Tom Brady’s Deal with the Devil

DATELINE: Move Over, Faustus!

As the Bible tells us so, there is a time for sowing and a time for reaping. It omits there is a time for contract extension. For some fans, it is more like a deal with the Devil, signed in blood.

Perhaps Bob Dylan can add a passage to Pete Seeger’s famous lyrics, “Turn, Turn, Turn.”

Tom Brady has added two years to his current contract with the New England Patriots. “Turn, turn, turn” around as fair play, indeed. Some news agencies are reporting that Tom’s new agent is named Mephistopheles.

Since Brady takes less money from the Patriots than he might demand, he has allowed the team to go out and sign young players who can barely keep up with the Dorian Gray painting that is located in Tom’s attic.

For those with no literary sense, we can only alert you that the picture in Brady’s attic is starting to look frayed around the edges.

According to the misinformed, Tom Brady will be a Patriot until he is 42, at least. That is in 2019.  Of course, this does not take into account that Brady’s clock is running backwards.

With his regular imbibing from the Fountain of Youth, in four years we suspect that Brady will be 34 years old. At the present rate of reversing his stem cells, Brady will retire at age 16.

We presume this could mean an additional two or three Super Bowl victories.

If the rate of teammate exchange continues, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski will retire before Brady.

No one has yet tied Brady to stem cells, human growth hormone, or cod liver oil, as the secret of his youthful appearance. Peyton Manning only wishes he knew what was going on with his long-time rival.

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Oscar’s Best Remake of the Year

DATELINE: Taming the Wild Oscar

If you bothered to watch the colorblind Oscars hosted by Chris Rock, you saw a case in assuaging one’s racist past. As Rock pointed out, Oscar has showcased 71 years out of 88 without a black acting nominee.

Since there are many excellent black actors, one presumes there are so few good roles for black actors. Just ask Will Smith who gave one of his better performances in Concussion (not nominated).

It didn’t matter because Leonardo di Caprio has been stiffed repeatedly at the award show, but this was his year. If you fight a bear like Davy Crockett, you likely will beat Gentle Ben and Oscar.

No one seemed to realize that The Revenant is a remake of Robert Redford’s Jeremiah Johnson. No, he didn’t win for that. And, don’t tell the Oscar folk that this film is a Western. As a friend once said, any movie with horses is a Western.

Remake was the operative word this year. Apparently remaking one’s own groundbreaking movie, Mad Max, qualifies as worthier than any movie with a black actor as star.

The Martian, a remake of Robinson Crusoe on Mars, featured several NASA scientists played by black actors, but that was not impressive to Oscar. Now if Matt Damon had met a black Martian in the movie whom he dubbed Friday, the actor would have likely taken best supporting award.

Spotlight also seemed to be Best Picture as Remake: it looked to us like All the President’s Men Meet All the Cardinal’s Men. Those daring young men in journalism seem to be heroic for another generation.

If you felt like you’ve already seen the nominees and winners from Oscar before, you probably have.

Cruz & Rubio: Traitors to the United States

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The latest GOP debate debacle clearly showed how Donald Trump is a quick wit, and the other candidates are plodding dullards—at best.

The handlers of Cruz and Rubio gave them an insult to throw at Trump, but they were not give a rejoinder to have ready when Trump hit them back. He is quick witted, and these guys are not witty at all. They are in over their tiny heads. They cannot win on their agility to think.

The term that comes to mind is “dim wits.”

Moreover, Marco and Ted are Constitutional “ignorantes,” if we are allowed to hoist them on their Latino roots.

The form of the United States government, in the Constitution, requires “deals” be made or stalemate and stagnation result. Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill knew this despite their diametrically opposed ideologies.

Shutting down the government is the dream scenario of Rubio and Cruz.

There are 3 equal branches of government Judicial, Legislative and Executive. They must make “deals” to get things done. The Congress can pass all the laws it wants, but if the President or Supreme Court disagrees, we have a civics lesson that Cruz and Rubio missed in their pedigree education.

The art of “Deals” and the art of making them is convincing the other side that sometimes a little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing. Cruz and Rubio are offering “alotta nuttin.” For men who took a oath to the Constitution, they don’t understand it.

Look at our history: the entire setting up of the Constitution itself was by men like Jefferson and Franklin, through all the Founding Fathers, resulted in a long hard fought but fruitful negotiation, a “deal” that has held up until ignorantes like Cruz and Rubio want to scrap the magnificent experiment from the Spirit of 1776.

