Sunday, December 26, 2010

Bearing down PLUS modernity has found me

I want to know where they put all the snow that fell on Friday night and last night and this morning.  My neighborhood looks like a freaking winter stinking wonderdamnland and it looked  a smidge overcast at Soldier Field.  I could walk to Soldier Field from my house (even though it would take me about three hours as it's about 9 miles away) and the whole way, I'd be passing snow piles, snow drifts, snowy sidewalks, and other snow jobs.  But watching the game, I was amazed the playing field and sidelines were clear and totally snow free.  How can I get that to happen in my neighborhood?  I say this as someone who, as soon as this blog is posted, will be going outside to push the snow around and out of the way into a giant pile.  I am thankful I had the sense to buy an ergonomic snow shovel.

The Bears beat the Jets on snowless Soldier Field!  They both went into the game with a 10-4 record and now who has what?  The Bears are 11-4 and the Jets are 10-5 and I am HAPPY except for the snow removal in my future.  It was a game where each team played well and scored points.  It could have gone either way except the Bears held it together into the 4th quarter and a well caught interception at the end let the clock run down and then we got some ribbon, tied some bows on the package and it was a nice Boxing Day gift.  To whom shall I address the thank-you notes?  To Jay Cutler, who ran for a touchdown?  To J. Knox, who ran for at least two and in the same quarter?  Nah, I will send a mental thank you to the whole team because they triumphed over the Jets, 38-34.

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Bobby Hosea is working with youth football leagues to lower the risk of concussions.  Here's a very good read from the New York Times for you to cut and paste:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/26/sports/football/26tackling.html

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About NY Jets head coach Rex Ryan and his wife and their sexual foot fetish that wound up with video released on the internet:  Who the hell cares?  Here's a couple who is in love and obviously still sexually attracted to each other.   They are role models for keeping a marriage fun and frisky.   If you are interested in condemning the actions of a married couple doing consenual acts, then you are sad and I feel very sorry for you.

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Through the miracle of modern technology, I am able to watch Netflix on my television.  It might not be a miracle to you, but I am really a moron when it comes to such things and cannot believe I am able to watch many things right on my television!  Sent over the airwaves!  INTO MY OWN TV!

Before the football game, I streamed in "The Proposal," a movie so light and fluffy it wasn't made by a Hollywood studio but rather was whipped up in a cotton candy machine somewhere in mid-America.  How did this movie make money?  It has the depth of a single sheet of airmail-weight paper.  There are holes in the plot through which you could drive a fleet of semis going side-by-side.  The words implausible, unlikely, and "as if" all leap to mind.  I had been watching Season 1 of "24," which is more  awesome and excellent than I'd hoped but after seeing 12 episodes of the first season, six of them in the last day, I thought I'd counter it with something less weighty.  What I should have done is watched a few shows from Season 3 of "30 Rock," another show of awesomeness and excellence.  Both "24" and "30 Rock" are both available on Netflix and both require brain matter.  Well, you don't need brain matter, but it helps.  Much like deciding not to watch "The Proposal."  Don't say I didn't warn you.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Frozen North

I was shocked to see Mr. Brett Favre haul his ancient QB rump onto the field at TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota on Monday night.  Wasn't his shoulder supposed to be injured?  Wasn't he supposed to be in pain?  Wasn't he supposed to be out for the season?  Apparently, Sir Brett decided he himself was going to bring down the Bears, to stop them from becoming the champions of the NFC North.  Perhaps he consulted a northern seer or has a large crystal ball in his Minnesota living room.  Or perhaps ego, hubris, more ego, vanity, and pride got the best of him and he decided if this season were to be his last, he was going to make the most of it.  Either way, he should have stayed on the bench.

The initial drive was masterful, resulting in a touchdown almost immediately.  That must have snapped the Bears to their senses because that was pretty much that for the old stinker and his Viking crew.  He was sacked.  He got knocked down.  He hit his shoulder.  He hit his head.  He was hit so hard by rookie Corey Wooten, he should be glad that he won't be drinking soup through a straw for the rest of his life.

