2006-02-28




It’s funny: During the opening episode of an Apprentice Season most of the candidates come across as polished and professional. A little too arrogant? Maybe. Deserving of a slap? Maybe. But they seem capable. Thirteen weeks later they're all buffoons and it’s a good season if you respect more than two of them.

Trump let the candidates introduce themselves and then selected two PM's: Tarek because he introduced himself as a member of Mensa and Allie because she is a Harvard B-School grad.

The new format worked and this new crop of candidates performed well in their opening mission. There was no tentative posturing. No taking hours to think of a team name. They hit the ground running in their quest to boost Sam’s Club memberships.

By the way, the teams collectively took about three minutes to come up with their names, and it showed. This season Synergy Corp. (someone thought it would be a cool combination of “energy” and syn, umm, syn … it wasn’t clear but I’m guessing that the word they were looking for was synergy – because it’s a word all by itself!), and Gold Rush Corp. Hey, team names are over-rated.

The Omarosa Watch: Early candidates for most-hated … Synergy: Brent the chubby, nasal, attorney who doesn’t let his brain get in the way of his mouth. Gold Rush: Tarek who couldn’t help repeatedly reminding everyone that he’s Mensa. His mediocre effort as PM might have slid by had he not undeservedly and unnecessarily dragged two extra team members into the boardroom.

This task was Marketing 101. The teams were given blimps to help get out the word on their Sam’s campaign. The key decision was how to draw prospects. Synergy offered free manicures and massages. As part of their sales effort they used tangible incentives, such as swiping customers cards and informing them how much they could have saved with an upgraded membership.

Gold Rush relied on brute salesmanship. OK, they gave out Sam’s tote bags, empty Sam's tote bags, to the first 485 customers who came through the door. But their main thrust was the hard sell.

Another key underscored by Trump in one of his “back from the commercial” interludes: You’ve got to know when to pull someone. In unexpectedly cutthroat moves for a first challenge, both PM’s put their perceived dead weight in the blimps for the day: Synergy – Brent, and Gold Rush – Lenny and Summer.

Synergy beat Gold Rush 43 memberships to 40.

PM Tarek quickly circled the wagons and got Gold Rush to back firing Summer. Lee wasn’t going for it though. He didn’t like talking behind Summer’s back and blamed Tarek for the team not having something creative to lure prospects. On to the boardroom where we see that …

These candidates never learn! They get in there and suddenly start acting like they’ve never seen a prior episode of The Apprentice or have any clue who Donald Trump is.

Summer was a clear culprit, yet Tarek put himself in the crosshairs by also bringing in Lenny and Lee for no reason that he could articulate. In fact, in the closing moments Trump was laying into Tarek so much that Lee and Lenny were LOL.

Then just as the Donald was going for the kill Summer started interrupting! Bad move. Very bad. Not only was she delaying the death blow, she was prodding an already riled up Trump. Finally he turned and fired her.

But his venomous parting shots were reserved for Tarek. “She saved your ass by her own stupidity!” And then to Carolyn and George, “Tarek is totally over-rated!”

Tarek needs to lay low and help his team muster some wins. He won’t survive repeated trips to the boardroom. And he’d do well to steer clear of the word “Mensa” for a while. It is now a punch line.

Editor’s aside: I was in Mensa for a while. Tarek exemplifies why I let it lapse. As a body they seem bent on reminding the world how smart they are and how stupid everyone else is. What they fail to realize is that they are among the least fun people on earth to be around.

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2006-02-26



I caught The Bourne Identity today. Good stuff. Really intense, nice pace. Has Matt Damon ever made a bad flick?

There was one thing that was out of place by its sheer cheeziness however. At the tail end of the car chase in Paris Bourne crosses paths with two guys who happen to be carrying a large sheet of plate glass around and, of course, he crashes through the glass.

Granted this version was more intense and less slapstick, but that gag is straight out of 70's Disney car chases. Back then, once the tires started squealing you knew you were in for several of the following:

- Two men in coveralls carrying a large window across the street. Usually they'd go through all sorts of gesticulations to narrowly avoid the first car only to have the second car crash through the window.

