Monday, April 30, 2007

Random Links

Here are a few articles to help pass some time:

The top 10 millionaire counties are out. Los Angeles County is #1 with 268,138 millionaire households; Cook County (Illinois) is #2.

Tired of being overshadowed by Barbara Walters, Rosie O’Donnell, Star Jones and anyone else who has ever appeared on or been associated with “The View,” Elizabeth Hasselbeck fights back by making news of her own with assistance from her husband Tim, who apparently is still in the NFL.

The supposed search to find a replacement for Tobey Maguire for Spider-man 4 is on. Val Kilmer is not listed as a possibility.

Congratulations to Steve Breaston on being drafted in the fifth round by the Arizona Cardinals. This will be the first time in probably eight years that Breaston has not been on the Wolverines.

Finally, this article by Gene Weingarten (about a month old now, but certainly worth the read) shows what happens when you put a world-famous violinist at a Metro station during rush hour.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

More on the Mascot

I could be completely wrong on this, but to me, the eyes and chin of the new Steelers mascot and the Green Goblin from Spiderman look very similar.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Pittsburgh Steelers Mascot

Are there ever cases when a mascot debuts and is universally loved? I generally think the opposite occurs as people seem to dislike or ridicule new mascots (see Screech of the Washington Nationals). It seems that the best mascots have earned their reputations through years of service and familiarity (see the Phillie Phanatic and Big Red of Western Kentucky University).

The reason I am writing this is because the Pittsburgh Steelers displayed their new mascot on Friday to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the team. Dan already gave his take about the unnamed mascot, calling him a Demento (Pennsylvania Senator) Bob Casey Junior. Other commenters wrote that he has a smaller chin than Bill Cowher and looks like Pittsburgh TV announcer Ken Rice or “the priest who made me sit in his lap last week.”

Personally, I don’t think I like the stereotype that all steelworkers go to work unshaven and wearing yellow flannel shirts and goulashes! In all seriousness, the Steelers really don’t need a mascot. Is the mascot going to go from section to section to get fans excited? No. The fans will start yelling at the mascot for getting in the way of game (like I did when the Washington Capitals mascot made me miss a Penguins goal this season). If the team feels like they MUST have a mascot, just borrow the Pirate Parrot.

Interested in naming the mascot (my suggestion is "Unnecessary"); you can click here for KDKA's website.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Airplane Movies

I am heading to San Francisco next week and decided to see what movies are showing on the flight. The airline is playing “Music and Lyrics” with Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore on my return trip. This seems like a perfect, mindless airplane movie for background noise, where I don’t have to think and don’t have to worry about missing something if I fall asleep. By the way, has Drew Barrymore done anything besides romantic comedies and Charlie’s Angels over the past 5-10 years? It’s hard to argue with her success and bank account, but maybe she could take on a different type of role some day. You too Hugh Grant!

The feature movie on my way to San Francisco is “The Painted Veil” starring Edward Norton and Naomi Watts. I have never heard of the movie, so I looked up the movie description:

"Weary of her mother’s pressure to wed, 25-year-old Kitty abruptly accepts a proposal of marriage from an obviously smitten doctor, Walter Fane. After the wedding, the couple moves from England to Shanghai, where Walter immerses himself in his work as a bacteriologist. Kitty meets the British vice consul in Shanghai and—out of boredom—has an affair. When Walter finds out, he’s furious and demands she accompany him to a far-off village stricken with cholera."

A bacteriologist and cholera in the same movie? How did this movie not make $100 million?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

David Halberstam and Kurt Vonnegut

In just the past few weeks, two of my favorite authors passed away. I was first introduced to both David Halberstam and Kurt Vonnegut in college. Although I do not remember the specific class (one was for a history course, the other politics), I certainly remember reading both Vonnegut’s “Player Piano” and “Galapagos.” I liked Vonnegut’s style of writing and the ideas presented in his books. Over the years, I’ve probably read another half dozen of his books. I don’t exactly know how to describe his books, but there were always parts that made me smile and parts that made me think. So it goes. By the way, Vonnegut has a terrific cameo in “Back to School” starring Rodney Dangerfield.

