Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Cancelled Citrus Sodas Back From the Dead: Part II



Although it didn't have the same rabid fan base, there was yet another cancelled citrus soda from the Coca-Cola company that I enjoyed. Only I didn't drink it that often. In fact, Citra really only served one purpose for me: after concert drink. It was the perfect refreshing and hydrating drink for after a hot, sweaty floor show. It tastes cleaner and lighter than Squirt or Sprite or anything else, but refreshed way better than water to soothe your throat and cool you down.

For various reasons, Citra was eventually cancelled. But I have heard that the exact recipe is now being branded as Fanta Citrus. Unfortunately, I haven't seen any concerts lately to verify the flavor, but it feels nice just knowing it's an option.

Cancelled Citrus Sodas Back From the Dead: Part I



In middle school, I discovered a sharp citrus soda loaded with caffeine that tasted better than Mountain Dew, Surge. Parents weren't big fans of buying the soda that was advertised as making your kids go crazy with caffeine, and eventually Coca-Cola cancelled Surge. Loyal fans started savesurge.org urging Coke to bring Surge back. They are proud of using ebay to purchase expired cans of Surge, and have fanatical collections and pictures of someone drinking their last Surge can on his wedding day.

Well the wait is over. Surge isn't back per se, but Coke has introduced a "new" sharp citrus soda loaded with caffeine and admits they were influenced by savesurge.org. It is called Vault, and is being marketed as an energy drink that tastes like a soda. Interestingly, they also have Vault Zero which is to my knowledge the first energy drink with no calories. I recently tried a bottle of Vault Zero and I felt like I was back in middle school.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Good News for Peyton




When asked what winning "Dancing with the Stars" would mean to him, Jerry Rice, the greatest wide receiver of all time, said "To me, it's just like the Super Bowl." As he was wearing a jumpsuit and giant costume afro, I couldn't help but wonder, does he really need the money? Maybe Manning should start practicing dancing, so no one can accuse him of never being able to win the big one.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Neat Photos

I stumbled across these photos and thought they were cool. Turns out the guy is really weird and in kansas city. Check out his site and pictures: http://www.aptrick.com/potty/



Something to Feel Good About



Often the people who love sports the most, and surround their lives with following games, stats, players and bets, forget about the great things that sports can do.

Senior Jason McElwain had been the manager of the varsity basketball team of Greece Athena High School in Rochester, N.Y. For three years he was there helping and watching the team. McElwain is autistic and for the last game of the year, his coach added him to the roster. The coach just wanted the kid to wear a jersey, get to set on the bench, and ideally get a couple minutes of playing time. This is where this story could be just another sappy story about how an autistic high schooler managed to get into the big game and score a basket, the product of Hollywood writers designed to eek out a few tears.

But that's not what happened. He entered the game with 4 minutes to go and his school up by double digits. And he was so nervous that he missed his first 2 shots, one of them an airball. I'm sure his mom and coach and everyone in the gym just wanted him to score once. Well he did. And then he went off. In the final four minutes he scored an unbelievable 20-points - not on layups where the other team held off. He sank 6 3-pointers in four minutes! Every shot, the entire crowd, cheerleaders, bench just went bananas.

In four minutes he set the school record for 3-pointers! His mom said, "I look at autism as the Berlin Wall, and he cracked it."
His teammates said for 3 years he brought humor and life to the team. Tonight he brought the most 3-pointers anyone has ever scored at Athena High. When the game ended, the crowd erupted like a 16-seed knocking off Duke, storming the court. But they weren't surrounding the team, just one senior who will never forget the power of sports.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Bartender, give me a duel on ice.


In case you haven't heard, there is a feud between Shani Davis and Chad Hedrick, 2 US speedskaters. Chad wanted Shani to race in the team relay, and Shani declined. Chad thought Shani was selfish, and a feud is born.

