Saturday, October 31, 2015

GLV Article: Halloween Has a Haunted History

I recently wrote another article for the Guardian Liberty Voice. This one continues my tradition of exploring the history of certain holidays.

This time, obviously, the focus was on Halloween, which I think is appropriate for this time of the year.

Here is the link, and I do hope that you take a look! If not, the text of the article nonetheless can be found below:

Halloween Has a Haunted History:

Halloween has grown as a major holiday so fast that it is downright spooky. It is the second biggest holiday for decorations, trailing only Christmas, and ne fourth of the candy sold in the United States os for Halloween. With Americans this year expected to spend fully $6.9 billion on the holiday, Halloween has become big business. The average American will spend up to $75 to celebrate the holiday, which for many will include decoration, costumes, parties, and giving candy away to children tracking through their neighborhoods while trick or treating.
It may surprise people to find out that many of these traditions that people have long associated with Halloween are not nearly as old as popularly believed, although the roots of the holiday stretch back to ancient times. What eventually would become our modern Halloween is over two thousand years old, tracing back to a couple of festivals - Sahmain and All Saints Day.
The Celtic festival of Sahmain came before Christianity. Literally translated from Gaelic, Samhain which was the term for the end of the summer. Back then, Celts lived in Ireland, Britain, and northwestern France, and this festival was widely celebrated. They would collect their earnings from farming, and would bring their animals in for the cold season to come. However, this time of the changing of the seasons was also popularly believed to possess supernatural powers. It was held on November 1, although it was believed that the night before Sahmain was a night when the world of the living and the world of the dead mixed. People would leave food and wine outside of their homes in hopes of preventing ghosts from coming in. Also, when people ventured out on such nights, they would wear masks in order to resemble ghosts.
In the eight century, Christians eliminated Sahmain and replaced it with All Saints Day, which was moved from mid-May to November by order of Pope Gregory III. This was done in an effort to eradicate the  pagan roots of this popular autumn festival. Despite this, All Saints Day, which was also known as All Hallows Mass and Hallowmas, never was fully divorced from the former autumn festival that it was meant to replace, and the evening before, which fell on the last day of October, came to be known as All Hallows' Eve. In time, people began a new tradition to scare away evil spirits, as they burned candles and carving turnips (the predecessor of the modern tradition of carving pumpkins).
The tradition of children and adults disguising themselves on All Hallow's Eve to ward off evil spirits also continued. Many would beg for food or coins during the All Souls' Day parade in England. Some families would give them pastries known as "soul cakes" and the beggars, in turn, were asked to pray for the deceased loved ones of the family giving the cakes. This may have been the origins of the modern "trick or treat" tradition that has become common on Halloween.
Ironically, despite Halloween having at least partial roots from the Christian tradition, the relationship between Halloween and Christians has often been complicated. October 31 happens to have been the day that Martin Luther essentially started the protestant Reformation in Wittenberg, Germany, in 1517, when he nailed his 95 Theses to a door. Most of the early Christians groups that came to America , greatly influenced by the Protestant Reformation and included the Pilgrims, the Puritans, the Quakers, and Baptists, rejected this holiday as pagan. Still, that ultimately did not prevent Halloween from traveling to American shores.
Halloween is a holiday that has changed greatly over the course of time. Late in the late nineteen century, many women believed that they could find out the identity of their future husbands through various means. Some of these methods involved hazelnuts, mirrors, apples, and yarn. Sometimes, a ring would be buried in food, in hopes that the one who discovered it would be moved to find real love. Also, the winner of apple bobbing competitions tended to be highly regarded as top prospects, as this was seen as a good sign. These traditions, however, generally faded over time.
It also used to have more in common with April Fool's Day, than with what most people today would consider typical of Halloween. Pranks were very common and quite popular, and some of the most popular pranks included throwing eggs at houses, opening up the gates of a farm, and making outhouses fall over. However, these tricks began to spiral out of control and become problematic, and so the focus began to emphasize the more innocent and less harmful traditions of candy and dressing up in costumes.
By Charles Bordeau
Sources: Why Do We Celebrate Halloween? 6 Facts About This Spooky Holiday's History
The Newnan Times-Herald: The history of Halloween
The Lincolnshire Echo: What is Halloween and why do we celebrate it? $6.9 Billion in Consumer Spending this Halloween is Spooky
NRF: The long and Short of America’s Consumer Holidays
Image courtesy of Nick Taylor's Flickr page: Pumpkin carving - Creative Commons License
Youtube video History of Halloween (The History Channel) courtesy of  Marco Gomez

The Voice of Neil DeGrasse Tyson

"Science literacy is a vaccine against the charlatans of the world that would exploit your ignorance." - Neil deGrasse Tyson

In difficult times that often do not make sense, it is always good to have people like Neil DeGrasse Tyson, an accomplished and respected individual who uses his influential voice to promote simple common sense for the country.

His words have served, at least on some level, to restore a measure of balance to a country that desperately needs it.  And he has particularly pronounced that point when it comes to science, and popular perceptions of science in the United States in the present era, where it is too often distorted in order to serve some self-important agenda.

Here are some cool links regarding Neil DeGrasse Tyson that were worth sharing:

Neil DeGrasse Tyson To Science Deniers: ‘Science Is Not There For You To Cherry Pick’" by Katie Valentine of Think Progress, March 10, 2014:

Friday, October 30, 2015

China Threatens War Against United States?

I wonder if this is real, or if this is just a joke of a publication?

My guess is the former, although it would not entirely surprise me that China launches a war of words and propaganda, either.

In any case, this is a stupid story that should not be.

China threatens to LAUNCH WAR on US over 'provocative acts' after saying it is INEVITABLE  CHINA has threatened to launch war on the US after "provocative acts" by the country's navy.  By SCOTT CAMPBELL PUBLISHED: 04:32, Fri, Oct 30, 2015

Russia Aims to Land People on the Moon

Russia announced that it will be sending human beings to the Moon, which would make it the second nation in history ever to do so.

I don't know, but it feels more and more like this whole "second Cold War" thing is feeling more real every day.

At least this is about peace, and not war. In fact, it is about scientific progress, which would be welcome.

Russia just announced that it is sending humans to the Moon This is big.  JESSICA ORWIG, BUSINESS INSIDER 29 OCT 2015

Chris Cornell Believes Eddie Vedder Would Have Made It Had Andy Wood Not Died

Chris Cornell has weighed in on whether or not Eddie Vedder would have made it and had a measurable cultural influence on the music world had Andy Wood not died in 1990, which ultimately led to the formation of Pearl Jam, a group that obviously had a profound impact on the musical scene in the 1990's.

Yes, he says, Eddie Vedder would have, simply because he had a lot of contributions to give, although he also notes that it surely would have looked a lot different than it wound up being with him ultimately fronting Pearl Jam.

Here is the link to the article:

Chris Cornell On If Eddie Vedder Would Have Made It Had Andy Wood Lived by Brett Buchanan - Oct 30, 2015

The Ancient Greeks Had Six Words for Love

Ancient Greeks had six different words for love, and an argument is being made that knowing these six words for love could prove to be beneficial to know today, thousands of years later.

Here is the link:

The Ancient Greeks' 6 Words for Love (And Why Knowing Them Can Change Your Life) by Roman Krznaric

Some More New Jersey Stereotypes

No, not all of these New jersey stereotypes are entirely true, although there still might be a grain of truth to them in general.

