Separated at Birth? (Mark Gastineau and William Murderface)

Separated at Birth? (Mark Gastineau and William Murderface)

One of them was one of the most feared defensive linemen in the National Football League in the 1980s, and was a member of the New York Jets’ vaunted New York Sack Exchange. The other is the bassist in the virtual/real death metal band Dethklok, as seen on the show Metalocalypse. The question is… were Mark Gastineau and William Murderface separated at birth?

Separated at Birth? (Mark Gastineau and William Murderface)

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Life Magazine's NFL 1960

Football Friday: Life Magazine’s Look at the NFL of 1960

Life Magazine's NFL 1960

This is one of the cooler sports photo galleries I’ve put together for you. This is a combination of published and unpublished images for a Life magazine article on the NFL and the ascent of pro football as a spectator sport. It ran in their December 5, 1960 issue and was called “Fans Go Ga-Ga Over Pro Football.”

The pictures in this gallery were taken by George Silk during the 1960 NFL season and seem to come from X main sources — four New York Giants home games (against the Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, St. Louis Cardinals, and Washington Redskins), a Giants film session, and a game between the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Colts (which I believe to be a home game for the Colts).

Included here is a photo of Eagles linebacker creaming the Giants’ Frank Gifford. I don’t think it’s the same hit as the one that produced that iconic photo, but it’s almost certainly the same game.

But before we get into the gallery, let’s look at the original Life cover — featuring Steve Myhra of the Baltimore Colts kicking off against the Chicago Bears — as well as an unpublished black & white version of the same photo.

Life Magazine (NFL 1960) cover - December 5, 1960

Steve Myhra (#65) kicks off for the Baltimore Colts in 1960

OK, here we go with the gallery. Just for reference, any photo with the Life watermark is an unpublished version of the photo, while the non-watermarked ones are from the original article.

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"Football Kick" by Harold E. Edgerton, 1938

Vintage Photo Wednesday: A Pair of Football Kicks

Via the Smithsonian American Art Museum, here’s a pair of outstanding vintage stop-motion photographs by Harold E. Edgerton. They both capture the moment when a player kicks a football on a tee, and I love the effect of the feet pushing in the football.

Here’s a black and white from 1934:

"Football Kick" by Harold E. Edgerton, 1934

“Football Kick” by Harold E. Edgerton, 1934

And a nifty color one from 1938. I love the shiny gold pants almost as much as the shot of the football.

"Football Kick" by Harold E. Edgerton, 1938

“Football Kick” by Harold E. Edgerton, 1938

Kayla Harrison, U.S. Judo Gold Medal Winner

Summing Up My Thoughts on the London 2012 Summer Olympics

Kayla Harrison, U.S. Judo Gold Medal Winner

Do you know who this? Thanks to NBC, probably not. She’s Kayla Harrison, America’s first-ever gold medalist in judo. But she doesn’t swim, so you probably missed it.

Over the last several days of the 2012 Summer Olympics, I was struck by the feeling I get when I visit family out of state for long trips. There’s the planning, the buildup and anticipation, and then the big day comes. I’m finally reunited for the first time in awhile, and it feels great. But then, as the days march on the newness of the experience gives way to a creeping feeling of anxiousness. By the end, even if the trip has gone well, I can’t wait to be back home and back to my daily routine.

In much the same way, I couldn’t wait for the London Games to be over even though I eagerly anticipated them for several months earlier this year. I dutifully plopped myself in front of the TV for the prime time package most nights, and even checked out several live events on the internet, but I could feel my enthusiasm flag after the second weekend. By last Wednesday or so I had had enough. I just wanted it to be over.

But in mulling things over while the quite mediocre Jesse J took a huge crap all over the closing ceremonies, I think my problem was not so much with the Olympics as with NBC’s Olympics. And to be sure, those are two totally separate things.

The Olympics are a celebration of sport and a rare opportunity for nations from all over the globe to compete and share some truly incredible experiences. NBC’s Olympics are a prepackaged entertainment extravaganza designed to stoke base patriotism and increase profit margins. Now that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I love America as much as the next red-blooded patriot and I certainly love seeing our athletes do well. But the almost exclusive focus on American athletes and their “incredible” stories is so monotonous as to defy description.

