Monday, October 31, 2005

Halloween Observation

Once a quarter, I have a day where I can work from home. Today is that day. I've had the TV on for background noise and saw many shows celebrating Halloween. Good Morning America, The Today Show and The View all had kids dressed up in Halloween costumes. While I love Halloween, the last time I checked it is not a federal holiday. So why are all of these kids on TV when they should be in school? Do their parents really think it is more important to have their kids be interviewed by Star Jones and Joy Behar than being in school?

Happy Halloween!

Have a Spook-tacular day!

(Get it, because of Halloween, I changed spectacular to "Spook-tacular." You can stop groaning now.)

Sunday, October 30, 2005


Yes, that's me. I haven't done a good job of posting lately, and I'm sure there are millions of people out there desperately waiting to hear about the Kenny Loggins concert.

I should preface my review of the concert by saying that it was a fundraiser, so it was not a traditional concert. There were speakers, presentations and two videos before Loggins came on the stage and everyone was wearing dresses or coats and ties. Not exactly a Woodstock or Lollapalooza environment. We also did not stay until the end of the show (long drive home and we were the guests of the folks driving), so we did not see Kenny Loggins perform Footloose.

Besides all of that, it's amazing how many songs Kenny Loggins has had over the years. At least two or three times, my wife asked me who sang a particular song. My response was "I guess Kenny Loggins." I never knew that he sang the "even though we ain't got money, I'm so in love with you honey" song and the Winnie the Pooh song ("Christopher Robin and I walked along"). Kenny Loggins has really had a great career and put on a good show. What ever happened to Messina?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Kenny Loggins

I'm going to see him perform Thursday night. If I had to chose one concert to go to (OK, 100 concerts to go), I wouldn't pick Kenny Loggins. However, since his performance is at an event where the money is going to a good cause, I'm going to make the most of it. I'm just hoping that he'll sing Footloose, Danger Zone and I'm Alright. Actually, that may be the only Kenny Loggins songs I know.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

More Weekend Notes

As part of the tailgate, we bought a 12-pack of FMV hot dogs...for 99 cents! FMV stands for “For Maximum Value” and after doing a Google search, I saw that there was a recall of FMV hot dogs in 2002. I'm sure they are fine now, but I'm glad I had Hebrew National hot dogs instead.

Second is somewhat of a serious note. At both the tailgate and game, there were a good amount of people, both Steelers and Bengals fans, who acted inappropriately. It was mostly swearing, hand gestures and a few near fights. Most of the time, I mark it up as part of football culture, especially since a lot of alcohol is involved. However, for some reason, this year was different. I really enjoy my annual football trip and going to football games. This year, I was thinking about the future, and while I don’t have kids, I would like to take them to games when I do. From what I have seen over the past few years (Ohio State games were the worst), I do not think that football games are a good environment for kids. Maybe it was different when I was growing up because I remember people having fun and rooting for their team. Now, I see people rooting for their team but also insulting the opposing team and fans. It was probably like this when I was younger, but I guess I don’t remember it. Am I being overly sensitive or is this something other people (well, parents) think about?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Weekend in Ohio

Anytime the Steelers win, especially when I'm there, is a great day/weekend. I go to maybe one game a year, and I don't think the Steelers have lost any game that I've been to since the AFC Championship game against the Chargers ten years ago (but I don't want to talk about that).

On to the main event...we were at Waffle House by 7:00am and after several car problems, made it to the tailgate around 10:00, a little later than usual. There were fewer Steelers fans in the tailgate and in the stadium this year than in years past mostly due to there being more Bengals fans. It was great seeing so many "die-hard" Bengals fans. Actually, there was a good deal of real Bengals fans. (I actually think people yelling "Who Dey" is very funny. I'm not sure of the origin, but it stands for "Who Dey, think is gonna beat Dem Bengals," and is also the name of the mascot.) They were especially loud just before kick-off and in the first quarter. Of course, they were not as loud in the fourth quarter where many fans celebrated Halloween early by dressing up as empty green seats.

My favorite moment was walking back to the cars after the game. Even though the Bengals were totally dominated in the second half, the fans couldn't admit defeat. They kept bragging about being in first place. Apparently, Carson Palmer and T.J. Houshmandzadeh feel the same way. On, T.J. said, "I think we're better than them. They won the game and I'm sure they feel like they're better than us, but I don't feel like it." The Bengals really went out and proved it.

Anyway, the weekend was great. I got to see my brother and some good friends, some of whom I haven't seen in over a year. The only downside of the entire weekend was sitting in the middle of a backseat of a small car between two guys weighing a combined 450 pounds and both snoring. That part wasn't so fun.

My annual trip to Columbus and then going to the Cincinnati for the Bengals-Steelers game really has become one of my favorite times of the year. While there was nothing of the scope of being part of an Ohio State-Michigan tailgate or being in the bar for the Pistons/Pacers brawl, it was still a fantastic weekend. Next year in Cincy.

Oh and Who Dey think is gonna beat Dem Bengals? The Steelers!

