Pop Culture

Friday Night Excitement

My grandson, Adam Notestine, continuing a long tradition.

Fall is here. There is a nip in the air, trees are beginning to show tinges of red and orange, and that aroma in the air is brats sizzling on the grill at tailgate parties.

It has been a long time since I attended high school football games. A few things have changed with the times but the basic excitement of gladiator proportions still exists.

The sound of the band and the drums start the heart racing. The cheerleaders do their best to capitalize on this adrenalin rush with rhythmic stomps, thumps, and yells. Then the team runs on the field clad in their form fitting uniforms with lots of protective padding underneath and new state-of-the-art custom fit helmets. All sorts of protective measures have been taken to shield the player as he fights for his school and hometown’s honor.

The fans are packed into the stadium wearing a wide assortment of paraphernalia reflecting their team’s colors. They cheer and moan and groan depending upon their team’s success. Officials wearing black and white uniforms are positioned around the field to ensure a fair and safe game. However, the fans sometimes see their calls as more of an interference or nuisance and voice their opinions accordingly.

It is a grueling fight to the finish and we can only pray that all players escape the game with no serious injuries. But football has always been a violent sport. It dates back to the ancient Greek game of harpaston and is mentioned in classical Greek literature as a “very rough and brutal game.” The rules were very simple and similar to today’s game. Points were awarded when a player crossed a goal line either by kicking the ball, running across it with the ball, or throwing the ball across the line to another player.

In the United States the Native Americans played a game similar to football and it was reported that the settlers in Jamestown also played a similar game with inflated balls. Modern day football has its roots in rugby and soccer. It resulted from some major rule changes instituted by Walter Camp, considered the “Father of American Football”. Among those changes were the introduction of the line of scrimmage and down-and-distance rules.

I might be a bit different from most women. I love football and always have. I even understand it. Some of my earliest memories are of my father and uncle sitting in front of a small black and white TV screen yelling and screaming. I married a former player, coach and scout who takes his sport seriously. So much so that he never yells or screams at the TV and never cusses out the officials. However, I have seen him so disgusted that he says he is giving up on his Buckeyes—that is until the next game.

I live in the middle of Big 10 territory and the Ohio State Buckeyes. This area is rich in football history not only for the Buckeyes but Columbus was also the site of the first NFL headquarters. I frequently pass through Portsmouth, Ohio and go past an ancient, inconsequential looking concrete stadium; however, this was the home of the Portsmouth Spartans (which later became the Detroit Lions) and is the sight of the first professional night game against the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1930. Famed Jim Thorpe played here when the team was the Portsmouth Shoe-Steels. I also live a little over 100 miles from the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Yes, like so many other Americans I love football. It gives me a tingle up my spine to watch my grandson run onto the field ready for battle in this ancient sport. A sport steeped in tradition and history. A sport that creates more energy than a nuclear blast. A sport young boys dream about and old men remember fondly.

My grandson Adam at age 9 examining my nephew Andrew Thornburg’s Furman football jersey. I think that jersey would fit now.


GCB—Mean Girls Grown up


I have been looking forward to the premier of GCB for some time, not because I’m a religious fanatic or non-believer, or because I’m enamored with everything big and Texas; but because I couldn’t wait to see how the producers would present bitchy “Christian” women.

The show, formerly known as Good Christian Bitches was shortened to just GCB to avoid that dreaded “B” word. Many feel the words “Christian” and “bitch” should not be in the same sentence and I can’t believe I’m even talking about this but you will find the two in almost every church. In defense, remember that churches are not gathering places for the saints but rather hospitals for the sinners.

The phrase, “Christian bitches”, is an oxymoron but is oh so accurate for many churches. I know because I was the object of their “holier than thou” attitude for many years because I was, unfortunately, left without a husband or children at the relatively young age of 45. I was suddenly a widow and I apparently scared the hell out of the mothers in the church. After being a very active member for over 15 years it seemed that over night I became an alien. The church where my husband and I worshiped, sang in the choir, participated on the board, hosted meetings and dinners, and viewed as an extension of our own family turned on me because I no longer had anything in common with the young families (much like Amanda Vaughn, the main character of GCB).

If only my private life had been as exciting as the GCBs thought it was. They spread rumors that I entertained men with bubble baths and wine, they had me romantically linked with many of the husbands in the church, and even said the minister and I were having an affair. While all these rumors were swirling around me I was actually sitting at home crying my eyes out—so much for the exciting life of the happy widow.

So, Donna, Lori, Karen, Sandy, and Sam (Samantha) there is finally a TV show about you. If the writers run out of material I can give them many ideas from firsthand experience. You GCBs made my life hell and I have waited many years for a wee bit of revenge. It feels good to publicly link your names with this topic.

The show has received generally poor reviews and I agree that the pilot was rather messy with too many plot lines running in too many different directions. Many people will probably find GCB offensive because it may come too close to home, however, I applaud the producers for putting a mirror up to society to show what happens when the junior high school “mean girls” grow up. It could have been set in a school or corporate atmosphere but by using the church as a backdrop it puts a magnifying glass to the mean-spirited abuses. I hope the show is allowed to run and not prematurely canceled to give it an opportunity to develop the plot and characters more fully. The show has good actors, most notably Annie Potts as Gigi, the main character’s mother, and Kristin Chenoweth, ring leader of the mean girls.

