Friday, November 08, 2013

Everybody Have Fun Tonight! Everybody Wang Chun Tonight!

 Does anybody know a good party planner? A really good one who's willing to work online. I'd look for a local party-planner but I need to plan a pity party, and a local Cleveland-area party-planner would probably allow their own yeah-I-live-in-Cleveland self-pity influence his or her choices for MY party. See, that's the thing about a pity party. You don't wanna be bothered trying to dredge up pity or empathy for SOMEBODY ELSE! This is MY pity party. The focus needs to be on me. All of the focus. Only on me. Besides, if you started telling some bullshit story, real or imagined, to try and elicit sympathy from me or to draw attention away from my plight and onto yours, I GUARANTEE I can top whatever story you come up with. Complete with x-rays to back it up. Don't even try. You'll be pitied... For all the wrong reasons.

The party planner will have to have some decent connections to make this party a success. For instance, sourcing the Coke. It has to be really good shit. None of that Coke cut with powders like aspartame. In fact, for a really good buzz you gotta get the Coke from the Mexican Coke dealers. It's not that hard to get it into the country. It has a reputation for being some of the best Coke out there. It's the real deal, made with real sugar. No high fructose corn syrup. Not in the good Coke. And none of that "gold" Coke, either; that stuff with no caffeine in it is pointless. Especially the Diet Caffeine Free Coke. WTF is that, anyway? No caffeine, no sugar? Where is the love, baby?

If you can't find good Mexican Coke, try and score some Throwback Pepsi which also has real sugar. But it's bottled in America and just not quite as good as the Mexican shit.

For food, there MUST be chocolate. And cupcakes. In fact, you really can't go wrong with chocolate cupcakes. Balanced by something salty, like Ruffles potato chips with California French Onion Dip. Yeah, that crap you make with a packet of Lipton onion soup mix and a pint of full-fat sour cream. You might be able to get by with a good low-fat sour cream. But try sneaking some of that dip made with yogurt past me and you'll be planning your own pity party. The same goes for baked potato chips. Those are not potato chips, they are potato snacks made from potato powder. Why do you think they're all the same shape and size and come in a can? Yeah, you probably think McNuggets are real parts of a chicken, with real chicken meat. Maybe you SHOULD be pitied. But not at my party. Seriously, don't try and pull that shit on me.

Following are the information essentials a good party planner will find a way to share with the guests:

Dress code - definitely needs to be casual. Not casual like Casual Friday and you work at the freakin' White House so wingtips but no tie. Casual like t-shirts with rock stars or profound sayings on them or, even better, t-shirts with profound witticisms spoken by rock stars. From a tour at least five years ago or before the lead guitarist OD'd, whichever came first. No long pants. Just shorts. Casual like gym or hiking shorts, not the Bermuda shorts with the knife-sharp crease down the legs your mom irons for you. Docker shorts are fine IF they are appropriately faded and washed out, bonus if they are frayed. No cut-off jeans. It is, after all, a respectable party for grown-ups. Women can wear a tee without profound sayings but they must not have animals on them. Exception, an alligator over the left breast is acceptable. As is a bear in the case of an authentic Boston Bruins tee. But not cutesy cat shit, or dogs in stupid outfits. Those animals would be pitied more than me and they should have their own damn party.

Footwear- the preferred footwear is sneakers with or without white socks. White ankle socks. No peds with cute little balls hanging off he back. That goes for the ladies, too. No tube socks leftover from the Jimmy Carter era. Jimmy Carter is a wonderful man who doesn't get the credit or respect he deserves for his presidency but who never should have worn tube socks. Neither should you. And no colored socks. I'm not racist. I just don't think there's a place at my party for colored socks. Colored socks are for geeks, nerds, and people who wear long pants to the beach while trolling for lost costume jewelry and Spanish doubloons with a metal detector. You can wear boat shoes or flip flops but then the socks are definitely out. Again, no drawing pity attention to yourself and away from the pitiful guest of honor. That would be me. But if you do the flip flops, make sure those nails are trimmed and free of fungi. Otherwise pretend you're Gisele Bundchen or Tom Brady and cover those bad boys up with UGG boots. 

Any half-decent party planner knows how critical music is. For a good pity party there needs to be a mix of upbeat surfing ditties and not-quite-country "somebody stole my pick-up with my dog and my best friend passed out in the back" ballads. Music from the 60's to the 90's. The NINETEEN 60's. None of that classical waltz stuff from the 1860's. This is a pity party, not some bitchy princess' debutante ball. The only waltzing acceptable at this party would be by Matilda dancing with Crocodile Dundee. Or Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. I don't care, as long as there's a dancing Kangaroo.

Gifts: that "The best present is your presence" request for no gifts is bullshit. Anybody who tries to pull that lame ass stunt will immediately go on the party planner's email list to be bombarded with offers from the party planner to help you plan your own pity party. That's how sad it is for you to try and get away without springing for a gift. This is a pity party and nothing lifts the spirits of the pitied better than free crap. The more expensive, the higher the lift! Yes, there is a definite correlation between how cool and expensive your gift is and how happy you will make me for that fleeting moment between the time I open the gift and the instant reality bites and I realize how much my life sucks that I need material things to make me happy. Lots of material things. Or chocolate. 

So keep your eye out for your own special e-vite. The first one will be a save-the-date request. The second will be an announcement of the time and place. The third, fourth, and fifth emails will be reminders to go online and order that honking big and/or expensive gift that will make you so happy because we all know it is better to give than receive. And if it needs batteries or a charger, don't be a tight-wad and pretend you didn't know. And don't go in on a gift, letting a buddy give the battery/charger. No. That is ONE complete gift, from one person. Unless you are a couple; it's okay for couples to give a gift together. A bigger, more expensive gift.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Just When You Thought It was Safe to Turn the Lights Out

This is the weird dream I had last night. It was so weird I remembered it all when I woke up. Hours later I can still "see" this very clearly. If you can figure out what it means, please post a comment!

I flew out to LA and rented a car. I drove to Anderson Cooper's to spend the night. I parked my green Toyota rental car on the street and went in to Anderson's.  He was wearing a ridiculous brown wig. I met his girlfriend. I thought she looked familiar. She was chef Robert Irvine's wife, an Asian-American female wrestler. At some point I realized my rental car had been stolen.  Anderson and what's-her-name had a wonderful Christmas Eve w/friends while I spent the night trying to figure out what to do about the car. Then right before bed Anderson told me they were leaving on a 6am flight to visit his mother in New York.  It was already about 3am. I was still on the phone, trying to get through to the car rental agency,  trying to get cops to take a stolen car report, and trying to figure out how to get to the airport to fly home the next day.  Anderson and "the girlfriend" left for the airport and stuck me with taking care of the cat and dog. I looked all over for a leash to take the dog out but couldn't find one. So I locked the dog upstairs with the cat. After not being able to get "through" to either the rental agency or the cops, I finally got a ride to the airport...and woke up.

