Saturday, January 28, 2012

7 TD Passes in One Game

Quarterback Tom “Terrific” Brady of the New England Patriots tied an NFL record for passing touchdowns in a playoff game (six) a few weeks back on their way to demolishing the Denver Broncos.  But only five NFL quarterbacks have had seven touchdown passes in a single regular season game, and the last time that happened was way back in 1969. Here are those quarterbacks – some great names in NFL history:

Sid Luckman, Chi. Bears vs. N.Y. Giants, Nov. 14, 1943
Adrian Burk, Philadelphia vs. Washington, Oct. 17, 1954
George Blanda, Houston vs. N.Y. Titans, Nov. 19, 1961
Y.A. Tittle, N.Y. Giants vs. Washington, Oct. 28, 1962
Joe Kapp, Minnesota vs. Baltimore, Sept. 28, 1969.

The second QB to reach the 7 mark was Adrian Burk who first played for the Baltimore Colts and then the Philadelphia Eagles. Burk was a Texan who played his college ball at Baylor University and was drafted in the first round of the 1950 NFL Draft.

Burk later graduated from Baylor University law school and became General Counsel to the Houston Oilers.  He also worked as an NFL official as a back judge (now called field judge), wearing uniform number 63. He actually was a judge at the game that saw Joe Kapp of the Minnesota Vikings tie his record for seven touchdown passes in one game in 1969 vs. the Baltimore Colts (and become QB #5 to reach that record – the last one).

I had the good fortune to meet Adrian Burk in person back in the mid 1990s.  He became one of the first speakers when the Fellowship of Christian Athletes was founded and I heard him at a large men’s retreat one year.  He was living in central Massachusetts at that time and I later invited him to speak to a men’s group at the church I attended. Burk was a great down to earth guy and enjoyable to engage in conversation.

There are lots of published stories and anecdotes about the early NFL players – Blanda, Y.A. Tittle, Sammy Baugh, etc. One story that Burk told me that I’ve never seen in print involved Hall of Famer “Slingin” Sammy Baugh and a game against the Chicago Bears (I think the November 1945 game).  Baugh’s right guard (Joe Ungerer I believe) complained that one of the Bears’ tackles was hitting on him illegally when the officials were looking the other way.  Baugh went over and spoke to one of the refs to alert him to what was happening and strongly suggested the ref watch that tackle on the next play. Then he told Joe to call the Bears’ tackle some unflattering names to get him REALLY riled up. That would draw a 15 yard penalty and keep the drive alive.  Joe did what he was told and was knocked senseless on the play. On the sidelines they were bringing Joe to with smelling salts and he looked up to ask how he did.  Baugh had to tell the poor guy that he was sorry but their team scored a TD on that play and so they declined the penalty!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Before the Flux Capacitor

In a post a few days back, AVI mentioned The WayBackMachine on the site.  This is great to play with as you punch in any known URL and the WayBackMachine will show you the archival records for the years that website has been operational (150 billion pages stored).  In most cases you can call up the date/version that you want to view (formatting and links may not work, but you can view content).  I worked for a small firm for about 9 years and looked up their very first site from 1996, some 6 years before I joined.  Interesting stuff - and seemed pretty primitive in comparison to the company’s site today.

Of course many forms of literature, movies and the like have mused on time travel.  One of my favorites from my kiddie days was the Peabody’s Improbable History segment on the 1960s Rocky and Bullwinkle Show cartoon series.  Mr. Peabody was a talking dog – round black specs, highbrow demeanor, and clearly intelligent and always accompanied by “his boy” Sherman – an impish kid also sporting round black specs (get it, a dog-and-his-boy?).  They used Peabody’s home-constructed WABAC machine to revisit historic events or figures (Christopher Columbus the Wright Brothers, etc.).  Each episode we hear Peabody instruct, “Sherman, set the WABAC machine to…” and off we’d go.

