How to Become a Recluse

DATELINE: Social Isolation by Choice

You do not become a recluse overnight. If you are in the style of B. Traven, J.D. Salinger, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, or other celebrities, you have withdrawn from public scrutiny—because of public scrutiny.

Yet, there is at the base of these departures from social exposure a feeling of having suffered disrespect in your privacy and personal space. In order to guarantee it, the subjects removed themselves from easy access by all levels of society.

Imagine their horror today with social media, Internet intrusions, and tracking by advertisers. Whatever you research, whatever you question, however you reach out, it is saved by some little cookie somewhere. You can only cut so many cords to remain independent and isolated.

The last option is simply to withdraw from any public course of activity. It is easier than you might think.

You may go out on a shopping trip, though this too is less likely if you are willing to use Internet services for grocery delivery or Amazon products. You do not go out to theatre, movies, concerts, or the like after years of doing so. Your main interaction is with delivery service workers who likely drop off materials at your door—sending you an online notice. You open the door, grab your item, and shut it again.

You may go out once in a while to start your car, drive to the doctor, or go to the local service station for fuel. You may try to avoid credit cards, but it is difficult if you want to stay apart from society. You have to pay for upkeep of property with a crew of unreliable snow shoveling grass mowers. You could simply let the property deteriorate, but that may bring intrusions.

If you no longer work or work at home, you can increase your isolation. A writer is a perfect avocation in that regard, though you cannot meet readers in libraries, bookstores, or classes to whet their reading appetite. They see your author page, that is updated now and then.

You may limit your friends to phone calls, or now the more isolating text message. There is contact ongoing to an ever-decreasing number of people. As you grow old, you may even find your contacts decreased by infirmity and death, dementia and lack of response.

Family is easy to disregard if you are unmarried and have no children. Nephews and nieces prefer a distant, oddball relative who will one day out of the blue die and leave them money. No contact beyond that is required.

You may learn how uninvolved people are with your existence. Once separated, your distance becomes normal and your contacts are even more deeply absent for weeks, then months. Your well-being check-up is hardly a priority with anyone. Don’t worry about wellness checks.

If winter is long and cold, you may not step outside—and you have a legitimate excuse or explanation that neighbors accept. Good fences still make good neighbors—and those who are quiet and invisible are even better to the locals.

You may be seen going to the mailbox or putting out the trash, unless you do this at odd hours. Those actions then become mysterious and occur almost magically without anyone thinking twice. You are at long last a recluse.

Tom Brady Becomes the New Age Hermit

DATELINE: GARBO, SALINGER, TRAVEN, AND NOW TOM BRADY

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Smiling, affable, sociable, and good-humored, we always could count on Tom Brady. He posted funny stuff on his Facebook page, but that was then. This is now.

He was social media gone glamorous. That was before Deflategate. Now we have the invisible man of the NFL.

But since Roger Goodell whipped up a deflategated theory in his lab, we have found Tom turned from the piper’s son into something akin to Greta Garbo.

Yes, we never would have believed it possible. Tom Brady has morphed into the reclusive, press-phobic, silent icon of the old silver screen.

Garbo would laugh! Garbo would talk! We were thrilled if it happened. Now, the same could be said for Tom Brady.

Tom has not yet turned into Rajon Rondo, another Boston creature from the lagoon of avoidance and passive aggression. Yet, we feel that the void left when Rondo fled Boston has left a gaping hole in the ozone of recluses.

B. Traven, look out. Tom has found the Treasure of Sierra Madre and is ready to blow that gold dust into the face of Roger Goodell.

Stanley Kubrick was a hermit with a shining. And Tom Brady may shine his light in the maze called the NFL.

J.D. Salinger, up there in the lost wood of New Hampshire, is now gone, but Tom may be ready to assume the mantle, raise the roof beams, and shoot banana fish.

If Tom Brady is ultimately suspended for four games, we may never hear a word from his lips again. He will retreat into the aerie created by Bill Belichick, transformed into a man of monosyllables and dyspeptic distemper.

Oh, the Humanity, again.

Tom Brady has entered the Bermuda Triangle of Fame.

