Friday, June 20, 2014

Hail to the...uh...

With the removal of the Washington Redskins trademark this week, sports fans are hearing and reading a lot of hot sports takes on the issue.  Players say it should be changed, players and oafish members of the media say it shouldn't, former players mock the whole idea.  But what I haven't heard that much about in the din of opinions is that of the fans of the team.  Fans buy the merchandise, follow the team, likely say the name more than anyone else in public.  Are any giving up their fandom?  Sticking with the team?

Well...I'm a fan of the team.  They won Super Bowl XVII (lord, I'm old) and I said they're my new favorite team.  Had Miami won, well, Go Dolphins.  But I was a kid and that's what I said.  Unknowingly, I had integrity: I WAS a Redskins fan, and have been ever since.  Simple as that.  It helped that my parents followed different teams, and I could never get interested in the bumbling franchise in the dome.

So, when you're a kid, you get a lot of merchandise as a gift.  A Redskin maroon satin jacket.  (Hello 80's!)  Redskin caps, jerseys, knock-off T shirts (which we'll see again, it seems), trash cans.  If they had it, I was for it.  Then one year I got this as a gift:

This was the NFL's idea to market to kids...maybe even those not interested in football.  Each team's doll is literal: the New York Jets is a cartoon plane wearing a helmet.  So, they went all-in and in my childlike mind, I liked it as I did the rest.  He's smiling because yay, football!  He's not "stoic" like the guy on the helmet, which I took to be the guy in the anti-pollution ad (who, I found out later, was actually Italian...but that's showbiz).

Move forward a year or two, and in Social Studies class a flighty substitute teacher talked to us about how cultural norms change through time.  "Stanford used to be called the Indians!  All these things say Indians at the school.  What happens to that stuff?"  Being a sports nut, I offer that it becomes a new word I'd learned but can't spell, "memorabilia."  "YES!  It's all the past."  It makes me wonder if the Redskins would be changed...but considering I only read the Sports and Cartoons sections of the newspaper, I had no idea if this was actually being discussed.

A successful decade for the team culminated in Super Bowl XXVI at the old Dump Dome.  Through wheeling and dealing, I'd be attending the game.  My clothing of choice was a simple Redskins sweatshirt with a supposed old team photo.  The logo on the shirt was the size of a quarter, and I feared I should make a bigger deal...even if I was in the end zone, upper deck.  For every band-wagon fan there, you'd see an old guy in the full-on Native American gear.  What also tempered my outfits were the known facts of a planned protest by Native Americans in front of the stadium.  And believe me, you couldn't miss it entering the dome.

Game day, my father and I deftly tried to pass the group and walk up the concourse.  Soon, I was accosted by a young protester, Native American, and larger  than me.  All that was showing was my cap, but that was enough.  "Hey!"  I'm grabbed by the jacket.  "Redskins are gonna lose."  Before I can respond, my father (not a sensitive man in nearly any way) grabs me and yells "Go play some bingo."  A fight is avoided due to the sheer amount of people getting into the stadium but the whole event (the accosting and my dad's response) stayed with me for weeks.  I'm just a I doing something wrong?  What should I do differently?  My next hat purchase was a 60's styled R with two arrows at the bottom.  I still wear it and like the look, but no one knows what team it is.  And yes, I guess it means my dad is a jackass in nearly any situation.

The following season, Washington played at Kansas City, and the anticipated protest arrived in full force.  After that season, however, you didn't hear about this issue or see as many protests.  This was aided by the fact, I think, that the team turned to absolute dogshit when Joe Gibbs retired.  They aren't good, they aren't on TV, and it's put to the back burner of cultural issues.

20 years later, it ramped up again, louder than ever.  Why the quiet and then the ramp-up?  I'll never know.  The trademark removal this week isn't the tipping point, because if you're expecting either Redskins owner Dan Snyder or NFL Kommissar Roger Goddell to "make the right decision" about anything you're out of your mind.