Those two senators are the epitome of traitors to the United States.

Whitey Bulger Adds to His Criminal Resume

DATELINE: Hands Up

 

In case you missed the blaring headlines in the Boston newspapers and online, we want to make certain you heard that Whitey Bulger has been sent to solitary confinement.

It appears the 85-year old inmate did what you probably only can do in solitary of a sexual nature.

Yes, federal prisons forbid masturbation—but only if the lights are on. Prison is hard time for sure.

There is no word if Whitey had an audience—er, we mean cellie, or bunkmate, whatever they are called in prison argot.

The good news here is that at age 85 there is a glimmer of a sex life, even in the most hardened criminals.

The bad news here is that Whitey will be forced to spend time alone in solitary. Whatever will he do?

Since this blog usually deals with sports or movies, we can only say we are sorry that Johnny Depp was unable to do this important coda to the Bulger story in Black Mass.

We suppose only director Andy Warhol could film a scene like this, but there are plenty of actors who could play it out in make up, approximating being a sexagenarian, or whatever you might call a self-abuser in his dotage.

Prison guards are now insisting that Bulger keep his hands where guards can see them. They have promised not to shoot first.

We normally do a longer blog, but this subject stumped us in three minutes.

The Bell Tolls for Thee, Goodell

DATELINE:  Once More, With Deflategate

 

This upcoming week is the last roundup for Roger Goodell.

Yep. We are here to deliver news to you sore losers out there.

Commissioner Goodell faces a three judge panel he wants to overthrow Judge Richard Berman’s scathing decision against the NFL in favor of Tom Brady.

Scathing decisions are a tad too hot to overturn for the most part. It means a judge has been forceful and convinced of the rightness of his response.

Deflategate confounded nearly every football fan who proved their sense of fairness was tied to home team support. Most NFL fans cheat on their taxes, on their wives, and in their illegal bets on FanDuel. But they hate Tom Brady.

The Three Magi, the Three Musketeers, and the Three Witches of Macbeth were all unanimous when put together in a cause. We don’t see it changing with the court of appeals.

We suspect this is bad news for Roger Goodell because most threesomes of outsiders defend the righteous: not the self-righteous. Roger, it will be over and out.

Each judge was appointed by a different President: Clinton, Bush, and Obama—and that is an unlikely threesome even in politics. They are unlike the referees each week in the NFL, all of whom are Goodell plants, doing the bidding of the NFL, pre-planning the penalties, and looking to turn a loophole into a noose.

Fans are used to three judges on American Idol and with dope-slapping among the Three Stooges. NFL burlesque is about to end on March 3rd and the biting irony is about to leave teeth marks into the rear end of Goodell.

Deflategate is about to bite the dust.

Hands Down for Chandler Jones

DATELINE: No Video

If you think the New England Patriots own the town of Foxboro, you’d be cutting out a large piece of geography from the map.

The Patriots also own the Secretary of State in Massachusetts who ruled that the Foxboro Police have the right to withhold video.  We are talking privacy-busting, emotionally embarrassing, totally idiotic video.

We are talking about the notorious Chandler Jones incident that happened during the season. To refresh your memory and give you a visual: star Patriot defensive player Jones apparently walked to the Foxboro Police Station barefoot and shirtless during a cold Sunday morning at dawn.

He was giving himself up for being a bad boy and using synthetic marijuana, which apparently gave him hallucinations.

As a worried black man in America in the early 21st century, Chandler assumed the proper position: on his knees, hands behind his head, lest the police shoot him down like a dog.

Black men in America have been shot multiple times by police for simply putting their hands up in a universal gesture of surrender.

We wonder if Chandler had a death wish.

A genuinely nice person, hapless Chandler clearly was not in his right mind on this morning. So, the news media wants the pictures for the 11 o’clock news, and every news on every hour to laugh at his misfortune.

If he were nobody, he’d be a laughingstock for comic relief on the news. In some parts of the United States, he might have been shot with a dozen bullets, or Taser gunned if this happened in a high crime area.

But in Massachusetts it is expressly forbidden to humiliate a New England Patriot.

New Book on Jack the Ripper

DATELINE: Alternative History

Everyone has a theory on the Ripper–and a new book seems to play on one angle heavily.

A few diehards believe that Jack was actually an American doctor, one of those whose treatment of patients tended toward herbal remedies. Dr. Francis Tumblety made a fortune selling his formula to clear up pimples. Indeed, his Pimple Banisher became as much an international sensation as did he.