Want to be Alone? Then Call This Movie Overrated

DATELINE: MOVIE MASHUP

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With Grand Budapest Hotel around the corner, we decided to go back to the hoary Grand Hotel of 1933.

In case you forgot, this old chestnut starred Greta Garbo, John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, and Wallace Beery. We had not since this one in decades, and we were prepared for classic profiles at every other camera setup.

The great profiles go head-to-head in nearly every scene they play together. It is heady stuff indeed. Hollywood history has its noggin in the right place.

What we did not recall was that Garbo’s acting is from Mars and Barrymore’s is from Venus. She is a Russian diva ballet star, right out of Diaghilev’s disbanded troupe. Whether it is her Russian demeanor or her reliance on working alone, she is seldom in the same movie as everyone else.

Barrymore is supposed to be a dissipated young German baron, but he seems more appropriate to play the washed out maitr’d at Studio 54. Indeed, the German bar scene looks like Hoboken on a bad night. There are so many American accents among the Teutonic that you begin to wonder if the Nazis are staging a putsch over on the next movie set.

Only Wallace Beery actually tries a German accent. Everyone else seems to be reading the menu at the Brown Derby—from Lionel Barrymore’s take on Alec Guinness in Last Holiday to Lewis Stone in his Phantom of the Opera face.

Joan Crawford is actually playing a steno with a heart of gold here, and we have to give her acting the best marks.

Garbo professed she wants to be alone in this film, which became her calling card. If you want to experience moments, not a movie, then Grand Hotel should be seen one room at a time.

You may want to be alone during viewing (only to fast forward through the dull parts).

2014 Annual Garbo Award Nominees!

 DATELINE: HUMORESQUE

garboAs springtime barrels down the highway with hit and run of SAD (seasonal affect disorder) victims, it’s time again for the seventh annual Boston Garbo Awards.

Yes, this notorious award for infamous sports athletes who give louche performances that should only be seen in dark theaters of operation has come around again.

Boston has never had a shortage of performers beyond the bounds of good taste and mercurial ego.

This year’s nominees include some standbys and a few new surprises.

BRANDON SPIKES, former New England Patriot run out of town after being tarred and feathered, is a nominee for his performance in Four Years a Slave. Spikes recently tweeted that playing for Bill Belichick was like being a slave for four years. Spikes previously posted a sex video of himself online.Sexy Spikes

DAVID ORTIZ has outdone himself this year, having lost previous awards to other, flashier stars. After taking down the FCC with his Marathon memoriam F-bomb, he then went to the White House and humiliated the President of the United States with a selfie to end all Ellen Degeneris selfies. He did all this while adeptly blackmailing Red Sox ownership for a new contract.OBAMA & ORTIZ

AARON HERNANDEZ is up again on charges that his murder rampages make Norman Bates look like Ted Bundy on steroids. It will hard for Hernandez to top the over-the-top performance of Oscar Pistorius in the international category.aarona-rod

BILL BELICHICK is again a Person of Interest, having turned down the role of computer guru on a TV series and refusing to play the role of Red Reddington in The Blacklist. Nonetheless, Belichick continues to be the mystery insider whom no NFL authorities can catch.blacklist

RAJON RONDO, whose masterful mercurial performances should eliminate him from further competition, is now rivaling perennial Meryl Streep for missing half a season and still managing to wear false beards, flop on the court, playing April Fool jokes on wounded war veterans, and doing all this now without his Hall of Fame costars. His one-man show is Gravity down to Earth.Prof. Rondo

Voting at the Academy of Garbo impersonators is expected to be hot and heavy, if not cold and lightweight.

Stay tuned for the results if Ellen Degeneris will only agree to announce them with a pizza delivery boy.

Garbo Never Won the Rondo Award

DATELINE: HUMORESQUE

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When Garbo acted in movies, the performance was so unusual that no other actor could compete.

When Rondo acts out on the court, the performance is so unusual that the NBA warns him not to flop.

To tell Rondo not to flop is like asking Garbo to laugh. That’s not what the paying customers expect—or want.

During the recently embarrassing loss to the Atlanta Hawks, Rajon Rondo could not stem the bleeding as his team lost another (yes, another) double digit lead in the final quarter.

