Allstate Good Hands Good Deed?

September 7, 2016

As collegiate football got underway this past weekend, it did not take Allstate Insurance long to start bragging about their good hands, good deed declarations during games to assert that they have now donated millions of dollars to fund college general scholarships during the past twelve years. Up until two years ago, the insurance conglomerate always told viewers the exact dollar amount of their donations. However, starting last season, they only state the amount is millions of dollars. I do not claim that my measly blog is responsible for Allstate realizing that for all the free advertising it receives all season long in lieu of donating a couple hundred thousand dollars each year, as I have been posting this piece for several years, but I have yet to see or hear any other person criticize the corporation for having the audacity to boast about such a trifling dollar amount considering all the free advertising it receives for its generosity.

Anyone who watches college football knows all to well that the Allstate Good Hands logo is placed advantageously in a great many stadiums across the country in the middle of the netting that is raised behind the goal posts on point after touchdowns and field goal attempts in order to prevent the kicked football from going into the stands. At first glance, it appears that Allstate is doing a great deed by donating money to fund college scholarships. However, when you consider all the free publicity the company receives all season long, generosity might not be the best word to describe Allstate’s publicity stunt. How many times are these logos shown during the course of each season for every college and university stadium that allows these netting logos? How many times during the year will game announcers proclaim to their viewers that Allstate has donated millions for college scholarships? Every time the logo-laden netting is raised or the announcers make the declaration, it is the equivalent one more free commercial for the insurance conglomerate.

I know not what a thirty-second commercial airing during a typical college football game costs, let alone that of a bowl game or the national championship playoffs, however for all the free advertising that it receives every year; Allstate should be embarrassed that it has donated only a few million dollars over twelve years to fund college scholarships. Allstate should have donated at least ten times that amount, if not one hundred times more than it has before it boasts of its good deed.

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

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Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Football Players

December 26, 2015

On Christmas day, Sony Pictures released the movie “Concussion,” starring Will Smith and Alec Baldwin. Based on the 2009 GQ expose “Game Brain” by Jeanne Marie Laskas, the movie deals with not only the serious impact that concussions have on football players but also the scandalous claim that the National Football League has been doing everything possible to cover up the health issue for years.

Just days before the annual Thanksgiving marathon of three pro-football games televised from noon to midnight, former New York Giants star Frank Gifford’s family announced that he too, suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) before he passed away on August 9th of this year. CTE is a progressive degenerative disease that is found in individuals who have a history of repetitive brain trauma. Yet, not once during the twelve hours of football games played on three different networks, did I hear any of the game announcers or studio analysts speak of Mr. Gifford’s injuries.

Having spent Thanksgiving with family, it is possible that one of the announcers did address this issue and I missed it, however, for the seriousness of the issue, a lengthy discussion during each game would have been hard to miss. Moreover, not once since then have I heard anyone involved in the televising of NFL games discuss the problem. With the movie raising the issue that the NFL has been covering up the issue for years, it does not take a conspiracy buff to deduce that the league has instructed everyone involved not to address the issue.

During the past five years, the PBS television network has aired two really good documentaries regarding the seriousness of injuries received by young men while playing what has become America’s new national pastime. During the first documentary, one person interviewed, and forgive me for not being able to recall what their occupation was, but they opined that when young children play organized football, when their helmets collide, which happens on every single play not only during games but also during every single practice, that their brains are being shaken around, similar to that of shaking a bowl of Jell-O. This is shocking. While watching these two documentaries, my thought was every parent who has children playing organized football should view these programs.

When growing up, I played football all the time. However, the only time I wore a uniform was my sophomore year in high school when I played on the reserves football team. Now days, children begin playing organized football at a very young age. Concussions are a very serious issue among football players; however, I was alarmed when the gentleman referred to children’s brains being shaken like a bowl of Jell-O.

My son played a couple of years of organized football when he was in middle school. Knowing what I now know, I like to think that peer pressure among my son’s friends would not have swayed my thoughts toward letting him play a sport he too, like me loved and that I would have had the cojones to just say no.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

Is It Legal To Sell Alcohol Only To Rich People?

September 9, 2015

An open letter to Gene Smith, Athletic Director at The Ohio State University, regarding its new policy of selling alcoholic beverages only to the wealthy elite;

September 8, 2015

Mr. Gene Smith
Director of Athletics
The Ohio State University
Room 224, St. John Arena
410 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, Ohio 43210-1166

Dear Gene,

I was surprised to read in last week’s Columbus Dispatch that alcohol will now be sold in Ohio Stadium. That is, only to rich folks. It was only a few years ago that alcoholic advertising was banned from all NCAA events. I guess the organization decided that, despite multi-billion dollar television contracts, it was no longer making enough money and caved in to the almighty dollar. I was also shocked to learn that alcohol was being sold to patrons in the Schottenstein Center ever since it first opened. Again, being sold only to those fans who pay top dollar for their seats.

