Yay, World Cup Time!


Yes, I’m one of those freakish Americans who rather likes soccer/football. I only really pay attention to it every four years during the World Cup, but I’ll occasionally watch it on TV if I happen on it and the match looks interesting.

Who am I supporting? Why, the USA, of course! Go, team!

I’m also quite pleased that South Africa was picked to host the games. It’s good to see them starting to really become a good, functioning country. They’ve still got a lot of problems, but they’re doing much better and I’m glad to see it.

I’m still unsure why soccer/football isn’t more popular here in the USA. We seem to be the only country in the world that doesn’t “get it” when it comes to the sport. I’ll never really understand why. Yes, it’s low-scoring, but so is baseball and hockey. Yes, you can get ties, but you can get those in most sports if the play goes on long enough. I honestly think one of the major reasons it isn’t more popular here is because there’s no break in the play for commercials. That means most networks have no interest in showing it. That’s too bad. It’s quite a decent sport.

Anyhow, go, team USA! Try not to get eliminated too soon!

Why I Don’t Care About the Super Bowl


I’m at work right now and we’ve got a TV in here, which means everyone who isn’t me will be watching the Super Bowl with rapt attention. I, on the other hand, will be doing anything else.

The biggest problem I have with the game is that, well, I don’t care about football. At all. I don’t get it as a game. Now I like some sports (hockey, soccer, baseball), but I cannot abide football. It seems to be several minutes of meetings followed by fifteen seconds of violence and then more meetings. Repeat for four hours. This is not my idea of a good time.

But even more importantly, if I were a football fan, I don’t think that I’d like the Super Bowl. As I mentioned once before, it’s basically four hours of commercials with a football game cleverly edited in. The whole point of it seems to be selling ad time during the game and the roughly twenty-seven hours of pre-game and post game coverage. The game itself seems to be viewed as a regrettable necessity, as proven by the fact that the NFL goes out of their way to make sure the game is held in a place where they don’t need to worry about football weather (rain, snow).

I understand that this is our big national party and all that. I know that even non-fans tend to watch. I tried watching it when the Seahawks were playing, but even then just couldn’t get through it. It just bores me stupid.

Welcome to the Super Bowl! Gays Not Welcome!


Pretty cool looking logo!

CBS is breaking with a long-time tradition and allowing an anti-abortion ad to air during the Super Bowl. I don’t really think that the Super Bowl is a good venue for any sort of political and/or activist ads, and in the past the broadcasters have generally agreed, refusing ads from groups like PETA and Moveon.org.

I haven’t any real problem with this, despite that tradition. This is largely because a: I don’t care about football, not even the Super Bowl, and b: they’re free to do whatever they please with adverts. It’s a free country.

I do note with some interest that they are, however, refusing an ad from a gay dating website. The ad seems a lot more in line with the style and tone of Superbowl ads in the past. Makes me wonder what excuse they have for not accepting it. Well, let’s see what CNN’s article on it has to say.

“After reviewing the ad, which is entirely commercial in nature, our standards and practices department decided not to accept this particular spot,” said CBS spokeswoman Shannon Jacobs. “We are always open to working with a client on alternative submissions.”

Also:

[Elissa] Buchter [PR person from the site] provided a copy of the CBS rejection letter to CNNMoney, which states that the ad “is not within the Network’s broadcast standards for Super Bowl Sunday.”

Standards and Practices, for those who don’t know, is the department most TV networks maintain to, essentially, self-censor any content that might be deemed offensive to viewers and, by extension, other advertisers. So basically they thought it might offend football fans around the country to see two men making out with each other. Fair enough.

But rather than admit that was the real source of their worry, CBS had a few other excuses. They claim that the company’s credit wasn’t good enough to make them comfortable with selling ad time. Ok, that’s a good reason.

Well, it would be except that Mancrunch, the site in question, and boy that’s a name to conjure with, have said they offered to pay cash (CBS says they have no record of such an offer).

Now it’s possible at this point they just don’t have anymore ad time to sell, but I doubt that. There’s always room for more ads. It’s the freaking Super Bowl. It’s not about football; it’s about ad space. It’s basically several hours of commercials with a football game cleverly edited in.

Ultimately, as I said, CBS and the NFL absolutely have every right to pick and choose what ads to sell. If they want to have nothing but ads for, say, shaving cream, that’s their right. If they want to sell pro-life ad time, go ahead. If they want to refuse to sell ad time to a gay dating site, that’s fine.

