The Holidays & American Football?

If any of you did not know, I am a former collegiate, pro and semi-pro athlete. I played abroad in W. Africa, Europe, and South America as a futeboller, or footballer as they call it in many foreign countries, or a soccer player here. I come from athletic sports families on both sides, American sports to be precise. You might say that it is in our blood, in our American blood. I was and still am the only one in both families that ever played soccer collegiately and professionally here and abroad. Maybe your family is different over the holidays. Perhaps your family has a strong matriarch who doesn’t allow non-stop American football on TV’s during these special holiday times. I can’t say I would blame her.

Thanksgiving Football Pigskin Instead of Turkey DinnerThese two seasons of the year—autumn and winter—along with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays (at least in Texas), in my two huge parental families of south Houston (near Galveston) and various small towns outside of Austin, were typically filled with large spreads of traditional holiday foods, that took massive amounts of time, effort, joking, laughter, and crews in the kitchens. Our holidays would also include friends who were in town and not travelling. Our enormous get-togethers also included games of dominoes, or cards, kids games outside, and most definitely any important football games on all the TV’s. American football games to clarify for my international readers and followers. In Texas, as in many parts of the U.S., football games have become a long-standing, enthusiastic (male?) tradition during the holidays. I dare say it is a must with many of the men and boys, and perhaps with certain female personality-types in the families. Would my American readers agree?

Over the last 10, 15, or 20-years this American family past-time has changed. It has evolved into a very different sort of “game” now, particularly on the TV. Have you noticed how much the NFL or NCAA D1 games have changed? For that matter, have you noticed how the NBA, MLB, along with the NFL—the three major sports in the U.S.—have changed the last 2-3 decades?

Over many, many holidays I have often found myself in a discussion or debate with cousins, uncles (mostly), and a gazillion friends—American friends—as to what sport is the “best” sport, the “most popular” sport, the “most enjoyable” sport, and/or the “richest” sport in the world. Richest often seemed to be a leading criteria for “best” or “most popular.” That always puzzled me. I am sad to say to my international readers and Followers that many/most Americans, definitely with my own family members, are infatuated with the misconception, the misnomer that the American NFL, NCAA D1, basketball, and baseball are not only the best, most popular sports in the entire world, they also believe America’s three major sports (NFL, NBA, and MLB) are the richest sports leagues in the entire world… and in their vivid imaginations, for good reasons.

Depending how one analyzes these “accolades,” in some ways they are correct. But in at least two ways they are misguided. Attempting to demonstrate and explain why they are sometimes grossly astray with their American sporting fantasy can be similar to teaching a grizzly bear to stay away from the hive of honey. 🙄 (face-palm, que Winnie the Pooh’s “Oh bother!”)

Time out! Throw the red challenge-flag onto the turf! Who is right and who is wrong? Let’s examine today’s evidence.

According to Howmuch.net, who measures financial information across various economic sectors, the American NFL generated $13-billion in revenues in the 2015-2016 season. The MLB, with a more international appeal, drew $9.5-billion in the same year.

sports-leagues-by-revenue-July2016Yes, four of the top five sports are in North America, a fact American sports fans proudly boast to foreign sports fans. But is it a monetary fact to freely boast about? From the standpoint of  entertainment-value is American football really worthy of endless boasting?

I am surrounded, no… I am smothered by guys (and a handful of women) who explicitly and implicitly talk, watch, cheer, cry, angrily scream, then talk twice as long post-game about their team and how American football, both collegiate and in the NFL, are the greatest games played on planet Earth. I challenge them with questions and facts about other highly popular sports around the world, but when a national past-time is so deeply and emotionally ingrained into a person’s heart and mind—exactly like religious fervor, ironically—no matter the facts and evidence, it cannot sway or change the person’s electrified conviction!

There is a big, yet not-so-blatant reason why the NFL runs away with any revenue-profit comparisons. The highly lucrative business of American football’s top spot rests on its gullible spending fan-base. Case and point:

Anyone who has ever tuned into an NFL broadcast knows that plenty of air time is spent showing players huddling, coaches yelling, and fans cheering. That’s because while the on-field action can be exciting, it’s usually short-lived. In fact, according to a 2010 Wall Street Journal study of four football broadcasts, the ball was only in play for an average of 10 minutes and 43 seconds — approximately 4 seconds per play — even though an NFL telecast lasts about three hours.
11 Minutes of Action, Curiosity.com, accessed Dec. 2, 2018

What is it that fanatical American football supporters are ACTUALLY watching? With an excessive amount of game interruptions, from video-reviews to player injuries to intentional league stoppages for TV sponsors, there are countless game stoppages and commercials!

