Thursday, February 20, 2014

"...Sticks and Stones...And Hail To The Chief..."

Today's pondering involves poultry.

Back to that shortly.


He's an American.

He's a Muslim.

He's a Socialist.

He's the Anti-Christ.

He's a floor wax.

He's a dessert topping.

Primal instinct dictates some kind of "enough, already" at this point.

But hoping for, let alone insisting on, something like that falls into the province of 60's folkie/rocker Donovan.

"Ah, but I may as well / try and catch the wind".

Or, as it might be expressed in a more 21st Century style......

" futile."

Because when it comes to trashing and/or vilifying whomever happens to be picking up the mail marked "Occupant" at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue at any given time, regardless of party affiliation and/or color of state gotta swim, birds gotta fly and opponents/naysayers/doompeddlers...gotta play..."sobriquet".

And while the advent of social media (to wit: Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Pin It, Instagram and/or that oldie but goodie, Candygram) allows for a whole lot more shoveling of a whole lot more slander from a whole lot more people than ever before in our nation's history, the actual practice of applying an "AKA" to the big house of white there in downtown D.C. is as old as one of the very first incarnations of social media...

...smoke signals.

Here's a little proof flavored pudding for you to nosh on in the form of a name game.

Actual nicknames of actual Presidents of the United States of America during the actual time that they were actually in office.

And if you're going to Google, there's a name for that, too.


Because all you have to do to get the correct answers is scroll a little in about twenty seconds.

Okay, ready?

Identify the incumbent.

1) King John The Second
2) Mad ___  (if I gave you the name, you'd immediately get it, so guess a little)
3) His Little Majesty
4) King _____ (you gotta couple of good choices, here)
5) His Accidency (actually, here, likewise, you have a pretty wide choice of options)
6) Napoleon of the Stump
7) The Do Nothing President
8) American Caesar
9) His Fraudulency
10) His Obstinacy
11) Ted The Meddler
12) Duckpin
13) Teflon ____

And, the award(s) (go)es to...

(uh, this is where you scroll, frustrated Googlers...)

1) John Adams
2) Thomas Jefferson
3) James Madison
4) Andrew Jackson, Franklin Roosevelt
5) John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson
6) James K. Polk
7) James Buchanan
8) Ulysses S. Grant
9) Rutherford B. Hayes
10) Grover Cleveland (and they elected this guy twice with Benjamin Harrison doing four in between times)
11) Teddy Roosevelt
12) Dwight D. Eisenhower
13) Ronald Reagan

Almost without exception, by the way, if you do a little reading/research, you'll learn that in every presidency, some group statistically large enough to be recognized was convinced that the then current resident of the White House was, at any given time, not only going to bring about the end of life on the planet as we know it, but that he, (they) were.

An American.

A socialist.

The anti-Christ.

A floor wax. (if they had it back then).

A dessert topping (ditto).

Yet, 225 years after George Washington did the "I do solemnly swear" thing in front of a live, not pre-recorded, audience, here we are.

And here I am.

Writing about how we feel the need to give mean spirited, even vicious, nicknames to the guy in the Oval.

Convinced as we are, each and every time, that we are on the very brinky brink of investigation, incarceration, internment or, (big suck in of breath) extinction.

Which brings us back to poultry.

And Chicken Little.

Who requires no nickname whatsoever.

Cause that name pretty much covers this whole doom peddling business.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

"...It's As If A Stop Sign Had A '...Really...' Included...."

Today's observation speaks for itself.

I suspect there is some unfriending coming my way shortly.

Which, if you think about it, isn't really fair.

Repost if you agree.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

".....And...Then...Fresh Roasted Doughnuts And...Then...Decaf Doughnuts....And Where Does It All End?..."

Doughnut with no jelly time, doughnut with no jelly time.

Check this out.

