Pregame overconfidence always makes us nervous, and the pundits and blowhards were predicting scores close to 50 to 3 in favor of the Patriots and Tom Brady.

The reality was far more sobering.

We felt like the so-called experts were calling for a Hillary landslide, and the opposition was calling the results “rigged.”  Yes, it is the template for another day in the NFL.

The Bills were fired up—as only a wacky coach can give confidence to his depleted team. And, so, Tom Brady or not, you held your breath any time they came close to knocking over the star Patriot QB.

Eric Rowe, recently acquired, was a one-man penalty machine. However, pass interference is not helpful when the Patriots are called. On top of that, the highly suspect Patriot defense has forgotten to pack up their abacus for the road trip.

In a series of miscounts, the Patriots had too many men, and then too few men on the field. When did we last see that? We will put in a call to Babe Parelli to see if he recalls. We were not overconfident to begin—and we found our optimism under fire.

When the Bills made a first down on a botched punt, we were ready to wave a “terrible” towel.

Of course, we are prone to adamant pessimism. Brady threw for four touchdowns, and the Pats won—and all’s well that ends well.

On to the Bye week.


Snickers for the Buffalo Bills & Tricky Treat

 DATELINE: Trick and Treat


This season every game by the Brothers Rex and Rob has been a trick or treat experience.  Now with their costumes chosen for this year’s Monster Bash, the brothers seem to have traded in their jackass costume for a two-man unicorn suit.

They want to grab the bag of candy and run.

Of course, we are still unsure which end of the costume T-Rex will assume. We do indeed remember the old ditty: “When you assume, you make an ass of you and me.”

The only way to catch the legendary smiling Cheshire Tomcat before he disappears into the mists of time like Brigadoon may be to grab the ass of the tiger and hold on for dear life.

And those anti-anchorite Ryan Brothers are just zaftig enough to hold on for a couple of quarters and a couple of downs.

For his part, Brady will never dress up in something he’s not: like a loser.

Now if the Ryan Brothers eat a Snickers bar, that’s the last thing their fans want. If Rex and Rob become themselves, all is lost.

On the other hand, we know Tom Brady will never eat a Snickers bar. If he did, he would turn into the High Sugar Lama from Shangri-La State.

As we recall from the old James Hilton classic Lost Horizon, the old High Lama played quarterback up in those Himalaya Mountains for 300 years.

Tom is already well on his way this Halloween to that goal.

Mill Circle Quartet




Works about historic Mill Circle in Winchendon Springs, Massachusetts, by Dr. William Russo:







The old maple tree on Mill Circle is the last giant standing from the landscaping architecture of Nelson Davis White in the 1850s. He designed a private park near the family business and his renovated mansion, once the Old Homestead Tavern.

The last standing maple tree remains deeply rooted along the roadside of Mill Circle. Perhaps it has survived because its roots were fed by the famous mineral spring of the village. Now nearly 180 years old and standing a mammoth 100 feet tall, we catalogue the life of the old maple for all to enjoy and for a certain role in posterity. The tree is now in the autumn of its life.



Jack Benny Predates Westworld

DATELINE: Chicken or Egg and Jack Benny


Viewing Westworld, the new HBO series with its fascinating look at atomatons in an amusement park, we might be fooled into thinking how modern and futuristic the series is. But the possibilities were seen decades ago. Check this historical episode of the Benny series at the final 5 minute mark.

In the new Jonathan Nolan version of Michael Crichton’s Westworld novel, there are now technicians running the theme park, wearing hazmat suits. In the old story they just wore lab coats. But working with robots nowadays probably is more hazardous, with their strange bodily fluids.

We were reminded that in the early 1960s, this same science-fiction premise was displayed innocuously enough on the Jack Benny Program.

Yep, the notorious tightwad comedian tackled the subject a decade before Westworld even happened.

In a 1963 episode young newcomer to TV, Johnny Carson visits Jack Benny in his dressing room after the show. He tells Benny how impressed he is with his style, energy, and youth. This, of course, just utterly charms smarmy Jack.

Coy as always, Benny is self-effacing. Then Johnny Carson  asks him what the secret of his youth and vitality. It seems to bring Jack to a complete paralysis; he stares off into space. Johnny is alarmed as Benny never moves again.