First off, this Olympics is the first time the relay is an option. Shani has been training for a long time to be a solo speedskater and this is his prime for the Olympics. It's nice for him to be asked to be a part of the relay, but he doesn't have an obligation to perform in this brand new event.

Also, shouldn't there be a couch who is deciding who is racing in the relay? Shouldn't this have been decided weeks or months ago? You wouldn't ask Tiger Woods the week that he is playing in a tournament, to ask him to join the Ryder Cup also going on that week. And then call him selfish for not joining the team.

Also, the media is dying for anything that is interesting about these Olympics, and furthermore I don't think this would be that big of a story if both skaters were white. Shani did end up winning gold in the event that he was focusing on, so you can't fault someone for doing what they set out to do.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

G.O.A.T.


There have been many goats in the history of basketball. But there was and will only be one G.O.A.T. Except I was too young and naive to really appreciate him. Sure when the Bulls played the Timberwolves in a exhibition in Kansas City, I was there with my homeade poster for 23. I was with him for the first run, loved the play against the Lakers where he swiched the ball to his left hand, and wanted him to beat the Suns in 93. But then for the second part of his dynasty, I didn't know enough to appreciate what was going on. I thought he was selfish and eventually I found myself rooting strongly for Utah to pull it out in 97 and 98.

But now that I've grown up and trying to rectify the errors of my ways, I'm looking forward to watching his 5 greatest games on dvd. It will be interesting to take a trip back before my time, and see the announcers, and graphics transform through the 80's to the 90's. But mainly I want to see what I missed out on:

According to the dvd, his 5 Greatest Games (in chronological order):

(1) 1986 1st round, Game 2 playoffs versus the Boston Celtics where he scored 63 points
(2) 1990 game versus the Cleveland Cavaliers where he topped his previous career high total with 69 points
(3) 1993 Finals Game 4 where he dropped 55 on the Charles Barkley-led Phoenix Suns
(4) 1997 Finals Game 5 against the Utah Jazz during which he suffered from the flu
(5) 1998 Finals Game 6 versus the Jazz that was his last game as a Bull

And since everyone knows he's the Greatest Of All Time, can we please stop looking for the next one? There won't be one.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Something to Think About


This is my 100th post. To mark the occasion, I've given the site a new name, one that I am sure to change shortly, and some new topics.

Sports will never be far from mind, but sometimes other things are there too. Recently, I rented and watched in this order: Hostage, Interpreter, Constant Gardener.

The order was appropriate as they could all be classified as thrillers, but they got increasingly more "intelligent". No one would argue that Hostage was high cinema - it was Bruce Willis with shootouts and explosions. But what was interesting is that Interpreter, which tries to pass for a intelligent, political thriller, when compared to the other 2 movies here, seems right in the middle. That is to say that the style, tone, character development, star power, all seem to be a compromise between the popcorn flick Hostage and the actually intelligent Constant Gardener.

Constant Gardener was especially good for balancing the story of love between the characters and the possible conspiracy of greedy drug companies. What I liked best about Constant Gardener was the ability to maintain the style of such movies as Traffic, and Syriana, but actually have a plot that could be followed and unerstand what is going on. It reminded me a little of City of God, one of the best movies I've ever seen and can't recommend highly enough.

All in all, all 3 movies were entertaining and would recommend each one, depending on how much thought you were in the mood to invest in a movie.

Olympic Opportunity


I'm unhappy/dissapointed and think that NBC is missing out on a huge opportunity by not making the games available to watch via the web. Obviously they are in the business to make money, as is everyone, and they either think that it would be too expensive to upload and maintain the video servers, or that it would draw away from their tv audience, decreasing ad revenue.

I think that by advertising on the video site, using banners and those premercials where every clip has a 15sec commercial before it, they could make substantial amount of online ad revenue. Furthermore, they could choose to upload events after they have aired to not take away from the tv audience. I think it would actually improve the tv audience, by getting people interested in the games more.

