Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Nixon, Cassius Clay and Me

I presume, unless you live in bubble, you know that Seattle’s underrated Seahawks gave Denver’s overrated Broncos a thorough flogging in the Ground Hog Day Pooper Bowl. 

The temperature at game time was a touchdown more than the best defensive team in the NFL scored. It was 49 degrees before the game started. If you turned it off early, the Seahawks beat the Broncos 43 to 8. The only fans who liked it were Seattleites. 

For me, it was deja vu all over again.

Fifty-four years ago, January 1, 1960, another team from Seattle, the UW, played the UW in the Rose Bowl. The U of W Badgers were rated 6th in the nation and the UW Huskies, 8th. Wisconsin was favored to win by 6 ½ points. Sound familiar? (The Denver Broncos were 2 ½ point favorites over the Seahawks).

The University of Washington beat the University of Wisconsin. Can you believe that Wisconsin scored just 8 points and the Huskies, 44. There were no Seahawks then. The University of Washington Huskies were the only game in town.

Like the Seahawks, the 1960 Huskies broke fast; they led 17-0 after one quarter, 24-8 at halftime and they scored the final 27 points of the Rose Bowl game.

The Denver Broncos scored their first and last touchdown on the final play of the third quarter and added a two point conversion. A grand total of 8 points for the offensive juggernaut.

Let’s turn this off right here and get back to Super Bowel X-whatever. There’s little to talk about, except maybe Gwen. According to Go Daddy, she doesn’t want her last name publicized. (I thought maybe it was Manning, but apparently it’s Dean).

She’s from Yonkers, New York and apparently was one of more than 100 people who wanted to quit their job in Go Daddy’s Super Bowl commercial. She’s 36 years old and spent her last 18 working for the same company where her boss until Sunday was “Ted” (no last name).

Her Go Daddy spot was the last commercial of the first quarter when Seattle led only 8 to 0. “I quit, Ted," Dean said in the $4 million 30-second message, while mouthing the words with a Muppet-look-a-like, surrounded in a room full of puppets. "Ciao baby!"

Dean's resignation isn’t the first on a major medium. Maybe you remember Greg Smith, vice president at Goldman Sachs, who said I quit in an article on the op-ed page of The New York Times. Then just last October, Marina Shifrin, who described herself as a writer, comedian and waitress quit her job with a song and dance on YouTube. The captions in her video stated that she was tired of her boss caring more about the quantity of the videos she produced instead of the quality.

The next day Shifrin got a job offer from Queen Latifa, who sang America the Beautiful at the Super Bowl.

How many TV viewers were left to watch the $4 million commercials after Seattle led 39 to nothing has not yet been announced. But at $4 million a spot a bunch of advertisers will likely want some of their money back.  Tune in tomorrow for record-breaking news.

For now (like Nixon, Cassius and Gwen Dean), I QUIT!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Trivial Pursuits in New Jersey

I wanted to post something that might help you sound like a Super-expert on Sunday, but nothing came to mind until somebody fumbled some interesting stuff my way and I decided to pick it up and run with it. 

I did a very little bit of research to create a little Trivia game that might add a little levity during time-outs, concussions, instant replays and over-long reviews.

Warning to those planning to charge a cover for your Super Bowl party:  Section 110 of the copyright law says you can show the game to a big crowd, provided you’re not charging a fee for people to watch it and that when you tune in, you only use a single receiving apparatus of a kind commonly used in private homes.

What is a Seahawk? A seahawk is another name for an osprey — also called fisher hawks. Basically, they are fishing birds that swoop down and grab prey right out of the water.  Like a certain corner back swoops and grabs interceptions.

