The Hunt: Billions for Defense

DATELINE: Not a Cent for Distribution

hunt

The new movie entitled The Hunt, which is loosely based on the Richard Connell classic story most dangerous game has been shelved or postponed from release. It’s been shot dead by Trump and his automatic trigger finger on Twitter.

It now appears that the story about a pre-Nazi survival list is now too hot for Hollywood.  They have been a number of versions over the years including some with ice cube being hunted or Joel McRae back in the 1930s .

There was a version in the mid 50s and one in the 40s .  The tail has always been a twist on a survival list white nationalist elitist crypto Nazi who has poor people because they are clever and they are the most dangerous game to hunt .

Now President Trump has attacked the film because he doesn’t like the idea that billionaires maybe hunting down poor average Americans, or worse immigrants. He calls this racism of the liberal sword.

This man has no sense of literature, of a Connell story written first in the 1920s as a metaphor of privilege gone mad. There have been versions every generation—like Billy the Kid tales. Each story fits the moment of its production.

If we are learning any lesson, it is that you cannot maligned the reputation of good men who just happened to be billionaires who own 90% of the world.

You’re insulting Trump’s friends who are holding fundraisers in the Hamptons led by the owner of the Miami Dolphins who happens to have 7 billion or bad craft, solicitor of prostitutes in massage parlors who happens to have $4 billion.

These people would never engage in a sport that hunted down the people who buy tickets Or would they?

 

 

Ten Conspire to Kill Ortiz!

DATELINE: Bounty Hunters Come Cheap in DR

ortiz-unleashed Bargain Basement Killers!

The price on David Ortiz’s head was reportedly only $6000 to be divided up by a dozen conspirator killers. Then, the number went up: no, not the bounty, but the number of plotters splitting the ante. The latest count from the Dominican Republic is there are ten co-conspirators. It’s almost like a county fair of killers. A few are still at large.

We are on our way to a baker’s dozen.

Maybe your money goes a lot farther in the Dominican Republic economy. If that cheap lifestyle is driving Americans to move to that crime-ridden country, they are living a cheapskate rich lifestyle.

We thought that assassination of Julius Caesar was a shoddy affair, but 2000 years later the attack on Ortiz is even more carnival-like. Instead of a forum, or even Fenway Park, Ortiz was shot in the back, a la Jesse James, in an outdoor bistro atmosphere.

No motive has been given for the crime. We cringe at the speculation. And none of it enhances Ortiz’s reputation as a moral paragon.

Friends now say that Ortiz counted on the general public to protect him from dangerous gang members or gangsters.

The best laid plans belong to mice, not men. No one could stop the bullet with Big Papi’s name on it.

If you think witness identification is a deterrent to crime, you have only to see killers blithely walk up to the large Ortiz and put the gun at gall bladder height. They did not care who saw them, or if they would be known.

What we have here is the polar opposite of the Aaron Hernandez case.

The motorcycle get-away driver was inept too. He skidded into the crowd, giving a mob the courage to beat him up. He professes to be a Big Papi fan.

Heavens, imagine what might have happened if the motorcycle driver had been a Yankee fan.

We come back to the low-ball price on Ortiz’s head. This was not the work of a head-hunter, but of a world where life is not only cheap, but it is on sale to anyone with a credit card limit under $8000. The killers planned to share the amount at a payoff of $1000 each, but as the number goes up, the slice of the pie drops to crumbs for a murder.

 

 

 

 

Horse’s Neck & Other Derby Matters

DATELINE: Horsey Set?

mr. ed Mr. Ed for President!

In the United States of America, there is only one horse who can talk—and Mr. Ed likely has plenty to add to the recent spectacle of horse flesh known as the Kentucky Derby.

This annual bettor event is used by swells for preening and promenading all for the better. Tom Brady was there with a plethora of former backup quarterbacks and some of his other sycophantic friends. It was a Trump supporters’ extravaganza.

However, Maximum Security stole the show and may be now in lock-down if not in harness in his solitary stall. He was disqualified for cheating.

We suspect the horse sense only applied to his jockey, but the action of judges to take the one-third of the Crown away from the pretender to the Derby has left big bettors throwing their hats in the ring for a fifteen-round fight.