I read Halberstam’s “The Fifties” in one of my favorite college classes, a senior level history class about United States history in the 1950s. What struck me most about the book was the way Halberstam took nearly every part of the decade and wrote in-depth chapters for each topic. There was such a wide variety of topics and Halberstam made each one interesting. Like Vonnegut, I continued to read Halberstam well after I finished school. “Playing for Keeps” provides a terrific insight about Michael Jordan. This may be the ultimate compliment for Halberstam. I can’t stand Patriots coach Bill Belichick. He is so smug and arrogant and would it hurt him to dress better. When Halberstam wrote “Education of a Coach” about Belichick , not only was I excited to read it because of the author, but I found myself being fascinated and intrigued by Belichick.

Both Halberstam and Vonnegut will be missed, but their books will live on.

Want more? Here is an article about Vonnegut by Joe Holley in the Washington Post and an article about Halberstam by Frank Deford in Sports Illustrated.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Another Month, Another Contest

Already this year, I have encouraged folks to vote for the Best DC Blog, Dog Show USA, Grease and the NFL’s Super Bowl Commercial. The next contest is Good Morning America’s “Dancing With the Moms Challenge!” Yes, this is a terrible name, but apparently ABC wants to get as much promotion for “Dancing With The Stars” as possible. Instead of dancing celebrities like Laila Ali, Joey Fatone and Billy Ray Cyrus, this contests features mothers dancing with their kids. Actually, that’s completely a guess since I haven’t watched any of the videos.

Anyway, over 1,000 people entered and there are now 10 semifinalists, including Tiffany Catania, who is someone I went to high school with in Pittsburgh. According to this link, each week the moms will be given a new dancing challenge, and then we can vote for our favorite dancer. Two dancers with the lowest vote totals are eliminated each week and the final four dancing moms will be flown to New York to train with professional dancers and perform live on Good Morning America. Basically, I’m just asking you to vote for Tiffany. Thank you.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Light Bulbs

I’m sure that you have all seen the new spiral light bulbs like the ones pictured here. Apparently, Home Depot gave away 1 million of these light bulbs on Sunday for Earth Day. Of course, I did not learn about the promotion until I opened the coupon/circular section of my Sunday newspaper late last night. Anyway, I bought a few at Giant since they are on sale for only $1 instead of the usual price of $4.99. So I’m wondering if anyone has used these bulbs. Are they any good? Do they really save energy?

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Sidney Crosby played the last month of the hockey season with a broken foot. What’s even more impressive is that he still played at a high level over the last few weeks and was one of the few Penguins who played decently during the Ottawa series. Sid, get some rest over the summer and come back healthy next fall.

(P.S. I hope that Ben Roethlisberger has been following this advice during the off-season.)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Commute Time

Amount of time driving to work by myself on Wednesday = 1 hour and 35 minutes

Amount of time driving with semi-random person I picked up at the bus stop on Thursday = 40 minutes

This just demonstrates again that slugging is good.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


I admit it. I watched the last few minutes of American Idol tonight. Chad Cordero blew a save for the Nationals (and my fantasy/rotisserie team), so I decided to change the channel. So Sanjaya is now gone from show, but we will probably hear from him again. Even with the continuing news from Virginia Tech and Iraq, I’m guessing that Sanjaya will make the front page of many newspapers and websites tomorrow.

Completely unrelated to, well, anything else, here are a few links:

Congratulations to Pittsburghers for eating more Ho Hos than anywhere. According to Hostess' data, Pittsburghers eat 1.51 Ho Hos per person per day.

The Dalai Lama is visiting Ithaca in October. Apparently, he will visit the North American seat of his personal monastery, viewing and blessing the Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies. I’m not sure if these are one in the same. Does the Dalai Lama have personal monasteries all around the world? How does that work?

