When Football’s Deadly Brutality Outraged America

Squeezed November 18, 2009 by Keith

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120502601

This morning’s Morning Edition featured Frank Deford’s weekly sports commentary, where today he reminded us a of a time, 100 years ago, when to step onto a football field would be to put one’s very life at risk (never mind one’s leg bones, ribs, and brain cells). Sort of like how mixed martial arts was received when it was first released not so long ago, I guess?

Football was so gruesome at the turn of the century that in 1905, no less than President Roosevelt himself demanded that the sport clean itself up, and the notorious flying wedge was banned.

However, by ought-nine, as they said back then, it was still a brutal battle royal. In the season’s championship match — what may be called the first “game of the century” — The New York Times summed it up as “an indescribable tangle of bodies, arms and legs.”

That game, on Nov. 20, between two undefeateds — Yale and Harvard — was typical of the era. There were no touchdowns. In fact, when Yale won 8-0, it finished its whole season completely unscored upon.

The forward pass had been legalized, in a limited fashion — but football was mostly just pounding scrimmage. Few players wore helmets, and a close observer declared that as Harvard and Yale pummeled each other, “It was the most magnificent sight … every lineman’s face was dripping with blood.”

Fortunately, rule changes instituted the following year made the game safer for all involved. But Deford asserts that some things never change:

… Canny old [Col. John Mosby] also made this point: “It is notorious that football teams are largely composed of professional mercenaries who are hired to advertise colleges. Gate money is the valuable consideration.

The Gray Ghost wrote that exactly a century ago, and though the NCAA could clean up the game on the field, it never has figured out how to manage the other abuses.

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We now join our regularly scheduled program in progress…

Squeezed November 17, 2009 by Keith

“We now join our regularly scheduled program in progress…”

This phrase is a familiar sound on American TV, especially after a sports event that has run overtime. But have you ever asked yourself why that phrase has become so well-known?

Because of a famous football game forty-one years ago today – on November 17, 1968. It was the New York Jets at the Oakland Raiders, with two high-scoring offenses, both at the top of their respective divisions. By the time 7 p.m. rolled around on the East Coast, the game was still close, and with 1:05 left in the fourth quarter, the Jets scored a field goal to make the game 32-29 Jets. When NBC cut to a commercial break, it was Raider ball on their 23 yard line.

So, put yourself in the NBC control room for a minute. With monitors all around you, you’ve seen how close the game is. But now it’s 6:58, and you have to put a made-for-TV children’s movie on at 7:00 p.m., but you don’t want to miss the end of the game and, probably, neither do your viewers. What do you do?

Answer back in 1968: You put the movie on, never mind the score. If you valued your job, of course. And if no one told you otherwise.

Ironically, that’s what the executives at NBC were trying to do at that very minute, but the NBC switchboard was overloaded with both sports fans and concerned parents. The executives couldn’t get through, and the NBC control room cut to the movie as scheduled.

Cut back to Oakland. One minute can make all the difference in a football game, and that’s exactly what happened. In two plays, the Raiders scored one touchdown. Then on the following kickoff, the Jets’ kick returner fumbled the ball, and the Raiders recovered and ran it in for another TD. Final score: Raiders 43, Jets 32.

NBC announced the score via a final crawl during the movie, and that’s when all hell broke loose in New York with irate football fans nearly bringing down telephone service in all of the New York City area.

Ultimately, the NFL (and other major league sports) amended their TV contracts to require games to be broadcast in their entirety, at least in the markets of the teams involved.

Oh, and the movie? Heidi. And the game became known as the Heidi Game.

 

 

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The Man Who Made You Put Away Your Pen

Squeezed November 16, 2009 by Keith

When was the last time you actually set pen to paper and mailed off a personal letter to someone? It’s probably been awhile — and the man to blame is Ray Tomlinson.

Back in 1971, Tomlinson was a young engineer at the Boston firm of Bolt, Beranek and Newman — known today as BBN Technologies. He’d been given a task: Figure out something interesting to do with ARPANET, the newborn computer network that was the predecessor of the modern-day Internet.

“We were working on ways in which humans and computers could interact,” he tells NPR’s Guy Raz. But instead, Tomlinson started tinkering with the interaction — or lack of it — between distant colleagues who didn’t answer their phones. He eventually found a way to send messages from one computer to another — inventing the system we now know as e-mail.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120364591&ps=cprs

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Fire Hot!

Squeezed November 16, 2009 by Keith

Hmm. Not know that. Learn new thing everyday. :)

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Here comes the rain…

Squeezed November 12, 2009 by Keith

High clouds coming in from the south as I was walking to lunch today. The weather radar shows a heavy band of showers coming toward us from the south. Looks like we could be in for a wet ride home.

