Saturday, November 09, 2013

889 Elm Street, Winnetka, Illinois. Where I grew up. Great picture, Woody, thanks.

Friday, November 08, 2013

A study claims an electric shock to the penis can cure impotence; this finally explains the guy in London who got his penis stuck in his toaster. 

Thursday, November 07, 2013

“Today” hosts Matt Lauer and Al Roker had prostate exams on the show; the weird part about that? It was Regis Philbin who gave them the exams.
A study claims an electric shock to the penis can cure impotence. Now that guy is yelling; “Please taze me, bro.”
It is official, Blockbuster Video is out of business. How can a company whose customer service motto is: “Go find it yourself, I’m on break,” go out of business?
Toronto mayor, Rob Ford, held a press conference to admit he smoked crack, but he was in a drunken stupor when he did it; which is also known as the Charlie Sheen defense. 

Since you asked:

This Dolphin bullying scandal is morphing.

OK, let's get the brain-dead obvious out of the way. 

If you are white - and there is no such thing as an honorary African American primarily because your ancestors were not honorary slaves - you have forfeited forever your right to use the N-word. Especially in any repeatable medium albeit text, phone message, blog, video, or e-mail. You know it, I know it, we know it. Is it a double standard that anyone but white people can use the n-word? Yes, but double standards exist and this is one of them. 

The breaking of this story proves two things: A, the press sucks and gets things wrong all the time by cutting and slicing stories into neat portions, leaving important details on the floor, and, B, there are two sides to every story. 

I've said it before. The press gets athletes wrong all the time. As a result, the public gets athletes wrong all the time. Who doesn't get an athlete wrong? Their teammates. 

Almost all of the sympathy coming out of the Dolphin locker room is not headed towards Jonathan Martin, the alleged victim. It is now going to Richard Incognito. Remove Richard's indefensible use of the N-word and this is a different story. 

But you can't remove it.

Reports are that Martin was a fairly crappy teammate. And the level of hazing/bullying he got that made him crack was not exclusive to him at all. Fact was, Martin was a bit of a slacker and aloof. 

Let's face it, a tattooed racist who left an n-word message who so cruelly tortured his mixed-race teammate he had an emotional breakdown? That is a great story. And we - I - ate it up. It just wasn't this story. 

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying Incognito is a good guy; he was kicked off of two college teams, and he is a dirty player. I'm just not convinced he is Osama bin Laden in cleats. 

Martin says he was forced to pay $10,000 for a Vegas trip he did not go on? Not what happened. The linemen went out of their way to include him and invite him on a Vegas trip that required they front the deposit. Martin said he would go, they included his fees and paid his way, and then Martin bailed last second.

Not close to the same story. If this story is so wrong, what about the other ones? 

And the "Mean Girls" prank of getting up and leaving a table when someone sits down that finally cracked Martin? It was a running joke they did to everyone who had been sick, like Martin had been sick. It's a light-hearted "Hey, we don't want to catch what you have" gag.  

None of us were in the locker room nor training camp, so we don't know what really went down. Here is what I do know: NFL players have played games with broken bones and concussions. Ronnie Lott had his crushed finger amputated so he wouldn't miss next week's playoff game. Martin will miss two games because his feelings were hurt from being bullied? 

There is a lot more news to come. 

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Nine Wisconsin skydivers survived after bailing out after their two planes collided in mid-air; as a result, all nine are going to be used as consultants for fixing the Obamacare website. 
People are shocked there is bullying in the NFL. It goes on all the time. Players on the Jacksonville Jaguars are taunted, teased, verbally abused. And that is just by their cheerleaders. 

Monday, November 04, 2013

Who was my buddy? Who was my pal? Dave Osborn

My Being Bullied By A Giant Football Player Story

In Seventh Grade, my buddy Bruce and I were selected by our suburban Chicago football team to go to the All Pro Football Camp at Carlton College in Minnesota. (It was an honor to be nominated, but our parents still had to pay)

The football camp was run by four All Pro Minnesota Vikings greats, Dave Osborn, Mick Tinglehof, Jim Marshall and Ed Sharackman.