Then a couple of technicians start to dismantle Jack, removing his head and arms and packing them away, putting his torso into the broom closet.

Johnny Carson is suitably shocked. He asks how long this has been going on.

The technicians shrug. They have no idea. “We started doing this 15 years ago.”

Obama & Brady: Round Two

 DATELINE:  White House Photo Op


Pardon the President for turning his head and coughing up a Super Bowl prediction.

It’s the closest President Barack Obama has come to endorsing Donald Trump as the next president.

Mr. Obama gave an interview this week in which he predicted that Tom Brady and the Patriots would win the Super Bowl in, what he considers, a somewhat deteriorating quality NFL. He thinks with all the weak teams, it looks like a Republican primary.

The President believes it will be a return to the glorious past: Seattle versus New England. We are still uncertain if this makes American great again.

Mr. Brady skipped out on the last Patriot team meeting with the President at the White House for family business. Some thought the business likely was related to the Trump family. Years before he married Giselle, Trump tried to interest Tom in his daughter Ivanka.

Tom found a woman prepared to live La Dolce Vita with the football hero in eight-and-a-half Fellini ways. Enough on that score.

Now, Obama is well aware that the next winner of the Super Bowl will go to the White House to meet a different president. In all likelihood, Tom will be in attendance for this one—if Trump wins.

We might suggest that, if Tom doesn’t win the next Super Bowl, that the NFL is rigged. We are certain Trump would concur.

Of course, all’s well that ends well—in Mr. Trump’s words—“if I win.”

TB Times: Brady’s Sporty Therapy

DATELINE: Humorist


How can a humorist with the flu compete week after week with the TB Times?

The foremost humor Internet sensation’s managing editor also happens to manage the scoring for the New England Patriots. Tom Brady has always considered himself the master of the one-liner. He deprecating humor rivals Groucho and parodies Rodney Dangerfield.

Brady routinely ropes in 102,000 likes per week.

Now, he is undercutting our sports therapy humor by sending powder puff compliments to T-Rex Ryan. And, Ryan has returned the compliments. We are buried in cream puffs.

Clearly, Rex does not want to poke a stick at the caged Patriot who might bite off any Buffaloes within smell distance.

Once the game starts, we know that Brady will make an audible “Rex Ryan” to convulse the Bills with laughter. Right now the two giants of ego are playing nice-nice. We expect the game to resemble a Trump-Clinton debate.

We aren’t sure who will be the nasty person, and which one will be the bad hombre when the fans line up to go trick or treating.

We figure by fourth quarter Rex and his twin will begin to look the candidates for the Deplorables Award.

We will attempt to be humorous again as soon as our dry heaves end.

Goodell & Public Misunderstanding

DATELINE: Miss Understanding, 2016

private moment

Now we understand the NFL.

According to Roger Goodell this week, the domestic violence policy of the NFL is misunderstood by the public. Oh, the ignorant fools of the hoi polloi are once again the true miscreants.

Yep, you, sir or madam, resident, member of the household, who buys NFL merchandise, watches the product, and spends thousands on going to games, YOU are the problem.

Apparently we can extrapolate and conclude that, according to the commissioner, the public misunderstanding is likely at the root of the Deflategate problem, the Spygate problem, and the problem of problems. Take that, Adrian Petersen. Your punishment, changing daily in the NFL office of discipline, is the public’s fault.

We are now seeing Goodell in his true dominatrix outfit, cracking the whip. No, wait, that’s a public misunderstanding. We should see Goodell as the sheriff of a lawless community—or is that the public misunderstanding?

Goodell thinks the general public misunderstood the domestic violence perpetrated by drunken Josh Brown of the Giants. We misunderstood because in the NFL, all abusers are men of color. They receive the strongest punishment—unless you are Tom Brady, then you receive the worst punishment.

We trusted the NFL. Clearly a public misunderstanding of trust. We trusted billionaire owners. Clearly we have a misunderstanding about the power of money.

Oh, the ratings are down for NFL games. It must be a public misunderstanding of football’s importance.

We are certain only of one thing. Wife-beaters are treated lightly, and criminals and ball deflators dominate the ranks of the NFL. Unfortunately for the sheriff, he cannot tell them apart without an expensive NFL program, for sale only to paying customers.