So do I think the name should be changed?

Sure.  Change it back then, change it now, change it five years from now.  My question back is: We're not going to have a STUPID name going forward, are we?

The Washington Federals.  What the fuck?  No!  We tried that once already...

The Washington Americans.  Well...all NFL teams are American.

Do you see what I'm getting at here?  There would be a new problem, on a much smaller scale, of course...but a problem.  If the new name was awful, people would STILL WEAR REDSKINS STUFF...maybe even call them that forever.  Can't you see some middle-aged guy?  "Well, I grew up in Wheaton and I've always called them the Redskins.  I'm not changing."

My suggestion: the Washington Razorbacks.

  • Same team initials.  
  • You can even keep the "R" helmets from the 70s (though the feathers would be debated).

  • The offensive line is still referred to as the Hogs, another tie-in.
  • The name is nearly as long as the current name.
The Washington Razorbacks.  Love them Hogs.  Go Hogs!  

There...everyone happy?  What - Arkansas fans are pissed off?  Eh...

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

"I think we're on the right spot"

(Editor's Note: while looking through a box of paperback books at a yard sale in Los Angeles, Trip Darvez found what appeared to be the diary of a teenage girl.  "How much are the books?" he asked, before finding out for just a quarter, he could share this diary with the Pacific Gold audience.  As a matter of disclosure, he also bought a copy of The Deep by Peter Benchley.  

"This isn't an attempt to invade anyone's privacy; I couldn't find anyone's full name.  It's also written on what appears to be the family moving to California.  The first part I can make out is from Iowa.  All grammar has been reprinted intact.")


I think we're in the middle of the USA right now.  This part of the drive has been boring.  I hope the whole ride isn't like this.  I wonder if we have to stop somewhere but we can't because there's nowhere to go.  Dad is at least letting us move around the radio a bit.  I missed the end of Shawn Cassidy's song which he knows I LOVE!  Mike said he had to hear the scores of something but it wasn't even the right game or whatever.

I wonder what you do around here in Demoin.  (Des Moines -ed.)  I don't know if we're in it.  Dad let me sing along to You Make Me Believe in Magic.  At least I have the back seat to myself.  That's what Mom keeps saying.  I thought we were on Highway 80 but it's really 35.  I don't know how you figure this out.  Oh well, we have a ways to go before Kansas City.  I don't want to drive after dinner but it's staying light out for a long time.


We're in Kansas City and relaxing a bit today.  It's really nice outside.  Last night I think we were all kind of tired.  I was but I couldn't fall asleep.  I had my little earphone in and Mom didn't notice.  We ended up driving around a bit just looking for a restaurant that looked good and now it's kind of hard to tell if we're going the right way.

Okay now I'm writing later but we are lost.  I don't want to say anything but mom and dad keep fighting back and forth.  The only other map isn't of where we are I guess.  We went over to ask someone at a gas station and he was so stupid.  "Where you off to?"  Dad kept saying California and the number of the road but then Mom said "Henry, don't tell a stranger that stuff" I want to just hide and die.

It's now later and I think we're on the right spot.  We had dinner in Topeka, they were nice, and I thought we'd stay there at a Howard Johnsons but dad wanted to drive more.  He is unexplainable!

We're in Junction City.  I think we all want to just sleep.  I'm tired and if it's like this the rest of the move I'll be tired then, too.


Just went to Silina (Salina, -ed.)  This radio station we have on is good.  Even Mike and I are singing the same song.  We can tell Dad doesn't like it!  Har har har.

It's now in the afternoon and we'll get into Colorado.  I hope we see the Rocky Mountains.  The drive so far has been so boring.  I thought we'd stop but we haven't since some random town from the highway and all there was is a gas station.  Dad got me a Reese's Peanut butter cup.  I think he's in a better mood now because we're just driving a lot.

