Honey, I’d like to watch 2 MORE football games today, OK?

Franco Harris and Lynn Swann BOTH have March 7 birthdays, same as mine. And the team had L.C. GREENwood and Mean Joe GREENe.

It happens almost all the time in the last several years: I end up watching more football games in the playoffs than I did during the entire regular season. That’s not all bad; I managed to miss my New York Giants giving up 28 points to the Philadelphia Eagles in eight minutes, a loss which essentially cost them the playoffs. Yet I’ve managed to have seen at least part of all eight playoff games leading to Super Bowl XLV thus far, though by no means all of them. All I saw of the Bears’ shellacking of the Seahawks was the 10 minutes I watched at the Radio Shack, and the Bears were already up 21-0.

Whereas I watched most of both of the Jets’ wins over the Colts and especially over the Patriots. Rooting interests are peculiar things. The sports guy at the local paper has a personal rule that once you pick a team to root for while in your teens, you have to stick with that team for life.

Though not a fan, I must admit that I was happy the first time the Patriots won the Super Bowl, and for that matter when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004. But when it got habitual, it started getting annoying.

It occurred to me that not only have all four of the remaining teams won Super Bowls, but, not being up on the regular season games, that I tend to associate the present team with those glory days. In fact, other than the quarterback, I would be hard pressed to name more than one or two players on each team.

In rooting interest order:

New York Jets – they get some coverage around here, a little less than the New York Giants, because the Giants summer at the UAlbany, but more than the Patriots or the Buffalo Bills.
QB – Mark Sanchez, who doesn’t feel quite ready for prime time
Only other player I could name before the playoffs – Santonio Holmes, only because he won a Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers; I also know the coach, Rex Ryan, he of the loud mouth
I’m thinking about: the 1969 Jets. After the NFL-AFL merger, the Green Bay Packers won the first two Super Bowls (which weren’t called that yet), so when the team led by QB Broadway Joe Namath, he of the pantyhose commercials, guaranteed a victory over the mighty Baltimore Colts, it sounded crazy. I still remember the score: Jets 16, Colts 7.
Rooting interest: geography. I mean, they DID play in New York when I saw them play the Houston Oilers in the early 1970s. And their uniforms are GREEN and white.

Pittsburgh Steelers
QB – Ben Roethlisberger, who got into enough trouble off season to warrant a four-game suspension at the beginning of the season. Roethlisberger has already won two Super Bowls, XL, for which he played poorly, but still at 23 years old, became the youngest quarterback to win a SB, and XLIII, where he shone.
Only other players I could name: receiver Heinz Ward (appropriately playing at Heinz Field), who is Korean and black, and went to South Korea after the last Super Bowl victory to help mixed race kids; Troy Polamalu, the linebacker whose hair obscures his uniform number, who is all over the field.
I’m thinking about: the Steelers of the 1970s, with QB Terry Bradshaw. It had a running back named Franco Harris and a wide receiver named Lynn Swann, BOTH of whom have March 7 birthdays, same as mine. And the team had defensive linemen L.C. GREENwood and Mean Joe GREENe. The team has won six Super Bowls in seven appearances.
Rooting interest: geography, history.

Green Bay Packers
QB – Aaron Rogers, who, Buffalo Bills fans are reminded, could have been theirs
Only other player: wide receiver Donald Driver. Just like the name.
I’m thinking of: those first two SB wins with Bart Starr as QB, though they did win one about 35 years later.
Rooting interest: small market team (100,000 population, 300,000 in the metro area), not dissimilar in size to Albany, NY. Also, it IS the GREEN Bay Packers.

Chicago Bears
QB – Jay Cutler, who I know relatively little about except that he used to play for the Denver Broncos
Only other player: linebacker Brian Urlacher
I’m thinking about: those 1986 Bears, with Refrigerator Perry, et al.
Rooting interest: I liked Chicago when I went there in 2008

Ultimately, I’m just happy that that the game that will be played in Dallas on February 6 won’t have the Dallas Cowboys playing. Them I do not like.

Q is for Queens

The Queens Library has the highest circulation of any public library system in the U.S.

Queens is one of the five boroughs of New York City. The boroughs are coterminous with the five counties that comprise the city, out of 62 counties statewide: Manhattan (New York County), Brooklyn (Kings County), Staten Island (Richmond County); Bronx and Queens have the same county and borough names.