Belichick Blows Smoke Screen

DATELINE: Nearer to Thy Maker in Pittsburgh, Thanks to Mad Magazine



Pittsaburger has lost its Rothlisberger for the Patriots game. Hold that ketchup.

Mere mortals might worry that their team was in jeopardy of losing to the Brady Vindication Tour, but not those meatheads from Pittsburgh.

The Steelers have lost their quarterback for this game—and the Patriots have lost their iPad knockoffs. In far worse news, Wednesday was the last day to register to vote in the upcoming MMA bout between Trump and Clinton.

The NFL marquee matchup has lost its luster. You saw more action in the 21st century version of the Lincoln-Douglas debacle debate between the Trumpeter and the Hildebeest.

ESPN, the alleged network that made up Deflategate, now claims the Patriots are dirtier than a presidential campaign, asserting the Pats play is dirtiest in NFL.  Do these guys ever watch games?

How worried is Swami Bill?  This week, historical for those nasty debates and a charity dinner that Clinton and Trump turned most uncharitable, also marked the longest pregame press conference ever held by the Head Coach.

Yup, the laconic HC turned loquacious for once. He even extended his required NFL time with the press because he was feeling so wordy. His staff tried to pull him off-stage, but Bill stayed with the ones he loved: his media buds. He took a couple of additional questions.

If he wanted to portray an air of ease and charm, he came off like a tanned and rested Richard Nixon. He talked football history and coaches he admired. It was enough to send shivers into Pittsburgh.

If Belichick had lit up a Red Auerbach (the legendary Celtics coach always puffed on a stogie before the final buzzer when he felt confident) victory Cuban cigar at the podium, it would have had the same effect.

In the immortal words of Alfred E. Neumann, “What? Me worry?”

Predictions of Billy Mitchell at His Court Martial

DATELINE: Court of Public Opinioncoop-as-mitch

If you have a fondness for court room drama, you may have overlooked an Otto Preminger film, starring Gary Cooper. It’s out there if you look: The Court Martial of Billy Mitchell.

It was not well-received back in 1955, though it was fascinating even then to look back on Col. Billy Mitchell, an aviation pioneer in the U.S. Army who was court-martialed for decrying the incompetence and negligence of the 1920s military authorities.

Cooper always brought a built-in sympathy to his biographical roles—and Col. Mitchell was, above all else, a patriot—even when his peers, a who’s who of military heroes, came together to demote and to suspend him. History vindicated him and the short-sightedness of the Army.

An all-star cast, by later standards, filled out the ranks: before they were really big, Darren McGavin, Peter Graves, and Jack Lord, played Col. Mitchell’s friends. And, the cast even featured a Douglas MacArthur lookalike as one of the judges. Well, MacArthur was among the real life judges.

Charles Bickford is his usual tough-guy general—and usually comic Fred Clark is the prosecutor who is relieved of duty to bring in the big gun: Rod Steiger, to shred Col. Mitchell in the climactic testimony scene. James Daly and Ralph Bellamy are his defenders.

It’s all rather pedestrian in its film style, but Billy did predict an Air Force Academy, jets that could fly 1000 miles an hour, and the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese in 1923.  We don’t hear the name Billy Mitchell on Donald Trump’s list of military heroes—but he should be. The film is color, but feels like it’s black and white.

Mitchell went after government and tried to change it abruptly with a turn toward the future. He failed, but hindsight recognition is better than none at all.

We thoroughly enjoyed this historical episode, brought to life by a generation of top-drawer professionals.

Trump Weighs in on Concussions in the NFL

DATELINE:  Heady Stuff





NFL players are angry at Donald Trump.

He has downplayed the concussion protocol as an excuse to not play football for a year.

As a billionaire, like so many NFL owners, the rich folk equate concussions to hangnails and other unworthy excuses. These are the kind of rich people who used to own slaves—and rationalized it as giving the shackled masses a roof over their heads and religious fervor.

If there is one spot that separates billionaires from the peons, it is on concussion policy. Super-rich people hate it when the minions find a reason to go on the dole.

Not only that, it’s clear billionaires never go to the movies. That may explain why Will Smith’s movie Concussion exposing the NFL went out with the baby’s bathwater. It explains why Smith received no Oscar. It’s explains why all those former NFL players are committing suicide.

