Casinos, Cigars, Cigarettes And Hookers

The following is a copy of my letter to N.C.A.A. president Dr. Mark Emmert concerning that organization’s complete lack of disregard toward its student-athletes well-being in that they see nothing wrong with starting a football or basketball game at 9:30 p.m. on a school night.  Does anyone seriously believe the N.C.A.A. has the best interest of its student-athletes in mind when television clearly dictates everything in big-time collegiate sporting events?

Steven H. Spring

 

November 28, 2012

Dr. Mark Emmert
President & CEO
The National Collegiate Athletic Association
P.O. Box 6222
Indianapolis, Indiana  46206

Dear President Emmert,

After reading the starting time for tonight’s basketball game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium, I wanted to write a brief letter to express my concern regarding N.C.A.A. student-athletes participating in collegiate sporting events that start at 9:30 p.m. on a school night, and most likely will not end until nearly midnight.  Is this something for which your organization is to be proud?  We all know who is behind this absurd scheduling, television or more specifically ESPN.  I love college basketball; however starting games at 9:30 p.m. during the week is absurd.

How can the N.C.A.A. profess to be looking out for the best interests of its student-athletes when it allows these young men and women to compete in their respective sport at any time of the day or day of week, at the beckon will of almighty television?  This tactless scheduling of sporting events affects not only the student-athletes, but also those students and fans attending these late starting games as well.

Moreover, what does a parent tell their young child as to why they cannot watch their favorite team play a huge game against a perennial national power in one of this nation’s most historic arenas because the game does not start until bedtime?  I guess we can always give in and let them stay up until midnight, then give them a shot of 5 Hour Energy for breakfast, I write sardonically as I cannot believe this type of energy supplement is allowed to be a proud sponsor or advertiser of many N.C.A.A. sporting events.  Why limit your influential advertising to young children to alcohol and adrenalin boosters, why not casinos, cigars, cigarettes and hookers?

The N.C.A.A. long ago sold its soul to the almighty dollar and its illegitimate offspring, television, at the expense of this nation‘s student-athletes.  Our colleges and universities are as much to blame for allowing such malfeasance to occur.  However, they too, have long ago sold their souls, again to big money and television.  College presidents, football and basketball coaches and athletic departments all live high on the hog at the expense of the student-athletes.  What is really pathetic is the hypocrisy by all involved.  Look at the uproar that was created at Ohio State a little more than one year ago after it was revealed that several football players sold mementos given to them for winning a conference championship or bowl game.  Years from now, those players who traded rings for tattoos will regret their decisions, however these men did nothing illegal, except in the eyes of the N.C.A.A, and yet this year’s undefeated football team is paying the price as they are forced to stay home this bowl system.

I understand that athletes are in reality being paid quite well because the cost of tuition, room and board is astronomical these days, however the money that swirls around college football and basketball is outrageous, especially that of your television contracts.  For the N.C.A.A. to see nothing wrong with an athlete playing a game at midnight on a school night is asinine.  You may fool some of the people some of the time with your proclamation that you are looking out for the best interests of your student-athletes, however, you ain’t foolin’ me.  It’s all about money!

Sincerely,
Steven H. Spring
The Ohio State University, Class of ‘87

 

 

 

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Was He Really Flagged For Throwing His Flag?

How can this possibly be?  During the third quarter of the first of three Thanksgiving Day NFL games, the Houston Texans appear to score on an 81-yard touchdown run by Justin Forsett.  However, instant replay clearly showed the runner’s elbow and knee down close to midfield.  Immediately, Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz threw his red coach’s challenge flag.  It was at this time that pure insanity began to settle in.  Or maybe it was just too much tryptophan (although this old wives’ tale has no scientific basis for validity) from eating way too much turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy too early in the morning, but it seems that simply informing the coach he need not challenge the play because the review officials supposedly review every scoring play is just too much to ask for, especially on a day that America gives thanks for being extraordinarily blessed.  Schwartz’ unwarranted violation of unsportsmanlike conduct ultimately cost him the game as the Texans won 34-31 in overtime.

It seems that NFL game officials determined Coach Schwartz was in violation of league rules and was assessed a 15-yard penalty for throwing his challenge flag.  His misdeed, one might ask?  Because the NFL supposedly reviews every scoring play (repeated for sarcastic emphasis), a coach may not throw his flag.  Fine, if the NFL wants to be that nick-picky, but in all my years of watching football I have never seen a coach assessed a penalty for a premature ejaculation of his challenge flag.  Every other time of seeing such an occurrence, a referee will tell the coach he doesn’t have the right to challenge the play or call.  Now however, is when the insanity becomes all-consuming.  Because Coach Schwartz violated league rules and was assessed a 15-yard penalty for throwing his challenge flag, on a play that review officials would positively overturn, the NFL review officials were prohibited from watching a replay that clearly showed Forsett’s elbow and knee on the ground, thus overruling the touchdown.

