Lesbos the Beautiful!

There is one kind of Facebook and Twitter post I refuse to acknowledge even if I agree with its sentiment, and that’s the “OMG, you won’t believe what the bigots are saying about…” post, or even the “You won’t believe what some Republican running for office deep in the Red States said about…” post. Of course they’re out there. Why repeat what they say?

I saw one this morning about the multicultural Coke ad that aired during the Superbowl. While many of us were reeling from Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death, Coke – which kills more people than the heroin does, if you count diabetes and obesity – was peddling sugar water with a feel-good ad featuring a multi-lingual version of “America the Beautiful.”

Of course the rednecks blew a gasket! If there were Twitter in the ’70s, they’d have said the most iconic Coke commercial of the decade was glorifying the soft-headed pot smokers who led the retreat from Vietnam:

The lyricist...with her dog.

The lyricist…with her dog.


Engaging in that discussion is a road to nowhere. Instead , ever curious about the writers of songs and everything else, I did a quick search on “America the Beautiful”: lyrics by a teacher from Falmouth, Massachusetts named Katharine Lee Bates. A lifelong Republican, she defected from the party of her fathers in 1924 when the Republicans sabotaged Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations.

Oh, and she had a “roommate” of 25 years, a fellow Wellesley College professor to whom she dedicated a volume of poetry. To what extent these “Boston marriages” were lesbian or platonic matters a lot to some people, but all I can say is: What do you think they did to fight writer’s block when the moon was full over Wellesley? They weren’t drinking Coke!

Football Highlights Reel

There was a time when I watched every single Philadelphia Eagles game in a season, but I have zero nostalgia for those Sunday afternoons I spent neglecting my algebra homework. In fact, my favorite football game ever was the Huxley College comeback against Darwin in 1932:

That’s Horse Feathers  (screenplay by Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby, S. J. Perelman, and Will B. Johnstone). Silly as it is, professional American football is almost as nonsensical, with a rulebook about when players are and aren’t allowed to move, about when specific kinds of contact are off limits, and  a whole body of what can only be called case law that, obviously to everyone, is designed to make the dramatic moments look and feel spectacular on the highlights reel. Play gets stopped and technicalities discussed more often than at an amateur robotics convention.

The only rule you need explained to you to watch a soccer (actual “football” to you overseas) match is the offsides rule. Baseball, “my sport” which is also full of odd geometry and scoring, has a few obscure rules such as the balk or the infield fly rule, but they rarely come into play.

I know lots of intelligent and soulful people who’ll be watching the Superbowl today. I’ll catch up with you guys next week.