Lamentations on the Loss of Gordon Hayward

DATELINE:  Hard Break for Celtics

 GH

Gordon Hayward came to Boston to play for the Celtics. He was a superstar ready to write his Destiny today in big letters. Instead, five minutes into his Celtics career, Destiny wrote him off.

If ever you wanted a lesson in how ephemeral are the superstars of sports, this abject lesson is a horror story. Gordon Hayward went down in a senseless act of the cosmos and its mystery waves.

But as terrible, gruesome, and awful is the injury to Gordon Hayward, it’s not as bad as what happened to Len Bias, the Celtics hope of the future so many years ago in the aftermath of the Bird years.

Bias died of a drug overdose that caused a heart attack. Or perhaps it was the other way around. Does it matter? He was an unproven talent.

Unlike Len Bias, Hayward is an established star, not some vague potential. Gordon Hayward will live to play another day.  However, we don’t know how this injury may affect his ability to play at the same level that made him a superstar.

Boston hardly knows him and now may never know him as the new centerpiece of a Big Three to bring more championships to Boston. That dream may have just evaporated five minutes into a new season.

The season will go on for the Celtics. But the heart of players may have gone out with Hayward’s injury. The stomach to move on will settle down.

Grizzled old vets like Al Horford may take the injury of a teammate in such a devastating fashion in stride. It is the nature of the obvious horror that has an impact on the younger players. The Celtics core is young and impressionable. It tells them a message of sobering fright: your days in the sun can be over in a blink, or a twist of an ankle: in the crack of a bone.

Bones can be fragile and can snap like twigs in the wind. There may be no reason that can be discerned as to whom it condemns—and who may escape. The quantum physics of the universe is cruel.

The psychological damage is immeasurable on the psyche of players—and even fans. The tragedy belongs to Gordon Hayward.

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What Would Marilyn Tell Harvey Weinstein?

DATELINE: Hollywood Sexual Harassment

MM Grand Marilyn

Despite all of the complaints by actresses about Harvey Weinstein, we keep wondering what legendary star of the 1950s, Marilyn Monroe would have to say about the Hollywood scandal.

Miss Monroe spent her entire life trying to find respect as an actress in an industry where she was treated like a cheap platter of hors d’oeuvres.

She might tell us she is not surprised by what’s going on today. She might tell us nothing has changed. She could tell us that some of the most important people of the 20th century sexually harassed her and abused her.  And, it was all in a day’s work.

That was the price you had to pay to become a superstar while trying to find roles that served her talent. She was the plaything of athletes and president. On that score, not much is changed.

Our superstar athletes and our President are known sexual abusers.  Or at least use locker room talk regularly when they grab women unceremoniously.

Miss Monroe had to leave Hollywood to go to New York stage in order to find dignity as an actress. But she didn’t realize this condition of sexual cruelty was the norm of her career choice.

Hollywood derived from sexual innuendo, sexual hijinks, and serial sexual users.

Harvey Weinstein and a plethora of male stars and producers have victimized men, women, and children, since Hollywood’s earliest days.

We think Miss Monroe would tell us, if you choose this life as an actress and you are beautiful, you better be ready for what’s going to be thrown at you.  It’s no big deal to be the victim of injustice.

 

Sam Elliott’s Hero within a Hero

 DATELINE:  Movies for the Older Audience

 Elliot & Ross The Hero    Katherine Ross & Sam Elliot

Film director Brett Haley seems to have cornered the senior citizen/golden-ager demographic with his latest film, The Hero.

It stars aged in wood cowboy actor Sam Elliot as an aged in wood cowboy star.

You couldn’t ask for a better representative of the old-fashioned saddletrap. Elliot relives part of his career with clips from a movie-within-a-movie called The Hero.

Whether he turns out to be the hero of his own life, the pages of Edna St. Vincent Millay may show. We are a sap when it comes to movies that use metaphors from Edna, as one of her bittersweet poems dominates the movie’s climax.

The film is partially based on Elliott and his career. Indeed, his wife Katharine Ross makes a rare film appearance as his ex-wife. She looks marvelous, but director Haley seems to give old stars a rebirth (see his earlier I’ll See You in My Dreams, with Barbara Bain, Mariette Hartley, and Elliott).