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Testing Posterous

Squeezed November 12, 2009 by Keith

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet – can you hear me now? Good.

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Write your own caption: Disembodied Slippers?

Squeezed October 30, 2009 by Keith



Write your own caption: disembodied slippers?

Originally uploaded by pineapplejuice

Spied these homeless slippers in front of the ATM at the HMSA building. I could probably think of any number of funny captions, but what do you think?

Yeah, it’s a dry heat. So is a fire.

Squeezed July 16, 2009 by Keith

Call me anal, but starting about two weeks before an upcoming trip I start checking the weather reports for my destination – the National Weather Service, AccuWeather, and the Weather Channel.

I probably started getting into the habit of doing this over the past few years, when my trips to Oregon revolved around the Hood to Coast Relay. (I’m not doing it this year…our team failed to make the lottery.) Most teams take more than 24 hours to cover the 197 miles from Mount Hood to Seaside. Like the others on my team, I had to run three legs, of which one would be late at night, and one would be in the hottest part of the day. Obviously, in that case it would be a good idea for me to know what kind of weather I’d be in when it came time to run my legs  – whether I’d be in mid-90-degree heat in blazing sun or in cooler temperatures with drizzle – and plan accordingly.

In about a week, I’ll be headed up to Las Vegas, for only the third time in the nearly 16 years I’ve been of legal age. I’ll be bringing my running shoes with me, but I think the only outdoor running I might be doing while the sun is out is to and from the valet. As I write this, the weather report is calling for high temperatures near 110 when we arrive. And it will drop to the mid- to upper 80s at night.

In Hawaii, it’s rare to get into the 90s even during the hottest part of the day in the doggiest days of summer.

Mind-boggling. This is probably the first time in recent memory that I’ll have been in weather that hot. Yes, I know, it’s a dry heat, so they say. As my friend puts it, so is a fire.

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“Hey, let’s blow up a building and get in the Guinness Book!”

Squeezed July 13, 2009 by Keith

From Paul Graydon (@Twirrim on Twitter) comes this tidbit.

FAIL Blog is a humor blog that posts humorous examples of “fail”–failures of all sorts–communications, sports, what have you.

Among them are words that probably are not intended to be there. Like, for instance, a link inviting a visitor to the Guinness World Records site to “break this record” — the record for “Most Individuals Killed in a Terrorist Act.” (If you need to know, it’s 2,823 people who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.)

Goodness. I can just see the response to that. “Yes, I am very much interest in breaking record for most people killed. I not do that yet, but am working on it, you see. BTW, death to infidels like you. (signed) Osama Bin Laden.”

As is FAIL Blog’s custom, they posted a screenshot of the offending record, with its trademark “FAIL” in Impact Bold.

Apparently the people at Guinness had not heard of the concept of fair use, so they wrote a nasty e-mail to FAIL Blog  demanding they remove the trademarked material from their site. Not one to let anyone else have the last laugh, FAIL Blog complied with the request but then wrote a response entitled “OMG U FAIL SO HARD” in which they outlined their position and response, along with the e-mail and the redacted screenshot. The response is funny and deserves a read. Hint: go ahead and read the “legal response.” Go ahead. I dare you. :)

On your next trip: Sunshine insurance?

Squeezed July 13, 2009 by Keith

You’ve heard of travel insurance, where for a premium you can recover the cost of your trip if some unforeseen event forces you to cancel your trip. I usually take it out whenever I buy my plane tickets; I’ve yet to have to file a claim, but in a way that’s good.

That said, though, look at what some travel agents in France are offering:

PARIS (Reuters) – Sun-seekers whose holidays are spoiled by bad weather could be reimbursed after French travel agencies launched insurance cover for unwanted interruptions to the sunshine.

The insurance policy, launched by holiday groups Pierre et Vacances and FranceLoc, will allow holiday-makers to claim back part of the cost of their trip if they suffer at least four days of rain in any one week.

“Aon France allows Pierre & Vacances to propose its clients with automatic reimbursement for part of their stay…if weather conditions don’t meet expectations,” the holiday group said in a statement.

Rain-spoilt holidays can now be worth up to 400 euros ($556) and holiday-makers would be informed by telephone text message or email if they are liable for compensation. They would receive a cheque a few days after returning home.

I guess I can take comfort that, if I were offered this type of insurance to where I’m planning on going in a couple of weeks (Las Vegas), the premium would be pretty darn low. :)

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