If you used NBC’s evening coverage of the Olympics as your source of knowledge about the games, you would probably assume the following:

  • The only events of any importance involve gymnastics, swimming, and running.
  • But with the last two, only short or medium distances.
  • If there’s no chance for an American (or one or two hand-picked non-American attractions) to win a medal, that event doesn’t exist.
  • Even if an American does do well, an event doesn’t exist if it isn’t easily understood or explainable by Ryan Seacrest.

2014 Winter Olympics (Sochi, Russia) logo

I know these aren’t unique observations, but they stood out to me the most over the last several days. And since I’m ruminating, I’d like to add that there is entirely too much coverage devoted to running. There’s no reason for suffering through one qualifying heat after another –unless something outrageous occurs — at the expense of so many other sports.

All that said, I’m already getting a little antsy for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. As I get older I realize that I care much more about the Winter Olympics than the Summer Olympics anyway. For one, the events are usually much more entertaining and there aren’t so many of them. And for another, I like that the United States has their work cut out for them a little more. Makes things more interesting.

Also, you can’t discount the weather factor. February in New Jersey is usually pretty lousy, so I’m much more content to stay inside and watch TV. It also helps me deal with the post-Super Bowl doldrums.

But hey, maybe I’ll feel differently when the Rio games roll around in 2016. But I don’t see it happening. Not if NBC is running the show again.

1912 Summer Olympics - Stockholm, Sweden

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 6 — The 1912 Summer Olympics

1912 Summer Olympics - Stockholm, Sweden

The 2012 London Summer Olympics are in full swing now, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t use this column to hop into the time machine and look at images from Olympiads past. Let’s set the chronometer for 100 years, which puts us back to 1912 and the Games of the V Olympiad in Stockholm, Sweden.

The images you see here were collected from the Library of Congress. Click on any for a larger version.

Col. Robt. Thompson accepting Flag for Olympic team

Col. Robt. Thompson accepting Flag for Olympic team

On the right is Robert Means Thompson (1849-1930), who served as a United States Navy officer, businessman, and a president of the American Olympic Association. On the left is Ralph Waldo Rose (1885-1913), an American track and field athlete. He won a gold medal at Stockholm for the two-handed shot put. He died the next year, at 28, of typhoid fever.

1912 U.S. Olympic Team (Stockholm, Sweden Games)

1912 U.S. Olympic Team (Stockholm, Sweden Games)

There’s not a lot of info available for this photo, which appears to be of some American athletes. The man in the “M” shirt may be Ted Meredith, who won two gold medals at the Stockholm Games. He set a world record in the 800-meter run, and won another gold as a member of the 4×400-meter relay team.

1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden - 100-meter swim

The 100-Meter Swim

I’m not sure which 100-meter swim this is for.

1912 Summer Olympics - Army rifle shooting

“Army Rifle Shooting”

Again, this is a little vague. The title of this probably refers to one of the military rifle shooting events. I can’t tell if this is a team or individual event. The Americans took gold in the team event, while Sándor Prokopp of Hungary took the gold in 300 m free rifle, three positions.

Olympic Swimmers - 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden

Olympic Swimmers

Here’s a trio of unidentified swimmers. Those dudes have some seriously large thighs.

110 metre race - Olympic Games - 1912

110-Metre Race

This is labeled by the LoC as a 110-meter race, but strictly speaking there was no such event at the 1912 Games. The only track event of 110 meters was the hurdles, but this doesn’t appear to be it.

English football team, 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden

English football team

Great Britain’s football (soccer team) captured gold in Stockholm, defeating Denmark 4-2. It was the second Olympics in a row where the Brits beat the Danes in the final.

1912 Stockholm Summer Olympics - Duncan Gillis

Gillis, hammer

This is Canadian Duncan Gillis, who won the silver medal in the hammer throw. He also participated in the discus throw event and finished 14th.

Jos. Waitzer - 1912 Stockholm, Sweden Summer Olympics

Jos. Waitzer

This is Josef Waitzer of Germany, who finished 19th in the javelin throw and 16th in the discus throw. He also participated in the pentathlon competition, but was eliminated in the third event because he did not finish his 200-meter run.