Moist, sweet and irresistible-with a hint of coffee flavors in every bite. New Krispy Kreme Mocha Kreme™ doughnuts and Caramel Coffee Kreme™ doughnuts will perk up any occasion. Krispy Kreme® Lotta Latte doughnuts are available at participating Krispy Kreme US and Canadian locations now through March 30, 2014.

Share these delectable coffee-flavored treats by the dozen, or pair one with a Krispy Kreme Cinnamon Dolce Latte for a sweet pick-me-up.
  • Mocha Kreme Doughnut- A moist yeast doughnut filled with a tasty blend of chocolate and coffee flavors, topped with mocha icing, a milk chocolate swirl and decorated with milk chocolate icing.
  • Caramel Coffee Kreme Doughnut- A decadent glazed treat topped with smooth caramel and coffee flavored icing, a mocha drizzle and dollop of coffee Kreme.
Okay, let's get the obvious Q and A out of the way.
Aren't coffee flavored doughnuts a little (or a lot) like milk flavored cereal?
Obviously, my dear Watson.
Or root beer flavored vanilla ice cream?
Wine flavored sirloin, anyone?
Yeah, alright, so I'm not jiggy wit gettin' wit the spirit of the thing.
You wanna double up on the caffeine flavor/effect, knock yourself out.
Watch out, though, because if those things fly (or make YOU), the next logical invention will be Red Bull flavored doughnuts.
And the combination of sugar and caffeine will eliminate any need you previously had for an automobile to drive you into next week.
But, as it turns out, my point here isn't about sweets.
It's about strategy.
Notice the "available now.....through March 30, 2014.." clause in KK's little media horn blow.
The old limited time gambit. The time honored, works almost every time like a charm method of creating a sense of urgency in you so strong, a countdown clock ticking inside you so loudly that, if only subconsciously, motivates you to put Krispy Kremes at the top of your essentials list, usurping the number one spot over milk, bread and, yes, toilet paper.
Even, and even more so, in the event of an impending snow storm.
"....shut up.....we'll use wash cloths......oh, my god.....WHERE are the doughnuts???????...."
This pretty transparent parietal parlor trick is certainly nothing close to new.
Drug dealers have been doing it since opium was universally understood to be a narcotic and not, at times, confused with that cute kid in Mayberry.
And the Disney folks have practically made the "hurry and get it now or you'll be sorry" technique an ordinary page in their marketing manual.
Think about it.
How fast did you get to the store to buy "Pinocchio" on DVD and Blu-Ray?
And how many?
And ha.
Business articles informing folks for the availability of the new Kaffeine Kuh-razy Krispy Kremes actually mention the term "scarcity strategy" which calls it exactly what it is.
A strategy to convince you that there is already a scarcity of the product.
So, never mind the nunnery, get thee to a Krispy Kreme near you.
Given that the garden variety glazed KK is 141 % sugar, it seems a little unnecessary, even silly, to think scare tactics need to be employed to sell these things.
And a case can certainly be made that dangling them in front of people while taunting them that they could be yanked away at any moment is, simply, an egregious example of crueller cruelty.
Kinda like that State Farm fishing guy.
" almost had that mocha gotta be quicker than that....ohhhh...."
Next thing you know, it will be....
"psst....kid....c'mere.......try, really.....hey, it's cool.....first taste is free...."
Shame on you, Krispy Kreme.
You naughty teasing scamp.
Should you decide to see the error of your ways and be looking for a way to both sell product while serving, not taunting, humanity, I've got a suggestion.
Insulin flavored doughnuts.
How sweet is that?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"...Better To Light A Candle Than Curse The Darkness....And, Every Now And Then, Simply Enjoy The Darkness While It Lasts..."

Old saying.

Ignorance is bliss.

New saying.

Coming up shortly.

Shirley Temple Black, who rose to fame as arguably the most popular child star in Hollywood history, died late Monday night, her publicist said.

She was 85.

The rest of this story is easily available online in a variety of places.

Let the Googling begin, if you're so inclined.

The rest of this piece has nothing, per se', to do with the lady's passing.

