Friday, January 30, 2015

Super Bowl XLIX Is Here

Can you believe it? After thirty-two teams started OTA's last summer, training camps on college campuses, four preseason games, sixteen regular-season games, the playoffs and we finally have reached the ultimate game with the two number one seeds from each conference and it is time to play one more game.

Many past Super Bowl's have not lived up to their hype. Many people will watch the game simply to watch the commercials. Often times, people readily admit they tune in simply to see which new commercial will make them want to go out and buy whatever product the advertiser is pushing.

According to Forbes magazine, "despite America's love affair with Super Bowl commercials — many marketers believe their enormous cost is not worth the price. This year, a 30-second spot is an eye-popping $4 million while a 60-second spot goes for a jaw-dropping $8 million." They contend it is worth every penny to the advertisers!

According to StubHub, the cheapest tickets available today are between nine and ten thousand dollars each! Just think, you can pay that kind of money to watch the Super Bowl live and then you would miss out on all the commercials! I guess you could record it and watch the commercials when you get home.

That is a dramatic change from the first few Super Bowls that did not even sell out. Tickets to that first game were twelve dollars! Remember, that was in 1967 and in 1967, the average cost of a new home was less than twenty-five thousand All well  A new car cost about $2,750. Admission to the movies was just $1.20. How times have changed!

In fact, Super Bowl I was not even called Super Bowl I until a few years later. It was simply known as the Super game. There was a great animosity between me upstart American Football League (AFL) and the well-established, big brother, National Football League (NFL). Nobody thought the AFL team should even be on the field with the winner of the NFL. Most people were predicting a blowout and as it turned out the Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.

The second year was a repeat of game one and that game was won by Green Bay over the Oakland Raiders by a score of 33-14. Once again, it was proven that big brother was superior to the upstart American Football League.

It was not until the third championship game that it became officially the Super Bowl when brash, young Broadway Joe Namath led the New York Jets over the Baltimore Colts 16-7 in a game he guaranteed before the game that the AFL and NFL were finally merged and now have two conferences known as the American  Conference and the National Conference. More than anything else, that game forced the merger of the two leagues.

There have been many changes in names, locations, team additions and it has grown to be arguably America's favorite sport ahead of baseball. That is a discussion for another post.

Both sports are experiencing unprecedented increases in popularity, revenue, controversy and exposure. In many ways the national landscape is changing dramatically from the expansion and abundance of professional sports.

Click on the image to make it larger:

Here is an interesting bit of trivia for you. There are only two days every year when there is not at least one game going on in one of the four major league sports. I am talking about the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL. Those two days are the day before and the day after Major League Baseball's All-Star game every summer. Otherwise, you can watch at least one game every day of the year in those four sports. Whether or not you are a sports fan, you have to admit those are some pretty impressive numbers and as the value of the players, teams, stadiums, arenas and merchandise continues to rise professional sports plays a significant role in many American lives.

The Big Game between the defending Seattle Seahawks and the New England  Patriots is only hours away and hopefully proves to be everything it has been hyped up to be.

My big question is, "What am I going to do with my Sunday afternoons until baseball season starts?" Of course, that is forgetting there are always multiple NBA games on and I have solitaire on my computer. Of course, March Madness is not far off. That is always a great time for us college basketball fans!

I am ready for kickoff. I just hope it is a good game and nobody gets hurt.

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dean Kamen Has A New Project

You may recognize the name Dean Kamen as the inventor of the iBot, the wheelchair that stands up and works on gyros to place paraplegics in a standup position as well as doing things like climbing stairs. He is also the inventor of the Segway.

Mr. Kamen has never found a project he did not like to try and solve. He owns more than four hundred American and International patents on various things from medical devices to now a water purification product that could save millions of lives!

Now, at 63, Dean Kamen is working on what may be his biggest problem! He is certainly not slowing down just because of his age, and is truly a lifelong learner and teacher.

I just read an incredible article that was originally published in June 2014 in Popular Science magazine and is now available at this website:

It is an informative read and the numbers are staggering about what our world can be if we simply had clean water!

To think over one billion people, that is almost one-seventh of the world's population, does not have access to clean drinking water on a daily basis. I had heard about Kaymen's most recent adventure in a news story on the radio on my way to acupuncture yesterday.

After doing a little research on Dean Kamen and knowing him from his past adventures, I found this article. According to the article, “Fifty percent of all the people in the developing world suffer from waterborne pathogens,” he says. “We’d empty half the beds in all the hospitals in the world if we just gave people clean water.” The Slingshot won’t be the solution for all of those people, Kamen says, but he sees no reason not to strive for that.

It seems the product has been in development as far back as 2004, but is only now coming to fruition. The thing I like about the project and its implementation is the involvement of Deka Research and Development (Kamen's company) and his partnership with Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola was on board from the very beginning after Kamen gave his pitch back in 2004.

The device is known as the Slingshot after the mythical slingshot, which with David slew Goliath. He is literally trying to rid the world of people getting sick and dying from drinking water. If you are reading this, chances are your water is safe. Imagine being able to hook one of these Slingshots up to a hose and getting clean water from contaminated water filled with all kinds of waterborne impurities!

Here is a Slingshot, which appears at the end of the article:

As always, click on the image to make it larger:

The article explains much better than I can how the Slingshot works.

Like many inventors before him Dean Kamen sees a problem and then finds a solution. I am fascinated with people like that! He is a modern day Thomas Edison or Nikola Tesla.