The 2007 Ithaca College football schedule is out. Save November 10th for the annual Cortaca Jug game.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech

I have attempted to write something about the Virginia Tech tragedy for the past few hours and have come up with very little. Living in Northern Virginia, there are so many people with Virginia Tech ties. Many of the victims’ names that have been released are from this area including Mary Read from Annandale and Erin Peterson and Reema Samaha from Centreville.

In this time of tragedy, there are some true stories of heroism that has emerged. Liviu Librescu, a Holocaust survivor, lost his life while blocking the doorway of his classroom and saving many of his students’ lives. Ryan Clark was doing his job as a resident advisor when he was killed.

We will learn more about this massacre and the victims over the next few days and weeks. Obviously, my thoughts and prayers are with the entire Virginia Tech community.

Monday, April 16, 2007

For the One Shady Side Academy Graduate Who Regularly Reads This Blog

According to the DC Sports Bog, GW freshman Monte Singh Harika is declaring for the NBA draft. Haven’t heard of him? Follow George Washington University men’s hoops closely and still haven’t heard of him? There’s a reason. Monte is not actually on the GW team. He plays in pick-up games and declared for the draft for publicity. You’ll be glad to know that Monte “has not hired an agent and plans to withdraw his name before the deadline so that he can preserve his college eligibility and attempt to walk on the team next year.” Look out Atlantic-10 teams!

What’s really impressive is that Monte was a 290-pound offensive lineman in high school at Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh and now weighs 180 pounds.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Invitation From The Donald

I recently received an invitation from Donald Trump, Real Estate Billionaire (that is the actual title listed under his signature), to “learn the Trump family’s most successful wealth creation secrets.” Although The Donald will not actually be there, his daughter Ivanka Trump will lead the session. I have a feeling that her first tip to become rich and successful is to become Trump’s daughter.

The suggested tuition fee for this outstanding opportunity/“once in a lifetime financial conference” is $149 but is waived for me. I’m probably the only person in which the fee is waived because The Donald knows my potential. Plus, he knows that waiving the $149 for me is a great deal since he’s getting at least that value in advertising just by me mentioning the event here.

I now have a tough decision to make. On Thursday, April 19, should I go to work or attend the all-day session that can make me rich? No word on whether or not Rosie O'Donnell will be in attendance.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Fun Directions

If you go to Google maps and select directions from New York to Paris, #23 tells you to swim across the Atlantic Ocean 3,462 miles. That seems funny to me. I wonder if the guy who swam the Amazon will try this.

Just for fun, I also typed in directions from New York to Portugal. Apparently, it is better to swim from New York to France and then go through France and Spain to get to Portugal instead of simply swimming directly to Portugal.

I saw this on by Bill Simmons.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

2007 Steelers Schedule

Even though my thoughts are on the Penguins-Senators playoff series, the NFL schedule was released today, so I wanted to share it for anyone who has not seen it yet:

Sunday, Sept. 9 -- at Cleveland, 1 p.m. (CBS)

Sunday, Sept. 16 -- Buffalo, 1 p.m. (CBS)

Sunday, Sept 23 -- San Francisco, 1 p.m. (FOX)

Sunday, Sept. 30 -- at Arizona, 4:15 p.m. (CBS)

Sunday, Oct. 7 -- Seattle, 1 p.m. (FOX)
Prepare for lots of articles (probably from me) about Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren complaining.

Sunday, Oct. 14 -- bye

Sunday, Oct. 21 -- at Denver, 8:15 p.m. (NBC)
I'll predict that this game will be played in snow. The networks love putting Sunday/Monday night games in late October in Denver on TV just so the announcers can talk about snow.

Sunday, Oct. 28 -- at Cincinnati, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Will the annual trip to Cincy happen this year after taking a hiatus in 2006?