OK we're way later than we thought.  I think he thought we'd make it earlier.  We wanted to see Pueblo but it's taking longer because of the farm roads.  I woner who lives in these places.  It's getting dark but it said Pueblo is close.  I bet we'll eat and then sleep.  I hope we get to see the mountains tomorrow.  Good night!


It's supposed to rain and be muggy!  So instead of going west we're going up to Denver!  Then we'll go through I guess.  Puebo and Colorado Springs were fine.

We're in Denver and I think we're going to be here for the rest of the day!  Mom kept saying that Dad needs a break and we all do I think.  We're looking for a hotel that's not too expensive but then we can go around and stuff.  It's pretty here!

Well it's warm but it's raining and it's hard to get around here.  I think we will go see a movie or something.  Maybe we can see Star Wars again.  I have to leave this in our room.

Okay now it's nighttime and we did see Star Wars again.  I like it.  The radio is playing that song from Fleetwood Mac and I'm starting to have that as my new favorite song.  So the TV says the storm is bad through where we were gonna go so we're going to go north a bit.  I swear Dad better make sure he knows where he's going.

There is a midnight movie The Rolling Stones and Mike tried to go see it.  Good luck, dork.


OK we're going north and we're in Fort Collens but at least it's pretty here.  If there's nothing to do but not drive in rain at least it's pretty.  Mike isn't talking to Mom or Dad.  Did you really think they'd let you out?  They won't let me out!

So now we're in Wyoming?  I didn't know we'd be here and I guess now we're heading west.  Mom said "Why are we in Wyoming!  Turn around!" but then Dad found the road.  I had a hamburger and a milkshake.  I should have not eaten the fries.  I'm just sitting in the car all day and getting fat.

Some guy on the radio is giving away a Shawn Cassidy poster!  I can't even call and even if I did, where would they send it?

We're still CONFUSED.  We passed through Shyann (Cheyenne - ed.) and somewhere else I don't remember and they guy on the radio keeps saying Casper but the map says we're not in Casper.  The only thing I know is that the drive is totally boring now.  I guess we could have gone to Yellowstone but we're already screwed up on our road right now.

We're having dinner in Evanston Wyoming!  I asked people if they know Evanston Illinois and none of them did.  Don't you think I should get some free money for that?  I


Oops I had to stop writing yesterday because the food was there.

Guess tomorrow is Father's Day and we'll be in Utah to start the day.  The route back doesn't have to go to Salt Lake City, so we wen't around and are in Jordan for the night.  You can see some mountains here but it's still Dullsville.

We're driving past the Salt Lake, at least it's nice out here.  We asked Dad what he wanted for Father's Day and he said "Get the hell out of Utah!"  Hahaha!  Mom was mad.  So much for Father's Day in Lake Tahoe.

OK we were going to stop in Elko for the night but now I don't think so.  We're in Nevada now and I'm SICK of the car!  Dad keeps trying to ask other people about the storm but they all look at him like he's crazy.  Like everyone else on this trip!  PLEase GOD, can we get to California?  Even if we're theyre forever to get there, get me out of the car!

(The following page was ripped, and we could not discern where this trip was on the page.  The back of the page wrote about Sacramento and then San Francisco, so it is possible to theorize that they went west on 80 through Reno into California. -ed.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Location, Location, Location

Check it: I'm writing this and it's One Hundred and One degrees (101) outside.  Sweet mercy me, that is hot.  It's hotter than it gets in September when lunkheads start to talk about "Fall" around here and you walk outside and the sun smirks down at you.  "Nope!"  You didn't even get to ask it a question.  It's terse glare consumes all you do that day.  This is twice the high of a large majority of the country, but I temper my consideration in trading my location.  It fucking snowed in Denver the other day.  What in the...

Your author isn't writing about the climate.  I'm writing about location.  I viewed a recent movie where the shy (or...likely disordered) boy moves to a new place.  In a stunning turn of events, one of his neighbors is a sweet girl, one that may look like the others in that town, but her behavior is rooted in complete positives.  I'm aware that you've probably seen this movie, or a situation like it.  Maybe it was the film "A Nerdy Writer Writes About His Daydreams at 15" which as I understand it was released by Fox Searchlight (under different nom de plumes) every other year since 2001.

