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Things I've Found 39 (Reggie White and the Philosophy of Football)—1/5/2005

by Mark Rose

Oh, yet another Things I've Found being passed on to others so that you can write your own Things I've Found and pass them onto your own friends and acquaintances and so on and so on. You know, this is how spam starts.

Reggie White Could Pack a Lot of Sacks in a Football Game: News comes this past week that former NFL great Reggie White passed away at the age of 43. It was some type of respiratory ailment possibly complicated by sleep apnea issues. Now, please don't get me wrong. I always liked Reggie White. And by all accounts, he was a good man. But at one point after retirement, he wanted to be a politician. And in order to grease his entry into the world of politicos, he once gave a speech before the Wisconsin State Assembly. It was televised on C-SPAN at the time, and it destroyed his political career in less than 45 minutes. Why, you ask? Oh, please don't. Just go read the entire transcript and be amazed (it's long but very worth the effort): http://my.execpc.com/~dross/aw/regwhite.html

Or listen to the online speech here: http://www.jsonline.com/packer/audio/audio32598.stm

[No, Reggie wasn't a racist. He believed he was saying positive things about the various ethnic groups he mentions. Oh well. We still love you, Reggie. R.I.P.]

The Philosophy of Football: Remember the old Monty Python skit where famous thinkers and philosophers took to the soccer field? "Heidegger's flashing down the left side," etc. Well, now you can own their kit, kinda. Philosophy Football (http://www.philosophyfootball.com/) offers very very cool T-shirts that feature quotes and images from three different worlds of thought: football (soccer) players, dissenters and philosophers. Shirts that have quotes will have the speaker's name and a soccer number on the back. Come on, how can you not want a jersey with Percy Bysshe Shelley's name and number on it? Far better than a Jeff Garcia tog, dontcha think? Some of their politics may not be for everyone, but the Philosopher shirts are cool (Great shirts include Vladimir Nabokov's comments about goalkeeping, the Nietzsche design and the vibrant Joyce shirt. I bought Camus and Machiavelli.) Definitely worth a look.

I'll Have the Whataburger: Heritage Foods USA is a new organization devoted to re-introducing heritage breeds of livestock and heirloom varieties of vegetables and crops back into the American food chain. If you've ever read Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation, or ever worried about tomatoes that seem to be made of nothing but miscolored pulp, then you might be interested in their activities. Their first goal is to bring actual turkey back to the market. Real turkeys aren't all white meat with breasts so large that they can barely stand. Real turkeys have a sweet, gamy taste to their meat that won't remind you of Uncle Jim scratching his butt and watching football. Worth a look and a click for their catalogue: http://www.heritagefoodsusa.com/. There's even a turkey-cam!

Old News So Old It's New Again: We all do that. We hear something, write it down, maybe stick it in our favorites folder, then never use it again. Well, don't forget to use Google Scholar (http://scholar.google.com/) a beta search service that looks through scholarly papers and documentation, much of which is available free online (some of which requires payment). Definitely presents wildly different search results.

And another one you may have heard of but stopped using. Yahoo has a great way to search for video on the Internet based on topical themes. Check out http://video.search.yahoo.com/ and enter a search term. My standard "miniature golf" term brought up tons of video I hadn't found through other engines, including (horrifyingly) home videos of actual play. Surprisingly, "nude miniature golf" didn't come up at all. Yet.

Make Your Own Snowflake! Very nicely done snowflake-maker out of online "paper". Click where you want the online scissors to cut and preview the flake as you go. Now if only they would add a pattern transfer to your printer. http://snowflakes.lookandfeel.com/

Hic! Here's something to do when you're fiddling with your martini in the bar trying to look enigmatic to the sloe-gin-eyed waitress. Start collecting swizzle sticks! http://www.swizzledd.com/