I am DONE with the NFL

Deja vu… A few years ago I wrote a piece about being a Penn State and specifically a Joe Paterno fan. And how after years of being the “good guy” in college sports, Joe I could not longer support him and his looking away while his assistant coach was raping kids in the football showers.

And here I am again, with similar feelings about the same sport, with a few different circumstance.

This time, its the NFL.

Let me go on the record as saying I am, without question a huge fan of football. I have been an NFL fan since I was 8 years old. I remember being in the 3rd grade at good old Tully C Knoles Elementary school in Stockton California and getting my very first piece of official NFL licensed apparel, a beautifully knit black and silver (silverish aka grey since silver isn’t really a color that you can pull off in yarn) Oakland Raiders hat. A few years later I had an Oakland Raiders jacket, a few years after that I attended my very first NFL game with Dad. Seats were $7.00, that would be about $25 today. You couldn’t touch a ticket to Jerry’s Palace in Dallas for less than $150.00, not to mention the $100 in parking.

That day we saw Kenny Stabler and Oakland Raiders at the Oakland Coliseum, they were playing the Miami Dolphins. My heroes back then were Freddy Biletnikoff, The Snake, Pete Banaszak, Dave Casper and Ray Guy, arguably the best punter in the history of the game.

When the Raiders moved to LA I was heartbroken, thankfully the 49ers were there to take their place and keep the Super Bowl rings coming the Bay Area. In Minnesota I’ve watched the Vikings on and off over the years, although frankly they’re a little frustrating between the off field antics (boat ride anyone) and crappy play.

However as of this year, I’m done.

Finis.

I’m going to make every attempt to not watch one minute of NFL football intentionally.

Why?

I was pissed when old Roger Goodell and the NFL Hype Machine rolled into Minnesota and leveraged to extort $500M from the taxpayers of Minnesota to pay for a new stadium. Threatned to leave town. Our politicians caved like kids, forget that we had no way to pay for it..

Then we learned that the $400M that Ziggy WIlf, Vikings owner was “investing” from his own personal wealth was in fact being entirely paid for and more in naming rights, seat licenses etc, to the tune of $477M. That’s why Ziggy’s rich and I’m not, he things strategically.

I just wish he would be honest and come clean about building a business on public subsidies and hometown fans pocketbooks.

Frankly it would have been more honest if the NFL and the WIlfs would have taken the entire stadium costs and made their fans and TV viewers pay for it instead of spreading the bill across the entire state.

I was even more pissed when the Star Tribute broke the story on the NFL’s deal with the Minneapolis, the deal that “won” us the Superbowl. In case you missed it:

  • $10M in tax rebates
  • Free police escorts for all NFL Owners and their entourages.
  • Free presidential suites in local hotels, for the same bunch of poor owners who can’t afford their own hotel bills.
  • A requirement for “NFL-preferred ATMs” throughout the venue and in a 1 mile radius. (with the NFL cashing in on transaction fees)
  • Free billboards promoting the game around the Twin Cities.
  • New Cell Phone towers incase signals are strong enough around the hotels and venues.
  • 35,000 free parking spaces.. (holy shit the NFL has a lot of friends)
  • Hotels that want to house the teams are required to televise the NFL Network for one year prior to the game at no cost to the League.

Blah blah blah….

I’m not sure how this is a win for the City of Minneapolis in anyway shape or form. More like a dry prison rape if you ask me.

Then I was furious when Roger Goodell and the NFL attempted to justify the NFL’s tax exemption status by claiming that they are a “non-profit”. Now we’re talking arrogance on par with medieval Popes and Kings.

At that point I was done with the NFL and started my one man boycott.

There were a few other things also-

The concussions,

And the substance abuse.

And the punks- who can forget when another Baltimore Ravens Ray, I’m referring to legend Ray Lewis, was charged with murder in the stabbing deaths of two people in Atlanta in 2007. Charges were dropped when he agreed to testify against this accomplices. Ray won SuperBowl MVP the next year bless his heart.

Or how about New England Patriots serial killer Aaron Hernandez.

Steroids fueled anger? Who knows.

The list goes on and on.

And then when the Ray Rice issue broke and Roger Goodell basically tried to ignore it until the release of a video forced him to change his tune.. Really Roger?  Frankly it looked to me like he was more upset that the video came out than to be aghast at one of his players knocking a woman out cold… By then I had no more anger, I honest had to laugh, this league is one huge bad joke.