And, the plot revolves around his friendship with an old costar from a benighted TV series and his alienated daughter who is a bitter by-product of his past life.

Director Haley scores again with the geriatric performers. Max Gail shows up as the head of a Western fan movie group that honors the lead character with a ‘lifetime achievement’ award that no one has ever heard of. An aging fanbase hangs on for words of wisdom.

Silver-haired and silver-throated Sam Elliott’s Hero cowboy must face the grim diagnosis of his doctor and still maintain his star quality and prideful heroism. This is a masterful job of movie-making—but likely will be wasted on young viewers. It will resonate with generations of long ago.

 

Broken John Garfield in The Breaking Point

DATELINE:  Lost & Forgotten Movies

Garfield

Of the legendary Blacklist victims of old Hollywood, one of the most tragic is actor John Garfield, a star not much thought of nowadays. He died too young, but he would have been even bigger before another decade passed if only he had lived.

He had a career often playing tough guys with a conscience, often in socially redeeming movies. Clifford Odets wrote Golden Boy for him, but he never played it. Elia Kazan was a buddy, but never directed him. Garfield’s last role, before he was forced off the screen in 1951, was The Breaking Point, based on an Ernest Hemingway tale.

As you might expect, Garfield played an independent owner of a small fishing boat that rented out to corrupt businessmen on holiday.

Needing money, Garfield’s character succumbs to dealing in human contraband, bringing illegal aliens into the United States from Mexico. The story almost seems ripped from present-day headlines.

Featuring Juano Hernandez as his partner, a daring cross-color friendship in the middle of the McCarthy era, Garfield’s hero must deal with temptations of corruption. Patricia Neal, in her blonde vamp role, is hard-hearted nemesis, tempting the hero from his wife.

Garfield suffered from a rheumatic heart in the days before medications and procedures—and yet he often played the action hero. Throw in the stresses he suffered personally from the House on Un-American Activities, and you have a shortened life.

The film treads on noir ground, and it plays as cultural realism too. It seems a contradiction coming from the macho-Hemingway mode, but this is a tale of honor with filmmakers who wanted to be relevant as well as entertaining.

Today The Breaking Point stands as a movie way ahead of its time.

 

 

Brady’s Former Bunch

DATELINE:  Back-ups to Tom

 

Sunday was a football day without much interest unless you like to sing the National Anthem while everyone stands.

Of most interest to us, three of Tom Brady’s former backups were the starting football games for other teams.

We suspect Tom was caught up in the NFL Red Zone, trying to keep tabs on his former acolytes. They range in age to young pup to old-timer. Brady was their senior, going back to the beginning.

The most successful of these QBs was the most recent of these. We speak of Jacoby Brissette, now the starting quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts. He is a temporary replacement and back up for Andrew luck, but probably looks like he deserves to be the starter.

Alas, the curse of Tom Brady is to always be the back up.

Also playing against each other were Matt Cassel, the man who took Tom Brady’s place during the one season Tom was injured. And Brian Hoyer who has kicked around for some time and is now starting for the San Francisco Deplorable 49ers. He replaces that unemployed Kapernaeck kneeler.

It’s nice to know there is life after Tom. However, for Tom, life begins at 40, whereas for the rest, it will end in the NFL much sooner.

These former Patriots form a trio that should give Jimmy Garrapolo some sense of confidence that one day he too shall start a game somewhere in the NFL.

However, if we saw anything from the fate of three Brady back ups, it was that it is a difficult task to follow in the footsteps of Tom Brady. After studying him for years, these quarterbacks still cannot ambulate like the greatest of all-time.

They are about as memorable as the trio Nat King Cole dumped when he went solo.

Sad to say, Cassel, Brissette, and Hoyer, may have already had their day in the sun. Alas, their day in the sun was a day in the shadow of Tom.

Is Trump a Moron?

DATELINE:  Smarting Insults

rex Smarty Pants Rex Tillerson

After Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declined to refute the accusation that he privately called President Donald Trump a “moron,” we have to investigate the ramifications.

