Friday, September 19, 2014

How About We Just Cancel Christmas!

Maybe the NFL should just cancel the season and spend the winter months rewriting their "code of conduct" policy for players and all involved in the game.  Sheesh!

Has America gone mad or what?  These are sports figures playing a game for a living, not catholic priests who minister to our souls.  I just don't understand how in a culture that allows children to play some of the most violent video games, watch the most violent television and movie shows and air some of the most sexist and violent advertisements you could imagine find themselves shocked when a segment of that culture is found displaying the exact behavior found in consumer products being marketed to them.

Some football players are doing what all segments of our society do; they behave badly, make mistakes and are sometimes caught doing so.  There are doctors, lawyers, politicians, priests, policemen, business men and women who have been caught at their worst. Most of these professions hold a public trust in society and are therefore held to a higher standard. Athletes might choose to perform public and charitable service, but most are not required to do so. And seldom are their crimes committed on the playing field. 

And let us not forget that there are a limited number of professional athletes playing in any sport, whereas other professions list hundreds of thousands practicing their craft.  Maybe the percentage of football players arrested per capita is much higher than any of the groups I've mentioned, but I think it says more about the people they attract than the players themselves.  Hollywood is full of actors and actresses behaving badly and yet we as consumers are quick to forgive them their trespasses as we rush out to see their latest blockbuster movie. 

So what is this eyes on the NFL behaving badly really all about?  Money and jealousy; perhaps. Truths and lies; maybe.  Sponsors running scared; definitely.

During football season just about every known product advertised throws in a football angled ad. Everybody gets into the act when it comes to the NFL, because its where the money is at. Here's one aimed at appealing to feminine beauty:

Just in time for NFL kickoff, your nails can now match your favorite team jersey with CoverGirl’s 32 “fanicure” sets. Available at, each set includes two to five nail polishes at $5.49 per bottle. The beauty brand is also making fan-art easy with step-by-step tutorials for extra fanicure flair.

The NFL's mistake was that they started marketing the game as a fun for the family event and became powerful enough to sweep the 'not so family fun episodes' under the rug.  Well folks, that rug has gotten lumpy and bumpy with piles of dirty debris and now the watchdogs, always on the prowl for hidden dirt, are looking with eyes wide open and mouths salivating.  

Has anyone found out how much TMZ paid and/or profited from releasing the Ray Rice surveillance footage?  They should be forced by congressional hearing to reveal their source. You seriously don't think they did it for the good of bringing a domestic violence offender to justice do you? Money. Watching the footage says as much about us as it does about Ray Rice and the NFL. And yes, Casinos have become the great American escape to the land of opportunity. Except instead of poor immigrants traveling to work and worship freely, you have spoiled citizens traveling to party and get richer quicker.

Imagine if the NFL did decide to cancel christmas and shutdown their show for the rest of the season.  How would you spend your winter? How would all those football analysts, journalists, talk show hosts, commentators and others making a living off the talents of these athletes make the money they're accustomed to each season?  

It would probably teach us all a very good lesson about throwing stones in glass houses.  Because to me a season without football would be a dead and dry season. Basketball and Hockey would have a field day as other entertainment would vie for the consumer's idle football Money. Money that became available when America got a peek at itself and didn't like what it saw in the mirror.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Giants, Dodgers, And Not A Peep From The Fat Lady

Ten games of baseball left to decide who will wear the NL West Division crown.  The high priced, media favored Los Angeles Dodgers still have a vice-grip grasp on first place, but the scrappy, rodney dangerfield of baseball keeps picking itself off the wildcard heap and biting at the heels of the Dodgers.

The San Francisco Giants in two days went from four games back to two and are smelling the fumes of a division crown getting closer. Granted, they'll probably need outside help along the way, but a lot can happen on the way to a postseason.  

Manager Bruce Bochy and company must take the bull by the horns and wrestle that division crown out of the jaws of  judas.  Damn right I hate the frickin Dodgers.  They're the real devil in a blue dress if you ask me.  But more than hating to see satan wearing our western crown, I want another San Francisco championship parade come October.  And Da'Bums from L.A. are in the way.  They must be exorcised!

Go Giants!

