Ten Little Celtics—and Then There Were None!

DATELINE:  A Disappearing Act

whats not to like?

Like the proverbial Ten Little Indians of Agatha Christie, the Boston Celtics seem to be in reduction mode. Another has bit the dust, leaving only the minor benchwarmers to step up, like the other Boston team, the Patriots.

One after another, their new Big Three has gone away. First, there was a gruesome injury to Gordon Hayward. Next, Al Horford suffered a concussion, and now a few games later, Kyrie Irving, the lynchpin of the renewed Celtics has gone out with a concussion. Return unknown.

This has happened with the background of an amazing winning streak, surely one of the great starts of any Celtics team (which is impressive). They have now won 11 straight games after two initial defeats.

Theirs is the best record in the NBA—and their players are disappearing faster than on a 2017 Patriots team. In that case, we can trace the bad luck of the New England team to the arrogant breaking of a mirror, deliberately, by superstar GOAT Tom Brady.

We aren’t sure who broke the mirror on the Celtics team. Even one of their vaunted rookies, Jayson Tatum, went out for a game with a mysterious ankle injury. However, Tatum remains the new Larry Bird, or are we cursing him too?

Superstars come out of nowhere and instantly stay bright for a career. Tatum has shown no rookie insecurity and plays like a veteran—thus, the Celtics have managed to survive their string of bad luck.

Throw in Jalen Brown, the other intriguing young star, and you have Destiny with a capital D running away from Fate with a capital F.

 

We watch in awe.

 

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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.

Nero Trump: USFL’s Revenge

DATELINE: The Sky is Falling

 USFL

Nero Trump with his USFL star Hershel Walker

If the New England Patriots played in a domed stadium, we would be tempted to say the roof is caving in.

Instead, we are more like a giant Chicken Little, running around, in a panic, reporting to Patriot fans everywhere.  We wish we could be more like William Dawes or Paul Revere, making that midnight ride.

We would be calling out as we rode down Mass. Ave. in Cambridge, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”

In the Foxboro Empire of the once powerful and mighty New England Patriots, it’s beginning to look a lot like the fall of the Roman Empire.  The Huns are at the gates of Gillette Stadium, and it is no longer a safe haven where Patriots could their victories.

Our latest Caesar, Emperor Nero Trump, our lord of the flies, is presiding over the fall season. And the Patriots are in for a big fall.

Robert Kraft, member of the Three Stooge NFL owners’ consortium, may need to Stooges take a knife to his bath where all good members of the NFL family of owners cut their wrists.

It’s beginning to look like the NFL needs to find a Spartacus to stand up to Laurence Olivier Trump.

In the meantime, the Patriots are in decline as Roger Goodell always wanted. Yet, his intentions may be thwarted by the President who once was blackballed by the NFL and not allowed to own a team like the Patriots. Who remembers the USFL?  Perhaps only Donald Nero Trump.

With his Patriot friends, Nero Trump is out for blood from the NFL.  If you recall, some decades ago, they froze him out of the owners’ circle and denied his attempt to become an NFL owner in 1986 with his USFL team.

Revenge is sweet, three decades later for the President who was denied a chance to own an NFL team like the Patriots.

Classic Tale of Hockey Returns After a Long Hiatus

DATELINE:  Sordid Sports Fiction

kindlerinkrats

After twenty years and a long time out of print, the best novel on the sport of hockey has returned for readers, new and old. Rink Rats is a shocker still. It’s now an e-book and will be available in paperback soon.

Based on life during one college season during the 1990s, Mike Tortorella’s story continues to be controversial and revealing.  Mobie Monaco, the erstwhile captain of a rag-tag bunch that follows his lead into depths of depravity, narrates his life-story.

With hockey players enjoying a long-established reputation as the wild men of sports, you can certainly expect an adult tale of moral turpitude. Tortorella’s tale is a spiritual journey above all else, whether it is a quest for a championship, or a test of one’s moral character.