Kim Jung Un recently called Mr. Trump a “dotard.” It seems to be open season on the mental state of the MAGA-low-maniac’s personality.

Both moron and dotard used to be early 20th century terms used by prototypical psychologists. Then, the unwashed, deplorable public took up the words—thus rendering them on the lighter side of slander and libel.

Dotard used to refer to someone with Old Timers’ Disease in the old days before punchy and punch-drunk went the way of medical diagnosis.

Moron was frequently a level of retardation before that went down the tubes to emerge as Downs’ Syndrome. A moron used to be someone with the intellectual acuity of a ten-year-old. However, we have met some fairly sharp ten-year-olds—and feel that is a bum rap.

Our deplorable education system has finally resulted in a generation of deplorable voters electing a deplorable candidate. Let’s take quotes off the term moron.

Well, you know the term is often lumped in with idiot, imbecile, fool, clod, dullard, nitwit, dumbbell, jerk, and the all-purpose loser. It’s a big tent of disparaging terms proving all roads lead to Rome. You don’t need GPS to figure out that the map is littered with wrong turns.

We know Mr. Trump is lost in there somewhere. However, we have concluded he is most likely to respond to his favored sobriquet: son of a bitch, often used to delineate and denote NFL football players who have arthritic knees or pray for deliverance from “rednecks.”  But that’s another story.

Patriots Go to Hurricane Ravaged Tampa

DATELINE: Ill Winds in Tampa

off off-season

Thursday night in Tampa, the Patriots will lick their wounds and try to make former thug Jameswhatsis Winston pay for his past sins as a serial woman abuser. We doubt the defense is up to the job as morality police.

In the meantime, the Pats may want to visit one of the local hoosegows. It seems Jonas Gray, their one-game phenom of 2014, spent some time there recently for failing to pay for his child support.

Gray, the standup comic who failed to make Bill Belichick laugh, had one great game—and was benched for arrogance before Belichick, in his infinite wisdom, cast him adrift.

Gray became invisible and fell into disrepute faster than you can spell Kolin Kaepernick korrectly.

In the meantime, the Pats took off from Rhode Island for the land where a hurricane named Irma (or was it Harvey?) tested Trump’s ability to help white people survive a disaster.

We learned through special snooping that Tom Brady had a reserved seat in the front row of the new private Patriot jet. It’s the row with the most legroom. Yes, the seats on JetKraft are numbered with the player number. #12 is actually #1.

We did our crack work, but not on crack, to learn that the man sitting next to Tom was fellow captain and sweetheart of a moral goodness, Matthew Slater. Matthew has not played much this season, owing to injury, but he is keeping Julian Edelman’s seat warm.

Owners and coaches are in what would be considered first-class, where Kraft also has a bedroom where he can sleep well after berating his friend,  President and Lord of the Flies, Donald Trump.

In the meantime, the Pats have escaped Dodge City in Foxboro where their team is under siege. It now seems the NFLPA has called the new fake sod at Gillette “borderline actionable.” Talk about fake news.

We wonder if new turf will await the Pats during the Thanksgiving game when they conduct their world tour of disaster areas: Mexico City, earthquake central, is their next hot spot on the road.

Russian Agents in The Serpent

DATELINE: Cold War Star Vehicle Still Resonates

the serpent

If deals with the Russians worries you, we found the perfect movie: The Serpent, a movie from the height of the Cold War that you may have missed. We are not sure it even played in American theatres.

We remain stunned by the stellar cast:  Henry Fonda, playing the head of the CIA, a version of Allen Dulles; his counterpart from England, in the person of Dirk Bogarde, and Farley Granger as Fonda’s aide-de-camp. Also around is 1940s star Robert Alda (yes, Alan’s father) as an interrogator of Russian defector Yul Brynner. Virna Lisi is around as  femme fatale. This concoction was directed by French master Henri Verneuil.

This is wishful John LeCarre, pulled from the bottom drawer of your spy genre. Yet, it is compelling to see the stars walking through the CIA headquarters in the age before computers.

We loved the scene of Brynner wired up for a lie detector test. He has more cables on him than an Xfinity technician, including a facial harness that Mr. Ed once wore.

