Jim Austin's Vermonter at Large
Jim Austin
Jim Austin
is a freelance writer from Putney, Vermont.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 02.11.04


Patriot Act

Such a game already. Maybe the best Super Bowl ever. It was also a moment in the sun for my wretched brother in law.

Stevie-J is an insurance drone. Like an alchemist of old he pores over the indecipherable runes of his trade, recites actuarial tables, then submits a giant bill to his clients which, when deciphered, states that they will pay an enormous premium his company.

Said company will then repay a portion of that money if, and only if, they are attacked and killed by poisonous, giant wombats or malfunctioning androids from the future.

Great job, that insurance business.

In any case, he and his tribe at the golf club came up with a little money game that caught my interest. (Incidentally, they play golf throughout the winter in Tennessee. Another reason to despise the B-I-L.)

In a nutshell, you cough up a sawbuck and put your name on a grid. Before the game each square on the grid is assigned a pair of numbers.

Mine was 9 and 2.

Without going into the mundane details, if the game ended with the Patriots holding a score ending in 2 and the Panthers in 9, I would win 500 bucks.

Remember that final drive after the idiot Panther kickoff guy shanked the ball out of bounds?

The Pats had one minute and eight seconds to march down the field and kick a game-winning field goal, which would make the final score 29 - 32.

The few remaining hairs on the old skull were standing at attention as that glorious and talented set of toes belonging to Adam Vinatierie made all my dreams a reality.

Except the part about actually receiving the winnings.

The B-I-L said something about shipping and handling and closing costs plus deductions for state and federal taxes not to mention the original cost of the wager plus postage. My check for twelve dollars should arrive any day now.

* * *

So the NFL is chagrined and CBS is groveling apologies due to the overexposure of Janet Jackson's boob. Janet has even appeared in a turtleneck sweater offering a heartfelt apology to all who might have been offended by her northern exposure.

My friends, as a journalist with Tivo, I felt it my duty to give this controversy the most exhaustive scrutiny. (You see with Tivo you can replay live TV.) So far I have examined the evidence in this case about 462 times.

I have concluded that the exposure was brief and thoroughly enjoyable. I could have done without Justin Timberlake but Janet was well within the bounds of Austin propriety.

Besides we should feel thankful that a member of the Jackson family felt compelled to appeal to those above the age of puberty.

The real joke in all of this is the great gasping and hand wringing by the NFL and CBS. Oh, the ignominy of being the unwitting facilitator of Janet's offense against nature.

Excuse me, but has Hypocrisy International been informed about the commercials we all endured during timeouts? Apparently, commercials aren't held to such a high standard of taste.

Note the Bud-Lite ad where a young man and his date are sitting in their one-horse open sleigh in winter while the moon and stars cast a romantic glow over all three. While the lady holds a candle, the young man reaches for a Bud-Lite.

Sea biscuit takes this as a signal to uncork a blast of flatulence whose methane content ignites in the candle flame leaving the young lady with a singed and blackened head.

While the juxtaposition of noxious gasses and Bud-Lite is entirely appropriate, I thought the content of the commercial was much more questionable than Janet's titillating gesture.

Add to that another Bud-Lite ad where a man has his genitals mutilated by a dog and you have to wonder about our standards of taste in this society.

In a related story, another member of Justin Timberlake's former boy band has been pulled from the half-time show at the pro bowl by the NFL. I think this phenomenon is known as "the nipple effect."

Wait a minute -- I know what's going on. It's Ashcroft again.

The Attorney General has a morbid hatred of women's breasts and has proven it with the cover-up of that bare-breasted statue of Justice at the White House. He is probably the behind-the-scenes author of this little scandal as well.

Funny, he didn't have any trouble with that Bud-Lite horse's bare behind. Must have hit a little too close to home, I guess.