I said it earlier this season and I say it again:  Brett, how can we miss you if you won't go away?  This is why having something other than football to pursue is a good idea.  If you are in the NFL, save your money.  Do you like public speaking?  Work with a linguist/speech therapist/accent coach to rid yourself of your accent.  You ARE a role model that young people and testosteroney men everywhere would love to hear speak about the NFL, how you got to the NFL, what it's like to be in the NFL, how to stay in the NFL, and life after the NFL.  Mention statistics.  Testosteroney men love stats.

So up in St. Paul on the astroturf, the Bears clinched the NFC North championship with a very lopsided score of 40-14.  This week's bloodshed was caused by Bears.  Yippee!  January ball!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

To tide you over until Tuesday

The Bears and the Vikings will have at each other in the frozen north on Monday night, outdoors in the stadium at the University of Minnesota on totally frozen ground that may be covered by Astroturf.  A hard, hard, hard, hard surface coupled with Brett Favre out with his shoulder injury (this is what you get for being the Thing Who Wouldn't Leave, Brett) and a rookie QB as the starter make things look pretty hopeful for my personal Bears.  Because there is nothing else for me to write about until Tuesday evening as the game will end right about when I go to bed (leave me alone; I get up at 5:15 a.m.), I offer these two things.

1.  Today is my birthday, so Happy Birthday To Me.  Last night my sister and her family took me out to a wonderful meal of Polish cooking which we all enjoyed very much (and the leftovers of which made a very nice albeit massive birthday breakfast).

2.  My younger niece made a lovely video which she posted on You Tube which I share here:

Enjoy!

Back on Tuesday with game opinions.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bloodbath in the snow; we know who did it.

I am certain everyone knows how bad the weather in the Midwest has been the past couple of days.  There was so much snow in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, the excessive snowfall caused the roof of the Metrodome to collapse.  First, the plane carrying the New York Giants was diverted to Kansas City.  The game was delayed until Monday night.  Next, the Giants got into the Twin Cities late Saturday night; sometime in the early a.m., someone in the hotel pulled a fire alarm.  Then, the roof of the Metrodome collapsed, snow and water pouring in.  (They had cameras on the dome and the crap was torn out of that roofing material.)  They considered clearing the snow out the stadium at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, but the Giants thought they'd be playing indoors and didn't bring cleats PLUS the stadium had been winterized (I can only assume that fluids were flushed and anti-freeze added to the seats).  Finally, the NFL decided the two teams would play at a nice, warm indoor arena that is free on Monday night -- Ford Field in Detroit -- and if you have a ticket to the game and can get to Detroit, you will have your choice of seats with the remaining seats available for free on a first-come-first-served basis.  Aggravating for Minnesota Vikings fans but what a great bonus for Michiganders/Canadians/Ohioans who love them some pro football.  I don't care either way, but I suspect Eli Manning and company do some Viking clock cleaning, just as they would have were they at the Metrodome.  (Author comment on 13 Dec.:  Yup, the Giants creamed the Vikings, 21-3.  Geriatric QB Brett Favre really was making a difference; with a shoulder injury, the results were nothing like they might have been had Favre played.  Eh, who am I kidding?  The Vikings were just gonna lose this one no matter what.)

As for my beloved Bears, JULIUS PEPPERS SACKED TOM BRADY and there was a very nice touchdown, with Robbie Gould getting the extra point, but other than that, it was a bloodbath out on the snowy, windy field. Officials had to carve yard lines into the snow so everyone could tell how far anyone had gone.  The ball was slippery.  It was stinking cold and there was a wind.  Please note that they have cold weather in Boston, Tom Brady is a very talented QB, the Patriots are a good, cohesive team, and their coach is quite bright.  In other words, it was about even to start but the Patriots won spectacularly, 36-7.  P.S. It is still snowing and perhaps the Pats' homebound flight will be delayed.  Yo!  Pats!  If you lived here, you'd be home now!  I know that makes no sense but I am all discombobulated because the Bears lost and I was getting used to the Bears winning.  I still dream of January ball.  One of the talking footballs heads said the head coach of the Pats gave his players frozen footballs for practice and told them to get used to it.  Yeah, I think they were used to it.