Imagine a horse cheating in 21st century American sport known for gambling, and he did not even take a steroid.

Now the Cheater-in-Chief has taken again to Twitter to explain his view of the universe. He hasn’t much else to do except bet on losers.

In America the only talking horse is Mr. Ed.  But, when it comes to blowhards, the white horse’s ass is speaking again in 140 characters from the White House, no country estate.

You have to understand how a cheater and liar can be indignant when someone does not win after cheating or lying. If you are looking for a premonition of the 2020 presidential election, you may gulp hard at the attitude of the White House wannabe returnee.

Maximum Security lived up or down to his name, and the Country Horse is Country House, an offense to someone in the White House.

Of course, as you might expect, Mr. Trump cannot even spell “Kentuky,” a state he hopes to carry in the next election. His semi-literate tweets may once again prove that his father bribed some college to give the horse’s end a degree, but that’s a horse of a different color.

Yes, It’s Over, Over There!

DATELINE: Do You See What We See?

Laird Cregar

For those who have trouble understanding the definitive moments of history, science, and world politics, you witnessed on a hot afternoon in Miami in December the Fall of the Roman Empire.

Lest our metaphors shock you with their doomsday scenario, we will say it more simply: the New England Patriots have met catastrophe. Humpty Dumpty has fallen off the great wall and the Patriots cannot put him together again. Atlantis just sank into the ocean.

There will be those who say it is merely one loss on a long road of successes.

The cognoscenti will recognize that Tom Brady’s career will never recover. The team on which he plays has imploded. Its vaunted brain-trust has just been eaten by viral amoebas. You have just seen someone cough up his lung and his guts. King Kong has fallen off the Empire State Building. Satan has been cast out of Heaven.

A game that might have been won anytime in the past 20 years by the Patriots, was lost.

It is the end of the story when Cinderella loses her glass slipper, and the clock strikes midnight. It is the time you see a small, insignificant man behind the curtain who resembles Belichick in whom all New England fans trust, and he says he is not the Wizard of Oz and to ignore him.

Robert Oppenheimer said it best when the bomb when off and the clock ticked away: “I am the Bringer of Death.” Bring on a new generation of football stars and dynasties.

You cannot exaggerate too much what has happened in the world. Sometimes matters are puzzling and frightful. Here they are as clear as you can ever hope to see. Donald Trump stole the election and now you know.

Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead. The New England Patriots just sang the Swan Song of Football.

What Red Sox Teammate Stalked Moe Berg?

DATELINE: Cold Spy

Real Moe Berg Real Moe!

Being of a certain generation, we have been asked about some of the accuracy of the movie The Catcher was a Spy.

Paul Rudd plays Moe Berg, an enigmatic athlete who finished his career with the Boston Red Sox in 1939.  Pushing 40, he was pushed out of the locker room to make room for more rookies. And, the Sox had a few.

In the film, one rookie looks in the locker room with suspicion at Berg and notes his reservation about sharing a shower stall with a man with unclear sexual tendencies. Another veteran player (Lefty Grove?) tells him to keep it to himself.

Yet, this player seems to stalk Berg and follow him to some clandestine gay bar of 1939 in Boston. When he comes out (and we do not see what happens in this odd locale), he knows he is being followed—and confronts the young rookie.

He slugs him several times. The player is identified as the fictional Bill Dalton. No one by that name was on the Sox roster.

So, who was the offending rookie stalker?

The Red Sox had several notable rookies in that season with Berg:  Ted Williams was the most famous (also known as the Garbo of the Dugout for his reclusiveness) and Bobby Doerr, one of Ted’s close friends, and Johnny Pesky, all future Hall of Famers.

Was it one of them who had a confrontation with Moe Berg?

You will be hard-pressed to find out something that was kept in the shadows by all concerned. Berg would never talk, and neither would Ted Williams. Berg reportedly offered Ted advice and insights on the greats he played with (and he told Ted he was most like Shoeless Joe Jackson of Field of Dreams).

If the incident is true, and we have no doubt about its veracity, you can now play To Tell the Truth.  Alas, the real stalker will not stand up years after all have passed.