Just to put this in perspective, remember William Aramony, the disgraced chairman of the NFL’s biggest charity partner the United Way? He had some indiscretions with a 22 year old, misuse of funds etc. Small potatoes compared to the NFL issues. He was fired and he went to prison. As he should have.

If Target or Wells Fargo or any other company in the Twin Cities was accused of running a floating bordello on Lake Minnetonka, heads would roll and public outrage would be vitriolic.

But this is the NFL. This is football. We Americans are willing to look the other way when the occasional indiscretion is publicized or our hero’s behave badly. We like watching football, we’re passionate about our games. And for our loyalty and devotion how are rewarded?

With more indiscretions, more egregious violations of decency and good behavior, and we are asked to pay more and more of our own hard earned dollars to subsidize the massive billion dollar buildings these billionaire owners want to have so they can entertain their friends and associates.

And until we as a public, take a stand and stop supporting this league with our dollars, our eyeballs, and our attention nothing will change. 

Fans are the only people who this league will listen too, and their the people the politicians will listen too. Make yourself heard folks.

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Evidence of my Imminent Decline

Nice long walk with Mrs S around Pike Island at Fort Snelling State Park. Pike Island is where the not so mighty Mississippi and Minnesota rivers come together. Nice spot for a walk. My day sort of went to hell, mostly thanks to my own incompetence. 

Since I’m traveling next week I wanted to put some food away in the fridge for the family to eat while I’m gone. If I don’t do that they get in the trash and start knowing on garbage. Bad scene. 

So like a good steward of the family meals I make a few things before I go, put them in the fridgey and hope for the best. 

The plan was to cook some dinners, should have taken about an hour or so, go up to the St. Paul’s north side for a book signing, then a walk with Mrs S. 

Problem, to cook to meals took 5 trips to the store. 

4 gawd damned trips to pick up stuff I forgot. 

No list this week. Part of the problem. 

Called an audible on one of the meals, that was the problem. Can’t be changing ideas when I’m in the store, I will forget stuff. In this case I forgot lots of stuff, or rather assumed that I had it home. 

The thing that sucks ass about grocery shopping- getting interviewed about every item I bought duplicates off. Triplicate, I’m ok with getting feedback, duplicates… 

Made me so paranoid I stopped buy stuff if I had any thought that I might have one at home. Which is how I came home today sans onions, garlic powder and enchilada sauce. Sad thing is, the way I assemble the dish I punted on, there’s some gap between adding each of these ingredients which means, I could still be pretty comfortable thinking I had some enchilada sauce as I was back at the store picking up onions. 

Which means by the time I got to the last ingredient cheese, which I also thought I had a ton of but in fact had none… I was feeling some frustration in my heart.

And for the record why doesn’t that daughter of mine drive yet, she’s 17 years old. By the time her broski’s were 17 they were running tons of little errands for me to the local coop and grocery store. Shit I cudda used some kid servants today. 

Next week I’m back in Redlands California enjoying 80’s and 90’s. While Mrs S here in Minnesota gets to enjoy fall. 

Ug…

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Rochester MN

Greetings from Southern Minnesota.

Rare Saturday post here, typically I don’t much work on Saturday, but who said this was work?

Well, I have to be honest, I may have said it a few times to justify not writing much here….

In my constant search for “places I could” live Rochester it at the very very top of my list. By my way of thinking it’s the perfect small town for me.

  1. It’s relatively small, 100K now.
  2. It’s loaded with smart people, between the massive Mayo clinic that has taken over the entire downtown and the IBM facility here… there’s a lot of people who are whole lot smarter than I am.

    Sankary Axiom #1 “Surround yourself with people smarter than you are, makes you smarter.”

  3. Nice downtown
  4. Lots of coffee shops.
  5. HyVee markets.

We’re here to attend a wedding. Wedding was list night, rare Friday afternoon wedding of some dear friends of our daughters. It was a lovely lovely affair. Made me think.. wow we’re on the cusp of going to a lot of these things, we have a bunch of friends with kids who are getting to this age. More ties. That kinda sucks. My next has recovered from 26 years of tie wearing at Target. Glad that I’m not doing that anymore. Last wedding I went to I wore shorts. I asked about wearing shorts this time. Set the weekend of on a bit of sour note. Mrs S can be so inflexible.

The reception was out a country club in town. Really swell affair… started thing more about kids and weddings and had the epiphany that I have kids who might be getting married in the next few years.

Caused me to break out in a cold sweat. Holy shit I can’t even imagine how much organization and planning Mrs S will have to go through to get something like this pulled off. You should see how much planning goes into one of her little burger parties. Planning one of these events could take years. YEARS of estrogen driven planning and organizational craziness.