Major League Baseball
Scores & Schedule

  1. Thu, Sep 11
  2. Fri, Sep 12
  3. Sat, Sep 13
  4. Sun, Sep 14
  5. Mon, Sep 15
  6. Tue, Sep 16
  7. Wed, Sep 17
  8. Thu, Sep 18
  9. Fri, Sep 19
  10. Sat, Sep 20





Monday, September 15, 2014

Raiders Stinking Up The Joint

The only comfort the Oakland Raiders can take from yesterday's ugly loss-number-two on the season is their cross-bay rival San Francisco 49ers upsetting come-from-in-front loss against Chicago

The Niners were playing their first regular season game at the new stadium in Santa Clara, where seating is priced out of range for many of the old Candlestick crowd. Maybe that's the reason for their opening game collapse at the sparkling new structure; soft, cushy, laid back atmosphere infects home team. That and three Colin Kaepernick interceptions will surely put a dent into any red and gold homecoming. The Bears came from seventeen down to overtake the Niners and hold on for the win. 

But enough about the spoiled kids from the silicon valley choking, if you were at the blue collar silver and black coliseum yesterday you saw hope for a brighter future disappear before the first quarter ended. Hope was replaced by skepticism and the bleak outlook of watching another Raiders season swirling around the toilet bowl as the flushing commences.  
How stinky was it you might ask? When Raiders wide receiver James Jones catches a pass, fumbles, scoops up fumble and runs before being tackled and fumbling again near the goal for a turnover, your nose just crinkles and eyes begin watering.

The team played like sh!t in the home opener against the Houston Texans yesterday, and not even lemon fresh air freshener can remove the Monday morning stench lingering from the loss.

I've gotta blame the Coaching staff.  The team seems willing but the play calling and defensive alignments seem to hurt the Raiders more than help. They just seem so predictable. Then players try doing too much, fumble-itis and bumble-itis set in and a team is left wondering what the heck happened.

Sure the offensive and defensive lines look suspect, but a coach has to make adjustments to an opponent's quick release passer and aggressive defense.  Coach Dennis Allen kept going to a dry well and by the time he got desert thirsty, dehydration had settled in. Brings back my feelings about 2012 coaching

The Raiders coaching staff is stuck on an island with no rescue in sight and storm clouds rolling in overhead. They're at New England next Sunday. It could be worse; those clouds could be delivering cold, wet, snow if it were winter already. Tucking Patriots!

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

John Jay Joe and Giants Baseball

On a night when San Francisco Giants pitcher Yusemeiro Petit went the distance on just 89 pitches, the kid from my part of New York went five of five bringing his season batting average to .327.   

Giants rookie second baseman Joe Panik is playing big league baseball as he continues to add the pop the Giants have been craving at second base.  Because Panik attended John Jay High School in East Fishkill, NY, a rival sports school of mine growing up, I find it exhilarating to root for the youngster. 

Though the area has had a small share of athletes who've made it big, John Jay Joe has to be the most modern and probably the most green of Hudson Valley alumni to see his name in the bright lights of a major league lineup.  Major League slugger Josh Hamilton helped lead the Hudson Valley Renegades, a local Tampa Bay Rays minor league team, to their first New York Penn-League championship in 1999, but Josh didn't attend high school in the area.

It appears that the local newspapers, the Poughkeepsie Journal and Newburgh's Record, are also keeping their eyes on the progress of Joe's young major league career.  Its what small towns have done in years past and continue to do today; make heroes out of their native sons.  As of now, John Jay Joe is sniffing hero status in the city by the bay as he and the San Francisco Giants are in the final month of a pennant race.  

Tonight the Giants won 5-1 over the Arizona Diamondbacks, while division leading rival Los Angeles Dodgers lost 6-3 to the San Diego Padres.  Dodgers lead is now 2.5 games over the Giants.  This is the time for guys named Joe. Go get'em Joe!

Ray Rice Footage Frenzy

It's the sports story of the hour, and it has nothing to do with playing a game.  It has everything to do with a 3 minute clip of surveillance footage that shows NFL player Ray Rice striking his then fiancee. The blow is delivered violently as the victim, a female, succumbs to its forceful impact.  It is a moment of ugliness that I'm not sure prime-time television was ready for and I know I wasn't.  But the footage was shown and every known and unknown tv/radio spokesperson is commenting on it publicly in hopes of stirring up viewers/listeners, pushing ratings, and being the first to report any new developments.  If there is a silver lining to this story its bringing domestic abuse awareness to the masses. 