I started becoming an annoying viewer maybe 30 minutes in, and roped Smiley into my complaints.  "Look, he's purposely ignoring her!  She's on a platter!  What the fuck?"  Yeah, it's a movie.  My street beef wasn't that I knew what was going to occur; we all know where this path ends.  It's not that the real life likelihood of this tango was non-existent.  It was that we knew what good fortune this dunce had in store, and it was barely mentioned by any character his age (and if so, it was a slam): it was the location.  And his luck, of course, but he wouldn't have that "luck" if he wasn't in the right location.

Does where you live cause trouble?  Geography or home?  Does going on a vacation mean leaving a place where most people don't vacation?  Does your school warm you with asbestos?  Did your grandpappy buy land somewhere for next to nothing and now everyone realizes what he did long ago?

Does your office have a window?  Is it near the new girl?  Is it next to the new girl?   Is that how you met?

Did you stay in the left lane?  Did you get an aisle seat at the stadium so you could catch the foul ball?

From the inconsequential to the life-changing (for better or worse) I arrived at the realization that skill and logic only run on one track: location.  Sometimes it makes it easy...seem like that "luck" I mentioned above.  Sometimes it makes it harder...or appear impossible.  Where you are and how you're feeling...I guess that makes up the gold quotient, huh?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Piling it on

Back in the old days of this blog, I wrote about how the gigantic portions of restaurants and society at large was too much for my slim cowpoke body.  And this continues to be true, but there has recently been a change in my living situation that altered everything.  I don't know if it was sudden so much as it was the 3rd time in as many weeks where I was told I looked thin (more than usual and/or healthy) that I started to review my weekday eating schedule:

Breakfast: I'm asked on a regular basis from Smiley if I want to "eat breakfast" with Sweet Pea...this is usually limited to 4 spoon-fulls of cereal while trying to occupy her attention span.  An orange or something else can be brought to work, though not eaten leisurely as one would surmise.

Lunch: Did I use the word "leisurely?"  While I am fortunate to visit everyone at home due to sheer LA Luck, and having "lunch" with the Pea is an absolute highlight, my own eating time is condensed to roughly 5 minutes.  You couldn't even enjoy a beer in that amount of time.  Not that I'd know, of course.

Cocktail Hour: "Do you want to watch her while you have a snack?"  Another non-question question, as I get in as many chips, crackers, or handfuls of popcorn I can while playing on the floor with the little lady.

7:45/8PM: "Are you exhausted?  I bet you feel like cooking and making an elaborate dinner from scratch!   You don't?"  Who would?  And, be that as it may, whatever's easiest to eat, to get the job done, there it is.  Tired, I dream of an extravagant steak dinner.  And repeat.

Beyond becoming Potsy, I'm not sure how to properly solve this dilemma.  Snacking helps but only to exist in a "next?" kind of assembly line.  There's a lunch wagon that sneaks between Rodeo and Beverly, but one can only eat so many burritos.  It's a problem to word carefully around here, too: tell someone you lack energy and they'll give you Daffy Dust.


Monday, March 31, 2014

TV Sleuthdom and its expectations

Last week, I had a...shall we say "spirited discussion" with a co-worker on the HBO series True Detective.

(and if you haven't watched the show but plan to, you might not want to read this post)

He said he enjoyed the show but thought the writing was bad.  Pressed for examples for some insight, he added that the crime and ultimate resolution was "like Law & Order: SVU."  Now, if you know me, you know saying such a comment is a heavy insult.  You could find deeper characters in what's left of the Sunday comics section of your newspaper than any of the L&O shows.  But I did my best (read: a poor job) of calming down and then heard this key nugget:

"There were too many twist and plot things that made me think it would go another way.  I thought Rust was going to be behind it, or Marty's wife, but it..."