The inherent problem to a worldwide sporting event, is that sports demand to be seen live, especially in this SportsCenter era where we find out all the results immediately. The farther you live away from the event, the farther away your interest lies.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Beer in the Super Bowl


The company that claims to be the King of Beers is also the King of Super Bowl advertising. This is the 9th year in a row that AB has bought the most Super Bowl ad time and the 8th in a row that they have had the #1 rated spot by USA Today's research. This year they bought 10 30-second units for the Super Bowl XL telecast for $26 million. AB only aired 8 ads, 7 for their own brand, and one for the category with the website: herestobeer.com.

Apparently, Anheuser-Busch has held the rights to be the exclusive beer of the big game for the past 18 years, although no one seems to know about it. Further complicating matters, Coors has a long-term agreement to own the title of the "official beer sponsor of the NFL." They more than doubled the offers of their rivals, offering $300 million for the deal. So now, even though Anheuser-Busch is the only corporation allowed to advertise during the Super Bowl, Coors is the only beer manufacturer that can use the Super Bowl logo and the logos of the 32 NFL teams.

Producing Super Bowl commercials is serious business for Anheuser-Busch; the brewer hires several competing agencies to produce commercials solely for the big game. Having produced the spots, the brewer pays about 800 people $50 apiece to watch them and offer feedback. Just a year ago, agencies produced a total of 25 potential ads for Bud to consider running during Super Bowl XXXIX; only nine made the cut.

This year not only did AB have the #1 spot, but all 7 of their ads ranked in the top 11. They still need to bring back Bud Bowl.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

How would you like $15 Million?


Before you answer pretend your name is Phillip Rivers. You excelled in college playing football and were one of the top picks in the 2004 NFL Draft. They've already given you $14 million in the past two years, just for putting on a shirt and getting in shape. He hasn't gotten sacked once. (Well, I think he did get in a few snaps, but let's forget that for a moment.) He's set to make another $1.6 Million over the next 2 seasons. Financially, he would never have to do anything ever again. He would be 25 and have 15 million in the bank.

Averaged out over a typical-40 year career, that's $375,000 a year. And he doesn't have to do anything. And he has healthy knees. Looks like college worked out pretty good for him.

Unless you care about something more than money. If you got into football to do more than collect a paycheck. How do you think Phillip watched the Super Bowl? Seeing Big Ben - who was drafted after him, and making less money - win the Super Bowl already. Going on Letterman. Appearing at the Grammys.

I'm guessing it's eating him up. Knowing that could be him. Instead he has to prepare for another season where he probably won't play in any meaningful games. Poor bastard.

Low-brow, High-flavor


After such an idealistic, rambling sort of I'm not sure what this means post yesterday, I think it's only fitting that I follow it up with some base thoughts on something stupid. This is not meant to say these are the best, because something like this really comes down to personal taste, so here are my favorites.

(Tangent: isn't the expression "desert island list." Shoun't it be deserted island, or does it really mean an island in the Savannah?) So to make my deserted island list I've narrowed them down into categories, and chose my favorite in the category. The runner-ups are in parentheses.

Favorite Candy Bars:

5. Caramel Crunch (Caramello)
4. Junior Mints (York)
3. Snickers
2. Take 5
1. Nutrageous (Reese's Cups, Reese's Pieces)

This list is subject to change, and if you remind me of something I've overlooked, I might have to update it.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

An Open Letter

As I type this, I realize that this will be slightly longer than the simple thought that provoked this line of writing. But I am caught between my form of expression and my ego. Maybe that's not exactly where I am, but it's close.

As I write less predictions, thoughts, and summaries of all things sport, I find myself preoccupied with other things and have the urge to write them. To share them. But with who. And then I find myself comparing me to our nation of bloggers. Although I have read very few of other people's web logs, I have this notion that they are filled with the inane details of millions of boring lives: how someone missed the bus, and how someone had chicken salad on white toast for lunch. And I have this ego complex that somehow my writing is different. Mine is better. Mine is intelligent. I have a point. I have an interesting point-of-view. But maybe I don't.

