Only Those Without the Heart for Football…Would Shut Down Football

Yes, I’m looking at you, Jerry Richardson, you jealous, gerrymandering Judas.

This is not simply a union and management issue. In any dispute between labour and business, the simple fact is that the business was founded as a unique entity, & continues as such as long as it continues profitably. Most of the workforce could probably be trained for the jobs and ideas created by the business founders.

In the NFL, the workforce is intensely unique. These are literally the best athletes alive, and therefore, logic would dictate that they have all the power in this chosen field.

One could argue the founders of football created the game and parameters in which these athletes perform, so they, and by proxy, the owners, should hold the most sway. The original owners took the risks to form this league, to create the teams, to forge the business.

And I’d say they created rules of the game, the colour schemes of the laundry, & then had the brilliant move to attach their laundry business to the civic pride of the city they were in. It literally wasn’t until a few years ago that it dawned on me that these teams were not part & parcel of the city—they were private businesses gloaming off the best and worst of the inherent tribal instinct.

But they used these instincts to help get their luxury coliseums built at the expense of the tribesmen, i.e. taxpayers, and now a stated interest for the owners locking out the players is, wait for it: more money for stadium creation and upkeep. Even though, by my count, maybe 6 of the 32 franchises need a new stadium. And that gets down to 4-5 once the L.A. stadium plans come to fruition.

Ironically enough, the biggest reason stated for a new stadium is to have a plethora of luxury suites, which then pays the upfront signing bonuses of the players as they become free agents. Never mind that the main owners who are driving this dispute are an 80 year old out of touch owner in Buffalo (Ralph Wilson), a losing franchise for 20 years; an owner who inherited his team from his legendary father, & has preceded to run his team into the ground for 30 years (Mike Brown in Cincinnati); an owner who just built a billion dollar stadium (Jerry Jones in Dallas), and hasn’t won anything in 20 years; and the aforementioned cheapskate/former player (who played for one whole year), Jerry Richardson in Carolina, who were the worst team in the league this year. These are not the leading lights of progress and innovative thinking. They just want to extract even more pounds of flesh from the athletes who are generating their revenue. No matter who signs the check—let’s not forget who is generating the profit here.

And the most ironic thing of all is, going to a game in a stadium is as unappealing as ever. If technology can improve everyone’s life by destroying the antiquated, then why is outlandish traffic, paying for parking, overpriced food, T.V. timeouts, and diminished sightlines of the action tolerated? More and more, all of the above seem like a quaint anomaly, and people are voting with their wallets.

These current owners have often tripled their initial investment in the team, even though none of these people created football, and none of them currently play it. And now taking half of unearned money (the current deal) will not do, and this is all under the guise of maintaining & building something (stadiums) which people generally don’t want any part of anymore. The draconian blackout rules should be abolished, with any eye towards the next T.V. contract. If it’s promised that every game will be available, people will pay a little extra for their DirecTV package on Sundays, and the T.V. networks will know that their ads will be seen every single game, thereby increasing their incentive to write a bigger check next negotiation.

Football is a perfect microcosm of brains and brawn, a substitute for our eternal need for war & violence (we are simply part of a violent Nature, after all). The longer these charlatans hold out on the primal pageantry that is football in this country, the more antipathy they’re showing their fans. The same fans they then expect to walk through the doors, after paying good money for the right to park outside the stadium on land they often ostensibly own as taxpayers. At home, they can pause the game, eat and drink what they choose at reasonable prices, and with HDTV and better network coverage than ever, they can be at the heart of the experience, instead of just breathing the same air as the players that day, sitting next to some drunken loudmouth, dreading the drive home.

