WEEKEND BRIEFING
2-6-WAS49 (11:03)

Sep. 5 - Remember how the Internet was gonna be this great unifying force? How this virtual new world without boundaries would bring people together like never before? Good. Hold that thought...

It's Jets ball, third and fourteen.on their own nine yard line with 12:45 left to go in the fourth quarter. They're down three points to the Redskins, 13-10. Testaverde throws a pass to Wayne Chrebet for an 8-yard completion, but that's well shy of a first down. Stryzinski punts 40 yards to the Washington 35 and it's returned by Morton to the Washington 45. First and ten, Redskins.

Exciting, huh?

That's how I watched football this morning. More accurately, it's how I'm watching it right now: as I write this in one window, I'm "watching" (reading?) the game on the NFL.com live scoreboard.

Here's some excitement: "Last Play: 2-6-WAS49 (11:03) P.Ramsey sacked at WAS 43 for -6 yards (J.Abraham). FUMBLES (J.Abraham), RECOVERED by NYJ-J.Ferguson at WAS 43." That would have been a hell of a play to see. It loses a little in the translation to abbreviated text.

("Doug Brien's 41-yard field goal is GOOD." I had to reread that one... I still haven't finished my first cup of coffee—it's 5:26 am here—so I thought they said "Doug Brien's 41-yard field goal is GOD," which suggested less-than-neutral reporting. Anyway: tie game.)

Last year if you went to the NFL scoreboard site, you could connect to streaming live radio coverage of any NFL game being played. You can this year, too, with just one difference: you have to pay. At least I think you do. You have to join something called "NFL Field Pass," for which I was offered a "Free Trial" when I clicked on the little audio icon. I've never been offered a "Free Trial" of something that wouldn't later "Cost Money," which is why I'm assuming you have to pay this year.

I'm on my second cup of coffee. There's 2:57 left in the fourth quarter and the game is still tied at 13. I'll admit it: I'm excited. Even as a series of icons and abbreviated texts, it's a pretty exciting game.

It's exciting enough that I imagine later in the season Trine and I might set our alarm clocks for the occasional Sunday or Monday night game and huddle around the monitor to watch it unfold. Instead of beer or pizza, we'll guzzle coffee and nibble on our morgenbrød.

And someday, ages hence, we'll be sitting around the entertainment system with our grandchildren, watching the Patriots play, say, the Sacramento Stingers or the Dubuque Destroyers—Redskins have a 1st and 10 on the Jets 17 with forty seconds to play!—in live 3D holographic display with Dolby 12.1 Surround Sound—and we'll tell them how we used to watch the stupid helmet icons go up and down the virtual field with nothing but little chunks of text to narrate the game to us, and they'll stare at us incredulously, just like we used to stare at our parents or grandparents when they told us how they'd sit around the living room "listening" to their favorite shows.

And yet I'm naive or gullible or whatever enough to be a little awed by this technology. When I was growing up, my grandparents lived in London for a while. I remember what a big deal it was to talk to them. It was prohibitively expensive and the connections were terrible. Here I am, a few little decades later, and I get impatient when I can't reach a friend in Chicago from my mobile phone while I hang out a cafe in Copenhagen. I'm irritated because the real-time presentation of a live NFL game isn't visual enough, for God's sake. My grandfather was a football fan. What the hell could he do?

(Field goal, Redskins! Five seconds left and they've pulled ahead 16-13. They kickoff... and that's it, game over. Redskins win.)

So yes, someday Trine and I will surely look back on this crude football connection with nostalgia. Which brings me back to the very first point I made: remember how the Internet was gonna be this great unifying force?

That's all you heard about at the turn of the century. Even when the dot-com bubble finally burst, people still had this invincible optimism about the social aspects of the Internet. It would bring people together. It would unite disparate peoples.

Here we are a few years later in the midst of a world war. As humanity's first virtual hangout, the Internet is turning out to be just like any gathering place in the real world—full of scammers and sleazebags and sound and fury, signifying only that man is still man (and woman is still woman—a premise that gets a lot of visual support on the Internet).

What were we thinking? That as soon as everyone was patched into a common communications medium, they'd suddenly agree on everything? They'd slap their collective forehead and repent their ever having disagreed with one another? "Oh, man! I never realized how alike we all are under the skin. Wow! I was really foolish to believe in my own personal religion, politics, aesthetics, sexuality, sports allegiances... Now that I can chat with my buddies in Burma, Beijing, Nairobi, and Sao Paolo, I finally understand what a piece of work is man, and will put my own provincial opinions aside and revere only universal humanity."

Do you have to be a misanthrope to realize that the more people you bring together, the less likely it is you're going to get consensus on anything? And that the less consensus you have, the more likely you are to experience faction? And that where there's faction, there's fury?

Hell, that's way too much for a light Friday blog. Never mind.

Royalty

Elizabeth I was born on September 7, 1533. She was coronated at twenty-five and remained on the throne for 44 years, which helps explain why she remained a virgin all her life. She is best known for having ordered the destruction of the Spanish Armadillo and the invention of Shakespeare.

On September 5, 1638, King Louis XIV of France was born. Like Elizabeth in England, Louis inherited a struggling kingdom and built it into a major power. Unlike Elizabeth, Louis did not remain a virgin. On the contrary, he produced so many little bastards that he came to be known as the "Son King," which led him to conclude famously "L'etat, c'est moi." ("Kid, I'm your father.")

Although there can be no royalty in the United States, one young woman is crowned each year as Miss America. The first such coronation was held on September 6, 1921. Miss America reigns for one year, at which point she must retire—unless she removes her clothing, in which case she's deposed.

Lastly, of course, one of the most popular Queens of the modern age was born on September 5, 1946: his name was Freddie Mercury.

Birthdays and Holidays

September 5 is the birthday of Dweezil Zappa (1969), Cathy Guisewaite (1950), Freddie Mercury (1946), Raquel Welch (1940), Bob Newhart (1929), Jesse James (1847), and Louis XIV (1638).

September 6 is the birthday of Rosie Perez (1964), Jane Curtin (1947), Jo Anne Worley (1937), Joseph P. Kennedy (1888), and the Marquis de Lafaytette (1757).

September 7 is the birthday of Julie Kavner (1951), Buddy Holly (1936), Elia Kazan (1909), Grandma Moses (1860), and Elizabeth I (1533).

September 5 is Flag Day in Mozambique and National Holiday in Western Samoa.

September 6 is Prince Claus Day in Holland, Defense Day in Pakistan, Heroes' Day in Sao Tome and Principe, and Independence Day in Swaziland.

September 7 is Independence Day in Brazil and Flag Day in Kuwait.

Enjoy the weekend! —Go Raiders & Patriots!

© 2003, The Moron's Almanac™

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