- Two men in coveralls on a scaffold over the street painting something. When the supports are taken out by the speeding autos, one guy will end up with a bucket of paint on his head and the other will be left hanging from whatever was being painted, his legs flailing wildly.

- Someone carrying around a large cake. So large that when the chase upends them, they'll wind up with most of their upper body lost in said cake.

- Two streetcars crossing paths in opposite directions and parting just in the nick of time to allow the first car to pass between them.

- A semi trailer with just enough clearance to peal off the top of a car in the chase, without pealing off the head of the car's driver and without slowing the car down.

- If an aircraft becomes involved in the chase it will have to fly through a barn, or in later years some sort of urban structure.

- Speaking of barns, somewhere along the way the cars may crash through a bunch of hay bales.

- The chase will end up with one car in a swimming pool, body of mud or manure, ocean, lake, hanging off the the edge of a drawbridge which started opening just as the chase was approaching, or having crashed halfway through a billboard and stuck there.

Well there's a lesson for us all. If you want to motivate people to get off their butts and get that large window or cake across the street, just start a car chase.

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Lately in my devotions I've really been trying to find the message in things and not just let my mind run with the first quick thought that comes to mind.

For example, last week I was in I John. The writer talks about those whose walk doesn't match their talk, particularly when it comes to dealing with other Christians:
"...But whoever hates another believer is in the darkness ..." I John 2:11

For someone who has spent any time in Sunday School and church this light and dark stuff is pretty common ... maybe too common. We get the imagery. Light is God. Light is Jesus. Light is good. Dark is bad. We could at this point easily zone out for the rest of the verse.

But the writer isn't done with his thought. He concludes
"...is in the darkness, walks in the darkness, and does not know the way to go, because the darkness has brought on blindness."
Darkness is not just a generic representation of evil. It is also a disorienting force, obscuring our vision and drawing us further off the path. The effect of darkness is that it draws us further into darkness.

Suddenly the simple, "If you don't be nice to other Christians you are naughty" message becomes a larger life lesson: when you harbor hatred for your Christian brothers, don't be surprised when you find that you have drawn off course and any number of things are turning sour.

Today in II Corinthians Paul is discussing the old and new convenants:
"Indeed, to this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds ... " II Cor 3 :15
Here again the quick and easy thought is, "Oh, he's talking about the Jews. Yeah, I don't see why they can't come around." Sure he's talking about the Jews, but they are hardly the only ones who refuse to embrace the full glory and might of God.

We all box God in in our own way. Let's face it, the more power God has in your life, the scarier things can get.

So, I can move on patting myself on the back for not being one of those lost Jews, or I can pause, realize that God surely doesn't have free reign in my life right now and try to figure out what veils I'm keeping up.

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That online credit reporting service commercial with the over-caffeinated, preppy dork was on last night, for roughly the millionth time. But for the first time I caught this line ...
"You can even print it out if you want to!
which made me realize that they're not exactly aiming at the world's brain trust. Really! It's on my computer and you say I can print it out too!? Now that's the kinda smart, user-friendly app I've been waiting for. Sure wish I could do that with my Word documents.

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When I was a kid I didn't appreciate Don Knotts. I had seen a couple of his movies. They were OK, but nothing special.

But in college, Andy Griffith reruns were on after class. That was when we really started to appreciate Barney Fife and the comic genius of Don Knotts.

In a day when the average comedian was becoming increasingly vulgar opting for nervous laughter over no laughter, Knotts was all entertainment. He knew how to work his scrawny body, bug eyes and high-strung voice to full effect. He was one of those rare characters that can sometimes make you laugh just by showing up on the screen.

Like Jordan with the Wizards, I really wish Knotts hadn't played Mr Furley on Three's Company. Sure, he was his usually funny self, but I'd hate to think that someone was forgetting Fife and remembering that role.

As for me, I'll never forget Barney Fife.

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OK, this is ridiculous. The "History" Channel is showing Jaws. Jaws! It's fiction. Not historical fiction ... just fiction.

The History Channle is one of my favorites, but sometimes it's feast or famine with that one!

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2006-02-24



Moving further into the Live Office Beta we find that Microsoft is up to its old tricks. LiveOffice doesn't play, at all, with Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft's chief competition in the browser arena.