Maybe I am just like everyone else. Sharing my thoughts to anyone with a computer. Maybe that's not a good or bad thing. It's just the way it is. Who cares what my favorite tv show of all time is? Why does my opinion matter any more than the person who is convinced that Desperate Housewives is breakthrough tv?

Who am I writing to anyway?

Why not just write a journal and keep it to myself? Why not write an email and share with those people that I care about? Why this idea of making it public to anyone with a search engine? The obsession to be famous and have people paying attention to us has reached a new level of accessibility. I don't have to go on reality shows to feel like people are listening to what I am saying.

So what's the point.

There's no point, is there? Ha, I knew when you started this there wasn't a point.

The point is love. Really? Maybe. I'm not sure. What was the question. Love is a good answer regardless of the question. It's why we do so many of the things that we end up doing.

Why do you get up early to go to work today?
Because you love to eat, and you need to work to earn money to be able to eat.

Well, then isn't money the answer to everything?

That's not why we spend our time on hobbies like collecting stamps or playing football. Okay, bad example.

But it's not why we hang out with our friends. We love each other, we love spending time with other.

That sounded gay.

Love is why we do so many things. It's why we work so hard to impress the people that we're interested in.

Now you're talking about sex.

No. Well yes. Sort of. Maybe. It's more than that. It's a lot of things. It's why we're human. It's why we do all these things that are private and personal and totally embarassing so we never end up talking about them.

Like what?

Hmm....

I thought this was about sports.

Sports is about love. At least is supposed to be. When you hear that someone is getting married you think about the details. The dress. The honeymoon. The bachelor party. The cake. The open bar. If you think about the marraige, you might think about the 50% divorce rate. You might think about the kids that are sure to follow. You might think about the house. Oh, they'll have a nice house. Even the people who are getting married are thinking these things. What else is there? Love.

Boring.

MNF: Who ya got?


The answere is Tony Kornheiser. He joins Mike Tirico and Joe Theismann in the booth for the upcoming slate of Monday Night Football on ESPN. Madden and Al Michaels will move to NBC for the Sunday Night game.

It has been widely agreed upon that Theismann is a terrible announcer, often making points while the replay shows the opposite of what he's talking about. In something that can't be argued, he's the worst at picking the winners of all the "experts" on espn.com. And I've never been a big fan of Tirico's style either. So I love that Tony will be in the booth to liven things up, and I like that Madden and Michaels will stay together on Sundays.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Blockbuster Online vs Netflix: Update #2


Just as I was ready to commit to Netflix, they had 2 rentals in a row that shipped in 2 days -- even though both times they sent me an email that both would ship in 1 day.

So on Thursday I decided to cancel Netflix before they started billing me. They sent me an email that said that 24: Season Two would be arriving on Friday. So I was excited to watch 4 episodes of 24 over the weekend. Even though they had failed me the 2 previous times on shipping, I semi-believed them. But when it didn't show up on Friday, I understood. I was glad I cancelled Netflix, but I understood.

But when it didn't show up on Saturday, that's when I really was happy I switched to Blockbuster. Not only is 24 the perfect disc to have over the weekend, because it has 4 episodes, but since mail isn't delivered on Sunday, it didn't arrive until Monday.

They shipped it Thursday and didn't arrive until Monday. The best part: One of the new Blockbuster movies that shipped on Saturday arrived on Monday.

UPDATE: Blockbuster has changed from 2 in-store coupons per month, to 1 coupon a week. Also Blockbuster is shipping their movies with more 1-day shipments that Netflix was. And always 1-day returns. The only thing that hasn't been perfect, is not shipping the movie at the top of the Q when it says "available", but as long as you have other movies you want it's not a problem. (Plus, if you have your heart set on something like 24, you can just use a coupon every week.) I couldn't be happier with my decision to get Blockbuster instead of Netflix.