In any case, this seemed worth sharing, so here it is:

10 New Jersey Stereotypes That Are Completely Accurate

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Beautiful Apache Blessing

Tipi, Tepee or Teepee

I happened upon this Apache blessing a short while ago, and thought it was beautiful and moving enough to share here.

So, here it is:

“May the sun bring you new energy by day, may the moon softly restore you by night, may the rain wash away your worries, may the breeze blow new strength into your being, may you walk gently through the world and know it's beauty all the days of your life.”   

- Apache Blessing

Declassified US Intelligence Report From 1990 Reveals How Close We Came to War With Soviets in 1983

When you think about the United States and the Soviet Union almost going to war, the image of ships meeting off the coast of Cuba back in the fall of 1963 comes to mind.

But who knew that, twenty years later, the Soviets and the United States had a similar stand off that almost led to war?

That was during my own lifetime, although I do not remember this particular event at all. Nor, most likely, would many others, because this was information that was just released to the public, after formerly being classified.

The National Security Archive at George Washington University published this formerly classified document earlier this week following a Freedom of Information Act struggle that lasted well over a decade.

This event took place in November of 1983. American national security was faulted for missing numerous key signs that could have prevented the situation from escalating as much as it did.

It occurred because the United States had initiated a major military exercise in eastern Europe, which was called Able Archer. The Soviets assumed that this was an actual military action being taken against them, and mobilized their forces for a response. They believed that the United States was trying to initiate and win a nuclear war against them.

Soviet leaders believed that the United States actually wanted to launch a first nuclear strike. It should be remembered that these were the days of Ronald Reagan and his aggressive approach, with an increased military budget and a renewal of the arms race between the two superpowers. Paradoxically, American officials believed the opposite: that the Soviets would never seriously consider launching a first attack against the United States.

When you stop to think about it, this really is a huge story with huge ramifications, even three decades and change later. The thought of just how close we came to war, and how well guarded this secret remained ever since, is enough to send shivers down my spine. After all, I was actually alive and around for that episode, which was not the case for the Cuban Missile Crisis which was not a secret at all. In the autumn of 1983, I was in fourth grade. The Transformers had not yet come out, Return of the Jedi had been the popular movie with a hugely successful line of toys that I was big on collecting, among others. The Los Angeles Raiders would enjoy their last Super Bowl championship season to date after upsetting the defending champions, Washington, in the Super Bowl by a rout. The Baltimore Orioles had just defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series. Hulk Hogan was the reigning WWF Champion. Those are some of the things that I remember from my life back in those days.

Who knew that we had come so close to an actual nuclear holocaust?

Here is the link to this rather stunning story:

This declassified US intelligence report from 1990 is one of the most terrifying things you'll ever read

A History of Halloween

Three years ago, this corner of the Northeast got hit with a freak snowstorm. It measured maybe a foot and half, which would normally be quite a substantial storm in it's own right. But since most of the leaves were still on the trees, they got weighted down more than usual, and many of them simply could not stand up to the storm. There were downed trees everywhere, which meant downed telephone poles and wires, as well. The roads were a mess, and many people lost quite a bit of power. I saw it, and unfortunately, had to drive through it, too. It was one of the worst storms that I've seen and had to endure, as a result. That came two days before Halloween, which was surprisingly early for such a snow storm.

But it was nothing compared to what happened last year, also two days before Halloween. That was when Hurricane Sandy hit. Tragedy was everywhere. People died, others lost everything. Life seemed to come to a stop for a short while. And almost nobody noticed when Halloween was officially cancelled. Hardly anyone was surprised, for that matter.

As the date neared on this year's calendar, people were half expecting something else. Some other disaster. But this year, we were spared.

So, I will take my son trick or treating later today. But it seems that this is a dying tradition.

When I was young, kids used to look forward to this holiday for a very long time! We talked about what we wanted to be this Halloween, and we loved getting all dressed up. We looked forward to trick or treating, and feeling the weight of our bags begin to increase. It was well earned, we felt!

For whatever the reason, this tradition of trick or treating for Halloween seems to be going out the window. It used to be a strong tradition that all the kids engaged in, and it would go on to the late hours. There were tons of kids, and running out of candy was a serious worry.

Now, we are lucky if we have more kids than fingers on both hands. It has grown scarce, and it seems to be the case everywhere you go, with everyone you ask.

Apparently, trick or treating is on it's way out, even though getting costumes and dressing up is hotter than ever, and a more profitable business than ever before! I heard somewhere that Halloween is only behind Christmas as the holiday that people tend to spend the most money on.

So, I thought it would be appropriate to do a blog on the history of this holiday, since I did not get a chance to do it (although I planned to) last year.

Here's a little something about the night before Halloween. In my area, we used to call it "Goosey Night", although I understand it is more often referred to as "Devil's Night" or "Mischief Night". This is when local punks throw eggs at cars and homes, or do their best to coat cars, homes, and trees with toilet paper, among other practical jokes. This, like trick or treating, seems to be dying off in recent years. Either that, or I am really not noticing these things anymore.

"It's a Jersey thing: N.J. may be the only state to call tonight 'mischief night'" by Alex Napoliello/, published on October 30, 2013:

A PBS link to the history of specific, Halloween-themed foods can be found by clicking on this link:

One page that I found fascinating, with specifics on the background history of certain popular Halloween traditions, can be found by clicking on the following link:

The following page, "Halloween History", can be viewed at:

Halloween is a holiday celebrated on the night of October 31.  The word Halloween is a shortening of All Hallows' Evening also known as Hallowe'en or All Hallows' Eve.

