the production. It does indeed look different. Do we smell a cut in the budget of each episode?

No one likes to see a beloved show struggle, but this is also known as conflict. Jonathan Nolan, creator, may be trying to infuse the plot with more conflict and interesting twists.

By the end of the show, we felt more comfortable. We did not like the new familiarity of Harold Finch with his friend John Reese (Jim Caviezel). He always preferred formality when addressing people as ‘Mr.’ or ‘Mrs.’ As Michael Emerson now is playing Professor Harold Whistler, still a bird, he tells us the world has changed. Not to anyone’s liking.

However, how can we doubt the creatively smart people behind the scenes? The way to restore balance is to find a new use of old technology. If the new technology is has run away with the bad guys, you find something like UHF antennas to solve your problems.

So, by show’s end, Harold Finch looks like he is about to restore harmony to the series—and villain John Nolan (uncle of the producer and John Hurt lookalike) may continue to push the right buttons all season.

We hope some of the semi-regulars will return. Our friendly head mobster made an appearance as in the opening show, and we can think of two or three others we want to do guest appearances again. At least, Bear the dog continues to have joint custody of the stars.

It’s back, and we’re overjoyed.

Rondo Does Not Come Clean

DATELINE: HUMOR

RondoLaughs

If you thought we were done with Rajon Rondo because he was heading westward, you would be wrong.

Thursday night the otherwise nimble Rondo had a terrible fall—and the Celtics may not be able to put him together again. You guessed it: Humpty Dumpty Rondo fell in the shower. No, the details about whom he shared the falling water have not been revealed.

He broke a digit, which is never good in a digital age. Now sliding in a shower would be likely—except that Rondo has a phobia for germs and never showers without his trusty and antisceptic shower shoes. So, how did he fall? Too much soap on the walls?

Word has leaked out of his shower and bathroom that Rondo suffered the kind of broken finger that comes from having a closed fist strike an unmoveable object—like Kendrick Perkins’s jaw.

If Rondo were horsing around with one of his big horses, we would not be surprised. We know that Rondo’s temperament is such that he won’t be talking much about this broken relationship.

However, being out of the lineup for the start of another season may just be the most costly punch he has thrown.

We suspect that he won’t be having his greatest season this year. And, he may never have his greatest season in Boston. But, Danny Ainge’s burden has just increased. No one will be trading for Rondo before the season starts.

And maybe he will still be untradeable in February when the deadline and his birthday roll around.

 

New Dallas Season 3: Light as Heavy

DATELINE: TV MASHUP

 

Light as Heavy

Dallas wrapped up another season and Blacklist embarked on the second one on the same night, head to head. Thank heavens the world has moved on to On Demand television. Our unpleasant choices of days past are in the past.

Now we see the Light: Judith Light, that former sit-com star in a new light, as a Dallas heavy.

We were ready to throw in the towel on our beloved Dallas after Larry Hagman died, believing Patrick Duffy with Linda Gray were not enough. The young whelps as the new generation of feuding Ewings just seemed like petulant pipsqueaks having high school troubles.

Actually, those actors only looked young. They came off as ruthless pretty ciphers. It was sweet with crude at the heart of the plots. However, Cynthia Cidre, the new series producer, has fashioned the plot with twists and speedy delivery.

Adding Judith Light to the shenanigans as a nasty old madam was delightful, and as this third season closes, she finally seems to have her hooks into a young J.R.’s son. It’s a match made in TV heaven.

You know May-December villains will hold your attention. And, killing off one of the major boring characters appears to be a great way to go. Less nice, and more rotten, characters are worse than we expected—as Josh Henderson states, as J.R.’s slimy son.

We still become giddy when paintings and photos of Barbara Bel Geddes and Larry Hagman adorn the setting, or when Ken Kercheval shows up for a cameo.

The plot has now become suitably convoluted enough to bring the Barnes-Ewing family feud to another generation—and we buy it. There is even groundwork for a J.R. bastard child to emerge and shake things up. It’s totally credible.

The next season of Dallas will commence around January for a few weeks, take a hiatus, and come back again in the summer. We rather like spreading out the dollops.

Another Week, More Less Confidence for Patriot Fans

DATELINE: HUMOR

Rondo&CoachRelaxing

 

We have learned the truth about the Patriots.

The media has lied to us every step of the way.

Instead of an easy victory against the allegedly hapless Oakland Raiders, we watched someone named Carr drive wantonly up and down the field.

Oh, the Patriots pulled it out, but we weren’t overwhelmed with confidence.