GCB may have its faults with writing and organization but it has one thing right—there are people with jealous, evil intent hiding in the churches. God bless us, everyone.


A few of my favorite lines from the show:

When Amanda’s son asked what the sermon title “What ye sow, ye shall reap” meant she answered—“In California it’s karma.”

Comparing Texas and California, Annie Potts’ character said—“California and Texas have the same weather except we don’t have all those liberals.”

“What is the difference between flowers and a car? A few zeroes, that’s all.”



A 1933 audience to a Gilbert and Sullivan perf...

Image via Wikipedia

I recently received a flyer in the mail for the upcoming summer season at an outdoor amphitheater. After looking over descriptions of the acts, I noticed on the last page subscription information and, at the bottom of the page, a section on Theatre Etiquette.

How sad, that in today’s world we need to inform the audience on how to act. The last sentence says, “In an effort to be considerate of our performers and other audience members, we request that you refrain from any unnecessary talking during the show.” This should be such a part of our accepted standards of behavior that it shouldn’t be necessary to include in an etiquette guide. Every child, from a very early age, should be taught by his parents and teachers that we don’t talk while others are talking. In addition, every school child should know how to show respect to the performers on stage. We are quite and attentive during the performance and show appreciation by applauding at the end of the performance.

I might also add that the audience remains seated until the entire performance is completed. I have attended too many live performances, whether a concert or play, where the audience jumps up and runs for the exits before those on stage have taken their bows. This is the height of rudeness to the performers who have just spent the last couple of hours putting all their energies into a production to entertain us. Whatever it is that is pulling the audience members out of the theatre at that moment, can wait for a few more minutes while we give the performers our thanks and appreciations. And, if the adulation is enthusiastic enough the performers might honor us with one more song or chorus in the form of an encore. If we truly loved the performance, then the audience may rise to give the performers a standing ovation. Please note, again, this is not the cue to run for the cars.

The etiquette guide also reminds us to turn off cell phones and pagers. This should also be a given fact of life, but I have noticed that all too many people are playing with their PDAs during a performance or show, which distracts the performers and audience members.

A live performance is not the time to run up and down the aisles or change seats. I once attended a concert by a contemporary artist where there were many young adults in attendance. These people were old enough to know better but from their actions I can only assume they were not accustomed to attending a concert in a theatre as opposed to a stadium or outdoor venue. Before the show began they were ushered to their reserved seats but then decided they didn’t like where they were sitting. We watched in amazement while a large majority of the audience members ran about the theatre testing various seats. Once they settled into a new seat, then the person holding that seat ticket arrived and the process started again. Even after the show began many continued to run up and down the aisles.

Perhaps it is a good idea that the producers of this summer stock theatre decided to publish a guide to theatre etiquette but it is a sad state of affairs that it is needed.

So to Speak | Joe Blundo commentary: Sheen would be a rock-star president | The Columbus Dispatch

So to Speak | Joe Blundo commentary: Sheen would be a rock-star president | The Columbus Dispatch.

Loved what Joe Blundo had to say in today’s Columbus Dispatch. Can you imagine Charlie Sheen as president?


Charlie Sheen is on Fire

Image by eviloars via Flickr

I think Charlie Sheen has hijacked my TV set. He is everywhere! He is on entertainment shows, news shows, special reports, talk shows and more—I can’t get rid of him. My TV is possessed and I am thinking of having an exorcism.

His once handsome face is leering at me and proclaiming himself a god surrounded by his goddess girlfriends. He brags about how great he is and anyone who dares question him or disagree with him is a no body. He is so great he even cured himself of his drug and alcohol demons with his mind. He just thought about it for a couple of minutes and—boom—he is cured. All problems are gone and he is perfect.

Why do I want to watch this crap, why does Charlie Sheen think I want to watch this crap, why do TV executives think I want to watch this crap? What kind of example is he setting for his kids and our young people? How do we explain to young preteens and teens that his behavior is unacceptable? His debauchery and excess of sex and drugs is a guide to self-destruction. Why doesn’t anyone see this?

 At least his long time publicist saw the light and dropped him as a client. Another positive move is the removal of his children from his den of inequity. What did their mother feel as she watched her children cuddled by “Miss Porn” and “Miss Druggie of the Month Cover Girl”?

There have been suggestions that he is suffering from some kind of mental illness, possibly bipolar. If that is the case, then please get help. Right now, all this media attention is just feeding the egotistical monster. He is loving the opportunity to “tell his side of the story”, as he would like you to believe. However, this is no more than an opportunity to publically humiliate anyone he feels has wronged him and feed his ego.

 So, Charlie Sheen, if you are so great then please go save yourself. Be a man and do the adult thing and get help. You didn’t hesitate to go to the hospital when you felt physically ill; getting help for a mental illness is no different. There is no shame in admitting your behavior is not the norm and seeking help to put yourself on an even keel.

But, whatever you do, please Charlie Sheen, get out of my TV set. If you aren’t gone soon I’m calling in the Priest, holy water, burning sage, voodoo dolls, and whatever else is needed to excise your image from my TV.