We aren’t one of those who make excuses for billionaires because they are, after all, disadvantaged from real life. NFL football is hardly real life. Any game where child molesters and wife beaters are treated equal to deflaters of footballs is thriving in an alternate universe.

Billionaires usually play Candy Crush on their private jets to relax—and obviously collisions ending in destruction are fun things, not serious medical issues.

So, you can’t blame Donald Trump for calling a concussion a little ding on the head. After all, he dismissed John McCain’s long bout of torture in a Vietnamese prison as not credentials enough to be a hero, on the order of Batman.

Trump admires General George “Blood and Guts” Patton. As we recall, the peons sent into battle by Patton used to facetiously say—“Our blood and his guts.”

Trump believes strongly those who are about to die should salute before being sent into oblivion. We give that a thumbs down.

In short, Bill Belichick has moved on from the 21st century technology. He is on to the Stone Age. And our fellow Neanderthals love it.

Belichick Sends Tablet to IR

DATELINE: Technophobe


Bill Belichick has rejected use of the Surface, a Microsoft version of the iPad for in-game, on-field usage.

The grumpy old man of football has given all those post-60 types cause to celebrate dumping tea into Boston Harbor. Yes, we saw Swami Bill smash his tablet during a game a few weeks ago. Now he has tossed his tablet into the harbor as a form of protest.

We were reminded of Moses smashing the tablets he brought down from the mountain for similar reasons.  It was hard to get a handle on them.

Of course, Microsoft has responded with more than a bit of shock that the greatest coach in the NFL today has tossed out their product as unreliable. It seems they need an aspirin tablet after failing to live up to Swami Belichick’s high standard.

Younger types might snicker at the old reprobate turned technophobe, but purists will take pictures over fancy screen words every time.

The Patriots head coach didn’t just reject tablets with a wave of the hand. The laconic Belichick who never has words for any occasion, devoted five minutes to run down the notion as, “I have given them as much time as I can give them.”

Wow, this ought to make Stephen Gostowski worry about his next missed point-after.

Belichick went on to dun all technology—from headsets to the abacus. “Those fail on a regular basis. There are very few games that we play, home or away, day, night, cold , hot preseason, regular, season, postseason where there aren’t issues in some form or fashion with the equipment.”  Talk about taking a broad brush in a high handed fashion.

In short, Bill Belichick has moved on from the 21st century technology. He is on to the Stone Age. And our fellow Neanderthals love it.

Victory for Brady & Pats Again

 DATELINE: Unsportsmanlikefulvous yellow

The Patriots had a Bengal Tiger by the tail for the second half of the game at Foxboro, according to the referees who came to the game directly from their meeting at the Old Ladies Sewing Circle.

A most unhappy lot of Bengals were playing over their heads in the first half, mostly heady over sacking Tom Brady repeatedly. Thank heavens the offensive line gave no more offense by half-time. Tom does not approve of Tony the Tiger and Sugar Frosted Flakes, and so the Bengal Tigers probably incensed him.

When the momentum changed, the Bengal pussycats started to show their claws. The Cincinnati team had a lean and hungry look—and such teams are exceedingly dangerous.

They even took to baiting Gronk, who never quite lost it as he did in this game. We saw a most uncharacteristic Gronk being called for unsportsmanlike conduct, worse apparently than taunting the enemy.

We know Gronk was not feeling well because he was doing a shimmy shake at the goal line when LaGarrette Blount mixed it up with the Bengals.

Gronk agitated is a sight to behold. When he came off the field, he seemed to make a case to a mostly sympathetic Swami Belichick, but the real support came from Jimmy G and Devon McCourty who congratulated him on his bad sportsmanship on the sidelines.

Brady seemed to need a few extra minutes to raise up his hackles. By the second half, he made mincemeat of the Bengals—and gave Gronk one of his biggest career days for yardage.

It seems highly likely that Brady may have more yards than quarterbacks who will have played all sixteen regular season games, having done his work neatly in a dozen games.

On to Pittsburgh with the Roger Goodell Memorial Tour.

Heads Up for the Cincinnati Game with Patriots

DATELINE: Gost or Ghost?


We’re on to Cincinnati.  The only problem is that the Patriots are not going to Cincinnati. The Bengal lancers are coming here to Foxboro.

For Patriot fans, it’s like Caligula reading in the programme that he’s on to the lions. No, not those in Detroit. The lions come to Caligula.