Queens is physically the largest of the NYC boroughs, at 109.7 square miles (284.12 square kilometers or 70,190.2 acres), and with 2.3 million people, the second-most populous, after Brooklyn; this is more people than any other whole US city, save for Los Angeles and Chicago. NYC has established 59 community districts in 1975, based on the historic development of communities, 14 of which are in Queens.

Queens has a rich history as one of the 12 original counties of New York State. You can read about that here. Just as interesting, though, is the fact that Queens is considered one of the most ethnically diverse counties in the United States. Here are just the ancestry groups with an estimated 25,000 or more, according to the 2009 American Community Survey 1-year estimates: Asian Indian 137,696; Chinese 190,183; Colombian 83,433; Ecuadorian 107,931; German 48,042; Greek 50,949; Guyanese 53,012; Haitian 44,226; Irish 82,543; Italian 153,704; Jamaican 50,828; Korean 59,690; Mexican 83,185; Polish 54,974; Puerto Rican 123,219; Russian 39,798; Salvadoran 26,571; plus a lot of less numerous groups as well.

I have some personal links with Queens. My mother’s uncle Ernest died of cancer in 1954, and then six months later, Aunt Charlotte and her four kids moved from small-town Binghamton (NY) to New York City, into a house in Queens. As Charlotte’s daughter Fran noted in a 2005 interview, her mother thought that with her “kids coming from a town where there were big back yards and big houses — and when we would get too noisy she would just put us in the back yard to run around — that we would be too much to move into an apartment…. So we moved into St. Albans, a three-bedroom house.” My family would visit that house several times a year when I was growing up; it seemed enormous but was probably dwarfed by the current McMansions.

Then in 1965, my family went to the World’s Fair in Flushing. Oddly, my most vivid memory was standing in line FOREVER to get to have something called Belgian waffles. With strawberries! And whipped cream!

My sister and her then-husband moved to an apartment in Jackson Heights c. 1976, and my eldest niece Rebecca was born there in October 1978; I first saw her within a month of her birth, and then several times subsequently, including on her first and second birthdays.

I even lived in that apartment in the summer of 1977; my sister was going back and forth between NYC and Boston. I won $48 in a radio contest, and I took my sister to see a New York Mets baseball game; they, too, are the pride of Queens. The Mets played at Shea Stadium, which was built in time for the 1964 season – and 55,000 Beatles fans were there in 1965. In the early 1970s, my father and I caught a New York Jets-Houston Oilers football game at Shea. The stadium was razed in 2008, replaced by Citi Field in 2009. There’s a documentary about the stadium, Last Play at Shea; the trailer is HERE.

Since I’m a librarian, I should note that the Queens Library is “an independent, not-for-profit corporation and is not affiliated with any other library… With a record 23 million items in circulation for FY 2009, the Library has the highest circulation of any public library system in the U.S. and one of the highest circulations in the world.”

ABC Wednesday – Round 7

T is for Titans

Three actors were on NBC programs that started after their appearance in the movie.

Uncharacteristically, I was flipping through the TV channels recently. This is highly unusual, because generally, when I watch television, I go to a particular show, usually prerecorded. I came across this 2000 movie I saw in the theaters, Remember the Titans. Part of the IMBD synopsis:
“It’s 1971 in Alexandria, Virginia and successful high school football coach Bill Yoast (Will Patton) has just been deprived of the head coaching job at the new integrated T.C. Williams High School to make way for equally successful black coach Herman Boone (Denzel Washington). Yoast debates pursuing opportunities elsewhere, but when most of his white players vow to sit out the season unless he coaches, he changes his mind and stays on as Boone’s assistant.”
The Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: “An inspirational crowd-pleaser with a healthy dose of social commentary, Remember the Titans may be predictable, but it’s also well-crafted and features terrific performances.”

Well, yes, predictable, including having the Big Game. I enjoyed it well enough, and it at least tried to tackle the issue of race.

Looking back at it, though, I noticed an interesting coincidence:

Donald Faison, who played football star Petey Jones, became Dr. Christopher Turk, best friend of quirky Dr. John Dorian on the TV comedy Scrubs (2001-2010), with seven years on NBC, and the final two on ABC. Turk and JD were probably the epitome of a word I’m not fond of, “bromance”.

