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Friday, November 16, 2007

Yes Virginia, The Dallas Cowboys Are Evil

The Cotton Bowl Not a Texans game (Note large crowd as proof.)

A good friend of mine asked me to relate how I came to my relationship with the NFC's Dallas Cowboys. I grew up in Dallas. The Cowboys were our home team. How could I come to loathe them?

Twas not always so. I was fourteen in the Fall of 1960, and Dallas had two new pro football teams. The National Football League's Cowboys and the American Football League's Dallas Texans. Dallas was an expansion city for the established NFL, but the Big D was a charter city for the AFL. A bunch of oil men wanted pro ball teams, couldn't buy the franchises they wanted, so they created the new league, the AFL That is so '50s-'60s Ahl Bidness-think. You have to admire them.

Lamar Hunt, one of billionaire H L Hunt's "legitimate" sons, and founder of the AFL had inked a deal with the ruler of Libya to develop their North African oil fields. A friend of mine, Bob, was his lawyer's son. Bob had spent the school year of 1958-1959 in Libya, and brought back some of the most fascinating souvenirs. Arab flintlocks, Bedouin camel saddles, Muzzle loading "pirate" pistols. All very cool. By his father's association with Lamar Hunt, Bob got lots of free tickets to all Texans home games, and we went. Like an infant imprints on their parent, I was in my football infancy, and imprinted on the Texans. It was casual at first, but neither team was very good. The AFL screwed up the salary regime that made the NFL a cash cow for franchise owners, and cities with both leagues began to polarize into camps. The Cowboys had a leg up because they were part of an established league, and drew bigger crowds. I had chosen a minority position without even knowing.

I went to generally wretched football games every other weekend. Both teams were sharing the Cotton Bowl stadium, and scheduling was a nightmare. There were some Saturday games, but almost every Sunday there was a pro game in Dallas. I was blissfully unawares of any of this. I just got to see free football games. Ah those halcyon days! The bliss that comes with ignorance. We were unaware that Cowboys owner Clint Murchason was in a pissing contest with Lamar Hunt. A true clash of oil titans played out on the gridiron of public relations. The two teams would never play each other as such. The Wikipedia article says the Cowboys chased the Texans out of town, and I guess the winner gets to write the history. I think it was just business on Hunt's part.

I was a fan of the Texans, and therefor a Cowboy skeptic. That was before regularly televised pro games. Franchise owners were convinced that anybody that watched the game on TV was a seat unfilled at the stadium. I saw Texans games, most of my friends saw Cowboys games. The radio broadcast the games, and that was OK. Football isn't like baseball. You miss too much without the visual aspect of the game. My Dad had attended the University of Texas, so followed the Longhorns, but never showed any interest in the pro game. I was on my own to develop my loyalties. Mom was a child of the depression, and never saw much cause to waste energy on sports.

Those warm Fall afternoons at the Cotton Bowl were a feast for a fourteen year old. If I had money, there was orange pop and hot dogs. If not, well, we were on the fifty some times and in the end zone when the game was hopelessly lost. I met Dizzy Dean while he was shooting a commercial, for what I don't know. I got his autograph on the back of a Texans ticket stub, now lost to time and space. The more I liked the Texans, the less I liked the Cowboys. The Cowboys were getting annoying. Cowboy fans were getting annoying.

I went to a some games in '61 and fewer in '62. By the time the Texans beat the Houston Oilers for the AFC Championship, I listened to games on the radio, but no longer went. The worst kept secret in Dallas was that Hunt was moving the team to Kansas City. I was being abandoned. To this day, I don't trust any pro ball team, but I hate the Cowboys.

The cowboys hired Tex Schram as their GM and Tom. iceman, Landry as coach. I went to North Texas State , and Viet Nam escalated. Without a conscious decision, once again I gravitated to the anti war camp. For a young man they were much more appealing. I had developed a sensitivity to injustice, having my nose rubbed into the Jim Crow racism, and Southern prejudice against Jews and Catholics. Redneckery was unappealing, at least to this Texan.

Viet Nam became the main thing on the minds of draft age men in 1969. Perhaps not the main thing, but it was pretty important. America was reacting to the anti-war and Hippie movements. There were all sort of public confirmations of traditional American values (read: non-hippie). The Dallas Cowboys took on their part as "America's Team". Billy Graham roamed their sidelines, and the soft core porn cheerleaders, as they are known now, were but a twinkle in Tex's eye. So clean cut you'd want to puke. Now that was a culture war. There were actually people getting shot and blown up. There was a stage show called "Up With People" that was sort of sticky sweet wholesome anti-rock that even the most glassy eyed fan of Christian rock would find amusing. Dallas Cowboys were the Anti-Counter-Culture. No sex, no drugs, no rock n' roll.

