They Thought Rome Wouldn’t Fall Either

I’ve probably mentioned the downfall of the NFL and American football a few times on this blog. After watching developments in the news and sports worlds over the weekend, I’m much more convinced it will happen. Probably within 20 years, possibly sooner.

Believe it or not, I’m not referring to President Trump’s remarks about players kneeling during the National Anthem and how he feels owners should fire anyone doing that in protest. I get why this is one of the biggest issues in culture, news, and the sporting world we’ve seen in a long time, but as big as the issue is it’s a side show, a distraction with what’s really going on with the NFL.

The bottom line is that the President is going to say what he wants to say, and the world will have to deal with it. I’m sure Mr. Trump is well aware that the reverse is true and will react likewise. The world won’t back down from him, and he won’t back off from them – it’s a Mexican standoff, and always will be. Neither side is going to change the other, or will even discuss their grievances at this point.

No, this is not the NFL’s biggest problem, as impossible as it sounds. The concussion issues are. Of course, the NFL would want to talk about any other hot-button issues as opposed to a medical issue going on with its players that the league turned a blind eye to for years.

The family of Aaron Hernandez is now suing the NFL, based on the theory that Hernandez’s football playing turned him into a murderer, then caused his suicide in prison.

It turned out that Aaron had third stage CTE, despite only playing 40 pro football games in his career over three seasons. If a court of law finds the NFL culpable, it might open the floodgates for past and present players to also sue. If that is allowed to happen, sooner or later the league will run out of money should a menagerie of lawsuits come forward.

By the way, I didn’t watch the games yesterday, nor will I be watching the Monday Night game tonight. If I have to choose between my favorite game or my country, I choose my country, somewhat reluctantly. As Chazz Palminteri said as the mob boss in A Bronx Tale, “Mickey Mantle doesn’t care about you, so why should you care about him?”

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Flashback: “Intermezzo” by Pietro Mascagni

Without looking, I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve had a piece of classical music on the Flashback series.

It was announced Wednesday that Jake LaMotta, the former middleweight boxing champ, had passed away at the age of 95. His life was turned into one of the best sports movies all time for my money, Raging Bull, which premiered in 1980. It brilliantly portrayed the good and bad about prizefighting and LaMotta at the time, and how the Mafia had an influence on the fight game on the East Coast, even telling fighters to stage outcomes of their battles and take dives. No issue was taboo, and the movie didn’t pull any punches about LaMotta’s phobias and paranoia.

Rest in peace, champ. Here’s hoping you don’t go down for anyone in the hereafter as was the case in real life.

Maria And The Day Cruise

This September 20th morning has myself watching yet another in the menagerie of hurricanes in the Atlantic in this rather unfortunate 2017 season. This new hurricane, Maria, went to category five status and is probably battering Puerto Rico pretty good or has as you read this.

I’m a bit more concerned about Maria for another reason, although no one is expecting her to hit Florida. I don’t want her getting too close either, because I agreed to go on a day cruise in the Atlantic Ocean on the 26th, a Tuesday. If it gets too close, the cruise might be in doubt, though it looks like it would miss by a good 300 miles east of Florida’s east coast or so if it went in the center of the forecast cone. Maybe more, maybe less.

My retired mother always seems to get these excursions to do a few times a year and always invites me. I usually always decline for a variety of reasons, but my instincts are a bit different this time around. I don’t why the thought of going popped into my head, but I usually go with my first instinct on these things, so off I go, Maria permitting.

It’ll be a three hour bus ride over to Port Canaveral, followed by five hours on the boat to eat, drink, and gamble. Then it’s three hours more on the bus back. It’ll be a long day, but what the heck. I think higher powers are trying to tell me something by this opportunity.

I just don’t know what it is yet.

The Week After

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It’s now been a week removed from that beast of a woman payed us a visit. I was very fortunate to get power back within 16 hours. Many of my friends on social media didn’t get theirs back until as late as Sunday, which kind of gave me a bit of social media survivors remorse in a sense. Some still don’t have power even now, or had it and subsequently lost it.

While I was running around the house to shelter in place a week ago and moving things into closets, I injured my left leg, picking up something heavy the wrong way or so I self-speculate. I felt it at first Sunday night when we here in Pinellas County were getting the higher winds, so I thought it had something to do with the lower barometric pressures you get in hurricanes. By Wednesday morning, it felt like a Charley horse in my left calf. Correction: it felt more like a Charley Kentucky Derby. I got to Walmart the next day to get some Bengay and, unfortunately for the rest of you, I’m doing fine again. My calf is still a bit swollen, but I can now walk around with normal mobility as before.

Seeing all of these power without power for the days has to make one wonder about how our area would handle a bigger hurricane threat, and whether or not those who believe in global warming are correct, those are longer term questions that will need a closer look. I really don’t want to move to another part of the country, but after Irma, it might not be a bad long-term goal.

Aircheck: Goodfellas, 1990

With the passing of Frank Vincent on Thursday, I thought I’d do something just a bit different on this week’s Aircheck and show you one of the best scenes I think I’ve ever seen in the movies.

In the scene from Goodfellas, Vincent plays Billy Batts, a mobster from the Gambino crime family who’s returned to society from prison. Batts keeps needling Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci’s character) about how he shined shoes as a kid, much to Tommy’s embarrassment. Well, you’ll see how the scene plays out. Personally, I can’t think of a worse fate than getting beaten to death. (Or so we think. Batts was actually beaten into unconsciousness. When Batts regains consciousness and starts beating against the trunk of the car, then DeVito and his buddies kill him.)

DeVito is of course whacked himself later in the movie, because he violates a clear cut mob rule: a made man killing other made men isn’t usually permitted without the sanction of a capo or someone higher up in the chain of command. Violating that rule put the perpetrator at risk for his own death, which was exactly what wound up happening.

RIP, Frank. His book is on my Amazon Wish List, so I’ll have to get around to that in his honor.

Flashback: “Circle In The Sand” by Belinda Carlisle

This single from the former Go-Go’s singer went to #7 on the Billboard charts in 1988. It got stuck in my head thanks to our mutual friend Irma.

In the summer of 1988, I spent a week up in Charlotte, North Carolina to visit relatives. You’d hear the various radio station markets going up Interstate 4, 95, 26, 20, and then 77 up there, and I swore on the trip up an back a week later I must have heard the song about a dozen times. Didn’t get bored with it though.