We are shown the hard-working CIA agents at Langley—and it is hard work because they have to read stacks of newspapers and listen to radio broadcasts. There are computers in the CIA, but forget unobtrusiveness. These computers pre-date Marshall McLuhan. Not one is smaller than a two-story house.

Brynner plays one of the Kremlin bigwigs thrown out of power by Brezhnev in the mid-1960s—and he has plenty to tell the Americans, if they deign to trust him.

The Russians were pulling the wool over the eyes of Americans when Trump was a young entrepreneur without a thought of collusion.

By lending their considerable presence to the shenanigans, you have something more than a low-budget spy drama. We hesitate to call it a thriller. It could more rightly be labelled a sleeper. We certainly enjoyed it.

Patriots First Class Jet Set

DATELINE:  Off They Go into the Wild Blue Yonder

The New England Patriots may look like they are a tank job, but they are soon to be privately airborne.

Yes, the Trump jet has nothing on the AirKraft, owned by Patriot billionaire Robert Kraft who surely took his ideas from flying on Air Force One with President Trump.

The Patriots will take their first road trip in the newest former American Airlines superjet, now fitted to accommodate wide seat players with more leg room and wider seats than you have in normal first-class.

Never mind that the Pats are beginning to look like a bad coach’s idea of a team.

The new Pat jet has enough room for all players, coaches, and hangers-on. There is a lounge area, and even a bedroom for the president: we mean President Kraft as they wend their way to Tampa to play on Thursday.

The jet took out 250 seats and made more luxurious rows for the backfield.

Customized and rebuilt, the new Patriot transportation is better than their defensive unit, that will fly in the tail end, and soon on the wing, according to Bill Belichick, unless they improve.

take off

Tom Brady has a special spot to allow him the space for his retinue (that’s a posse for a near billionaire GOAT).

We await the news on which players will be allowed to sit next to Tom; it’s already a dogfight on the bench at Gillette.

No, we have not heard whether the media will be given accommodations in the cargo hold with the dirty uniforms.

Boston Celtics Unveil Third Big Three

DATELINE:  Here We Go Again, Hopefully

whats not to like?

Nouveau Celtics: Hayward and Irving, Alphabetically

After a long hiatus, we returned to watching The Boston Celtics again.

They do look rather exciting this season, which may take the sting off the stink of the Patriots.

On top of that, the Celtics don’t take a knee during the national anthem. They may be more interested in making the Celtics great again, not making Trump look good.

There is a new big three in town.  Kyrie Irving surprises us by being find less sour than we remembered him on the Cleveland team, and Gordon Hayward is far more muscular than we remembered him on the Utah team. Combine them with our new old favorite Al Horford, and we feel like Bird, McHale, and Parrish, have just walked through that door. Well, Bird has returned: oh, wait, it’s Jabari Bird, not Larry.

Or perhaps we see a new version of Garnett, Pierce, and Ray Allen, if only they provide us with such soap opera drama.

Indeed, 2/3 of the Celtics roster is totally new. We couldn’t recognize anyone. Trader Danny Ainge has brought back only four young players, but even they look like Celtics of the future. We refer to Jaylen Brown, the new number seven, and Jayson Tatum, the new big zero. Red Sox star Mookie Betts showed up to jump-start the inter-sports support.

These youngsters seem to be taking the places of memories we have of Rajon Rondeau and Avery Bradley.

The best came from announcer and Hall of Famer, always amusing, 83-year-old Tommy Heinsohn. He said he had seen the new center, bullish Aron Baynes in the shower, and he represented the big continent of Australia in sheer size.

Heavens, can things be looking up from Down Under?

What Price Glory? Bees’ Knees Have It

DATELINE: Trump’s Magical Misdirections

trump apron strings

The NFL anthem protest is a tempest in a teapot. Trump is dealing with more Teapot Dome tempests than any president since Warren G. Harding.

You might think there is no possible resolution to the knee-jerk reaction of Donald Trump to NFL protesting players. Forget them not: Basketball of the NBA is on the horizon where the lives of black players matter big.