It's an interesting decision. One of the big features of LiveOffice is the openness, the free exchange, the universality. Via this tool you can connect to your space from any computer and collaborate with anyone else on any computer.

Oh, by the way that's any computer that is connected to the Internet with MS Internet Explorer, and anyone provided they are using IE.

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2006-02-21



It's Tuesday and almost time for King of Vegas, but what's this? Yet another network milking Vegas! Yes, CourtTV will file their first installment of Las Vegas Law tonight, head to head with KOV.

Which led me to wonder how the few remaining holdouts will enter the fray ...

CSPAN argues, in a week-long expose, that gambling is a tax on the lower-middle class and how it's all George Bush's fault. If you miss it, tune in to Hannity and Colmes the following Monday on Fox to hear Alan Colmes parrot the whole report.

Over on Oxygen, Melissa Sue Gilbert (gotta be her or Tracey Gould) stars as The Queen of Hearts, a pathetic suburban housewife who discovers her white, male husband's dark secret during a weekend in Reno. She is lured against her will into a web of craps and roulette and discovers along the way that her white, male husband has three other wives stashed in gambling meccas around the US.

Not to be outdone, Oprah's theme next week will be "Men who gamble away their children's braces and diapers money and the women who love them." The audience seems to agree ... "Girlfriend you need to wake up and smell the felt!"

Meanwhile, MTV unveils Ozzy Osbourne's Blackjack Sabbath! Double down on fun as Ozz deals the cards and the laughs. Things get a bit slow when neither Osbourne nor guest contestant Bruce Valanche can figure exactly how the ace works. But sit back and enjoy the hijinx as Lars Ulrich splits his Queens AND doubles down, blowing Osbourne's mind!

Over at the Weather Channel they're having a heck of a time.

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2006-02-20



Pure frustration on the blog template front - still can't get the extended entries feature working. Monkeying with templates in Blogger is arduous. The whole thing is crammed into one file, whereas normally you'd have at least two; style sheet and template. Also it is nearly impossible to indent cleanly. I like indenting because it keeps things organized and that's the anal person that I am. But also it is a big help in finding your way around the template. The biggest pain is waiting the minutes that it takes to republish so you can see the effects of a change you just made. Very time-consuming.

On the other hand, the del.icio.us tags are working out nicely, and I'm beginning the slow process of back-tagging previous entries.

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2006-02-18



Previously amid my rant on re-makes, I mentioned that while Pink Panther should be off limits altogether, Steve Martin was at least a good choice for Clouseau as he does that style well.

Ummm ... I stand corrected. Well, half-corrected. Stylistically it might be a fit, but his accent is horrible. Each new clip from Panther brings a new tongue. French. German. Some kind of Scandinavian hybrid. 70's era Steve Martin. Apparently Pink Panther features them all.

Back in college my buddies and I would toss around Clouseau lines, and our accents were probably pretty lame. But we weren't charging $8 a pop. Our genius was public domain!

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2006-02-17



... and as you can see from this screen shot it promises to be a Microsoft production through and through. Mind you, this was just trying to go from the front promo page to registration. I can only assume that once I do pierce this left-handed firewall, there will be even more magic.

Seriously, I'm a big Microsoft fan and am looking forward to test-driving their new product. But sometimes, the things they load onto the end user can be frustrating.

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2006-02-16




VH1 does some great stuff ... and then there's this: The Flavor of Love

I've only seen the previews and a snippet on The Soup, yet I still instinctively yearn for penicillin.

Love is molded from the Bachelor template and revolves around rapster wannabe, movie star wannabe Flavor Flav. This is the same guy who hooked up with Bridgette Neilsen on the Surreal Life, another VH1 joint. That alone is enough to make you not want to share an iPod with the guy. This was not your father's Bridgette Neilson, after all. Over the years the delicious and steamy bad girl from Beverly Hills Cop II has mutated into a hybrid of Dolf Longren and Anna Nichole Smith.

Throw in the "murderers row" of skanks vying to be Mrs. Flav and you've got germ warfare on your hands.