Monday, Nov. 5 -- Baltimore, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Sunday, Nov. 11 -- Cleveland, 1 p.m. (CBS)

Sunday, Nov. 18* -- at NY Jets, 1 p.m. (CBS)

Monday, Nov. 26 -- Miami, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Any chance there will be some articles involving Joey Porter?

Sunday, Dec. 2* -- Cincinnati, 8:15 p.m. (NBC)

Sunday, Dec. 9* -- at New England, 1 p.m.(CBS)

Sunday, Dec. 16* -- Jacksonville, 1 p.m. (CBS)

Thursday, Dec. 20 -- at St. Louis, 8:15 p.m. (NFL Network)
NFL Network = Probably not able to watch at home.

Sunday, Dec. 30* -- at Baltimore, 1 p.m. (CBS)

* Time could change due to flex scheduling

Buy Sam a Drink and Get His Dog One Too

I spent a good part of last night trying to figure out how to post a YouTube video here. As you can tell, I was unsuccessful and ended up altering the layout of the blog. Anyway, for the first time in six years, the Pittsburgh Penguins are in the playoffs. The series starts tonight with game one at Ottawa. For folks not in the Pittsburgh area, the game is scheduled to air on Versus (Channel 70 on Comcast for folks in the DC area). Not ready for playoff hockey? Click here to watch Darius Kasparaitis and the Penguins defeat the Buffalo Sabres in Game 7 of the 2001 Eastern Conference semi-finals. That should get you excited for tonight’s game. Go Pens!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Guilty Pleasures

I heard the new Hilary Duff song, “With Love,” a few times over the weekend, and I hate to admit this, but I really like it. Therefore, I started to think about other things I like but probably should not admit such as:

• Neil Diamond – I’m not sure if he even belongs on the list of guilty pleasures since Neil Diamond is just cool (see “Sweet Caroline,” “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” and “America”). Plus Neil Diamond was my first ever concert.
• Eddie Money – “Take Me Home Tonight” is simply an awesome song. Plus, he was great guest star in a Drew Carey episode.
• Spice Girls – I even like the current commercial where a woman is running while her husband drives next to her with “Wannabe” blaring from the car (I’ll Tell You Want I Want, What I Really, Really Want).
• Late 80s/90s Pop/Techno/Dance Songs – I’m not really sure what counts in this category but songs like “Barbie Girl” by Aqua, “Strike It Up” by Black Box, “Rhythm is a Dancer” by Snap and probably a few dozen others.
• Almost every reality show on VH1. I have never watched Survivor or the Amazing Race and I rarely see Idol; however, I end up seeing most episodes of I Love New York, Hogan Knows Best, Surreal Life, Flavor of Love and Celebrity Fit Club.

Feel free to mock me or (even better) share your own guilty pleasures.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Weekend in Jersey

I spent the weekend in New Jersey for my annual fantasy/rotisserie baseball league draft. This year marks the 17th year of the league and my 16th year as a team owner (I have never won). I’ll write more about my team momentarily, but the draft weekend is one of my favorite events of the year. I enjoy the strategy (or for me, the lack thereof) in preparing for the draft, selecting the players and then spending the next five months following the players. More importantly, this is an opportunity to catch up with friends, many of whom I have known since high school or even elementary school, since I rarely see many of these folks any other time during the year.

As a special treat, a few of us traveled to Atlantic City on Saturday night. I spent most of my time playing Three Card Poker at the Tropicana. After quickly being down $80, I recovered to be up $120. I ended the night up $40, which basically covered most of my gas for the weekend. While I am very happy to finish ahead, I should have played Double Attack Blackjack since my friends seemed to do very well there.

This was my first trip to Atlantic City. While I certainly enjoyed gambling for a few hours, I’m not sure if AC is a place I would go for more than a night. I can spend an entire weekend in Vegas not only gambling, but going to shows, shopping and watching sporting events in the sports books. It did not seem like there was much to do in Atlantic City besides gambling, especially in cold weather. Although one thing AC has that Las Vegas does not is a crazy clock in the Wild West Casino that you could only “understand if you are drunk.” (Inside joke that is not that funny.)