Imagine if we could empty hospitals by one half and save millions of lives every year simply by giving people good, clean water!

I look forward to your comments.



Friday, January 16, 2015

The NFL's Final Four Is Sunday

If you are not aware and do not follow football, this post is not for you. If you are a football fan and watched Ohio State beat up on Oregon Monday night for the NCAA first-ever, bona fide playoff National Championship, this Sunday you will find the two teams who will be making the trip to the Super Bowl.

This weekend we move up a level to the NFL and the really huge money and egos. It will be interesting to see what controversies come this weekend because certainly there will be one or more game changing calls that will determine somebody getting more millions of dollars then somebody else.

The first game between the Green Bay Packers and last year's winner, Seattle Seahawks starts at 2 PM central time. That is for the National Conference Championship. The winner of that game will play the winner of the 5 PM game, which finds the Indianapolis Colts take on the New England Patriots.

I guess they had to move the times back an hour for the beginning of each game to get in an extra hour of analysis and commercials before the games start. I am sure there will be several human interest stories and heartwarming commercials sprinkled in between so many people telling us what is going to happen in each game. Call me cynical, but I can do without all of the pregame analysis and prognostications.

The winners on Sunday will win the right to represent their conference in Super Bowl XLIX. That is 49 for you non-Greek number experts. Personally, I liked Super Bowl XL.

They will get their respective conference championship trophies after their win on Sunday; but the real prize is the Lombardi Trophy which is named after the famed Green Bay and Washington coach, Vince Lombardi pictured here:

It is the ultimate symbol of superiority in America's classic example of testosterone run amok.

For you people who do not like football because of the injuries and the toll it takes on its players, I completely understand your perspective and find it offensive. However, despite an instant in time of football changing my life forever, I still love to watch good football games on any level.

It disgusts me every time I see a player get hurt. Unfortunately, it happens far too often and I am not going to make this post a commentary on my feelings of how dangerous the game is.

The thing that does bother me about football and all professional sports is the gambling that goes on with the television sports shows. I understand a lot of money changes hands legally and illegally in Nevada and New Jersey. I am not naïve enough to think it does not go on illegally around the country, but it does disgust me how gambling is promoted on such a wide basis via television and social media. 

With all that being said, my favorites for this Sunday are Seattle over Green Bay and New England over Indianapolis. I have my reasons, and that is a much longer explanation to add to this already long post. Suffice it to say I already have my Super Bowl favorite picked out as well.

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Friday, January 9, 2015

Ohio State Versus Oregon

Finally, we are going to crown a National Champion in NCAA Division 1 College Football, in the first ever playoff system in college football.

Until this season, there has been polls that determined who was the champion. There is always been a controversy over who the exact champion really was. This season that all changed under the NCAA and college football has a true class system.

Ohio State, Oregon, Alabama and Florida State were decided to play in the playoffs on New Year's Day. All year long many as the best conference in the country considered the SEC or Southeastern Conference hands down! Alabama ended up as the number one seed in the tournament. Florida State, from the Atlantic Coast Conference, was seeded three. Oregon was the number two seed and Ohio State was the fourth to be invited to the playoffs.

For those of you that are avid college football fans this is all old news to you. However, for those of you who do not spend a lot of time watching and following big-time football I will do my best in explaining what has happened to this point in the process.

In the 2013 football season, Florida State was named the mythical National Champion. I say mythical because there was no way other than the Associated Press polls and the coaches’ polls determine the champion with a voting process. Many people were upset with that process, so this year it was finally determined it was time to have a playoff in place.

All year long, the analysts and prognosticators deemed Alabama as the best team in the country with Florida State a close second. They each won their respective divisions in the Southeast Conference and were thought by many to play in Monday night's game for the national championship.

Something happened to that expected game on New Year's Day. Somebody forgot to tell the Ohio State and Oregon football teams they were simply window dressing and play toys for the eventual big game between Alabama and Florida State.

Understand the Big Ten Conference and Pac 12 Conference were considered inferior by all of those people who were "in the know" so to speak. In fact, the Big Ten and Pac 12 proved to the nation football was played in other areas of the country besides just the South and Southwest.

As a long time Big Ten fan, it is fun for me to see the two teams playing for the national championship come from the West Coast and the Midwest.

I am split in my decision about who I want to see win Monday night's game. On one hand, I want to see Ohio State, another Big Ten team win. On the other hand, Oregon has never won a national championship and I would like to see them win this too. Either way, I am happy to see how so many of the experts pick a team outside the SEC.

I am especially glad to see Florida State not in the championship because of the behavior many of their players exhibited as they left the field after losing to Oregon on New Year's Day in the Rose Bowl.

If you did not see it, it is customary for players from both sides come together at midfield, shake hands and congratulate each other on a hard-fought game. Remember, Florida State won the championship last year and had won twenty-nine straight games. I believe that ties and NCAA record for third longest winning streak in NCAA football history.

Many Florida State players walked off the field in a blatant, classless act of defiance that can only be called what it is, classless, as a bunch of spoiled, arrogant little boys walked off the field without showing any respect to a much better Oregon team that had just beaten them 59-20 in a route that was fun to watch!

Ohio State had a rougher time with Alabama. However, in the end, Ohio State beat the Crimson Tide 42-35 in what was a classic college football game with a fantastic finish!

If your team won or lost and you have someone to root for in Monday night's game, I only hope it turns out to be a classic! I will be watching.

I look forward to your comments.