When Tom Brady fumbles the ball on the two-yard line like he was picking up Gronk’s dirty undies, we’ve seen it all. He couldn’t score. And, those slippery fingertips of his teammates didn’t strike us as Super Bowl, but made us worry about these guys eating out of a soup bowl. These guys probably ought to practice eating soup with their fingers.

In the end, the record is all that matters. Perhaps in five weeks, all this will be a vague memory to be laughed at. Or, in five weeks, we could be checking to see if Tom Brady has arthritis in his throwing arm.

We never believed the so-called media insiders who predict victory no matter what. Isn’t the first sign of old age that you look like you are having a bad day—but it lasts all week.

We know the refrain. Tom will tell us he has to play better and distribute the ball, but telling us isn’t actually doing it.

For large chunks of the first half, Tom never even played. That’s what three and out will do for you.

 Jack Nicholson Look-a-Like Takes Charge at BSO

DATELINE: MUSICAL HUMOR

Andris or Jack Conducts?Jack

With the Boston Symphony Orchestra hiring a new conductor for the season, we have been shocked to discover that the new man is a Doppleganger for Jack Nicholson.

Yes, the BSO’s new shining star is none other than Latvian import Andris Nelsons. If he seems to conduct with all the aplomb of a man who believes the Overlook Hotel is where he conducted a band in the 1920s.

If style takes points, then when Andris conducts this season, we will wonder if that baton could turn into an axe if the sour notes come too easy.

Here's JohnnyJack or Andris

The BSO was looking for a few good men to become their new lead conductor, and it appears the broadcast news is that they found a man who will be an easy rider on the Boston transit system.

Maybe they have half an eye toward scoring the next Jack Nicholson movie, and using Andris Nelsons as the man in charge. They seem more alike than two Jakes.

Maybe we are going to the cuckoo’s nest with this one, but when Andris swings that baton, we think the people in box 237 will be trying to jump out the window.

The new 15th musical director is already a star. He emotes more on the dais than Jack in The Departed. We know this is as good as it gets for music aficionados. You won’t hear any ragtime from Nelsons, and there won’t be five easy pieces on the program for the BSO this season.

Time for a Booster Shot? Antiviral

DATELINE: MOVIE MASHUP

caleb landry jones

The next James Dean? Ginger version

Among the spate of new wave science fiction are the films that eschew special effects and big budgets. Antiviral is one of the most curious. It is the product of first feature director and writer Brandon Cronenberg (yes, related to that other Cronenberg).

The acorn does not fall far from the tree, and this film is a tad weird. Not the least of which is the star: Caleb Landry Jones plays an infected person in the film. He looks sickly even in scenes where he is supposed to be healthy—but you cannot take your eyes off of him. He has a vampiric ginger coloring. He is the next James Dean, for sure.

Syd March is not your usual hero. As Jones plays him, he is a piece of clay—tossed around and molded to the whims of the other characters. He works for a celebrity collection agency of sorts. They sell biological samples of virus, wens, and other illness, to adoring fans.

In the future fandom has gone viral literally. The culture of celebrity causes people to want to have the same cold, disability, or disease.

Unfortunately for Caleb’s character, he doesn’t just sell the product; he is also a client. The great plot hole is why anyone would want to inject themselves with some kind of toxin. Of course, that is the true horror in the film. It shows all kinds of needles and injections being put into various arms.

Unlike your usual bloodfest, this blood looks unclean. Not even the vampires of True Blood would touch it.

Any movie that heralds two major film forces (star Jones and director Cronenberg) deserves your immediate attention.

Antiviral is slow moving, creepy, and ultimately original in an age of cookie-cutter movies.

Betwixt and Between Francis Ford Coppola

DATELINE: MOVIE MASHUP

Val

If you have been wondering where one of the great directors of the ‘70s is and where one of the great heartthrobs of the ‘80s is, you don’t have to look too far.

The movie Twixt is neither here, nor there.

Francis Ford Coppola and Val Kilmer have teamed up for what, at first, seems like a cheesy horror/ghost/murder mystery movie. You may well ask why one of the great directors of American film is now making low-budget films like he did at the start of his career.

Our answer would be that nothing is what it seems. If you are expecting the usual bloody and violent horror slasher mess, you will be slicing the wrong cadaver.

Coppola actually seems to be dealing with writer’s block. Since he wrote, directed, and produced this movie, we could make a stretch and say this is autobiographical.

Val Kilmer now looks like a stout Marlon Brando. The years have only been moderately kind to him. Here he plays Hall Baltimore (we kid you not), a Stephen King style writer who is sick of writing books about witches.

On a low-budget self-promotion tour, he stops in an out of the way town where he finds enough oddities to inspire him to write a vampire novel. Now that’s a switch.