I took everything I could no longer tolerate about my country and laid it all at the feet of the Cowboys, and they gladly took up the mantle. Looking back, it was probably healthy to dump on the hated Cowboys.

Love comes and goes, hatred is forever.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

We Are Pleased

Damn! I had written off PBS as a mealy mouthed flackitorium for Tupak Chokra, other new age Feng Shue shills and self help gurus. Now they go and run an excellent Nova documentary on the Dover Pennsylvania school parent's suit over Intelligent Design, the old wine of creationism put up in fancy new bottles. The two hour program titled "Judgement Day" that, in no uncertain terms, exposed the unspoken agenda of the ID creationist movement, and specifically that of the Discovery Institute. Seattle's Discovery Institute's founding document, "The Wedge" advocated the destruction of science education as we know it, and substitute a theocratic paradigm on all of science. Blending the idea of a six thousand year old Biblical universe with the thirteen billion year old observed universe is going to be impossible. All of medicine and genetics will have to be dialed back to pre WWII levels to jibe with Bible "science". Close all the Paleontology departments and geology departments because they are going to find out things that are antipathetic to Creation a la scripture. Physics is in deep dodo. No more atomic decay or any of relativity allowed.
We are going to have to cut a lots of gangsta thugs out of prison so there will be room for all the scholars who won't comply. Ever see "A Clockwork Orange"?

Discovery Institute is headquartered in Seattle, probably the most godless city in the USA, statistically more heathen than even San Francisco. How we ever got this gang here on Puget Sound escapes me. It seems they would be happier in Oklahoma City or Dallas, but the big tech money here is just too tempting. The sad fact is that you can be a wealthy engineer and still believe in biblical young earth creationism.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Forgive Me, For I Am Weak.

I admit it. I love LOLCats, some places known as "cheezeburgers". The crassest of viral ephemera, they are an addiction that some of us cannot resist.

I am so ashamed.................

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hacking Pakistan

The fact is most true hacks don't work. The ones you hear about are the few that do, and the rest are sitting in a box in a closet somewhere. When you try to hack a country with a hundred and sixty million citizens, well there just isn't a closet that size anywhere if you don't get it right.

Fifty years of fiddling with Pakistan have brought us the funkiest nuclear power on earth. Even presented with an opportunity to restore secular democracy (in the loosest definition of the term) we have waffled, afraid of democracy and the possibility that an elected Pakistani leader wouldn't be our poodle. The truth is that any democratic leader isn't going to be as compliant as a dictator.

Democracy, or any other form of government, in Pakistan is going to be corrupt. That is the nature of tribal societies. We just don't have to encourage the machinations that comes with fiddling with the wiring of the Pakistani government.

Pakistani nukes are the direct result of our playing footsie with Abdul Qadeer Khan's operation during the Carter administration, and more overt aid under Reagan. You can click on this entry's headline for an excellent link to The Washington Post's article on Pakistan's nuclear program or copy and paste this link:

The CIA thought they were sticking a thumb in the Soviet's eye by countering India's, their ally, nuclear arsenal. How we ever became the enemy of the largest democratic nation in the world is another tale of cold war insanity.

So now we continue to try to hack Pakistan, turning the most perilous place on the planet into a more dangerous snake pit. The tragedy is that Pakistan is showing all signs of re-developing secular democratic government. If you watch the news the images we see are of rioting Islamists, but those are less than ten percent of the hundred and sixty million Paks, mostly from the notorious border lands of Waziristan and the Hindu Kush. We have fundamentalist crazies here in the USA who are every bit as unstable as the Islamists, but have no chance of getting control of the government. The reason our fundamentalists can't establish a theocracy here is because they never will have enough of the electorate to overthrow our constitutional federal democracy. This is a system that is self correcting, stable, and less prone to corruption than any other. We have become insular and self absorbed, lacking in knowledge of others if it doesn't serve economic ends. Our intelligence services train few ethnographic experts or even native speakers to serve our human intelligence needs. A Predator UAV is a whiz bang bit of technology, but it will never tell us what a couple of tribal Sheiks are planning over tea. The men and women trying to hack Pakistan in out intelligence service are instructed to save our "friend Musharif" as a primary goal, even though this path leads to almost certain civil war, and an unacceptably strong possibility of loose nukes in Islamist hands. Like a geek that has taken apart a new iPhone and fiddled with its workings that it was never designed for, we have our hands on a disaster that has no way back. Unlike hardware, Pakistan has the ability to heal herself, given time and support. Pakistan will eventually excise the tribal Islamists, if given the chance.