The Redskins petition – and what it does (and doesn’t) mean

25 May 2014

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It was interesting to see that 49 United States senators signed a petition pointing out that the nickname of the NFL’s Washington Redskins is racist and urging the NFL to push the team to change their name. (Yes, I know that the graphic above says 50, and that it’s been reported in the news as 50. I’ve seen the petition and counted the signatures; it has 49 of them.) My immediate reaction was that this was a pretty damning indictment – nearly HALF the U.S. Senate saying you should do something is a pretty strong hint.

But then I looked into two things: the petition, and the signers. First of all, the petition is completely non-binding – it only “urges” Roger Goodell and the National (dramatic pause) Football League to “endorse a name change.” It only carries what I believe in legal circles is called “the force of moral suasion” – and given that these are politicians we’re talking about here, I don’t know how much moral force that really carries.

And second, there’s the matter of who signed it. There’s an online copy of the petition (you can take a gander at it here), showing specifically who put their John Hancocks on this piece. I recognized a lot of the names immediately … but I also realized a lot of big senatorial names weren’t on it. And the more I started looking, the more I started suspecting what might be missing … Read the rest of this entry »


The NFL coaching carousel, and who’s getting thrown off it

12 December 2011

(Another sinus bug, Thanksgiving, my 42nd birthday, life in general … and I end up gone from the blogosphere for another couple of weeks.  To paraphrase Remy the rat from Ratatouille, “I think it’s apparent that I need to rethink my blog a little bit.”  More on that in the coming weeks.  In the meantime, how about some football?)

Today, the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs fired head coaches Tony Sparano and Todd Haley, respectively.  This follows the Jacksonville Jaguars’ canning of Jack del Rio a couple of weeks ago.  A move like this always seems weird to me — if the season isn’t lost, why not wait until it’s over and see if the current guy can turn it around?  And if it IS lost, the only reason to boot the current fellow is to see if one of your current assistants can be The Man — but how can you tell that in only three games?  I dunno — to me it smacks of an owner trying to appease a fan base (or maybe a player base) that’s seriously disgruntled and out for blood.  “Here, tear this guy apart!”  The Owner says as he chucks the poor guy over the wall to the rampaging barbarians below, figuring that might stall them long enough for him to spirit his family out of the castle to the waiting escape ship …

Anyway, so three coaches gone, with three weeks still to go in the NFL regular season.  And it got me wondering, how many could end up gone by the time we reach the Super Bowl?  I took a few moments to look over the current standings and checked a few lifetime coaching records, and …

… and wouldja believe, as many as twelve?!?
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The anniversary that wasn’t

24 January 2011

Yesterday was my wife Nina’s and my twelfth wedding anniversary.  Nowadays, it seems like spending twelve years married to the same person without committing a homicide is fairly rare, and considering some of the problems we’ve had to work through over that time (internal and external), we do rather feel we’ve beaten the odds.  So it’s kind of a big deal, certainly worthy of a celebration.

And what did we do yesterday to commemorate such a momentous occasion?  Well … pretty much nothing.

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Periodic Pingback Double-Dose: Conscientious objection and concussion protection

22 December 2010

It’s Christmastime, after all — the season of giving, yes?  So why not give you, dear reader, a double dip of Periodic Pingback — links to articles on the Web that so intrigued me I couldn’t NOT pass them on?  (You know I’m cranked up when I start dropping double negatives.  This thing is on!)  So, you up for it?  ‘Cause I am.  Here we go …

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So much for my predictive ability

16 August 2010

Sometimes the best blog entries are the ones you don’t write.

Last Friday, I’d planned to do a column on the upcoming weekend’s three-way showdown at movie theaters between The Expendables, Eat Pray Love and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.  I was going to give it a WWE-style introduction (“Good God … th-that’s Scott Pilgrim’s music!”) and recap the casting by some of Expendables as the Great Masculine Hope against the feminization of Hollywood represented by EPL (as documented here).  And I was going to end with a prediction — that due to its appeal to youth of both genders, I thought Scott Pilgrim might win the weekend box office title in a squeaker over Expendables.

