Tag Archives: NFL

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.

Good News Friday: A 9-year-old Cubs fan gets an awesome surprise gift. An incredible organ donation story, starring Rod Carew and an NFL player. And “Colbert” returns to say goodbye to O’Reilly

And a Happy Friday to you all, I spent much of Thursday night wearing new grooves in the carpet in front of our living room TV, watching Rangers-Canadiens Game 5. Playoff overtime hockey really isn’t good for your health.

First up today, this clip has gone viral in the past few days so maybe you’ve seen it already, but it’s awesome and I’ve watched it a few times already. Meet 9-year-old die-hard Chicago Cubs fan Kolt Kyler. He and his family are big Cubs fans, and Kolt is by all accounts a terrific young man.

But he’s never been to Wrigley Field, and as a reward for all his hard work and doing his chores, his Dad decided to surprise him. This video brought tears to my eyes, just seeing Kolt’s reaction. It’s priceless.

What’s even better is that once this went viral, the Cubs players themselves did some amazing things. First baseman Anthony Rizzo invited Kolt to come onto the field to watch batting practice, while pitcher Jon Lester offered Kolt and his family the chance to sit in his own private box.

So, so great when athletes do this. Enjoy the game, Kolt.

**Next up today, I’ve written a lot about organ donation stories in the eight years I’ve done this blog, because it’s a cause I feel very strongly about. So when I read about this incredible tale involving former NFL player Konrad Reuland, his awful death at such a young age, and the amazing series of events that led to him donating organs to baseball Hall of Famer Rod Carew, I knew I had to share it.

This story, by the BaltimoreRavens.com writer Garrett Downing, is sensational. The bond and connection between Reuland, his family, and Carew is rare among organ donation cases. Wonderful job by the writer here, getting the emotion and the details exactly perfect.

**Finally today, many of us on the left are having some fun with the implosion of the career of Bill O’Reilly (don’t cry too much for him, he got a nice big $25 million check from Fox News to go away).

Stephen Colbert modeled his old persona on his old Comedy Central show on O’Reilly; the “Colbert” character was a delightful sendup of Bill O.

So of course even though Colbert isn’t that guy anymore, moving on to late night CBS show, he had to talk about O’Reilly’s ignominious ending. Watch this great monologue, and wait for the reappearance of “Colbert” about halfway through…

The NFL owners screw the players (and fans) again. And the great child marshmallow test.

Well, I guess it would’ve been too much to ask for this NFL labor war to end peacefully.

All the harmonious feelings and “we’re getting closer” leaked news bulletins that have come out the last few weeks, assuring us that a deal was about to be struck, now are as worthless as Confederate money and words coming out of the mouth of Sarah Palin.
All week, we football fanatics heard that Thursday was going to be the day. Owners were going to ratify a new labor deal, then the players would do it, and great glory Hallelujah, we would still have an NFL season.
Training camps opening soon! Free agency coming soon! Real, actual football season starting on time!
And then, pfffttt. Turns out it appears the owners tried to screw the players at the last minute. According to the excellent Peter King’s story on SI.com, the owners tried to throw in some language that had not been agreed upon, and basically gave the players an ultimatum.
And yeah, that didn’t go over so well. Looks like the owners totally overplayed their hand, and in a pretty obnoxious way.
So now this whole damn deal may blow up, we may have weeks and months more of men in suits arguing instead of men in cleats and pants hitting each other, and who knows if the 2011 season will get played.
I’m making this about me. I knew God would punish me by having the Jets get really, really good, get them thisclose to making the Super Bowl, and then the sport would blow up for a year.

I want my NFL football. Dammit, dammit, dammit.
In the meantime, here’s Al Pacino to get you fired up:

**This next video is based on a famous experiment done by Stanford psychologists in the 1960s. The idea is this: They bring a little kid into a room and put a marshmallow in front of him or her. They tell the kid they can eat the marshmallow now, but if they wait 10 minutes, they’ll get two marshmallows.
Man, what IS a kid to do? This cracked me up, especially the kid’s face at 1:55. As one YouTube commenter said, “it’s like watching a bunch of cute, adorable crack addicts.”

An exciting advancement in toilet paper. And the beauty of slow-motion

Those people at Scott just never sleep.
They are constantly, constantly thinking of ways to improve our lives when it comes to toilet paper. We can get it even softer, boss! they shout. It’s truly a wonderful thing, the advancements in toilet paper. Myself, I’m a bit of a TP snob; I will only buy certain brands and for God’s sakes, don’t even try to get me to buy one-ply.
All this is a preamble before letting you know that the Scott people have done it again. They’re trying to save the environment in any way they can, so they have now “invented” tubeless toilet paper rolls.
That’s right ladies, no more yelling at your doofus husbands to change the toilet paper roll. Now, there is no roll.
This blew me away when I read this stat: The 17 billion toilet paper tubes produced annually in the USA account for 160 million pounds of trash, according to Kimberly-Clark estimates.
I think this is a beautiful thing. Others, though, are not happy, according to Jimmy Kimmel:

**You love slow motion replays, I love slow motion replays, we all love slow motion replays. There’s something about sports in its, well, slowest sense that just looks bitchin.’ Here’s two very cool videos I stumbled across showing how great sports looks in slow motion:

A fun flight home, the NFL gets serious about concussions, and a classic TV food fight

Greetings from the state of my birth.