Prince William - Crown Prince, King Sweden at Olympic games

Prince William – Crown Prince, King Sweden at Olympic games

Our last shot contains a bit of Swedish royalty. From left to right in the front row of seats are Prince Wilhelm (1884-1965), Duke of Södermanland, Crown Prince Gustav VI Adolf (1882-1973), and their father King Gustaf V. Gustaf V reigned from 1907 until his death in 1950, when Gustav VI Adolf took over. He reigned until his death in 1973. Prince Wilhelm was Gustav V’s second son.

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Anthropology Days at the 1904 St. Louis Summer Olympics

Moments in Olympic Infamy: Anthropology Days

1904 St. Louis Summer Olympics posterThe first handful of modern Olympic Games would probably look a little strange to fans these days. Things weren’t nearly as slick or organized in the olden days, and never was this more evident than the 1904 St. Louis Games.

The Third Olympiad was already hamstrung by the fact that many European athletes couldn’t or wouldn’t make the journey to St. Louis, so only 12 nations competed (as opposed to 24 in the 1900 Paris Games). This left the United States free to go apeshit, and they proceeded to win 239 medals; Germany was next with 13.

In fact, St. Louis only got the Games in the first place because they threatened to stage their own sporting competition to upstage Chicago, the city that had originally won them. So St. Louis got the Olympics, but relegated them to a sideshow for the much bigger and more important Louisiana Purchase Exposition (aka World’s Fair).

The Games were marred by a series of problems, not the least of which was the marathon. Athletes ran in brutal heat over dusty roads, and the initial winner (Frederick Lorz) was later found to have gotten a car ride for 11 miles of the race. Thomas Hicks won the race, but was supported across the finish line by his trainers.

But the nadir of the Games occurred on two days when no regular Olympic events were held (August 12/13) — a truly bizarre sideshow called Anthropology Days.

The basic idea of Anthropology Days — the brainchild of Games organizer James E. Sullivan — was to simultaneously showcase a host of “primitive” people from other lands and at the same time prove the superiority of the Anglo-Saxon athlete.

Hmmm, now why does that sound familiar?

Among the “savages” on display during Anthropology Days were Cocopa Indians from Mexico, Ainu from Japan, African pygmies, some Philippine tribes, and Native Americans. How very progressive!

The first day featured standard track and field events such as shot put and 100-yard dash. The participants, never having formally trained in them or even seen them, fared predictably poorly. But the second day was meant to showcase their natural abilities with events like mud fighting, tree climbing, and javelin, the latter being chosen because natives were supposed to be good at throwing spears.

Anthropology Days at the 1904 St. Louis Summer Olympics

Yup, this really happened.

Based on two days of competition that was farcical at best, Sullivan concluded that “conclusively the savage is not the natural athlete we have been led to believe.”

Somehow I doubt we’ll see any glowing retrospectives about any of this during this year’s Summer Olympics in London.

St. Louis Browns/Brown Stockings 1888 Team Portrait (American Association of Baseball)

Vintage Photo Wednesday, Vol. 4 — Baseball Images of Yesteryear

Few professional sports in America enjoy the rich history that baseball does. While the other major sports — football, basketball, hockey, and even auto racing — are purely 20th century phenomenons, baseball traces its pro roots back to the 19th century.

Here are a handful of snapshots featuring pro base-ball clubs from the 19th to early 20th century. Click on any image for a much larger version.

St. Louis Browns/Brown Stockings 1888 Team Portrait (American Association of Baseball)

St. Louis Browns, 1888

Up first is this 1888 team portrait of the St. Louis Browns, members of the short-lived American Association (1882-1891). The Brown Stockings were pennant-winners of the AA from 1885 through 1888, and moved to the National League when the AA folded. They went through a few name changes before settling on St. Louis Cardinals.

New York Metropolitans 1882 Team Portrait

New York Metropolitans, 1882

This dapper bunch is the 1882 New York Metropolitans, another member of the American Association. However the Metropolitans didn’t join the AA until 1883, but remained until their demise in 1887.

Philadelphia Athletics 1913 World Series Team Portrait

Philadelphia Athletics, 1913

Here we have the World Series champion 1913 Philadelphia A’s. Surely you recognize the white elephants on the uniforms?

Arthur Irwin & Albert Maul of the Philadelphia Quakers/Phillies, 1887

Arthur Irwin & Albert Maul of the Philadelphia Quakers/Phillies, 1887

This is a simulated action shot from an 1887 Kalamazoo Bats cigarette card. It features Arthur Irwin and Albert Joseph “Smiling Al” Maul of the Philadelphia Quakers, also known at the time as the Phillies. The franchise officially became the Phillies in 1890, making it the longest continually used nickname in professional sports by a team in the same city.