We put our money on Teddy Ballgame. The other two were amiable sorts and often thought to be mediators and peace-makers.

Borg & McEnroe, Not Exactly Chums

DATELINE: Clash of the KooKoo Birds

great acting

Telling great sports rivalries has become a movie goldmine for Bobby and Billie as well as Bird and Magic. The latest sports film is called Borg Vs. McEnroe.

However, the two most unlikeable figures among elites are the pairing of John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg in 1980. If you don’t remember how it turned out, this movie’s suspense will be enhanced.

Essentially this is the story of two crazed competitors. Yes, we guessed that to compete at a high level you must be touched in the head. Indeed, these two may seem dissimilar, but both were “not quite right in the head,” according to the movie.

The Swede was often called Ice Borg or CyBorg, to indicate he was a robotic and inhuman creature. On the other hand, American John McEnroe comes across as Norman Bates in a McEn-psycho mode.

There really was no relationship between them outside the tennis court. They were not enemies, friends, or even friendly antagonists. They barely acknowledged the other in person.

Instead of showing us, the movie prologue states that the 1980 match changed both men. We never see that. Epilogue cards tell us they became best friends and even served as best man at the other’s wedding. We don’t see any of that.

As for the performances, they are uniformly brilliant. Shia Labeouf is perfect as McEnroe, and Swedish actor Sverrir Gudnasson is equal to the ice borg. They are riveting in the roles, and that makes the film well worth your time and investment.

 

 

Trump’s Great White Hope

DATELINE: Rocky & Jack Johnson

pardon us

We are always delighted to see movie history made, whether it’s an archeological dig looking for the lost set of Cecil B. DeMille’s silent Ten Commandments or joining Kenneth Anger looking for Hollywood dirt.

So, this week we had the spectacle of President Donald Trump giving a pardon to long-dead, champion black boxer Jack Johnson, a turn-of-the-century victim of racism. He was convicted of committing the Mann Act, taking a white woman across state lines for sexual purposes. It was the moral equivalent of taking a knee at an NFL football game.

No, Trump did not offer Colin Kaepernick a pardon. Wait a hundred years for that.

Sylvester Stallone has made it a personal cause to have Johnson exonerated with a presidential pardon. Barack Obama never did the trick, but Donald Trump was Johnny on the Spot, ready to offer a pardon when he heard Obama dropped the ball.

So, hungry for anything to keep the news off his soon to be pardoned family members Don, Jr., Ivanka, and Kushner, the often-labeled racist president invited Stallone to the White House for the big pardon.

Ken Burns who directed a 2004 documentary on Jack Johnson also was a no-show.

No one told Stallone or dumb-bell Trump that a pardon infers guilt. And those who accept pardons usually accept their guilty role. Oh, well, let’s not quibble.

We also thought it interesting that Trump is the Great White Hope to pardon black athletes when he wants to throw them out of the country for exercising free speech.

No, the man who made a career out of playing Jack Johnson, James Earl Jones, did not show up at the pardoning ceremony.

The star of the Great White Hope on Broadway and movies, was conspicuous by his absence.

Red Sox Owner Tom Werner & Bill Cosby

DATELINE:  #MeToo!

pexels-photo-622135.jpeg

Once again, the Boston sports media has fallen down on the job.

Over the past year or so, there have been ample opportunities to ask owner Tom Werner, the media expert of the Red Sox and co-owner of the largest share with John Henry, about his dubious association with Bill Cosby.

You might better remember Werner as the man who decided to fire Voice of the Red Sox for years, Don Orsillo, for no reason except trust in his own good judgment and disregard of fans.

Now it’s come back to us in the age of #MeTooism, that Tom Werner was one of the first great enablers of actor and sexual predator Bill Cosby as a Hollywood TV producer.

Werner was the producer of the Cosby series from 1984 to 1992, making both men rich and giving Werner the opportunity to buy the Red Sox in subsequent years.

Tom Werner is not to become confused with Werner von Braun, the space scientist. They are heavens apart.

No member the media has asked Tom about how he enabled Cosby. No member of the media has asked him for his opinion on all of the charges against his former star and pal of the series.