So with this dream still vivid in my mind, I have all kinds of questions:
How did I get to be such good friends with Anderson Cooper? (Or do I call him Andy?)  Why does he live in LA? In a crappy neighborhood? And why is the gay Anderson Cooper living with Robert Irvine's wife? Why didn't they or any of their friends offer to help me? Why did he make me sleep on the couch? How could they stay up until 3am, then go to bed, and STILL get to LAX and make a 6am flight? 

Some of this I can explain away. Anderson Cooper? Well, he IS cute, and who wouldn't want to be friends with him? Robert Irvine's wife? Uh, I got nothin'! I have no explanation for any of that. Is she still married to Irvine? If so, why was she living with Anderson? The stolen car? Yeah, I have had a couple of break-in/stolen car incidents, and one did happen around Christmas, but on Christmas NIGHT, not Eve, and in Atlanta, not LA. Not being able to speak to a real person at a car rental agency at 3am on Christmas morning just kinda makes sense, no explanation necessary. Anderson and his girlfriend making their flight? Simple. Hollywood magic. Not being able to let the dog out to pee? Well, right before going to sleep I'd texted Nick and asked him to let Rowdy out after he got home and before he went to bed. And the ridiculous brownish wig Anderson was wearing? I saw Andy Richter wearing it during a commercial for the Conan O'Brien show that aired during the Sox game. Come to think of it, I'll bet the Red Sox loss was the cause of this whole thing. But I'll still watch the next game!

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Technology Circles

So, in the beginning, cavemen and cavewomen used to draw on walls. We call that prehistoric art. When young men and women draw on walls today, no matter how artistic or profound the message, we call it graffiti and vandalism and have it removed or painted over, and if caught, the artist is arrested. But in reality graffiti is a valid form of communication, just as cavemen's drawings were their way of communicating with each other, and of leaving their stories for the future.

In later years families would gather around the large living room radio, listening to important news broadcasts, storytellers, or music and sometimes shows. Some of the shows were one time performances, some were early game shows in the form of quiz shows. Some were broadcast in parts with stories spread over several shows, like episodic television we now call sitcoms or dramas. Back then they were serialized stories.

For years, people would carry verbal or written messages from one person to another. Or they would send brief messages by carrier pigeons (precursor to air mail?) and then by telegraph. And when people  would send their messages on telegrams they would necessarily be brief, using abbreviations and omitting extraneous words to save money.  Brevity was cheap. One had to go to a telegraph office to send and pay for the message, which would be translated into Morse code to be sent over copper lines. The telegraph operator in another town would receive and decode the message, and a paper copy of it would be delivered to the recipient. Nowadays people encode, send, open, decode and read the messages on their own. We call it texting. Brevity is still the way to go.

People used to call on the phone when it was a party line. You would call a friend and, without you being aware, Ethel across the street could just pick up her headset and listen in. Many people like Ethel would then share whatever they heard with their friends. Important information was printed up in newspapers or announced on the radio.  Now we write whatever is happening, or how we are feeling, what we're doing, what our thoughts are on any subject, by sharing on our and others' virtual walls in Facebook. 

People used to take precious photos of family and friends and others on special occasions. They would send away their film and wait days and sometimes weeks for their black and white film to be developed and printed. The photos, for the most part, were carefully planned because of the costs of developing and printing the images. Even the 'candid' shots were considered carefully by the photographer. Sometimes the photos would be tinted or have color applied by hand. Then came the invention of colored film.  Those photos were precious and put in albums ( books of special paper) to be cherished and handed down from generation to generation. Often there was writing on the front or sometimes the back, naming the event and the people in the photos.  Now we use camera/phones and take as many photos as we want of every damn thing we see, because it doesn't cost anything. And when we label the event or people, we call it 'tagging.' We use Instagram to add color and special effects to the images. We put our photos in digital albums and rarely look at them. We share a few, compared to how many shots we have taken, but most stay stored away on hard drives or memory sticks, never to be seen again, like the albums in the attic. And those we do share, we share by sending digital copies and there is no cost, no extra prints to be ordered or time to wait. We can send that photo of the whale we saw off Martha's Vineyard to a friend on a whale watch off the California coast, and they can send back THEIR whale pix in a matter of seconds. Then we can either call or, more likely, text to converse about who is seeing more whales and getting better pictures.

It used to be some families were fortunate and one member of an extended family would have a moving picture camera. He would be the designated family occasion documentarian, first shooting without sound and later editing the film by splicing it, and adding sound. This was extremely tedious work and a thankless job for the cameraman, whom we never saw in the films because nobody else knew how to operate the camera. Then there was a time when the wealthy or hobbyists could afford video cameras, and pretty much anybody could 'film' the most mundane events, because videotape was relatively cheap and the cameras were easy to use. If we didn't care for the images or the event was boring, we just deleted or taped over those parts.

But we were still a little picky about taking videos everywhere because the cameras were bulky and the cameraman had to look through an eyepiece and so generally was not in the shot and missed out on activities. Unless he put the camera on a table or tripod, where it would promptly be bumped and there would be hours of footage of a wall or people's feet, or aunt Matilda dozing in a chair with a cat on her lap, which was cute for a few seconds but not forty-three minutes. But no matter, we can delete and fast forward through that part, or tape over it.  Now nearly everybody considers themselves photographers and videographers, story tellers and record keepers, because nearly everybody has a phone with apps that allow them to take photos and videos, and to send messages without ever speaking a word to anybody. We can download apps (applications) that will help us edit that pre-school recital video into a full-scale Broadway musical. We write on virtual walls on Facebook, adding photos or drawings made with apps. We carry on entire conversations via texting or even send briefer messages via Twitter, using weird abbreviations and omitting words to reduce a message to 140 characters or less.