Ethan Suplee, who played big-hearted lineman Louie Lastik, was the some-what simple-minded younger brother Randy Hickey to the title character on the comedy My Name Is Earl (2005-2009, NBC). Earl dragged Randy into his plans to fix the outcomes of some of their less-than-desirable activities after the elder brother discovered karma following a car accident.

Hayden Panettiere played Sheryl Yoast, daughter of Coach Yoast: “My daddy coached in Alexandria, he worked so hard my momma left him, but I stayed with coach, he needed me on that field.” She initially resents Coach Boone for supplanting her daddy, but:
Sheryl Yoast: Coach Boone, you did a good job up here. You ran a tough camp from what I can see.
Coach Boone: Well I’m very happy to have the approval of a 5-year-old.
Sheryl Yoast: I’m 9 and a half, thank you very much.
Coach Boone: Why don’t you get this little girl some pretty dolls or something, coach?
Coach Yoast: I’ve tried. She loves football.
After playing Ally McBeal’s daughter in that program’s last season (2002), Hayden played Claire “Save the cheerleader” Bennet on Heroes (NBC) from 2006 until its cancellation in 2010.

So all three actors were on NBC programs that started after their appearance in the movie but that are all now off the air.

When the upstart American Football League (AFL) was formed in 1960 to challenge the long-established National Football League, the franchise in the US’s largest city was called the New York Titans. Major League Baseball’s National League experienced an expansion in 1962, and the city got the New York Mets. When the Titans were sold to new owners in 1964, the team changed its name to the New York Jets, to nominally link it to the popular, though inept, baseball franchise. The AFL merged with the NFL in 1966, though it wasn’t finalized until 1970. the Jets, of course, were the first AFL team to beat an established NFL in what became known as the Super Bowl, in January 1969. (The Mets would win the World Series later that same year.)

Another of the charter members of the AFL was the Houston Oilers, which relocated to the “state of Tennessee in 1997, first playing temporarily in Memphis for one season before moving to Nashville. For two seasons, the team was known as the Tennessee Oilers before changing its name to Titans in 1999.” So the Titans’ name lives again.

When I was collecting comics in the 1970s through the mid-1990s, I was pretty much a Marvel fan (Spider-Man, Iron Man, Fantastic Four) rather than a DC fan (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman). I never read, never even sought out, the original Teen Titans, a book about the sidekicks of the established stars from back in the 1960s. But because of the creative team of writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Perez, I did collect the NEW Teen Titans, starting in 1980, even though Robin was the only character I knew, and it became one of the most popular titles of its time.

There was also a Teen Titans TV series in the first decade of the century. New episodes stopped in 2006, but they are rerun often; I watched a part of an episode just this week to get into the spirit of this post.

Here is an extensive team history of the Teen Titans.

Finally, there is Clash of the Titans, the cheesy 1981 film with Harry Hamlin, and the 2010 remake. But I’ve seen neither, so I thought I’d just do the photo comparison.

ABC Wednesday

Now (Don’t) Cut That Out!

I was ALSO watching Heidi Bowl.

Today is the 20th anniversary of the classic last episode of the TV series Newhart, which the local CBS in the Albany-Schenectady, NY area cut off 30 seconds too soon. Watch Bob Newhart talk about The Last Newhart.

It got me thinking about TV events that were interrupted. Surely, one of the most significant is the so-called Heidi Bowl, which I was ALSO watching.

It was an American Football League regular-season game between the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders, played on November 17, 1968. the Jets were leading 32-29 with only 65 seconds left, and NBC-TV ended the football coverage at 7 pm in favor of broadcasting the premiere of Heidi, a made-for-TV version of the classic children’s story. Meanwhile, the Raiders came back and scored 14 points, winning 43-32. Ultimately, the NFL’s television policies were amended, requiring games to be broadcast in their entirety in the markets of the teams involved.

Lately, I’ve been having difficulty for more prosaic reasons. I hardly ever get a chance to watch a TV show live. I record almost everything to the DVR to watch later. And I’m usually an episode or two behind. So it wasn’t until recently that I discovered that the results show of American Idol on FOX has been running two to four minutes long, the effect of which being my recording of Glee cuts off early. I DO have the ability to extend the recording of the later show and have. But it seems weird that a RESULTS show can’t end on time.

Any shows cutting off for you?

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