Monday, February 06, 2006

XL Rundown

Let’s see, the Seahawks had more first downs (20 to 14), yards (396 to 339) time of possession (33 to 27), and less turnovers (1 to 2). Sounds like they took care of business.

So how they end up 11 points short? Penalties, failed 3rd down conversions, missed field goals, poor clock management. And the one turnover they made was too many. The penalties and 3rd downs led to taking 2 50+ yard field goals, and they didn’t make either. And they gave up 3 big plays on defense. Seattle played Pittsburgh pretty evenly overall, but the handful of plays that were one-sided, all went the Steelers way.

Key Plays:
Dubious interference call against the Seahawks, settle for 3 points instead of 7.
Big Ben straddles the line to convert 3rd and 28.
Big Ben gets to the 1-inch line and gets 7 points.
2nd and 10 from the Pitt 40, 48 seconds left in the first half: Seattle has a timeout and needs at least 10 yards for field goal range. Remember 48 seconds left. They run the ball for 4 yards and line up…they wait until the Steelers call a timeout with 13 seconds left. An incompletion later they miss a 54-yard field goal and leave a timeout unused. They had 2 downs to try and throw a 10-15 yard pass and call a timeout.
Parker runs for 75 yard TD. 14-3.
Big Ben’s pick sets up Seattle scoring. 14-10.
11 minutes left, Seattle passes to the 1, another penalty wipes it away. Now it’s 1st and 20, 2 plays later Hasslebeck throws a pick which leads to…
Gadget play touchdown, El to Ward. 21-10.
4th and 13 from midfield…only 6 minutes left and Seattle is down 11. So of course they punt. Game over.

So there were 9 big moments. One was positive for Seattle.



Ad Review:
Here are the favorites according to research conducted by USA Today:



Clearly Anheuser-Busch has reason to celebrate. They ran 7 ads, and all 7 were in the top 11. Gillette’s agency should be fired. Last year they had the terrible 60-second spot that was too dramatic, so this year they decided to compare cold fusion to adding a blade to a razor. And the Mastercard MacGuyver spot was a great idea, but was poorly directed and didn’t have any of the tone of MacGuyver. Also, kudos to FedEx for using subtitles – easy to get the point even in a loud party.

Here were my favorites:
FedEx - caveman
Budweiser – stadium signs
Bud Light – falling through roof

That’s it. All in all, not very good. A lot of movies, a lot of commercials that had been aired before, a lot that didn’t seem special, and brown and bubbly? No thanks.

Even though they weren’t my personal favorites, I admire Dove and Burger King for being different.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Super Bowl XL Picks Recap

Thanks to everyone for playing along. Here are the results:
The tiebreaker was total points scored with 31 the correct answer.

Niraj: 15* (tiebreaker off by 19)
Brittany: 15 (tiebreaker off by 20)
Kirat: 14 (tiebreaker off by 7)
Matt: 14 (tiebreaker off by 13)
Dave: 14 (tiebreaker off by 22)
Mark: 13 (tiebreaker off by 10)
Missy: 13 (tiebreaker off by 49)
Bobby: 12
Savan: 10
Katie: 5*
Adam: 3

*Niraj won 1st prize in attendance: $5 gift card to Jamba Juice
*Katie won low score in attendance: can of black beans

Those were the results, here are some high and low points:

High Points:
Katie predicted number of Bud/Bud Light commercials = 7
Kirat predicted number of talking animals commercials = 1
Many people predicted 3 Steelers touchdowns

Low Points:
Brittany predicted 5 Steeler field goals (actual = 0)
Niraj predicted 7 replay challenges (actual = 2)

Missy did really, really well. She almost won. But she did have some funny picks:

How many touchdowns will the Steelers score? 6
How many field goals will the Steelers score? 5
How many touchdowns will the Seahawks score? 5
How many field goals will the Seahawks score? 5
How many turnovers will the Steelers commit? 3
How many turnovers will the Seahawks commit? 3
Who will be the MVP? Kordell Stewart

Never mind that those picks would add up to Steelers 57, Seahawks 50. Stewart last played for the Steelers in 2002: he is no longer playing for a team, and he last throw a pass for the Bears in 2003.