The phones not only connect us to each other, they can connect us to our homes, controlling practically any controllable device including lights, the stove, the television, the music system. There are apps that can open your garage door and run diagnostic analysis on your car. There are apps that will start your car on a cold day. There are personal apps that will checkout your symptoms and tell you if you have a simple, brief illness or if you should hurry yourself to an ER. Or call an ambulance. And when many people use their phones in public, especial those using hands-free devices like Blue Tooth headsets, it brings us back to the old party line, where the rest of us can (have to?) listen to one or both sides in a conversation. It seems the old adage is true. The more things change, the more they stay the same!

An Open Letter to the U.S. Congress

A CNN headline today reads "Cruz: GOP will win"

I wish you politicians would stop treating governing a country as a freaking game! It's NOT! Not to us Americans, anyway. Not to the people you have SWORN to represent to the best of your ability. Your "game" is toying with the jobs and livelihoods of nearly a million government workers alone, nevermind all the people who work for businesses that support the government: suppliers of equipment, parts, materials, even office products; local businesses, stores, restaurants, coffee shops, lunch places normally patronized by govt. workers or the workers from ancillary businesses. Even local mass transit systems are suffering. Millions of people are being hurt, financially and emotionally, by your pettiness. 

If you can't find it in your hearts, assuming you have them, to do your jobs for the people you represent, do it to protect the reputation of this great country. We are losing all kinds of respect from members of the international community. And not just respect, but faith. And money/business. This loss of business is creating a domino effect in some other countries as foreign suppliers of goods and raw materials to the U.S. government see their companies suffering losses, forcing them to layoff or fire their own employees. 

Yes, in case you haven't forgotten, we are part of a GLOBAL economy. We are, or at least we have been, a large part of that economy. And we are still, for now, anyways, the most powerful country in the world. We are the world leader in the eyes of many. But you politicians are chipping away at our power, our standing, our very reputation all in the name of gamesmanship.

It is about time for you to put aside your petty differences, to stop trying to fool us, your constituents, into thinking that somehow the government shutdown has been caused by the implementation of the ACA. We are not as stupid as you seem to think we are. We KNOW the budget and debt ceiling and a Continual Resolution are all tied to your inability to pass a budget and to agree on funding the government. The ACA, "Obamacare," is a program that is already taking effect. IT IS LAW. It has been upheld by the Supreme Court. It is NOT a bargaining chip to be used by politicians. The budget is not, in any way, tied to the ACA. This is pork-barrel politics at its worst. The time for you to express opposition to "Obamacare" has passed.  If you feel the need to make changes to the program, there are procedures in place to do so. Holding the government hostage is not one of them. It is not a reasonable or valid means to solving any situation. It is merely a childish, expensive, and dangerous ploy. 

Congress MUST stop holding our government, nay our COUNTRY!, and us, the people, hostage to their petty political games. Congress MUST recognize the need to keep our government processes running smoothly, without disruption. Congress MUST recognize, accept, and act on its duty to work together to find an agreeable and equitable solution to the budget crisis, to compromise where need be, to set aside partisanship and instead embrace their (YOUR!) duty to represent ALL Americans and to enact legislation that keeps our government functioning. 

Congress needs to act, and ACT NOW to return our government to a fully functioning entity. Congress needs to ACT NOW to restore our faith that our governing bodies have our and our country's best interests in mind. Congress needs to ACT NOW to get our government employees back to work, to get our government programs fully up and running properly again. Congress must ACT NOW to help America's businesses, some large, many small, who have been hurt by a loss of business due to the government shutdown. 

Congress must ACT NOW to do the job they were elected to do. Congress must ACT NOW to keep America at the forefront in world leadership, and to restore faith in the U.S. from the international community, faith that we will not self-destruct and in so doing cause the collapse of the world economy, resulting in unrest, civil disobedience, violent uprisings and complete and utter chaos at home and abroad. That sounds like an exaggeration, but that IS where we are headed if Congress continues to play its games unchecked. It is fast becoming a dangerous game with serious, deadly consequences. Especially in these days of unprecedented use of social media to quickly gather groups intent on making their wishes known in supporting a cause, and the equal ability of opposition groups to form as quickly in the same place at the same time. Eventually there will be violent clashes between these groups and law enforcement will be brought in to try and regain control. This is how rioting starts. And it will spread to other communities, metropolitan, suburban, even rural. And seeing such violent unrest in our country will cause concern and, in reaction, unrest in other countries. Again, yes, it will be dangerous, and yes it will be deadly. In the US and elsewhere it may even lead to martial law. But inside the hallowed halls of our Capitol Building, our Representatives and Senators will watch the violent destruction on television screens, under the protective eyes of the few security officers still working during the government shutdown. And they will continue to roll the dice and play their games, refusing to call to an end this ridiculous charade of running a government when what they are doing is throwing sand at others in the sandbox, bullying each other, and destroying people's lives in the process.

It all comes down to this- to paraphrase a recently popularized satire of a children's bedtime storybook: "Go the FUCK to Work!"

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Why They Call It Practicing Medicine Instead of Doing Medicine

Sometimes the internet is a scary place to be. I got the radiologist's report on the x-rays and ultrasounds I had done last week. At first I thought "AWESOME! My knee is taking me on vacation to Mexico!" Cuz, you know, what else do you think of when you see the word 'baja?' Mexico, right? Sun, surf, tequila! But not when it's preceded by the word patella. Who knew baja was a medical term? And a not so good one at that. And that's where the internet comes in. You know how as soon as you start getting some weird symptom and you go on the internet to self-diagnose? Yes, you do. You KNOW you do it! And whatever you think you have, the cure is ALWAYS worse than the 'disease.' Well, I haven't been to see the specialist yet. I see him on Thursday. The one who specializes in "complex knee reconstruction." But if everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, I've seen on the internet is true, then I can only believe that what the 'regular' orthopedic surgeon told me the other day is true. More surgery. That's the bad news. The good news is, Finally, an answer to the excruciating pain I've been having!

My previous surgeon kept telling me to "give it time. It could take a year or more for it to heal." A year later, "just give it some more time and keep working at it." Yeah, easy for HIM to say.

 Nearly two years now, and it's been getting worse, not better. To the point even I can't take it any more. And I think I've proven over the years that I can take boatloads of pain. So I finally went to see a different surgeon.  My old surgeon and the physical therapists kept telling me my quadriceps had healed and was working fine. "It's 'firing' when you flex it, so it's healed." I just needed to rehab more. (The surgeon had needed to cut through the quad to replace the knee joint [for the third time, after two infections].) All I knew was that I'd been working on it every day and still it hurt like hell. Even worse, sometimes. And I figured I had given it enough time to heal, and rehab was NOT getting me anywhere. No matter how hard I tried, I could not straighten my leg. I had NO extension ability. You know that exercise where you're sitting with your legs bent and you lift them up straight? Yeah, I can't do that with my left leg. According to the doctor who did the surgeries, it should have been happening. After each visit I'd leave even more dejected and depressed. And frustrated. Actually, frustrated doesn't even begin to cover it. Plus, sometimes I could barely walk.