As for the draft itself, while I know no one cares about other people’s fantasy teams, I still wanted to share the stars of my team:

Miguel Cabrera (Marlins)
Juan Pierre (Dodgers)
Jeff Kent (Dodgers)
Xavier Nady (Pirates) – Nady really is not a star, but he’s a Pirate, so that’s good enough for me.
Chad Cordero (Nationals)
Dontrelle Willis (Marlins)
Roy Oswalt (Astros)
Chad Tracy (Diamondbacks)
Takashi Saito (Dodgers)

I have a good feeling this year. As the saying goes, 16th time is the charm!

Thursday, April 05, 2007


Here's a quick joke that I thought you might enjoy as we head to the weekend:

Three men were sitting together bragging about how they had given their new wives duties.

The first man had married a woman from Tennessee and bragged that he had told his wife she was going to do all the dishes and house cleaning. He said it took a couple days but on the third day he came home to a clean house and the dishes were done.

The second man had married a woman from New York. He bragged that he had given his wife orders that she was to do all the cleaning, dishes and the cooking. On that the first day he didn't see any results, but the next day it was better. By the third day, his house was clean, the dishes were done and he had a huge dinner on the table.

The third man married a girl from Pennsylvania. He told her that her duties were to keep the house clean, dishes washed, lawn mowed, laundry washed and hot meals on the table for every meal. He said the first day he didn't see anything, the second day he didn't see anything but by the third day most of the swelling had gone down and he could see a little out of his left eye; enough to fix himself a bite to eat, load the dishwasher and telephone a landscaper.

Gotta love those Pennsylvania girls.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Old School Tivo

I have written countless times about my desire to get Tivo or DVR. While I still do not have either, I was able to see the season finale of Prison Break even though I was at a Passover Seder. How? I hooked up the VCR, found a VHS tape and recorded the show. Maybe this is not as efficient as Tivo or DVR, but it the VCR proved its effectiveness.

PRISON BREAK SPOILER! (Although if you’re a fan of the show, you have probably watched Monday night’s episode by now). Fantastic episode! About two months ago, I figured the show went as far as it could and thought it should be wrapped up at the end of this season. (Plus, things were becoming truly ridiculous.) Even over the past few weeks, I thought the show was moving in that direction. However, Monday night’s episode leaves enough things open that I am excited about a Season Three. They just may need to change the name to Panamanian Prison Break. I do have one minor critique. According to the 2005 population estimate, there are 1,299,000 people living in Panama City, Panama. It amazes me how ten people seem to have found each other so easily in such a big city. I do have a few thoughts. I think we'll see both Kellerman and Kim again (just flesh wounds) and C-Note will probably be back at some point next season.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Best DC Blog Review

Between the beginning of Passover and the first of my two fantasy baseball league drafts, I have not been able to write much lately. Therefore, I thought I would provide an update from last week’s Best DC Blog You Couldn’t Quit for Lent contest. Out of the original 27 nominees, I finished a very respectable fourth. As a gracious loser, I thought I would provide links to the top three blogs in case you feel like checking them out.

Winner: Bigger Bitch Than You
Second: Why I Hate DC
Third: Night Writer

If one of these three cannot fulfill their obligations, I guess I would end up with a metal (if this was like the Olympics).

Sunday, April 01, 2007

I Was Going to Write About This Earlier, But…

Happy belated National Procrastination Week! National Procrastination Week took place the first full week of March, so I hope that you had a productive, or not so productive week!

In college, a friend and I almost started a Procrastinators Club. We had a great idea for a flyer and first event. The flyer’s tagline would have said, “Have a Paper Due? Join Us for Bowling!” Naturally, we never got around to organizing the event or club.