The story is built around the effort to commit every deadly sin they can encounter and break every Commandment that is set in stone. All the time there is an interesting parallel to Melville’s voyages. Far more metaphoric, the characters are like rats leaving a sinking ship, but are more familiar as the young players who hang around hockey rinks and become enamored of the lifestyle. This is NOT a young-adult novel.

The original story keeps its freshness and provides insights into the daily life, practice, and play on and off ice that can only come from someone who was there.

You may think the novel will only appeal to a certain fan of a political stripe, but self-knowledge is indeed a dangerous avenue to pursue. We aren’t sure how much of the tale is completely true—and how much of it is so unbelievable as to be utterly true.

These rough-and-tumble players are not figure skaters guilty of icing, but you will experience their notorious escapades. In the final analysis, as Tortorella’s book states, “The great shroud of the ice age rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago.”  The human condition is indeed timeless as seen in one breathtaking season at a New England college.

 

Is Aaron Hernandez Mansion Haunted?

DATELINE:  Ghosts at Home

armlessinattleboro  Police Remove Hernandez from N. Attleboro Home in 2013.

Realtors hate to answer this question because it puts a damper on buying possibilities.

Shortly after he was taken away on murder charges, his common law wife moved out. The house owned by the convicted killer of Odin Lloyd has basically been empty and on the market since then. This week the house listing price was dropped over $200,000 to the price Hernandez originally paid:  $1.3 million.

The North Attleboro house may indeed be haunted, not only by Hernandez, but by one of his victims who spent time there: Mr. Lloyd, the murder victim.

Having lived in a haunted house, we know something about the likelihood. Unlike the Hernandez case, our realtors did not know that our home was part of the estate of two victims who died on the Titanic. We quickly learned the house was not exactly empty—and investigation showed who might be here exactly.

Our spirits are friendly, probably loved the street they lived on—but true ghosts are bound to a location from their lives. They are likely trapped on Earth, refusing to move on to another astral plane.

Apart from prospective buyers, the only people who have spent time at the Hernandez house in North Attleboro were jurors, judge, and lawyers from the first murder trial. No one wants to give the house an overnight stay. We wonder what could be there to prevent visitors from making a permanent home in the mansion.

Even in our house, there was initial resistance from the spirits who knocked down hanging pictures and made bizarre noises. They still take umbrage at unexpected company. We have had overnight guests who heard footsteps coming to their bed—checking them out before moving away to another part of the house.

Is Aaron Hernandez still stalking the rooms of his North Attleboro manse?  We wait for the brave souls who choose to live there to give us the answer.

 

Author William Russo has written two books on the subject:  The Strange Case of Aaron Hernandez and Haunting Near Virtuous Spring, about ghosts from the Titanic at his own home.

Worrying for Tom Brady’s Safety

DATELINE:  Through the Looking Glass

 smashing mirror

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, who is fairer than Tom Brady?

There’s always a young QB on the rise, living in the woods next to a huntsman waiting for a Heisman.

When the Patriot icon takes a hammer to smash his own image to bits in a looking glass on Facebook, we feel like Tiny Alice, ready to start chasing white rabbits.

Tom has turned into the Mad Hatter.  Has he been inhaling mercury as part of his health regimen?

You don’t fool around with mirrors when you’ve had Botox treatments. You don’t smash your own image when you’ve spent plenty to achieve that boyish forever look that cost Somerset Maugham a whole lotta goat hormone treatments.

Tom Brady wants to show he can fly in the fickle face of fate. Madden Hatter 18, be damned.

Tom is a man of science—and he has put all his eggs into the basket of cosmetology, or is that cosmology?

We keep forgetting whenever we see a pretty face.

We cannot imagine Gronk or Julie E smashing a mirror. They know the price of good looks is too high to throw away. Tom has millions to burn, or his wife does.

We desperately hope Tom will not swap his ruby red slippers for a pair of Uggs.  The Wicked Witch of the West, aka Roger Goodell, may be waiting along the Yellow Brick Road.