The NBA should be warning the entire team not to play Garbo in pursuit of the Oscar of the league: that little thing called the Lottery.

Earlier in the season, the silver-tongued commissioner said he saw no tanking. Tanks, but no tanks. What he does see is flopperoos. The Celtics are not tanking, Horatio. They are flopping.

We must agree that the road loss record has left the roads clogged with road-kill.

The flopping has now put the Celtics into the number three slot for the lottery, but no one seems to understand that this guarantees nothing much. It’s a tit for tat proposition, or at least a flip for flop.Rondoshirtless

If those big balls of the lottery don’t bounce your way, you too will be road-kill after a season in which Rondo’s Oscar level play has made him a contender again for Boston’s notorious Garbo Award for 2013-14. If he wins again this season, it will be his seventh in a row.

Poor Greta Garbo never won an Oscar, but she flopped so many times at the box-office that she did win the Rondo Award.

Be sure you have your copy of book RAJON RONDO: SUPERSTAR, and be prepared for the soon to be released RAJON RONDO IN THE STAR CHAMBER, the final volume of the notorious Rondo satiric trilogy. If you like Hobbits, you can’t miss the Rondo stories that expose Rondo more than a nudist in the Celtics green. Books are available at Amazon.com for smart readers.

Rondo Readies for His Close Up

DATELINE: HISTORY IN THE MAKING

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All you need to be a great media commentator is good lighting and mood music. Move over, Garbo.

As the perennial winner of our annual contest about what Boston athlete most resembles the Great Garbo, Rondo has taken up the mantle with his usual mettle. Rondo will be jumping into the Star Chamber with both feet firmly planted in the clouds.

Rajon Rondo is about to put the theory to the test. On Monday night, his off night during this off season, he will service on the TV broadcast desk as color analyst.

He promises to show how he may be ready to follow in the great Tom Heinsohn’s footsteps. This makes Tommy laugh, but we would expect that Rondo will criticize those pesky officials who keep giving him fouls.

As a player au currant, he has the blessing of his coach and the Celtics organization to go out on the limb—and saw it off.

Rondo professes to have approached Mike Gorman, the TV gold standard for basketball play-by-play several weeks ago to say he is just sitting on the bench on the second night of back-to-back games. He wanted to sit on the broadcast team because Tommy no longer makes road trips.

Gorman has been sitting with a variety of fill-ins over the past few years as Tom finds long travel too difficult.

Whether Rondo will become Garbo or just another denizen of Sunset Boulevard, we are giddy with anticipation to discover.

Rondo has been preparing for his close up now for several weeks. If he puts as much effort into his potential TV commentator career as his court play, viewers may be watching Rondo playing Gloria Swanson playing Greta Garbo.

Be still, our hearts!

 

For those with a taste for the bizarre, we offer RAJON RONDO: SUPERSTAR and RAJON RONDO & THE GREEN NEBULA. Both books depict the Twilight Zone style of the Celtics legend-in-the-making and are available at Amazon.com.

Bill Belichick Disdains His Fellow Man

DATELINE: Belichick’s Folly

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Belichick & Garbo: Together in Spirit

 

New England Patriot diva and hermit cookie, Bill Belichick, now adds the Greta Garbo Award to his litany of achievements.

Like the mercurial movie star of the Golden Age, Bill Belichick has disdained his fellow coaches and expressed his wishes to be left alone.

Coach Bill Belichick went to the NFL Coaches Association meeting and declined to be in their group photo. He later opined that they could ‘Photoshop’ him into the image.

This was heady stuff from a man who doesn’t know a Facebook page from his Tweets.

After seeing the NFL coaches gathered together in a variety of moo=moos and Hawaiian shirts, we can understand why Belichick took a powder. Not one coach had the good taste to wear cut-off sleeves or a hoodie.

We are certain Belichick’s feelings would have been hurt had he not been invited to say, “Cheese.” Even if you never attend an event, it’s always nice to be asked.

In recent years Belichick has jousted with the media enough to earn the sobriquet as Heidi’s Other Grandfather. Now he is anathema to his own kind: the looney association of obsessed meglomaniac football coaches.

