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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Feeling Deflated?

Are you sick of "Deflate-gate"? Yeah, me too.  I hate to say it people, that's the cost of doing business being a Patriots fan.  Whether you believe that or not, I'm sorry.  The story is not, what was done, rather it was, who did it.  The issue I have had over the past two days was put into light by WEEI radio host, Michael Holley, is that nobody is being objective about this whole thing, Patriot fans, Patriot haters, media and the NFL.  I was guilty of that for a while.

For Patriot fans. It does not matter that it has been going on for years.  A rule was broken and the Patriots got caught, end of story.  Everyone, including myself, has made the point that other NFL Quarterbacks (QB's) have admitted to doctoring the ball.  Before we go and indict those QB's and the NFL for those admissions, they admitted to doctoring the ball before the game and see what they can get away with.  They never admitted to doctoring the ball(s) DURING the game.  So it is not the same thing.  Am I saying that it doesn't happen, no I am not.  I am just saying those references aren't the same.

For Patriot haters.  The Patriots got caught cheating!  Do your happy dance!  Very nice, now that that is out of the way, can you please stop ignoring the fact that other teams have been caught and that it wasn't a story then?  The man who broke the story, Bob Kravitz, went on to a local radio show and stated that Patriots Coach Bill Belichick should be fired.  When asked if Green Bay's coach should be fired for their QB's admission, rather than say it's not the same thing, he insulted the hosts calling them Nixonian and said it was irrelevant. 

Two teams were warned during a game earlier this year for heating up footballs because the temperature was extremely cold.  That is the same thing Mr. Kravitz, and yes there was no talk of it then and when it is brought up now it is disregarded by Patriot haters.  Why?  Because the Patriots were caught before, so they need to surrender their first born on trivial issues while the rest of the league can continue to test the limits of the rules without being called to the carpet.  How is that objective?

The notion in the media that the Patriots should not be allowed to participate in the Super Bowl is not only ridiculous, but laughable.  There isn't one of the remaining thirty teams that would take that spot, because they didn't earn it.  You can argue that the Patriots didn't either and I get that, but let's not go overboard yet.  The talk on that has drastically retreated because people started to realize how dumb it sounded.

The NFL is not going to deal with this objectively, mainly because the Patriots have put them in a position where they can't win.  If they come back and levy the customary $25,000 and or draft picks (as first reported by Kravitz) penalty they will seem, to the "haters", lenient and that Robert Goodell, the Commissioner of the NFL, is in the pocket of Robert Kraft.  If the league comes down hard and outside of the customary penalty, Patriot Nation will scream foul and claim that the NFL cares more about deflated footballs than it does its players battering women.  Definitely a precarious position to be in.

As a Patriot Fan, I am not mad at Coach Belichick for what is going on.  Like I said earlier, it is the price of doing business as a fan.  However, it gets harder and harder to defend him.  Players and coaches around the league have been coming out and saying that this really isn't a big deal, but the Patriots don't get the benefit of the doubt because, as ESPN Columnist David Fleming coined, of the "The Schmuck Factor".  To gain the smallest of edge, the Patriots put themselves in this light, constantly.  Patriot Nation can defend that all they want, I will just choose not to, it is what is.

We all need to move on from this.  The NFL needs to come back soon (as of this writing they had not) and levy their punishment, there will be one, no doubt.  Then the Patriots, Fans, Haters, Media and NFL can all focus on the greatest spectacle in sports, The Super Bowl.


If you don't take it from me, ask my wife

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Vacation Italian Style

The past few days have been a whirlwind.  The last time I wrote we were heading into Naples to get pizza.  The plan changed when my luggage was in airport purgatory.  I eventually had to go to the airport and demand my bag.  After about forty five minutes and also aiding a member of the U.S Navy who was in the same predicament as me, I was on my way with my bag.  Instead of heading to Naples we went to Caserta and just as good pizza.

After lunch we went up to a small little mountain town called Casertavecchia, which translated is "Old Caserta".  When you think of old time Italian towns, this one takes the cake.  The streets made of cobblestone and just wide enough barely fit a car.  You could literally walk the entire town in about 15 minutes.  The hilly streets and old time feel makes this a very interesting visit.

That brings us to Christmas Eve and you can only imagine what that entails.  I took the family through the town of San Nicola during the morning to get out of the house to avoid being yelled at by the multitude of Italian ladies cooking dinner.  The feast of the seven fishes was everything that it was cracked up to be.  Eel, squid, octopus, shrimp, cod fish, white fish, and scallops.  Thirty five people surrounding a table and talking at an octave that only a dog can appreciate.  Even Aunt Bethany from "Christmas Vacation" could hear this conversation.  The evening finished with a trip from Santa and a game called Tombola, which is equivalent to BINGO

Christmas Day was as about as relaxing as could be. Surrounding by family once again and Christmas mass in the church in which I was baptized.  This was the climax of my "Good Ol' Fashioned Italian Christmas".

Today (Friday) we woke up early and headed to the former house of Bourbon.  The Royal Palace of Caserta was last inhabitant of the monarchy that ruled Italy before its independence in 1848.  There are 1,700 windows and 120 rooms in the castle, only about a quarter of that is opened to the public.  After viewing the inside we went into the back grounds.  The grounds are just under two miles long and roughly a mile wide.  We took a ride in a horse drawn carriage to avoid really tiring out the baseball orphans.

Ten days is never enough time to tour Southern Italy, when you throw a holiday in the mix the time frame intensifies.  We have two more days left in Italy and we plan to make the most of them.  Until next time.

If you don't take it from me, ask my wife.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Italian Style

It's Tuesday morning and I still have no luggage.  Supposedly it is coming today, let's just say I am less than confident.  We do have a pool going so hopefully the pot doesn't raise.

The past couple of days have been a world wind.  On Sunday morning we woke up a little later than we wanted and we headed to the Abbey at Monte Cassino.  If you don't know the story of Monte Cassino, it is sad story.  On February 15, 1944 the Allied and German forces were locked in a battle at the Gustav line, which was a German stronghold preventing Allied access to Rome.  Since the Abbey sits on top of a mountain it was rumored that German troops were occupying it for the high vantage point.  Tha Allied forces decided to bombard the abbey with an air raid turning the structure to rubble.  It was later confirmed that only Italian refugees were in the church and perished in the rubble.  After the war the Italian State, with the aid of Allied resources, rebuilt the abbey to its original state.
Church at the Monte Cassino Abbey

It is an impressive build with some great architecture.  The vantage points give a great view of the Appenine Mountains.  Below the hill are several cemetaries of soldiers from other countries that perished in the battles around the hill.  The church inside is decorated with beautiful art,14 karat gold architecture and a nativity scene eight feet long.  The baseball orphans were left speechless at all "toys".

Following the trip we went to a restaurant for lunch/dinner.  We eventually had to get up and leave because they just kept bringing out food.  As we walked out, the chef was sad that we were leaving because he had more food to bring out to us.  Restaurant, Italian style.

On Monday, we took it easy.  We went to "Il Mercato".  It's a type of flea market/farmers market where it has been known that some high end products have "fallen of the truck".  There was a large crowd which reminded me of Disney World.  No Holds Barred.

Il Mercato in San Nicola La Strada

All in all, we are having a good time.  Tuesday's agenda has a trip to Naples and lunch at Presidente Pizzeria which has been made famous by a visit from President Clinton and the movie "Eat, Pray, Love".  Hopefully my bag comes today.  Daily laundry is getting old.

If you don't take it from me, ask my wife.