Ah, the viewer detective nature of crime shows these days.  That's the problem.  And just how many are out there in the audience?

These are the folks who play right along with the game as if they're right by the main character's side.  Talking to the TV, texting their friends that they just KNOW who did it and why.  I think I've watched, read about, and worked in entertainment (particularly TV) long enough to ask: is there anything wrong with just being entertained?  Even if you do guess correctly, do you think the channel or writer is going to show up the next day with a congratulations balloon and an ice cream bar?  Way to go - here's your "Junior Adventure pin" - wear it with pride!

Interesting to me that you rarely if ever hear this about comedy...maybe because so many sitcoms are conditioned to end on a note that "it's over."  And even in movies, you can be entertained (or not) on how it was done since you've invested money and some sort of emotion.  Dining out, same thing.  (Well, for some people...others know exactly what the Fish Filet combo meal includes each and every time)

All these armature sleuths who think they know how things will end possibly started this skill watching Dodgers games.  (Turns to wife)  "Honey, I think they're going to blow this one...late innings."  (Wife nods, goes back to People Magazine)

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Talkin' Deals

Excuse me, do you mind if we talk deals for a moment?

"Sure, I have a minute.  Deals?  Well, we have our own company.  We do work in various aspects of business.  We do some entertainment, some commercials, some, uh merchandising."

(Looks away, and looks back)

"You know, everybody asks that, but there's so many layers behind the scenes that we don't need to get into here.  It would take way too long, and you probably haven't heard of a lot of it.  But to give you an example...Olivia Newton-John, I know her personally.  I mentioned entertainment...we've have some talks with the Starwood to-"

(The man behind him clears his throat)

"I don't know if you've seen that Huffy bicycle's on TV nationwide.  Got that Christopher Cross song on it.  We were part of that."

(Checks digital watch)

"Thinking about having dinner at the Bonaventure tonight."

(Turns around to look at man behind him)

"What time you got?"

(Man behind him buttons his sport coat)

"Excuse me."

Friday, January 24, 2014

Time Passages

It helps the daily jungle gym of life to be realistic about the status quo, I find.  I can dream always and forever, I can plan, aware of the stakes.  I can walk down the street listening to the theme from Black Caesar and envision myself in another time and surrounding.  (Tip: Keep this in mind when you meet someone where delusion reigns supreme, and you’ll find out just how well adjusted you live.)

So I suppose I am an adult, yes?  My responsibilities are now categorized as such and typical for someone my age.  I feel youthful, but that’s about all it is: a feeling.   I can be on a roll of comedic material with new, younger employees, and then make a fatal fuck-up: a reference before their time.  History, Pop Culture History, an old athlete…makes no difference:

“What?  Oh…was that in the 80’s?”

Yes it was…but come on, I know about shit from before I was…aw, forget it.  The joke isn't on them – it’s on me.  So, I guess I’m old.

Then I have lunch with a retired dealmaker who is telling of current life.  “She wanted me to make dinner!”  Is this an unacceptable request?  “Yes!  That’s how it works.  I mean, I go the butcher, you know, but she does the shopping, the cooking.  Sometimes I’ll clean the wine glasses, because those are done by hand.”  Mighty thoughtful of you, I suppose.  Is my situation the same?  No, it’s not.  I don’t mind doing some of the work, as long as—

I was interrupted (politely) and told the game plan from another generation.

“Look, Trip, you know what I told her?  I said ‘I can find plenty of women in the county who would like to cook me dinner, OK?  And I don’t have to set the table or any of that bullshit.’ ”  You don’t do have to do anything?  That’s a pretty good life.   And I think if I tried to find a lady my age or younger who’d do exactly this request, I would probably get a zonk in my chops.  So, I guess I’m young. 

The pendulum of life always swings, but it is a mighty leaden tool…and it feels like it’s just hangin’ there; a giant disco medallion, stuck in fur.