Some of the comments made by tv/radio commentators are almost as ugly as the blow.  I have yet to hear one voice talking about the forgiveness the victim has shown Ray since the incident.  In a nationally televised CNN segment following the incident which happened earlier this year , with his mother, father-in-law and the victim his fiancee Janay Palmer, Ray apologized, took responsibility for his actions and asked forgiveness from all those he'd hurt.  Janay accepted the apology whole-heartedly and married the man not long thereafter.

But this week's footage swipes all that love and forgiveness away as quickly as a turnover in football. In March, Ray had admitted to losing it and behaving very badly while Janay admitted to regretting playing a role in the the incident.  They'd apparently moved on with their lives the past six months, until this new surveillance video footage, taken from inside the elevator, was revealed this week catching everyone by surprise.  The couple has moved on, but viewers are stuck on what they've only recently seen and are In Total Shock!

The camera footage has given all of us a front row seat to one of the ugliest domestic violence incidents ever caught on tape. It is sickening to watch.  Now we as the viewing audience, conditioned to judge, blame and scream for revengeful eye-for-an-eye justice, have stormed the castle with torches lit, asking for heads to roll in the wake of this new revelation. 

We are asking questions of the police, courts, NFL and anyone remotely involved in the decision to treat Ray Rice like a first-time offender given a chance to remedy himself and his relationship, we are asking how could you have let this monster off the hook.

I'll say it since this is my blog. I believe Ray Rice was sincere in his apology and commitment to becoming a better father, husband and role model. Had the incident been a regular pattern of abuse I'm sure some camera would've caught Ray on tape again behaving badly in the months since the elevator incident.

I know I'll receive nasty comments and possibly threats from those carrying the torch of angry revenge, but I'm a God-fearing man who tries desperately to forgive those who trespass against us. Forgiveness is not an easy task. It is much easier to penalize and punish those who offend us so, than to forgive and learn from their faults. We all come up short in the eyes of God.

For those treating this like the crime of the century I ask who have you hurt lately?  It may have been with your words, your attitude, your negligence, your selfishness, your anger or your unforgiving.  Who did you trespass against recently? Well at least it won't be televised.  You can thank your God for that. Ray Rice just might be the sacrificial lamb for our modern day societal transgressions.

But the blessings may outweigh the babble as it appears to me that Ray and Janay have forgiven each other and are working their way toward a healthy, long-lasting and loving future together.  If they can survive the vehement criticisms and accusations of what must of been the worse moments of their lives caught on tape, then I applaud them for holding dearly to their love for their God and one another.  It is moments like these that true believers turn to their faith for strength and guidance, while those believing in lesser Gods turn to hate.

Praying Up Ray & Janay

John 8:7
When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Raiders Take A David vs Goliath Approach

freedom fighter image borrowed from

Dead last in NFL power rankings, but first in heart, courage and commitment.  The Oakland Raiders, armed with what I suppose ESPN analysts consider a slingshot for a weapon, have been given little if any chance of bringing down an opponent this season. They've placed the Raiders at the bottom of the heap of 2014 NFL contenders before the battles have even begun. So what else is new!

Maybe its the Goliaths the Raiders are scheduled to go up against this season that has sports analysts and experts not giving the Silver and Black a chance in hell.  Shame on them; they should know that the Raiders tend to raise hell and compete with the best of teams on Sundays, against all odds.

Tomorrow will give us fans of professional football the first inkling of how wrong the so-called experts can be in forecasting fates of football teams. Raiders don't care about high powered weapons and past battle victories of opponents; once the game is whistled to start its even-steven.  

The bigger the opponent, the more areas exposed for attack.  Put enough pressure on a crucial spot of an opponent, find the hole in his armor and over time the foe will fall. And yes, even a weapon as basic as a slingshot can bring down giants. 

Just seeing the slingshot can prematurely disarm a giant. Because a giant sees himself as others see him, whereas an underdog doesn't see himself at all, he only knows his objective is to conquer himself and lay waste to his opponent.  Sundays were made for hunting giants with slingshots. Its the true showing of courage under pressure.