Except, perhaps, in passing.

Only a very young child or a very naïve' person can live very long in this life and not be aware that there are a lot of bitter, angry, unhappy and, yes, emotionally and/or psychologically unbalanced people in this world.

This is, though, old and, hardly, breaking news.

If you start with Adam and Eve, it doesn't take much branch searching to find a little wacka-doin' on the ol' family tree.

Shakespeare, as a matter of fact, addressed that very issue, at least conceptually, when he included a little profundity from Ecclesiastes in one of his sonnets.

Something along the lines of "there's nothing new under the sun".

There is, at the same time, a lot of conversation conversed these days, in person, on social media, et al that indicates a suspicion, even a belief, that the aforementioned bitter, angry, etc unbalance seems to be on the increase.

"World be crazy, bitches" is one colorfully colloquial way of currently expressing that opinion.


Interesting conjecture.

I noticed some evidence to back up that theory yesterday when the first news of Mrs. Black's passing showed up online.

Evidence in the form of the readers' comments that inevitably follow most articles now posted on the ol' Interweb.

In this case, the story, written in a strictly news reported fashion, and posted on

Most of the comments, as you would imagine and, certainly, hope were of a respectful, articulate nature.

There were more, though, than just a few threads that ran a little like this.

(This is an actual cut and paste from the comments section, a "conversation" involving more than a few contributors, their individual "contributions" indicated by space between them and indentation, their identities excluded for obvious reasons)

I wonder what the average life span is for children that achieved such status since the 1980's.
Average life span I'm guessing will be around 35.
Corey Haim, Gary Coleman, Dana Plato.
Macauley Culkin practically looks dead.

Any others come to mind?
     You're brain dead dude. Who are you to say who looks dead?

Um, this gift called common sense. Macauley is a known heroin fiend. 


I give her a 10 compared to all the rif-raff lousy gay actors we have now.

     I thought she passed years ago...
Too bad we cannot say the same thing about you. Go back to the kitchen.
     Morning star how are you doing? I'm sorry you feel the need to put me down to make yourself feel better. I forgive you morning star
     I can take it all, shove as many things as you want up there 
Again, hmm.
For those unhip to the jargon, the term "troll" is defined as someone who wanders ("trolls") around website comment sections for the sole purpose of grumping, griping, grousing and/or dealing with their psychosis by performing the text writing equivalent of peeing in everyone else's Cheerios.
Regardless of the subject and/or topic at hand.
In this case, the old age passing of a beloved child star.
Here's the thing.
And the point.
It would almost be possible to write off this kind of sad, and sadistic, spewing as understandable, if not acceptable,  if it were inspired by one of contemporary culture's current hot button topics like, say, gun control or politics or abortion...
...or the USA Network's infuriating insistence on blocking your attempts to watch their shows with pop up ads hyping the show coming up.
But the topic of the story in this case was the old age passing of a beloved child star.
So, clearly, bitter, angry, unhappy and, yes, emotionally and/or psychologically unbalance is alive, raging, rocking and rolling in a comment section near you.
But on the increase?
Conceding, on the front end, that definitive conclusions are the province of trained sociologists and that I have no training in that field, I don't think it overly presumptive to suggest that there have always been angry, bitter, unhappy and, yes, emotionally and/or psychologically unbalanced people in this world.
Back to Adam and Eve, for a moment.
And that dude Cain, for example.
Now there was a very grinchy gus if'n ever there was one.
Again, since day one.
What, though, there has not been since day one is satellite communications and social media.
And the methodology available for every one, cheerful, happy, loving, balanced as well as angry, bitter, unhappy, etc. to boot up, log on, type first and ask questions later.
To an international group of fellow beings.
In 1865, Abraham Lincoln was shot to death.
In some cases, it was, owing to the communicative technology available, literally weeks before some Americans learned that their President had been assassinated.
In 1963, John F. Kennedy was shot to death.
In most cases, Americans were aware of the assassination within, at most, a few hours.
Today, we can, literally, watch horrific events take place in real time.
The bodies weren't out of the building before we all knew the horror of Newtown.
It's not exactly a jump to a conclusion that these horrific events seem to be happening with increased frequency.
When, actual chances are, they actually are not.
We just know more.
Because we read more.
And talk more.
And hear more.
And see more.
And there are more of us knowing and reading and talking and hearing and seeing.
Faster than ever before.
New saying.
Ignorance was bliss.