When Trump notes that NFL owners are afraid of their plantation slaves, we are reminded that such a mentality was quite prevalent in the early 19th century among cotton-picking businessmen. Like any good magician, Trump is misdirecting his audience away from his sleight of hand, like a Mississippi riverboat charlatan.

So, the NFL has called in team captains and owners for a meeting of the minds. Fear is a great equalizer.

Roger Goodell met on Thursday with Devin McCourty and Matthew Slater, two New England Patriot leaders—and with owner Robert Kraft. Tom Brady seems to have taken a powder with his MAGA hat.

Powers that be may well be worried over the few knuckleheads who have burned their team jerseys with blow torches and have sworn never to watch another football game.

We don’t believe it. These followers of social media are like junkyard dogs, barking up a storm, but in the heady days of Super Bowl hype, we feel they will find their mettle melted.

Perhaps football Sunday should be immune from politics and inflammatory rhetoric. Fat chance with the Lord of the Flies Donald Trump tweeting out with presidential flair and Dumbo abandon.

Arm-in-arm, solidarity against racism would seem to be a no-brainer, though some conservatives feel the venue is inappropriate. Yet, their message is lost in a blinding white-out storm.

Anticipated more than victory may be the pre-game anthem, a place in America where black men have risen to fame and fortune while the majority of their peers face daily worry that a stray bullet may end their black and bleak lives.

If Russian agents exploited ‘Black Lives Matter’ to win a national election for the Lord of the Flies, you can bet your bottom dollar that, as that Fenway Park sign told a few weeks back, racism is as American as football and baseball, not to mention basketball.

 

Stranger Bedfellow: Peyton Manning

DATELINE:  Super Bowl Hay Woven into Political Gold

At one point during the heyday of Tom Brady, way back when he was young, everyone thought that the future for Tom Brady, Donald Trump’s quondam friend would be a career in politics. He had the red hat and he had the swagger.

Trump even lobbied him as a husband for Ivanka a dozen years ago. Tom’s certainly a better catch than Jared Kushner.

There was inevitable talk he would seek a role in political office in Massachusetts, though the state is probably a tad more liberal for him than his actual politics. Tom doesn’t need deodorant because avocado ice cream smells better than it looks.

However, the Trump people may be more delighted with that pizza-slinging huckster-cum-politician Peyton Manning.

The man who plays more golf with Trump than Brady is a rank conservative icon. Yes, word is out that Tennessee may be needing a new senator next year–and Peyton Manning has a “Hail Mary” chance and pass in his future.

Considered highly popular among those who never kneel except in church, and well-known not just for his on-field antics, but his off-field commercials, he knows something about sound bites.

Jingles and jingoism are not alien to Peyton. Nationwide Insurance and health care are up his passer rating. Just ask him to hum a bar or two.

We wait to discover whether his conservative ultra-right positions will sit well with the American public in general.  We know they will likely sit quite well in Tennessee, where the Beverly Hillbillies originally hailed—and where bluegrass is unusually red around the neck.

Politics makes strange bedfellows, and nothing could be stranger than to find Tom Brady still playing in the NFL– and Peyton Manning in the United States Senate.

Lord of the Flies: Donald Trump

 DATELINE:  Free Speech & Concussed Politicians

lord

North Korea has it wrong. Trump is not the Commander-in-Grief. He is the Lord of the Flies, the William Golding horror reborn.

NFL fans of the game may be coming to a rather harsh realization. Freedom of speech cuts. Two ways. They were counter-free speechified by the players on Sunday.

You may boo your least favorite players in the stadium and to their face as they score winning points to help your team. Then, cheers. What manner is this hypocrisy?

On the other hand,  players have a right to express their feelings as well. We think they ought to just thumb noses, instead of a respectful knee to the ground. Save that for the bully-pulpit fans.

You may not like seeing players kneel during Our National Anthem.  It’s almost like praying for a better country.  Fat chance for that under the Lord of the Flies.

Mr. Trump is completely convinced that he would rather be right than president.  Trump is no Henry Clay when it comes to cold feet. He has performed no presidential feat greater than dividing the nation into red and blue. He leaves the white for separatist flags.

