Andy Rooney_ 60 Years Of Wisdom And Wit - novelonlinefull.com
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I don't remember what the article was about that earned me $3,500. But the times I've had with the Tiger have been worth far, far more.
Christmas Trees The people who think Christmas is too commercial are the people who find something wrong with everything. They say, for instance, that store decorations and Christmas trees in shopping areas are just a trick of business.
Well, I'm not inclined to think of them that way, and if there are people whose first thought of Christmas is money, that's too bad for them, not for the rest of us.
If a store that spends money to decorate its windows has commerce in mind, it doesn't ruin my Christmas. If I pay nine cents more for a pair of gloves from one of the good stores that spent that much decorating its windows to attract me inside to buy them, I'm pleased with that arrangement. It was good for their gross and my Christmas spirit. I stay away from the places that pretend they're saving me money by looking drab.
I like Christmas above any time of the year. It turns gray winter into bright colors and the world with it.
I like the lights and the crowds of people who are not sad at all. They're hurrying to do something for someone because they love them and want to please them and want to be loved and pleased in return.
In New York City, the big, lighted Christmas trees put up along Park Avenue for three weeks every year produce one of the great sights on earth.
There is a kind of glory to a lighted Christmas tree. It can give you the feeling that everything is not low and rotten and dishonest, but that people are good and capable of being elated just at the thought of being alive this year.
When I'm looking at a well-decorated Christmas tree, no amount of adverse experience can convince me that people are anything but good. If people were bad, they wouldn't go to all that trouble to display that much affection for each other and the world they live in.
Christmas Trees 199 199 The Christmas tree is a symbol of love, not money. There's a kind of glory to them when they're all lit up that exceeds anything all the money in the world could buy.
The trees in our homes do not look like the ones in public places and they ought not to. They look more the way we look, and we are all different. They reflect our personalities, and if someone is able to read palms or tea leaves and know what a person is like, they ought to be able to tell a great deal about a family by studying the Christmas tree it puts up in the living room.
Christmas trees should be real trees except where fire laws prohibit them from being real. It is better if they are fir or balsam, but Scotch pines are pretty, often more symmetrical and sometimes cheaper.
Nothing that is blue, gold, silver, pink or any color other than green is a Christmas tree.
A lot of people are ignoring the Christmas tree tradition, but just to review it, it goes like this: You put up the Christmas tree Christmas Eve. You do not put it up three weeks in advance or three days in advance.
If you have young children, you put them to bed first.
As the children get older, you let them help decorate the tree. As they get even older, you make make them help decorate the tree. When the tree is decorated, you put the presents around it. You do not open presents Christmas Eve. them help decorate the tree. When the tree is decorated, you put the presents around it. You do not open presents Christmas Eve.
The first one down in the morning turns on the Christmas tree lights.
The best Christmas trees come very close to exceeding nature. If some of our great decorated trees had grown in a remote forest area with lights that came on every evening as it grew dark, the whole world would come to look at them and marvel at the mystery of their great beauty.
So, don't tell me Christmas is too commercial.
Oh, What a Lovely Game I was an All-America guard at Colgate University in 1940. I went on to play in the NFL, and later was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Well, I wasn't actually actually an All-America and I never played professional football-you know how old football players and war veterans tend to exaggerate-but I did get into a few games in college when we were ahead by four or five touchdowns and coach Andy Kerr cleared the bench to give the subst.i.tutes a break. an All-America and I never played professional football-you know how old football players and war veterans tend to exaggerate-but I did get into a few games in college when we were ahead by four or five touchdowns and coach Andy Kerr cleared the bench to give the subst.i.tutes a break.
That was as close as I ever got to being either All-America or in the Hall of Fame, but during those years as something less than a Heisman Trophy winner, I acquired a love for football that is undiminished fifty years later. In my view, any other game is tiddlywinks.
As a freshman at Colgate, I was a 185-pound running guard. In the Single-or Double-Wing formation, devised many years before by one of the great early football coaches, Pop Warner, I pulled to run interference for a halfback or fullback on half the plays. We had Bill Geyer, one of the all-time great players in Colgate history, who had run one hundred yards in ten seconds as a sprinter. He was one of the fastest, toughest, most elusive halfbacks in the nation. Later, he played with the Chicago Bears.
There was no intermediary, no handoff, in the Single-Wing offense, as there is in today's game in which the quarterback handles the ball on every play. Everything was Shotgun. When the play was called for Geyer to sweep wide right, the center snapped the ball directly to Bill and he took off.