Well, Friday I was dragging a little, and then proceeded to burn my arm taking a pizza out of the oven (in the process also flipping the pizza over, causing it to splatter on the kitchen floor and thus ruining the planned family dinner).  So, pretty much shot for the rest of the night,  I decided I’d take a run at it the next morning before taking in a noon showing of Expendables.  (Alone, alas — my planned wingman went on the 15-day DL with a bad toothache.)

Well, Saturday morning they released the box office estimates for U.S. ticket sales Friday:

  1. The Expendables: $12 million
  2. Eat Pray Love: $8 million
  3. The Other Guys: $6 million
  4. Inception: $4.7 million (after being in theaters for a month)
  5. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: $4.5 million

And the numbers remained consistent for the rest of the weekend, except for Scott Pilgrim … which earned less each subsequent day.  For Friday-Sunday, Expendables finished with $35 million in domestic sales, Eat Pray Love with $23.7 million, and Scott Pilgrim still in fifth with $10.5 million.  So wouldn’t I have looked like a prize nimrod if I’d posted that blog entry?  (More than usual, I mean.)

But it got me thinking … why do we have such an attraction to predictions?

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Periodic Pingback: Men! To the theaters!

15 July 2010

(Blogger’s note: every so often, I’ll run across something on the Internet that’s so fitting, so right, so awesome that I kick myself for not having put it on my blog first.    Well, the least I can do is put it here after the fact.  Thus, “Periodic Pingback,” a little taste of what I think is great but unfortunately didn’t have a hand in creating.  Enjoy!)

I can’t write about spiritual revelations every day.  They aren’t the only things happening in my life.  ‘Cause at bottom, I’m just a regular guy.  And sometimes a guy just needs … guy things.

Now, a lot of people would be reluctant to consider me an archetype of all things Masculine-American.  I tend not to watch the NFL because I hate seeing players get crippled.  I don’t lift weights much, or drink beer, or buy Maxim.  And when it comes to movies … well, my tastes can be downright wimpy.  Honest to goodness, I like Dances with Wolves, and Sense and Sensibility, and Hugh Grant films.  And I don’t tend to go for shoot-’em-ups, for the same reason I’m not into the NFL: injury and death just aren’t fun for me to watch.

But there are exceptions.  And when that exception is accompanied by a call to reassert my status as a dude … I’m pretty much there.

Such is the case with a movie coming out called The Expendables.  You may have heard of it, as it stars almost every major action hero of the last thirty years: Sylvester Stallone (who also wrote and directed it), Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Randy Couture, Terry Crews and a few others I’m forgetting.  A friend of mine and I were planning to go see it when it came out anyway.  But now the stakes have been raised.

See, The Expendables hits theaters on August 13.  The other major release that day is the Oprah-endorsed, Julia Roberts-starring New-Agey über-chick-flick Eat, Pray, Love.  One of them is going to win the box office crown (who makes the most money) that weekend.  And an enterprising and creative fellow named Garrison Dean has created a fan trailer for The Expendables, calling men to come out and support it or forever cede the multiplex to rampaging hordes of teen female vampirophiles and girl’s nights out.

It’s done very tongue-in-cheek and I laughed out loud when I saw it.  (Which is more than I can say for the Motion Picture Association of America, who initially got YouTube to take it down for copyright reasons.  Apparently Garrison and the MPAA have come to some sort of accommodation, as it’s back up.  For now.)  But at the same time, if you’re an American male, and the piece doesn’t get your blood pumping a little faster … you may want to check yourself, dig?

Anyway, here’s a link to the video in question. (Warning: NSFW, due to one cussword and a lot of folks getting shot, stabbed and/or blowed up.)  Enjoy.  And rest assured that on the afternoon of August 14, barring disaster, I’ll be there, standing up for my fellow guys.

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