The little-known theory is that the Ripper actually new John Wilkes Booth. This neatly ties together several of the most notorious 19th century figures into one tale.

The common link between them was a judge at the military trial of Booth’s co-conspirators. There, at Old Capitol Prison, Gen. Lew Wallace encountered Dr. Tumblety who was arrested as a suspicious associate of the plot and its members.

Years later, in 1889, having fled the East End of London and returned the United States, there seems to be an occasional for Dr. Tumblety to confront Lew Wallace who had become rich and famous for writing BEN HUR: A Tale of the Christ.

Therein lies the tale of WHEN JACK THE RIPPER MET BEN HUR, now available as an ebook and softcover on Amazon for armchair detectives who may find the clues thrown together as rather shocking. Wallace seemed to make a habit of knowing the worst of society. Among his pen-pals was Billy the Kid, whom  he knew from his term as Governor of New Mexico.

It’s hard to separate the reality from the theories of what Tumblety had to say to Wallace. But this new book tells the story in a style of grand entertainment. Their conversation might be likened to a game of chess–or ping pong.

This novella now joins WHEN BILLY THE KID MET BEN HUR and WHEN J. WILKES BOOTH MET BEN HUR to round out an unknown life of a famous writer. We wait for the movie version, likely to come eventually with two roles as juicy as this twosome.

 

 

 

 

Jack Spratt Not On Red Sox Roster

DATELINE: No Cal Team

The old adage about Jack Spratt and his wife applies now to the Red Sox.

To refresh your memories, Jack could eat no fat, and his wife could eat no lean. Between them, they licked the platter clean.

Well, as spring training begins, King John Henry VIII, owner of the last place team of two years’ running, gave his annual press conference. They never learn, do they?

This year, King John Henry praised fatso players. The man who never added a pound to his frame, claimed everyone is a little overweight. Oh, really?

The Sox owner must be following the Tom Brady diet. He looks younger every season. Those stem cells really work. Unfortunately for Pablo Sandoval, he took on everybody’s leftover stem cells—giving him too much of a good thing. King John Henry VIII could behead the Panda and chop  10 pounds off that Olympian frame.

Henry said in the past he relied too much on numbers, and promptly told the media that Panda Pablo Sandoval is 17% body fat. But who’s counting numbers? It’s Inflate-gut season!

Henry said this is a markdown from last season when Sandoval was into the 20% range. The owner read that somewhere. He never pays attention to the messenger.

The Sox are looking for agility at third base, not a ballerina tutu fat.

The Sox owner thought Pablo looked fabulous out there, straining to bend over for those ground balls.

Photos and numbers have never blocked the Red Sox from their delusional belief that it happens every spring: the media is out to get them.

As long as Pablo does not eat fried chicken and drink beer in the clubhouse between innings, the Sox are ready for the heavyweight bout with the Yankees.

Martian, Come Home

 DATELINE:  Turning the Beat Around

 

When we saw The Martian winning awards as a comedy, when it is a Ridley Scott science fiction extravaganza, we became dubious about viewing it.

We expected a variation on Robinson Crusoe on Mars, one of our favorites. With updates, the characters likely would feature ET as Man Friday and some talking computer as HAL. Heaven forfend, we worried that this movie would turn into Gilligan’s Island Meets Lassie.

To our pleasant surprise, none of these happened. Instead, we were treated to an astronaut left for dead on Mars—and breaking the movie wall by talking directly to his video recorder—and us, the audience. Matt Damon was thus able to apply dry wit to the dry desolate red planet.

The result was indeed humorous sotto voce, imbedded into the space adventure. We were particularly amused to find the few surviving remnants he had salvaged were disco music (used better than anything since the 1970s and even TV shows like Happy Days).

The change from Crusoe’s predicament is that everyone knows where Damon’s character is—but it may be impossible to reach him before food and water run out.

About as clever as Rube Goldberg in botanist’s smock, Damon makes the red planet his home.

A stellar cast of odd-ball scientists back on Earth rounds out the cast of rescuers. The ubiquitous Jeff Daniels is around as head of NASA and one of the Glover boys is a nerd scientist. Everyone accounts for an upbeat and entertaining film.

If the plot seems a tad ridiculous, the stranded astronaut reminds us of how preposterous the rescue plan is. In his growing age, Matt Damon is putting together a string of interesting films to show off his well-preserved tush—and impressive credentials in moviedom.

Move Over, Deflategate. Here Comes Inflate-gut!