The pain management doctor didn't want me taking pain meds. He thought I should go through the Chronic Pain Rehab Program again. I quit going to the psychologist because each week was just a repeat of the week before, and she agreed I should try Pain Rehab again. Personally, not only could I not see the point in it since I knew it doesn't get rid of the pain, just teaches you how to deal better while you lived with it, I knew how painful the program itself would be, the way the treatment areas were set up and all the walking and constant sitting involved. So that was not an option worth considering, as far as I was concerned. Thus when I went in for my physical last week and the doctor asked why I was in such a funk, and I told her, she gave me a referral to a different surgeon, and her scheduler was able to get me an appointment that week! After looking at my X-rays he ordered an ultrasound, which they were able to do same day. And that's how I got an answer to my prayers. Not the answer I'd hoped for, really. Not the optimal answer. But one I could live with, if it meant ending the pain and allowing me to walk around again like a real person! And one that didn't make me feel like a failure or that it was my own lack of effort that was causing the problem! I'm NOT a whiner! Or a weenie! There really IS a reason why my thigh was (is) killing me!  Apparently your quadriceps and patella tendons need to be intact in order for the leg to work right, and without what feels like a knife attack with every step. Or at least what I imagine a knife attack would feel like, never having actually been stabbed before.  But since stabbing is one of the descriptors they use on the pain chart, yeah, that's what it feels like. And speaking of those pain charts, sometimes a ten does n't cut it ( no pun intended.) And the chart with the faces? They need a face that looks like the shower scene in Psycho. That would perfectly describe the stabbing pain. Eeeee! Eeeee! Eeeee!

So, hey, back to the doctor's office. That lack of range of motion? NOT my fault! It's NOT a lack of effort! It is, literally, physically impossible for me to do leg extensions! Or to walk without pain! All this time I've been walking around on torn muscles. One of which is supposed to be one of the strongest muscles in your body. And not only that, apparently the knee replacement joint, the rod part that fits inside the femur, has loosened. Which adds to the pain. So, yeah. That's why I've missed so much and why I've been kinda cranky sometimes.
The surgeon I saw the other day has recommended that I go see the specialist surgeon. And once again, by having his office make the appointment, I was able to get in to be seen within a week. I LOVE the Cleveland Clinic! Well, as much as one can love a health care system. And okay, It may sound weird for somebody to be looking forward to surgery. But if surgery is what it takes to fix this, and according to what the surgeon told me and everything I've read about it, it's the ONLY way to fix it, bring it on! I'm just sorry I waited this long to switch surgeons. If I could do it without falling over, I'd be kicking myself! I could have saved myself a lot of aggravation and pain. And I could have been out living my life and enjoying myself instead of having daily pity parties. 
Unfortunately, my timing sucks, if my research is right. Of course I won't know for sure until everything is fixed, and I'll have a better idea after seeing the specialist, but it looks like surgical repair and 4-6 weeks of immobilization followed by 6-8 weeks of partial weight bearing, which means crutches. So figure a minimum of eight weeks on crutches. That pretty much rules out traveling to Maine in early November. Which means missing ANOTHER family get-together. Well, half the family, anyway, since it's women's weekend. But I was really, REALLY looking forward to the weekend, which is always a blast! So, once again I have to console myself with "There's always next year!" I think I can live with that.
UPDATE: Went to see the newest surgeon. So the spaces around the knee replacement implant (hardware) are too large for repair; there's not enough bone left. And those spaces are filled with infection. This specialist feels the problem is outside the scope of what he normally deals with and so has referred me to his partner, who is even more specialized. Still trying to get that appointment but have a follow-up this week to discuss plans for course of antibiotics after surgeon consults with infectious disease specialist. Here we go again!

Friday, September 06, 2013

What's In a Name? A Footballer's Name?

Cleveland has a large Slavik community, so there are a lot of people out here with names that some of us find hard to pronounce and even harder to spell (and this from a lifelong fan of a guy named Yastrzemski!). And there are Ohioans with names that are easy to say, easy to spell, but still cause a giggle. Have you seen the commercials that say "With a name like Smucker's, it HAS to be good!"? Yup, The Smuckers are Ohioans. From Orrville. Not to be confused with that other Orville. Redenbacher, that is. I don't know if he's from Ohio but he makes pretty decent popcorn. And HE is not to be confused with Dayton's Orville, Wilbur's brother. Not Mr. Ed's Wilbur. The flying Wilbur. As in Orville and Wilbur Wright. The Wright Bros. But those names really aren't "in favor" anymore. And neither is Norval, which kinda rhymes with Orville but isn't spelled anything like it. But that's the name of one of the Browns' assistant coaches. He's been around the NFL a time or two, and most of us know him as Norv. Norv Turner, football coach. He's an assistant to a guy whose name may or may not be Slavik but is, at least, likely Eastern European. So Head Coach Rod Chudzinski should fit right in around these parts. Though I'm not sure how well that name fit when he was a kid. Kids can be cruel about things like that, things you can't control. Like your name. Chudzinski. Is it worse than Dick Butkus? Well, I suppose given his size not too many kids made fun of Dick Butkus. At least not within his hearing range. But the 2013 Cleveland Browns have added a challenge. They have a rookie player who hails from Louisiana. And even THAT cannot explain his name. This kid has a pretty good reputation as a tough ballplayer. He's won a lot of awards. AND he was drafted in the first round. But it's likely a lot of people will hear more about him because of his name than his play. It's not a modern name that harkens back to guys named Knute. It's not a name which can conveniently be changed to rhyme with a trophy, like Theisman. It's not even a football-great-sounding name like the Patriots players Gronkowski, Gostkowski, or Ninkovich. Even Hoomanawanui doesn't faze people, given the number of guys of American Samoan heritage who have played in the NFL recently. Polamalu, anyone? But back to the Browns. Ironically, the Cleveland faithful are sometimes called The Dawgs, as in The Dawg Pound, the fan seating area in the endzone. And why is that ironic? Because the new kid's name is...wait for it....