I assume the rationale for this decision is the supposition that rich folks are much better behaved, especially when consuming alcoholic beverages. Even if true, you are punishing the masses for the behavior of only a few. I think there is no dispute that the working man and woman are far more zealous fans than their wealthy counterparts. This is why Value City Arena, for most games is a dead arena. Selling seat licenses for prime seats and seating students up in the rafters led to no home court advantage for Coach Matta and his BasketBucks. I will give you credit for moving some students down behind both benches. However, the huge eyesore of a black ribbon behind several rows of students, roping off three or four rows of prime seats is an insult to the great job that Matta has done. The reasoning given for this black ribbon is that fans in those seats might actually have to stand to watch the game.

This new policy does not affect me, as I gave up drinking some thirty-five years ago and I stopped buying alumni football tickets a decade ago not only because of the cost of a ticket but also your asinine policy of not informing alumni what game you are purchasing tickets to. I have far better things to do with $150 than waste it watching the Buckeyes beat up on Podunk U. I find it astonishing that it is much cheaper to go to a professional game than it is to a college game, played supposedly by amateurs.

College sports long ago sold its soul to the devil that Big Money is. Selling alcohol to rich people is just the latest example. The lust of money is leading to the demise of capitalism, and thus America itself. Your policy of selling alcohol only to the wealthy elite reeks of elitism. The Ohio State University should be embarrassed by this act of discrimination.

Sincerely,

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

Lilies #410BR, 414BR, 419BR, 416B, 412B, 408BR, 415BR & 417BR

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September 20, 2014

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 climate regions of the northern hemisphere of planet Earth, although their 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. They are not especially particular about soil neither 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.

If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment. Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!

Steven H. Spring

Allstate Good Hands Good Deed?

As collegiate football got underway this past weekend, it did not take Allstate Insurance long to update their good hands, good deed declarations during games to assert that they have now donated $3.4 million dollars (a paltry increase of two hundred thousand dollars over the past year) to fund college general scholarships during the past ten years, it is only right that I update and repost my blog criticizing the insurance conglomerate for having the audacity to boast about such a trifling dollar amount considering all the free advertising it receives each week.

Anyone who watches college football knows all to well that the Allstate Good Hands logo is placed advantageously in a great many stadiums across the country in the middle of the netting that is raised behind the goal posts on point after touchdowns and field goal attempts in order to prevent the kicked football from going into the stands. At first glance, it appears that Allstate is doing a great deed by donating money to fund college scholarships. However, when you consider all the free publicity the company receives all season long, generosity might not be the best word to describe Allstate’s publicity stunt. How many times are these logos shown during the course of each season for every college and university stadium that allows these netting logos? How many times during the year will game announcers proclaim to its viewers that Allstate has donated $3.4 million for college scholarships? Every time the logo-laden netting is raised or the announcers make the proclamation, it is the equivalent one more free commercial for the insurance conglomerate.

I know not what a thirty-second commercial airing during a typical college football game costs, let alone that of a bowl game or the national championship playoffs, however for all the free advertising that it receives every year, Allstate should be embarrassed that it has donated only $3.4 million to fund college scholarships. Allstate should have donated at least ten times that amount, if not one hundred times more than it has before it boasts of its good deed.

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

Why Does The U.S. Government Consider The National Football League A Charitable Organization?

February 26, 2014

While reading the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch sports pages the other day, I noticed that National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell received more than forty-four million dollars in compensation last year.  With nearly ten billion dollars in annual revenue, my first thought was how is it possible that the NFL can assert itself a non-profit financial entity for tax purposes, thus avoiding paying its fair share of income taxes?  The NFL is not the only sports league to declare itself tax-exempt, as Major League Baseball and the NCAA have as well.  More than likely, these three are not the only leagues to do so; they are the three of which I am aware.

Why is it that nearly seventy percent of U.S. corporations are regarded as non-profits?  According to the latest available Internal Revenue Service statistics, the percentage of non-profits has grown from twenty-four percent in 1986 to sixty-nine percent by 2008.  Why the sudden surge in the number of corporations that consider themselves not-for-profit?  This percentage is far higher when you add in sole proprietors and partnerships.

As the uproar over the alleged wrongdoings by the IRS, regarding the targeting of Republican political action committees’ tax-exempt status, has died down and with it any proven unlawful activity uncovered, Congress now needs to investigate why it was, in 1959 that the IRS changed the wording of the actual law regarding the qualifications for tax-exemption status.  I am not an attorney, nor a tax expert (who is?); however, the law as written by Congress in Section 501(C) of the tax code requires any entity not organized for profit, applying for tax-exempt status as a social welfare organization to be operated “exclusively” for the promotion of social welfare.

