Superbowl is Not a Game!

With a Superbowl game looming I must reflect again that this event is about as far from a sporting event as it could possibly be. Professional football today is big business, a media event, an entertainment extravaganza. The whole process is more akin to the production of a blockbuster movie (a work of fiction). There is nothing sporting or sports related about it, except for the fact that a ball is involved.

We have a bunch of over paid, over privileged actors (referred to as football players) who have publicly stated that they feel their most important roll is political activism and that being a football celebrity is simply a means to achieve that end. How can we call that sporting? And what are the big media stories surrounding the Superbowl; it is, who are the most politically correct entertainers to employ for the halftime show.

For us who live in the Atlanta area, the next biggest story is the unprecedented level of security that will surround “game” week. Atlanta will be an armed camp with security greater than a maximum security prison. I certainly understand that this level of security is necessary in today’s political environment. But it does underscore the fact that Superbowl is more like a rock concert than a sporting event.

Of course, after the event there will be lots of hype about which of the rich and famous people attended the event to be seen, as well as to see. Then again, the rich and famous people are the only ones who can afford the cost of attending.

I am all for calling things what they really are. Professional football is a group of commercial enterprises who are in the entertainment business (like movie studios). There is a single goal in any of the events; to make money, just like any other successful commercial enterprise. It is time to quit referring to Superbowl and other professional football events as games or sporting events.

More on Racial Labels and The Fickle Media

I get so annoyed when I hear the media using racial/ethnicity labels to describe people; as if that were a relevant fact to any news story.  Again a few days ago I heard a news reporter mention that Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, is the first  “mixed race” member of the British royal family.  Because her father was Caucasian and her mother was African-American they felt it necessary to put a label on her ethnicity. In these times we should be morally and socially evolved enough that sub-divisions of the human race is not required. 

It is even harder to follow how the media define these new labels that they constantly create for their news stories. The press chose to label the past president of the US, Barack Obama as America’s first black president.  His parentage ( Caucasian mother and African father) enabled the press to label him as “black” rather than “mixed race”. 

So, let me see if I can decode the definition behind these two media labels. 

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex

Media definition of  “mixed race” –

If your father is Caucasian and your mother is African-American your media label is  “mixed race”.

Media definition of  “black” –

If your mother is Caucasian and her father is African-American your media label is  “black”.

Confused yet? I am.

WordCamp 2018 – Nashville

I use a web publishing system; also called a Content Management System (CMS), named WordPress to compose and publish this blog. I have been using WordPress for a couple of years and learning as I go. I decided to dig deeper into WordPress by attending this week’s “WordCamp US” in Nashville Tennessee. You can see details of the  agenda etc. at – https://2018.us.wordcamp.org/

WordCamps happen several times per year in different cities around the world.  This one consisted of 3 days of in-depth presentations by WordPress developers and insiders. I really enjoyed the opportunity to see some behind the scenes details.

WordCamp US, Nashville, Dec, 2018Several companies that offer web and WordPress services and software add-on products had booths set up to demonstrate their products.

There were approximately 2000 attendees and most of the sessions were packed like this one. I will definitely attend future WordCamps when I get the opportunity.

My Visit to Oak Island, Nova Scotia

I have watched the show “The Curse of Oak Island” on History Channel since its beginning.  The Curse of Oak Island on History Channel

I grew up in Nova Scotia and the Oak Island is about 90 miles from my boyhood home. I had heard the stories of the island, the rumors that Captain Kid’s treasure was buried there, and the treasure hunters who looked for it.

The History Channel series covers the most extensive efforts to date to solve the mystery and find what, if anything, is buried on Oak Island. Brothers Rick and Marty Lagina, along with their partners Craig Tester, Dan Blankenship and David Blankenship, work to fulfill a life-long dream and solve the 220-year-old Oak Island mystery.

While I was in Nova Scotia, Canada this summer I decided to visit Oak Island and see first hand the place I had seen so often on TV, while sitting at home in Georgia, USA. I found out from the Web  Oak Island Tours   that tours of the island were only available by reservation and only on Saturday and Sunday. Further 2018 tours were totally booked. However, anyone could visit the The Interpretative Centre on the island. The center is open from May 19 to October 14, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm daily.

Causeway

A view of the causeway connecting the island to the mainland.

