Timely Episode 5 for Tom Brady

DATELINE:  An Affair to Remember

brady back

On the day of the ignominious Super Bowl that will live in infamy as the Last Hurrah of so many coaches, Tom Brady chose to release #5 of his Tom Versus Time vanity project.

What Brady never fully understood about his six-part documentary series is that all is vanity when his speaks about his personal philosophy like he was Henry David Thoreau facing a lockup for failure to pay taxes in Brookline.

Right from the get-go, he tells the audience he is tyring to find the deeper purpose of life and and live it in the episode called “The Spiritual Game,” which likely amused Zen-Buddhists everywhere.

Alas, Tom Brady comes across as self-centered in his egocentric universe. He is looking for miracles and magic and finds them only in pro sports. He has had a 27-year affair with football, and his wife approves.

The insights begin 8 weeks before the season in Costa Rica where Brady goes to surf, learning “not to fight Mother Nature.” His Argeninian wife loves it there, and it is tropical and quite in contrast to the coldest game he has ever played in during December.

Narrative jumps over 15 weeks in a flash, and Tom admits life goes by fast: but really, this fast?

Tom knows he is a public figure and withholds paying attention to those distractions. He cannot waste his precious energy on media trivia, except to make a documentary.

“I’m gonna determine what’s important for me,” he tells his fans. Clearly, everything else comes in second to self-importance.

Tom and Patriots lost Super Bowl LII—and the final episode has been withheld to deal with that ugly fact.

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Brady’s Tell-All, Episode Two

DATELINE:  A Shakespearean Life of Tom

 tom & julie practice

Tom Brady’s autobiographical miniseries, Tom Versus Time, continues to hit the hot airwaves in the days before the Super Bowl.

The problem with tell-all documentaries that don’t tell much is that friends are not viewers. Viewers are enemies, and they are looking for chinks in the armor, blatant deceptions, errors of judgment, and sundry revelations of the unexpected.

In that way, Brady continues to deliver the goods in the second episode of his self-indulgent rumination.

This show is about his mental game. He is on the down-slide of chess, not checkers. He must process and adapt it to a declining physical body. Tom House, the ex-Red Sox pitcher, advises him on the beach with Alex Guerrero and Julie Edelman doing the hard work (the only one shirtless and shoeless), catching balls.

Tom watches all day tape and film two or three days per week.  His book sits neatly on his desk, in one product placement silliness. He can watch game tape five hours at a time. It’s an addiction. He’s an addict. He sees his losses as a Gong Show with layers of scar tissue. Like an elephant, he lumbers to the finish line.

Brady tells how he often wants to kill Josh McDaniels, and vice versa. That’s love.

Few names or faces are identified because the only one that matters is Tom who struts and frets about being a poor player upon the stage, waiting for tomorrow’s game after a loss.

Tom House ruminates about aging and dusty death, and Tom regards past Super Bowl failures as a walking shadow. In between his tale of sound and fury, he films a commercial for a luxury car with his son at his side at his palatial feudal estate.

This stuff cannot be made up.

Celtics Usurp Patriots in Season Finale

 DATELINE: Sunny Tzu in Boston

Tatum, Gronk, Kyrie

In one of the great anticlimaxes of Patriot history, the Tom Brady team defeated the New York Jets in less than impressive fashion than your usual worthless score numbers.

The really exciting moment was a TV commercial in the middle of the game.

If anyone enjoyed playing in one of the coldest games in Foxboro in a generation, they did not show it. The game was a job for players, and a task for fans who stayed away because it was New Year’s Eve and about ten degrees on the field.

Brady was the smartest man on the field, wearing a Navy Seal scuba outfit under his uniform, while some dumb-bells went out shirtless in pre-game to show their manhood is a match for pneumonia.

It didn’t matter, as the Patriots would win the home field advantage, despite Gronk’s notable absence during the game. He never caught a pass and made a few blocks—and seemed gone to the sidelines for nearly all the second half.

If Gronk made any impression during the game, it was his participation in a most intriguing commercial ad for Nike. The highlight of the game was the one-minute spot that brought together three key sports personalities in Boston sports culture:  Jayson Tatum, Kyrie Irving, and Gronk.

It certainly explained Gronk’s presence courtside at a Celtics game this week. The three stars shared the stage for a commercial debut during the Patriots’ game.

Gronk read Sun Tzu, the great philosopher of warfare, and Irving indicated his philosophical bent was more on a cartoon level.

Jayson Tatum was around to look pretty.

Ah, Boston culture.  Irving misidentified some musical group behind him as the “Boston Philharmonic,” meaning the Pops or Boston Symphony wouldn’t participate.

It put a shoddy, last regular season game into perspective: it’s time for a New Year, and a new chapter.

 

 

Last Days of Warner Oland: On Anniversary of Death

DATELINE: Charlie Chan & Curry College

WO Oland in character

Ten years ago a little documentary biography was put together on actor Warner Oland. It can be found online.

We have long been a fan of his gentle, Method-acting style, immersing himself into playing (and living life) as the legendary Charlie Chan, Earl Derr Biggers’s famous detective.

Oland, with his exotic name, was the first and best of all the Chans—so much so that many thought he was Asian. His heavy eyelids made him look the part. However, he was born in Sweden, next to Garbo, one of their earliest American immigrants to acting.