DATELINE:  Boston’s Latest Sports Scandal

We have gone from Deflategate to Inflategut.  Tom Brady never let the air out of the ball, and Pablo Sandoval never missed a meal.

Yep, Pablo Sandoval has violated the league rules by playing with overly inflated high-cal dinners, breakfasts, and snacks. He is trading in his third baseman glove for an oven mitt. Pablo grew up playing ball with the Pillsbury Doughboy—and has been on the loaf ever since.

The Natural Gas Law also applies to Inflategut.

The Sox are considering switching to elastic waistband pants to save on buying those extra-large bloomers for Pablo when we come to the All-Star breakfast.

If the Sox insist on stopping Sandoval from ordering in or taking out, he may have to ask Judge Berman to rule on the Sox gut check. We think this will cause the Judge to rule eating disorder in the court.

Fear not, fans. The Panda always brown bags it.

We fear that Inflate-gut will knock the wind out of the Panda Bear, not to mention Sox pennant hopes. We hate to be on the Fenway porch behind third base when Pablo goes for the gusto.

Ticket prices may start to slim down when Pablo’s waist size reaches epic proportions. The Sox will hire the first woman coach just for Pablo—Jenny Craig may have met her match, trading three strikes for three square meals.

For those of us who had enough of Deflategate and Tom Brady, we now are going to stretch our giblets to fill up those Spandex pantaloons.

This summer Pablo Sandoval pushes the Inflate-gut scale to levels only Vince Wilfork could love.

 

Tub of Lard

DATELINE: Inflategate Sandoval

Taking time off is a time tested solution to many problems. When you return, it’s the same old place: Red Sox spring training provided pound for pound laughter.

Panda Sandoval didn’t give interviews on his arrival. He chewed the fat.

Pablo Sandoval took off time this off-season.  Yet, he still carries the weight of the world in his hip pocket. When he showed up at spring training, he made the Red Sox front office look like it had enlarged the front porch. And, the caboose was not to be missed if you wanted to whistle stop with Pablo.

Not since John Wayne needed a step ladder to climb up into the saddle have we seen such a horse.

The Red Sox brain trust, led by manager John Farrell and Dum-Dum Dombrowsky, told us Pablo was dating Jenny Craig—and had slimmed down an unspecified number of stone (that’s Brit weight).

Instead, it looks like Sandoval, erstwhile Panda bear, has been dating Sarah Lee and Wendy at the same time, having those pancake breakfasts.

If you believe in a gut check for your team, the Sox had doubled the pleasure for third basemen. We saw a couple of six-pack Sox standing near Sandoval—and he was clearly winning the beer barrel lookalike on the team.

The last time we saw the Fat Man, he was giving Sam Spade trouble. We suspect the Fat Man will join the Fat Lady at singing the National Anthem at Fenway Park. It isn’t over till it’s over, but we never conceded the season on the first day of spring training—until now.

My Favorite Year Revisited

DATELINE: Missing Peter O’Toole

Some thirty years ago we first watched Peter O’Toole in My Favorite Year. He was resoundingly praised for his portrayal of a combination of himself and Errol Flynn.

The plot was allegedly based on the old Sid Caesar show when Flynn was guest star. We doubt it.

O’Toole was in a separate movie than the rest of the cast as Alan Swann. We have been mesmerized by these star vehicles many times. Perhaps the majesty of the star renders everyone else to look like extras on TV commercial in 1954.

Directed by Richard Benjamin like a TV pilot episode of Dick Van Dyke’s comedy writers, there was a flavor of 1954 in scenes. Was this the Golden Age of television in reality? It’s doubtful.

Playing himself as a younger star in film clips, sword fighting and kissing damsels, O’Toole is marvelous. He was Lawrence of Arabia and Lord Jim, Henry II young and old.

So, to see him play homage to old Errol was a treat. Unfortunately, we had to put up with a nebbish hero sidekick in Mark Linn-Baker. Where did he go? Based on this movie, not far enough. He was not engaging or charming, but a thorn under the saddle.

Out on the town, adored by crowds, O’Toole’s swashbuckler takes it in stride. It was a bit of comeback for the great star—much like Barrymore and Flynn came back as shadow satires of their younger selves.

O’Toole died in 2013, making only a few rare film appearances in the later years. Nothing could match his early grandeur—and this was the last of those efforts.

We waited for every scene with O’Toole, claiming he was not an actor! He was a movie star! Oh, yes, make that Movie Star! And what an actor!!