[Commercials] demand about an hour of airtime. Replays take about 17 minutes, footage of cheerleaders command about 3 seconds, and shots of players standing around make up an average of 67 minutes, according to WSJ. Despite this minimal action, football viewership is in the millions. According to Fortune, more than 111 million people tuned in to the 2017 Super Bowl.
11 Minutes of Action, Curiosity.com, accessed Dec. 2, 2018

NFL_1It begs the question, is watching over an hour of corporate sales and marketing strategies, team fans acting bonkers getting in front of cameras, and players standing around with very little game-action happening, really something to boast about? Isn’t that what those corporate sponsors and the NFL want you to do for them? One way or another all they want from you is to open up your pocket-book repeatedly, directly or indirectly, every single season. It’s what makes the league and owners richer and richer while corporate businesses get in front of your face. Is it any shocking mystery why the NFL and other N. American sports leagues are so filthy rich? And what sort of return-on-investment do the fans get? Granted, there are many charities the leagues donate to and support like the “My Cause, My Cleats,” a three-week campaign. Those are outstanding causes and always needed; no argument there. But these sorts of charities are done every season by the majority of all sports leagues around the world. It’s nothing new. Consider this, from a playing-time standpoint have American football fans really analyzed how much time and energy they are spending in front of those live televised games watching very little football-action?

Here’s another highly sensitive question about “supporting” the NFL:  How many times has the NFL allowed domestic abusers or civil law-breakers to continue playing in the league? Reuben Foster and Kareem Hunt are only the most recent in a long, long, long list of players given “special privileges” to keep playing. Fans of American football probably do not want to hear/read all the actual statistics. Excessive money talks, excessive money is often above laws and civil human rights. Team owners and the NFL Commissioner certainly don’t want those facts overly publicized! It hurts their personal bank accounts. Yes, domestic abuse, drug abuse, etc, are not strictly a sports problem, it is a societal problem. However, sports is a huge revenue-generating part of most all civilized societies as any other business or public sector. Therefore, it should be firmly and fairly addressed ANYWHERE it rears its ugly head and correct precedents actualized.

Nonetheless, in the end I can honestly think of several, much better ways to spend my cherished holiday time with friends and family than glued to a TV-set of American Corporate football. Amazingly though, I am in the minority. Wow, riddle me that! (scratch head)

Do you have similar experiences with your family and friends during the holiday season? Do you agree, disagree with this post? What should the holiday season be about?

————

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always — Watch Less NFL!

Creative Commons License
This work by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.professortaboo.com/contact-me/.

Steve Green: Fiction, Foolery & Frauds

snake-oil

By now you have likely heard or read about the fake Dead Sea Scrolls or forgeries inside the recently opened Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. The museum was built and stocked by retail chain Hobby Lobby owner and multi-billionaire, evangelical Steve Green. What many might not know or have forgotten is that this foolery is not the first time Steve Green has knowingly bought and promoted fake, fraudulent artifacts from the Classical and Antiquity Eras in the Near East. Similar to the 19th-century Old West medicine and “miracle elixirs” touring-shows of magical tricks, musical acts, jokes, and fantastical storytelling, smarter discerning people today can certainly argue that Mr. Green has an addictive sweet-tooth for fantasy and hoaxes.

In 2011 a FedEx package from an Israeli antiquities dealer labelled “hand-crafted clay tiles” with a stated worth of less than $300 drew the suspicious attention of U.S. Customs officials. They opened it and instead of home or bathroom decor it was 300 cuneiform clay tablets in Assyrian and Babylonian languages stolen in great numbers during the U.S.-Iraqi War and its aftermath over the last few decades then sold on the black market.

In 2014 while visiting the Vatican’s Verbum Domini II exhibit of antique Bibles and Bible-related artifacts, an Italian papyrus expert immediately noticed a tattered fragment containing verses from Galatians 2 written in Coptic. It was being sold on eBay many months earlier by a Turkish dealer known to be unreliable and dishonest. Several of his colleagues believed he was a smuggler of anything that would sell to evangelical buyers, fake or otherwise.

Both the clay tablets and the papyrus were dubiously purchased and owned by Steve Green.

This month Steve Green’s Museum of the Bible was forced to publicly acknowledge that five (and probably seven) of their “Dead Sea Scrolls” are forgeries. Continued scientific examinations on the museum’s remaining scrolls, perhaps other artifacts if the Greens allow, will probably reveal more similar results. Why? Because from 2009 to 2014 word spread rapidly throughout Antiquities dealers (of any sort) in the Near East that authorized dealers of the multi-billionaire Green family were purchasing around 40,000 ancient biblical-religious artifacts for their future museum in Washington D.C. This whirlwind of money and hyper fast-track purchases ignited a buzz in the market never before seen. The New York Times in 2010 reported “[t]he buying [had] also spawned some skepticism about the overall quality of purchases made in such rapid-fire style.

Museum-of-the-Bible

The Hobby Lobby of Biblical Fakes n Frauds” in Washington D.C.