As a former audit supervisor with the Auditor of State of Ohio, I understand how the perception of improprieties over the IRS choosing to determine the validity of the applications (isn’t that their job?) of far more Republican PACs than Democratic groups because, judging solely by the number of commercials these PACs air during elections, far more Republican PACs have been created since Barack Obama was first elected president than Democratic PACs.  As an auditor, one cannot look at every single revenue source nor every expenditure, you must rely on materiality.  If far more Republican PACs are filing for tax-exempt status than Democratic PACs, it only makes sense that many more Republican PACs will be audited.

The real crime that comes to light over this alleged transgression though, is why, in 1959 did the IRS change its interpretation of the 501(C) code, when they changed the wording of “exclusively” to “primarily” regarding an organization’s civic duty as a promoter of social welfare.  What exactly is the kind of social welfare being promoted “primarily,” let alone “exclusively” by the National Football League and a great many other tax evaders?

My fellow Buckeye, John Kaskinen, the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, needs to be called before Congress and be informed that his agency will immediately change the wording of the code to properly reflect the actual wording of law regarding 501(C) tax-exempt status.  I also highly recommend Congress appropriate enough funds to the IRS so that it can examine the tax status of every organization that is currently avoiding its fair share of income tax.

How can an organization that pays it executive officer nearly forty-five million dollars, all the while purportedly being “primarily” in the business of providing social welfare, let alone “exclusively?”  This exemption is a travesty to the American taxpayer!

Steven H. Spring

Throwaway, Not Throwback Uniforms

November 18, 2013

Watching the very end of the Michigan-Northwestern football game Saturday, I was tempted to update my post concerning the wearing of obscenely dreadful looking uniforms by both college and professional teams in both football and basketball, but decided against it, as it was only just a few weeks ago that I had previously done so.  Northwestern players were wearing some sort of variation of the stars and stripes, I assume out of respect of this past Monday’s Veterans Day celebration.  I am not sure if being color-blind had anything to do with it, however, the uniforms did not look all that red, white and blue to me, looking nothing like the colors of this nation’s flag.

That all changed yesterday afternoon while getting ready to watch the Battle of Ohio as the Cleveland Browns took on the Cincinnati Bengals, who themselves always wear somewhat revolting looking tiger-striped uniforms.  Granted, as a life-long Browns fan, I must admit that I hate the Bengals, no matter what they wear, and have a very biased opinion regarding their uniforms. During the final minutes of the Fox network’s pregame show, the station showed the Pittsburgh Steelers preparing to take the field wearing their throwback uniforms.  Prison stripes was the first thought that came to mind when watching quarterback Ben Roethlisberger lead his team onto the field.  Seeing those ridiculous looking uniforms made me decide to update this post.

Why is it this nation’s sports teams take great pride in wearing hideous looking throwback uniforms?  We all know the answer, that being money.  Uniform makers, such as Nike, Adidas and Under Armour make millions of dollars selling team jerseys, and by having more than just the typical home and away jerseys means much more revenue.  Granted, there are several pro teams whose throwback uniforms look better than what they currently wear, as the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills and the San Diego Chargers come to mind.  I believe the Bills have decided to switch back to their throwback uniforms as the official team uniform.  What sets these three teams apart from all other teams is that they came into existence in 1960 during the creation of the American Football League, which later merged with the National Football League in 1970.  I have yet to see a throwback uniform dating back much longer than 1960 that does not look repulsive.

Another thing many teams are doing is wearing black uniforms, even though the official team colors are anything but that.  Again, the reason is money, as athletic apparel makers know all to well that black jerseys sell.  While channel surfing in search of a good game to watch; now days you never can tell what teams are playing because of all the different uniforms being worn.  Call me old-fashioned, or just plain old, however, when I watch a game I like to be able to recognize the teams playing by their uniforms.  Not being able to do so, I might as well be watching a game between the Muncie Flyers and the Canton Bulldogs, two original NFL teams instead of two current Super Bowl contenders.

Thankfully, when the Browns, the team of my youth, wear their throwback uniforms, they look almost identical to what they currently wear.  The only thing that indicates something different is a small number on the helmets.  The reasoning for the popularity of these modified throwback uniforms, we are told, is that the players like them.  However, we all know the real reasoning for the old-time uniforms.  Authentic team apparel is big business.  That is the sole reason for throwback jerseys rapid rise in popularity in recent years.

As a nation, America long ago lost any sense of pride we have in our appearance.  It always amazes me when I see photos from the Great Depression, where men stood in soup lines wearing suits and ties.  These days, in our anything goes culture, young men proudly wear their pants down around their knees, arrogantly displaying their underwear for all to see.  One need only walk throughout a shopping mall or grocery store to see that now days, the less clothing the better.  People no longer get dressed up to go to church.

As proof to my claim that people just don’t care about their appearance anymore, one need only view the website People Of WalMart.  The first and only time I did so, my thought was this just has to be some sort of Halloween prank.  Surely, these people did not appear in public thinking they looked respectable.  However, it turns out that the photos posted were actual Wal-Mart customers.  Unbelievable is the word that comes to mind.

Steven H. Spring