Helping him along the way are chats with the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe and his child bride Virginia. Bruce Dern is along as a weird old sheriff who wants to co-author a serial killer book with Baltimore. Ben Chaplin is a marvelous Poe.

Suffice it to say, this is a curio—and may be worth it for fans of Coppola. It isn’t The Godfather, nor Apocalypse Now, but it may be a fascinating gloss on those great movies.

 

Tom Brady’s Resume Unvarnished!

DATELINE: BUSINESS WRITING HUMOR

Brady Resume

When we noted that Tom Brady had posted his resume online from his pre-Patriots’ days, we had to return to our Business Writing professorial teaching days.

We must say that Tom (or his proxy) certainly put together a great resume. We never judge credentials—only the format, structure, and style. Considering his degree is in the always vague General Studies, we think he almost seems literate.

First, we commend Tom on avoiding that ridiculous career objective line. We always steered our students away from making such top of the resume pronouncements. Can you imagine what Tom’s claim would be?

OBJECTIVE: To be the best QB in the NFL for over a decade in the 21st century.

That kind of objective line would have sent Bill Belichick into regales of laughter in 1999.

We also think Tom should have included a line at the end of the resume that noted “References Will Be Furnished Upon Request.” Of course, we realize that with those jobs he listed, there were likely few people who’d go out on a limb to give him a reference letter.

We also commend Tom’s use of action verbs used consistently on his lists. This would be the bugaboo of a resume from someone like Tim Tebow. He’d mix his action verbs with his split infinitives and present participles. We also like those bullet passes.

We also commend Tom for not shying away from those summer jobs that most people want to forget about while they were college. Brady apparently never worked for McDonalds or sold sporting goods at Dick’s.

As far as name-dropping is concerned, we must say that we are impressed to find Merrill Lynch featured as well as the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, but Tom never mentioned his trip to Disneyland that changed the course of his life.

We would have given him an A- for our Business Writing course.

 

Tom Brady Squeaks By Vikings

DATELINE: HUMORESQUE

best buds

New England Patriot fans were relieved of their burden on Sunday. They were ready to hang Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniel in effigy and put Tom Brady out to pasture. Today the bluebird of happiness is singing at Foxboro.

Tom seemed to be on his feet most of the game and didn’t squeak like an old wheel, as he did last week, when he tried to get off the turf. He shaved off that hideous beard and returned to normalcy.

But, miracle upon miracles, the Patriots actually won the game with a handful of interceptions. Yes, the names we like to hear—Revis and Chandler Jones came up big.

Minime Welker, better known as Julian Edelman, also seemed to take on the spirit of Brady’s best receiver. Now that he has cut his hair and foregone his underwear, Julian is playing like a Minitron.

But, is all well in Patriot Land?

We think Tom Brady did not carry the game. He handed off to his nameless array of chuggers. If you were looking for big TD passes and impressive statistics, you’d have to return to the thrilling days of Tom’s youth.

We could excuse this as just the nature of Sunday’s game. His big targets (Danny & Gronk) were missing in action. They were out there. We saw them. They seem to be a rare sighting nowadays, like viewing an ivory-billed woodpecker. They are endangered, but still able to fly.

Of course, the Vikings were without their ace switchie man, Adrian Peterson. It appears he can only beat four-year olds nowadays.

We heard some fat moron who used to play basketball try to justify child abuse as an African American lifestyle. Oh, well, you hear lots of drivel on pre-game shows.

In any respect, if you want a definitive answer on the Patriots in 2014, we may need to wait till another day.

 

Week Two: More Felons Taken Off the Field

DATELINE: Wife Beaters and Child Beaters

We aren’t sure if we are writing about sports or keeping a police log lately. The down-in-the-dumps New England Patriots are looking up because arrested felon and child abuser Adrian Peterson is not suited for the game.

He may never be suited for the game, but the game and fans love a child beater. If he beat his wife, that would be different. Well, er, maybe not.

We have heard a few pundits say the NFL has a problem. It has a moral blind spot called hypocrisy. They will fine you and dismiss you if you are nobody, but those stars are harder to discipline. Just ask Roger Goodell.

The Commish will tell you that they only throw Rice at weddings, and only at the bride. The last time Rice landed a left hook on a bride, it was not a bouquet.

If you are a murderer, you may be in another category. Just ask Aaron Hernandez. Once was not enough for him. He was trying to beat the record set by Jack the Ripper. The NFL made a big show of ridding the game of an assassin, though they seem to cherish those qualities in other players.

If you are caught, Mr. Phelps, the Secretary and Commissioner Goodell will disavow all knowledge of you, and you are on your own.

