Tag Archives: Ann McKee

An art gallery in San Francisco will text you their paintings. I rant about a really stupid chair invention. And yet more devastating proof the NFL is eventually doomed

If you’re like me, and you’ve ever been to an art gallery or museum, sometimes you wonder: Where are all the rest of the paintings?


On the walls, you see only a small fraction of what large museums actually have; they rotate their pieces periodically, so thousands of fantastic or interesting paintings sit in storage, collecting dust.

So that’s why I thought this initiative, from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, was so cool. With 32,000 of their 34,000 works in storage at any one time, SFMOMA has begun texting some of their art to anyone who asks.

According to this NPR story, if you text an emoji, or describe your current mood, to SFMOMA, they’ll text you back a picture of artwork that fits your mood.

In the first five days of the program, SFMOMA has sent two million texts of artwork.

From the story: Texters have started contacting the museum to learn more about the art they received on their phones — that “blows my mind,” says  Keir Winesmith, head of SFMOMA’s Web and digital platforms.  He suspects this diversion may be particularly popular right now because it gives people chance to cleanse their mental palate.

“A lot of what I read from the news media is pretty negative, and sometimes a little depressing,” he says. “We’re able to create something that is not that, is a balance. Not quite an antidote, but certainly a balance to what’s happening out there in the news media world.”

I think this is a very cool idea, bringing art to the masses. You can text 572-51 with the phrase “send me” and then a word or emoji. SFMOMA will send back an image.

Very cool.

**OK, next up today, I need to rant about a totally stupid and useless invention. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you “The Chairless Chair.” My thoughts after the video…

OK, first of all, does this “chair” look in any way, shape or form comfortable? Is this supposed to really give me the feeling I get when I sit down?

Secondly, how bulky and awkward is this thing to lug around? It looks like something kids with polio back in the 1920s and ’30s had to wear, not something you’d actually want to have on.

Third, my favorite part of this video is at :31, where it says “It releases in a second if the wearer has to move.”  Great, so every time I want to get up while wearing this chair, I’ve got to unlock it and carry the apparatus with me?

People of the world, no one asked for this, no one needs this, and I am certain it will sell huge.

**Finally today, the NFL’s popularity and reign as America’s No. 1 sport has been unchallenged for at least 15 years. The NFL is so mammoth, and so powerful, that it’d be easy to believe that it will stay this way forever.

But Tuesday brought yet another reminder that football in its current form will not go on forever. From Boston University’s CTE Center:

“A new study suggests that chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive, degenerative brain disease found in people with a history of repeated head trauma, may be more common among football players than previously thought. The study, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), found CTE in 99 percent of brains obtained from National Football League (NFL) players, as well at 91 percent of college football players and 21 percent of high school football players.”

Ninety-nine percent of the NFL players’ brains examined (110 of 111) and 91 percent of college football players (48 of 53) showed symptoms of degenerative brain disease.

Those statistics are staggering. Already numbers are down across youth football leagues, and parents everywhere are concerned about the long-term effects of football on the brain.

This ship is not turning around. Fewer and fewer kids playing the sport mean fewer great athletes going into football, fewer good college players, and fewer good NFL players. Slowly but surely, the talent will dry up, people will realize permanent head injury isn’t worth it, and the NFL will cease to be dominant.

Oh, it’s going to take a few more decades for the NFL to fully crash and burn. But it will happen.

And as big a football fan as I am, it’ll be a welcome development. Healthy brains over entertainment should not be a tough choice.


PBS documentary on NFL concussions is frightening but great. Paul McCartney plays a high school auditorium. And a man who lives inside a cube

For at least a decade now, stories have been coming out about how the National Football League, in its desire to keep the most popular sport in America so popular, has downplayed, ignored and downright lied about how serious the concussion problem has been among its players.

Each story has chipped away at the NFL’s power only a tiny bit, as despite player after player dying early, and so many of their brains showing major damage from a lifetime of hits, the public has generally ignored the reports and continued to watch the sport.

I’m not exempt; I have read many of the stories and then continued to enjoy my autumn Sundays watching the sport I love.

But Wednesday I watched the outstanding new PBS documentary, “League of Denial,” and I don’t know if I’ll ever watch the sport the same way again.

Produced by PBS and starring two ESPN reporters who just wrote a book called “League of Denial,” the two-hour show takes us through the history of the concussion epidemic, and how callously and blithely the NFL ignored the research done on the brains of former players like Mike Webster, Ricky Watters and others.
Research that showed a devastating deterioration of the brain after millions of collisions.
Then-NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue and his cronies in the 1990s and early 2000s not only ignored scientific evidence, they went out of their way to smear and attack the reputations of doctors like Bennett Omalu and Ann McKee, who God forbid dared to present actual proof that playing football could be bad for your long-term mental acuity.

The documentary is painstakingly precise and paints a portrait of a league that, for all its phony B.S., didn’t care enough about its players to even acknowledge that there was a problem.

“League of Denial” isn’t going to suddenly make NFL football less popular. But it’s an extraordinary indictment of the NFL, and I highly recommend watching it.

It’ll be on PBS a few more times this month, but here’s a link to the full show available online.

**Next up, this ad looks like it could totally be real; for the first few minutes of this I was totally believing it. It’s about a guy named “Dave” who says he lives inside a cube at Astor Place in New York City; would not surprise me in the least if it had turned out to be a real thing, not just an ad.

Still, really brilliantly done ad.


**Finally today, this was pretty awesome.

Paul McCartney played a bunch of old Beatles songs, and some of his new tunes, to a school-full of teenagers at a New York-area school Wednesday (hat tip to loyal reader Sanford for pointing me to this story). Happily, the teenagers seemed to know the old Fab Four songs, singing along and getting pretty excited for the old geezer.

There’s hope for the future yet, my fellow Americans.