Still seemed to be worth the 90 mile drive from my cabin in Nova Scotia. You may be wondering how you drive to an island. Well the island is only a few hundred feet off shore and the treasure hunters have built a narrow, one lane, causeway to the island to get construction equipment etc. to the dig site. The public is allowed to use the causeway to get to the Interpretative Centre on the island.

Interpretative Centre

My wife and I arrive at the Interpretive Centre

On July 16 my wife and I, along with two friends, drove to Oak Island. As I had learned from the information on the web, the area where the digging was going on was gated an only crew allowed in. I really enjoyed seeing all the exhibits in the Interpretative Centre. Artifacts that I had seen being recovered on previous television shows were on display.

 

 

However the highlight of the visit was when a number of the cast members from the TV show showed up in front of the “War Room”, which is also outside the fence, in the public area. Even more surprising, the stopped and talked to the visitors and even invited them to take pictures. The thrill of the day, I got to shake hands with Rick Lagina and introduce myself to him. Marty was absent. Then they let several people including me have pictures taken with the group. Some lady in the crowd was kind enough to take my picture with my phone.

Oak Island Crew

Myself surrounded by the crew from “The Curse of Oak Island”

The people in the above picture are, left to right: Paul Troutman, Doug Crowell, Craig Tester, Me, Rick Lagina, David Blankenship, Charles Barkhouse

Such a friendly group; and no, this was not the typical touristy scam where they take the pictures of you and then try and sell them to you. There is no charge to get on the island, no charge to tour the Interpretative Centre, and no charge to talk to the celebrities.

The Maud Lewis Memorial

 

Maud Lewis Memorial Selfie

A very poor selfie of my wife and I arriving at the Memorial Site

I am back from my annual summer trip to my birthplace in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, Canada. I did not get to blog a lot while I was there but I am now trying to catch up with some of the more memorable moments from the trip. I had heard of the Canadian artist Maud Lewis most of my life. She lived and painted in Marshalltown Nova Scotia (near Digby) just a few miles from my home. There is now a memorial to her life, including a replica of her house, on the spot where she lived during her adult life. My wife and I decided we had to visit it while we were nearby.

Maud Lewis Memorial

My wife and a better view of the sign at the entrance to the memorial

 

Living in poverty with her husband in a small house most of her life. She was a prolific painter with a simple folk art style. Maud achieved national recognition in 1964 and 1965. Several books, plays and films have since been produced about her. Lewis remains one of Canada’s best-known folk artists. Her works and the restored Maud Lewis House are displayed in the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. A more detailed description of her life and works can be found on the Art Gallery’s web site at:

https://www.artgalleryofnovascotia.ca/maud-lewis

Wikipedia also have a great description of her life:

Wikipedia story of Maude Lewis

Back in Canada on Canada Day

I am on my annual trip to Canada, where I grew up, visiting relatives. I drove from Atlanta, GA to Portland ME then caught “The Cat” ferry to Yarmouth Nova Scotia, Canada. Below is a nice YouTube video of The Cat

We then drove from Yarmouth Nova Scotia to Charlottetown Prince Edward Island to visit Donna’s Family.

PEI cabin

Royalty Maples Motel and Cottages

 

We rented this cabin for our stay in Charlottetown, PEI. See their web site here Royalty Maples Motel & Cottages

Fisherman's Wharf, PEI

Fisherman’s Wharf, North Rustico, PEI

 

 

 

Had a nice lobster dinner at Fisherman’s Wharf at North Rustico. Here is a link to their web site Fisherman’s Wharf

 

 

The Churchill Arms Pub

Also I can not visit Charlottetown without having a beer and an order of Fish & Chips at the cities authentic British pub, Churchill Arms. See their web site here Churchill Arms Pub

 

 

We spent an afternoon with a stroll on the Charlottetown water front but had to cut it short because of a rain shower.

Charlottetown Waterfront

LeRoy and Donna at the Charlottetown water front

Yesterday I had the the opportunity to spend some time with an old friends Don and Joy Spence. We enjoyed an evening at the racetrack watching some harness racing and enjoying a good meal.

Me and Donnie at the Race Track

Red Shores Racing Charlottetown

See the racetrack’s web site here Harness Racing in Charlottetown

We will be celebrating Canada Day today with a barbecue with family.  Next week it is off to my cottage in Nova Scotia.