Oland loved playing Chan, and even gave interviews in character—but his drinking problem seemed to have exacerbated with a doomed marriage in 1938.  On the set of his last film Charlie Chan Ringside, he simply walked off the studio lot and disappeared.

The movie was shelved, and Oland went back to his native Sweden in the pre-war turmoil of Nazi troubles. There, welcomed home by Swedes, he caught pneumonia and died. His last Chan film was Charlie Chan in Monte Carlo, a delightful performance. His close friend Keye Luke loved him as a Number One son might! Oland was cultured and cerebral.

Oland caught our attention years earlier, of course, on old-TV film festivals—but our real fascination came when we discovered he graduated from Curry College, then located in Boston as an elocution/speech school for actors.

We cut our own teeth at Curry for 30 years as a professor, of film studies, no less.

When we watched a Chan film this week, we went to the ubiquitous Youtube to find all our favorites. To our shock, we learned Warner Oland died 79 years ago the day we found a slight biographical movie called Charlie Chan is Missing: the Last Days of Warner Oland.

Charming and mysterious, Oland preferred his home in central Massachusetts, not far from our preferred home, and his wife had his body brought back to Southboro where his gravestone was the step to his beloved home in that town.

The film is short and chock full of info, but the clues to Warner Oland’s strange character disappeared with him.

Sumo Like It Hot for Tom Brady

DATELINE: Great Wall of China Meets Great Brady

sumo like it hot

When Under Armor sends Tom Brady around the world in eight days, you can expect some great moments.

Phileas Finn had his sidekick, and Tom Brady had his young son along for the ride.

So, the Greatest of All Time in football quarterbacking met the Greatest of All Time in Walls. It was enough to make President Trump jealous. Or, perhaps Tom was there to give Trump a report on how well walls work in the world.

Great Wall Meets Great Brady

Sublime met the ridiculous again when Brady decided to doff his shirt (not stolen by agents of North Korea) and do a tag team wrestling match against some heavyweight Sumo guys.

Tom is not quite the Pillsbury Doughboy when it comes to muscle, but he is not Arnold either. He posed, rather ill-advisedly with Sumo wrestlers in their diaper wraps. Tom had the good taste to wear his patented sleepwear pantaloons.

Some Brady groupies are agog at the fleshpot photos of Brady among the Sumos.  We are less impressed that Sumo like it hot.

Pictures like these generally come back to haunt. In this case, it may never go away long enough to be missed. We may take a long time to try to expunge the image from our memory banks.

We can’t imagine that Tom will sell his sleepware to many wrestlers who seem to revel in having their hot flesh bare in bed.

We aren’t sure who is advising Tom on this latest cavort. At least he managed to escape the clutches of his own Passepartout, Julian Edelman, for a few days.

A Bridge Too Far to Play

DATELINE:  Gamblers Anonymous

Our Bridge Team Under Fire!

As an avid bridge player, you have to worry about the latest crackdown. The card game is now bridge over troubled waters.

Senior citizens in Thailand were arrested for being dummies.

The actual suspected crime is gambling, but the oldsters were arrested for having illegal playing cards. Perhaps it was the deck with pictures of Playboy bunnies—or some other sexual deviance well known to Thailand.

Bridge is best played nowadays with a computer that holds all three hands—and surrenders to you when it is your partner as dummy. We suspect Roger Clemens, A-Rod, and Barry Bonds all play bridge.

We have found that computers cheat at bridge. And, everyone knows that computers are programmed by cheating human beings. Machines come naturally into the world as innocents (sort of like playing cards). It is the environment that corrupts games and cards.

Just ask the skilled experts who guess winners of the NFL each week on  FanDuel or DraftKings. The corruption quotient is creeping in from the coasts. Hawaii is now joining New York in banning these games of corrupt chance.

We never thought you could make millions playing bridge.  Now that the word is out, we expect more young people under age forty will buy a deck of cards and build their empire.

We have decided to cancel any notion of a trip to Thailand. It joins Hawaii and New York as places that are kill-joys when it comes to get rich quick schemes.

Was Bernie Madoff a bridge player? We wouldn’t be surprised.

Trump Follows the Money to Win War

DATELINE:   SUNNY TZU, The Twitter War

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Donald Trump showed once again what a master of logic and history he is. When asked his plan to fight ISIS, he said it was important to cut off their money supply: oil. He would look to their funding and put his fight there. If that meant using Twitter, he would make it a war machine.

The last brilliant war technician and business mogul who used this strategy was Sun Tzu. Yes, the ancient war philosopher who knew that war was expensive and costs were the central consideration.

You go for the jugular, which Trump correctly identifies as oil, which has made ISIS so well oiled in its war machine. Trump would take their oil and look at other banking sources that keep ISIS well stocked.

If you put boots on the ground, they should be used with due diligence to stop the money flow.

Someone is funding ISIS, and to find that culprit is to cut the head off the snake.

Not many media, nor his opponents, has a grasp on the Chinese military strategist whose opinions of winning war have been used by acute businessmen too.

We doubt that many of the other candidates are familiar with Sun Tzu and, if asked, probably think it is a Florida resort area for senior citizens.

Trump said follow the money and then cut off its flow. He is correct!! The ancient Chinese General Sun Tzu said war is the most expensive undertaking of a country or government’s leader and Isis is FULLY FUNDED.

Few on this planet control that type of wealth—but Trump knows who they are.  He will follow the money and let the truth be told and with it the heavens of the desert kingdom fall. You want to crush ISIS and castrate it from its money sources.