Traditional activities include trick-or-treating, bonfires, costume parties, visiting "haunted houses" and carving jack-o-lanterns. Irish and Scottish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America in the nineteenth century. Other western countries embraced the holiday in the late twentieth    century including Ireland, the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom as well as of Australia and New Zealand.
Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced "sah-win").
The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. Samhain was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and prepare for winter. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops.
The festival would frequently involve bonfires. It is believed that the fires attracted insects to the area which attracted bats to the area. These are additional attributes of the history of Halloween.
Masks and costumes were worn in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or appease them.
Trick-or-treating, is an activity for children on or around Halloween in which they proceed from house to house in costumes, asking for treats such as confectionery with the question, "Trick or treat?" The "trick" part of "trick or treat" is a threat to play a trick on the homeowner or his property if no treat is given. Trick-or-treating is one of the main traditions of Halloween. It has become socially expected that if one lives in a neighborhood with children one should purchase treats in preparation for trick-or-treaters.
The history of Halloween has evolved.  The activity is popular in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, and due to increased American cultural influence in recent years, imported through exposure to US television and other media, trick-or-treating has started to occur among children in many parts of Europe, and in the Saudi Aramco camps of Dhahran, Akaria compounds and Ras Tanura in Saudi Arabia. The most significant growth and resistance is in the United Kingdom, where the police have threatened to prosecute parents who allow their children to carry out the "trick" element. In continental Europe, where the commerce-driven importation of Halloween is seen with more skepticism, numerous destructive or illegal "tricks" and police warnings have further raised suspicion about this game and Halloween in general.
In Ohio, Iowa, and Massachusetts, the night designated for Trick-or-treating is often referred to as Beggars Night.
Part of the history of Halloween  is Halloween costumes. The practice of dressing up in costumes and begging door to door for treats on holidays goes back to the Middle Ages, and includes Christmas wassailing. Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of "souling," when poor folk would    go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (November 2). It originated in Ireland and Britain, although similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy. Shakespeare mentions the practice in his comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1593), when Speed accuses his master of "puling [whimpering, whining], like a beggar at Hallowmas."
Yet there is no evidence that souling was ever practiced in America, and trick-or-treating may have developed in America independent of any Irish or British antecedent. There is little primary Halloween history documentation of masking or costuming on Halloween in Ireland, the UK, or America before 1900. The earliest known reference to ritual begging on Halloween in English speaking North America occurs in 1911, when a newspaper in Kingston, Ontario, near the border of upstate New York, reported that it was normal for the smaller children to go street guising (see below) on Halloween between 6 and 7 p.m., visiting shops and neighbors to be rewarded with nuts and candies for their rhymes and songs. Another isolated reference appears, place unknown, in 1915, with a third reference in Chicago in 1920. The thousands of Halloween postcards produced between the turn of the 20th century and the 1920s commonly show children but do not depict trick-or-treating. Ruth Edna Kelley, in her 1919 history of the holiday, The Book of Hallowe'en, makes no mention of such a custom in the chapter "Hallowe'en in America." It does not seem to have become a widespread practice until the 1930s, with the earliest known uses in print of the term "trick or treat" appearing in 1934, and the first use in a national publication occurring in 1939. Thus, although a quarter million Scots-Irish immigrated to America between 1717 and 1770, the Irish Potato Famine brought almost a million immigrants in 1845-1849, and British and Irish immigration to America peaked in the 1880s, ritualized begging on Halloween was virtually unknown in America until generations later.
Trick-or-treating spread from the western United States eastward, stalled by sugar rationing that began in April 1942 during World War II and did not end until June 1947.
Early national attention to trick-or-treating was given in October 1947 issues of the children's magazines Jack and Jill and Children's Activities, and by Halloween episodes of the network radio programs The Baby Snooks Show in 1946 and The Jack Benny Show and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet in 1948. The custom had become firmly established in popular culture by 1952, when Walt Disney portrayed it in the cartoon Trick or Treat, Ozzie and Harriet were besieged by trick-or-treaters on an episode of their television show, and UNICEF first conducted a national campaign for children to raise funds for the charity while trick-or-treating.
Jack O'Lantern
Trick-or-treating on the prairie. Although some popular histories of Halloween have characterized trick-or-treating as an adult invention to re-channel Halloween activities away from vandalism, nothing in the historical record supports this theory. To the contrary, adults, as reported in newspapers from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s, typically saw it as a form of extortion, with reactions ranging from bemused indulgence to anger. Likewise, as portrayed on radio shows, children would have to explain what trick-or-treating was to puzzled adults, and not the other way around. Sometimes even the children protested: for Halloween 1948, members of the Madison Square Boys Club in New York City carried a parade banner that read "American Boys Don't Beg."

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Indiana Jones Himself Will Not Be in a Fifth Indiana Jones Movie?

Indiana Jones

Yes, it sure sounds strange, does it not?

Indiana Jones, himself the title character of the movie franchise, has been ruled out of a possible fifth Indiana Jones movie, which just sounds strange saying it.

There has been widespread speculation that Chris Pratt is the leading candidate to assume the new lead role for the movie franchise, and whatever ideas they do come up with should prove interesting, to say the least.

Here is the link to this rather bizarre story:

Frank Marshall Rules Out Recasting Title Character for Fifth Indiana Jones by Spencer Perry, October 26, 2015:

Native American Teepees

Here is a link to a site about Native American teepees, something that my son and I were blessed to have seen a few times during our trip out west to Arizona earlier this year.

This is a cool website, and if you are interested in America's aboriginal culture, or in teepees more specifically, I definitely recommend clicking on this link:

Native American Teepee beautiful !

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

2015-16 NFL Week 8 Preview & Cardinals - Ravens MNF Review

Baltimore had a chance late, despite how the Cardinals seemed to have been dominating the game and well on their way to a victory. 

Instead, the Cardinals showed that their recent success under head coach Arias was no fluke. They bent, but they did not break, and earned a tough win. 

The month of November begins with fully five teams remaining unbeaten! This surely is easily an NFL record. it does not happen every year that even one team remains undefeated into the month of November, let alone more than one. Usually by then, these numbers of elites have been dwindled down. But never have there been such a sizable list of teams who managed to navigate their way through September and October remaining undefeated like this. In 2009, there were still three teams that stood with 6-0 records (the Colts, the Saints, and the Vikings were the teams to do it back then), but right now, there are an incredible 5 teams to have completed the feat, and enter the critical month of November with unblemished records.

That said, however, there are certain to be fewer teams to come out of this coming week in NFL action with perfect records. First of all, the Packers and the Broncos square up in Denver, and someone surely will win that contest, while the other will obviously be handed their first defeat. What a doosie that will be! And the other unbeatens have some tough games. The Bengals will be at Pittsburgh, Carolina will host the Colts on MNF, and the Patriots will host red hot Miami. There will likely be considerably fewer teams still standing with 7-0 records following this exciting weekend in the NFL!

Miami at New England - Miami has been playing lights out, but it is hard to picture them being so good, that they can go on the road to New England, one of the toughest places to play, and earn a win. Belichick and Brady come up with enough goods for another notch in the "W" column.

(London) Detroit at Kansas City - The last game in London for this season. I like the Chiefs, based on the way that they played last week against the Steelers.

NY Giants at New Orleans - The city of New Orleans has been a house of horrors for the New York Giants in recent years. But the Giants are better, the Saints are not nearly as good as they have been in recent years, and I think (and hope) the Giants have enough for a win this time around.

Minnesota at Chicago - The Bears are still struggling, while the Vikings look very impressive. Minnesota wins another solid divisional road game.

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh - Wow! What a match this will be. I like the way that the Bengals have been playing, although it is tough to go against the Steelers in Pittsburgh. This is a toss up, but I will say the Bengals just eke out a win to remain unbeaten.

Arizona at Cleveland - Cleveland will try to win, and home field should help. But the Cardinals really are a solid playoff contender at the very least. It is difficult to see how Arizona will not come out on top in this one.

San Francisco at St. Louis - The 49ers are struggling, while the Rams have not yet found the consistency to be the contender that they are capable of being. Still, St. Louis will be a tough place to play, and the Rams should get their second straight win over the reeling 49ers.

Tampa Bay at Atlanta - The Falcons have enjoyed some good luck to achieve their hot start. Hosting the Bucs should be an extension of that, as the Falcons find a way to win this one, perhaps as early as the first half. Tampa Bay will not have enough to make this much of a game.

San Diego at Baltimore - Two really struggling franchises that began the season with high hopes. Baltimore is long overdue for a win, though. This game will remedy that.

Tennessee at Houston - The Texans should bounce back, because the cure for any bad losing streak is a game against the Tennessee Titans, right?

NY Jets at Oakland - The Jets will try to bounce back, although this is a very different Raiders team. I would like to think that the Jets can win, but something tells me that "The Black Hole" is back, and still too tough of a place for the Jets to win at.

Seattle at Dallas - The Cowboys are reeling, while the Seahawks are finally finding themselves. Not a good combination for Dallas, and they will suffer their fifth straight loss.