Tom Brady for President

DATELINE: Voting Early & Often

For all those nay-sayers, Tom is old enough to be POTUS.

Others think he hasn’t a POTUS to plant flowers in. Sports fans probably don’t have a clue what a POTUS is, thinking it may be a Japanese flower floating in a pond.

No, Patriot fans who are not in the Tea Party, it means President of the United States. An acronym by any other name would still confuse American voters.

Yet, on primary Tuesday in New Hampshire, where we spent our holiday down the street from the Trump party headquarters in a local Manchester hospital while on a downhill slide, we can tell you that Brady’s support crosses all party lines.

Tom received bi-partisan support in the Granite State where they miss the treasured profile of the Old Man in the Mountain when he crumbled a few years back. Tom has shored up all parts of his face, and we do not expect him to crumble for decades.

Brady’s bi-partisan support does not mean he pulled in the transgender vote to all you sports fans who don’t follow politics. And, no, he does not go both ways–only toward the goal.

Like his mentor Donald Trump, Brady doesn’t have to pour his wife’s billion into a race. Apparently he spent nothing and received two votes in the Democratic ballot—and two more on the Republican ballot. Yes, there are literate write-in voters in New Hampshire.

Someone up there isn’t doing his homework. Tom went to the State of the Union as a guest of President George W. Bush a few years back and is perceived as a Republican among pass receivers.

However, this is good news and an omen for the future of Brady’s political aspirations. Tom crosses all lines, especially in the red zone and in red states.

 

 

Oscar Ignores Bessie Smith’s Story Too

DATELINE: Movies about People

With the Oscars embroiled in charges of racial bias, HBO continues to produce interesting and diverse films that are ineligible for the Academy Award. One of this year’s best movies is relegated to a second tier and second class status.

Talk about injustice.

This year’s Bessie is a classic example. Before Hattie McDaniel and Ethel Waters, there was Bessie Smith. She just didn’t sing the blues. She lived the blues.

Queen Latifah never fails to surprise. And, with this film, she plays the great blues singer of the 1920s, Bessie Smith, with an elan seldom seen in performances. She clearly identifies with the benighted black singer who rose from obscurity, fell back, and rose again to a comeback with the likes of Benny Goodman.

As producer and star, Queen Latifah is the real story. Her talents range from comedy to tragedy—and she can sing too.

As Bessie, Latifah has met a subject she can sink her teeth into. And the film depicts the black audiences of segregated days with their own star system. Mo’Nique matches Queen scene for scene as her mentor and friend Ma Rainey.

Like Latifah, Bessie Smith was tough and brash. She had to be to succeed in the barnstorming days of musical acts from the American South that played to the affluent black audiences of its day.

Once again, the surprise may be how much American culture is derived from these entertainment pioneers in music. The black culture seems cutting edge, precursors to the attitudes and style to develop in white America decades later.

Audiences that miss Latifah’s Bessie may also miss a chance to learn what great talent truly is.

Sore Loser or Bill Belichick’s Heir Apparent?

DATELINE: Losing is for Losers

Cam Shows No Zebra Stripes!

Cam Newton appears to be the worst loser of the year. Yet, we found his antisocial responses to a feeding frenzy media to be like chum to a shark. The media loves anything out of the ordinary, and Cam gave them plenty.

Having a game taken away by bad officiating, worse appeals from HQ, and players doing inexplicable things, make for a game that seems to be scripted.

It was Manning’s year—albeit his last. Sullen, morose, sulking, unpleasant, disgusted, Cam Newton turned us into his new, biggest fan.

NFL braintrust likely said Cam will win one next time, or next, or next. Of course, in the brutal world of injury and worse, concussion, there is no telling a player he will have the world as his oyster next year.

Life in the NFL does not work that way.

If we were to nominate a player trying his darnedest to lose the game, we choose Tarique Allbibe, the former Patriot. If his play against the Panters was any indication of his mindset, he really wanted to revenge the Pats.

When teams are suddenly uncharacteristically bad, you have to wonder what is going on. The Old Panters looked pathetic.

We do think the Oscar goes this year to Cam Newton for his postgame press conference in which he imitated Bill Belichick. He must have been studying the tapes for media contempt quotient.

Dressed like the Great Hoodie, his monosyllabic comments provided no insight into his feeling about being robbed. Cam may have risen in Bill Belichick’s eyes after the loss. Here was a man who knows how to dismiss the greedy, gaudy press.