Monday, February 8, 2016

Great big flags & other Super Bowl thoughts

I thought today I’d write about the patriotic desecration we all enjoy every Super Bowl, but I’d rather not today on what feels like our national hangover.
But one of these days I’m going to dig into that one. See, I’m fascinated by the construction, care and storage of those mega-flags they use at big sporting events.
The American Legion details very explicit rules about flag display. It’s a sacred piece of fabric.
I was reminded of this last week when Val and I attended a memorial service for a veteran friend of ours. The flag ceremony took place amidst the wails of the bereaved. Yet the two-man honor-guard carried out their duties with stoic dignity.
It was very moving.
Guaranteed, that flag will reside in a place of honor in the family den and will be passed down for generations.
I’m curious about what they do with those giant flags, ones that could sink an ocean liner. It’s logistically impossible to treat those flags with the care our flag guardians prescribe.
The largest of all is called Superflag. Its home is Long Beach, California. It is 505 feet by 225 feet and weighs 3,000 pounds. It takes 500 people to unfurl it.
The flag is never supposed to hit the ground. But people, I’m sure, accidentally walk on these monsters. How do you properly fold it? Transport it?
I want to know. Of course, I say that every year and am thus far too lazy to look. Maybe for July the Fourth. 
Or not. Either way, today we’ll Super Bowl scattergun starting of course with . . .
• Puppy Monkey Baby.
• My favorite commercial was the Dorito-loving fetus, but the only element Puppy Monkey Baby was lacking to make it an all-time classic was an appearance by The Three Stooges.
• The NFL should next year skip halftime hoopla and instead just have some pharmaceutical company issue every American hallucinogens that last for precisely 28 minutes. Live tweets about what we’re seeing could be more entertaining than the performers.
• My favorite halftime shows have either been baby races or drunks kicking field goals. These used to be Steeler halftime staples and they were uniformly compelling. Baby races are tremendous sport and would be even more so if the winner parents got, say, a trip to Hawaii. I’ve seen frantic moms screaming at their beloved infants to get their little buckets moving when the stakes were cans of paint. Offer something worthy and it’d be a true bloodsport. Of course, the NFL, caring organization that it is, could offer family counseling to the losers.
• Drunks kicking field goals is great, too. The Steelers used to fetch 10 inebriates from the stands or maybe the stadium tank and have them each try to kick from the 10 yard line. Make that and you move back 5 yards. It was hilarious. For Super Bowl purposes, they could have maybe a tequila maker sponsor each kick and have the contestants do a shot every 5 yards. The stakes? How about a 1-year get-out-of-jail-free card? I’d enter. 
• Do attending fans have to remain in their seats to make the big card shows work or do they have place holders to flip cards in case someone needs to take a leak?
• When are the going to move the game to Saturday?
• I’ll link it below, but I’ve suggested stakes be upped by having fans of losing team go to work for one week for fans of the victors.
• Peyton sure exudes class, doesn’t he? Having said that, I’ll be very disappointed if he comes back for one more year.
• I interviewed John Elway at the Mario Lemieux celebrity golf tournament in Pittsburgh in about 2001. I asked if he’d ever had a thrill as great on the golf course as he’s had on the football field. He said, no, not even close. “A hole-in-one might match it, but I’ve never had one of those.” He got one two weeks later. 
• One of my favorite Super Bowl related tweets was rendered moot this year by the NFL’s decision to for once to shelve the pretentious use of now-incomprehensible Roman numerals. It is: “In honor of typical Super Bowl nonsense, my phone number in Roman Numerals is DCCXXIV CMLXI MMDLVIII. Call me!” I’ve tweeted that for four years now and no one’s ever bothered to call.
• I read about a mini-controversy involving whether Peyton was paid to say he’d be drinking Budweiser all night. I read he owns two Anheuser-Busch distributors in Louisiana, but wasn’t paid to say that. I’m fine with it. 
• Just nine days ’til pitcher and catchers report!
• puppy monkey baby

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