Green Bay at Denver - What a tremendously exciting game this one is! This could go either way, really. Both teams are playing so incredibly well! If this was in Lambeau, it would be easy to pick the Pack. However, this is at Mile High Stadium, and so I think that might sway it in favor of Denver. Just a great game, and I am looking forward to this one!

Indianapolis at Carolina - Another good match, although Carolina's home field advantage should prove to be enough for the Panthers to secure the victory.

Luke Skywalker, a Bad Guy?

Will Luke Skywalker be a bad guy in these movies?

Hard to imagine, but here is a link to an article where it is argued that this is a distinct possibility.

Is Luke Skywalker a Bad Guy in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’? by Michael Callia, October 22, 2015:

Ringo Starr In Conversation at Strands Bookstore - October 26, 2015

Yesterday, I was able to go into the city and see one of my favorite rock musicians up close and personal when Ringo Starr, the former drummer of the Beatles, made an appearance at Strands book store to promote his new book, Photograph

Conducting the interview was yet another musical legend, Steve Van Zandt, who himself has enjoyed an illustrious musical career as a prominent member of Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band. 

I knew that Ringo was on tour right around now, although the tickets were a bit too pricey for me to go to a show at this time. However, this was a much cheaper alternative, and the book would be a part of it, which would serve as a nice souvenir of the day. 

It had been three years since the last Ringo concert that I attended, back in 2012, when my girlfriend and I were still quite early into the relationship. Seeing him in an entirely different capacity, and much closer up then would have realistically been possible even with great tickets at one of his concerts, proved to be a truly unique experience indeed.

Van Zandt and Ringo had chosen some of the photographs that they discussed. All members of the Beatles were, of course, among those ones discussed, although there were also some others included, as well. One was a photo of John Lennon's son, Julian, and Ringo Starr's son, Zak Starkey, taken on a boat back in the late sixties or early seventies, when they were still children. 

Other musicians of the period, as well as a few actors, were also among those photographs discussed. 

In one photograph, three of the four Beatles (and possibly the fourth, although the head of the figure who may or may not be John Lennon was cut off in the shot) are pictured. Everyone seems to be having fun, although Paul McCartney is seen making a very strange face, with an almost overjoyed expression evidenced. One girl is looking at him in a way that provoked Ringo to say of his former bandmate, "Someone is getting lucky tonight!"

Ringo also mentioned the idea that all four Beatles surely had taken their fair share of photographs from the days of the Beatles, and that he had mentioned in the past that it would be a good idea for them to have joined forces and released a similar book documenting a photograph history of the legendary band. he laughed, and said that the best part about such a book would be that he would be in a lot more of the photographs, since most of the photographs in this book were taken by him, which prevented him from being in many of these photos.

It appeared that Ringo was in a jovial mood overall, as he joked numerous times about those days, the various fashions worn at the time, and several times even joking about the often drugged out state of mind of the members of the band. There is a photograph of Paul McCartney wearing a bandanna, and next to a movie star. Ringo mused that fashion was a fickle thing when you experimented with it, and sometimes it worked, and sometimes you look like this, pointing to the photo of Paul. 

All in all, it was a pleasant afternoon, and what an unbelievable privilege it was to see such a legend in much closer proximity than would normally be the case. The event was held in the rare books section of Strand bookstore, so that it felt like the speakers and the audience gathered around were in a small, confined space not that different than a spacey living room. Plus, the book is a cool souvenir, with a specialized book plate with his signature in gold foil affixed to it. On the bottom of the book plate, there was a somewhat personalized printed message about this particular event, reading:

Strands Books, New York City, USA
October 26, 2015

Everyone at the event seemed in a pleasant frame of mind. While waiting outside on the sidewalk for the event, I began to have a discussion with one guy from Scotland, who was in the country to participate in a huge cooking event in Michigan that had chefs from all over the world, lending it an international feel. He had just happened to walk down this particular street (14th Street) and learned about this. Being a Beatles fan, he decided to go ahead and attend. All that you needed to do to attend was purchase a copy of the book (by Genesis Publications), and then show up. What a cool event to attend while in New York City, and what a cool souvenir to take back home to Scotland with him!

He mentioned that he had been to the United States before, although it had been freezing cold last time. This day, by contrast, had been beautiful, as we were blessed with a perfect autumn afternoon. i asked him if he would get a chance to see the colorful fall foliage, and he said that he intended to take a tour bus that would take him to Brooklyn tomorrow. Hopefully, he will get to see it. He seemed like a very cool guy!

In any case, what a cool event, and I, for one, felt very privileged to have been there!

Sorry for the shortness of the video but, due to very limited storage in my cell phone at the time, this is all that I managed to get:

However, The Strand Book Store itself had a much fuller video available:

Monday, October 26, 2015

NFL 2015-16 Week 7 Review - Comebacks

Week 7 seemed to have a lot of comebacks to varying degrees in several NFL games. Three of the remaining unbeatens were off, having bye weeks, while two others put their undefeated records on the line in home games.And there was a battle for first place in the NFC East late yesterday afternoon between the visiting Dallas Cowboys, and the New York Giants.

Let's take a look:

New England 30, NY Jets 23 - The Patriots remained unbeaten, improving their record to 6-0, by downing the tough, 4-1 Jets at Foxboro. For New England, this is the best start in franchise history since that epic undefeated run in 2007, when the Pats remained unbeaten all the way to the Super Bowl, before losing to the Giants in the final minute of that championship. The Patriots and Jets went back and forth, but New England began to take over, predictably, in the second half. The Jets were trying to hold them off, when Brady found Gronk in the end zone to essentially ice it. Have to wonder what happened there for New York, because that was a very costly mistake. Still, the Jets are strong at 4-2 as they head into Oakland next weekend, while the Pats are in action early against Miami on Thursday.

Carolina 27, Philadelphia 16 - The Panthers, too, remained unbeaten. They did so by holding off the Eagles, who played fairly tough last night, but ultimately came up empty. Cam Newton had a forgettable night, throwing three interceptions, but the Panthers stayed hot and undefeated behind a tough defense and an offense that did enough to win. Next up for them is a Monday Night contest against Indianapolis.

(London) Jacksonville 34, Buffalo 31 - The Bills nearly mounted an amazing comeback that surely would have ranked second in franchise history only to the historical comeback in the 1992-93 season, when the Bills came back from being down by 32 points to beat the Oilers in the AFC Wildcard Game. In London, Buffalo was down 27-3 in the second quarter, when the Jaguars just absolutely exploded for a whole bunch of points in an amazingly short time. But the Bills battled back and, in the fourth quarter, it looked like they were about to complete a similarly epic comeback. Down 27-16, a deep pass by E.J. Manuel was completed to Marcus Easley cut it to 27-23. The jaguars offense looked horrid afterwards, and Blake Bortles threw an ill-advised pass that was intercepted by Corey Graham and returned for a touchdown that seemed to put the Bills in a position to win. However, the Jaguars offense redeemed itself on the next possession, and drove all the way down the field, ending with Bortles this time finding Allen Hurns n the corner of the end zone to take the lead. The Jax defense made it stand, and secured the back and forth win for the Jaguars, earning the franchise only their second win of the season. This one was fun to watch!