I have said for many years now that instant replay gets it right only half the time, so why have it.  I think during the course of a long season, replay shows that most officials do make the correct call most of the time anyways.  Why turn an exciting game or momentum turning play into a five-minute standstill if you get the incorrect call half the time?  What happened yesterday was a travesty not only to Detroit Lions players and fans, but also to fans of all football.  During the second game of the day, featuring the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys, while talking to a former game official turned network rules analyst about a questionable play in that game, esteemed announcer Joe Buck stated that he probably shouldn’t go there, but then proceed to by asking the analyst his opinion of the questionable play from the earlier game.  His comment was that it is a ridiculous penalty.

Midway through the third quarter of the third game, matching the New York Jets and the New England Patriots, Matt Sanchez threw what looked like a touchdown pass.  However, the back judge ruled the ball hit the ground, and replays confirmed the call.  Al Michaels then proceeded to inform the viewers that because the play was a non-scoring play, Jets coach Rex Ryan had the option of challenging the ruling, which he did.  I guess NFL teams now need a retired league official on the sidelines whose solitary responsibility is to inform the head coach whether or not he is legally allowed to challenge a play, a position to go along with an assistant whose job it is to watch television replays up in the coaches’ booth to determine whether or not an official’s call was correct or should be challenged.

If the NFL truly believes it must penalize a coach who inadvertently threw his challenge flag, do so with a 5-yard penalty.  However, to include with a 15-yard penalty the stipulation that review officials are prohibited from reviewing the play in question is completely asinine.  That touchdown erroneously allowed in the Lions-Texans game decided the outcome.  My conclusion from watching too much football on Thanksgiving Day, is that it seems that the National Football League is more concerned with its image than for getting the correct or fair call made or for any controversial play to be discussed by game announcers.  Like it or not, the NFL is big business, with the bottom line being the bottom line.  There are very few game announcers or studio analysts who will speak out against arguably the most popular, and powerful sports league on the planet, and it appears that is just what the National Football League wants.

Steven H. Spring

Heisman Hopeful?

What does it take for a multi-million dollar head coach and his certified genius of an offensive coordinator to realize that something isn’t working and that maybe they should try something else, you know, make half-time adjustments or change the game plan?

Last Saturday against Wisconsin, quarterback Braxton Miller ran the ball 23 times for 48 yards, a meager 2.08 average gain per carry.  These statistics won’t get you All-B1G, let alone Heisman trophy honors.  However, if you take away his two carries for 12 yards in overtime, his yards per carry in regulation play was an astounding 1.71.  I’m no mathematician, however I believe you cannot gain a first down running the ball 1.71 yards a carry.  If I remember correctly, one announcer commented late in the game that Ohio State had seven straight three and outs.  And, after stripping the football from Montee Ball at the goal line as he was attempting to tie the score late in the game, all the Buckeyes needed was one first down to seal the victory after recovering the fumble, but again was forced to punt, giving the Badgers great field position in which they scored, sending the game it into overtime.  Miller’s paltry 97 passing yards won’t garner much national exposure either.  Nor win many big games.

After OSU scored its second touchdown early in the second quarter, the offensive play calling became more conservative than Jim Tressel coaching on a Sunday morning.  Maybe the coaching staff believes its team is not capable of playing a wide-open offense such as that at Oregon or West Virginia and as a result doesn’t want to run something they believe the players cannot execute.  The big problem however, with playing conservative football is that unless you have far superior athletes to dominate the opposing team, it is very easy to defend.  All the defense has to do is keep bringing more defenders closer to the line of scrimmage, thus making it even harder to run and pass as pressure on the quarterback greatly disrupts a passing game, especially one that isn’t played often.

My philosophy in football is to be aggressive in all three aspects of the game: special teams, defense and especially offense. You dominate play, not your opponent.  Isn’t it the sign of insanity to do something repeatedly, all the while expecting different results?