We hope Tom will drop that Brookline mansion on Goodell’s head. It may be his only salvation after the broken mirror crisis.

 

 

 

 

Playoffs for Patriots Already?

 DATELINE:  Celtics Fans Line Up

Thomas & Tom IT4 & TB12

You know it’s playoff time in Boston. The Patriots are there again. But, wait, this time they are at the TD Boston Garden! No, it’s not a celebration of the Super Bowl.

The Patriots are there for the Celtics. Yes, there seemed to be as many Pats sitting courtside as there were Celtics playing the game.

Former Patriot LaGarrette Blount was there—as he has all season—sitting about as close to Coach Bill Belichick as he may find himself this season.

Two out of three quarterbacks were in the building: Jimmy G, flashing a sign to fans on the Jumbotron, and Jacoby Brissett (we fondly call him Jackie Bissette after the 1970s movie star). Tom may not show up until LeBron arrives.

Since Isaiah went to a Pats game in a Brady jersey, you can expect some kind of reciprocal gesture from Tom.

You could see Julian Edelman next to the bench of Celtics and texted out how it’s time to “bleed Green.”

Julian roommate and punter Chad Allen came along. So were newcomers Stephen Gilmore and Brandin Cooks, receiving ovations from the crowd in their first Boston public appearance.

Rob Ninkovitch & Jamie White sat there too.  Owner Bob Kraft joined hands with NFL union boss, DeMaurice Smith.

Belichick waved a Celtics jersey to stir up the crowd into a frenzy of four-letter words that did not spell love for the Washington Wiz.

We suspect that when LeBron hits town when the Celtics move on, you will find the big guns showing up.

White House Fiasco for Patriots

34 missing

34 Missing Patriots Shamed Team, Country, & Themselves

Pats owner Bob Kraft announced that he gave $1million to the Trump election committee before he showed up to the White House for a celebration with President Donald Trump.

Kraft will not miss a White House Rose Garden meeting in order to receive his money’s worth out of the Trump connection.

On the other hand, Tom Brady was not there. Yep, Tom is now citing personal reasons for bailing on a second presidential visit. He hopes, in a text message, to be at a future celebration. He really does expect to play until he is 50.

The stumble-bum contingent who have skipped spending an hour with President Trump just received cover from friendly fire from Tom. The shameful 34 are in his debt.

On top of avoiding a political firestorm, Tom avoided answering questions about his friendship with the late Aaron Hernandez who came to the end of his rope earlier in the day. The Patriots made no one available to the media who knew Hernandez.

We have assiduously avoided discussing the Patriot White House visit, but let’s face it: this may be the biggest watershed moment for the team in the Belichick years.

Believe it or don’t—Brady sent out hints that he was staying home with his parents on their wedding anniversary. Hunh?

However, the truth may be far more distressing: Brady chose not to go upon learning that Aaron Hernandez, a one-time California training partner, had committed suicide—and left a note to his gay prison lover (assiduously avoided topic in Boston’s sports media).

Tom dodged a subpoena with as much grace as he dodged any mention of his name in conjunction with Hernandez. The prosecutors did not want to touch the gay angle—nor the Brady angle to the murder story. If Coach Belichick could offer insights into Hernandez’s character, Brady could have offered much more.

So, President Trump hosted on the South Lawn a depleted Patriot squad. Criticism of the missing Patriots (numbering 34) made it the worst attended championship function ever hosted by a United States president in terms of personnel percentage.

When the New York Times raised the issue, the Patriots swung back with a hard tackle and insisted 40 members of the office entourage chose to remain in the audience rather than take a picture on the steps behind Mr. Trump. Hunh? That’s a most peculiar choice considering in 2015 everyone chose to be in the presidential photo.

The Times had to apologize for their story, though we cannot fathom why.

Jimmy G was the main QB featured over the right shoulder of Mr. Trump, and Julie E. was on the left shoulder, presumably in the spot where Brady would have stood. Jacoby Brissett was there, but released a letter to former President Obama almost immediately, asking for an audience with him.