NY Giants 27, Dallas 20 - The G-Men took back sole possession of first place, which they lost after that hugely disappointing loss in Philly. But the Giants survived a tough, back and forth contest against the 'Boys and, in so doing, improved their record to 4-3. The Cowboys, in the meantime, dropped their fourth straight contest, and have not pulled off a win since the injury to Tony Romo. In the meantime, the Eagles also lost at Carolina, while Washington won, which means that the Giants are one game ahead of Washington and Philly, and now 2 1/2 games ahead of the Cowboys in the NFC East.

Washington 31, Tampa Bay 30 - Washington was the one team that mounted an enormous comeback and managed to complete it by holding on for the win. Tampa Bay raced out to a huge 24-0 lead, only to eventually lose the game. It was the biggest comeback victory in the history of the Washington franchise. In the meantime, the Bucs defense said that the collapse was on them. Whatever happened, it was indicative of the type of season that both teams are going through, with Washington being counted out early and then surprising many by playing well, while for Tampa, this was a tremendously promising start, only to see a very typical, if seemingly unlikely, collapse.

Miami 44, Houston 26 - For the second time this season, the Texans allowed another team to gain a ridiculously huge lead in the first half against them, and then scored some garbage time points to make the contest look slightly more respectable. Perhaps an even greater source of concern for Houston is the injury to Arian Foster, their star running back, who has been injury plagued the last few seasons or so. As for the Dolphins, they seem to be roaring back to life since the switch at coach. Another solid performance for the Dolphins.

St. Louis 24, Cleveland 6 - Nothing unexpected here. The Browns simply could not match up to the Rams in St. Louis, and the Rams just kind of wore down their weaker opponents, grinding out a decisive win. Cleveland is, once again, struggling, while the Rams are playing fairly well, having earned another tough victory.

Oakland 37, San Diego 29 - This game was not nearly as close as the score would suggest, although the Chargers did mount something of a comeback. The Raiders took it to San Diego early, overwhelming them, and taking a 30-6 lead into the half, and then adding another touchdown in the third quarter, before the Chargers scored some points of their own to make this game look a lot more respectable. But trust me, the Chargers really were never in this thing.

Kansas City 23, Pittsburgh 13 - The Steelers surprised many by playing as well as they were playing for the last several weeks after losing their starting quarterback. But yesterday, hey themselves were surprised by the Kansas City Chiefs, a team who's season seemed to be spiraling out of control. Kansas City had a strong home stand, stunning the Steelers and earning only their second win of the season, and the first since week one.

Atlanta 10, Tennessee 7 - Speaking of teams who have not won since week one, the Titans dropped their fifth straight. The Falcons won to raise their record to 6-1, although this was an ugly win where, once again, they showed little to none of their full offensive potential. Still, this is the kind of game that Atlanta would likely have lost last season, and it is a testament to the improvements and moves to increase the team's toughness that they managed to win this kind of a contest.

New Orleans 27, Indianapolis 21 - Another team with a weak record exploding early, gaining a big lead, only to watch the other team mount a strong comeback. Still, the Colts were not really ever in this one, despite making it a lot closer. The Saints more or less had this one throughout, and held off the Colts for a huge and much needed road win to keep their flickering hopes for this season alive.

Minnesota 28, Detroit 19 - Another big lead early by a weak team, this time the Detroit Lions, and another big comeback by the stronger team, although Minnesota, to their credit, sealed the deal and earned the come from behind victory. The Lions were up 14-3 after the first quarter, but the Vikings came on strong and tightened it up in the second quarter before eventually taking over in the second half to earn a tough divisional road win and complete the season sweep of the reeling Lions.

Thursday Night - Seattle 20, San Franciso 3 - Finally, the Seahawks looked like the franchise that dominated the NFC in the past two seasons before this one. Their defense looked stellar, not allowing much of anything by San Francisco's offense, while the 'Hawks offense put up enough points to earn a comfortable win. They did not explode for points, but earned more than enough to win this contest. Is this the beginning of the real Seahawks finally showing up this season? Or was this a one time thing? They go to Dallas next, and we'll find out a bit more then.

Tonight, the Arizona Cardinals will host the Baltimore Ravens, who have suffered through a hugely disappointing season to this point. One bright spot for the Ravens is that their best game was played at night before a national audience in Pittsburgh earlier this season. For Arizona, this game is basically a must win to remain fairly comfortably ahead of both Seattle and St. Louis, particularly given that both teams won this past week.

I already mentioned who the undefeated Patriots and Panthers will be playing next weekend. But the other three unbeatens will also be in action. The Bengals will travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers, while the Broncos and Packers will themselves match up against on another in Denver, in an exciting game between two unbeaten, 6-0 teams!

Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope - Some Little Known Facts May Surprise

There is a huge, deafening buzz of excitement about the upcoming Star Wars movie.

Since I am a big fan, and since I also happen to have seen this link, it seemed definitely worth sharing here!

This is a page that might just show you some things, some little known facts, about Star Wars that might change the way you view it the next time that you see it.

Many of these things, I was also unaware of. If you consider yourself a Star Wars expert, then click on this and honestly assess how much of it you already knew. Bet you that some of it is as new to you as it was for me!

Here is the link:

Star Wars Secrets: Episode IV – A New Hope

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Reminder About Some Unique Aspects About Native Americans Culture

Native American culture certainly is not dead, although it has obviously historically taken some huge hits.

However, one of the most impressive things about the human spirit is the ability to bounce back, and to find dignity and take pride in one's culture even after it has been denigrated, persecuted, and nearly destroyed.

In that vein, this seemed worth sharing.

It is about Native Americans, and although the title may appear a little polarizing to some, it does nonetheless offer some reminders of what makes native cultures unique.

Here is the link below:

10 Things Native Americans Can Do Better Than You by  ICTMN Staff 8/3/13

Levi's CEO Chip Bergh Urges Not to Wash Your Jeans

I found this article some years ago, but never did get around to publishing it, although I am not entirely sure why.

Still, it is an interesting point, and seemed worth sharing here. So, here is the link:

Levi's CEO Chip Bergh: 'Don't Wash Your Jeans' By Carly Ledbetter The Huffington Post, 05/21/2014:

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Some Soundgarden Gems

Okay, well, it is a new year. New Year's Resolutions made and, probably in most cases already, broken. Not mine yet, because mine were very vaguely defined. So vague, that they really did not qualify as actual resolutions, as such.

I have been waiting for the chance to listen to some cool music this year, but with mixed results thus far. There are a couple of albums that were released last year which I have not yet gotten - namely, Pink Floyd and the Foo Fighters.

However, that does not necessarily mean that I cannot get to listen to some really cool music, right? I mean, in this day and age, so long as you have internet access, you probably get to listen to exactly what you want to hear, when you want to hear it. From almost every corner of the world, you have the chance to access all genres of music, pretty much all acts, and for free, to boot!

Can't beat that!

Of course, the really great, fruitful period of blossoming artists with unbelievable albums during my lifetime came in the early nineties, when a whole bunch of different musical acts began to emerge, largely on the strength of Nirvana's breakout "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

That showed up on their enormously successful album, Nevermind. Metallica came out with their biggest album (although I know some people who were not so sure that it was their best), the self-titled album. There was U2, with Achtung Baby. Red Hot Chili Peppers, with Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magic. Pearl Jam came out with Ten. Soundgarden came out with Badmotorfinger.