Unlike the previous owner named Tom (that’s Tom Yawkey, folks), Tom Werner had no problems with hiring black people and using them to profit. Tom Werner has been instrumental behind the name change of Yawkey Way in Boston near Fenway Park, with its racist connotations, to turn back the clock to the original name, Jersey Street.

But, we digress.

What did Tom Werner know and when did he know it about Bill Cosby? No one seems to have asked him the question. So, we will.

Tom, did you have any idea about all the women that Bill Cosby was accosting?

Cosby was the Harvey Weinstein of the Dark Ages in Hollywood. Werner was apparently the man behind the curtain in those dark ages. For years he helped Cosby become a success.

If there are any Red Sox fans who belong to #MeToo’s movement, they should be asking about Werner too.

 

 

Yawkey Way: One-Way Street in Boston

DATELINE:  The Way in Boston

Which way?

When you say the word “racism,” in Boston, you better smile, pardner.

Yes, the birds of a feather are in a snit over the name change on Jersey Street. It was once called Yawkey Way in honor of the Hall of Fame owner of the Boston Red Sox. He died in 1976, and the city of Boston, found it in its heart to name the little bypass in front of Fenway Park after its Southern gentleman, Tom, who tried to buy a World Series in the 1930s by hiring the best players. He failed.

The Colonel, as it were, in baseball, a game for white gentlemen, as it was once called.

Yes, right in Boston, you had an owner who was never truly part of Boston. He never showed up until after the season started and then sat in his high-above-field box like Nero.

He was instrumental in keeping the Red Sox lily white until Pumpsie Green showed up to sit on the bench for a few seasons. He was used as a pinch-runner most of the time. The Sox were the last team in the majors to sign a black man to play.

Race, if it was in the forefront of that Georgian peach, Yawkey’s mind, was never to advance civil rights of black people. He made Ty Cobb look progressive.

The Yawkey Way is not to be confused with the Patriot Way, under an owner who is the epitome of billionaires in Boston.

Uncle Tom Yawkey kept it white for as long as he could.

We have a memory of attending a Red Sox game in the early 1960s when the only black face we saw in the stands was Bill Russell of the champion Celtics. The Red Sox were never world champs under Yawkey.

When the game ended with another hideous Sox loss, I was behind Russell who was tall, silent, and dignified. Why was he there? Perhaps to see the second black Sox player,  pitcher Earl Wilson. That is lost to memory, but Russell was the tallest man leaving the box seats. No one spoke to him, and we walked out of the park—and he went in one direction and I, the other way on then Jersey Street.

Wilson was later traded several weeks after complaining about racism to the Boston media.

We saw Russell at several games over that year, while Yawkey sat high above, looking down. In those days, celebrities did not join Colonel Yawkey in his perch, certainly not a black man.

We think now Russell showed up to make a point: he loved baseball and hated racism. He was the only black face in the crowd.

Imagine: 30,000 seats filled with white fans, and one black man.

And now there is a hulla-baseballoo because Boston wants to dump Yawkey Way in a place where black players were jeered just last season by racial taunts. The present owners want to change the name of Yawkey Way back Jersey Street.

It’s still Yawkey Way, no matter what you call it.

 

The Haunting of Patriot Place

DATELINE: Your Worst Nightmare

haunted

The ghost of Malcolm Butler now walks the halls of Patriot Place. Forget the Overlook Hotel and its shining denizens. Foxboro will be a worthy subject for Stephen King.

Like unfriendly spirits, this Patriot specter may hang around for decades, frightening children and bringing back the horrors of Super Bowl LII.

Bad karma often is behind the haunting appearances of ghosts.  We recall in Boston that the ghost of Babe Ruth put a curse on the Red Sox for 80 years. We now wonder if the ghost of Malcolm Butler might do the same for the Patriots.

If you wonder why the Patriots never win another Super Bowl in the 21st century, you will be wise to remember that the Butler did it.

Like some benighted head of the Inquisition, Bill Belichick made his decisions to burn the defense at the stake during the Super Bowl. Heretics be damned, and leading the charge was the ingrate (in Swami Belichick’s eyes), the man who tried to jump ship before the season began: Malcolm Butler.

It was an unforgivable sin—and now Malcolm Butler has paid for it with his reputation. Oh, someone will give him a big payday—and perhaps he will fade into oblivion in some other football venue.