Perhaps his wish will be granted. We either will have the end of the world in a nuclear holocaust against another race of the Yellow Peril, or we will have a race war in America. In either case, you have to admit Trump has divided America in ways we haven’t seen since the Civil War.

Russian interference of the election is secondary to Trump hijacking of the Constitution.

Of course, we have come to expect the worst of NFL fans. They laugh and demean the idea of concussions. Ask Will Smith.

They watch gladiator athletes concussed weekly for entertainment. If memory serves, during the campaign President Trump scoffed at the idea of concussions for NFL players as a sign of weakness. Talk about brain bankruptcy.

All this goes to show that what goes around comes around, like Aaron Hernandez and Confederate resurrection.  It’s all in a day’s work for the Lord of the Flies.

Fences: Trite Metaphor Aside

DATELINE:  Denzel Directs

denzel & viola

Viola Davis & Denzel Washington: Superb Performances

Denzel Washington’s double duty in the movie version of August Wilson’s play Fences pays overtime.

Playing against heroic type, he comes across in the early scenes as an affable trash collector named Troy Maxson, living in Pittsburgh in the 1950s. His demeanor seemingly hides a disappointed life, as his great talent as a baseball player was over before desegregation of the major baseball leagues.

As a result, he is deeply bitter that his life did not conjoin with the times. Though he seems to take the losses in life well, with easy banter with his wife, brilliant Viola Davis, we begin to see there is far more below the surface.

His family bristles under his demand for respect, compensating for what he feels is missing as his due from society.

He has spent time in prison and has sons by different women, though his younger son with Rose (Viola Davis) also wants to play football in college, which he irrationally refuses to allow.

His friend Bono (Stephen Henderson) witnesses the behavior helpless, until he too gives up on the missing humanity in his friend.

Under Washington’s direction, the film seems bigger, but he does it with a narrow play-like focus to reveal what a heel, misunderstood, Troy truly is.

When, ultimately. he betrays his long-suffering wife, Viola Davis is able to provide a powerhouse performance.

Perhaps he is a victim of harsh social conditions, especially racism in baseball, but what he demands of his family may be cause for true alienation, though they bear with him.

Thoughtful, well-acted films are usually from the 1950s when socially-conscious dramas were common. This film is set back then and matches the quality of old-fashioned movie-making.

Patriot ‘Sons of Bitches’

DATELINE:  Tom Brady’s Bitch Teammates

 34 missing 34 Missing Patriots

After President Trump called NFL player protesters against racial violence a bunch of sons of bitches who should be fired for having a political viewpoint, many NFL players as well as another sports figures have responded vehemently.

Team owners have joined their players in calling the President a divisive and ridiculous provocateur.  They also think he is a detriment to the unity of the nation. This squares with Tom Brady hater Roger Goodell. We would point out these owners are fellow billionaires and true equals of President Trump. You, dear reader, are not an equal in the new American democracy of Mr. Trump.

In terms of the lower-level millionaires who play for the NFL and NBA, many of them have taken umbrage with being labeled sons of bitches for kneeling in meditation during the national anthem. Oh, say, TV cameras won’t see them as the media never covers Sunday “Star-Spangled Banner” renditions.

Perhaps we too have become sick of the entire protest movement, or just tired of the hullabaloo. In any respect, we seem to be less bothered now than ever before by kneeling athletes. We seem more concerned with black lives being of no matter.

It is interesting that among the Patriots of New England, there is an official silence. Since fellow billionaire Robert Kraft is a dinner guest, jet-set flying Trump equal, there is no disparity between them.

Yet, Coach Belichick and Tom Brady (other Trump supporters) have also been quiet about which of their teammates are truly sons of bitches. 34 refused to go to the lily White House in April.

Devin McCourty, one of the captains of the team and one of the players who refused to go to the White House in April for an honor to Trump, gave a namby-pamby response to the President who inferred he was a son of bitch. You can’t find yourself in Belichick’s doghouse. Thus, silence reigns.

Many of the others who refused to go to the White House have now left the Patriots for other teams where they can protest and kneel to their hearts’ content.

We will be watching closely today to see which Patriots are truly sons of bitches and will report back to you.