Monday, February 10, 2014

"...What You Might Call An App Description...."

Beatles dealio last night.

Got me wandering over into a stream of consciousness thingy.




Went looking for some of the latest, greatest.

Found a few that are up for inclusion in the "seriously, gotta have" folder.

Courtesy of a tech writer at (whose link I included at the end, by way of throwing them a plug and, theoretically, remaining immune from any impression that I'm a Shia LeBoeuf-ish plagiarizing mo fo, here...oh, and btw, these are not parodies...they are real apps, available in a real place, for real folks just like you and me...really...)

1. Ghost Radar ClassicScared of things that go bump in the night? Just in time for Halloween, this app scans the energy fields around you, picking up the words being blurted out by your neighbors in the afterlife and speaking them to you to in a creepy effect. The Ghost Radar guys may “offer no guarantees of accuracy,” but, unlike your paranormal targets, the app’s 13,000 five-star ratings in the Android store speak for themselves.

2. Action Movie Creator FXReal life is just so boring. Thankfully, visionary J.J. Abrams’ production company, Bad Robot, has unleashed this app that lets any user superimpose studio-style special effects on your run-of-the-mill videos. And with FX names like Photon Torpedoes, Car Smash, Robo Attack, Avalanche, Fire Fight, Chopper Down and Alien Burst, you’re about to be dropped into the middle of a Hollywood blockbuster. Hopefully it’s not “John Carter.”

3. SleepCyclesMost people blindly set an alarm only to go trudging through the rest of the day like an extra on The Walking Dead. It doesn’t have to be this way. Just leave your tablet at your bedside and this smart alarm clock will analyze your subtlest sleep movements, waking you up during the lightest sleep phase that falls within a 30-minute window of your wake-up time to leave you as refreshed as possible. The dorkiest can even analyze their sleep statistics. In 2013, counting sheep is for amateurs.

4. RunPeeYou’re halfway through the 134-minute runtime of “Captain Phillips” and three quarters of the way through a 64-ounce Cherry Coke when nature begins to call. But when’s a good time to duck out? The dedicated RunPee team has watched nearly every movie imaginable to pick out those 3-5 minute spans without crucial plot twists or action scenes, ensuring you only miss the dullest moments. Cross-referenced with scores from Rotten Tomatoes and details from IMDB, this tongue-in-cheek movie app may be the most useful on the market.

5. Trapster“The easiest way to fight a speeding ticket is…not to get one in the first place.” The folks at Trapster couldn’t be more right, and now nearly 20.5 million drivers have turned to this app to be warned of red-light cameras and known enforcement points. And all the info is coming straight from the source: ticked off, ticketed drivers who’ve been foiled by speed traps and other police tactics. They now want to save you the same hassle. Apparently, revenge is a dish best served on a tablet.

6. Easy Metal DetectorIf loose nickels and dimes hiding beneath the cushions of your couch is your idea of hidden treasure, Easy Metal Detector is your ticket to a payday. It uses the admittedly not-so-strong magnetometer already built into your tablet to find ferrous metals. Priced at just 99 cents, this app will pay for itself in a matter of months. Hopefully.

These apps and others, including games like Candy Crush, are available for download through the Windows Store and Google Play — two places that can truly enhance Dell’s new line of Venue tablets, available in Windows 8.1 and Android. Visit for details.


Show of hands.

Who has already downloaded RunPee?

Thought so.

This kind of creativity gets my synaptics all a-firin', though, so I got to thinking about some A's I might be able to add to the assembly.