Maul pitched for parts of fifteen seasons and compiled an 84-80 record, including a Major League best 2.45 ERA in 1895 with the Washington Senators. Irwin played for 13 seasons and managed for eight, and was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

New York Yankees vs. Washington Senators, date unknown

New York Yankees vs. Washington Senators, date unknown

Unfortunately the details on this last image are scarce. The Library of Congress entry simply notes that it’s a New York Yankees player sliding into home, presumably against the Washington Senators. The date range given is 1910-1930, which is obviously rather large. Still, it’s a cool photo.

Sears catalog cover, Spring/Summer 1958

Sears Catalog Highlights: Spring/Summer 1958

Sears catalog cover, Spring/Summer 1958

I hope you enjoyed the gallery of Sears catalog covers I posted recently, because we’re really going to get into it now. I’ve been combing through some classic catalogs of yesteryear to bring you the most interesting images of how people looked and lived back in the day. So here’s some galleries from the Spring/Summer 1958 Sears catalog, arranged by area of interest.

Images may take a few seconds to load. To see the full collection — including full-size pictures — from 1958 and other years, check out my Sears Catalog Museum.

(Sorry fellas, no bras or panties in this gallery.)

Women’s Fashion

Children’s Fashion

Men’s Fashion

Electronics & Appliances

Sports & Games

Home Decor

Everything Else

Random Neat Images

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Tom Brady and Eli Manning

Super Bowl XLVI — This Fan Space For Rent

I can’t believe I’m saying this as a football fan of three decades, but I’ve seriously given thought to not watching the Super Bowl this year. Not because I don’t think it will be a good game, and certainly not because it lacks for good story lines. It’s just that I’m not the kind of football fan who will watch a game just because it’s football.

I need some kind of rooting interest — some reason to pull for one team over the other, even if it’s a silly one. But with Super Bowl XLVI, I am struggling to think of one so far. Unlike the last time the Patriots and Giants faced each other, in Super Bowl XLII. It was easy to root for New York then. I, like 99% of decent-minded sports fans, wanted desperately for a season’s worth of Boston-centric hubris and obnoxiousness to come crashing down on the perfect Patriots’ heads. So when Eli Manning found David Tyree on that improbable third-and-five play in the final period, and later hit Plaxico Burress for the winning TD, all felt right with the universe.

Tom Brady and Eli Manning

Is there a way Super Bowl XLVI can end in a tie?

But I will get no such sense of satisfaction if the Giants win this time. Not because the Patriots are suddenly the feel-good story of the year. No, I still loathe them. But taking a longer view of the league, I have to marvel at their consistency. Over the last decade they’ve posted fewer than 10 wins just once, and they’ve made the playoffs for all but two seasons. In a league where back-to-back winning seasons is a dream for some fans (myself included), that’s outstanding.

And let’s face it, will a fourth Super Bowl title really make New England fans even more entitled and annoying? I doubt it.

On the other hand, I don’t really have any specific reason for not rooting for the Giants. I’m a big Tom Coughlin fan, and Eli Manning seems like a good dude and he’s definitely a clutch quarterback. It’s just living in the greater New York area most of my life, enough already. I’m not even going to tune into the local sports talk radio station, WFAN, for the next few weeks (even though they have probably already started to talk about baseball).

The pretentious football purist in me feels like the Giants caught a lot more breaks this year than the Patriots. They stumbled their way through most of the regular season, and benefited from a weak division. And let’s not forget how Dallas once again shit the bed in December, as they seem to always do. I know that it’s the playoffs that count, and New York is certainly the hotter team, but I’m of the belief that consistency throughout an entire year should be rewarded in some way.

GAH, it’s all so confusing! Well I’m sure that the understated media approach to the Super Bowl this year will help me decide who to root for. Or I’ll just go with Plan B and watch some tapes of old Super Bowls from the ’70s I have stored in the basement. I just need to find a VCR.

Miscellaneous Debris — My AFL project is past the halfway mark! My collection of programs and media guides from the 1966 season is up. And a new retro football card is coming this Friday, so mark your calendars!

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