The "winner?" No doubt she and Flav will get together (and if its true to Bachelor form he'll try out a few losers along the way) and share every disease that they and their previous two months worth of partners (estimate: 15) are carrying around.

God only knows what will be unleashed upon mankind that day. Wear your gas mask!

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OK, I'm restoring some resemblance of order here.

The new features are sweet although a lot of the value is in the process, not the presentation. Tagging via del.icio.us is turning out to be pretty sweet. Oh to have been doing that all along. Now I must decide whether or not to go back and tag previous entries, and if so, how far back?
Also, behind the scenes, I've been using Mozilla Firefox (which is much smoother than it was in early revs), GreaseMonkey and a couple of add-ins which make the tagging process easy as pie. Nice.

So, that adds category functionalilty.

As for extended entries, the battle rages on. But it is a feature I really want. It's nice to be able to offer up several quick snippets on the front page while still being able to log the occasional longer post.

The new template is easy to work with, although it is still a departure from the more standard Blogger setups. It's actually a WordPress 1.5 template adapted for Blogger. And WordPress is das poopage.

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2006-02-14



Yeah, it's a new look. Yeah, it's not pretty.

Over the weekend I started adding some functionality; extended entries and categories; only to discover that the workarounds (as in working around Blogger's refusal to add this kind of functionality) depended on a more standard Blogger template than what I was using.

This one was the best starting point, but obviously it needs work. That hideous green color must go, along with that chubby, crayon-esque font in the sidebar.

So ... pardon my dust while I re-hook up with Haloscan and beef things up around here.

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2006-02-12



I saw the preview of Steve Martin as Inspector Clouseau in the forthcoming remake of The Pink Panther, and it hit me ... I hate remakes!

In general, the ongoing deluge of remakes underscores either a lack of creativity or an unwillingness on Hollywood's part to make a creative effort. And then, as in the case of The Pink Panther, they just don't know when to leave well enough alone.

I'm not saying that all remakes are bad, or that I haven't enjoyed some of them. But remaking has been so overdone that I wouldn't be surprised to find at least two versions of any movie or TV show I've ever seen within the next five years.

To sort it out, here are my three classes of remake:
1. Whatever.(example: The Dukes of Hazzard)
The original was nothing special, but I'll admit that there is obvious potential in a remake, so knock yourself out. For Dukes the obvious potential was a toned up Jessica Simpson in her, ummm, "Daisy Dukes."

2. Again!? (example: Josie and the Pussycats)
Whoever the culprit is, should be embarassed to have made the original. And now you're returning to the scene of the crime!?

3. Sacred Ground (example: The Pink Panther)
It's like using white-out on the Declaration of Independence to edit in "Life, liberty and the pursuit of fun!" Some things you just don't mess with. The Peter Sellers series of Panther movies combined ahead of their time humor and engrossing characters to form impossible to duplicate masterpieces.

I will concede one minor point - Steve Martin was a great choice for Clouseau. He can do that style well. But they still shouldn't be going there.

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2006-02-11



Dating back to my B-School days, I love commercials. It's a fascinating Science.

The Good:

Nextel - Dance Party

As with a TV show or movie, characters make the difference. Here, what plot there is is simple, and the message is simple, clear and memorable. The characters working it (and they are working it baybee!!) locks the viewer in. It also helps to be recognized. It is common knowledge that Nextel is the carrier sporting a walkie-talkie feature. So, they can concentrate on showing a tangible benefit of that feature, interwoven with non-distracting entertainment.



The Bad:

Ameriquest - That Killed Him

After investing a lot of setup time, the "punchline" is a letdown. But Ameriquest has a bigger problem - they don't have the recognition that Nextel enjoys. Nothing wrong with that, except when you let a stupid joke muscle your brand and message right out of the commercial. This was a Super Bowl ad, which means they paid buku bucks to run it. Half of America probably came away thinking it was an AmeriTRADE spot.



The Ugly:

Kellogg's Smart Start

Would it be possible to find two less-appealing, more-annoying people in the world? Not likely. I'll give Kellogg's credit though - it is easy to believe that these two are kin. The girl is every bit as dense and spirit-less as her "mom." By the way, mom, if you must talk (and really, let me suggest that less, much, much less is more), don't do it with a mouthful of cereal!