Steven H. Spring
OSU, Class of ‘87

 

 

 

 

Muddy Waters #102A, 104A, 106A, 107A & 108A

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McKinley Morganfield (aka Muddy Waters) was born on April 4, 1913 in Jug’s Corner, Mississippi.  Although he first started playing the blues on harmonica, by age 17 Muddy was playing local parties and juke joints on acoustic guitar.  In 1940, Waters moved to Chicago for the first time but soon returned to Mississippi.  During 1943, he returned to Chicago for good.  In 1945, Muddy was given his first electric guitar from his uncle, Joe Grant, and the rest as they say is history.  In 1950, Muddy recorded Rollin’ Stone, a song one decade later five young white, English lads would take as the name of their band, who would become the world’s greatest rock and roll band, The Rolling Stones.  Over the years, Waters would have as his backing band some of the most respected sidemen in blues history, including Little Walter, Jimmy Rogers, Pinetop Perkins, Otis Spann, James Cotton, Calvin “Fuzz” Jones and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith.

In 1977, Waters recorded Hard Again, a comeback album of sorts, that featured Johnny Winter on guitar, producer and miscellaneous screaming.  The first song on the album is a blistering, powerful remake of his 1955 classic, Mannish Boy.  For anyone who is not familiar with the music of Mr. Waters, this is the album to start with.  If I could only own twelve albums, this would be one.  Listening to the CD as I type, track six has just begun, The Blues Had A Baby And They Named It Rock And Roll.  Yes, indeed!

These photos were shot at a very small bar on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, USA, and as such the lighting was not very conducive to one wanting to photograph arguably the greatest bluesman of all time.  As a matter of fact, of the two or three rolls of film I shot that night, only one print actually looked worthy of posting on my blog.  All others came back underdeveloped.  With the use of my computer, I was able to adjust the color and contrast levels to make them presentable.  The one print that looked half-way decent didn’t even make the final cut to this post.  And as always, what appears on your computer screen never compares to my original print or scan.

I have always thought the location of this show was Stache’s & Little Brothers.  However, when doing some research it seems the location was a place called the High Street Brewing Company, but this might be the same locale, only under a different name.  The date of the show was either Sunday February 8, 1981 or Tuesday November 3, 1981, as it seems that Waters played at this bar twice during that year.

Muddy Waters passed away in Chicago on April 30, 1983.  The blues are rock and roll and Muddy Waters is the blues!

Steven H. Spring

Veterans Day In America

As America celebrates its veterans tomorrow, I find much irony in the fact that this country is so quick to start a war or two but cannot find the necessary funds to provide adequate health care to its wounded military personnel.  Every time I see the commercial of Trace Adkins asking donors to pledge nineteen dollars a month to help provide much needed medical benefits to the wounded warriors project, it make me cringe in anger.  This is a national embarrassment for which our government should be mortified, a dishonor to those men and women who proudly serve this nation and especially a disgrace to those who gave their life or occurred any type of injury in the line of duty to their country.

Coming of age during the height of the Vietnam War, watching Walter Cronkite report the causality statistics each week along with the numerous anti-war protests, I would have thought this nation would never engage in another destructive conflict during my lifetime.  However, it seems that we have been perpetually at war now for the past twenty years, going back to the first Gulf War in the early 1990s.  With an annual defense budget of nearly $900 billion, we spend nearly as much on our military as the rest of the world combined.  When combined with intelligence, we spend nearly $1.5 trillion on defense and intelligence related expenditures every year.  Moreover, this does not include America’s new ultra top-secret intelligence budget.  Since September 11th, our defense budget has nearly doubled, and in addition, our government has since built up such a top-secret network of intelligence agencies that no one knows how much it cost, how many it employs or how many agencies it runs.

We currently have troops stationed in approximately one hundred and fifty countries.  Granted, in many of these countries it might be just a few soldiers guarding our embassies, however, why do we have seventy-five thousand troops stationed in Germany, nearly seventy-five years after World War II ended?  We still have fifty thousand troops stationed along the 38th parallel in Korea, sixty years after that war ended.  It is long past time to bring all our troops home from foreign shores.  It is this rapid buildup of our military over the past decade, along with a seemingly endless procession of military endeavors that is bankrupting this nation.  We are following down the very same destructive financial path that caused the collapse of the former Soviet Union during the 1980s.

The sad aspect of America heavily arming itself is the fact that we are also arming nearly every other country as well.  As U.S. arms sales hit a record high this past year, at more than $66 billion, we sell more than seventy-five percent of the total global arms market, far out-selling second place Russia at a mere $4.8 billion.  We must not forget that many times these very same military weapons come back to haunt us.  Have we forgotten that it was America who armed Osama bin Laden when he was in Afghanistan fighting the former Soviet Union or that we armed Saddam Hussein when Iraq was at war with Iran?