Everything went well in practice those first few weeks. I got by the first couple of games okay, but then we went up to Archbold Stadium to play Syracuse. They had a big, fast, rangy end who was responsible for everything that went outside.
We ran one of those sweeps during the game. From a sprinter's stance, the Syracuse end started at the same instant Geyer began his outside charge. From my crouched position, I spun to the right and headed for the gap between the end and Geyer.
[image]With friend and fellow football player Obie Slingerland at The Albany Academy The distance between the two was shorter than the distance between me and them and with my speed, which unlike Geyer's was closer to twenty seconds for a hundred yards, there was no way I could get between them for a block.
We beat Syracuse that day, as I recall, but Geyer never gave me a lot of credit for the victory.
My career as a football player in college was one stumbling block after another. I was determined not to let the game dominate my life and become a culturally deprived jock, so I decided; to take piano lessons during the football season.
The wife of a history professor undertook, at $2 for each one-hour lesson, to teach me. During my first lesson, I recall thinking that it was quite probable that I had more potential as a football player than I had as a musician. My first day of piano lessons also turned out to be my last. I went directly from that lesson to football practice. It was a gamestyle scrimmage between subst.i.tutes and the first team, with officials. During the second half of the scrimmage that day, I was playing opposite Bill Chemowkowski, one of those ape-like athletes whose weight was mostly at or above the waist. He had short, relatively small legs and a huge torso with stomach to match. At 260 pounds, "Cherno" was the heaviest man on the squad.
As things turned out, it didn't matter where he carried most of his weight or how much of it there was. When he stepped on the back of my right hand in the middle of the third quarter, that ended, for all time, any thought I might have had of being another Horowitz. My hand still is slightly deformed, and I often look at it with the same sense of pride with which I view the television Emmys in my bookcase.
One of the saddest days of my life was the day I realized I'd played my last game of football. It was as final as death. As a young boy, I'd played in vacant lots-back in the days when there were vacant lots- every Sat.u.r.day during the fall. By the time I got to high school, I knew I loved the game better than any other.
I played all through high school and in college and then, one day, it was over. It was like the day my dog died.
It probably wouldn't occur to anyone who never played that even second stringers love the game. You don't have to be a star to enjoy playing football. You hear parents advise their children to learn to play a safer sport, a sport like golf or tennis that they can enjoy all their lives. I understand that argument but, as bad as I felt on that last day, I wouldn't trade my football days for golf if I could have started playing when I was eight and grown up to be Arnold Palmer.
People who have played football at any level watch a game with a different eye than someone who has never played. For one thing, they tend to watch the man playing the position they played. If you played center, you watch the center a lot. If you played end, you watch the ends.
I hear people say they can see the game better at home on television than they can see it sitting in the stadium. No one who knows much football thinks it's as good to watch at home as it is at the stadium. Watching at home is better than not watching football at all, but it isn't the same as being there.
The biggest difference in being there is that, good as the pictures, commentary, and replays are on television, the person at home is watching a small part of the total game that someone else has chosen to show him. What you watch is not your choice. At the stadium, the fans can watch what they want to watch anywhere on the field. I concede that if a person is not a knowledgeable football fan, he or she might get more out of watching it on television.
I often miss completely something that has happened to the ball carrier, because I'm watching what the guard is doing to the nose tackle or vice versa.
Every team played a seven-man defensive line when I played, with only one linebacker-always the toughest kid on the block. We all played both ways, of course, offense and defense. If they hadn't changed the rules, Joe Montana might have had to play free safety on defense. I don't know how that would have worked out for Joe, but I think New Orleans fullback Ironhead Heyward could hold his own as a middle linebacker on defense.
The great Frank Gifford, the most graceful football player I ever watched, was one of the last to play both offense and defense for the Giants.
Even relatively new football fans have seen a lot of rule changes. One of my prized possessions is a Spalding Official Football Guide Spalding Official Football Guide that belonged to my uncle, who played for Williams College in 1900. that belonged to my uncle, who played for Williams College in 1900.
In those days they had to make only five yards for a first down (in three downs), and the literary style of the old rule book should embarra.s.s the current rules committee.
"The game progresses," the rule book reads, "in a series of downs, the only limitation being a rule designed to prevent one side from continually keeping possession of the ball without any material advance, which would be manifestly unfair to the opponents.
"In three attempts to advance the ball, a side not having made five yards toward the opponent's goal must surrender possession of the ball.