Julie and I flew home to New York from the Fla. tonight. And boy are our arms tired (Ba-dum-bum). This is without a doubt my favorite time of the year, because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. It contains three of my favorite things (eating, football, and family), so how could it not be great?

More on why I love Thanksgiving in Thursday’s post. Tonight, a few quick thoughts before I fall asleep at the keyboard:

**So we’re on the Southwest flight from Orlando, a route we now know so well we could direct the pilot if needed. And there’s a little kid, maybe 3 years old, sitting behind Julie, kicking the seat and crying hysterically for a good, I don’t know, 45 minutes.

And not once, not once, does the adult sitting next to this little terror pick the kid up, walk him around, move his seat, anything, to acknowledge the disturbance and try to rectify it.

Look, I know traveling with small children is extremely hard, and I have the utmost respect for parents. But isn’t there some societal obligation that kicks in there, that the person who paid a couple hundred bucks for a seat doesn’t deserve to get kicked for 45 minutes? Just wondering.

**I have bashed the NFL for a while for what I feel is their refusal to take the issue of concussions and their symptoms seriously.

But I was very happy to see that the league is actually working to rectify one of the biggest problems: NFL team doctors, under pressure from management and the team that pays their salary, putting players back in before they’re ready.

This week, though, came a big breakthrough: It was announced that teams will now be required to consult with independent neurologists while treating players with brain injuries, the New York Times reported.

Comissioner Roger Goodell and his execs were humiliated by Congress last month, which pointed out that the NFL clearly wasn’t doing enough to protect its players.

Now, with outside doctors who don’t care if Brian Westbrook or Tom Brady or anyone gets back on the field to help win the game, there’s a much better chance the players’ brains will be truly looked after.

Good step, NFL.

**Finally, this cracks me up every time I see it. The classic Thanksgiving food fight from “Cheers.” The good stuff starts at the 5:20 mark.

When will the NFL take concussions seriously? And stuff on the Jets and authors who write too long


So I’m going to get up Sunday, saunter over to my favorite sports bar, and watch several hours of professional football, enjoying the touchdowns, and the big hits on defense.

I realize that because of this, I’ll be open to being called a hypocrite when I write what I’m about to write.

But every year, there are more and more studies and more and more signs that NFL players are doing serious damage to their brains by playing football.

And every year, the NFL just looks the other way, making excuse after excuse and trying to push the problem back under the rug.

This week a new study, commissioned by the NFL and done by the University of Michigan Institute for Social research, determined that pro football players suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-related ailments far more frequently than other Americans.

The study should, theoretically, bolster the cases of so many retired players who’ve been neglected by the union, and whose concussions and other blows to the head have not been treated seriously by the current NFL management.

The study showed that 6.1 percent of retired players over 50 said they had received a dementia-related diagnosis, five times higher than the national average. And players 30-49 reported dementia-related diagnoses at a rate of 1.9 percent, 19 times higher than the national average.

And what is the NFL’s response to this news? Not concern. Not empathy. Not a human response, indicating that they’re tremendously troubled by the report.

No, this is the quote from NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, according to the New York Times:

“There are thousands of retired players who do not have memory problems.”

And this:

“Memory disorders affect many people who never played football or other sports,” Mr. Aiello said. “We are trying to understand it as it relates to our retired players.”

My God, how pathetic. So let me get this straight: If cranes keep collapsing on construction workers and killing them, is it OK if the foreman keeps pointing out how many guys didn’t die on the job that day?

Look, I may be a little more sensitive to this issue, because for six months in 2007 I worked on a story about pro wrestler Chris Benoit, who snapped one day and killed his wife and son. I interviewed several concussion experts who said the repeated blows to Benoit’s head over his wrestling career damaged his brain to a point where he may have had trouble telling right from wrong.

Concussions, and post-playing dementia, are an incredibly dangerous aspect of life in the NFL. Great strides have been made, and much more care is now taken when players get knocked out.

But it would sure be nice if the NFL, while making billions of dollars, would at least admit that these retired players aren’t faking. And that for far too long the league counted the profits while players’ brains slowly withered away.