I'm Back

I'm exhausted, but I'm back in Northern Virginia. I was awake at 4:15 this morning and left Columbus on a 6:15 flight. I'll write more about my trip later today including the impressive Steelers win yesterday and my thoughts on Cincinnati Bengals fans. In the meantime, I'm heading to work. Have a good day!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

On A Much Lighter Note

from what I previously wrote, I am extremely excited for this weekend. I am heading to Columbus and Cincinnati for my annual pilgrimage to see the Steelers at the Bengals. Sunday morning will start will a 7:00am stop at Waffle House, followed by pre-game tailgating and then game time. This will be the first year I remember where the Bengals are favored to win.

Highlights from last year included being in a bar and watching the "highlights" of the Ron Artest/Pacers/Pistons brawl over and over again, tailgating before the Ohio State (victory) over Michigan and, of course, a Steelers win.

Who knows what will happen this year?

A Little Too Far

ABC News had a story the other night about conservative activists threatening a boycott of the American Girl doll. The reason (yes, I'm borrowing most of this from the ABC story): American Girl is having a campaign where proceeds from sales of a wristband (enough with the wristbands already, but that's a different topic) go to Girls Inc. in support of their educational and empowerment programs. Girls Inc. is a wonderful nonprofit organization with its mission of "inspiring girls to be strong, smart and bold." However, the conservative groups are upset that the advocacy portion of Girls Inc. supports abortion rights and acceptance of lesbians as part of its Girls' Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights includes some very controversial items (note the sarcasm here) that girls have the right to accept and appreciate their bodies, express themselves with originality and enthusiasm and to have confidence in themselves. Again, the money from the wristband sales goes to the educational and empowerment programs, not the advocacy part.

Some of these groups have way too much time on their hands. Why is there not more time, effort and money going to helping the poor? A boycott of a kids doll and an organization that helps girls? C'mon.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Oh Moe!

Former Penguin Moe Mantha is now the coach and general manager of the Windsor Spitfires in the Ontario Hockey League. Actually, I should restate that. He is the suspended coach and general manager. The OHL suspended Moe for the rest of the season as GM and for 40 games as the coach for a hazing incident and a fight between teammates during a practice. TSN (Canada's Sports Leader) has more information about this on their website, including this:

The incident involved players "being told to strip and stand in the washroom at the back of the bus by other players," the OHL said in a release.

Not so good times for Moe and those players being hazed.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Ike vs. Byron

Although it's not helping me get over the Steelers loss on Sunday, Ike Taylor of the Steelers has a much better website than the web page of the Jaguars' Byron Leftwich when he was at Marshall.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Terrible Sports Weekend

The Pittsburgh Penguins are currently the only team in the National Hockey League without a win. They have six losses, four of which happened in overtime (including on Friday night against the Flyers). Apparently, the Steelers sympathize with the fellows across town because they displayed possibly the worst offensive performance in overtime history in losing to Jacksonville 23-17. Unfortunately, in the National Football League, teams do not get a point in the standings for an overtime loss. If you're a Steelers or NFL fan, you already know what happened, so I'm not going to discuss it. If you really want to read more, click here. I just don't understand why the Steelers couldn't have run Bettis or even Parker up the middle two or three times to try and get the team into better field goal range.

Besides the Steelers (and Penguins, but I'm not counting them as a real team until they win one game), Ithaca College also lost in overtime on Saturday. They are no longer undefeated and will drop out of the Top 10 of the Division III rankings. Fortunately, there is a playoff system for Division III, so the Bombers (yes, that's the nickname) are still in good shape to qualify.

I'm just glad I'm not a Penn State or Notre Dame fan. The weekend would have been even worse.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Click For Cans 2005

Campbell's Chunky soup is again having its Click for Cans to fight hunger. Visit the Chunky website and vote for your favorite NFL team (hopefully the Steelers) everyday from now until November 30th.

This year, two NFL teams will earn donations of Campbell’s soup to the food banks of their choice. For the team with the most clicks, they will donate the winning team's total weight in cans. In addition, the team that improves the most in the number of clicks from last year will also receive a donation.

So vote early and vote often!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Commercial Coups

Congrats to Motorola not only for getting Madonna, Iggy Pop, Little Richard, Mya, Bootsy Collins and Alanis Morissette for their ROKR iTunes phone commercial, but they were also able to get Beethoven. I've been worried that Beethovern hasn't been able to get much work lately, so hopefully this will jump-start his career.

There is another commercial out now for Intel Centrino that features Seal sitting on a woman's lap singing the song Crazy. Does he need extra money to help support Heidi Klum and their child? Random commercial, but good concept.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Did I Miss Anything?

Yom Kippur is now over, so after 25+ hours of not eating and drinking, I've had bagels, lox, orange juice, etc.