Gronk was there, and interrupted an international press briefing in a strange move. Amendola was called out by the President for his contributions to the team. This error was made because Trump mentioned no one who skipped the ceremony (including Tom). Someone didn’t tell him that Amendola was at a funeral out of town.

Trump rightly praised often overlooked Patriots, but praised no one who was on the bubble with the team (like Malcolm Butler or missing James White).

All in all, it was a sour celebratory visit, though Mr. Kraft and Mr. Belichick smiled with half-hearted pleasure. The ghost of Hernandez and the ghost of political hatred marred the event.

For Pats fans, the less said, the better.

 

 

 

 

Celtics & Patriots Team Up

DATELINE: Homers

cousin-it

Boston sports teams love each other, but we’ve known that for a decade.

Most players are not hometown fans of the team for which they play. Neither Celtics, nor Patriots, are year-long Boston residents, but the mutual respect is really a result of the “everyone loves a winner” mentality.

The Patriots are perennial winners.  The Celtics seem to be also-rans. However, in good years, and in playoffs, you can find Patriots in attendance at the game. This season it is LaGarrette Blount in the front row on the parquet.

The Patriot who has set records on rushing TDs has been a big fan of Isaiah Thomas, the speedy fourth quarter scoring machine on the Celtics.

Blount was overwhelmed with a recent performance, cheering on the diminutive (think Welker, Edelman size) Celtics superstar. Isaiah is a Seattle resident and lifelong Seahawks fan—but when in Rome, you support Boston teams.

It moved Cousin IT to give Blount the jersey off his back at game’s end.

IN a fairplay move, IT went to the Patriots playoff game and was on the sidelines against the Houston team. He wore a Tom Brady jersey, #12, not Blount’s number. But, he was cheering the Patriots onward.

Coach Brad Stevens was also at Foxboro for the big game. Schedules are always part of the chance of attending another team’s game—and it will be interesting to see if Celtics can attend Sunday’s game.

Decent Al Horford Attacked for Paternity Leave

DATELINE:  Vile Radio Blabber at It Again

al-in-pastel Al in Pastel

Now we have heard it all.

During Monday’s Celtics game, we noticed that Al Horford was not there. DNP. We feared he had relapsed on his long suffering concussion, but no.

His wife gave birth to a daughter, his second child. He chose to be with them at this particular moment. What? You mean he gave up playing a regular season game and took the huge salary (which likely goes into a college trust for his new born child).

Yet, some rabid media radio hacks have attacked him for being insensitive to his contractual obligations—and the young men to whom he is an idol, a leader, and chief bromancer. That is, his teammates.

Quite frankly, we were surprised that cultured, well-spoken, charming private Al Horford was even married. He is a breath of fresh air among today’s denizens of the basketball court.

To give up a game (and take the money) for reasons that are not business has confounded media whores. We were reminded briefly of the day when Sandy Koufax declined to pitch a World Series game because his faith required him to attend to Yom Kippur.

Imagine that? The game that puts food on the table is secondary to “other things.” What would Lawrence of Arabia say to that?

We have come to enjoy every second of Al Horford on the parquet. He looks good even in pastel green, as well as shamrock green. He makes it look easy and is in full control. We are sad when he misses even a moment of a shift, but we do think there are indeed loyalties in life to “other things.”

Way Down Upon the Swami Belichick River

 DATELINE:  Inscrutable Bill

ALF

Belichick Mentor (in sweatshirt)

 Once again during a bye week, Patriots fans have taken umbrage with our terms of endearment.

Apparently it is just short of sacrilege to call Bill Belichick by the Hindu term “swami.”

Some people (of less than sharp mental acuity) have confused swami with Swanee. No, we are not comparing Bill Belichick to a Stephen Foster melody.  He is not like a pretty girl.