"It is seldom that a team actually surrenders the ball in this way," the rule book continues in its elegant prose, "because, after two attempts, if the prospects of completing the five-yard gain appear small, it is so clearly politic to kick the ball as far as possible that such a method is more apt to be adopted."
Eat your heart out, John Madden!
In 1925, the NFL player limit was sixteen. As late as 1944, a team still was limited to a roster of twenty-eight players. And, of course, the uniform has changed.
One of the primary rules of life is that nothing seems to help, and that certainly is true of the protective equipment used by football players. Everything a player wears to a game today is better than the equipment of thirty-five years ago, but I don't notice that there are any fewer injuries. Of course, modern-day collisions involve bigger, stronger people. Early helmets were felt-padded leather. Today's plastic helmets are part protector, part lethal weapon.
Players used to make some individual choices about their uniforms. What a player wore frequently was not very uniform at all. There were players who liked stockings and players who didn't. In the NFL today, stockings are mandatory. I played next to a center who had an interesting theory. He refused to wear an athletic supporter because he felt he was safer from injury in this sensitive area if his private parts weren't confined like sitting ducks.
There was no rule against grabbing the facemask until 1956, for a simple reason-there were no facemasks. A lot of teeth were lost. I remember Bill Farley coming back to the huddle, leaning over, and spitting his front teeth on the ground as he listened to the signal for the next play. Broken noses were common-but not considered serious. Stanley Steinberg wore a huge rubber protector over his nose that looked like part of a clown's costume. He held it in place by clenching a mouthpiece attached to it between his teeth.
The one rule I would most like to see put into effect-and never will as long as coaches dominate the rules committee-is one that would require a man on the field to call plays. If football is a game of mind and body and there are only eleven men from each team on the field, one of those players should be responsible for making the decision about which play to run. It should be illegal for a coach or anyone on the sidelines or in a booth up in the stadium to send in or signal a play.
If that seems like a rule that would be too difficult to enforce, make it the honor system. It's an honorable game.
Position names have changed over the years. We played with a quarterback, two halfbacks, a fullback, two ends, two guards, two tackles, and a center. In today's Super Bowl, each team will have forty-five players available and the position names are different. There won't be anyone called a center on defense. He's a nose tackle now, a.s.suming the team lines up an odd number of defensive linemen. On offense, the big, slower ends are tight ends and the smaller, fast ones are wide receivers. The tight ends block a lot, and, while they also catch (or drop) pa.s.ses, they aren't called tight receivers.
Originally the quarterback was so called because he didn't stand back as far as the tailback and fullback in the Single-Wing. His position name has remained the same even though he usually no longer stands even a quarter of the way back.
Even the language of the game has evolved. Most of the football words used by fans have been popularized by radio and television commentators. Some a.s.sistant coach starts using a word in practice as a code for some action. The word is picked up by players and, eventually, by commentators and newspaper reporters hungry for authenticsounding color.
Most of the words stick for a few years and then disappear in the lexicon of long ago. A few seem to have long lives. During the 1960s, the popular word for what a linebacker did when he abandoned his responsibility for a short pa.s.s and tried to break through the offensive line to get the quarterback was "red dog." I haven't heard "red dog" in years. Now, what they do is "blitz" and the word seems to be having a longer life than "red dog."
One phrase that's just come into its own this year is "red zone." Until a few years ago, the area inside the twenty-yard line was simply that, "the area inside the twenty-yard line." Now it's regularly being referred to as "the red zone."
"Run-and-Shoot" and the "hurry-up offense" are big these days, just the way the "flea flicker" pa.s.s and "the Statue of Liberty" used to be, but you can bet those phrases will be put out of their misery just the way "red dog" was. It's the kind thing to do to an old dog.
In spite of my failure to be chosen as an All-America during my playing days, I have great memories of it. Football locker rooms are good places. The talk is good, the feeling is good. Even the smell gets to you if you love the game.
When I go to the stadium, I bring either a small black-and-white television set or a radio. I don't watch the television set but sometimes, depending on who's doing the broadcasting, I prefer it to listening to the radio. Other times I stick with radio exclusively. All of the announcers broaden my knowledge of the game I'm watching by pointing out things I didn't see. Of course, I often feel like pointing out to them things I saw that they didn't. "Hey, Pat!" I yell to Summerall in my mind. "You missed the block Elliott put on so and so."
