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Nominal Me

I'm falling in love with my camera and taking photos everywhere I go. That, combined with my passions for politics, sports, religion and other things we all agree on, makes this blog persist.

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Location: Astoria, New York, United States

I'm born in Manhattan and raised in Queens.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Pro Football Hall of Fame, Canton, OH

Driving from Pittsburgh to Austin, TX, we made a pilgrimage to the Mecca of American sports fandom...

...the pro football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH. Football is America's game, making this place America's secular temple.

While football developed in Pennsylvania, the Hall of Fame is located in Canton for historic reasons, the All American Football League, the precursor to the NFL, was founded here. This is where pro football really developed and grew into what it is today.

The museum is a mixture of exhibits, memorabilia, and great player information.

The initial room gives a chronological history of pro football, noting it's early development and its great early teams.

The old American Football League is given its due, highlighting players such as the Buffalo Bills quarterback (and former congressman and vice presidential candidate) Jack Kemp and New York Jets (when they actually played in New York) quarterback Joe Namath.

Jerseys worn at famous moments, like John Elway's "Drive" are on display.

Dynastic teams, like the Steelers of the 70s and the Raiders of old are given special billing. Futile teams, like the old Tampa Bay Buccaneers, also are given notice.

Classic players like Barry Sanders and classic moments like Charlie Joiner's performance against the Miami Dolphins in the 1982 playoffs are recognized here.

Johnny Unitas' 47 consecutive game touchdown pass record is highlighted. He was truly a special player.

One of my favorite items on display is Steve Christie's sneaker, used to kick the winning field goal during the miracle comeback game against the Houston Oilers.

First and foremost, however, this is a Hall of Fame. The busts of those enshrined here are on display.

Guys like Jim Brown, who may be the greatest running back ever to play the game.

"The Juice" OJ Simpson, who was enshrined here before (allegedly) killing his wife. He is currently using his cutting and slashing (football running) moves on golf courses throughout America looking for the real killer. Hey, I can't be too down on OJ though, I'm a Bills fan, have met OJ (he was a friendly guy) and saw his induction ceremony.

There's Joe Namath. He even looks drunk on his bust.

Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, who I've seen play many times. Man he was great.

There's former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver and Oklahoma Congressman Steve Largent, who may be the last white wide receiver to get into the Hall of Fame. He'll also be remembered for losing the gubernatorial race in Oklahoma after declaring he was against cockfighting. They have a different electorate in Oklahoma.

James Lofton, a former Green Bay Packers wide receiver, will be remembered (by me) more for his play on the great Buffalo Bills teams of the early 90s.

My all-time favorite coach, and great guy, Marv Levy is on display. Where would you rather be than right here, right now? Here are some great quotes from Levy.

There is a section in the hall that talks about non-NFL history. It pokes fun at other leagues, like the old World Football League that apparently went bankrupt.

Jim Kelly's uniform from the USFL's Houston Gamblers is on display. Kelly had a great career there before going to the Bills.

Each team has a display for it's Hall of Fame members.

This is the old New York Jets helmet. This is what they wore when they actually played in New York. They have since moved to New Jersey and added an "NY" to their helmet. Leon Hess sucks.

Why did the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ever change from this helmet?

Old helmets are shown throughout the building. This is the old New England Patriot's helmet. Man, I wouldn't want to mess with guys wearing those.

Photographs of football players and fans are hung in the hallways. This is one of depressed Minnesota Vikings fans. They are probably used to disappointment by now.

The football videogame Madden is on display. It's probably the greatest sports game ever made.

In the end, this is what they all play for: the Vince Lombardi Trophy that goes to the Super Bowl winner.

I was elated to have the chance to go to Canton. If you're a football fan, you must go sometime.

America's Treasures

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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Photo Essay: Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh combines the best and worst of big city life with down-to-Earth Midwestern values.

Bridges define the city, using steel to navigate through the three rivers.

When bridges will not do...you can drive underground.

The city takes advantage of its three rivers, offering people many opportunities to view and walk to the water.

The combination of the hills and clouds made for some fascinating views.

The city offers a wide variety of architecture types, ranging from classic stone buildings...

...to modern glass ones.
Here is the historic Igloo, where the Pittsburgh Penguins play.

The city seems to have so much potential. If they would clean up the city's graffiti and fix the roads, it would be one of the best places in America. Pittsburgh has a lot of offer, and is definitely worth a visit...as long as you have a good driving map.

America's Treasures

More Photo Essays

Friday, October 28, 2005

Don't Mess With Pittsburgh

I was reminded today that Pittsburgh, PA is a rough city.

Driving my box truck on 65 today (at least I think it was, this city is so crazy and it's easy to get lost). I was on the left lane and needed to get to the right so I could turn onto the 31st street bridge (which by the way is the worst-kept bridge I've ever driven on).

To my right was a long lane of cars caught in gridlock. There are two lanes here, and I was blocking one of them in order to move over. I don't have a lot of space to go before I miss the bridge. Next to me is a car, behind it a yellow school bus.

School bus M318 to be exact. I have my turn signal going for a minute or two, every time I try to get over the bus accelerates to make sure I don't get over.

Homey don't play that.

So I did the New York thing and slowly turned my truck into her lane. The driver of the bus almost accelerated into me, but had to settle for honking her horn at me as a muscled my way into the lane.

Or so I thought.

When I was in the right lane I was now caught in the gridlock. The bus driver, a large black woman who looked like she could kick my ass with no problem, changed to the left lane and pulled over next to me.

She then opened the school bus doors in the middle of the road and gave me a middle finger.

She screamed "f*ck you" at the top of her lungs while she was at it.

She then went down the left lane past the bridge.

In other words, she didn't need to be in the right lane in the first place.

Don't mess with Pittsburgh bus drivers.

Yeah, I think there were kids on the bus.

America's Treasures

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Carnegie Museum, Pittsburgh

Today I went to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, which joins the Carnegie Museum of Art as a fine duo of culture in Pittsburgh, PA.

Even while not including this statue, the museum has a fine dinasour collection.

One thing it is NOT is Carnegie Hall though. Not to a New Yorker.

I could tell very quickly that this was the bones of an oviraptorosaur. The sign near the bones told me.

This here is a stegosaurus ungulatus, and a fine example of one it is. I don't think I've ever seen one put together so nicely. This dude was a vegetarian, apparently.

Here are some human beings. They are fine specimens. Perhaps the best part of the museum was watching them clean up old fossils in the Paleolab. They seemed to like the attention. I could have watched these two for hours, but then again I can be a pretty boring guy to hang out with.

In the geology section, I learned that the world's oil industry began in 1859 in Titusville, PA. That's a fact I'm going to bust out when I go to my next dinner party. I bet chicks will dig that one.

Someday, someone will do a Google search for "Dinohyus Hollandi" and come to this site. Welcome. You can buy one of your own here. hey, if you Googled it, you might as well buy one.

The Brontops Dispar needs no introduction. Brontops went extinct as the climate cooled and the Ice Age began, according to this website. You won't see these guys bitching about global warming.

Here's a Columbian Mammoth. He was found in Colorado, making him the first known illegal immigrant from Latin America to the United States.

The museum had other exhibits, including one on Native Americans. This featured a stuffed polar bear. Nothing says "let's save the animals" like seeing a polar bear killed for fur and then stuffed for a museum. Ah, global warming would have gotten this one eventually anyway.

The museum itself is a fantastic building. I wish I could have seen the art part. Oh well, perhaps when I travel to Pittsburgh again...

America's Treasures