So not only are the owners trying to steal more money from the players (the whole reason people care in the first place), they’re also besmirching the legacy of the owners who founded the league, who cared enough about the game to create it and fight for it. Today’s owners are simply looking for more profit from something that is a borderline public trust. Again, if you evoke a city’s name in your business, and then have the city build your main base of operations, then you cannot act as if all of the above is strictly an ATM you get to draw from, just because you bought the team once. You are not the team, your wallet is not the team, your ego is not the team. You just get the best seat. Enjoy the prestige being the king of your little Rome, and try to enjoy all the money flowing to you. Even as you secretly know, watching the grandiose game before you…that you didn’t create any of it.

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Is Christian (de Neuvillette) Your God?

Did you know there was a time when Sylvester Stallone was the most credible actor in Hollywood?

It was 1976, & “Rocky” had just won best picture. Western society had a new hero, to go along with Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne, James Bond, & Snoopy. But this man was different.

Wait, which man? Rocky or Sylvester?

See, they were the same. Because Sylvester Stallone, unlike 99.9 % of actors in Hollywood, had actually written his own dialogue. The words that inspired audiences, coming from their new superhero, were actually written by the guy portraying the superhero. Not only did the guy on the screen save the day…he figured out how to save the day. Then again, he also wrote the crisis, so he knew how to get out of it. I wonder if I can figure out how to get out of this paragraph…

(Majestic leap to the floor below)

I sometimes wonder if we pump up our movie stars so high because we think they’re so deep…forgetting a skilled writer (or army of writers) probably spent years dreaming & crafting the perfect thing to say at the right moment. Obviously it’s a benefit to our psyche to see a heroic journey or a down & dirty morality play, so we can either identify ourselves up there, or try to be inspired within. But I wonder do we sometimes, even just subconsciously, think that the Anistons, the Depps, the Depardieus (huh?) are somehow a higher class of human being, with their perfect witticisms, their regal bodies, their classier morals. We’re not a movie star, so of course we can’t think or run or behave like that.

Heck, presidents don’t even really write their speeches. Too often they’re the biggest actor (puppet?) of all, parroting the talking points to cheerlead us into a possible oblivion. One of the best sayings ever is politics is just show business for ugly people. I wonder who wrote that…

Then again, in my quest to think that people are smarter than ever…I do notice we seem to be moving away from movie stars. Information is disseminated so quickly, we rely on word of mouth more than who’s above the title. So we have that.

As we’ve learned, some of our cinematic heroes get their life lessons from Xenu, or are only good at lifting weights & maid aprons. They actually didn’t come up with that snappy, deep philosophic phrase quoted so readily…some poor schlub (rewriting his past the way he wished it happened) did. & ironically enough…that reimagined past becomes our fantasy future…

Maybe the world’s just gotta keep spinning. Centrifugal willing…

Figuring Out the Equation

When science, proof, & logic are the dominant forces in the world in 2011…why do we still fight?

If you have a belief, that’s good, & that’s fine…& in fact, that’ll often be the fuel to propel yourself to greatness (yet, beliefs also fuel people to insane acts of violence against mankind). But to me, it seems as if the human race just about has most of this existence figured out.

Never before have we been so wise, or have accrued such knowledge. If something’s wrong, be it inside our brains or our bodies, we usually have a pretty quick way to figure out why. In the realm of politics & finance, over & over now, we see what generally works, & what doesn’t. The next generation, theoretically, can be the smartest humans this world has ever known.

Maybe we’re still such tribalistic hunter & gatherers, that we still cast an antagonistic eye towards our fellow man. If your bank account is bigger than mine, then maybe my god is bigger than yours…etc. The religious “god” helped civilize this world, there is no doubt. It also held us back in a myriad of ways…& really still does. But what replaced our traditional god? Well, if it’s not going to be your sense of reason & learning…it was probably the god of government. Either way, it’s still the Head of your Tribe. Instead of the head of you.

