Comic books, football players, ICE intertwined?

“We found one bloated, cruel, and useless agency that is begging to be abolished.”

My old friend Catbird asked:

Hi Roger—

When I heard rump’s “maybe they shouldn’t be in this country” comment about football players staying in locker rooms the other day, I wondered if they’d “pass” the Comic Book Code of America. I remember you explaining this to me decades ago. I suppose it depends on whether anybody acts on it.

What do you think?

Might it be worth a blog item?

I hope all is well with you and your “bearers of two X chromosomes.”

It had not occurred to me, but I suppose both the Comic Code Authority (1954-2011) and the NFL owners’ new policy requiring on-field player and personnel to stand for the national anthem were both self-regulating actions designed to make the federal government leave them alone.

In the case of comic books, the industry was worrying, rightly, that the government might want to regulate it, to “protect the children.”It agreed submit the comics to a board for a stamp of approval. No excessive violence, no drug use shown, et al.

The owners of the NFL just wanted the bad press to go away – n.b., didn’t happen. They are worried about the bottom line, with ratings down substantially, although that may not be just a function of the anthem imbroglio.

There’s a more significant question you ask here: when DO we say in America, “My way or the highway?” Certainly, I’ve heard, “America, love it or leave it” a few times, usually when I was protesting some war, mostly Vietnam, but also Iraq. Yet, as I was wont to say, “I stay, and protest, BECAUSE I love America.”

When HAS the United States actually thrown people out of the country? In the past, not very often, in the vast scheme. It wasn’t until 2002 when the United States actually had an agency whose primary function appears to do just that.

As Full Frontal with Samantha Bee put it on May 23: “For Republicans looking to cut government fat, we found one bloated, cruel, and useless agency that is begging to be abolished. And no, ‘President’ is not considered an agency.”

It is, of course, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. I appreciate it when the ICE agents remove some MS-13 gang member. But, much more often, they are seen as a source of terror in the immigrant community, even for those who are here legally.

As someone approaching Social Security, I find this problematic, not just from a moral and ethical position, but from an economic one. Driving out productive young people from the country is a recipe for federal fiscal disaster.

So, there’s a lot of bluster about people needing to leave the country. But it won’t be football players going. Unless they were born elsewhere.

Economic Census, Women’s March, football

Some think NFL ratings are down because of players taking of a knee during the national anthem.

A few items that might not generate a whole post:

I went to New York City on January 16 to visit our center at Pace University. The librarians are divvying up the state to find out how we can serve them better. After that, the center director, Andrew. and I met with some folks from the Census Bureau, led by Andy.

Andy and his colleagues were touting the 2017 Economic Census, which will take place electronically in May 2018. This allows them to generate data that help businesses to make decisions on location, demographic trends and the like.

I was REALLY happy I didn’t go down the following day, because it snowed, not just in Albany, but in NYC. Snow in NYC makes travel dreadful.
***
A bunch of folks met at my church to walk down to the Women’s March in Albany on January 20. Some guy commenting on my Times Union blog said there wouldn’t be 10 people at the event. I replied that there would be more than that going just from my church, and that was true.

I’m lousy at crowd size guesstimation, but I heard everything from three to six thousand. In any case, there were so many there, good friends of mine who were present I simply did not see. But there they were all over Facebook.

I did not know that nearly 60 protesters from the J20 anti-Trump march in DC last year are still subject to prosecution, though 129 indictments were dropped.
***
I tend to watch football only in the last couple weeks of the season and into the playoffs. The first weekend I saw one game, and watched summaries of the three others online. The next weekend, I saw parts of games. But I recorded the last two games and watched them later. The trick, of course, is NOT to watch live TV, check email or social media. Ignorance in this process IS bliss.

There’s been reports that NFL viewing is down. Some think it’s because of players taking of a knee during the national anthem. Others believe it’s that, with the increased reporting of brain damage from CTE, people are less likely to watch it.