1. Reality Show Radar- this app keeps an electronic eye on your flat screen as you smilingly surf along the event you get within three channels, either way of, a reality show, it sends out a warning sound to alert you to skip ahead....way, way ahead or, if too late, it temporarily shuts the flat screen down.....three sounds available: a simple buzz, a simple vibration or an uncanny impression of Kim Kardashian saying something really stupid....or, as we think of it around here, Kim Kardashian saying something.

2. Cable News Show Creator FX- real cable news shows are just so boring. Thankfully,  this app lets any user superimpose studio-style special effects on your run-of-the-mill cable news show. And with FX names like Maddow Accidentally Leans To The Right, Bill O'Reilly Actually Listens To The Answer, Dennis Miller Stops Doing A Bad Impression Of Dennis Miller, Three of The Five Find Something Wrong In The Known Galaxy That Isn't Obama's Fault, Limbaugh Learns Subtle, Megyn Kelly Visual Blinder (so one can, undistracted, actually hear what she's saying and change the channel) and Sharpton Speak (lowers his delivery to make it seem reasonably normal...not exactly muting your TV, but it will seem like it). Downloads available web wide. Senseless idiot blathering about who's to blame for this app available on any of the cable news shows.

3. Sleep Award Cycle- designed for those who enjoy, or at least pretend to enjoy, the assorted award shows that come rapid fire one after another in the early part of each year. The app monitors the shows very carefully and when it senses... a) a cheesy performance... b) yet one more excruciating "song/dance" concept tribute...c) any award show with the letter "M" "T" and/or "V" in the title...d) any tribute to Woody Allen by anybody...e) any one other than someone in the music business showing up to present an award at a music business award show...and f) any moment, on any show, when anyone is reading lame jokes/patter etc from a teleprompter, this app gives you the choice of...a) putting your TV to "sleep" until the moment passes or...b) switching you over to the Modern Family marathon on USA which is where you should have been in the first place.

4. RunPoo- the app lets you know, in advance, of any scheduled television appearance of Ann Coulter, allowing you to plan your absence from viewing and pay homage to her insights and perspectives simultaneously.

5. Crapster- actually, avoid this particular app. It's just a cheap knock off of RunPoo.

6. Easy Medal Detector- don't have time or patience to sit through the whole season of Dancing With The Stars but still want to know who will take home the disco ball? This app electronically analyzes all of the contestants by a scientifically determined criteria, zeroing in on three main elements:

               1) who is the hottest?
               2) who has the hottest partner?
               3) who is not Chaz Bono, Steve Jobs or Wynonna?

This one is free, by the way.

Because, in many cases, no one really gives a shit.

Saving them, though, the cost of downloading RunPoo.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

"....It May Have Started Out As A Big Deal....But, Cleary There's Been Shrinkage...."

Jerry Seinfeld is a veddy bad man, a veddy, veddy bad man.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

{LZ Granderson writes a weekly column for A senior writer for ESPN and lecturer at Northwestern University, the former Hechinger Institute fellow has had his commentary recognized by the Online News Association, the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.}
(CNN) -- "I don't want a Black History Month."

Morgan Freeman said that to Mike Wallace during a "60 Minutes" interview in 2005. As you can imagine, Freeman -- an actor so respected that he was even cast to play God -- sparked quite the controversy with his provocative exchange with Wallace.
"How are we going to get rid of racism?" the anchor asked.
"Stop talking about it," the actor said.
Three years later Freeman donated $17,000 to his old high school in Mississippi to pay for its first desegregated prom. Apparently even "God" knows that to solve a problem sometimes you have to do more than "stop talking about it."
I don't want a Black History Month either.