Yom Kippur is also a time for me when I do not use the phone or turn on the radio, TV or computer. Therefore, if something significant happened in the world, I would probably not know. So what happened over the past 28 hours or so? (The question is somewhat rhetorical since I'm now going to check out the Washington Post, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and ESPN websites, but if there is anything that I missed, please let me know.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Musical Names

I have no idea why I was thinking about this, but I was trying to come up with the coolest names in music. Here are my nominees:

Tre Cool (of Green Day)
Will.I.Am (of Black Eyed Peas)
The Edge (of U2)
Neneh Cherry & her brother Eagle Eye Cherry

Please feel free to add your own suggestions.

Steelers Win!

Although the Penguins lost in overtime (again), I am very happy with this Monday night/Tuesday morning. Jeff Reed kicked a clutch 40-yard field goal with 6 seconds left to give the Steelers a 24-22 victory over San Diego. It's great seeing The Bus back too. Of course, all Steelers fans are wondering how Big Ben is doing. I'm sure that we will not hear anything about his left knee until Tuesday or Wednesday at the earliest.

I'm definitely going to be hurting tomorrow/today. Why do Monday Night Football games end so late? And will ABC please stop showing previews for Freddie!

Monday, October 10, 2005


What a perfect fall Monday evening. At 7:00, the Penguins will be on national TV (the OLN network) against the Buffalo Sabres. This will be my first chance to see Sidney and Mario together. Then at 9:00, the Steelers will face the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football. I'm hoping the Penguins will be leading 9-0 at the end of the second period, so I can watch the Steelers game without worrying about switching back and forth. If only the Pirates were in the playoffs...

Weekend Update

Being part of a study is pretty cool. I felt like I was completing a physical for a Major League Baseball or NFL team. I had to answer numerous questions and questionnaires and then came "the treadmill test." The Pitt team monitored my breathing, heart rate, levels of exertion and pain and then took my blood at several intervals (I didn't understand this part of the test, but that was OK). I'll go back to Pitt in 2 years for the next part of the study.

The Original Hot Dog Shop was as good as always.

What are the chances that I would hear the song Garden Party by Ricky Nelson twice in the same weekend?

Congrats to Woodland Hills and Pitt graduate Lousaka Polite on his first NFL Touchdown yesterday for the Dallas Cowboys.

Congrats #2 to the Baltimore Ravens for committing 21 penalties (one short of the NFL record), having two players ejected and losing 35-17 to Detroit. It couldn't happen to a nicer team.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Back from the 'Burgh

I'll write more tomorrow, but I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm back in Northern Virginia. If you ever have to take the Pennsylvania Turnpike (particularly between Breezewood and Pittsburgh), I recommend going in the fall. The foliage is beautiful.

I'm off work tomorrow for Columbus Day, so look for several posts throughout the day.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Making Research History

I am part of one of the longest follow-up studies of physical activity in the United States. I bet you didn't know that, did you? When I was in high school, the University of Pittsburgh conducted a study of physical activity. A few years ago, I received a follow-up phone call asking about my physical fitness. On Saturday, I'm going back to Pittsburgh to visit my family and to spend 2.5 hours at Pitt. During my visit, I will be completing a series of tests including a treadmill exercise test and body composition assessment. After displaying my physical fitness ability, I am planning on going directly to the O for a hot dog and delicious (and greasy) fries.

For more information about the study, check out the Pitt Chronicle, the University of Pittsburgh's newspaper (scroll down to the 2nd item).

Katie & Tom

There was a Simpsons episode where actor Troy McClure (voiced by the late Phil Hartman) is able to improve his career by planning a fake marriage to Marge’s sister Selma. When McClure’s agent tells him that all of the big movie parts are going to family men, he unsuccessfully tries to convince Selma to have a child. Why do I mention this? Because Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have now gone beyond a publicity relationship. I guess having a child makes their relationship legitimate. More importantly, has anyone heard from Dan recently?

Monday, October 03, 2005

Happy New Year!

Rosh Hashanah is tonight marking the start of the new year (5766). Apples, honey and Manischewitz are on me!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Lazy Sunday

I've spent most of today just sitting on the couch watching football. With all of my sitting, here are some random thoughts from today:

- For the first time in years, I watched Saturday Night Live last night. It's not nearly as funny as it used to be. With that said, the bit before Kanye West went on stage, including a Mike Myers cameo, was extremely funny. Great performance by Kanye too. Oh, Horacio Sanz at the Weekend Update desk didn't quite work.

- Will someone explain to me why NFL players have a green sticker on the back of helmets today? I haven't heard the announcers say anything about them, and I don't remember the stickers being there last week.

- Someone found this site by doing a search on Yahoo for "Diaper Harajuku Girls." What exactly was this person looking for?

- The Steelers game at San Diego next Monday night looks like it will be a tough game. The Chargers won 41-17 at New England today. Can anyone stop LaDainian Tomlinson?

- It looks like a 7th place finish out of 12 teams for my fantasy baseball league team. I've been in the league for 14 years now and have never won. I think the saying is the 15th time is the charm! At least I'm doing well in fantasy football.

Thank You ABC

for showing the premier of Commander in Chief again since I missed it on Tuesday.