Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Real 12th Man Wears Maroon and White

12th Man Statue
E. King Gill stands ready

Now that Johnny Football and his 12th Man have ended their college football season, and done quite well, thank you very much, the Super Bowl-bound Seattle Seahawks and their version of the 12th Man are getting lots of air time. My son, who was raised amid Aggie traditions, knows all about the original 12th Man and was a bit miffed that Seattle didn’t bother to come up with their own identifying characteristic, as he pointed out on his Facebook page: “ Seattle Seahawks are lame; com up with your own nickname. There is only one 12th Man and we all know where they are from!”

Well, if you are from Texas you probably know that the 12th Man is the embodiment of the spirit of Aggieland, that is, Texas A&M University, but there might be those of you not from Texas and perhaps from Seattle who don’t know the story of the first 12th Man.

E. King Gill

January, 1922; the underdog Aggies were playing the nation’s top-ranked Centre College team and were losing players to injury at an alarming rate. Coach Dana X. Bible sent for E. King Gill, a player who had not been practicing with the team in order to focus on basketball, who was identifying players for reporters in the press box. Gill suited up and stood ready if his team needed him. At the end of the game, which the Aggies managed to win 22-14, Gill was the only man left standing on the A&M sidelines. Later, he said, “I wish I could say that I went in and ran for the winning touchdown, but I did not. I simply stood by in case my team needed me.”

Since the 1940s the A&M student body has stood during the entire game to support their team.

And as Paul Harvey used to say, “And now you know the rest of the story.”




Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A New Golden Rule for the Internet Age

I’m sure I’m showing my age, but social media has done a number on social graces. Remember the old “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything?” Well Twitter took care of that. Just post whatever tacky or nasty comment that comes to your mind, and then try to weasel out of it the next day by making a ridiculously insincere apology, also on Twitter. I mean, really. If the comment will need to be apologized for, why say it in the first place? And I understand you can do the same thing on Facebook, but I’m told Facebook attacks are seldom recanted. I don’t know much about Instagram, one of the newer machinations concocted for the Internet and your smart phone, but I suspect its main traffic will be unflattering pictures of your so-called friends. Speaking of smart phones, they have made taking pictures of an accident more important that coming to the aid of the accident victim. How golden is that? And then of course, there is the plain old Internet, where you can post those phone pictures, nude pictures of old girl friends, or make up untrue stories and do all kinds of other devious things that I can’t even begin to imagine.

The old tried and true golden rule is still golden: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. But that one seems to have fallen out of favor; at least all the negative, unpleasant, vindictive, hateful, tacky things going on in social media seem to indicate that no one worries about how they treat their fellow man or woman. Perhaps it sounds too formal or old-fashioned. Or maybe mothers don’t pass it along anymore. Whatever.

I do realize that all people don’t abuse social media, but the ones who do seem to be the ones who get the attention. And that’s a shame. The quest for that fifteen minutes of fame has made its mark on society.

Perhaps we need a new golden rule. I submit for your consideration this one: Use good sense, good taste, good manners. Think about it. Stopping to apply one or all of these concepts when tempted to do or say something questionable and discovering that the proposed action would not meet these standards would be a pretty darn good indication that another course of action should be chosen-mostly to do nothing. The problem with this new golden rule, however, is that the person in question would have to know what good manners and good taste actually are, and based on current music, TV shows and movies, I’m not sure any conventional wisdom relating to good manners and taste even exists anymore. And good sense? I’m not sure much of that is cultivated these days, either.

So hoping for a rise in the use of good manners, good sense, and good taste may be a pipe dream. And it’s a done deal that the Internet and social media aren’t going away. The perpetrators of all the unnecessary, hateful, and most of the time, inane drivel, need to step back and put the shoe on the other foot. Is that the way they would want to be treated? What do their actions say about them as a person?

Oh, right, that won’t work, either. That would require the good sense part.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Magazine Wars

You may remember my frustration over Vogue magazine and the lack of relevancy to my life (“My Love-Hate Relationship With Vogue Magazine,” September 12, 2013). Well, the plot thickens! Not long after that blog, a September issue of Cosmopolitan appears in the mail. Right address and everything. And then in quick succession comes the October issue. I didn’t subscribe, even by accident. I can’t imagine who sent it to me. Or why. No doubt because of my ranting about Vogue, to give me another magazine option. Or just to mess with me.