Besides, who are these uncircumcised Philistines anyway?

Friday, September 05, 2014

Timbuctoo, New York (Est. 1846)

(about that 40 acres and a mule proposal)

While reading the historical fiction novel "Cloudsplitter" by Russell Banks, I came across a piece of history unknown to me.  I pride myself on gathering up such bits of lost and/or forgotten history and sharing it with others. 

The book is narrated by Owen Brown, son of the abolitionist, anti-slavery martyr John Brown.  What the son shares about his father and their family relations sheds much light on the man who'd die fighting for the abolition of slavery in America.

The history that caught my attention was of a black colony in North Elba, New York named "Timbuctoo."  
It was established in 1846 by an abolitionist named Gerrit Smith, who offered 120,000 acres of free land to impoverished urban black families in hopes of getting them out of the poverty of cities and through land ownership acquiring a means to vote. 
(see Founding and History of Lake Placid, NY)

Timbuctoo was a philanthropic experiment that failed in part due to bad farm land, harsh climate, poor guidance and Fugitive Slave Law bounty hunters. Within 20 years there was little if anything left of the colony. 

Sure would like to read a novel about the colony narrated by one of its citizens. It would have to be a fictionalized account of course.

North Elba Journal; Recalling Timbuctoo, A Slice of Black History

Published: February 19, 2002
In a small rural cemetery here, a white marble gravestone is the only evidence of a moment in New York State's history that few people have heard of.
Buried there are the remains of Lyman Epps, a sheep farmer and the most prominent settler of Timbuctoo, a black pre-Civil-War hamlet in the Adirondacks that offered thousands of black men from Brooklyn to Buffalo 40 acres of free land, a gift from a white abolitionist real estate baron.
The abolitionist, Gerrit Smith, gave away 120,000 acres of his land, beginning in 1846, hoping the Adirondack wilderness would offer refuge to black families eager to leave the poverty of urban cities and to acquire the means to vote. (At the time, state law required African-Americans to own at least $250 in real estate to vote.)
Today, Timbuctoo is largely a place that history forgot. Here, where it once existed, just east of the town of Lake Placid, there are no markers or historic street signs. The log cabins Mr. Epps and other families built as homes have long since been lost. Local maps show no record of Timbuctoo, and hardly anyone even knows how it got the name. Those regional histories that mention the area do so only fleetingly; one dismissed it as an experiment with about as much promise ''of agricultural results as would be the placing of an Italian lizard on a Norwegian iceberg.'' read full article

History Center 2012

Displays featuring Gerritt Smith, John Brown and Frederick Douglass connected New York to the national debate and sectional crisis. Most interesting was the discussion of Smith’s economic, social and political experiment, Timbuctoo (1846-53), in which he offered 120,000 acres of his own land far upstate, in Franklin and Essex counties, to 3,000 men of African descent, divided into 40-acre parcels. Smith hoped that turning these individuals into land-owning farmers would increase the African American vote in New York; the state constitution of the time required that black men own at least $250 worth of property, although there was no such requirement for white voters. Smith’s experiment brought the fervent abolitionist John Brown to North Elba, where he purchased a 200-acre farm from Smith with the goal of assisting the black families – and is the reason why Brown was later buried at North Elba. The exhibit also pictured less-noted New York abolitionists, among them Abigail Mott, a Quaker businesswoman from Albany, active in the underground railroad.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

It's Back!

Thursday Night begins the 2014 National Football League season.  From now until Super Bowl Sunday everything counts.  Every punt, pass and kick is launched into the air for one purpose and one purpose only; winning the game. There's no more evaluating players or plays via scrimmage football.  Preseason has come and gone faster than Christmas and the blustery winds of regular season football are upon us. 

Now its time to put all those off season gifts your team acquired to work.  Some will succumb to the brutal wear and tear of the game and breakdown.  Others will find the competition too challenging and be replaced by another.  All will find themselves questioning if they have what it takes to go the distance.  And when the post season has come and gone there will only be one team left standing who can call themselves NFL Champions. Only One!

Welcome Back Football Fans; Its Showtime!