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2006-02-10



We're about to get another "winter" storm. They put an advisory out last night, although I think it has been downgraded.


Here's the thing. We're supposed to have snow for the better part of a 24hr block starting tonight. But, the temp is never supposed to dip below freezing. Which means, once again, a slushy mess and that's about all. Last Saturday it snowed all day and didn't even cover up the grass. Sure did create a lot of ice once the cold came, though.

I'm tired of farting around with this "tastes like winter, but it's not" weather. If I had my druthers we'd take a couple true winter storms, put some snow on the ground, let it melt and move on.

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My favorite sitcom right now is NBC's The Office. In fact, since the end of Seinfeld I haven't used "favorite" and "sitcom" in the same sentence together. I'm working on a separate post on this, so more later.

I did however, want to point out Dwight Schrute's blog over at the Office section of NBC.com. This is pure genius. I'm sure there are probably other isolated cases, but this is the first time that I'm aware of a fictional TV character blogging.

And it's not just flimsy "promote the show" window-dressing. Whoever is doing it (I assume it is one of the writers) is putting out authentic posts as though there really were a Dwight Schrute and Dunder-Mifflin. In fact Schrute's blog has more depth than GM's Fastlane blog driven by real GM VP Bob Lutz.

"Schrute" posts once per week, and regularly logs comments in the hundreds. Kudos to NBC for a creative idea and great execution!

Those who are into The Office love Schrute as arguably the most entertaining character on the show. In honor of Valentine's Day, I would like to direct this fan base to Schrute's What are Men? post and the comments that follow.

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"It is better to be silent and thought a fool than to open one's mouth
and remove all doubt."
- Mark Twain


Jimmy Carter: Apparently he doesn't know what a eugooglee is

Carter Speaking at Coretta Scott King's Funeral and showing, yet again, the stuff that made him quite possibly the worst President ever ...
"It was difficult for them personally - with the civil liberties of both husband and wife violated as they became the target of secret government wiretapping, other surveillance, and as you know, harassment from the FBI."


Even the Clintons, who never miss an opportunity to launch a partisan political jab, understood that this was neither the time, nor the place, for such nonsense. Actually, that's not fair. The Clintons are quite savvy politically. Next to them Carter is Mr. Magoo.

Funny thing is, these remarks are exponentially stronger and more focused than anything Carter did while in office. If only he'd been able to muster such fight when 52 Americans were being held hostage, we might have responded with something more than a helicopter crash.

Mike Holmgren: Would you like some Starbucks with that Whine?

Holmgren addressing fans in Seattle on the day after the Super Bowl ...
"I knew we were playing the Pittsburgh Steelers. I didn't know we were going to have to play the guys in the striped shirts as well."


Had it been the HOUR after the Super Bowl, we might have chalked this up to "heat of the moment." But a day later, after having had time to settle down and gain perspective ... the man is accountable for what he says.

The Seahawks need to own their own failure, and that starts with the coach. The "guys in the striped shirts" weren't dropping Hasselbeck's passes, or comitting offensive holding on crucial plays, or completely wasting the last two minutes of each half.

Sure, the officiating could have been better, and there were some gaffs that went against Seattle. Clean up the referee's work however and the outcome is closer but not different - we'd all be saying, "Gosh, if Seattle could have just screwed up a few less times than almost constantly they might have won this thing!"

Seattle didn't put in a winning effort. To blame the refs is to shirk responsibility for that. If Holmgren is ever going to want his players to take accountability for their actions, he needs to take the lead here.

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2006-02-05



The Seahawks have exhausted their timeouts and are down by 11. So it's time for a desperation drive with hopes that they'll be able to score and convert an onside kickoff.

Amazingly, even in a time crunch Hasselback is completing some clutch passes ... all of them in bounds. Clock management and miscues have robbed the Steelers of their opportunities.

Game over: Pittsburgh 21 Seattle 10.

What a weird game. Regardless of who wins, it is always more satisfying when a team rises up, makes a strong effort and earns a win. This one went to the team that sucked the least.

