Feb 14

My favorite Super Bowl commercials

Jan 14

The first football game

Just one thing today, a terrific artifact from 1892. This is a newspaper that covered the famous Auburn-Georgia game at Piedmont Park. It was the first ever football game in the Deep South. If you’d like to actually read the copy, which spans more than four columns, you can see a larger version here.

Atlanta Journal

It seems more than the game has changed. The paper notes the average heights of both teams were around 5-foot-6. The average weights were in the 150s and 160s.

Auburn’s senior punter this year, Steven Clark, is listed as 6-5 and 230 pounds. Kicker Cody Parkey is an even six feet and 190 pounds. Auburn listed two wide receivers weighing in the 160s.

Jan 14

Mouth fist! Fist line!

We bought our first Girl Scout cookies of the year. Our friend Jeremy’s daughter is a Girl Scout. This is her first year. So he called and asked if they could drive over. This is good timing because we are usually visited by the most entrepreneurial young lady in the troop. She goes around selling to restaurants and dessert places.

Sadie, Jeremy’s daughter, beat her to us. We’d also promised to buy from another girl. So we’re buying a lot of cookies, but this is a good experience for the kids. Plus, cookies.

I turned on the exterior lights. A bit later Sadie rang the doorbell. Jeremy has stayed in his car. We discuss the cookies. It was in the 30s, so I invited her in, because we are friends. Sadie, who has the most ironic sense of humor you’ve ever seen on a child her age, says “Let me go ask my dad. For ‘safety.’”

She made the air quotes, which made my day.

So I filled out the forms. We had a good chat about why I invited her inside, why people shouldn’t invite her in, why she should stay at the door and why asking her dad was a very good thing. I’m sure they discuss that when they hand out the Girl Scout sashes, but you can never hear the safety lectures from too many different people.

We sent her across the way to sell cookies. Since they had cookies in the back of their car we collected ours and then removed the rest. They almost drove off without their supplies, until mock guilt at our pretend theft got the better of us.

But we were thiiiis close to establishing a black market for cookies.

Tonight we watched an episode of the seventh season of the Cosby Show. It guest starred Red Buttons, a comedian and composer. Buttons played the local hardware store owner. He was all worked up about a traffic accident that happened a decade prior. Turns out Buttons’ daughter wanted to marry the son of the other guy in that old car wreck, whom Buttons’ character is still mad at. That role was played by the great E.G. Marshall. If you let that scene play out, below, it is rather touching, with Cosby just sitting back watching two old masters work.

Buttons first movie was in 1944. He was still on TV in 2005, before dying in 2009. Marshall got his start in 1945 and worked until his death in 1998.

They first worked on the same project in 1947. This episode of the Cosby Show was shot in 1991. Fifty-four years in between. Of course, almost 23 years have passed since this episode aired …

Things to read … from this decade.

Goal Post kicker going home with family:

The fate of the animated, neon placekicker who welcomed generations of Anniston residents to Goal Post Bar-B-Q had been uncertain since the place closed in September. But this week the Calhoun County icon found a new home — just 2 miles down Quintard Avenue — with the family that established the famed restaurant in the 1960s.

If you like iconic neon, this story is great news. It is quite a shame that the old barbecue joint shut down, but at least the sign will live on.

Tornado impact minimal in north Alabama in 2013; second-fewest twisters in last 6 years:

Tornadoes in 2013 had a minimal impact in north Alabama and for the second straight year, there were no deaths attributed to tornadoes, according to the National Weather Service office in Huntsville.

The weather service today released its 2013 statistical review of tornadoes, which reflected that north Alabama saw its second-fewest number of twisters since 2007.

It was, the story notes, the second year in a row that the area had only two of what are considered “strong” tornadoes.

NSA collects 200 million text messages daily in untargeted sweep, British paper reports:

The program code named “Dishfire” collects data, including communications from people not suspected of illegal activity, and conducts an automated analysis. Among the data collected: Missed call alerts, details of border crossings derived from network roaming alerts, names and images from electronic business cards, financial transactions and travel details.

And, finally, something more amusing than all of that from across the Atlantic, bad British football commentary:

No doubt this will be a hit at Alabama, where they think their team might probably should be in the Super Bowl.

Jan 14

When your legs ache, it is all about your legs

It made it up to 48 degrees today, so spring is on the way! It was overcast, so spring will never show up! It rained, so spring is on the way! It was only mist and drizzle, and who knows what that means?

I ran in that today. Got in just under six miles. I have developed this pain on the outside of each of my calves. It wraps over the shins and then goes just into the instep of my foot. No obvious stretch fixes it. The pain in my left leg is aggravated when I go downhill. The pain in my right leg says you aren’t running up a hill no way, no how.

So I’m devastating on the flats, at least.

Weirdly, at about mile four or so the things stretched themselves out, or the nerves gave up or something. You know that brief moment when the absence of pain is a pleasurable feeling? I was flying at that moment.

I also went to the grocery store today, because I decided to make extra lean turkey spaghetti. Lean turkey is about two bucks cheaper, but this extra lean stuff, when surrounded by pasta and drowned in basil sauce, tastes exactly the same! What a world.

I did not go to the store while running, because I didn’t want the meat to go bad. Sure, we live a half mile from the store, but I run slow. Also, I didn’t want to cause a sweaty scene on aisle four.

Things to read … because there are things, and some of them are worth reading.

Gone in 79 seconds: Auburn at the BCS Championship is a pretty great piece for football fans.

Close to one-third of Americans were in poverty during economic downturn says Census data. We’re at about 16 percent, even now.

Watched this video today. Mike Ditka was slated to speak to the Texas Public Policy Foundation, but he had to cancel. So the group invited Texas state representative Scott Turner, a former NFL player, who gives a pretty good speech:

How Google Glass captured two very different communities talks about putting the glasses on the people of Crown Heights in Brooklyn, which is an interesting documentary concept.

If someone gave me Google Glass and asked me to tell my own story I’d borrow a shopping cart from the grocery story, sit inside, have someone push and take long tracking shots of everything.

It would keep my calves from hurting.

Jan 14

The Reverse Tiger Walk

The often copied, and originally Auburn tradition of Tiger Walk — where the plays walk from the athletic department to the football stadium a few hours before they play — now has a companion tradition. When the team travels there is a Reverse Tiger Walk when they get back home.

This is the walk from earlier tonight, when Auburn’s team returned, tired from a cross country flight and a bus ride across half the state to make it back home. They found hundreds of fans waiting to welcome them, to congratulate them, to thank them:

Tiger Walk

They lined up diagonally across the length of the indoor practice facility. They were two and three and four and five deep on either side of the path the players would take. The team, fresh off a plane and then a bus, walked through the crowd, looking a bit tired, but there was plenty of enthusiasm in the air.

Athletics director Jay Jacobs greeted the hundreds in attendance and told the players in front of him, saying “This is truly what the Auburn Family means.”

To the fans, he noted, in case anyone lost count, “In the last 10 years no one has won more SEC championships than the Auburn football program.”

Head coach Gus Malzahn spoke to the crowd:

Gus Malzahn

Senior running back Jay Prosch briefly greeted the crowd:

Jay Prosch

And so did senior defensive back, and Iron Bowl legend, Chris Davis:

Chris Davis

Here is some video:

And that wraps up the football season, and the last real football thing I’ll write about here for a while.

Good thing we’re getting back in the pool tomorrow.