Soundgarden was a unique sounding band, perhaps, arguably, the most unique and sophisticated of all of those just mentioned.

Soundgarden's Hunted Down Covered by Alice in Chains, August 22, 1991:

Soundgarden Tighter and Tighter with Mike McCready Seattle, Washington, 2013:

Soundgarden's Outshined with Eddie Vedder, Bremerton, Washington, 1992:

Of course, this Temple of the Dog gem, Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder together for Hunger Strike (Lollapalooza, September 8, 1992:

Some Horrible Things About the Administration of George W. Bush

It is no secret to me that the administration of George W. Bush committed some truly horrific acts. I never have been a fan of when people use the term "un-American," since that conveys images of rednecks with bumper stickers reading "Love It Or Leave it" and other such things, although that probably sounds like I am relying on stereotypes of my own.

That said, I believe that the administration of George W. Bush, which had eight long years in office, was the epitome of what "un-American" should suggest. From the biggest national security failure in American history, to cynically using that tragedy to push forward a very narrow, elitist agenda that seemed to be all about money and access to greater power (likely to make more money for certain elites), the Bush administration was a disaster, a tragedy for the nation.

No matter how bad Obama was, or how bad future administrations might be, there is a good chance that we will not see a worse administration for the country than that of George W. Bush. I mean, seriously, how much worse can you do, unless you are specifically trying to derail the entire nation?

Surely, there would be some neocons who would strongly disagree, and they would engage in the national amnesia that seems to have taken place since January 20, 2009, when so much of the country seemed to collectively awaken to find all of the problems that the country was facing, and conveniently blamed the black man in office for all of these problems.

However, those problems had been building up for quite some time over the course of several decades, and particularly in the previous eight years. Remember, the United States was a rich and powerful country before Bush took office, as the undisputed leading superpower of the world. It was a mostly respected nation, although a lot of people outside American borders kind of felt perplexed by how different this country was, in terms of environmental legislation, a lack of quality healthcare system for it's people, and a decided lack of other social benefits. Still, people felt that they could relate, since so much popular culture around the world came from within American borders.

So much changed in such a short period of time, and almost none of it for the better. Of course, the most famous episode was that the United States was attacked. Right after the attacks, Americans enjoyed so much sympathy from around the world at that point, that it was hard to imagine that the tensions that had existed between the United States and other countries had ever been serious.

But within months, the tensions were all the greater, because the Bush regime pursued an unjustifiable war of aggression against Iraq, and rather deceitfully linked the 9/11 attacks with Saddam Hussein, without ever outright implying that Saddam's Iraq was behind the attacks. Which is to say, Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with September 11th, and the charges of an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction were simply greatly exaggerated, if not outright fabricated. But they pursued the war, and eventually got the war that they wanted. We have been paying the price ever since.

Yet, that was just the tip of the iceberg, really.

The Bush administration used the tragedy of September 11th as a springboard for all sorts of other things, including increased government surveillance, the use of methods of torture for interrogation, the opening of de facto concentration camps where detainees were held indefinitely, without any hope for a trial. There were increased security measures that often went much too far, and made traveling more complicated and annoying, and a no fly list program was created and expanded.

The attacks were also used to justify an increased military budget at a time when there was an absence of a truly strong national rival, since the highly abstract and never ending "Global War on Terror" persisted, and would persist forever, essentially.

Corporations had been given a green pass, and the unspoken but clear message was that anything goes in pursuit of the almighty dollar. Corporate scandals abounded, and yet, we probably were not even given nearly as full of a picture as we should have been, given the convenient prevalence of secrecy, which was an unfortunate favorite of the Bush regime.

The economy was sagging and prospects truly unfavorable for most of the Bush years, and the height of all of this ineptitude, of course, was the global financial crisis of 2008. But Bush once again forced through another major act through Congress, and the bailout has remained controversial ever since, saving banking institutions that were deemed "too big to fail." This big bailout added yet more to the national debt, which the Bush administration also added quite a lot to.

Of course, who could overlook the staggering increase in social inequality, as the rich got richer and the poor got poorer?

And let us not forget the failed response to Hurricane Katrina.

So, while the country was more or less in relative good standing, to a nation hated and feared by many, and not fully trusted even among friends. One of the biggest points of contention was how such a country could elect such an administration not once, but twice (okay, he really did not win the first election, yet he got in, and he definitely won the second election anyway, right?).

What a disaster, and we have not even fully recovered yet. Unfortunately, President Obama has signaled that many of the excesses and unfortunate trends that the Bush administration championed will continue indefinitely, which is perhaps the biggest crime, and it happens to seemingly add legitimacy to the methods and thinking of the Bush administration.

Lest we forget, this was not a presidency to follow in any manner, Below is a link to an article that should remind us of that, and I recommend checking it out:

Here are 50 despicable things George W. Bush did before and after 9/11 Steven Rosenfeld for Alternet, 20 OCT 2015:

Friday, October 23, 2015

Bernie Sanders & Larry David Clips

Since I already connected to Youtube for my last blog entry, it seemed fitting to do the same for this one, as well.

Here are a couple of clips relating to Bernie Sanders, both directly and indirectly. The first is from the Saturday Night Live skit, and Larry David's now famous (and hilarious!) impersonation of Bernie Sanders. The next is a clip of the real-life Bernie Sanders, and his reaction to David's impersonation of him!

Pretty, pretty, pretty funny stuff!

Back to the Future Reunion on the Jimmy Kimmel Show

Okay, yes, I am probably overdoing it with the Back to the Future stuff in the last few days, and you guys all probably heard and watched more than enough on it to last you years.

Still, I ran into this just a few minutes ago, and thought that it would definitely be worth sharing!

Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd once again became Marty McFly and Doc Brown on a recent episode of Jimmy Kimmel, and it was really cool to see! Even musician Huey Lewis was there, and you can really see how they have aged in thirty years, can't you?

One thing that I thought a little strange, was that they did not include the actor who played Biff, even though they asked about him. And, of course, they made the joke that Biff is now running for president, alluding to the similarities between the fictional character Biff from the Back to the Future movie franchise, and the real-life Donald Trump. They both have ridiculous hair and both are also bullies, and both make mockeries of themselves in a very public fashion.

They also make fun of the present, and the less than impressive lack of real progress made. Doc Brown briefly takes an interest in cell phones and the technology behind them, which could be used by scientists to make huge advances and to save the world, until Kimmel mentions that most people just use them to send smiley faces at each other, and perhaps pictures of eggplants.

Pretty good stuff, and I recommend taking a look (and yes, this will be my last blog entry relating to the Back to the Future Day that we just experienced a couple of days ago - unless I find something really, really funny or amazing! Just sayin'):

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Another Interpretation of the Lord Of The Rings

I saw this posted on Facebook earlier, and thought it was definitely worth sharing here. This guy has a very interesting theory that any fans of LOTR should be curious about.

Here is the link:

This Guy Just Changed The Way We See Lord Of The Rings. Mind Blown. POSTED 1 YR BY 2BLEEK5ME

Some of the Worst Giants Losses of All-Time

This post was originally going to be posted prior to the season, just after the blog about some of the greatest victories for the G-Men.

But, since I failed to get this out on time, I was waiting for the right moment - or the wrong moment, depending on your viewpoint - to publish this.

