Saturday, February 6, 2016

Kati Short writes

Super Bowl Blues

One of the holiest of 
holy days of holy
obligation, the day
many Americans usually
men put everything aside
to worship at the shrine
of the ovoid sphere.

The day is reserved
for special food, for
special attire, for
special preparations,
for staring into the
depths of the magic
eye while conjuring
up gods of testosterone,
force and aggression.

This year was different,
the lord of the remote control
the god of hot wings and chips
has gone to the land of perpetually
sunny skies, no-contest games and
never-emptying bottles of beer.
I hope he had a chance to watch
that football game and cuss the ending.
Here on earth I watched it for him.

In baggy sweats, the Chicago shirt, 
and Mr. Wonderful's 49ers cap 
(shoulda worn his big ol' 49ers 
slippers, too), and my bag of cheetos, 
I read the Sunday funnies while 
almost watching the gladiators storming 
into the fray scuffling, brawling, 
scraping, clawing for inches and 
control of the sacred misshapen orb. 
The commercials received my rapt 
attention. The challenge not so much.

No beer, no sacrificial food 
lay on the holiest of altars, 
the board beside the royal throne
Our hometown heroes did 
not vanquish the foe.  I was alone, 
but through the ferocious match 
I had the sense that my one 
true-love was near and smiling.


  1. The National Football League was founded in the United States in 1920 and easily dominated, in terms of financial success and status until 1960, when the American Football Leaguewas established. The two leagues reached a merger agreement before the 1966 season began: They would form a single league (the NFL) in 1970, with each league becoming a conference, and the winner of each conference would meet following the end of the season to decide a national champion; meanwhile, until the merger took effect, each league would pit its championship team against the other’s to decide the national winner. The first match-up was the “AFL-NFL Championship Game,” but even during the merger negotiations Lamar Hunt, the owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, was referring to the “Super Bowl” because post-season college football games had routinely been called “bowls” since the Tournament East-West Football game (part of the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena, California, moved in 1923 to the new Rose Bowl Stadium (because it was shaped like a bowl) and rival “bowl games” were established around the country after 1935. The 'Super Bowl' became the official name for the national championship game for the professional teams beginning with the third annual game. The winning team receives the Vince Lombardi Trophy, named , following his death in 1970, after the coach of the Green Bay Packers, the first two champions.
    The game is played on the first Sunday of February every year and serves as an unofficial national holiday called Super Bowl Sunday. It is the second-largest day for food consumption in the US (behind Thanksgiving, which also features watching regular football games as part of its modern ritual) .The event is usually the year’s most-watched American TV program; in 2015 the audience reached 114.4 million viewers ( its 30-minute halftime show had 118.5 million watchers), and 168 million people watched at least some of the program . The only annual sporting event with a larger audience is the Union of Euoropean Football Associations Champions League final (which had 360 million viewers worldwide in 2013). This massive popularity has led to its having the most expensive commercial airtime (some $4.5 million for 30 seconds in 2015), and “Super Bowl ads” have become a cultural phenomenon in their own right, since over half of the audience for the game tune in to see the commercials; advertising companies spend massively to produce the ads, which often never air again after the Super Bowl showing.
    Two of the NFL teams with large, enthusiastic fan bases are the Chicago Bears and the San Francisco 49ers, both of the National Football Conference. The Bears began in Dacatur, Illinois, in 1919 and moved to Chicago two years later and is only one of the two founding teams of the original NFL still extant; it has won more games than any NFL franchise, including nine NFL championships but just one Super Bowl. The 49ers, on the other hand, began in 1946 and joined the NFL when its All-America Football Conference merged with the more successful league. It has won 6 NFC championships and 5 Super Bowls.

  2. In 1893 pharmacist Caleb Bradham developed Brad's Drink to sell at his drugstore in New Bern, North Carolina; he renamed the product Pepsi Cola (after its two main ingredients, kola nuts and the digestive enzyme pepsin) in 1893. In 1931 the comapny went bankrupt and was taken over by Charles Guth, a Baltimore, Maryland syrup-making firm who was also president of the candy making Loft, Inc.; he reformulated the Pepsi syrup and began selling the drink in the Loft chain of candy shops and restaurants. In 1931 Herman Lay was selling Gardner's potato chips out of his car for Barrett Food Products Co. of Atlanta, Georgia, but the following year he did well enough to take over the firm's Nashville, Tennessee distribution warehouse. In that same year, 1932 Charles Elmer Doolin, manager of the Highland Confectionary in San Antonio, Texas, borrowed $100 from his mother to buy a masa-based corn chip recipe, a handheld potato ricer, and 19 retails accounts from a maker of corn chips, and started The Frito Co. in his mom's kitchen. By the following year, prodition of Fritos corn chips shot from 10 pounds a day to 100 pounds, and Doolin moved the company to Dallas. In 1932 Lay borrowed $100 to found the H. W. Lay Distributing C.o. in Atlanta, and five years later he began buying various plants from Barrett for $60,000 (half in cash, half in preferred stock) and began producing his own line of snacks; in 1939 he founded H. L. Lay and Company and bought additional Barrett plants in several states, retaining the Gardner trademark until 1944, when he rebranded as Lay's Potato Chips, and in 1945 he bought the rights to make and distrubute Fritos in the southeastern states. In the interim, Guth had been sued by Loft shareholders to obtain his 91% stake in Pepsi-Cola, and the Supreme Court ruled on behalf of the shareholders; in 1941 Loft took over (and renamed itself) the Peopsi-Cola Co. In 1948 Doolin invented another successful product, a cheese-flavored, puffed cornmeal snack called Chee-tos (renamed Cheetos in 1998), but he did not have the production or distribution capacity to support a nationwide launch, even though his products were distributed in all 48 states by 1950. At the same time, however, H. W. Lay operations were rapidly expanding, becoming the largest maker of snack foods in the country by 1956, with over 1,000 employees. In 1961, the year after Doolin died, the two firms merged as Frito-Lay, Inc., with annual revenues worth $127 million, mostly generated by four products (Fritos, Lays, Cheetos, and Ruffles). Then, in 1965 the firm merged with the Pepsi-Cola Co., to form PepsiCo. (Lay continued in charge of Frito-Lay operations as chairman and CEO.) With 275,000 employees and net revenues of $66.415 billion in 2012, PepsiCo is the world's second-largest food and beverage business; 22 of its brands each have retail sales of at leat $1 billion.


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