 No. No typo here, folks. Not even as I type this on the typo-infamous iPad. Barkevious. I kid you not. It's right there on the Interwebs. It's on the Browns' game program, right next to the number 51. It's on the marketing materials, his contract.  Above the 51 on his jersey is the name Mingo. That's his last name. Fortunately for the play-play guys and the color commentators. Because, I know it's childish, and I don't mean to be cruel, but he ain't nuthin' but a hound dawg. A Cleveland Pound Dawg. Barkevious. AKA Ke-Ke. Or whatever he wants to be called. Because he's a big, strong ball player, out to make a name for himself. Though who could forgive him if he changed it to something a little less, shall we say, unusual? He could always change it to Cinco Uno.

The Fine Art of Digression (or How One Can Turn Any Conversation Into an Anti-Yankees Dig)

Almost had to use the comforter last night but put on flannel jammies instead. I guess fall is upon us. That in-between time when you don't know what to wear. Which is why God and our friendly purveyor Leon Leonwood invented layers. You are a true Yankee if you know who Leon Leonwood was. An even truer Yankee if you hate THE Yankees! Who probably won't even be in the playoffs this year. Too bad. So sad. Screw 'em. But we should savor these last coupla weekends of the regular season because it's the last time we'll have to hit against Mariano and possibly Pettite. And who knows if Jeter will be celebrating his 40th next summer in pinstripes? And (please god make it happen) the last time Alex Rodriguez will find himself anywhere near a ballfield again, unless he buys a ticket. But there I go, digressing again. Anyway, I hope everybody else is experiencing the same beautiful but too chilly for shorts but actually good for sleeping at least in your jammies weather that we are here in Cleveland. Where I don't even have to look at the standings to know the Indians won't make the playoffs. Which is sad because I was hoping, with Terry Francona managing... Oh, well. At least the Browns haven't lost yet. But give 'em a chance. There's always the first game this weekend.

BTW, Leon Leonwood was that, I'm assuming friendly-as-a-guy-from-northern-Maine-in-the-late-1800s-could-be-without-things-getting-weird(er?), ol' coot LLBean. But you knew that, didn't you? 

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

It Really is Okay to Be Takaei! Or a Supporter.

We'll.have to work on a name for that. Right now it's the Takei Straight Alliance. And, in fact, that's how this post started out. As a response to questions people had and comments they made about some T-shirts George Takei sells and is promoting. But, again I digressed off topic. Well, not really so much off topic but deeper than I needed to go, addressing social issues instead of just merchandising. So I brought my comments over here to share. This started as a Facebook post and is straight off the cuff. I will probably go over it tomorrow, make some minor changes, maybe add some major thoughts. But here it is for now, in all its naked glory. Don't worry. I used that term figuratively, not literally. There will be no naked pictures accompanying this article. None.

From Facebook, George Takei's page:
Uncle George, it seems the shirts are being printed as ordered. That means there's no pre-printed stock. It shouldn't be difficult, using this business strategy, to allow larger sizes at an extra $1-2 and to have them change the type color on the white shirts to a readable color, like pink or purple. Just add a comments section where people can make those requests. Of course there would be an upcharge for larger sizes because of the extra material and specialty small runs. But changing the type color on the white shirt should be free. I am assuming, since they don't print in bulk but as orders are received, this is a company similar to Cafe Press, which can be very versatile in providing the exact product you want by making necessary changes.  You could also offer a lesser quality t-shirt to help reduce the price. Some of the shirts I have received in exchange for donations were made in African countries with thin cotton and smaller sizing. I don't mind. I just order a larger size and, if necessary, wear a plain t-shirt underneath for warmth. The point isn't really to "dress well" but to vocally, financially, and proudly show support for what you believe in, and to spark discussion with others about the issue. I have spoken to tens of people about and a couple have joined up. Hopefully, when I get your shirt in a couple of weeks the same will happen.

Thank you for your efforts and for providing this space that breaks the ice, often with humor, to allow people to participate in open discourse in an honest and non-threatening way. It helps us straights know about the hidden issues LGBTs experience, it allows LGBTs to constructively criticize how we act, what we should or shouldn't do, what might make things worse instead of better, what makes things even better than good. We can ask questions with little fear of embarrassment -though there's always that one asshole...

Uncle George, who knows the importance of a safe haven, providing a virtual cyber haven for hundreds of thousands of people. I especially like to see folks, gay and straight, coming here from other countries and sharing their experiences. Here in the US the issue of marriage equality is currently at the forefront. But as was so brutally brought back to the front in NYC is that there is still homophobia bubbling under the surface. While we have made strides towards acceptance, even though some is passive or just apathy, there is still prejudice and still machismo that turns that prejudice to brutal violence.

But now we've reached a point where we have made enough progress in the US that we can look and "work"  elsewhere and share our experiences with LGBT and straight alliances about how to deal with every level of harassment, how to provide safe havens and let those in need know how to reach them, show people how to act in public based on what is culturally acceptable even while trying to change the culture. It will be more difficult in many other countries with mono-cultural control rather than in a multi-cultured country like the US or Canada.

It will be especially difficult in places like Russia where homophobia is legalized, and where violence against is becoming commonplace; the LGBT and Straight Alliance can and will be violently attacked by vigilantes who know they can use brutality with impunity. And they do. And on the one hand we want to just get all the LGBT peoples out of Russia, give them asylum, 'help' them. But that creates at least as much pain and problems as it would solve. Many of these people love their country, are proud Russians, except for how they are being perceived and treated because of their orientation/gender issues or their support of thse in that microcosm of society being singled out. But many would rather stay and fight. The way blacks and whites fought our US Civil War and 100 years later for Civil Rights. It IS. A worthy cause, and people ARE willing to fight and be imprisoned and, yes, die for what they believe in.

Hoo, boy. I digressed quite a bit here! I'm going to copy this and put it on my blog so people can read it and comment on it. I may add to it, or even just write another, related post.

George, I apologize for hijacking so much space. Sometimes I can't control a surge and I either overflow the dam or force the floodgates open!

Thank you for the opportunity! You are the kind of man one can love without never having met him.
XO, Uncle George Takei. XO

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Ah, But I Digress: Dear John, and by John I mean Amazonbot

Ah, But I Digress: Dear John, and by John I mean Amazonbot: Dear Amazonbot, Thank you for your recent email recommending books I might enjoy, based on my previous selections. That's quite a progra...