Sankary kids, the elopement bribe went up $25K. We’ll talk.

Have to leave with this joke, I don’t typically share jokes, but I have to as this one was so funny.

“What did one saggy boob say to the other saggy boob?”

“We better straighten up or they’re going to thing we’re nuts”.

Ba-dum dum..

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Weekend Plans

Wedding this weekend.
Mrs S and I are heading down to Rochester Friday afternoon for a rare Friday PM wedding. 4:30 pm, even rareer. She has the details about the reception and so forth, I do not. 
In her defense I probably did at one time, but you know, I didn’t retail it. All I know is we’re bringing a bottle of whisky to the reception to enjoy with our friends. Bushmill’s 16 years old. Not exactly cheap stuff if you know what I mean. 
I wil not be drinking at this affair [much] because frankly, I want to take advantage of a very special evening with my lovely bride. This is of course a euphemism for a rare “weekend in a hotel”. That shit, doesn’t happen very often. At least not in a hotel where we’re not been joined by two or three kids in the same room. 
No condensation dripping down the windows this trip, just Mrs S and I. 
Breaking down barriers, that’s we married guys do. Barriers, resistance, arguments against.. you get the ideal. Hotel’s are good for that. Last time Mrs S and I had a weekend alone like that, just the two of us, 1997ish. 

On second thought what are we going to talk about? Now I’m worried. 

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Weekend Update- The End Of Summer and Start of a New Era

Summer’s over. Finally. 

This summer was an odd one no doubt about it. The first third was spent preparing for our trip to Israel, the middle third was spent in Israel and the last third, trying to catch up on all the crap I felt like I didn’t get done because I stopped doing so many other things because like all men, I can’t multi-task. 

Team Sankary spent the Labor Day weekend at the Summer Palace, as is our tradition. This year the when I say ‘team” I’m referring to Mrs S and I only. The daughter didn’t want to go and now that she’s 17, she’s hard to force into doing anything. Write it up to juice, squeeze and the value proposition. We’re getting down to the two of us more and more and to be honest I’m still not quite used to it. Not such a great conversationalist and apparently not a fantastic listener, as evidenced by the number of times she looked at me and said “I already told you about that…” 

A statement that always jogs my memory. If only I could come to my senses before I get called on the carpet instead of right afterwords. 

I got the fishing boat in the water this weekend. $450 in repairs later. Pontoon is still dead in the water. My theory is bad gas at the moment. That might be wishful thinking, as in “if I just change out the gas to new gas, everything will be back to normal.” Normal on that motor being backfires, big belches of white smoke and a din so loud that conversation can only be had in the front of the boat. 

BTW Stereo doesn’t work either. We got one season out of that, as I was afraid. 

Fucking boats. I bought the a used hole in the water to try to save a few thousand quid and at the end of the day, I’m still punished. 

We had a nice day on Saturday, great friends come up from the cities, Ken from Little Blake Lake and the Reading blog came over as well and a fine meal was had. Which is really the point of the whole cabin, sharing it with friends and family. 

Sunday We drove home for another fine meal land celebration with dear friends. Turns out we have a lot of dear friends, which is pretty cool at the end of the day. Makes me think, how the hell can we even thing about retiring in some foreign city or state where we’d have to start over in the friend making department. 

Monday… 

Monday was awkward. Bored would be a good adjective. Altough to continue the theme of the weekend I did meet up with some dear friends in Target Parking lot, turning a 2 minute walk to the car into a delightful 30 minute conversation about or friends upcoming family wedding. 

Yuppers- next weekend is fish of a milestone for team Sankary, the first “kid” wedding. With one exception a few weeks ago I haven’t been to a wedding in 20 years. When we got married there was a huge pile of weddings along with us., lasted about 10 years.  All our college friends, peers, parents friends kids and so forth. Then a lull, and now I’m feeling like a massive pile snow is growing up on the cliff above us and sometime soon a twig is going to snap or firecracker will go off and we’re going to be buried under an avalanche of rubber chicken, satin bows and stifling ties and good manners.  Fact is this next great wave of weddings could even take our family down is I’m not careful, although if proms, dates, and other normal rites of courtship are any indication, we’re probably not in any real danger. 

The only thing worse than going to a wedding is hosting one. 

Which reminds me, I should up the bounty reward on elopements. 

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Where I Admit that I’m Bored

All the children who are old enough to be out of the house are out of the house now, back where they belong.

The remaining child who likes to sequester herself in room is back where she belongs.