However, in Foxboro, his curse will be laid upon Tom Brady worse than broken mirrors and contempt for sports superstition.

The howls in the night and the bumps and bangs you hear are the restless spirits of players done dirt by Bill Belichick.

Though he may go into retirement, he will leave a haunted Patriot Place for Josh McDaniels, forcing him to call in ghostbusters and hold séances for the betterment of the Kraft legacy.

Move over, Shirley Jackson, Gillette Stadium is the new house on Haunted Hill.

Parcells & Belichick: Odd Couple

DATELINE: Two Bills & Lots of Sense

two bills

ESPN’s latest documentary is a look at the remarkable relationship of two NFL coaches who figure prominently in the conversation of greats.

Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick cannot merely be compared as winning NFL coaches. They actually have linked together and bonded in a variety of ways over 40 years.

To put them together at a table in the football Giants locker room and let them watch and listen to clips may actually be a device to give viewers fireworks, contradictions, and hostility. Nothing could be further from the actual event.

You may be surprised what a loud extrovert and a introspective quiet man have in common. They were never friends, but were always respectful colleagues—even at times when tense competition separated them.

What they do have in common is an irascible controlling attitude. It may boil down to the kind of relationship you’d expect between an elder brother and his over-achieving younger sibling. They were rivals, but under the skin shared too much to be anything but blood kin.

Parcells always regretted not being more diplomatic and less inclined to fly off the handle. On the other hand, Belichick admired the way his mentor could deal with the media and see the big picture.

It winds up being a mutual admiration society now that the days of fiery fights across the field have come to an end. They have played golf together and enjoyed dinner to reconcile their former differences after the Jets flare-up when Belichick declined to be drafted into a bad coaching situation, as the heir apparent to Parcells. A Greek chorus of football greats and witnesses to their flare-ups and cool-downs adds to the history lesson.

Owner Robert Kraft slips between them, owing to fancy editing by the director, and notes the complex troubles of managing difficult coaches. It’s business, not friendship. It’s living with a colleague for years and never socially.

The Two Bills is a fascinating portrait of hard-driven men doing what they love with people they grow to love.

 

 

 

 

 

New England Pats: Over & Out

 DATELINE: Time Beats Brady

 

 Patty Jett

It seemed to be the night the magic died.

Brady had gone to the well once too often.

Cue Roy Orbison: “It’s over.”

An ominous augur began the night when Malcolm Butler, one-time super hero of the big game, stood and cried on the sidelines during the national anthem. He was benched for the Super Bowl. His career with the Patriots was over.

There will be grandiose post-mortem analyses galore. The fact remained that the Patriots could not stop Philadelphia Eagles from shredding their defense up and down the field.

The underdog flew high as a mighty eagle.

Tom Brady was sacked in his prime time, with two minutes to go, and lost the ball. You might think he had the game in the bag. But, bags are heavier when you’re forty years old.

At least one questionable call, perhaps two, gave the Eagles touchdowns that might have been reversed during the season. Roger Goodell’s goons were reversing nothing this time.

And, so it ends with a whimper, with no duck boats, and with a cloudy meeting of Belichick, Brady, and Kraft on the horizon. Joint statements may be forthcoming, or perhaps nothing will be public.

Life may begin at forty, but it ends with losing the Super Bowl.

We will have to read the media reality shows.

As far as books on the Patriots season are concerned, few will want to re-live the Super Bow loser, though its political year was one of the most intriguing. Brady’s folly was Brady’s Foles.

Monkeys & Weasels in the NFL

DATELINE: Crying Over Spoiled Milk

brady mirror

Resting players in anticipation of playing big games in the future is a bit like counting your chickens before they’re hatched. The Pittsburgh Steelers plan to rest their most important players, which sounds like a bunch of chickens uncounted.

The Patriots plan to play their most important players, which sounds like a roundabout way of driving off a short pier.

Granted, the Steelers are playing the worst team in the NFL, which could have a bearing on driving off the infamous bridge. The Cleveland Browns are looking for a perfect season, one without any victories. But the Steelers plan is to make Cleveland work for it.