Dear John, and by John I mean Amazonbot

Dear Amazonbot,
Thank you for your recent email recommending books I might enjoy, based on my previous selections. That's quite a program you have there, because those books are similar to what I've read. In fact, I HAVE read them. You should know that because I bought the Kindle versions FROM AMAZON! Don't you remember? You delivered them "wirelessly via Amazon's Whispernet." Am I now just a number to you? I've entrusted you with my wish list of books. You give me reminders when the books I've pre-ordered are released! Oh, oh! We've been together so long and yet you barely remember me. I have reviewed books for you; I've filled out surveys for customer service; I'M A PRIME MEMBER!

Amazonbot, I'm just not feelin' the love. I'm beginning to suspect you have outgrown our relationship. I suppose I was just a number all along, just another line in your database. But I couldn't see it for all the correspondence we've shared, your lovely thank you notes after I've visited your site and made purchases. So many visits. You allow me to browse through books before I purchase them! Well, at least those the publisher allows. You let me explore your site, to take a tour with no pressure to purchase. Except for those rows and rows of "people who bought this also bought these" sales tactics. Yes, sales tactics. I now see them for what they are. You try and make me feel like you're helping me, offering suggestions. I thought you were concerned I might miss a good read. I thought you were doing it for me. ME, Amazonbot. But no, you do the same for all your "customers." you probably tell people they should buy a book because I've purchased it. Oh, you don't name me. Nothing as personal as that. You just lump me in as an "other" who purchased this book or that.

Amazonbot, I'm not sure we can mend this, this, RIFT in our relationship. Hopefully we can continue our business relationship, at least. But I must warn you, there are others out there, just waiting for the chance to replace you in my life. In fact, I'm going to be honest with you. I, well, I have strayed a time or two. I've snuck into Barnes & Noble's NOOK. I had to! I had to satisfy my curiosity. With all the rumors of price fixing, I had to be sure you weren't taking advantage of me. And yes, I have purchased books from iTunes? I'm not proud of it, but I HAD A GIFT CERTIFICATE, It wasn't my fault! It wasn't my choice. I KNOW your Kindle version is the best available.

Oh, Amazonbot. Please don't forget me. Please don't lose me in your vast database. I can't bear to have to switch. Amazonbot, I can't quit you!

With thanks for all we've shared, and all I hope we can share in the future, like the third book in Ken Follett's trilogy which I wish was coming out soon but won't be here 'til 2014.

Barb Wallace
Customer number 123456789

PS just so you know, you're not fooling me with that "delivered wirelessly via Amazon Whispernet" shit. I know what you're doing. You're trying to make me feel like I've gotten some kind of special fracking delivery! First of all, I'm not that stupid. I KNOW it's wireless. There's no wire that connects me to your store. I'm not a moran. And what's with the Whispernet bullshit? You use the interwebs, just like everybody else. You don't have your own internet. You can't just rename it. Cheesus, I don't know what I ever saw in you. I don't know how or why I was so taken. It must have been those customer service calls. I remember Phillip, whose real name was probably Muralimanohar, who casually discussed basketball with me as he searched for the answer to my problem, or Ahladita, who told me her name was Amber, who asked me to verify my address and then checked the weather channel so she could talk about what great weather we were having. Yes, it must have been those calls, those online chats with the help center with extended wait periods while you were helping other customers. Crap. I should have known then. Damn you. DAMN YOU Amazonbot! You've taken me for a fool! Well, as our formerly beloved president (yes, I know that should say beloved former president but believe me, he's not so beloved anymore. As a president, that is. Apparently when he doesn't have anybody pulling his strings he's a pretty nice guy!) anyway, as W once said "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again." So don't even try, Amazonbot. I'ma got my eyes on you, ya bastid.

Barb Wallace

Friday, August 02, 2013

How Can We End Racism If Nobody Wants To?

Steve, continuing convo started on Facebook:

 uncomfortable as it is to admit it,  I had the feeling that the speeches and denands for justice for Trayvon were faux outrage. I think someone, someone without a full grasp on the circumstances, the neighborhood's background, and Florida statutes, made the decision that here was an "obvious case of a white man profiling a young black boy and shooting him without justification." (Quotes mine for emphasis.)

I think Black "leaders" picked the wrong case to get behind. Trayvon Martin was not profiled simply because he was black. There were extenuating circumstances. Looking at the case without emotion, they were understandable and acceptable extenuating circumstances.

No, Trayvon was not profiled simply as a black teenager. He was profiled because there had been a series of burglaries and break-ins in the neighborhood and nearly all the suspects were young black males. Had there not been a rash of break-ins in a "gated community" that was suffering many vacancies and homes where the owners moved out and turned them into rentals, there would have been no history of Zimmerman calling 911 so many times and he likely would have taken little notice of Trayvon. Again, Trayvon was "profiled" because he fit the descriptions of suspects from other criminal activity. That profile included young black males wandering around the complex looking for targets. One can honestly believe that, after calling 911 hundreds of times and having multiple times been given the description of the alleged burglars by victims and witnesses,  Zimmerman felt Trayvon fit that description.  Had the alleged burglars been white, it's not too hard to believe that Zimmerman would barely have given Martin a second thought. But the many suspects WERE black. And Martin WAS black. Martin WAS young. And Martin DID NOT live in the complex and Zimmerman didn't recognize him as a neighbor so, in Zimmerman's mind, this young man, who fit the description of other troublemakers, did not belong where he was. Remember, yes, it is a gated community so normally members would have a passing acquaintance with one another. Yet it was a community in flux, an almost transient community that had been developed for middle class owners who would occupy and maintain their units. Umtil the housing market tanked. Some units went into foreclosure. Others, owners moved out and rented out the units for whatever money they could get. Some owners just up and left. Some were short saled to people who otherwise would not have been able to live there.

I often got a sense Sharpton and the media were using the Martins as fodder. Like I said, it almost felt like faux outrage.  The case black leaders should be more concerned with is the up coming trial of Michael  Dunn, accused of shooting an unarmed black teenager, Jordan Davis, who was sitting in an SUV at a gas station/convenience store Dunn pulled into. the SUV had arrived at the station first, the driver out of the car pumping gas. Dunn came in after, and his girlfriend left the vehicle to enter the store.