Bruce and I were among the few 7th graders selected, it was mostly 8th graders. It was my idea of heaven. Carlton College is beyond bucolic (picture the Bears' training camp in "Brian's Song") and I worshipped the Vikings. Yes, I was a Bears fan, but those were horrible years for the Bears. Once the playoffs began, my loyalties switched to the Vikings. Call me a fan slut, I don't care. 

My favorite Viking was Dave Osborn. (Not to be confused with Super Dave Osborn) At the camp, #41 personally taught me how to do his signature move: clutching the ball in front of you with both hands, the ball protected by your forearms, you hit the defender with your shoulder pad and then spin away before the defender can wrap his arms. Pop and spin. It worked.

There were four 7th graders who made the 1st team offense, me, my buddy, Bruce, and two African American kids from the South side of Chicago who were on full scholarship; a quarterback who was an amazing athlete and a great guy named Marcus. Funny, smart, good-looking, big, but not huge. He did a dead-on Maurice Chevalier impression - or some other smarmy French lounge singer - that killed. And Marcus’s buddy, a quiet kid name Marcellis, who was a lightening-fast receiver. Marcellis almost never said a word, and he always wore a red wool hat, but he thought I was the funniest human who ever lived. Everything I did cracked him up.

So the four of us became friends, two white suburban Chicago kids, two black inner-city Chicago kids. Marcus, Bruce, Marcellis and me. We ate together, we hung out together. We watched the NFL Films movies about the froooooozen tuundra of Lambeauuuuuu field, at night together. The four Vikings, whom we now had the audacity to call by their first names, Ed, Mick, Jim and Dave, all started calling the four of us the same nickname: Chicago. 

The only glitch in paradise was a huge lineman at the camp who was an 8th grader from a farm in Minnesota, I can’t remember his name, but he was the biggest kid at camp and an unrepentant bully; Marcus did not like him and nicknamed him Corn Fed. The nickname caught on like wild-fire, and Corn Fed was not happy about it. (Marcus was somebody, however, you did not mess with, even Corn Fed. Later another Marcus would remind me of him, Marcus Allen) 

Corn Fed was a giant version of Opey, except he was fat and mean. He had a gang of three other big Minnesota farm boys who followed him around like big puppies and they decided they didn’t like us uppity 7th graders from Chicago. And they let us know with threats to beat us silly all the time. But as long as Marcus was with us, we knew this wouldn't happen. 

Near the end of the week-long camp some idiot turned on the showers and plugged the drains with towels. It flooded the gym causing thousands of dollars of basketball floor damage.

Everyone accused Corn Fed Opey and his gang: Corn Fed Opey accused specifically me and Marcus. (We did not do it)

Now, as I had mentioned, Corn Fed and his gang had made threats to beat us up all camp long, but we ignored them. But this false accusation was the last straw. So, during lunch, I went up and called Corn Fed Opey out for what he was: a big fat ugly liar.

Big mistake. Huge.

Scary Corn Fed Opey immediately saw an opening without Marcus in it and challenged me to a fight after lunch. If you have never been challenged to a fight at a specific time by someone decidedly bigger than you, it has to be what a condemned prisoner feels before the execution.

Being the born leader, loyal friend and all-around stud he was, Marcus offered to take my spot in the fight, tempting, but I declined. It was then I learned there are worse things than getting the hell beaten out of you and chickening-out is one of them. 

The hour seemed to pass like ten hours. Couldn't eat my lunch. Finally the time had come. To my horror, the entire football camp, sans counselors, had gathered on the vast Willow-tree-filled rolling lawn above the lake in back of the dorms, to watch the fight.

My heaven had suddenly turned into a nightmare. Everyone gathered in a huge circle around us chanting; 

"Fight, fight, fight." 

In retrospect, I firmly believe the crowd was not against me, but they were clearly excited about seeing someone about to get the holy hell beaten out of them, and that was me. 

Corn Fed Opey - a good four inches taller and who knows how much heavier -  and I squared off and circled each other like 1920’s bare-knuckle boxers. My heart was in my throat.  Never been in a fight like this before.

The thought crossed my mind to pull a Butch Cassidy on his ass and ask to discuss the rules and then kick him in the nuts. 

Then something weird happened. Corn Fed gave his three gang members a look and said;
“Come on guys, let’s get him.”

But they didn’t. They just stood there. 