I think it is that the official reviews of every touchdown, almost every play in the last two minutes of each half, plus the coaches’ challenges take FOREVER. Still another reason for watching on tape delay. well, not TAPE…

Go, Philadelphia Eagles!

Herb Jeffries, and other topics

Do I say to him what he ought to do in order to try to save the relationship?

herb-jeffries-08

The always curious Sharp Little Pencil wants to know:

Why do you think no one has made a movie about Herb Jeffries yet… and if they did, whom would you cast?

To the former, because I think most people don’t know Hollywood’s first singing black cowboy.

Tell you what: you write the screenplay and I’ll send it off to Jada Pinkett Smith. Actually, if there WERE a screenplay, I’d probably send it to Nelson George – I backed one of his Kickstarter projects – and he could get it to Spike Lee, with whom he has collaborated.

Maybe it’s because I just saw my niece singing with him, but I was thinking El DeBarge, of that singing DeBarge family, or Prince. If you needed a younger actor, maybe Jussie Smollett from the show Empire, which I’ve never seen, or Drake.

Who is your favorite ex-president?

My first strong awareness of an ex-President was Herbert Hoover (1874-1964), who I was SHOCKED to discover that he was still alive by the time I first learned about The Great Depression. I must confess that I was entertained by Richard Nixon, who tried REALLY hard to be an Elder Statesmen of the Republican Party, writing books, and pontificating, hoping that we’d forget about that Watergate thing.

My second favorite ex-President has to be John Quincy Adams, who went back into the House of Representatives and argued the Amistad case before the Supreme Court.

But clearly, Jimmy Carter has set the standard for former Oval Office occupiers. If it was just for all the Habitat for Humanity houses he helped build, that would be impressive. But he has also worked vigorously on preventing and eradicating diseases in developing nations.

“A major accomplishment of The Carter Center has been the elimination of more than 99 percent of cases of Guinea worm disease, from an estimated 3.5 million cases in 1986 to 148 reported cases in 2013 to 23 in 2015.” He’s also been involved with peace negotiations and observing elections.

If you got a tattoo, what would it be?

It’d be The Duck. Or a G clef; G is for Green.

The illustrious Alan David Doane reflects:

I recently turned 50, so I’ve been thinking a lot about aging and time and so on lately.

If you could go back in time and talk to your 20 year old self, what three pieces of advice would you give him to try to improve the decades he has ahead?

This is a tricky question. By my 20th birthday, I was already married, and two years later, I was separated. So:

Do I say to him what he ought to do in order to try to save the relationship OR assume those facts to be immutable. and advise him how to survive it better?

If it were the former, I might insist that we not allow boarders, who I didn’t even know, to live in the apartment. I might have been more willing to go with her to the Philadelphia Folk Festival in August 1974, and if I didn’t, to be more direct in finding out what happened hat led to her fortnightly treks out of town the next six weeks, something I don’t know to this day.

If it were the latter, I would suggest seeking counseling earlier, drinking less in 1974-75, save more money, do more exercise… But you know, and I’ve said this before, probably recently, all of those good and bad decisions made me who I am today, for better or worse. I’m not sure he’d believe what I’d say anyway. It’s like at the end of The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy realizes that she had to find out for herself.

The author Jaquandor from Byzantium Shores asks:

Has it become harder to maintain any interest you have in football, as the head-injury thing becomes more and more clear?

I saw the movie Concussion, about a doctor (Will Smith) dealing with this very subject, CTE, in the National Football League a few months ago; it’s a good, not great, film. In the film, another person not from the United States explains to the doctor the sheer beauty of the sport.

So, not yet. Well, maybe, in that The Daughter thinks watching football is stupid, and a lot of that comes from the head injury debate. The Wife has never particularly enjoyed the sport. So it’s taken a hit in viewing in my household to those rare times that I have the TV home alone on a Sunday afternoon.