The simple fact is that our brains are so powerful, we’ve allowed them to create gods, governments, countries, nukes, & computers. Yet only this last one, inarguably our greatest invention yet, seems to truly be bringing us all together with a sense of truth & evidence in the middle. Our minds think god is talking to us, comforting us—our minds think the system of politics we believe in should be the ruling one—our minds think our country is right, & the One to fight for—& our minds have unleashed the power of the sun in a sphere with a point & directional capabilities. But none of these combine human brainpower & the logic of nature like the ability of a computer to connect us all through logic. We now have thousands of years of history to review, & distill down to what simply works, & what simply does not. Evidence is more readily available than ever…if we can look outside our monitor of belief. In the semi-anonymous free-form world of the internet, we can spout opinions,  clarifying our beliefs, & hope to sway others to our way of thinking (your own personal tribe). But you & your god, political party, flag, & gun actually do not win. We’re all eventually going in the same compost heap. The same reason that allows you to survive everyday has to question your god & your country. This is a good thing, & allows us to grow.

But we act as if the world is a mystery, & our belief system has the key to solve it. Which is truly mystifying.

But that’s just my opinion, I guess. Or do I know?

The Truth Is In the Balance

It’s amazing to me, in an existence where time is finite…that we waste time being angry.

How many times, in service of your pride, do you stomp away angry, & then stay that way for a while (on “principle”). Doesn’t it almost always get worked out? Doesn’t the truth always arrive somewhere in the middle of this push & pull?

Forgive me for my simplistics (thank you Occam), but too many times now, I’ve seen—if we just take 5 minutes, & suss out the evidence of the “warring” parties involved, & examine everyone’s point—there still may be hurt feelings, bruised egos, & split lip service…but at least a calm rationality has a chance of  winning. If you’ve spent any time on this planet (& I’m assuming you have), you probably have a decently developed sense of reason. It’s really the only thing keeping you alive (other than your unemployment checks), & it’s pretty unforgiving, in terms of evidence. Everybody on this planet tends to think they’re right most of the time…but growth comes from when we see if we are or not.

& growth especially comes from when we’re wrong. Even if it’s only a little bit.

You’re probably gonna die tomorrow, or in 30 years. Do you really want the patina of your ego to be the last thing people remember you by? It’s ironic that pride is supposed to protect us, & be our backbone…when too often it just gets in the way of a reasonable strength. Some people go their whole lives angry at their “luck”, or their lot, or their little. Existence isn’t unfair to you…but it is fair to what’s true. It’s the only thing that makes sense.

So I say slow down a bit, & look exactly at the facts. Lovers can become enemies, but enemies can become respectful. It’s ironic how little we dwell if someone owns up to a “mistake”. But pride is weak when it’s the only thing left standing…

Productive Equality

Today’s post is simple, & after some research, seems as if the tide is shifting to a more intelligent application of the rule.

Today is about Title IX.

For those who don’t know, Title IX was the incredibly good-hearted notion that women should be given the exact same athletic team rights & opportunities as men at public institutions of higher learning. Back in 1972, it could be argued that women were generally not encouraged to express themselves athletically, & as one who had a bad-ass athlete sister, I’m glad this sea change occurred in society in general.

But of course, according to a governmental law, the letter of the intention became the norm, & not the spirit. So eventually, men’s programs started getting hacked & eliminated, regardless of the interest or participation…simply because the quotas had to balance out between gender participation.

More & more, a lot of us are taking steps to keep ourselves fit as we get older. A simple question should probably be asked here—

If you’re a guy, generally what do you do to keep fit? Flag football, pickup basketball, a weekend soccer or softball league?

Women, what do you do? In lieu of the above, I’d guess the answer would veer more towards yoga, Pilates, jogging, spinning, zumba, etc.

So I guess I’m asking a simple question—should colleges start offering non-tuition classes/activities focusing on the above, & not worry so much about fielding teams? There’s no question that women & girls are now fully encouraged to be as athletic & active as they can be…but in 1972 when title IX came to the fore—how many of the above activities even existed, much less were popular?