In addition to the radio and television sets with earplugs, I bring a small pair of good binoculars, a tuna fish sandwich on rye, and a thermos of chicken soup when it's cold. I am indifferent to the weather. I come prepared, and, except for a few early games when it can be too hot, I don't care what the temperature is.
When Sunday dawns cold, gray, and rainy, I invariably am asked whether I'm going to the game anyway. For forty-five years I've had the same answer to that question. "Why wouldn't wouldn't I go?" I go?"
Rain or snow are of no concern to me at a game. I actually enjoy sitting there, properly dressed and shielded, in a cold rain. The only minor problem I have with rain is that water tends to run up my sleeves when I hold the binoculars to my eyes for long periods.
Having sat with 70,000-odd strangers every Sunday for all these years, I think I understand fans better than the players do. Players seem to take fans more seriously than fans take themselves.
While it has become popular to suggest that anyone who spends time watching someone else play a game is an idiot, I happily profess to being one of those idiots. The Super Bowl is one of the highlights of my year.
If anyone here at the game is one of a small but inevitable number of people who come to every Super Bowl game, not because he or she wishes to but because a husband or friend had an extra ticket, you may wonder why some of us derive so much pleasure from a mere game. I ask you to look for a minute at the headlines in your newspaper any day of the week.
"RAGING FIRE KILLS 16!"
"AIRLINER DOWN IN MOUNTAINOUS AREA. ALL 237 ABOARD BELIEVED LOST."
"BANKRUPTCIES RISE AS ECONOMY FAILS TO RESPOND."
"PARENTS ARRESTED FOR CHILD ABUSE FOR THIRD TIME."
"AIDS EPIDEMIC ON INCREASE."
Do these tragic events make your day? Does the recent local murder make you happy all over for the rest of the week? Is reading about a raging flood or of corruption in government your idea of a good time?
It's for relief from such depressing world events and from the daily pressure of living our own lives that we turn to sports for entertainment. For many of us, there is nothing in all of sports quite as diverting as football . . . and no sporting event as much fun to watch as the Super Bowl.
The Urge to Eat Ice Cream Because of the seriousness of our national and international situations, I'd like to say some things about ice cream.
The three things I have spent the most time thinking about and working with are words, wood and ice cream. Of those three things, it is possible that I'm best with the last.
Several times a year I fly into a rage as I'm reading a newspaper or magazine article on how to make ice cream. You may notice my hands are shaking this minute. The August issue of a good magazine about food called Bon Appet.i.t Bon Appet.i.t arrived in the mail, and I've been reading a long feature story in it. arrived in the mail, and I've been reading a long feature story in it.
On the cover the story is called "The Best Homemade Ice Cream." Inside, the story is called "Ice Cream Greats." Magazines have gotten in the habit of calling their articles by one name on the cover and by a different name in the table of contents so they're hard to find. But this is not my complaint. My complaint is about their advice on how to make ice cream.
Under the heading "Easy Basic Vanilla Ice Cream," the writer gives this recipe: "2 cups half and half, 2 cups whipping cream, 1 vanilla bean, 8 egg yolks,2/3 cup sugar, 4 tablespoons unsalted b.u.t.ter."
This recipe is not easy, it's not basic and it is not ice cream, it's frozen custard. The writer gets off to a bad start with me right away when she recommends "half and half." The a.s.sumption everyone makes is that it's half milk and half cream, but no one really knows what either half is.
I will tell you right now what easy, basic vanilla ice cream is. It is as much heavy cream as you can afford, enough sugar to make it sweet and enough pure vanilla extract to make it taste like vanilla. That is absolutely all you need to make great vanilla ice cream, and anyone who tells you something different hasn't made as much ice cream at home as I have.
Ice Cream 209 209 I don't know why advice on how to make ice cream has been so bad over the years. The freezers they're selling have gotten a lot better just recently, but articles on how to make it are as bad as ever. When I was young, there were five kids in my summer group. We often made ice cream on hot evenings and it was no big deal. We'd decide to make it at 8:00, have it made by 8:30 and have the whole freezerful eaten by 8:40. The five of us ate it right out of the can with long spoons. It cut down on the dishwashing.
In the days before h.o.m.ogenized milk, about four inches of cream came to the top of each bottle. The five of us came from three families. We'd go to each icebox and take the top off whatever milk bottles were there, being careful to refill each skimmed bottle to the top with milk from another skimmed bottle. We thought this gave our parents the illusion that we hadn't taken the cream.