Joel S. Baden of the Yale University School of Divinity described Green’s incompetent acquisitions this way:

Every antiquities seller knew the Greens were buying everything and not asking questions about anything.

Aside from the hap-hazard amateur acquisition methods the Greens employed, there is another serious problem:  the unprincipled, unethical intent to show in their museum fraudulent items as factual originals rather than labeling them modern replicas.

These practices by the Greens soon put them in the cross-hairs of the U.S. Justice Department. Hobby Lobby had to pay a $3-million fine as well as surrender and return the thousands of illegally acquired ancient artifacts from Iraq that were knowingly smuggled into the U.S. by Mr. Green. The Hobby Lobby tycoon, however, has his evangelical agenda working in several other areas of public life.

The Greens have spent massive amounts of money to confuse, redefine, and rewrite our clear Constitutional lines between church and state and their separation. In the 2014 Supreme Court decision of Burwell vs Hobby Lobby, “closely held for-profit” corporations like Hobby Lobby can refuse their employed women contraceptive medicines and/or care which was once mandated by the 2010 Affordable Care Act. The Greens have also funded a controversial nation-wide Biblical curriculum for American public schools as well as dumped millions into private Fundamentalist Christian institutions and colleges domestically and abroad. But this is not all.

The executive director of the Society for Biblical Literature, John Kutsko, speaks to this evangelical corporate movement with heightened concern:

There is no such thing as ‘the’ Bible… We [Americans] are a melting pot, and there are many religions here […] The [Green’s] museum could be a showcase for how we and our texts are different and can coexist peacefully. That would be a wonderful message to bring to bear, particularly in the environment we live in, an environment of absolutists and polarization.

But that is not Green’s intentions as evidenced by his artifact purchases and practices.

There is another disturbing concern:  the simple truth. There are a large number of historical, biblical, archaeological, paleographical, and other scholars and experts, all of which have many decades of study and acclaimed lifetime careers that know too well how “pseudo-biblical archaeology” is replete with amateur scams, frauds, and wild claims meant to prove to buyers and audiences, at least through misleading visuals, that stories in the Bible are historically accurate when in fact they are not. These same scholars and academics are just as bothered by the man hired as the Bible museum’s director who was former director of the outlandish Creation Museum in Kentucky. This further undermines the museum’s credibility. And still there is more disturbing news.

The museum blatantly misleads, even lies about recent American history. In a dramatic promotional video for the museum it alleges that the Founding Fathers designed our government and civil culture to be Bible-centered; that is Christian-centered. The video states that George Washington himself said:

It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.

The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington in Mount Vernon, VA (click here) is a resource for scholarly research about George Washington and the Founding Era, while collecting original Washington books and manuscripts. The library has already determined beyond doubt that this is a misquote or complete fabrication. When Mr. Green and his leadership team were presented with this correction, he was unphased, indifferent and insisted that our U.S. government was purposefully created as Bible-centered; that is Christian-centered. In my May 2015 blog-post The Mistaken Identity of the U.S. I go into great detail — from months and years of research utilizing resources like the Smith National Library – George Washington — about how this belief or fable Mr. Green persists in propagandizing is unfounded and simply not true.

Bible Nation-Moss-BadenAt a 2014 interview at the Vatican, Steve Green imparted a rallying call to Christians, especially evangelicals that The fact of the matter is, the [Bible] is under assault today. It seems to Mr. Green and many Fundy-Evangelical Christians that there are other ways of starting and fighting a Holy War, or Jihad as the militant Islamists would call it, and it is covertly changing this democracy into a theocracy by whatever means necessary, similar again to Islamic nations of today. Based on Steve Green’s practices and museum, theocracizing includes smuggling, deception, diversion, well-funded propaganda that rivals even Joseph Goebbels’ tactics, and most of all the M.O. that the end always justifies the means. Principles of accuracy, due process, fact-verifying, truth or pro-truthiness, doesn’t matter. Force the “right end” to happen whatever the cost, literally.

Mr. Green seems ignorant of his unethical track-record. Being forthright from the very beginning will always be more valuable, more historic to the greater good and demonstrate higher levels of dignity and honor. So I say to all concerned, be astute and warned when you happen upon any involvement with Hobby Lobby or the Museum of the Bible:  their owner, Steve Green, continuously exhibits that he possesses none of the great noble virtues.

∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

Now, if you are one for euphoric feel-good truths, fly-by-night veracity, and fantastical stories hyping life-changing memories in this life and the next, this is for you: 😎

————

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

Creative Commons License
This work by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.professortaboo.com/contact-me/.