It’s interesting to me now that Peabody’s time machine wasn’t a Way-Back machine but a WABAC Machine (but pronounced “way-back” of course). The acronym apparently did not have any sensical meaning, but according to one of the show’s directors it was named because of the popular and futuristic sounding UNIVAC computer, the U.S.’s first commercial computer that came out 1951. High-tech names of that Cold-War era often ended in "AC", such as ENIAC, EDVAC, MANIAC, and JOHNNIAC, and it usually stood for “automatic computer.”

In Steven Spielberg’s first Back to the Future offering (1985), he throws homage to the 1960s cartoon classic that is easy to miss.  When Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly goes back to 1955 in the Delorean and crashes into a rural barn, the rural residents assume he’s a space alien, not an innocent time traveler, and try to blast him with a shotgun.  Marty escapes, of course, but the protectors of Civilization are Old Man Peabody and his son, Sherman Peabody.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


When I became a first-time grandfather 18 months ago I had to decide what I wanted to be called. Even though I didn’t grow up in the French-Canadian culture as my cousins did, I decide that I wanted to be called Pépère (pronounced “pep-pay”).  So as Caleb is learning to talk, he can pronounce some words, or at least make a good attempt.  So when you ask him about “Nana” (my spouse), he’ll respond at least with a single syllable “Na.”  When you ask him where is Pépère? He’ll turn and point to me.  The other day my daughter was attempting to get Caleb to pronounce “Pépère” but out came a distinct “Bubba.”  Great, a Bubba-Pépère. Mixed cultural grandpa.  

Monday, January 16, 2012

Grits: A Major Food Group

You know you are bored with presidential primaries already when the TV news crew is interviewing a candidate in a South Carolina family style restaurant and you are reading the menu board over his shoulder.  “Kids Meal: chicken leg and two vegetables.”  Among the lengthy list of vegetable choices was “Jello.”  I guess when you consider grits to be a major food group, anything is possible.  I’ll have to ask some of my ex-Northern family about that one.

Geology 1, Cruise Ship 0

Six year old cruise ship vs. million year old rock. Geology will win every time.

Fire fighters examine piece of rock embedded in the bottom of the Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia

South Carolina Zombie Voters

I guess my head and senses are blitzed from the ceaseless barrage of political commercials and pitches leading up to the New Hampshire presidential primary last week. The other night I was reading and also had a TV news station going that was covering the upcoming South Carolina primary. They were interviewing folksy people and between my half-reading, half-listening to the TV I could have sworn one of the South Carolinians was caught on camera saying “We’ve got to get control of our dead!”  I’m sure he must have said “debt” – it was probably just the heavy southern accent and my inattentiveness.  I didn’t think SC had any great problems with their dead -- and especially not with Zombie voters. They’re all up in Chicago, right?  

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Teaching the Oldies Is Part of Parenting

Parenting skills and approaches are all over the map. Especially with Dads.  Dads tend to have quirks in my experience.  AVI is fond of proclaiming that it is a father’s duty to embarrass his kids, for instance.  Me, I decided that my two daughters needed indoctrination in oldies music when they were growing up.  So I gave them liberal doses of late 50s/early 60s doo-wop, mid to late 60s Beach Boys, and of course those 60’s and 70s novelty songs (classics!).

Did they thank me at the time this indoctrination was going on? Noooo!  But now my grown daughters amaze their husbands and in-laws with their vast knowledge of oldies that were popular decades before they were born. And if they ever get the opportunity to appear on one of those TV quiz shows and the topic is oldies, well then, winnings in the millions is in the realm of possibilities. They can thank me with a portion of their jackpot.

Here is one song I’m very fond of and still play today. But I’m not sure my daughters have personally thanked me for this gem yet.  Billy Preston was a talented musician and performer in his own right (“Will It Go Round in Circles?,” “Nothing from Nothing”). He met the Beatles in 1962 and it’s been reported that John Lennon wanted him to join as the Fifth Beatle. While that did not happen, he played a role for them as a key studio musician and shined at George Harrison’s Bangladesh concert in 1971. Preston passed away in 2006.

Moxie Rules!

It’s the high political season here in New Hampshire of course, and here is some wisdom from my President (the Moxie Congress President, that is).  Watch the interview here.