It’s That Time. Again.

s-l1000It’s here.

The end…and the beginning.

Here, during the prime Dog Days of August, it has snuck in quietly, bringing legions of supporters with it. A force to be reckoned with. Its shield reflects the colors of whatever region it calls home, the supporters wild and crazy, ranging in age from 5 to 95. And once it has taken hold, it doesn’t budge until the Ice Days of January.

Football is Back.

Dyed-in-the-wool hardcore fans  say that these first three pre-season games don’t count. That teams are whittling down 75-80 combatants to a mere 53. Try telling that to diehards who have waited 192 days, 30 hours, and upteen minutes and booga upteen seconds to be able to wear their jerseys again.

I should have sensed it coming.

The first indication of the season to come was an increased selection of bratwursts and beer. Football jerseys and shirts of every shape and size called out from the front rows of Walmart and Target. Invites to Football Fantasy leagues filled e-mail boxes all over the country.

Yet I wanted to bask in the sun and laziness of Summer for just a little longer. Fight the mosquitoes just a little longer. Try to go to sleep while it’s still light out.

But I was denied.

Today was the clincher. It was declared “Packer Casual Day” at work.

I was afloat in a sea of green, my little navy number 6 a chuckle to the masses. I survived pretty well, holding up my end of the football spectrum as well as I could. I live in  Packer country, you see, where Bears are eaten for breakfast. Silly carnivores…

Football fans of all ages and locations begin to shout at their TVs during the pre-games just as a warmup of things to come. As if the announcers, coaches, and players could hear them. Who knows — maybe on some cosmic level they can. And most times it’s not pretty. Football fans know that technically we are all equal during the first pre-season game — that we all start from zero. But they will also point out that some teams are more zero than others.

It’s not that I have a dislike for Fall — or football. I love them both. But somehow the thought of people sitting in the stands, watching players who will soon be just a name on a piece of paper, the heat at a swell 90 degrees — well, I can think of better places to spend my Dog Days. Like at the beach.

In my house, the blam bang of tackles and missed tackles and stupid calls from coaches and snide remarks from announcers will bounce off the walls from Thursday through Sunday night from now until January. That’s plenty of chaos for me.

Until then, I think I’ll play it cool. Very cool. I’ll just watch the pre-season games in my air conditioned house.

That way no one can hear me screaming at the TV. Stupid refs…

Go Bears!

Water’s Gate

gateNow Watergate does not bother me..
Does your conscience bother you?
Tell the truth…

…..Sweet Home Alabama, Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1974


I must admit that about the time Watergate came along I was working my first job as a linofilm typist, and politics did not really concern me overmuch. Today’s generation looks back fondly at Watergate just as they do the Battle of Gettysburg or the Boston Tea Party. Just another history lesson.

The suffix -gate derives from the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s, which resulted in the resignation of U.S. President Richard Nixon. The scandal was named after the Watergate complex in Washington D.C. What I find really funny, though, is that the “gate” part started a whole slew of scandalous escapades. “Gates” abound everywhere.

There are Arts and Entertainment gates:

* Closetgate (2006); controversy after the TV show South Park aired a parody of Scientology

* Nipplegate (also known as Boobgate) (2004); Janet Jackson’s famous “wardrobe malfunction” during half time of Super Bowl XXXVII

There are Politic gates:

* Billygate (1980); Then President Jimmy Carter’s younger brother Billy legally represented the Libyan government as a foreign agent

* Bridgegate (2014); New Jersey Governor Chris Christie allegedly ordered lane closures from Fort Lee, New Jersey, to the George Washington Bridge, because the Fort Lee mayor did not endorse him for his re-election

*  Hairgate (1993); Controversy surrounding a haircut given to U.S. President Bill Clinton

There are Journalism and Academic gates:

* Hackgate (also known as Rupertgate) (2011); Allegations that the now defunct News of the World had hacked into the phones of celebrities, politicians, and members of the British Royal Family

* Reutergate (2006); The controversy over Reuters photographer Adnan Hajj manipulating news photos with Photoshop

There are Sports gates:

* Deflategate (2015); Did they or did they not under-inflate the footballs?

*  Tripgate (2010); Strength and Conditioning Coach Sal Alosi tripped cornerback Nolan Carroll as he ran down the sideline

*  Bumpergate (1982); During the Daytona 500 race, drive Bobby Allison allegedly modified his car so that his rear bumper would fall off, giving him an aerodynamic edge

Funny thing is that these scandals aren’t limited to U.S. soil. Just listen to the names and places:

* Portraitgate (2009, Ireland): Two oil paintings depicting Brian Cowen, Taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland, in the nude, were briefly displayed in Dublin art galleries in March 2009 as an act of guerilla art

* Toiletgate (2006,  Elista, Kalmykia, Russia); The allegations by Veselin Topalov and his manager Silvio Danailov during the World Chess Championship that Topalov’s opponent Vladimir Kramnik was visiting the toilet suspiciously frequently during games

* Pastagate (2013, Canada); Controversy in which an Italian restaurant was investigated by the Quebec government for using words that do not comply with their language laws, such as “bottiglia”, “calamari” and “pasta”

* Porngate (2012, India) Three members of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly in India resign from their offices after accusations that they watched porn during government proceedings.

* Bottlegate (2001, Ohio); Rowdy fans of the Cleveland Browns threw plastic bottles and other debris on the field after a controversially overturned call in the final minute of the game led to the Browns losing the game to the Jacksonville Jaguars


You get my drift.  So I figured, if there’s so many scandals out there with gates on them, why not create a few of my own?

* Grannygate: Busted for keeping grandson up way past his bedtime and offering him sugared drinks

* Catgate: When coaxing live cats to lay on the toy train track didn’t work, I offered my collection of stuffed unicorns as test subjects

* Employeegate: There are enough infractions in this scandal that this blog cannot list them all. I am on double secret probation until I am 85

* Flippergate: numerous violations of the “put the TV flipper back on the end table where you found it” rule. The scandal is that I never remember the rule — until I lose the flipper

* Irishfestgate (2012); I boasted to my 6 foot, 225-lb. son that I could keep up with him beer-for-beer at Irishfest. Guess who won, and guess who was sick for two days

There are a whole slew of gates for those who are curious — check out  I’m sure if you scoured your past you’d find a lot of gates, too. But thankfully, since most of us are just regular guys/gals, the media won’t be knocking on your door — er, gate — any time soon.

Just be smart, and keep your gate locked.

Just in case.