Seeing as though the Giants just lost their sole possession of first place to the Philadelphia Eagles after an embarrassing loss there, with yet another blowout for a second year in a row at Lincoln Financial Field, this seemed like an opportune time.

Last season, the Eagles shut the Giants out there, 27-0. This time, the Giants scored first, and never scored again, en route to another blowout loss, this time with a final score of 27-7. 

I do not think that it rates as among the most crushing losses since I have been a Giants fan, since there have been quite a few. However, it is certainly a huge disappointment, and probably their most disappointing loss of the year thus far.

Here is a blog about more Giants losses, as well:

I posted about the Giants greatest moments in the preseason, so let me now focus on the opposite: some of the worst Giants defeats, with a particular focus on their losses since I have been a fan of the team, going way back to 1981. That was the year that I became a fan of American football, and the New York Giants were the natural pick. My grandfather and brother both preferred the Jets. My grandfather, of course, could remember the historic Super Bowl III win that defined the Jets organization at that point (it had only been 13 years since that historical victory), and which still defines the franchise now, nearly half a century later.

Truth be told, I am not entirely sure why I took to the Giants more than the Jets, since the Jets were the better team at that point. They were the only one of the two local teams to even have made it to the Super Bowl, let alone to have won one. And in 1981, the Jets indeed appeared to be the better team, with a better record and likely a better chance to achieve some great things. That perception might have died down in the playoffs, when the Jets lost instantly to the Bills, while the Giants knocked off the defending NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles on the road at Veterans Stadium. But in 1982, only one of those two teams made it to the playoffs, and it was not the Giants. Plus, the Jets won two road games to reach the AFC title game, before bowing out to the Miami Dolphins. As I have mentioned before, the Jets are my second favorite team, right after the Giants, and I never understood why some fans believe that liking or preferring one means that you absolutely have to despise the other one (or at least cannot actively pull for them), otherwise you are not a "real" football or sports fan. So, I was excited by the success of the Jets, although admittedly a bit envious, as well.

Both the New York Jets and the New York Giants kind of stunk things up a bit in 1983, but the Giants returned to the playoffs in 1984. Still, in 1985, the Jets enjoyed a better record during the regular season and, in fact, looked to be one of the elite teams of the AFC, until two losses late in the season knocked them down to a mere wildcard team. Once there, the Jets lost to the Super Bowl-bound new England Patriots who, at that time, were making their first trip to the big dance, where they would get crushed by the Chicago Bears, the team that I believe was the most dominant team of any single season that I have ever witnessed. The Giants lost to those same Bears in the playoffs, although they at least beat the 49ers in order to get there. So, the Jets had enjoyed a better regular season, but the Giants seemed to be more built for the postseason. Still, neither team had as of yet made it to the Super Bowl.

In the 1986-87 season, of course, that would change. Perhaps the last old bit of envy of the Jets as the better team came early in 1986, when the Jets raced out to an impressive 10-1 start, and enjoyed the best record in the league, with five games remaining. The Giants, of course, were right behind them at 9-2, as were the Bears, the Broncos and Washington. The Giants were bound to meet two of those teams in the regular season and, as it turned out, in the playoffs, too. If the Jets, to that point, had enjoyed more success since the 1981 season, and seemed to have the more impressive resume during the Super Bowl era, that season would go a long way towards altering that perspective in a big way. The Giants won out their remaining games, finishing the season at 14-2, while the Jets, after suffering a humiliating 45-3 loss at Miami, wound up losing all five of their last regular season games, to finish at 10-6. They qualified for the playoffs and even won a game against Kansas City, but then lost to the Cleveland Browns in double overtime.

The Giants earned home field advantage with their impressive 14-2 regular season mark, and in the playoffs, really caught fire. They bounced the 49ers out of the playoffs with a stunning 49-3 blowout win, then shut out the Redskins, 17-0, in the NFC Championship Game, to earn their first ever Super Bowl appearance. Once there, they had to overcome the tricky Broncos, who played very well in the first half and went into halftime with a 10-9 lead. But the Giants exploded for 30 second half points, which is still a Super Bowl record. Phil Simms completed 22 of 25 passes (an 88.5% completion rating, also still a Super Bowl record) and threw three touchdown passes, leading the Giants past Denver to capture the first championship for the franchise in 30 years, although it was their first title in the Super Bowl era. Now, I no longer really cared that the Jets had been to the AFC Championship in 1982, while the Giants never seemed to do nearly as much, because Giants fans could celebrate their championship season.

They followed that up four years later with another title run, this time not as behemoths, like they appeared to be in 1986-87, but as a team that barely squeaked past other teams regarded as the favorites. They trampled on the Bears in the playoffs, true. But they just got past the Niners in San Francisco during that epic NFC Championship battle, and then just barely held off the Buffalo Bills, who at that time seemed to be emerging as the leading candidate for "Team of the Decade" honors. After that rather unexpected championship (at least it was deemed a surprise, although my younger version of myself, completely taken by that 1990-91 Giants squad, never stopped believing in them), the Giants clearly had enjoyed undeniable success at the highest levels, while it was suddenly the Jets who looked like the team that had been left behind in the dust a bit.

Again, I will post what I felt were some of the greatest disappointments as a Giants fan, which I have been since the 1981 season. But that also means that I do not remember the "Miracle at the Meadowlands," or the championship game losses of the late fifties and into the sixties (the Giants made it to fix championship games in a six year span from 1958 to 1963, and lost them all), or some of the other losses that they suffered even before that.

For me, it begins with a huge, and unfortunately memorable playoff collapse against the San Francisco 49ers, the team that the Giants had a very strong on again off again rivalry with over the course of the past three decades or so. The one that I am thinking of specifically took place in January of 2003, at Candlestick Park. The Giants had suffered losses there before, but never quite like this.

New York looked unstoppable early on, racing out to a 38-14 lead, behind an offense that looked explosive enough to make a run at the Super Bowl (the Giants had reached the Super Bowl just two seasons prior, and still had the core of that team for the 2002-03 season). San Francisco looked overwhelmed. Their defense was not keeping up with the explosive Giants offense, and the 49ers offense looked overmatched.

Then, suddenly, the Niners came to life, and the Giants, in the meantime, could do nothing right. Before you knew it, the Giants lead had collapsed, and San Francisco held a 39-38 lead.

Yet, still, somehow, the Giants managed to have one last opportunity to win the game in the final seconds. It would come down to a field goal attempt, which made it similar circumstances to the 1990-91 NFC Championship Game.

Only this time, the results were radically different.

While the Giants made that field goal to win the game and move on to the Super Bowl in 1991, the Giants screwed everything up in 2003. The snap was horrendous, leading to a very poor kick that had no chance (although it should be noted that there should have been a call on the play against San Francisco that was not made).

It was weird, because by then, I was fully an adult. Yet, that particular game made me feel like a kid again, albeit the less flattering aspects of childhood. It was the last time that I can remember losing myself in a game, and getting angry and worked up over the results. Literally, I was probably red in the face, and yelling as the Giants were in the process of collapsing. Something about the 49ers always brings out the worst in me.