We admire any team that expects to achieve victory in the face of overwhelming defeat or playing with two left feet.

For the faded Browns and grounded Jets, the chance to win will be a hollow moral victory in a final regular season game. They would confound their opponents who are NFL nemeses, over and out.

The concept has been around for many years, called being Spoilers.

A loss by the Patriots might even cruel Fate’s fickle finger when two replays overturned two recent games into Patriot victories.

Injuries, possible to Gronk and Brady in the last game, would be even more extreme examples of fickle fate screwing the Patriots out of the Super Bowl. Playing their franchise stars may be risky business, but may also be the only business worth doing.

The Steelers don’t take that chance. The Patriots must take that chance.

All analysis may be wasted if the games are fixed, and fate shall play no hand in victory, no matter what you hope.

We will be watching overturned replays like a man on the flying trapeze, expecting the greatest of ease not to be a daring stunt.  Or we may be watching the monkey chasing the proverbial weasel. Indeed, that may be the best metaphor to describe the Steelers chasing the Patriots.

The Big Sneeze is upon us.

 

 

 

Catastrophe Averted in Pittsburgh by Pats

DATELINE:  New England Confounds Critics

brady mirror

Tom Brady proved he still has it.

Alas, the rest of the team does not, but Lady Luck proved to be fickle.

The Patriots started to look like losers early on.

You can start with bungled tackles, a missed point after, and an inability to stop Big Ben, as long as you finish with Fate kissing your Super Bowl rings.

It rained cats and dogs and the deluge seemed to leave Bill Belichick without an ark to his name. The Patriots looked like passengers on the Andrea Doria about to hit another ship of destiny off the coast of Cape Cod.

If you hate the Patriots, you saw come-uppance coming ‘round the bend. If you believe in superstitions, you saw how a broken mirror in the off-season has led to catastrophe. Then, it was the Steelers who lost Antonio Brown and seemed cursed by the man who owns the copyright to the Fountain of Youth.

If you hate the Patriots, you shouted, “Curses, foiled again!” as the boys of Deflategate and Spygate gave the Steelers the ultimate gate.

Earlier in the week Tom Brady posted a poem about the lonely tree in the Michigan forest that wanted to be more than kindling.

Tom broke the bough of the poetic holiday tree the week before Xmas.

We almost feel like Marley’s Ghost showed up at Tom’s bedside. He has seen the light of success. You might think of Jacob Marley at Christmas as some bad luck omen of the past come home to roost. He actually saves Tom Brady’s bacon.

Yes, the Patriots did the unthinkable and unbelievable by pulling their bacon out of the fire just in time to win another big one.

Destiny’s child may now be unstoppable and repetitive when the Super Bowl draws near Groundhog Day.

 

Jaylen Brown’s 3-D Vision

DATELINE: Celtics Find Clark Kent in Green Lantern

clark kent

Don the Goggles!  He doesn’t need a cape. And you can no longer spit in his eye.

Jaylen Brown may have had an eye infection from his contact lenses this week. However, his solution is not just sterilized: it’s made of plexiglass.

Yes, Jaylen has found his personality. He will henceforth wear goggles. This gives him an edge as an all-star and Celtics legend.

The man who wouldn’t be photographed in glasses will now appear in wrap-around goggles. Brown insists he can see better than ever. In fact, the goggles give him “3-D vision,” in his own words.

Heavens, and we thought all of us had 3-D vision, born with at least one superhuman quality.

This new asset of Jaylen may not be confused with X-ray vision or infra-red vision, or other superhero attributes.

Whatever, Jaylen played like Superman in his new regalia. If Kyrie can wear a clear mask, then Jaylen does one better than superstars of yore in basketball.

Yes, Brown has channeled his inner Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

In his new personae as The Celtics Green Lantern, it would seem that Brown may look more like Sponge Bob than Kareem. He may have more ability to see than Madame Acardi facing Blithe Spirit.

Whether the goggles give him a true extra set of eyes remains to be seen.

Move over, Clark Kent. The intellectual Brown now appears to be smarter than Smart and flashier than Beyonce.

Will the bespectacled Brown take the permanent role of superhero with the brown eyes under glass?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump, Moore Chased by Frankenstein Monster