But after watching the backlash to Macklemore sweeping the rap categories at the Grammys, seeing the racist posts on Coca-Cola's Facebook page after its Super Bowl commercial featured a multilingual rendition of "America the Beautiful," and witnessing a Sikh model in a Gap ad become a controversial figure, I don't see how any rational person can believe we are in a post-discrimination utopia.
One that doesn't need laws to foster equality or regulate inclusion because it comes so naturally. 
When the Texas Board of Education tries to downplay slavery as a cause of the Civil War or to scrub away Latino leaders such as Oscar Romero from its textbooks, you must know "stop talking about it" is probably not the best approach.
So while I don't want Black History Month -- or Women's History Month or Hispanic Heritage Month, etc.-- the reality is the sociological dynamics that necessitated these commemorative constructs in the first place are still very much at play. And this is true whether we talk about it or not.
It is nice to think discrimination died the day President Obama was elected. But then a Stanford graduate with no criminal record gives a passionate interview moments after making the biggest play of his professional football career and the world erupts with comment, some of it unabashedly racist, and we know discrimination hasn't died.
It just evolved. Society's privileged are still cloaking themselves with the truism: "I wasn't alive then," hoping not to be disrobed by the Stanisław Jerzy Lec aphorism: No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.
During a recent CBS interview, Jerry Seinfeld noted that the first 10 episodes of his Web show only featured white males and then trivialized the criticism of his show's lack of diversity as "PC nonsense."
"People think (comedy) is the census or something, it's gotta represent the actual pie chart of America," he said. "Who cares? ... Funny is the world I live in."
Which isn't an inherently discriminatory thing to say but does come out of the mouth of a 59-year-old heterosexual white male who works in an industry -- comedy -- that is controlled by heterosexual white males as noted by numerous comedians who are not heterosexual white males such as Lindy West, Molly Knefel and Miss Bossypants herself, Tina Fey, who wrote in her best-selling book, describing the frat house atmosphere of "Saturday Night Live's" writing rooms:
"Not all of the men at SNL whizzed in cups. But four or five out of 20 did, so the men have to own that one. Anytime there's a bad female standup somewhere, some idiot interblogger will deduce that 'women aren't funny.' Using that same math, I can deduce that male comedy writers also piss in cups."
Seinfeld's comments, while not malicious in intent, do highlight some of the nuances of privilege those in power enjoy but are unable or unwilling to see. And unless measures are taken to point out some of those privileges, those who have been inadvertently excluded will continue to be so. This is why Fox News isn't concerned about "the war on Ramadan" and "Saturday Night Live" went six years without hiring a black female cast member.
"PC nonsense," to use Seinfeld's words, is employing unqualified women and minorities for the sake of fulfilling an HR checkbox.
But "PC nonsense" is also being challenged for not including women and minorities and then pretending you don't see race or gender, only shades of comedy. In a country that is 51% women and 37% minority, living in a city (New York) that is 53% women and 66% minority, saying something like that just sounds stupid.
But his saying it points out why Morgan Freeman's "stop talking about it" is counterproductive.
The pursuit of diversity is not an opportunity to point an angry finger or languish in guilt. It's an invitation to appreciate the woven contribution of the collective. We all play some role in the joys and ills of our society; let's stop pretending we don't.
Okay, first, we have to set some ground rules here.
There will be no name calling.
So, I don't want to check the comments section of this piece and find our less than erudite readers hurling epithets.
So, no low talker, high talker, ribbon bully, hipster doofus, close talker, mimbo, baldist or, worse, anti-dentite slurs directed at LZ allowed here.
At the same time, in the interest of fair and balanced, those who agree with his point of view should refrain from proclaiming him master of his domain.
Everyone being entitled to their opinion, though, we'll let it slide if you email LZ and you communicate to him directly "can'tstandya".
And, please, at all times, refrain from using the childish and done to death taunt....
"Hey, LZ...the jerk store called...and they're running out of YOU!"
Meanwhile, back at the point.
Avoiding the tempting pitfall of proclaiming another's opinions to be either right or wrong, let me just offer this.
I disagree, in principle, with Mr. Granderson.
I agree, in principle, with Mr. Seinfeld.
What I think may have gotten lost here is Mr. Seinfeld's articulation of his viewpoint didn't quite articulate the point that I suspect he was trying to make.
That being...
In a truly civilized society, we don't exclude people merely on the basis of their color, gender and/or all of the facets of their being that make them the being that they are.
At the same time, we don't include people merely on those basises, either.
That's a funny word.
Come to think of it, smoothing is a pretty funny word, too.
And mulva.
And moops.
Yada, yada, yada.
Speaking of comments, though, gotta man hand it to the contributor going by the online name of Workaround who posted this observation.
I think LZ Granderson is trying to honor Seinfeld by writing an article about nothing.
That's gold, Workaround, gold!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