I'm glad to see Bill Cowher pick up a ring. And it's a tribute to the Pittsburgh organization that he is still their coach. They stuck with him through some lean years.

Hines Ward takes the MVP ... fair choice.

There we go .... it's been about fifteen minutes since we've seen Jerome Bettis or heard his name ... finally they got him up on the podium. What would this Super Bowl have been without Bettis? Ummm ... less nauseating.

At last some substance: Bettis announces that this is his last game. Respectable. Going out on top. Not overstaying his welcome. I've got nothing against the guy. It's not his fault the media went overboard on him.

Here's the challenge for Pittsburgh. This was a semi-solid win, and it completes and amazing run of must-win games that started back in the regular season. When scouting next season however, the Steelers have to start out in the "maybe they'll make the playoffs," category. At a minimum Indy, Denver, and New England (with Bettis gone, we'll have to go back to slobbering all over them) should start out favored over the Steelers, and then there is divisional rival Cincinnati on the rise.

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Another swing ... Seattle is KILLING theirselves. The penalties continue. Then, as they were driving deep into Steeler territory, Hasselback threw a pick.

Pittsburgh converted on a gadget play when Antwaan Randle El threw a TD pass to Hines Ward.

ESPN already has a blowup of Roethlesberger's controversial TD dive from the first half. I guess that combined with a ticky-tack Offensive Interference penalty that robbed Seattle of a TD will be what 'Hawks fans hang their hats on if Seattle can't pull this out.

Hard to figure who will get MVP. Pittsburgh is winning without having gotten their offense on track so there aren't any offensive standouts. Likewise, when you look at the Steeler "D" the only star has been Seattle's offense. Antwaan Randle El has been part of several key plays ... I guess I'd vote for him right now. I know everyone is going to want to give it to Bettis. He hasn't even cracked 40, but it'd make a good "feel good" story, so don't put it past them.

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Wow ... a big momentum shift.

Pittsburgh got a big run play out of the gate for their second TD. Just as they were on the brink of what would have been the final nail in Seattle's coffin Roethlesberger completed an interception (it looked that intentional).

Seattle continues to outplay the Steelers and with only 20 yards to go after the pick the Seahawks were finally able to punch it in. Still, penalties and miscues are haunting Seattle. They've drawn close but their own gaffs are holding them back where it counts - on the scoreboard.

Commercials:

Not much noteworthy.

ABC is plugging Sons and Daughters, a new series by Lorne Michaels which looks like it has possibilities.

Ameriquest Mortgage (that's a correction on what I previously posted) has another cheezy one. Turbulence on an airplane, the lights go out and when they come back up we find that a woman has landed on a man's lap in an apparent compromising position. Oh boy ... funny stuff. I think a thumb rule for commercials should be: Even if it is the Super Bowl, mortgage companies shouldn't try to be funny.

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Hmmm ... Paul McCartney's style of music still works 20-30 years later. The Rolling Stones? Not so much.


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The Game:

Pittsburgh finally mixing their game up a bit and are making progress. Roethlesberger is definately playing beyond his two years in the league.

A minor controversy ... did Roethlesberger actually get the ball across the goal line when he dove for it? Tough call. He landed in the field of play but it appeared that he might have gotten it over mid-flight. The call on the field stands and Pittsburgh takes a 7-3 lead.

Interesting clock management at the end of the half. Seattle was pretending to drive. Then, just when it appeared that they would fritter away the better part of a minute with a timeout still on the books, Pittsburgh took a timeout? When the dust settled nothing came of it. They asked Mike Holmgren about the confusion as he was leaving the field. He alluded to the TD call. Dude ... maybe you have a case and maybe you don't. Either way you've got to let it go and get on with the game.

The Commercials:
Two movies coming out ...
"V for Vengeance" looks awesome.
A re-make of "The Shaggy Dog." Boy, those re-makes of lame movies that I wouldn't have wanted to see the first time around ... they never get old!

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Through the first quarter:

Hard to tell how much of this is due to nerves. Seattle has the game plan for Roethlesberger and the Steelers - their pressure is good and they've kept them from jumping out to a comfortable lead, which has been the cornerstone of Pittsburgh's post-season success. Seattle is dropping extra men into coverage which will produce results before the night is over. The up front pressure on Roethlesberger is modest, but they're all over the Steeler receivers and already Big Ben has tried to force a couple of ill-advised passes into coverage.