Maybe a more realistic shift can occur, & then some of the women who don’t feel particularly athletic or competitive could have outlets sponsored by our institutions, like P.E. classes on steroids(*hey*, that was a fun description). And then maybe good habits can form at a key developmental age in women that will carry them a lifetime…& just maybe the insane pressure to stay “fit” in our culture can simply be dealt with in a more natural, positive, & nurturing way.

If enough girls want to play a sanctioned sport at a school, by all means, that sport needs to be put on. Same with men. But let’s let our academic institutions learn from the real world too…& start obeying the choices men & women make as adults.

The King of Titles

The writer of none…

Is Elvis a legend? If so, why?

Do you know Elvis didn’t write any of his songs? Neither did Sinatra. Do you know Madonna didn’t write her music?

To me, in the music realm…if you’re going to be worshiped, respected, & worthy of admiration, I would think the creation of the music would be the key ingredient. If Elvis didn’t have the help of various songwriters, he would just a be a good looking kid with a couple moves & a decent voice…while sweeping the floors of the local high school.

Now, that’s not to besmirch the key time Elvis came along, in terms of a certain liberation of the populace, right when we needed it(i.e., he was “brave” enough to put a white face on black expression). Elvis is hugely important. Just hugely & obviously overrated.

Maybe this dovetails into this question—what other art expects the artist to perform what they’ve created? (Well, art itself, I guess.) Writers don’t recite their work…no, they let Clooney, Pitt, & Depp do that—& then watch as the populace essentially believes their stars think up the grandiose words they say(only in the realm of the newer comedies is this somewhat true…as improv is the new gold standard of value there).

Even in reality T.V. land—sometimes these people have lines or scenarios scripted for them…but they’re cheaper than a good actor. At least rappers write their own verse…while the music is pilfered from past writers, otherwise known as “sampling”.

I’m just confused at a world that worships a star as a generator of light & a purveyor of inspiration…when most stars have their light pumped inside them, creating nothing but heat.

When we have a system that only artists can be stars…wake me up, so I can dream a little…

The Root of the Problem

Just to get your mind off trying to decide which cult/comet to join/ride to get the hell out of here…  ;o)

How many Hollywood actors are bald would you say? Ed Harris? Bruce(finally)Willis? Um…J.K. Simmons(who?)?

The fact is, just like everybody else, about half of them are bald or balding. & who the hell cares?

I just find it fascinating that we look up to Hollywood stars as the paragons of human behaviour & totems to strive for…yet, they’re all trying so hard to be this as to become unbecoming.

What is the typical female instinct(or learned trait)when they see a bald, balding, or guy with bald spot? Maybe a little giggle, not much of a second glance, & some moving on. & I think, just like weight & wrinkles in females, we’ve been conditioned to expect a certain Adonis/Samson-ite trait of hair as virility & masculinity. I mean, Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne, Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, & even Tom Hanks weren’t or aren’t bald, right?

Wrong…Bogie, the Duke, & the Chairman all were pieces…Brando probably lost most of his hair in the late 60’s, & that’s at least a transplant/wig going on with Hanks. Heck, 3 of the guys in Metallica lost most of their hair, unofficially. Who knew? & who cares?

Well, if the image is continually put out there that the heroes of our escapist morality plays all have craniums of flowing locks(god-bless Clooney, Pitt, & Depp)…what does this instill in our expectations?

Ultimately it doesn’t matter, especially in a world with a million other more important things. & everybody gets more “realistic” with their expectations the older they get. But I just find it disconcerting that fantasy creeps into reality on a fairly deep level…because while we may realize what we’re seeing on the screen isn’t inherently real—on some level, the wool…or wig…keeps getting pulled over our eyes. Sure, we see the reality everyday, & we “accept” that our man is losing his hair…but even the smartest women among us still sorta wish their guy had more hair. Gee, I wonder why.

But hey…maybe some men deserve it for demanding the other side fill out their bras, come hell or elective surgery…