An advertisement for a trip to Yellowstone National Park

Scattered observations to begin the week …

When the Saints came marching in and then went strutting out with the Super Bowl trophy, most people who had seen the first quarter were quite surprised. In the end, I think, the Colts weren’t outplayed as much as they were out-coached. Sean Payton’s onside kick call to begin the second half was a calculated risk, but also a game-changer. The Saints defense was also clearly well-coached, knowing what sort of pass to expect in certain situations. That enabled cornerback Tracy Porter to intercept Peyton Manning on a third-down play, returning the catch 74 yards for a touchdown that put the game away. Unfortunately, Porter gave himself all the credit, if the quote in today’s paper is correct: “It was a great film study by me, a great jump and a great play.” The Saints’ win was a feel-good story for a hard times town. I just hope it didn’t lead to too much hard drinking on Bourbon Street.

The commercials were a disappointment, I thought. Denny’s screaming chickens were just downright scary, and the Budweiser longhorn was a ripoff of an older commercial that featured a would-be Clydesdale donkey. The empty-headed bimbos in the GoDaddy.com commercials were preposterous and must have had Danica Patrick shaking her head all the way to the bank. The Boostmobile.com ads left me scratching my head, wondering what they were about (I’d forgotten the old Chicago Bears “Super Bowl Shuffle”). I had to visit the website to discover that Boostmobile is a prepaid cell phone company, which was probably their plan.

Twice, I noticed ads for unrelated products that appeared back-to-back and were built on the same theme. Two of them featured men without pants, and two included very short people. Strange (not the short people, just the concept). The talking baby ads were cute, as usual, but I thought the best ad of the night was a 15 second promo for The Late Show, in which Jay Leno joined Dave Letterman for a a really uncomfortable Super Bowl party, with Oprah Winfrey keeping peace between them. It’s good to see competitors practicing sportsmanship.

Speaking of competitors, it should come as no surprise that Sarah Palin says she is boning up on foreign policy in case she feels the call to run for president in 2012. That will take some serious study, given that the camera caught her consulting crib notes written in the palm of her hand at the recent “tea party” confab — during a speech in which she criticized Barack Obama for using a teleprompter.

A more serious note concerning the ten Idaho Baptist church volunteers currently detained in Haiti, mission trip participants whom the media continues to mislabel as “missionaries.” In a note passed to a producer for NBC news, eight of the ten are now accusing group leader Laura Silsby of lying to them. “We only came as volunteers,” the note said. “We had NOTHING to do with any documents and have been lied to.” I’ve thought all along that this was a case of well-meaning people who just didn’t know any better, but it appears at least one of them did.

Sadly, all of the tremendous good work being done by other Baptists (including five medical teams so far sent by North Carolina Baptist Men) has been completely overshadowed by the misguided actions of a few, while NBC news heaped praise on Scientologist volunteers, who claim to heal through “touch therapy.”

Oy vey.

It must be Monday.

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