Tin Can Connections

A few weeks back a very dear friend to me wrote and published on WordPress a most magnificent poem about chemical, ethereal, human connections, synapses, and interactions that are not so common and in my opinion come around and manifest themselves once, twice, maybe three-four times in a lifetime. When it magically occurs it hits you in the chest deep and almost paralyzes your brain, speech, and body. Esmeralda Cloud or Esme Upon the Cloud is how everyone knows the Madame. Here is her masterpiece, Melding a Small Cache of Electric, Eclectic Synapses:

The first blast came from nowhere,
To her heart . . . and to her hands.
Hands that touched his,
Palm to palm, finger to finger.
Every digit leaning gently upon the others,
Melding a small cache
Of electric, eclectic synapses
Softly between them.
Yet it came as no surprise –

It was, as it had always been, forever and a day.

The first blast came from somewhere, 
In his heart . . . and in his hands,
Hands that touched hers,
Palm to palm, finger to finger.
Every digit leaning gently upon the others,
Melding a small cache
Of electric, eclectic synapses
Softly between them.
Yet it came as some surprise –

It was, as it had always been, forever and a day.

The initial pillows of the explosion
Were numb with silent, sonic, relinquishment.
It blasted them light years apart . . . apart.
Apart from one, singular golden thread:
A chain of tenacious fire which endured;
Linking, binding. Holding fast.
Continuing the continuum, palm to palm,
Stretching out across vast, immutable distances.
At first of space,
And then later, time –

It was, as it had always been, forever and a day.

Together, yet alone, they hurtled backwards,
To be caught warmly, effortlessly,
By personal terra firma of autonomous worlds:
Comfortable fields of bright corn,
Arm in arm with solid landscapes of contentment.

And so it came to pass,
That the universe and its incalculable, enchanting
Dimensions were countless aeon away.
Yet the swirls on their fingertips tingled,
Mourning their loss, and reaching for the stars;
Every morning when they awoke,
And again, every evening, before they slept,
Falling into the arms of Morpheus –

It was, as it had always been, forever and a day.

Upon each diurnal course their planets revolved;
The cogs of every hour rotated.
Ticking, tocking, clicking, clocking, onwards.
Decades, then centuries, burgeoned with life’s roller-coasters;
The pages of each life turned, emitting
Joys and happiness, loves and fears
For those who lived.
Tears and heartache
For those who died.
Passions, curiosities, trials, guiles and smiles,
All ensconced firmly within their hearts.
Ticking, tocking, clicking, clocking, onwards –

It was, as it had always been, forever and a day.

They died, and were reborn:
In multifarious myriadal, twisting times,
Beyond quantification.
Different lives; differing planets;
Alternate worlds; alternative dimensions.
Male or female, alike and unlike alike.
Aeons arose and insouciantly passed,
Yet still, regardless of time’s toll,
The chain of fire between them remained;
Its warm glow oscillating back and forth in animated, rapacious pulses –

It was, as it had always been, forever and a day.

The fire burned them painfully at times.
And so it was that measures were undertaken:
He took a blowtorch to his end of the chain,
She an angle grinder to hers.
In fervid despair, they, in turn, had tried 
Hammers, sickles, gelignite, flint and steel,
Hatchets, guillotines and pick-axes,
Chewing and stretching, gnawing of teeth,
Acid baths, anvils dropped, dynamite, grenades.
In fact, the whole cartoon’ish caboodle of ACME warehouse
Weaponry was wily waved and yet . . .
All to no avail – the chain remained just as it was:
Immutable. Perpetual.
And elements of their souls were relieved –

It was, as it had always been, forever and a day.

Sometimes, within certain lives
One would twang the line,
Causing untold vibrations to electrify with joy,
Or dampen the other soul’s heart.
Sometimes, the other would do just the same.
And this was welcomed,
For it conjured pockets of remembered smiles;
Times when the stars waved at them as they flew,
Through the night skies with pounding, childlike hearts and eyes –

It was, as it had always been, forever and a day.

One day, when innumerable aeons had passed,
And they were both distant copies of their original selves,
A spontaneous contraction of the chain occurred;
Like a cord shuttling back into a cosmic vacuum cleaner,
And BOOM!
Suddenly there they were once again;

Heart to heart.
Hands touching hands;
Wrinkled palm against palm;
Aged finger to finger.
Every digit leaning gently upon the others,
Melding a small cache of electric, eclectic synapses
Softly between them.
One set of murky cataracts
Gazing into the other’s.
Toothless smiles;
Radiant gums.

And it came as no surprise.

And the time was right now.

And it was beautiful –

It was, as it has always been . . . forever and a day.

Please stop over to her most enjoyable, provocative, witty Imaginarium upon the Cloud. I promise you will not regret it! Tell her that her favorite suave, Steampunk, pervert Professor Taboo sent you. It will make her heart go pitter-patter and her knees wobbly. 🤭

————

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

Creative Commons License
Blog content with this logo by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://professortaboo.com/contact-me/.