  • 2013 Salary Caps are close:  Seattle won: $133,800,000 compared to Denver’s $132,900,000.
  • Broncos QB, Peyton Manning earned $19.2 million in 2013. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson earned $526,217. 
  • Lowest salaries: Denver – Julius Thomas $420,758;  Seattle – Michael Morgan $465,000
  • The average cheerleader makes between $50 and $75 per game. 
  • Who came up with the huddle? His name was Paul Hubbard. In the 1940’s he was the quarterback for Gallaudet University (a university for the deaf and hard of hearing in Washington, D.C.) the 1940s. Hubbard’s purpose was to prevent other teams from reading his team’s sign language. It caught on.
  • Football evolved in medieval Europe from “Mob Football.” There were an unlimited number of players and you had to get the ball to the center of town any way you could as long as it didn’t lead to manslaughter.
  • Every NFL official football is made in a Wilson Factory in the Village of Ada, Ohio.
  • It takes 600 cows to make enough footballs for an NFL season.
  • The highest score in Football occurred in 1916. Georgia Tech beat Cumberland 222 to 0.
  • The Baltimore Ravens are named after Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem “THE RAVEN” … Not the bird!!!
  • The Dallas Cowboys haven’t played in Dallas since 1971 … the stadium is located in Arlington, TX.
  • The St. Louis Rams were the first NFL team to put their logo on their helmets.
  • The ‘G’ on the Green Bay Packers helmet does not stand for ‘Green Bay’. Though the Packers are the NFL’s second-oldest team, their iconic logo did not come about until 42 years after the franchise was founded! Prior to this time, the team had used several different logos, but none were placed on the headgear until equipment manager George Braishear came up with the elliptical “G” design in 1961. It stands for GREATNESS.
  • Since the American Football Association became the National Football League in 1922, the Chicago Bears are the only team not to change its name or city.
  • The Green Bay Packers are the only publicly owned corporation in the NFL.
  • The NFL is considered a Non-Profit organization … and thus Tax Exempt.
  • The American Sports industry is worth $422 billion and employs 1% of the population! 
  • 78% of NFL players are bankrupt just two years after finishing their careers!  
  • The average life expectancy of an NFL player is 55 years. 
  • The NFL requires that all stadiums are built facing north and south so the sun never interferes with play.
  • Dr. James Naismith invented basketball … everybody seemingly knows that --- just like 15 minutes can save you 15% on car insurance.
  • But did you know that Naismith also invented the football helmet (which could be used in basketball now).
  • James Naismith graduated as a medical doctor, primarily interested in sports physiology and what we would today call sports science. He was a Canadian.
  • Former Minnesota Vikings kicker, Fred Cox invented the Nerf Football in 1972 … and he continues to collect royalties on every one sold. 
  • Deion Sanders is the only person to hit an MLB home run and NFL touchdown in the same week. He's also the only person to play in the World Series and the Super Bowl.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Take this with a grain of salt...unless you have high blood pressure (if you do, take this with a grain of no-sodium salt substitute)

A couple of weeks ago I awoke at 3:30 AM to the sound of my heart clearly beating.  I decided that either my hearing had taken a welcomed leap in clarity or my heart beat had reached historic decibels. 

With no means of testing my hearing, I took my blood pressure on a cuff that had been around since the Eisenhower administration.  The diastolic number eclipsed my cholesterol level which had put me on a diet in December of 1989, ordered by my beloved Dr. Sherwood B. Fein (no kidding … parents didn’t know he would grow up to be a doctor).

A few hours later, after sharing my experience with my daughter, I went to the nearby fire station and got a second opinion on my blood pressure. The opinion was I should go to the ER.  The good news was my blood pressure was a whole lot lower by the time the ER docs got to work. The bad news was it was still too high. A few tests later I was released and instructed to make appointments with my physicians.

A half dozen appointments, ultrasounds and follow-ups later I was instructed to take my blood pressure twice daily (on my newly acquired Panasonic BP Monitor which corresponded fairly well with the one at the doctor’s office) and told to add no additional salt to anything I eat. 

This morning Mean Eileen brought me a few bland recipes, some no-sodium ingredients that are supposed to make me not miss salt, and some reading material that explains why I should never again ingest anything that tastes good. 

I went to a section of a food guide titled, “HOW TO READ A FOOD LABEL” which has changed since 1989 (along with my Cholesterol level) and began immediately making menus for the next week. 

After quickly abandoning that project, I found the draft of my 1989 book titled THE GREAT OATBRAN WAR OF 1989 and reviewed The American Heart Association recommendations in that year. “Limit your daily cholesterol intake to 300 mg and saturated fat to one-tenth of total caloric intake.” Apparently I did that, because I’m still alive to write this grain of salt.

Gotta go now. I have to pick up grand granddaughter, Izzy and take her to McDonalds. We snack more than frequently on the soft vanilla cone.  At least we did ... getting the results from my blood sugar evaluation tomorrow ...

Monday, January 6, 2014

Bowl Movements


  • Florida State will win the BCS Bowl Monday night. 

  • On the pro-front the Seattle Seahawks will advance to the next round and Redskins owner, Dan Snyder will change the name of his 3-13 team in the 2013 season to the Washington Seminoles.

    No problem with “Political Correctness.” In 2005 the National Collegiate Athletic Association agreed with the 3,100-member tribe and the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, which had endorsed the nickname. The N.C.A.A. removed Florida State from the list of universities banned from using what it called "hostile and abusive" mascots and nicknames during postseason play. 