The old fat guy who goes to work every morning is back where he belongs.

Mrs S is back in yoga, back getting mani-pedis. She has not started the school nursing gig yet, so she’s not quite back where she belongs, but for the sake of argument we’ll call her good.

Back to morning darkness in my world, I’m not so fond of the “dark” season to be honest. Which, when you get up at 5:00 is longer than the “light” season. Once consolation is that I’m not on the bus anymore, so I don’t have pitch black mornings climbing up the hill to the bus stop where I get to wait in the dark at 0 degrees. On the other hand not walking up to the bus stop in the morning means I’ve adopted a particularly sedentary lifestyle that doesn’t lend itself to good health and well-being.

I’m told by Mrs S that I do have a gym membership at my disposal. I’ve been there twice in the year or so I’ve owned it, I went weeks one and two. I didn’t like it. I don’t like going to gym, I don’t like exercising and I don’t like the sweaty crowds there. I don’t like discussions of health and wellness.

Anyway, we’re getting back to the normal routine around here.

Basically we’re getting back into the mundane, which after a summer of foreign travel, front row seats to world headlines and an aborted landing at MSP… feels a tish anti-climactic.

Last night I got home from work, note on the table from Mrs S: SAS Yoda Cl55 Home @7. Which the daughter translated for me: 5:45 yoga class, be home around 7:00.

House was clean, there were no dishes laying around and the place looked like it had been recently vacuumed. The TV was off, first time in 3 months I’ve come home to that little pleasure. Things I had left in places when I left in the morning were still in those places. Don’t mind that so much.

I unceremoniously cooked up the eggplant stirfry thing I had been planning, had a quiet meal with the daughter and did the crossword while she did the dishes. And then….

Well, I publically announced that I was “bored”.

Yeah, bored. As in not much to do. There’s a couple things on my todo list around the house. I’m about to enter the dues season at the Lodge, my annual reconciling of everyone’s dues payments from the previous year, then the writing of the letters, envelope stuffing, hand stamping and mailing, it’s about 200 or so letters, 400 hundred by the time I get them all back and resend out the dues cards… A more proactive guy would have started that process by starting to work on the spreadsheet to figure who owes what so I can invoice accurately. I’m not quite in the mood for that stuff yet. I usually wait until after Labor Day.

Lawn didn’t need mowing, fish tank needed cleaning and I managed to do that.

Basically we’re dropping back into the “normal mode” around the casa; work, eat and hope for good health.

Next week I have a short trip to Boston on Monday. In and out basically. I don’t know exactly why, but Boston seems to be sort of difficult to get to from the Twin Cities. My flights are routed through Atlanta and Chicago. Seems counter-intuitive.

Thursday the State Fair kicks off here. We didn’t go last year, first time we didn’t go since we moved here in 1995. Going to the State Fair, or not going as the case may be, is a bit like a drug habit, you have to break it once to see that life can go on if you don’t make out to the Great Minnesota Get Together. I was hoping for a repeat this year, but the Daughter seems hell bent on going so I’m sure we’ll make it out there.

After the State Fair, another trip to California, then we’re into the Jewish Holidays.

I think the Buddhists have it right when it comes to prayer wheels and the idea life is a series of turning wheels. Same seasons, different years,

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Weekend Update

As my week in California went on I found myself getting more and more obsessed about spending time at the lake. Called the daughter from Salt Lake City where I had a little layover to set expectations that as soon as I rolled off the plane, I’d head home to pick her up and we’d be off to cabin. Called Mrs S, who was in Alabama this week getting the kid moved into his apartment, to let her know that she’d need to make arrangements to find a ride home from the airport on Saturday afternoon. Not coming back to pick her up.

I don’t get a lot of one on one time with the daughter. She’s likes to hang out in room, which from my own informal surveys I’ve learned is not all that uncommon among the teen age ranks. She like a trip to the mall for her recreational needs, something I would rather not do. Not do with extreme prejudice mind you. She’s not a big fan of going to the lake, especially when it’s just with me. But she didn’t protest too much and I didn’t make too much of a fuss about it so someway somehow she decided to come with no protest. Maybe it was the pleading in my voice that did it I don’t know. But it worked out.

Actually it was better than that. I rolled off the plane about 6:30.

Not before a little drama, we were literally about a second from touching down, for those of you local folkses the place was coming in over Nokomis, we had crossed Cedar and were on final final when the pilot hit the gas, pulled up and did a climbing bank turn over the airport. Full on “Ghost Rider the Pattern is Full” sort of deal. Apparently there was traffic on the runway. My thought at the time was the Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times”. Quite frankly this summer has been a little more interesting than I’d like on many many fronts. Boring would be good for a while.

