Panem et Circenses

Panem et circenses or bread and circuses (actually bread and games) is a reference to the handouts and amusements that the Roman emperors doled out to pacify their populace.  In modern times, in America, football has replaced the ancient Roman form of the circus and chips and dip has replaced the bread.  The epitome of modern circuses is of course the Super Bowl.  Instead of bread, Anne and I had Alice and Chris’ chili fixings Christmas gift, which we found to be very tasty and a wee bit spicy.

Sunday’s Super Bowl was one of the best.  The underdog New Orléans Saints overcame the favored Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts and won 31-17.  The game opened with Manning and the Colts driving machine like down the field and scoring twice in the first quarter for a 10-0 lead.  One of the announcers said at this point that a ten point spread was the largest deficit ever overcome in a Super Bowl.  I’m sure that some nervous CBS executive hushed anymore of that kind of talk. 

Then something strange started to occur.  The Saints’ offense sparked to life.  They ground out a field goal, held the Colts to a three and out and moved the ball again.  They stalled out on the two-yard line, went for it on fourth down but failed.  The Saints held the Colts again and ran out the half with another field goal.  Peyton Manning sat out most of the second quarter.  It was 10-6 Colts at the half.

The Who did the halftime show, old rich geezers singing songs of protest.  I thought that their light show was nice.  The commercials weren’t all that awe-inspiring either.  The controversial commercial that was aired, it was a Pro-Life commercial, was so tame that if you did not know about it beforehand you could have missed the point of it.  I think that CBS did a little bit of sleight-of-hand with it though.  The commercial starts off with the football player son doing a football hit on his mom.  It was preceded by another commercial that involved a similar series of football hits.  If you just happened to be reaching for dip at that moment or weren’t paying careful attention you might have missed the point.

The second half started off with a surprise move by the Saints.  They  made an on-side kick.  They went on to score a touchdown and took the lead 13-10.  Looking back, I think that the call to do an on-side kick won the game for the Saints, at the time though it was not so clear.  The Colts came roaring back and scored another touchdown and regained the lead 17-13.  The Saints edged closer with a field goal, 17-16.  Then in the fourth quarter, the dam started to break.  The Saints scored a touchdown and decided to go for the two-point conversion.  After some controversy, they made it and the score was 24-17 Saints.  The game was sealed when Peyton Manning threw an interception, the single turnover of the game.  The Saints ran it back for their last touchdown.

The pictures with this post are from our 1982 bicycle trip, our great adventure.  Today’s header shows Manresa House an antebellum Louisiana plantation that is now a Christian retreat.  The picture of Anne was taken with the Saint Louis Cathedral in the background in New Orleans’ French Quarter.  The picture of me is from somewhere along the gulf coast.  The tank crossing sign was from Fort Polk, Louisiana.  You haven’t know fear while being passed by a vehicle while riding a bike until you’ve been passed by a tank.  Eighteen year olds driving a tank don’t believe in sharing the road.  I biked fifteen miles on Sunday.

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