At that split-second, the crowd turned on Corn Fed Opey. Then something wonderful happened. All of a sudden, Corn Fed Opey looked alone and scared. The heavy rock in my stomach suddenly turned into excited butterflies. My name began to be inserted in the shouts of "Get him." 

So, with my new-found confidence, I charged him and, to my delighted shock, he turned-tail and ran. 

So I tackled him. Hard. Now it was a wrestling match, something I was, in all modesty, extremely good at. Picked him up - no easy feat - and then slammed him down hard on his back - in wrestling-speak, that was a fireman's carry - and jumped on top of him, pinning him down and straddling him; then I started bitch-slapping him about the top of his head and ears.  He covered up his face with his hand palms-up without so much as throwing a single punch in retaliation. 

Make no mistake, nothing about this conflict, especially Opey's defense, was impressive, trust me. 

After a few well-connected slaps that rung his ears and reddened his cheeks, Corn Fed Opey was crying hard and loud out of a combination of rage, frustration and shame.  (Truth-be-told, I almost felt sorry for him)

Finally Marcus, by now the unspoken leader of the camp, thought that was enough and pulled me off of Corn Fed Opey and I was glad he did. Marcus gave me a congratulatory pat on the back and also, after I butchered the first attempt, my first thumbs-hooked soul shake.

The “fight” lasted maybe two minutes. 

Turns out nobody, and I mean nobody, liked Corn Fed Opey, including his own gang. In fact, his gang members turned on him like wild animals. They lined up to take turns beating him up after he revealed he was such a hapless coward. Bullies love to bully a fallen bully.

For the last few days of camp, Corn Fed Opey was ostracized. He ate alone, nobody talked to him. It was like he had an infectious disease. And, in a way, he did. And then his former gang members ratted him out as the culprit of the gym flood and, after a chat with the police, I heard he was sent home in shame a day early before the end of camp.

But this story was not over. 

At the afternoon practice following the fight, my idol, Dave Osborn, looking like somebody had died, came up to me and asked to talk. 

Oh no. 

My heart sank. Over and over we had been lectured on the camp's strict no-fighting rule. No exceptions, immediate expulsion. Period. First day of practice there was a fight and both campers were sent home. 

We walked over to the shade of a pine tree. Dave Osborn, the guy I had seen play so tough a dozen times on TV including a Super Bowl, told me to take a knee. It was all I could do not to cry. He looked down at me, leaned over and put his hands on my shoulder pads and said;

“I’m supposed to kick you out for fighting, Chicago. You know we have a strict no-fighting rule.”  

All I could think of was, A, don't cry in front of Dave Osborn, B, I was getting kicked out of camp by my idol, C, my parents would be furious and, D, I smelled cigarettes on his breath. Holy crap, Dave Osborn smoked. Then #41 smiled at me and said;

“But I heard it wasn't much of a fight. Just don’t do it again. OK, champ? I will not stick my neck out for you a second time, Chicago.” 

Dave Osborn called me champ. Dave Osborn had stuck his neck out for me. And I got to stay. 

Now it really was heaven on earth.

The end of the camp was bittersweet. Although nobody would admit it, we were all homesick. It had brought Bruce and me closer, I found out he wasn't as cool as he pretended to be in school and he found out I wasn't as much of a social oaf as he thought. 

Bruce would go on to play in college and even score a touchdown in the Green Bay Packers rookie game before being the last cut.

We told Marcus and Marcellis we would stay in touch and we meant it. But, at the same time, we knew it wouldn't happen. Although we lived around same city, it was worlds apart. 

But I always kept my eye out for Marcus in the sports pages. In my mind he was as close to a sure thing for the NFL as it gets. The fact that Marcus never made it to the NFL showed either how tough the NFL is or how tough growing up on the South side of Chicago is. Or both.

Who knows what happened to Corn Fed Opey?  Something tells me there is a rusty trailer home in Sheboygan, Wisconsin with a big, fat alcoholic telling lies to himself about how great a football player he used to be. 

Dave Osborn is still alive at 70. Somehow I picture a still-robust Dave Osborn chopping wood, fly fishing and hunting ducks. Dave, wherever you are, you will always be one of my idols. Keep popping and spinning, Dave, popping and spinning.

But quit smoking, for crying-out-loud.