Anyway, I rolled off, picked up the car and was in the drive way by 7:00. She was ready to go. Not only that but she had cleaned the entire house, top to bottom as well. It was completely spotless. We’re going to have leave her home alone more often I think. Had it been the boys….

I’ll stay positive.

We left the house about 7:30, I had a couple things to do online for work, needed to sit for just a second anyway. After a stop at the grocery store for provisions we made it to the cabin around 10:00pm.

10:00 is a late arrival for us. This time of year it’s completely dark, darkness amplified by the country, no street lights and no neighbors apparently. There was no moon yet, I think the half-moon rose about 11:00 or so, and not a cloud in the sky. As we pulled in and I got out of the car the sky was absolutely spectacular. The Milky Way was brilliant, arching over the trees, almost bright enough to cast a shadow. It was sky we don’t see much in the city, and one that never takes my breath away. No wonder the ancients were so enamoured with the stars and the planets. I don’t know, a really brilliant starry night like that really makes me think about the vastness of creation. Every other waking minute my scale of existence is up to the next tree or next bend in the road. Even in plane it’s a few thousands miles maybe? To the horizon or so.. but when I’m looking up at a 180 degree canopy of heavenly bodies millions whose light is just reaching my eyes after travelling for hundreds and millions of years across the vast emptiness of space… Puts things in perspective.

And also made the entire days travel worthwhile.

Even the daughter was impressed, with a bit of more modern interpretation. She has a astronomy app on her iPad that is really cool. You hold the thing up to the sky and through it’s witchcraft or whatever it mirrors what you’re looking at, only with planets and constellations identified. Wish I’d of had that when I was growing up and my interest in astronomy was just getting started. Might have stuck with it longer than the month or so back in the 70’s that Comet Kohoutek was visible from my back yard. My Dad bought be a 60 power telescope for the affair. 60 or 120X can’t remember. Most I ever saw was the Rings of Saturn, Jupiter’s bands and the ice cap on Mars. And a fuzzy spot where the Orion Nebula was supposed to be. As I write this I’m finding myself interested in getting back into the hobby.

Which would not go over well at home I’m over capacity in hobbies and interests if you ask Mrs S and I’m not going too.

Saturday we had a really great day together, except for her 6 hour nap. Shakshouka for breakfast. Very good stuff. My good friend Ken from Little Blake Lake dropped over after attending our lake owners meetings. I had intended to go, sort of, but I didn’t remember until breakfast was already in progress, so next time. Maybe. Good news from Ken, the whole dam thing is well on it’s way to being resolved and it turns out it’s only going to cost me about $500.00. BTW the official answer to how many houses there are on the lake is 198. I don’t know that I’ve ever counted that high without help so I’m glad someone told me.

One thing I did not do- fish. The summer of boat problems continues. I got word from the repair shop that they hadn’t gotten around to fixing the fishing boat yet. A condition that leaves me a little less than satisfied to be honest. We won’t be up here next weekend and the following weekend is Labor Day.. so maybe I should just winterize it now and call it a season. Which is quite lame on many fronts.

The weather was a little dodgy over the weekend, we had some rain which meant we got to participate in another of my favorite cabin pass times- MOVIES.

We had a rare double home run in the movie department. Two flicks I rated at 5 stars. The Butler with Forest Whitaker and Owl and the Sparrow with no one you’ve ever heard of. The Butler was a historical fiction piece loosely based on the life of White House Eugene Allen. In the movie version Whitakers character serves 8 presidents. The movie contrasts the life of an African American serving the President to real events of the Civil Rights movement. The Butler is witness to the decision making process but can offer no input or guidance as due to his role behind the scenes. In the meantime his own son becomes deeply involved as a freedom rider, black panther and so forth.. anyway, I thought it was a great movie.

Owl and Sparrow… that’s a Vietnamese movie with English subtitles. Not sure how I came across it on Netflix.. have to say it’s my sleeper of the year, and this year I’ve seen a bunch of sleepers. The daughter was pretty reluctant to see it, had to be begged a bit actually. But afterwards, “That’s my new all-time favorite movie. It was really good. One of those happy endings sorts of movies that us all a little misty eyed.

And that was it for the lake. Nice quiet weekend up here. Really, there was hardly a soul around the lake all weekend, I think I saw about two boats all weekend long. The Daughter and I and had a chance to just hang out and be together. Which, as the ad says, is priceless.

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