***Not feeling real confident about the Jets’ chances today at New Orleans. Course, I haven’t been confident about the Jets for the last three weeks,  and they’re 3-0. But Drew Brees is playing like Dan Marino, the Saints’ D is improved, and this game, to me, is a house-money game for the Jets. No one thought they’d be 3-0, so 3-1, with a wounded Miami team on the sked for next week, would be just fine by me.

But if the green and white someone win … well, then the NY media will really go nuts. They’ll be printing Jets-Giants Super Bowl tickets in Penn Station.


**Finally, someone explain this to me: So I’m reading last week’s NY Times Book Review on Saturday (I’m a week behind). I love the Book Review, absolutely love it.

And I’m reading about this new biography of ex-Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis.  Truly a legendary man, one of the foremost legal minds of our time; all good. Then I see the book is 976 pages long.

And I’m thinking: Has the term “editor” been introduced to this guy? I mean, nobody needs a 976-page book on anyone. Who’s reading that? And more importantly, who’s buying it?

You’re telling me you couldn’t sum up the life of Louis Brandeis in a trim 500-600 pages? I’m not saying we all have to revert to the Jeff Goldblum People magazine theory spouted in the classic movie “The Big Chill” (“where I work, we have only one editorial rule: You can’t write anything longer than the average person can read during the average crap”).

I’m just sayin, if I may get a hernia lifting your book, it may be too long.

All hail NFL Sundays

Some people use Sundays Copy of Michael footballin the autumn as a day of rest. Some people rake leaves, do some reading, or catch up on cleaning around the house.

Others use it as a day of worship.

I do that. Although instead of praying to God, I go to a different kind of house.

It’s a sports bar with 37 TVS, friendly waitresses, really good food, and diehard fans wearing jerseys of varying colors.

On Sundays in the autumn, I watch six hours of NFL football. It is a religion of sorts to me; I worship at the altar of pro football.

I can’t wait for this Sunday, week 1 of the 2009 NFL season. Wait, let me rephrase that. I CAN NOT WAIT. I love everything about football Sundays. I love waking up late, around 11 or so, and starting to think about the New York Jets game that day.

I love eating, showering and then slipping on my dark green Wayne Chrebet No. 80 Jets jersey, my go-to gameday attire for the last 10 years (last year I switched to a Brett Favre jersey in a fit of temporary blind love, but I’m sure Wayne understood).

I love arriving at the bar (where, to my wife’s endless amusement,  I was referred to as “Jets Fan” on my tab until they learned my name) and looking where my beloved green and white will be playing. It’s a strategic thing, really; I hope the Jets are on one of the four TVs side by side  above the bar; that way I can watch four games at once without really having to move.

(On a related note, I don’t get why women don’t understand this, but yes, men can watch four games at once. We’ve been trained over the years and we know the rhythms of our games that we can really, truly be looking at all of them at once and not miss anything big.)

I love seeing the same people every week, and learning their tendencies; the old Steelers fan who downs Coors Light while yelling that they should throw to Heath Miller more; the collection of 20-something Giants fans, who are never happy even when the Giants are winning; the four 70-something Bills fans who don’t really even get excited anymore, and take even small joys (“Hey, a 10-yard pass”) as reasons for hope.

And then there is my favorite group, a co-ed mix of about six Washington Redskins fans who look like they remember when Sonny Jurgensen was a rookie.

I don’t want to say they’re old, but I swear one guy told me he remembers that Red Grange kid from high school.

They’re grumpy sometimes (hey, look at the Redskins’ record the last 10 years), but bless their hearts, every time the Redskins score a touchdown they break into a rousing chorus of “Hail to the Redskins.” And sometimes, they look so joyous, I want to join in.

This is what I call my Sunday family, and even if we don’t know each other’s last names (or sometimes, first names), I look forward to spending time with them 17 Sundays a year.

My Sunday family has seen me yell and scream and throw stuff, and have sometimes come over to cheer me up when the Jets (invariably) break my heart again.

My wife came to the bar once with me; after 10 minutes she looked around and had the same expression on her face that a caveman would have upon encountering an iPod: Utter, sheer bewilderment.

And so Sunday it starts again. I know, truly, that for the 40th straight year someone besides the Jets will win the Super Bowl.

And I know, in my 34-year-old brain, that it’s kind of silly I wear a football jersey and hat and scream and yell for three hours at other men I don’t even know.

But I don’t care. It’s fall, it’s Sunday, and for a few hours I get to act like a kid again.

1 p.m. can’t get here fast enough.

P.S. If for some reason you’re curious, my Super Bowl pick for this year is Baltimore vs. Green Bay; I just don’t think the Steelers can repeat, New England has lost too much on defense, and I’m not sold on either the Colts (no running game) or San Diego (Norv Turner is their coach, no more needs to be said).

And for my beloved Jets, I see somewhere between 7-9 and 9-7, and no playoff spot. I hope I’m very wrong, but rookie quarterback plus rookie coach doesn’t spell championship to me.