"....It's Not Just Sunday....It's Crunch Time.....Literally...."

(WARNING: Fervent football fan(atic)s, be aware that the following essay is, most likely to your pigskin partial pupils, an exercise in blasphemy.)
Super Bowl tomorrow.
And here's an interesting slant on it.
Followed by my interesting slant on it.
On 3.
Gene Seymour is a film critic who has written about music, movies and culture for The New York Times, Newsday, Entertainment Weekly and The Washington Post.
(CNN) -- As far as I'm concerned, John Matuszak said everything there is to say about professional football back in 1979 when he was playing the role of a bent lineman in "North Dallas Forty."
Matuszak, or "Tooz" as players and fans knew him, was something of a renegade individualist in the National Football League and the movie's script gave him the opportunity to unleash a rebel yell: Embittered by his team's tough loss, and by an assistant coach's lame scolding, his character goes off on the coach, shouting at one point, "Every time I call it a game, you call it a business. Every time I call it a business, you call it a game."
And it's that very dichotomy that looms even larger during Super Bowl week. The media keep insisting there's a game being played Sunday night in New Jersey. But all anybody really cares about is the Business -- as in, the torrents of revenue being raked in from advertising (have you seen that there are now trailers---for the commercials?), the marketing, the gambling and, of course, the partying that goes on not only in New York and New Jersey in the lead-up to the Ultimate Game, but from sea to shining sea Sunday night.
Players know it, for sure—and it continues to embody my own ambivalence about American tackle football. I get caught up in the game's drama, its unexpected twists, its ongoing tension between best-laid game plans and the ever-looming potential for their disruptions. I get caught up, too, with the sideline rants, growls, collisions and screw-ups caught at varied speeds by the wizardry of NFL Films.
But while football's orchestrated aggression and violence may entertain me, my family and friends--and the rest of Living Room America—we're all newly alive to the physical and mental risks these players are taking. How does one stay passionate about football in the face of the grim, steadily mounting number of cases involving ex-players undergoing physical and mental injury and anguish over the sport's long-term effects?
In last Sunday's New York Times Magazine, author Steve Almond wondered whether it was immoral to watch and enjoy the Super Bowl while knowing full well that playing the game has caused "catastrophic brain injury ... not as a rare and unintended consequence, but as a routine byproduct of how the game is played." I've expressed similar misgivings here about the flood of disclosures about long-term injury and the manner in which the NFL tried at first to either disregard or demean this peril.