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Speaking of blood, I encourage everyone to please consider donating a pint in this time of giving.  If you are able bodied, find a local blood bank or find out if there is a blood drive in you area and, I say it again, if you are able bodied, go and squeeze out a pint.  I try to donate whole blood every eight weeks and usually accomplish this goal.  I have veins like drainpipes so the whole process goes quickly for me.  I like to say that they wave the needle over my vein and blood just transfers to the bag on it own.  I don't suggest you go if you have eensy veins and they never seem to find it when you are having an annual blood test, or you have tried to donate and it takes a long time to get anything into the bag, or you always faint afterward.  If you are a super-skinny person, you will probably be refused, too.  But if you are healthy person who likes having a little bag of white cheddar popcorn and a container of apple juice every other month as a reward, please make the time to donate a pint.  This gift really does save lives.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Bears are nice but, oh, Santa!

The Bears played the Detroit Lions this week.  While they were made to work for it, Jay Cutler and the Bears prevailed with a score of 24-20.

Fantastic!

What is really fantastic is the CTA Holiday Train, a/k/a Santa's Express, a/k/a the Christmas Train.  The Chicago Transit Authority has operated this holiday-time transit for the past 19 years with each CTA line getting to experience it.  I have always managed to miss it except for one year when I was going out to a suburban shopping center on a Friday evening and as I got on the Kennedy Expressway, there it was!  I honked and waved out my window.  "Hi, Santa!" I yelled.  I suspect Santa did not notice me because the Kennedy is noisy morning, noon, and night; that year, like most years, there was nothing left for me courtesy of the North Pole.  (Never mind that I rent and have neither a tree nor a fireplace.)  This year the Christmas Train found me.

When the Christmas Train operates, it royally honks up whatever train line it is on.  I ride the Blue Line with a coworker.  Thanks to a slow-moving Holiday Train, on Thursday it took over an hour to get home.  On Friday, there was another vast crowd at the station where we board and I said the Christmas train had already come through and that things were messed up.  My friend looked up the track and said about the approaching train, "That's the Christmas Train."  I said, "No, it can't be," and he told me to look.  It was indeed the Christmas Train.

My reaction was this:  I started jumping up and down with glee (not a good look for a big, middle-aged woman).  I clapped my hands with joy.  There was a lot of waving when Santa passed on his flat-bed car.  I was so delighted that I almost started crying from sheer happiness.  I guess I'd wanted to ride the Christmas Train more than I thought I did.

Santa's Express  interior
The train is covered in twinkling lights and signs that say things like "SEASONS" on one car and "GREETINGS" on the next. There are icicles and snowflakes on the windows.  Inside there is signage for North Pole businesses and the seats all have Christmas-themed upholstery.  The vertical poles used for hanging on when the train is in motion were red-and-white like candy canes.  Garland, lights, and bows were hung throughout.  Christmas songs were piped into the cars and the scent of cinnamon was spread via the vents.  In other words, it was just what you don't expect from the CTA and it was wonderful.  It was even worth my several years of waiting.

Next on TMZ, Santa at ORD
I can be an excitable photographer and only managed to snap off one decent shot on my phone's camera and so decided to find the Christmas Train on Saturday and take the pics I wanted.  The Saturday train was stuffed with happy adults and kids, glad to be having this experience (except for this one little boy who wanted to sit with his older brother so he could watch the sibling playing on Nintendo DS and kept crying and screaming "NO!" at the top of his lungs when his parents and even his brother asked him to cooperate).  When we got to the O'Hare Airport terminus, the massive crowd sorted itself out and I took a totally TMZ picture of Santa ("We got Santa, you know, Jolly Old Saint Nick?  On the Holiday Train at O'Hare Airport in Chicago," as Harvey nods and writes S. Claus on the board).  Plus I got to ride the Christmas Train two days in a row and that made me very happy.

I took a regular CTA train back toward home, delighted that something so simple could make so many people so happy and even more so that I could feel this sort of delight, and I am delighted it was the CTA that did it.  Now if they'd just fix the actual transit system, I would be delighted 365 days a year.

Wishing you and yours peace, good health, and great joy.