VERY seldom do I watch TV much after 9 p.m., including football, because it’s bad for my sleep cycle.

I DO think the NFL, having played down the risk of head injuries using research that it falsely claimed was comprehensive, has put itself on the hot seat to actually develop a better helmet. From what little I know, the design they need is actually less hard and more resilient.

Now the league, in particular, could do more. The one game I watched at any length this past season was the New York Giants (my team in my childhood) against the Carolina Panthers (playing in the city my late parents moved to). The officials should have bounced Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for repeated helmet-smacking of cornerback Josh Norman, including a head-first attack.

Ah, but I see you have said farewell to football, and for all sorts of good and valid reasons.

What’s your favorite milkshake flavor?

Strawberry. My favorite yogurt is strawberry. My favorite ice cream is strawberry. My favorite sundae topping is strawberry. For a time, when we used to go to IHOP, I would order the Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity strawberry topping on my pancakes, in part because I liked saying “Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity.” As though one wouldn’t.

There’s a local convenience store chain around these parts called Stewart’s and they make decent ice cream. But they’ve ceased selling strawberry by itself, only with vanilla, or with vanilla and chocolate. One CAN get a hand-packed strawberry pint, though.

What’s inside your perfect taco? (And is the shell hard or soft?)

It’s softshell – that’s easy. Guacamole, tomatoes, and lettuce. It has to have onions, and of course, cheese.

I don’t eat that much pork generally, so the taco is probably shredded pork, though chicken or beef are good too. But shredded. I’ve seen these things with solid meat, or fish, and they don’t say “taco” to me.

Carolina Panthers

One of my favorite pieces of clothing, which I still wear occasionally, is a sweatshirt my mom gave me.

carolina panthers
The Carolina Panthers will be playing the Denver Broncos in a football game today in the Bay Area of California.

My parents and the younger of my two sisters moved from Albany, NY to Charlotte, NC in 1974. I’ve been down there several times and lived there for a brief period in 1977. I even did research on how the city annexed tons of unincorporated territory, though I never actually finished that grad school paper in 1980.

It has evolved from what my late father used to refer to as a “big country town” when he moved down there, comparable to the cartoon character Baby Huey, to something approximating a city, with a decent mass transit system.

I’m not one to believe entirely that fealty to a major league sports team is a sign of a city’s cohesion. Still, it’s had a National Basketball Association team from 1988-2001 and again from 2004 to the present.

The Carolina Panthers of the National Football League, which started about two decades ago, play in a stadium in downtown Charlotte, not in the suburbs. I’ve never been to a game, but I’ve been by the stadium, which is not far from where my late mother used to work.

One of my favorite pieces of clothing, which I still wear occasionally, is a sweatshirt my mom gave me after the Panthers won the NFC West division back in 1996 – it looks like the picture – losing in the NFC championship game. NFC West? Long story.

So my rooting interests are prosaic. I’ve been to Denver on one trip, at the airport on the way to somewhere else. Sure, like Jeb Bush, I’d like the old man, quarterback Peyton Manning, 39, to do well.

Still, I have to root for the team with the quarterback, Cam Newton, 26, the league’s Most Valuable Player who wears pants I might have considered in MY twenties.

Go, Panthers!

Dad, and corporal punishment

I wrote my father a very angry letter, expressing great disdain for his use of corporal punishment. As a result of my letter, dad stopped talking to me for about six months.

spankingOne of the issues the National Football League has been dealing with this month involves Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson [being] indicted for allegedly hitting his son with a switch [small tree branch] until he left open wounds and welts. Interesting to me that Charles Barkley, former National Basketball Association star defended the behavior as of the culture. But Cris Carter, Hall of Fame wide receiver who played primarily with the Vikings, passionately decried as something better left to an earlier time.

When we did something wrong, or perceived to be so, my father used this brown leather strap Continue reading “Dad, and corporal punishment”

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