We used about a quart and a half of liquid, and if we didn't have enough cream, we filled in with milk or a can of evaporated milk. So, don't tell me about easy, basic vanilla ice cream that has eight egg yolks, half a stick of b.u.t.ter and a vanilla bean in it.
Bad or difficult ice cream recipes anger me for an obvious reason, I guess. We all like other people to enjoy what we enjoy, and these recipes are scaring people off homemade ice cream. I'd like everyone to enjoy making it and eating it as much as I do.
The first recipe in this magazine article after basic vanilla is one for "Prune and Armagnac Ice Cream." What would you serve with that, white clam sauce or ketchup? The magazine doesn't even give a recipe for the best ice cream to make in August, peach. To make peach ice cream, add mashed peaches to cream and sugar. Please don't put a lot of other stuff in it.
Part of the fascination of making ice cream is the physical principle involved. I know so few physical principles I get great satisfaction in knowing this one. The outside container of an ice cream freezer is wood or plastic. The container that holds the mixture is metal. You pack ice mixed with salt around the metal container. Salt converts ice to water without lowering its temperature. Any action like this consumes energy (heat). Neither wood nor plastic conducts heat the way metal does, so the energy to accomplish the conversion of the ice to water is drawn from the mixture inside the metal can, and when its heat is gone, it's frozen.
I'm not as sure about that, of course, as I am about how to make ice cream.
The Andy Rooney Upside-Down Diet T he two biggest sellers in any bookstore are the cookbooks and the diet books. The cookbooks tell you how to prepare the food and the diet books tell you how not to eat any of it.
The quickest way for a writer to get rich is to write a diet book. A cookbook is more difficult. With a diet book all you need is one bad idea and a lot of statistics on what has how many calories. If you want to make the book thicker, you put in a whole series of typical meals that adhere to your idea.
As someone who's been eating too much all his life, I think I'm as qualified to write a diet book as anyone, and as a writer I'm twice as ready to get rich. Not only that, I have an idea. My book would be called The Andy Rooney Upside-Down Diet Book. The Andy Rooney Upside-Down Diet Book.
My theory is based on the idea that the average overweight person has to change his eating habits drastically. The overweight man or woman has fallen into a pattern of eating that is making him or her fat, and the only way that person is going to lose weight is for him to turn his eating habits upside down.
The appet.i.te itself (I'll say in the Foreword to my book) is a strange mechanism. Our stomach often signals our brain that it's ready to have something sent down when our body doesn't really need anything yet.
As I understand it-and you don't have to understand things very well to write a diet book-the appet.i.te is depressed as the blood sugar The Andy Rooney Upside-Down Diet 211 211 level rises. The trouble is that the blood sugar level rises slowly as your digestive processes start taking apart the food you've consumed, so that you can still feel hungry for quite a while after you've had enough because your blood sugar level hasn't caught up to your stomach.
So much for theory. Here, in brief, is my diet. You'll want to buy the book later, I imagine.
Basically, what I'm suggesting you do is reverse the order in which you eat things at a meal, and change the habits you have in regard to what you eat for what meal.
Forget cereal, pancakes or bacon and eggs for breakfast. We're going to start the morning with a bowl of chicken soup. Chicken soup will serve a dual purpose. It's nourishing, not fattening, and because it's a hot drink you won't need coffee. If you don't have coffee, you won't need sugar. No one is going to be tempted to put sugar in chicken soup.
The beauty of my diet-and I want them to make this clear on the jacket of my book-is that you don't have to deny yourself anything. Eat absolutely anything you feel like eating. The magic of my diet is in making sure you don't feel like eating much.
Before dinner many of us consume what we call appetizers. Don't take appetizers off your diet if you like them, just don't eat them first. In our Upside-Down Diet Book Upside-Down Diet Book we'll be laying out more than one hundred weight losing model meals. A typical breakfast might consist of half a grape, a bowl of chicken soup and plain b.u.t.ter, no toast. we'll be laying out more than one hundred weight losing model meals. A typical breakfast might consist of half a grape, a bowl of chicken soup and plain b.u.t.ter, no toast.
Lunch might consist of ketchup, a Fig Newton, two Oreo Creme Sandwiches and lukewarm Ovaltine. In other words, Eat All You Want, but Change What You Want.
Your main meal will be dinner. Cla.s.sic cuisine has called for an appetizer first, soup, a fish dish, meat, vegetables and potatoes, followed by cheese and then dessert. We're going to ask you to shake that up if you want to lose weight.