But I am curious, so I scour the magazine looking for a number to call, which wasn’t as easy as it should have been, call and am told to call another number to find out who paid for the subscription. So I call that number and get a computer program that gives me an address to write to and a website about five inches long to check out for the answer to my question. I hang up.

So the magazine keeps coming. Boy, I thought I had nothing in common with Vogue. I hadn’t seen anything yet! Cosmo’s target audience must be the 18-25 age group of hormone-heavy females with questionable taste. I have tried to give the magazine the benefit of the doubt and try to read it. Trust me, it doesn’t take long to flip through and look at the pictures, the article titles, recognize almost none of the celebrities pictured and interviewed, and make it to the last page in record time.

But I have tried. I did read in the November issue (see, I let them pile up before trying to wade through the flotsam) a disturbing article about increased heroin use by middle to upper-class and supposedly intelligent college kids. I had to chuckle at the comment on the Thanksgiving food lay-out that suggested buying an already baked turkey so you wouldn’t have to deal with the gross giblets-yeah, like that’s the hardest part of cooking a turkey dinner. The fitness page had good exercises, but not that my old body could easily master. I did read with interest the article about Revenge Porn, something I didn’t know existed but does now, thanks to the Internet, vindictive ex-boy friends, and  bad choices. For those of you also unaware of this new tactic, it is when the discarded boy friend posts nude photos of the former girl friend online and in all the wrong places. I really do understand the frustration of the girls who have been victimized by this new method of revenge and none of it is right, what the boy friends did or the lack of response by the law, but none of this would have happened if the pictures had not been taken at all. If a little common sense and good taste had been used, perhaps some if not all of the problem could have been avoided. I am not saying the girls were asking for it, so don’t get all bent out of shape and tell me I am making the girls the guilty parties here.  i just think young people sometimes don’t think things through. And then there was the Did I Ask for Your Opinion?! page with advice on how to deal with friends and family who poke into your business or aren’t crazy about some of your lifestyle choices. Such as, “My dad hates my tattoo-he won’t even look at it.” Well, duh. Unless her dad is covered in tattoos himself, what did she expect? She probably knew deep down what his reaction would be, which is most likely the reason she got the tattoo in the first place. Or the one about being laughed at for wearing dark lipstick. These are life-defining questions? These are things young women should lose sleep over? Really?

And I could go on, but you get the idea. When the February issue came the other day, I was horrified to realize that, if I read the address label correctly, the subscription runs until September of 2015! A 2-year subscription! I can’t imagine who spent that much money on this magazine for me, someone not in the target audience. Which was the whole point, no doubt. Yes, I could cancel it and probably will, but I keep thinking I will find something of value in it if I just keep looking. I also think that eventually the perpetrator will give themselves away and the truth will come out.

I had to smile when comparing Vogue with its sophistication, smoothness, and snob appeal to Cosmopolitan, with its youth, primary colors, and cotton candy viewpoint, that I actually could relate in some ways to Vogue. Go figure. 

So I will just be patient, read my More magazine, which really does fit my age and life style, enjoy my Cactus and Succulent Society of America Journal-yes, there is such a thing!-recycle the Cosmos off to the Thrift Shop, and wait for the mystery to unravel itself.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

I finally get computer capabilities back, and I’m still late posting on the blog. Football was the problem this time. I was so wound up watching Johnny Football and the Aggies come from behind to win the Chick Fil-A Bowl that I just didn’t get it done. In case you missed it, Texas A&M beat Duke 52-48 in an exciting fourth quarter rally that the other bowl games will have a hard time topping.

_Texas-AM-Aggies-quarterback-Johnny-Manziel-_20140101001139986_660_320 www.foxsports.com

And quite frankly, right this minute I am at a loss for something to tell you about anyway. We had our traditional New Year’s day meal of black-eyed peas, for good luck in the South, as you may know, sausage and sauerkraut, and nice warm cornbread, had a nap, and life is good.

Next week I will have something terribly exclusive and totally readable to share with you. Well, at least that’s the plan.

So I wish you all a successful and happy new year and hope to share lots of good stories with you in 2014.