Those who live in the Boston area and drive over the Mystic River Bridge likely have a better grasp on the term “Swami Bill.”

And, no, it has nothing to do with receiving a bill for your tolls over the Mystic River.

To clarify, we might compare Swami Bill to Yogi Berra—or Yogi Bear.

They seem to be cut from the same sari cloth worn by fashion-plates like Harry Krishna.

For all you Dharma Bums, Bill Belichick seems to be holding on to some kind of satori, having epiphanies when it comes to player personnel. We have not yet put Bill Belichick into the marharishi category. We haven’t seen any pilgrimages by Lord Paul McCartney to the Foxboro mountain top. No, Bon Jovi doesn’t count.

We do know that the High Lama is named Brady, and the code word for Gillette is Shangri-La.

We are not even sure that Belichick has emulated Kerouac and written the road play book on a continuous roll of toilet paper. You wouldn’t understand it anyhow.

If you don’t know what’s going on with the Patriots, you are no Swami Bill.

 

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

two-cigars

 

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?”

Donald Trump Defines Locker Room Talk

 DATELINE: Talk, Talk, Talk

Trumped

What exactly is “locker room talk”?

We have been curious for years, as we constantly hear gossip about professional athletes. Their talk is likely more elevated than average locker room banter.

We suspect that pro athletes paid millions of dollars likely talk about their stockbrokers and killlings in the market. We are not sure whether this entails Bears or Bulls.

They could also discuss the billionaires who own them and their teams. These men (i.e., Mark Cuban) are like Donald Trump. They always seem to have more money than the players; no matter how much stars are compensated, they are hard-pressed to find a billion dollars in tax loss.

We know that Kevin Durant has said, outside the locker room, that Cuban is “a idiot.” Let’s mark that one sic, please. We know better. Players seldom call owners “geniuses.”

Some locker room talk centers on whether to stand, lock arms, or take a knee during the National Anthem. That may be tied into new discussions on the attractiveness of Ruth Bader Ginsburg who lately had disparaging words to speak of athletes in the Supreme Court locker room.

As far as talk about rape and women, we suspect that is limited to legal limits, such as the case of Derrick Rose and his friends who are presently in court, sued by a former girlfriend, for an unauthorized group sex.  Rack’em up.

Tom Brady’s locker room is different than most. He points downwind to the” low-rent” district in the Patriots locker room. Up in his neck of the woods, they discuss the merits of avocado ice cream.

Our survey of locker rooms has not quite vindicated Mr. Donald Trump for his snatch and grab approach to conversing. Half-naked and wholly naked men we think are more likely to contemplate their navels. We have rarely found a hands-on locker room.

Brady Does Not Meet Expectations in 1st Game Back!

 DATELINE: A Modest Performance

faux-brady

Tom Brady disappointed his fans in his first game back from Deflategate.

Instead of focusing on his two most reliable receivers (Gronk and Julie E), he threw the ball to seven or eight different players, thereby keeping individual yardage to minimum standards for all his offensive weapons.

He even threw passes successfully to rookies, thereby increasing their egos to a point where they will boast about the game for the rest of their natural lives.

On top of that, Brady failed to score on every drive. Leading only by 23 to 7 at the end of the first half simply fell short of all the predictions that pundits offered.

Brady also failed to perform a quarterback sneak when given the opportunity. It almost proved that the 40 year old QB is aging rapidly.

Everyone across the board expected Brady to throw for a thousand yards and eight touchdowns. When he failed to reach these levels, he was compared to Batman and Superman in their recent failed movie.

The only person who had a much worse day that Brady was his old friend Donald Trump.

If Brady continues to play like this, Rex Ryan will not be looking forward to Halloween this year when the Pats show up to trick or treat the Bills.

Nobody expected Brady to be perfect. Well, yes, everyone expected him to be perfect—even Tom himself.

In the fourth quarter Coach Bill Belichick removed Tom from the game and replaced him with Jimmy G, still suffering from a bad shoulder. Tom will likely be himself next week.