On the other side Seattle isn't doing much better. Their opening drive gave them a field position advantage which they held for most of the quarter. Offensive line penalties erased a couple of big plays including a TD pass. Seattle does seem to have a line on some soft spots in the Steeler "D". Darrell Jackson tied the record for receptions in a quarter, partially by taking advantage of the big cushion Pittsburgh's left flank is giving him.

At the start, a slight edge to Seattle - take back one or two penalties and Pittsburgh would be in a big hole. As it is Seattle milked a field goal out of their field position advantage. Seahawks 3-0.

Commercials:

Burger King is off to a big lead in the wasteful extravagence category. Here's hoping that the King with the freaky looking face goes away after the Super Bowl.

In the beverage battles, Pepsi is continuing their "treat an inanimate Diet Pepsi object like an action star" theme which was tired at its inception. A lot of cameos; P Diddy, Jay Mohr, and Jackie Chan can't save this lame concept.

Bud Light is kicking butt entertainment-wise.

American Mortgage over-reached with a cheezy gag. Mother and daughter going to see their husband/father in the hospital. Meanwhile in the hospital room the docs have the defibulator out and use it to rid the room of a pesky fly. Just as mom and daughter walk in one doc who is standing over the dad with defibulator paddles in hand says: "Well, that killed him." Horrified look on mother and daughter's faces ... cut. It's a lot of things. Funny and entertaining aren't among them.

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2006-02-04



VH1 is doing another list show - The 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock.

Pretty good stuff. Once again a lot of memories. But I don't get the order. Apparently there was some kind of polling of undisputed classic rockers, but some of the results are puzzling.

Example: Bon Jovi comes in at 78. Immediately ahead of them ... Pat Benetar and Spinal Tap. Spinal Tap isn't even real. How do you make a comparison? And Pat Benetar ... hard rock? She oscillated between bubble gum and feminist anger, only occasionally straying into hard rock.

Another example: Lynyrd Skynyrd at 72. Immediately ahead of them ... Living Colour, Megadeath, and Husker Du. Not that any of them are undeserving of being on the list, but Skynyrd is top 20 regardless of your criteria.

My guess, they spent a bunch of time unsuccessfully trying to define "Artist" and "Hard Rock" and wound having to pick the order out of a hat.

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2006-02-03



Man! I just got an e-mail from my old pal aydjifnyshrp. He must have been one of hotmail's first subscribers too because he didn't have to go with a username like aydjifnyshrp1227 or some other variant like most of us mortals do.

Anyway, hearing from him really took me back. We used to just call him aydjif, or the aydjif-ster for short. Either way, the guy was a nut! He always had something up his sleeve, whether it be pet rocks or prank-calling people and telling them to let Prince Albert out of the can.

I guess time hasn't settled him down any - he's still as diversified as ever. One day Cialis, the next stock tips that will let you cash in on the high price of gas for pennies on the dollar.

OK, why do these folks even bother? I mean, if I didn't disdain spam to begin with, I'd shun these advances simply because they show a complete lack of effort.

The proposition is:
- Let's face it, you don't know me. You know it. I know it. So I'm not going to waste any time at all trying to come up with a name that sounds like a real person.

- Let's face it, this is junk. You know it. I know it. So I'm not going to waste any time at all trying to disguise that fact.

- Let's face it, for whatever I'm selling today, my pitch will be totally unbelievable. You know it. I know it. So I'm not going to waste any time at all trying to disguise that fact.

- The Law of Large Numbers of Idiots as it applies to e-mail states that, even when a piece of e-mail can be detected to be completely devoid of value by simply looking at the sender's address and subject line some idiot will open it anyway. It's compulsion - they are physically unable to move an e-mail from the Inbox to Trash without opening it. You know some of them ... they are the same ones who just sent you a moving poem about a little Hungarian girl who was sold by her parents for a tuna sandwich and forced to perform circus tricks on street corners. It concluded with the line, "I didn't believe it either, but it's true. Send this to 10 of your closest friends and you'll have good luck." You might have missed all of this if you didn't have the time to scroll down through the 10,000 email headers of previous fowardees.

