From Sunset Boulevard to New England

DATELINE: Gloria Swanson’s Late Career as Artist

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This year’s holiday treat was to discover a 1974 painting done by legendary screen actress Gloria Swanson, hanging in the parlor not far from our Thanksgiving dinner table.

If you recall, Miss Swanson made one of the all-time comebacks in movies when she starred in 1950 with William Holden in Billy Wilder’s classic tale of Gothic Hollywood, called Sunset Boulevard.

Her final scene remains chilling and pathetic, as she descends the grand staircase of her old Hollywood Hills home in final madness and tells the director, “I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.”

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Who knew that nearly 25 years later, Norma Desmond was painting acrylic oil scenes as a hobby?

We encountered her 1974 rendition of an old, faded gray barn on this holiday 43 years after she painted it, hanging proudly in the home of an art collector and movie fan where we enjoyed an invitation to dinner.

How intriguing that the creative juices of Swanson, a macrobiotic diet advocate, emerged from this sad landscape. It is a giant picture, three feet in height and four feet across. The colors are muted, like a silent movie depiction.

Dilapidated in the snow, fallen in disrepair and probable despair, the old barn stands proudly alone. Its carriage door is ajar, broken open, letting whatever creature wanders by to enter its cold and empty interior.

It seemed to us to be a place along the “Road Not Taken,” that lovely poem by Robert Frost who lived a few miles away in New Hampshire. Miss Swanson presents us with a scene that comes right of out Thornton Wilder’s Our Town (which was also set a few miles away, in fictional Grover’s Corners).

Miss Swanson’s picture, painted while she lived in New York, a dozen years before she passed away, now has a special place in the home of a long-time fan. We think she would be happy to hear how much this work from the last days of her life, largely unknown, is appreciated.

We felt privileged to stand before it to reflect on life and the passage of time.

Beware the Ides of November!

DATELINE: Patriots on Road Not Taken

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Danger, Danger, Will Robinson—and you too Bill Belichick! All too often when the Patriots visit MetLife Stadium, they find themselves lost in space, knocked off by some Bloop.  Giants killer Jason Pierre-Paul is making the sound of one hand clapping for all you Zen masters.

With winning teams gathering losses like rosebuds while they may, the Patriots have come to the fork in the road. Will they take it?

If they do, you can stick a fork in the Patriots.

Heretofore this season, only Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning have taken the road not taken. When you have a perfect record, you have to be suspicious of your GPS. You may be driving toward a bridge too far.

Robert Frost surely could tell you that playing the Giants has made all the difference on the journey of life. The road not taken is never the primrose path.

Many undefeated teams are guilty of driving off that far bridge before their chickens have hatched.

The Ides of the month often screw up the best laid plans of mice and caesars. You expect to pick up your victory laurels—and find yourself at the wrong end of a hilt or two.

We don’t want to hear Bill Belichick crying, “Great Caesar’s Ghost!” when the Giants do it again. However, Tom Coughlin looks like he is ready to haunt the house of the Patriots. The last thing we need is a bunch of Gronk-busters.

Will someone please put a stake in the heart of Tom Coughlin before he rises again?

Celtics Play Hair Ball

 DATELINE: Hairless in Boston

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We have been scratching our heads over Jared Sullinger and Marcus Smart. We haven’t seen such a hairball since the cat got sick.

They remain #36 and 7 in our programme, but there is a hint of Mini-me and his master in their demeanor.

If you are looking for clones in pint size, Jared Sullinger has met his match.

If you think Sullinger lost weight this summer as he promised, you may have been hoodwinked by the misdirection to the top of his head.

We are not sure if this will fool opposing players into thinking they are looking at #36 when #7 is actually dribbling the ball.

We are not sure if this new hair style is meant to fool Danny Ainge into thinking his large round Sullinger has melted into a lithe and smaller Sullinger.

Birds of a feather often fly together, but we aren’t sure just yet that the hair is flying or just the feathers of a peacock.

Both Celtics players now sport a Mohawk hairdo with a golden comb, like Foghorn Leghorn.

We will miss Jelly O’Sully this season, but right now we seem to have Jarhead Smartullinger, the newest Green to Gold craze.

As we recall, fellow New Englander Robert Frost wrote a poem about green going to gold. We had no idea he was a Celtic fan. We had no idea Sullinger was a Frost fan. Never the Mark Twain shall meet again.

Welcome to the Hair Club for Celtics.