So, that loss was bad. But there are other losses that the Giants suffered which stung pretty bad as a Giants fan, as well. There was another huge lead in a playoff game that the Giants enjoyed in the 1997-98 season, in the Wild Card Game. I think that there is something about the playoffs that makes losses there sting a little more. The Giants were division champions that season, and were the surprise team of the league, seemingly. They built a comfortable 16-point lead against the Minnesota Vikings in the comfortable confines of Giants Stadium. But then, before the home crowd, the Giants inexplicably collapsed, and the Vikings pounded their way back into the game, eventually winning it right at the end, scoring the last 10 points in the final minute and a half of play. Very disheartening.

Another big loss came against the Los Angeles Rams following the 1989 season. The Giants were supposed to be in rebuilding mode that season, but raced out to a surprising 8-1 start. They then went to Los Angeles and got blown out by the Rams, although they recovered enough to finish the season at 12-4. With that record, the Giants stood alone with the second best record in the league (the 14-2 mark by the 49ers stood as the best), and looked to be serious contenders. Then, that Rams game, which could (and perhaps should) have been a revenge game for the earlier beating the Rams delivered. Except, the game was very tight, nodded up at 13-13, and headed into overtime. Who can forget Flipper Anderson's memorable touchdown catch, and him immediately running out of the field of play and into the lockers, putting the exclamation point on the finality of that stunning loss.

There were also some truly horrible regular season losses, as well. The one that stands out for me came in 1990, after the Giants raced out to a franchise best 10-0, undefeated start. Going into the season, the Eagles had seemed to own the Giants, but New York had managed to pound out a 27-20 win in the season opener. The Eagles struggled early on, stumbling out of the gates to a 2-4 record, but they had managed to piece together a four game winning streak heading into the rematch against New York, this time in Philadelphia. The Giants were a week away from the historic showdown against the San Francisco 49ers, and everyone seemed to take it for granted that the Giants would beat the Eagles. Indeed, for most of the first half, it looked fully like the Giants were capable of doing it, too. They got a fairly quick touchdown, and a 7-0 lead. The Eagles got into it, yet still, the Giants were only down 14-13 at halftime. Still plenty of time to find a way to win. But in the second half, the Eagles caught fire. They added a field goal to make it 17-13, then in the fourth quarter, added a touchdown, to make it 24-13, and put the Giants backs to the wall. Phil Simms and the offense tried hurry up mode, but a pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown to essentially ice the game. The score was now 31-13, and that would prove to be the final score. It is always irritating, I guess, to see a very solid winning streak (particularly an undefeated start like that) end, but it was particularly annoying against the Philadelphia Eagles, of all teams, and just one week before the big showdown against San Francisco. The fact that the 49ers also lost (in fact, every division leading team that historic weekend lost, which was a first in NFL history) kind of made the sting a little less, but it was still so irritating as a Giants fan. This game probably will not make it as among the most disappointing losses in Giants history elsewhere, but I remember it being a very bad loss at the time, for sure.

There was also the Wildcard game defeat after a surprisingly successful season in 1997. he Giants finished 10-5-1, and took the division title, going unbeaten in the NFC East in the process (7-0-1), which was the first tine any NFC East team had achieved that feat. But the good feelings from the success of the season were taken away considerably by the stinging loss to the Vikings at home in Giants Stadium, after having a big lead in the first half, and even in the fourth quarter. Minnesota scored 10 points in the final minute and a half of the game to hand the Giants a defeat that still stings to this day.

Here are some of the other losses that really resonate with me as a Giants fan:

Cowboys 16, Giants 13, OT, Jan. 2, 1994 — Emmitt Smit  runs for 168 yards as Cowboys beat Giants to clinch NFC East

Jets 27, Giants 21, Dec. 18, 1988 — With a playoff berth on the line, crosstown rival Jets rally to beat Giants in final minutes

Eagles 23, Giants 11, Jan. 11, 2009 — Top-seeded Giants lose in divisional playoff, dashing hopes of Super Bowl repeat

1986 - Chicago Bears 21, Giants 0 - The Bears in 1985 enjoyed the most dominant season in NFL history. They were the better team on the field on that day, and showed that they were easily the best team in the NFL by blowing out New England in the Super Bowl a few weeks later. But the Giants looked like they had a shot there for a while, although it all started falling apart after the infamous Landeta muffed punt that broke a scoreless tie and gave Chicago an unexpected 7-0 lead. The crowd erupted into life, and the Giants slowly but surely were beaten down from that point onward.

1990 - Rams 19, Giants 13

1988 San Francisco 20, Giants 17

1988 Eagles 23, Giants 17

1991 Washington 17, Giants 13

1991 Bengals 27, Giants 24-

1990 Eagles 31, Giants 13 - I remember this loss as being particularly stinging. Why? Because the Eagles had been the one team that tormented the Giants like no other in the seasons prior to 1990, with some strange wins and bizarre, fluky plays. But it seemed like all of that was over, finally, when the Giants handled the Eagles in Week One on Sunday Night Football, before a nationally televised audience. Then, the 10-0 start had people thinking that New York was a superpower, and the 6-4 Eagles would likely not be able to stand up to the Giants. Indeed, the first half looked promising, as the Giants looked good, and the game was mostly even. Then came the second half, and everything fell apart, slowly but surely. Philly built a 24-13 lead, and the Giants tried to rally. But Phil Simms threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown, and the Eagles and their fans celebrated wildly. It ended any wild dreams of an undefeated season, and once again, served as a reminder that there was just something about these Eagles that the Giants could not solve, for whatever the reason. Hugely disappointing loss, at least at the time.

1990 49ers 7, Giants 3 - Yes, the Giants got revenge later on. But when this meeting actually took place, it felt like it might just be for all the marbles. Both teams raced off to 10- starts, but both teams lost the week prior, ending hopes for a clash between two 11-0 teams. Still, they were both 10-1, and easily the top two teams in the NFC. San Francisco had won the two prior Super Bowls, and were aiming for a third straight title, but the Giants seemed to be the only really serious challenger that the 49ers had, at least in the NFC. Had the Giants won, they likely would have the inside track on home field advantage, and a definite psychological advantage over the 49ers. Everyone expected a wild shootout, but it was a tough, defensive struggle instead. The G-Men got a field goal, but San Fran reciprocated with the only touchdown of the game in the next drive. The Giants had opportunities after that, and probably should have gotten a touchdown at one point. Parcells gambled in the fourth quarter by going after a touchdown instead of the safer field goal, and this proved costly at the end of the game. The Niners had won the big regular season clash, and it was a huge disappointment. But then again, it made their eventual win in the NFC Championship Game about one month and a half later all the sweeter!

1992 Cowboys 34, Giants 28

1992 Eagles 47, Giants 34

2004 Panthers 23, Giants 0 - Shut out at home? In the playoffs? Really?

2010 - Eagles 38, Giants 31 - The Giants were leading by 21 with 7 1/2 minutes left to play. They lost by a touchdown, in regulation, after a collapse of epic proportions. Just embarrassing.

1995 - San Diego Chargers 27, New York Giants 17

2006 - Tennessee Titans 24, New York Giants 21

2013 - Panthers 38, Giants 0

2000 - Super Bowl XXXV. But here's the thing: Despite my hopes that the Giants would win, the Ravens were the better team. Far and away the better team. The Giants were beaten and bruised, and just had no chance in this one. The Ravens defense was probably the best defense in NFL history.

Honorable Mentions:

Eagles 19, Giants 17 "Miracle at the Meadowlands"

Washington 72, Giants 41

Baltimore Colts 23, Giants 17