In spite of these questionable picks, she almost won. Congrats to everyone and thanks for playing!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Sports Calendar

So it's February, so you know what that means...just a few weeks until March Madness!

I guess that can wait, seriously, here's where I would move the holidays to correspond to the Sports Calendar:

New Year's Day is in August when the NFL kicks off.
Hanukkah should last the duration of the playoffs full of crazy nights,
and then Christmas should be on Super Sunday.
Halloween is NFL Draft day, when we see the new costumes the kids are wearing.
NFL Hall of Famers are inducted on Veterans Day.
NCAA Basketball Brackets are announced on Valentine's Day to give love to teams on the bubble.
The MLB All-Star Home Run Derby should be on the 4th of July, what's more American than socking dingers?
The Heisman Trophy should be awarded on Memorial Day.
The WNBA championship should be played on April Fool's Day.
Training camps report on Labor Day.
St. Patrick's Day should be when Notre Dame plays USC.
And Thanksgiving...well that's just fine where it is now.


I welcome any suggestions for holidays I omitted or any changes to what I've listed.

Official XL Pick

I'm an incredibly mediocre 6-4 in the playoffs.

But 2 games in a row I went against the Steelers. And I really do like the Seahawks. They beat Carolina soundly. Really nice performance. But I like the Colts even more. And the Steelers beat the Colts, they beat the Broncos, and they're going to beat the Seahawks.

Steelers 34-20. Roethlisberger for MVP.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Owens in Red and Gold?

I was literally stunned this morning while eating my cereal and watching Mike & Mike on espn2. Greeny was reading the Kansas City Star's story that said the Chiefs were interested in T.O. I stopped moving, and just tried to focus on what he said. Really? The most troublemaking athlete in all of sports, who decimated a team on the cusp of the Super Bowl in what would have been his second year with the team. Who continually criticized McNabb, one of the games best QB's. Really? Him?

After the initial shock, I seriously thought about what TO would do for any team, and the directions the Chiefs could go in.

There is no doubt that TO would sign with a team, and be wildly productive his first year. He would want to prove everyone wrong and he would light it up. And then he would want more money the 2nd year, and it would be a repeat of 2005 with agents and lawyers and the team falling apart.

Forgetting about TO for a second, here is where KC is at and their options on how to make the team better:

Their O-Line (Shields, Roaf) and Trent Green are all getting old. Gonzo is not that far behind. The defense is improving, and will continue to improve under Herm, but it could take 5 years before they are a top 10 D. Larry Johnson is incredible and I just hope he can avoid injury because he has 7 Pro Bowl Seasons in him, and he really could break the single season rushing record in 06, as one last hurrah for the O-Line.

So if you were drafting a plan to get to the Super Bowl with this team, and you had 5 years to do it, you could:

A. Keep improving the defense. Defense, defense, defense. In 3 years Shields and maybe Roaf will be gone and it could be Trent's last season. Could the defense be great? They could be good, but not Pittsburgh 05 or New England 03 good. Not good enough to make it to the Big Game. But good enough to win a playoff game before Gonzo and Trent retire.

B. Pull out the stops. 06 is the year. One shot with this line and Trent Green. He is only one year younger than Brett Favre. And we saw how many picks Favre through in 05. While you have a solid QB, RB, O-Line, you add the only thing you are missing on offense - a stud WR. Make more moves on D, put the cap in jeopardy for the future, this is the year.

Personally, I don't want to screw up the franchise, I don't want to put the cap at risk. The worst thing that could happen would be losing Larry Johnson. And do you see any stud WR's on Super Bowl teams in the last 5 years? You don't need that. You need defense. You need the toughest, fastest defense in the league, plus solid players at every position on offense. So I'd rather spend our bucks on the D side of the ball.

But if TO comes to Arrowhead, he could do wonders for one year.