Otherwise, the coverup is in high fashion. Just ask Robert Kraft who is cringing that Spygate may be re-opened. Like the Warren Commission, Roger Goodell knows how to bury you in false information, misformation, and disinformation.

Now let’s play some football with those left off the police blotter.

Red Sox Sink with the Season

DATELINE: WHIMSY

Brock

We looked at the Red Sox standings today. They are now 23 and a half games out of first place. We knew it was bad, but this is a condition more for the morgue than for triage.

You may realize that we have stopped watching games. Yes, it has not been difficult.

During our absence, the lineup has been completely changed so that we do not recognize the players at all.

The one bright light of the season was Brock Holt, but now apparently he has gone to concussion central. He has dizzy spells from an apparent elbow to the noggin from Dustin Pedroia. We hope he recovers, but this looks worse than usual.

Pedroia is also gone for the season. The sparkplug who never met medical advice he liked, has played all season with a problematic wrist. It has made him play rather poorly, but don’t tell him that. Like a thumb injury in previous seasons, the little maroon keeps playing.

Now he has had season-ending surgery. Does anyone over at Fenway Park actually check the Mensa scores before they sign these players?

We hear Jackie Bradley, Jr., once heralded as the new Jacoby Ellsbury is now the new Iglesias, soon gone for a bag of chips. They have imported a new Cuban cigar for centerfield to go with the one in left field.

And, pitchers? When Crazy Clay is your ace, you need an Ace bandage.

True fans don’t give up on their teams. They give up on the front office and owners.

Now Serving: McDonald’s Screws the Customer Again

DATELINE: NO FUN

 Easy, Jack

Never did we think we would become Jack Nicholson’s character from Five Easy Pieces.

We made a weekly visit to McDonald’s on Sunday for a McMuffin sandwich. We can’t recall if their motto is “Have It Their Way,” or “You Get What You Deserve.” In either case, we had our Jack Nicholson moment.

In case you forgot the movie scene, he’s the refresher. He goes into a restaurant where the waitress tells him he cannot have it his way. You can only get your toasted sandwich a certain way.

Well, McDonald’s just pulled that gag with me. Yes, the one in Winchendon, Massachusetts, gives out a “Breakfast Club” card—another movie reference for a movie critic.

You are supposed to get a free sandwich with every sixth sandwich. They punch the card for each sandwich—or so we thought. We had a surprise when we went to save the $3 for a second sandwich. It seems they changed the rules in midstream.

You get one punch on your ticket even if you buy ten sandwiches. So, It would behoove customers to drive through drive-thru one time for each breakfast sandwich.

The best part of the insult is to have the ersatz manager tell us that we should try reading the card before using it. So much for the regular customer always being right. A friend told us that, if you go to McDonald’s for breakfast, you get what you deserve.

This is after six months in which they blithely punched one hole for every sandwich on every visit. Apparently they changed the dead horse meat in midstream.

We told them to keep their card and punch themselves.

So, if you want a breakfast sandwich, we recommend going to Drunken Dognuts down the street.

Is Dominique Deader than a Doornail?

DATELINE: MOVIE MASHUP

Jean Simmons

A small budget ghost/murder mystery movie offers plenty of thrills and amusement with the entertaining Dominique!

Starring Cliff Robertson and Jean Simmons as the middle-aged husband and wife deadly team, the 1979 movie could have reunited Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak, or Cary Grant and Grace Kelly. It probably was offered to Burton and Taylor. Robertson and Simmons are more than adequate.

It’s no-heavy lifting for the stars who emote to the rafters. Jean Simmons limps with a gamey leg, which adds to the creepiness when she’s an apparent apparition peg-legging down the corridors of her mansion.

Simmons feels her husband is trying to “Gaslight” her and thus gain control of her estate. Once she is gone, her ghost or a reasonably peculiar variation starts to drive hubby Robertson round the bend. He’s no angel, but is he a killer?

All this starts to make the audience giddy—as a grave is dug up twice, once to find a pile or rocks, and later to find Miss Simmons looking rather sedately dead. Yet, she shows up in the street, looking up at her husband’s office in London.

Younger stars Simon Ward and Jenny Agutter are around, but the supporting cast is about as suspicious a group of suspects as a British wannabe Hitchcock/Agatha Christie tale can be. It’s bargain basement material, but sometimes a bargain is quite a find.

As improbable as all the antics are, everyone seems to be stretching their acting chops—much to the glee of mystery fans as the piano seems to play by itself (and it isn’t a player piano) and play the audience too.

The staircases are nearly as grand as the grandiose plot and piano. If you want old-fashioned chills and thrills, you cannot find much more delight than this chestnut.