Local media are celebrating this occasion as if Guy Fawkes succeeded in blowing up Parliament.

The Bengals can’t change their spots for this game. And, they are on the spot for sure. What? You mean they prefer pinstripes. Who do they think they are? The Yankees?

If the lowly Bengals garner any sympathy, it is for being brave as they are thrown across the sacrificial altar before having their heart ripped out or head chopped off.

No one gives them much of a chance against the Tom-Brady-Jack-the-Ripper-Slash-and-Smash-the-NFL World Tour.

We almost feel sorry for the Bengalese, except for the dictum that on any given Sunday anyone can win. We feel that complacency may be playing on the wrong side of the gridiron this week, though we are sure the vigilant Swami Bill Belichick won’t let his team forget their mission, Mr. Phelps.

No, if you want to feel sorry for anyone, it’s probably Stephen Gostkowsky, one-time perfect kicker for eleven seasons and replacement for Tom Brady’s kicking counterpart—the ageless Adam Vinatieri.

The man replaced and sent into Indianapolis exile by Bill Belichick is still kicking like a chorus girl. Gostkowsky has started to miss—and the traveling guillotine show of Darth Belichick may make the Sunday afternoon more ghoulish than the Marquis de Sade passing judgment on field goals.

Tom Brady as Yul the Gunslinger in a New HBO Series


tom-brady-as-gunslinger Cowpoke Tom

In this week’s episode of NFL Westworld at Gillette, automaton Tom Brady relived his role from the western script again as he has for 17 years: making TD passes to other paid guests who pass through the NFL and make a stop for a few games with the Patriots. It’s a fantasy thing for young men; they all want to go up against Tom Brady.

Robert Kraft is played by Anthony Hopkins in the Jonathan Nolan version of football persons of interest.

The deranged killing machine known as Aaron Hernandez has been relegated to the dungeon of broken down men in black with Yul’s robot. He has been only carted out for sanity hearings to find out why he goes on killing sprees. No, wait, that was a different reality series in a Boston court room. Or, was that the movie with Yul Brynner as the Terminator?

We often confuse HBO with the Hub of Boston.

Aaron Hernandez is played by Ed Harris on HBO’s latest version. Tom is the good looking robot who is victimized by bad scriptwriting by Roger Goodell. However, he seems poised to rebel against the NFL Westworld and go on a season long shoot-out.

This Westworld reboot at Gillette is based on a movie from a generation ago. In that version Tom Brady was twenty-years younger and looked exactly the same. No, wait, that was Lost Horizon with debonair Ronald Colman who encounters the High Lama and learns the secret of eternal youth.

Tom found the Fountain of Youth from his old pal, Ponce de Leon, an old coach from the Miami Dolphins.

Whenever you try to explain the phenomenon of Tom Brady, your metaphors immediately become mixed up.

Tom Brady Never Lets His Composure Slip



Tom Brady gave a press conference this week, but he didn’t like what he heard—and what he said was only visible if looks could kill. Tom was saintly.

With Tom’s old golfing buddy Donald Trump under assailment from women who claim they knew the mogul all too well, Tom was assaulted with a media question that usually sends Bill Belichick into his most miserable demeanor.

Tom cannot help but look charming, even if he wants to vomit.

So, when asked about the effect of Trump’s sexual peccadilloes on his children, Tom smiled benignly, like St. Francis of Asissi had just freed a llama from a heavy load up the Andes Mountains.

He thanked all and walked briskly off stage and into the bowels of Gillette Stadium, leaving a few tittering sports reporters, and a few other cursing the interloper who put a banana in Tom’s tailpipe.

This coincided with an Uggs commercial he made recently with Julian Edelman.  His primary receiver has been at him to make one of Julie E’s patented humor videos for years—and Tom has graciously declined, leaving Julian to cast punting roommate Ryan Allen as Everyman.

In his Uggs debut, thanks to Tom’s divine intervention, Julian wants Tom’s full attention as Tom plays couch potato—and engages in every irritating activity a little brother might use—from playing drums loudly to snapping popcorn package filler. Whatever looney device emerges from Julian’s demented mind, Tom ignores him until finally Edelman is prostrate on the floor, comatose from hyperactivity.

We are not sure whether the Uggs commercial was art imitating life, or merely a psychological depiction of the order of Brady’s mind.