Dunn, who theoretically would only be sitting there for a few minutes, felt the music coming from the SUV was too loud and asked the teenagers to turn it down. Most reasonable people would have just ignored the temporary situation, maybe closing their windows, maybe turning up their own music to block the other. But Dunn asked them to turn it down. The kid in the front complied, but Davis, sitting in the backseat closest to Dunn, complained. He and Dunn began arguing and swearing at each other, until Dunn, still in his car, grabbed his gun from the glove box and started shooting. The driver of the SUV, who had just finished pumping gas, hopped in the vehicle and tried to get away from the shooting. Dunn got out of his car and kept shooting. The SUV stopped in the next parking lot over, out of range.  Dunn's girlfriend, who had been buying wine in the store, got in the car. Dunn drove away. The SUV came right back to the scene and waited for the cops and ambulance. 

Dunn and his gf, in town for his kid's wedding, where they'd been drinking, went back to their motel and drank the wine they had just bought. Dunn had told her what happened. They made no calls to the police or sheriff. They heard Davis had died. The man had shot and killed an unarmed teenager and did nothing. Nothing! According to the girlfriend's later statement, they drove home the next morning ostensibly "to take care of their new dog." Dunn never reported the incident to the cops, who traced him through his plates and subsequently arrested him. He claimed Davis had a shotgun or a stick so he's claiming Stand Your Ground self-defense. There was no stick or shotgun.  Dunn is a 45 yr old white guy. Davis was a 17 yr old black kid (young man). IMO a much better case if somebody's looking for a cause, but I haven't seen anything about it in MSM. The trial is in September. Maybe they'll get interested then. 

But again, it's white on black. If they do use this case as a cause, while in neighborhoods in large cities, every weekend in some, monthly in others, tens of people are shot, many killed, a good number innocent bystanders, including children, how will they justify ignoring those crimes while focusing on one case that seems, on its face, to be a clear case  of racism. Or, it could just be a case of a somewhat inebriated guy being an asshole, and when he felt the kid was being a punk, disrespecting him, it turned into a case akin to road rage. 

Except...except Dunn claimed the four black teens were gang members and if he didn't skedaddle after firing eight rounds into their car, he might be in for a world of hurt. A reasonable man might have called the police. If he was afraid to stay at the scene, he would have driven away to a safe place. Perhaps use his GPS to find a police station or even a fire house. A reasonable man would have immediately called the police. Not gone back to enjoy a night in his hotel room with his girlfriend and a bottle of wine. 

But we'll leave that case to a Florida jury. On the face of it, one would expect a conviction on serious multiple charges, possibly including murder of some degree. How the black community will respond, before, during, and after the trial, is an unknown. Much depends on whether there is a grassroots gathering of support,  as in the Trayvon case. And whether leaders like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, black music artist and actors and athletes lend their support, both emotional and political, to the Davis family. And, of course, much depends on the Davis family.

But, meanwhile, we still have that pesky problem of crime in predominantly black neighborhoods in bigger cities like Detroit and, especially Chicago. DC crime is spreading out to Maryland and Northern Virginia suburbs. There does not seem to be a national response to these crimes. Because they are mostly black on black? Unfortunately it appears so. While the Obama administration (disclaimer: I am an Obama supporter) focuses its, and thus our collective, attention on mass shootings, it seems the administration is doing little to nothing to curb crime in places like the Obamas' hometown Chicago, or now bankrupt Detroit.  

It seems they have chosen an issue that they can squeeze the most emotion out of, gain the most yardage. Mass shootings of innocent victims. Hell, the Sandy Hook shootings in Newtown, CT seemed to have been tailor made as a  distraction for the down and dirty issues of guns on the street. At the risk of sounding callous, could one have scripted a more touching and emotional scene than twenty little, angelic six and seven year olds being, literally, massacred just before Christmas? Could one have scripted a conga lone of kindergartners and first graders being led past fallen friends, told to close their eyes as they passed devastation no person should ever have to witness? There's no question this was a haunting, unbelievably horrific tragic event. But it was perpetrated by one man. A young man with known mental health issues that went uncontrolled.  In one unforgivable act he killed twenty-six people, including twenty children. Since that time, over forty people have been shot, many killed, in neighborhood shootings in Chicago alone.  We don't hear about that. Unless it runs as filler on the news or on a website.

 Most of the mass shootings have been perpetrated by angry or frustrated, mentally ill young white men, with the exception of the VA Tech shooting, who was Asian. Most of the victims have been white. In the past few years there have been several of these shootings. Still, the total dead do not approach the numbers of those killed by the ones and twos, in the streets or crowded apartment buildings of poor, urban, black neighborhoods. Sadly, many of these victims are children as well, caught in a crossfire, accidentally shot in a quick drive-by, struck down by a stray bullet.

Where is the black "leadership" of The Rev. Jesse Jackson, The Rev. Al Sharpton. Even  Rev. Joe Simmons, from Run DMC, who has quite a following in the young black community who may find they don't relate to Jackson or Sharpton. Where are the actors, the musicians from rap, hip hop, crossover music? Where are the athletes? Where are the black political leaders?

Yes, I think the Trayvon Martin case was used and abused as a false representation of continuing racism in America. Yes, as I said, I believe the outrage was false. I believe the intent was to form a dichotomy between racists and non-racists, between blacks and whites, with some exceptions where overlap occurred. Black leaders seem to be presenting a Venn diagram with very little overlap between the black sphere and the white sphere, indicating little change in the decades since the 1960s Civil Rights movement, whereas non-racist whites, and some blacks, see a huge central overlap of blacks and whites living, working, playing, CO-EXISTING together with small factions of extremists on either side.

My biggest fear is that blacks don't really want racism to end. It has become a sort of crutch. Definitely a comedic tool, arguably a songwriter's toll, quite often used in story framing, in books and on television and the movies.  Should blacks be allowed to play roles written for whites, or vice versa? Should white directors be allowed to direct "black" movies? Can white writers capture, accurately, the black perspective? We are hearing stories of the warnings black mothers are imparting on their black sons. Warnings similar to the ones my white siblings have shared with their equally white, mostly anglo-saxon children. Of course we can't ignore the vestiges of racism. Blacks speak of being followed closely, near to the point of harassment, as they shop; they imitate the clicks they hear as they cross the street or walk too near a vehicle occupied by whites who are reminded to lock their doors at the site of black people perceived as potential criminals. 

But for all the hue and cry about racism in America, one has to wonder who is responsible. Are blacks really making an effort to assimilate even as they co-opt  words like nigger and use the derivative nigga to refer to each other? While at the same time ridiculing white hip hop artists who use the word? When people like Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Shepherd change their speech, both patterns and vocabulary, when discussing black issues on' The View? When a respected director like Spike Lee claims that a multi-award winning director such as Steven Spielberg has no business directing movies like Amistad because he is white and reduced the black characters in the movie to just above extras? Is that not racism? 