It's not just the dementia, memory loss and other symptoms that cast shadows over the NFL's gaudy, golden image. This seems the right place to mention that Matuszak, who was so physically imposing as a player that he seemed invincible, died 10 years after "North Dallas Forty" was made. He was only 39 years old and his death was attributed to an overdose of prescription pain medication. Gregg Easterbrook, who publishes the weekly Tuesday Morning Quarterback column for, wrote this week that painkiller abuse "may be pro football's next scandal." Over time, watching these players run into each other at top speed while imagining what their minds and lives will be like 20 years afterward could finish me off as a fan.
So could the sheer fatigue of witnessing, year after year, the NFL's seemingly inexhaustible capacity for inhaling money, which only compounds its overbearing corporate culture. I already have little patience with the game's ethos as articulated in such bromides as "Doing Whatever It Takes to Win" or that deathless line that the late, exalted Green Bay coach Vince Lombardi appropriated from a John Wayne movie, "Winning isn't everything, but it's the only thing," which even Lombardi, the man for whom the Super Bowl Trophy is named, came to believe was too simplistic. Such platitudes have made tackle football a useable, if not overused metaphor for what it's like to work, live and, above all, prevail in modern corporate society.
But it's not just a metaphor. Hard-working men such as my father found release, empathy and satisfaction watching the comparably hard work of his beloved New York Giants for decades. It used to be enough for he and millions of fans over the decades of professional football history to watch skilled craftsmen ply their trade, defy the odds, impose their wills, share their joy and passion. It'd be nice, too, if somewhere in the hype and hysteria, we could all calm down enough to see the Super Bowl in such elemental terms.
But as near as I can tell, it's the Business that now holds an overpowering edge over the Game. And what's worse: I can't tell how much longer the Game itself will hold out.
Thoughtful, insightful and, in my humble o, well articulated point of view, there, Gene.
Here's a thing, though.
Actually, a couple of three things.
First, while the public revelations and/or discussions about the potential for catastrophic physical damage in tackle football are relatively new, the results of such revelations and/or discussions are as predictable as what we can expect to be done about Bieber's spoiled, punk ass, law breaking behavior.
Three words.
Nada. Zip. Zero.
Because football's rock 'em, sock em', smash em' presentation is a huge part of what makes the game so attractive and popular in the first place.
Since some killjoy decided, back in our idyllic past, that that whole lions having their Christian friends for dinner pastime wasn't cool, watching grown men kick, punch, grab, knock, smack, smash, elbow, knee, fist and/or hurl each other to the cold hard ground (or dome temperature artificial surface, as the case may be) was the next best thing.
Well, next to WWE.
But football can claim credit for some sophistication that wrestling lacks, if only because it does, in fairness, take a little more precision to thread the needle with a pinpoint perfect pass to that WR in the red zone in the midst of a safety blitz than it does to smash the shit out of somebody with a folding chair.
But, still...
Second, there's really no way in hell that football fan(atic)s are going to rise up in a groundswell of unity, march lockstep to their vehicles in the tailgate party facility (non sports connoisseurs refer to these facilities as "parking lots") and drive away in mass, refusing to endorse or participate in any further NFL activities until the league promises to make the game a safer, saner, less violent and potentially physically damaging event.
Refer back to that lions and Christians thing.
And third, stop for a second and think about this.
If the slam, bam, romp em', stomp em' facet of the fracas known as football wasn't a major drawing card for those who marvel at the mayhem, then why is the Super Bowl, as Gene Seymour writes, such a huge event in so many ways that have absolutely nothing to do with the actual game of football being played there?
When's the last time you remember getting psyched about what new, innovative, water cooler chat worthy TV commercials you were going to see during the Wimbledon finals?
When's the last time you read in the financials that corporate sponsors were paying up to four million dollars for sixty seconds of commercial time during the Masters?
And when is the last time you were conflicted, but your kids were delighted, that Lady Gaga was going to perform during the seventh inning stretch of game seven of the World Series?
Bunch of prancers hitting a little ball back and forth over a net on somebody's lawn or something.
The Masters?
Bunch of guys who couldn't make varsity and had to settle for joining the high school Golf team.
World Series?
Like George Carlin brilliantly offered, a game of sacrifices and errors and grass and running for home, instead of a brutal contest of marching down the field, claiming the land yard by yard, launching aerial attacks, rushing and crushing the enemy, ever in danger of being charged with penalties.
Tennis, golf?
The sporting world's equivalent of those little finger sandwiches at foo foo wedding receptions.
It's what's for dinner, baby.
And a few broken bones, torn ligaments, hell, even a little brain damage seems like a small price to pay for such glorious victory.
I mean, come on.
It's not like they're out there getting bashed over the head with folding chairs.
And, with the exception of game days in Detroit, there's not a lion in sight.