In my writings over the past decade, I often quote President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who in his January 17, 1961 farewell address to the nation, warned the country to beware of the mighty military-industrial complex.  President Eisenhower stated “…we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.  The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”  Coming from a five-star general, many who credit for winning World War II, America should have listened.  As a business model, the military-industrial complex remains in business and profitable only via the costly aspects of war.  For every action, there is a reaction.  Heavily arming our entire planet might be great for the American military-industrial complex bottom line, however, in the long run, it greatly impedes world peace.

Steven H. Spring
United States Navy, Aerographer’s Mate 2nd Class, 1975-1979

Is This The End Of The World As We Know It?

This, most likely will be my last posting on WordPress.com.  With the re-election of President Barack Obama last night, civilization as we know it will surely come to an immediate end.   The first thing to go most likely will be our electrical grid, which will lead to the rapid decent into Armageddon as governments crumble and citizens will be force to fend for themselves.  The Mayans were right; we have only a little more than one month until our world as we know it comes to a merciful end on December 21, 2012.

Why, one might ask why the apocalyptic forecast?  It seems that many hardcore Republican supporters seriously believe that life will come to an abrupt end with President Obama’s re-election and implementation of his draconian policies, such as his Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act (i.e., ObamaCare).  Is it really such a terrible thing for all Americans to have some sort of health insurance?  No, it is disgraceful for a prosperous nation such as the United States to have nearly fifty million citizens without adequate health care coverage.  President Obama entered office four years ago facing an economic crisis many economists were predicting to be as severe as that of the Great Depression.  He inherited two unfunded and unnecessary wars, two unfunded massive tax cuts mainly benefiting the wealthy elite, a collapsing auto industry and a housing market whose bubble had just burst.  Dire consequences individually on their own, however, when combined created a perfect storm of economic catastrophe.  When you integrate these economic disasters together with the fact that Republican members of Congress did absolutely nothing to help the president implement sound policies to turn the economy around during the past four years, it there really any wonder why the economy is still in critical condition?  The true underlying problem with the American economy is that the manufacturing industry, which was the backbone of the middle class, began its exodus nearly forty years ago when steel plants moved overseas in search of extremely low wages.

In my nearly fifty years of following politics, I do not believe there has been a more hated and feared president than Mr. Obama.  Why is it that so many Republicans actually believe the president to be both a Muslim and Kenyan, despite all evidence to the contrary?  I find it rather ironic that many Republicans believe Obama to be a member of the Islamic faith, yet they can immediately name the Christian pastor whose church the president attended for twenty years, who baptized him, married him and baptized his two daughters.

On the very night that President and Mrs. Obama were celebrating his inauguration four years ago, more than fifteen top Republican congressional leaders and strategists met during a private dinner in Washington, D.C. to plot ways to defeat both the newly elected president’s policies and his re-election bid.  Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky opined three years ago that his number one priority was to see that President Obama does not get re-elected.  These Republican leaders should be ashamed and embarrassed by this manner of thinking.  Their constituents should be disgusted by this disgraceful ideological indifference by their Congressional representatives who put themselves and their party before their country.

As for me, I do not have time to dwell on such nonsense.  I have thousands of empty gallon milk jugs to fill with water before the apocalypse rears its ugly head.

Steven H. Spring

 

 

 

 

Flowers #330B, 331A, 332A & 333A

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Lilies, whose scientific name is Lilium, has more than one hundred gorgeous species in its family.  There are many plants that have lily in their common name, however, not all are true lilies.  Two examples of this misnomer are Day Lilies and Peace Lilies.  True lilies are mostly native throughout the temperate climatic regions of the northern hemisphere of planet Earth, although the range can extend into the northern subtropics as well.  This range extends across much of Europe, Asia, Japan and the Philippines and across southern Canada and throughout most of the United States.

Lilies are very easy to grow.  If I can grow them, anyone can!  They are not especially particular about soil type nor pH level.  Their only requirement is well-drained soil.  Lilies grow best in full sun, however they may thrive in partial sun as well.  An interesting fact about this plant is that most lily bulbs have very thick roots that have the ability to pull the bulb down into the soil at a depth that is most optimum for their continued survival.

I have also yet to figure out what is causing the uploaded photographs to look slightly askew when viewing the finished posting.  This is not the case of the actual photograph scanned onto my computer (yes, I still proudly shoot film) nor when I first upload them to my WordPress.com blog page.  Again, I am sometimes embarrassed by the final product, as it appears that I care very little by their actual appearance.  As a neat freak and a perfectionist (both a blessing and a curse), this is far from the truth.

If I am fortunate enough to have you view my work, and you find the quality of my photographs lacking, please let me know via a viewer comment.

Steven H. Spring