These are the men who make self-importance a virtue. And, now they have been outdone by the Zen master of Lone Ranger head coaches.

Belichick may have left a silver bullet as he rode off on his white charger, yelling, “Hi-Yo, Welker.”

Belichick has now stiffed everyone who did not send him a Christmas Card this year. It was his Hallmark moment to scoff at media events that are condoned by the League of Gentlemen that pays him.

 

No Cano Do Versus Cano Do Do

DATELINE: HUMOR!

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Garbo Walks! and So Does Cano!

Yankees are dysfunctional—and have been for decades. Their winning is an accidental offense against talent.

The latest fiasco of bad judgment on both sides of the fence comes in the Robinson Cano case.

Instead of spending a quarter of a billion dollars on Cano, the Yankees moved on to the Red Sox pantry and bankrolled their rolling pin centerfielder for most of the money set aside for No Cano Do.

Robinson Cano will be doing a Robinson Crusoe when he lands out in the boondocks, isolated in no man’s land for the next decade and more.

Money talks, and Cano walks. The road taken by Cano is the path to hinterlands and Palookaville. Seattle is a nice place when you want to escape the flashy media blitz of the Big Apple. It’s a clear cut case of No Can Do over Cano due big bucks.

Look for Jay-Z to sabotage any deal out on the West Coast. He wants Robbie close to the clubs. It’s still a case of No Cano Do.

Cano has sent himself into exile from the high life and excitement of a major market. Even actress Greta Garbo stayed in New York when she became a recluse and retired from movies.

The Yankees are stupid enough to match whatever offer Cano comes up with, but that speaks volumes to the madness in the Yankees accounting office.

Did they learn nothing from the Alex Rodriguez contractual issues?

In ten years Robbie Cano will be old enough to be a graybeard like teammates A-Rod and Derek Jeter (who may still be on the roster).

If at first you don’t succeed, keep throwing money down the poop chute. The Yankees can’t tell a good move from a bad one nowadays. No Cano do.

The Sound of One Hand Clapping

DATELINE: Recluses We Love

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Sound of One Fist Banging on a Car Window

J.D. Salinger published one novel during his lifetime and thumbed his nose at the publishing world and the fawning fans for the next 50 years of his life.

Becoming a recluse may be an important spiritual decision, but the critics of this documentary directed by Shane Salerno don’t see it that way. This film moves in the direction of depicting Salinger as his own label: a fiction writer who grew sick of being hounded by fans who spent half their lives in a Zen Buddhist monastery and the other half as an outpatient sending the writer mash notes.

That did not dissuade the people who went to the woods of New Hampshire to bother this man, encouraging him to build a bunker to write in peace.

Now that he’s dead, J.D. Salinger’s private production of manuscripts will be published over the next few years. That should either cement his literary legacy, or put cement overshoes on his importance.

The documentary does not have much to work with: the man dispensed only a few morsels to the public over his 90+ years of life. And, the crazed fans know every detail by heart as if they were stars on a radio show for precocious children.

The documentary has a complex flashback narrative that may disorient those who like the linear, but to produce a mystery about a reclusive writer may require a few “Hollywood” writing tricks in the mode of Joe Mankiewicz. Of course, Salinger only allowed one short story to be made into a movie—and he hated that. So, his ‘fans’ hate this little film.

We found it fascinating, like the character of a man who belonged to the great generation of World War II veterans. Salinger created a timeless icon in Holden Caulfield as The Catcher in the Rye, and that made him open game for cultists and self-centered readers who thought they had some personal connection.

Salinger was a character in W.P. Kinsella’s book Shoeless Joe, but fought tooth and nail to keep his name out of the movie Field of Dreams. He stopped bootleg copies of his early stories from being circulated. All of this fell within his right as a living writer who sold 60 millions copies and made a fortune.

One of his friends, A.E. Hotchner called him the literary Howard Hughes. If you like Glenn Gould, Greta Garbo, B. Traven, and Emily Dickinson, you will want to see how J.D. Salinger fits into that crew. We are predisposed to this film and prejudiced, having moved to the woods because we want to be alone.