I see what I feel is faux outrage because at the same time as I see blacks calling for Justice for someone like Trayvon Martin, I see black and white leaders ignoring justice for all the young black men killed in "the hood" because, as few will admit, maybe they deserved it. Or maybe they can't get the publicity, the political mileage out of supporting those young men because likely they were thugs or drug dealers. But aren't assumptions like that racism?

Are black leaders responsible for perpetuating the idea of racism, if not the behaviors? As they pick and choose which victims to champion, whether they be young black men killed by whites or young black women who claim they were assaulted, physically and sexually, by groups of young white men (Duke University Lacrosse team), (the infamous Tawana Brawley), are they not doing so while ignoring black on black crime? Or the rates of acts of racism perpetrated by blacks on members of other races, especially Hispanics but also Asians, Indians and those from the Middle East? 

It sometimes seems that blacks, for whatever reason, don't really want to see the end of racism. It may be a fear of adjusting to a new way of life. It may be a suspicion that only racism on the surface is disappearing but that it still roils just below, waiting to release a rogue wave or even unleash a tsunami of hatred and persecution. Sometimes I just want to say "Get over it. Most people aren't behaving like racist and those that do are assholes. Just treat them like the assholes they are, like we do." sometimes, by looking at everybody as potential racists, blacks create problems where they don't exist. Or they perceive slights when what they may be experiencing is just ignorance, or someone trying too hard not to offend. 

So if we're ever going to solve this racism issue, we need to stop labeling conflicts as racist simply because they involve two or more people of different races. And a speaker isn't a racist because he points out bad qualities in someone of a different race. Maybe they disagree on the issue: race has naught to do with it.

What we need to do is change the discourse, to re-order the dialogue, to drop race from the top of the list to wherever it appropriately belongs in a list of factors affecting a situation. Yes, at times it will come first, but most times it will fall farther down the list, farther than expected. But that may be where it belongs as a consideration. And yes, sometimes it should even be left off the list. Perhaps even most times. I think we have reached that point. I don't know if black leaders agree but are afraid to come out and admit it, or if they really see a benefit in perpetuating what most of us are trying to put to rest; if they just have a need to fan and fuel the flames of the fires we are trying to extinguish.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

NFL, now the National Fantasy League?

So the NFL has apparently decided to revamp the Pro Bowl format. Without asking us! I started reading the accompanying article when I suddenly thought, "Damn! I must have somehow clicked on The Onion. Because surely this is a parody. Amiright?" But no, it was the NFL site. What a clusterbomb! 

When you vote for the players, you can vote for any player, no matter what conference he plays in.  What happens if, by popular vote, the roster ends up being weighted towards one conference? Is that really the way to go? Because a lot of times these all-star votes ARE popularity contests, not necessarily based on a player's skills. And, seriously, ALUMNI captains? Jerry Rice? Okay, I guess. But Deion SANDERS? And they're going to draft the players so guys from both conferences will be on the same team? Oh, yeah, nothing can go wrong there. And they're also going to allow two fantasy football players to help the "captains" decide who to draft. 

Oh, and by the by, "The Draft" will be televised. Yeah, right, the changes to Pro Bowl Weekend were supposed to make the game more fan friendly. NOT! It's just another moneymaking scheme for some of the richest sports owners in the world. Everybody tune in to watch the fake draft for the fake Pro Bowl game where it doesn't matter who wins. How can a conference get bragging rights if half the guys they beat were from the same conference? Oh, wait, it won't be conferences. What, are they going to come up with clever names like The Home Team vs The Other Team? Or The Blue Team vs The Red Team? Hey, ya know what they should do? They should throw in some history and divide the teams into the players from the North and the players from the South and they can be The Blue vs The Gray! Get it? A Civil War Re-enactment slash football game! Without the guns and bayonets of cou...oh, wait. This is the NFL. There might be a few guns and bayonets involved. Okay, scratch that idea. Let's just stick with the traditional all-star blue and red.

But really, if they wanted to make the game fan friendly, why not let some of the fantasy football playing fans play REAL football? Now THAT would be entertaining. I mean, Hawaii's a state, right? And they'll have Obamacare, right? So, it's not like the fantasy fan players would actually DIE or anything! Plus, free jerseys!

So, more on the changes: No kickoffs? That's not so great for the kickers who would have been voted in! No free trips to Hawaii and all-you-can-eat luaus for them! Which sucks for the restaurants because that's where they make their money, on the skinny kickers and punters who don't eat a whole lot but pay the same.

Two minute warnings at the end of EVERY quarter? Because two-minute drills are more exciting? More exciting than what? AND when the first and third quarter changes come, guess what? You get to give the other team the ball! No more continuing play. That's where that exciting two-minute drill comes in. So, if you don't score, you lose the ball. If you score and the other team gets the ball with, say, five seconds left guess what? They get one play and the bell rings! The buzzer goes off! The horn sounds, the referee whistles and the quarter is over. And they have to give you back the ball! WTF? How is that fair? Whose stupid idea was THAT? 

Oh, and since there aren't going to be any kickoffs, there's no need for a kick return specialist, who will be replaced by a defensive back. So the best kick return specialists in the league, who have been bustin' their asses all season chasing down the kick receivers, now get to hang out on the mainland with the kickers. And supposedly the kick returners. Though most of them double as receivers or punt returners, so they still get to play on the Big Island.

Cheesus. The only way they could make this any worse would be to cover the field with a vibrating metal plate and attach the players feet to plastic plates in a life sized version of electric football. Hey, actually that'd be kinda cool! For, like, five minutes. 

Seriously, whose idea was this? According to the article it was Dominique Foxworth, the head of the NFL Players' Association. All I can say is, Gene Upshaw wouldn't have come up with these namby-pamby changes. When I watch a pro football game I want to see AMERICAN football. I want to cheer for one TEAM against another. I think Dan Issa should instig... I mean FORM, a Congressional investigation complete with useless Congressional hearings and a Congressional NFL-NFLPA Oversight Committee. Of course, there would be no need to allow women to be represented or to testify. Because, as everybody knows, women don't watch football or buy tickets or wear NFL Gear even if it's pink and women don't cook the pulled pork and make the seven-layer-bean-dip for the Super Bowl parties. No Grrlz Aloud!