I just wish they’d be upfront and say, “We don’t want to offend our largely homophobic fan-base with the image of two men together.” Anything else is ugly hypocrisy.

Phoenix in 2024!


Phoenix, Arizona, where I live, is the fifth largest city in the USA, but it’s not so you’d notice. Most people wouldn’t likely even guess we’re in the top ten, and that probably includes a lot of people who live here.

As Phoenix’ size grows, so does it’s influence and importance on the national and international stage. We’re becoming a more important city and soon should be taking our place next to New York, Los Angeles and Chicago as a major world city.

One way to help bring that about would be to host the Olympics in 2024.

I think Phoenix would be an excellent place to hold the games. We’ve shown that we can handle a major event when the Superbowl was held in neighboring Glendale. We’ve got a good road network and an expanding light rail system. We’d end up with gobs of money coming into the city and our standing on the world stage would increase sharply.

Now there is one minor drawback, and that’s the weather. When it’s high summer here, the temps are usually in the 110 – 117 degree range. That’s far too hot for any real sports competitions that take place outdoors. But we could perhaps have the games in late April or early May. That’d avoid the worst of the heat and be better psychologically than holding the games in October or November. Sure, NBC bitch a little, but not much. It’d still be a major Olympic event being held in an American city. Ratings are likely to be high.

I don’t think it’s likely we’re going to put forth a bid, but I think we should and I hope we do!

Playing on God’s Team


I’ll admit it. I don’t “get” football. Well, not the American version of it, which as I type this is being played in England. The Patriots vs the London Silly Nannies. I find the game of football to be frankly dull as dishwater. I think of it as five seconds of action punctuated by two minutes of conversion centering around what happened and what to do next, then five more seconds of action carefully scheduled around commercials.

Zzzzz…

I’m also reminded of some commentator, I don’t remember who, that said football mixed the worst in American culture, in that it combined violence with committee meetings. Sounds about right.

Sadly these days it also mixes in another unpleasant aspect of American culture: the desire to rub religion in everyone’s face.

I can’t remember the number of times I’ve seen recaps of football games that show someone scoring a touchdown and then dropping to their knees, or doing something cool and pointing skyward or talking to reporters after the game and thanking God. Strangely they never seem to say, “Well, God wanted us to lose this one,” when they fail.

It’s not just football. This nonsense permeates other games as well, including the only sport I pay any real attention to; baseball. It’s not as endemic there, but I have seen players pointing skyward as they run the bases after a home run.

I’m not the only one getting irrtated about this trend. Bill Maher has commented on it several times and there’s an editorial in USA Today talking about the issue as well, as well as this editorial here. Have fun reading those and check the tolerant, loving comments from God’s followers!

I find this public display of piety by sports stars to be distasteful at best. I really wish the leagues would crack down on this and tell people to push their religious beliefs during their private time; that the sporting arena is not the place to try and shove their agenda down everyone’s throat (and please note, I’m not saying the government should do this. I think the leagues should).

But I know this will never happen. They’d piss off too many people and probably think that a great many people will just stop watching the games and buying the products. They won’t, of course, but the teams won’t want to take the chance.

So we’ll have to continue to put up with this stupidity and false piety. I’ll just deal with it the way I deal with most things that annoy me: roll my eyes and write snarky blog articles!

I Was Wrong


150px-Rio_de_Janeiro_bid_logo_for_the_2016_Summer_Olympics.svg

Yes, it doesn’t happen often, but I was wrong about the Olympics for 2016. I was sure they’d go to Chicago, though I wanted them to go to Brazil. Turns out I was wrong! Rio is getting the games!

I say good for them! They worked hard, they put together a great bid and they really earned the right to host the Olympics. I think it’s somewhat sad for Chicago, Madrid and Tokyo (I won’t forget to mention them this time!), but it’s certainly good for Rio and good for the games as a whole to be held on an entirely “new” continent.

Now a word about Obama’s efforts to get the games for his home town. Of course should have tried. He was absolutely right to try. He’s the President, and part of his job is to get good things for our country. The fact that he tried his best and still lost, well, that happens. It’s part of life and part of politics. It’s not some bitter, career-destroying defeat, it’s not yet another in a string of imagined failures, it’s just… well, something that happened. Three years from now, who is going to care?

Anyhow, all grats to Rio, and let’s get the Winter games in 2018!

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