- The Law of Large Numbers - Email collision further states that if I can get this Email to enough people, someone will bite. Give me ten people who were dumb enough to open it in the first place and I like my odds.

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2006-02-02



"What if Herm Edwards is the one coach who can keep TO in line?" That was the question someone posed as the prospect of TO landing in Kansas City was batted about.

It's become an annual mantra. Shanahan, or Edwards, or Parcells, or Gibbs or (insert name of quality coach here) can handle TO. Jake Plummer is a QB TO can respect. That was one of the best lines. No one respects Jake Plummer. Yet in a week where the Super Bowl teams are generally playing nice, the media is starved for a jabanero of a story. That's TO. So we're hearing which teams are a "good fit" for TO. Which coaches can "handle" him and which players he'll respect.

Here's the thing to remember as we wait to see who will drink the Kool-Aid: No coach can handle TO. No one. Especially not the good ones. And TO won't respect any team, especially not the good ones. Why? Because football is a team game and TO is not a team player. He's good enough that he can contribute to the success of a team at times, but when push comes to shove he's about TO.

The good coaches and the good teams understand this. Eventually they'll have to make a decision where the good of the team comes before the good of TO, and when they do ... it's on. Eventually some other receiver will be paid more than TO, and when that happens ... it's on. TO has no problem getting up in the head coach's grill. He has no problem throwing his teammates under the bus for the media's pleasure. He won't think twice about doing all the things that can't be part of a winning formula.

Yet someone will take the bait. They'll convince themselves that "it will be different here." Then, a year or two from now when the problems re-surface and the suckers are embroiled in trying to retrieve part of his signing bonus, or debating whether to sit him, trade him, or let him rot for the balance of a season, the media rhetoric will change. At the tail end of this cycle you'll hear the familiar strains of "What did you expect? He's TO."

Not here. I've said it in the good times and the bad with TO. He's not worth the trouble. Even when things are going good, how can you not constantly have in the back of your mind, "OK, what am I going to do when I lose my top receiver for some stupid reason?" TO is TO. It matters not where you put him.

ESPN surveyed the deep pockets. Jerry Johnson would be interested in taking a run at TO, but coach Bill Parcells wants no part of it. Dan Snyder might think about it, but coach Joe Gibbs isn't having it. These are the kind of coaches about whom you'd be tempted to say, "They can handle TO, he'll respect them." These coaches have won Super Bowls and have long resumes of success. They know better. While both need help, there is no room for TO on their teams.

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Last year's Super Bowl was a dilemma for me. I couldn't have cared less about either team, so it was hard to figure out who to root for. This year it's the same problem but the other way around. I'd be happy to see either team win.

I'm a big fan of both coaches. They are among the statesmen of the NFL. I've always rooted for Cowher to get his first ring and for Holmgren to take another team from mediocre to the top.

And, for the most part, both of these teams have been the picture of class throughout the playoffs. We've got a likeable bunch of guys in the Super Bowl this year.

I guess I'm rooting for PIttsburgh, but it's close.

And I'd sure hate to have to pick this one. Which brings me to ...

Dumb things sports journalists say:

Coming into the playoffs, prevailing wisdom had the AFC winner being a prohibitive favorite over the NFC. Now, not so much.

Why? ... because Pittsburgh was the #6 seed. Yeah. And to that I say, "Go talk to the #3, #1 and #2 seeds, whom the Steelers beat up and down the field."

My concern with Pittsburgh is that no one has forced them to play a complete game in the playoffs. They've come storming out of the gate each time and then rode their big lead and big back to victory. They have yet to establish their running game in a competitive situation. If Seattle can force them to play a balanced offense for four quarters it's hard to predict how Pittsburgh will react.

Anyway, back to dumb things.

I did hear one other announcer's reasoning as to why Seattle will win: "Because they just seem ready to take that next step."

Which leads to the other pointless things you'll hear ...

"They just know how to win."

"They do all those little things that don't show up in the box score."

"They come to play." etc., etc.

They should just come out and say, "We didn't do our homework today."

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