  • Snyder will not wait for some other team to draft Johnny Manziel. He will sign Johnny Football (which will become his legal name as head football coach and chief cheerleader) and announce to the press that Johnny Football is “too small to be an NFL quarterback but plenty big enough to be his new Coach. But when the 2014 season begins, guess who will come out on the field to quarterback the new and approved Seminoles? JF will become the youngest and first coach/quarterback in NFL history and Snyder said he expects no disagreements between his coach and quarterback. 

  • Meanwhile, back at the Leland Stanford Ranch, Cardinal President John L. Hennessy will go over the head of his Athletic Director, Bernard Muir announcing that the University was academically embarrassed by the play calls in the last quarter of the Rose Bowl, and replace coach David Shaw with former Stanford head football coach “Ty” Willingham (1995-2001), who is currently a volunteer assistant coach for the Stanford University women's golf team, will get a major adjustment in his current salary. Shaw will replace Willingham and will retain Tiger Woods as his assistant volunteer assistant. Lindsey Vonn will become the new Stanford ski coach. 

Tune in soon for my predictions on the future of Brent Musburger (it involves a new fast-food chain).

Thursday, January 2, 2014

My previously unpublished (but prescient) Redskins Flog

In October I wrote that I was sick and tired of the constant bad news about the Shutdown and suggested the media shut up about it until the Feds shut down the Shutdown. A friend wrote back “Why don’t you write something about changing the name of the Redskins?"

So, you want me to open a can of worms,” I replied. 
He responded. “YES!!!, take a stand. You grew up in Seattle, and you were involved with the Seattle Indian Health Board." 

So I picked up my pencil and wrote something I knew they would understand in DC. It’s time for a change. But how many times have you seen a pro sports team solve a problem by changing its name or mascot?  Much easier to fire the coach.

Yes, back in October I suggested the Redskins organization fire Mike Shanahan and replace him with a Native American football coach. 

Last week was “Pink Slip Monday” - and the shopping began for six NFL head coaches to replace Rob Chudzinski (Cleveland Browns),  Leslie Frazier (Minnesota Vikings), Jim Schwartz (Detroit Lions), Greg Schiano (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), and, of course Mike Shanahan.  Tampa Bay has already fallen in love with Lovie Smith.  But that's another FLOG.

Shanahan is the only one who has piqued my interest because I had a friend named Mike Shanahan, who was the Chief of Police of the University of Washington Police Department (where incidentally in early December coach Steve Sarkisian fired the U of W which four days later hired Boise State coach Chris Petersen to replace him).

Meanwhile back to Shanahan. He has been the head coach of the Los Angeles Raiders, Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins. He was a quarterback at Eastern IIlinois University in 1972, where he took an NFL-type slam on the practice field which ruptured one of his kidneys, causing his heart to stop for thirty seconds. It was so bad a priest was summoned to administer the last rites to Shanahan, a devout Roman Catholic.

This experience certainly qualified Shanahan as a quarterbacks coach in his first NFL coaching job. The rest of his coaching career has been like musical chairs. After four seasons with the Redskins his record was 24-40. 

But who can blame Shanahan for "Black Sunday", Oct 27, when his star quarterback, Robert Griffin III was leveled in the pocket by Denver Bronco defensive lineman, Terrance Knighton. It was downhill all the way from there for the Redskins, where there was more concern about the political correctness of the football team’s name than its players.

I wrote at that time that when there is controversy within a football team, whether it’s an insensitive moniker or a bad trade, team administrations usually fire the coach.  I decided not to post what I wrote because I didn't want to be perceived as casting aspersions when I really didn't (and don't) have anything against Shanahan.  Plus,  Shanahan’s son, Kyle, was a member of his father’s coaching staff and I'm pretty sure he could (can) beat me up. 

Interestingly, I recently discovered Shanahan’s wife Peggy has Native American lineage.  She might be relieved to have her family disassociate from Dan Snyder.  

Don’t worry about Mike and Peggy, or Kyle. Shanahan won’t have to coach the Redskins again and he still has $7 million remaining for the fifth year of his five year contract.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The War on the Non-Neo-Christian Winter Holiday War ... and to all a Good Night

Last night's Daily Show featured Jon Stewart's hysterical rant about “World War C (The War on Christmas).” 
Then I got an email about whopping savings with Groupons at local restaurants and merchants with an endorsement from my dear friend Marion Schwartz, which lead to this fabulous link and this deal of a lifetime.

Since it’s the season for sharing, I thought I should most certainly share it with my thousands of readers around the world, particularly those of you in Croatia, the Ukraine, China, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Malasia, Vietnam, Columbia and the Netherlands who may not have easy access to Costco. Onliners who work in their pajamas from home.  


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I got on the phone
And said, “Send it by Drone”
It’s the last night of Hanukkah
And no one wants a harmonica
Merry Holidays To All
And to Jon Stewart;
A good fight