Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas...

...from my dance-tastic family, to yours.

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Do You Believe In (Multiple) Miracles (At The Meadowlands)?

Okay, so it wasn't actually at the same venue as Herman Edwards' improbable fumble return for a touchdown in 1978, but it's close enough.

Gotta admit, diehard Eagles fan that I am, I bailed on the game once it got to be 24-3 Giants, late in the 1st half. I know a lot of Eagles fans kept watching the game, but nobody thought they'd come back and win it. NOBODY.

Even after the Eagles scored to make it 24-10, the Giants came right back and scored again to make it 31-10. Should have been the ballgame.

Amazingly, the Iggles kept fighting, and turned a 21-point deficit with only 7:00 remaining into a probable division clinching victory.

Don't stop now, boys.

And, as much as Joe Buck gets ridiculed for his (too) relaxed style of calling big moments, he raised it to the proper level on his "GETS A BLOCK!" call. I've always liked Buck's play-by-play. Could do with out the smug, "I'm funnier and hipper than you, and my sh!t don't stink" attitude, but the play-by-play is solid.

Here's the actual video, with Buck's call first, followed by Eagles play-by-play man Merrill Reese (along with former Eagles Mike Quick in the background).

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cliff (Phil)Lee Returns!

The Phillies' rotation has just gone from H20 to H.H.O.LEE Crap!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Watch Out...

...Andy Reid is letting it fly, and the Eagles are creeping toward a playoff berth.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Just Checking..., when does the NLCS start, anyway?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Sadly, there may only be two other times I get to enjoy watching Jayson Werth shake champagne out of his Brady-esque hairdo.

But, I'm not going to let the impending loss of the Phillies' all-star right fielder get in the way of my enjoyment of this year's postseason run.

So far, so good. The Phillies have gotten tremendous pitching from Halladay and Hamels, and, even on a night when Roy Oswalt was below average, the Phils were able to rally -- thanks to some fortunate calls, and horrible Reds defense -- and steal victory from the jaws of defeat in game two.

In fact, anyone with any kind of favorable feeling toward the Phillies probably did their best to stick their hands in their pockets, start whistling, and walked away from that game as soon as possible.

Game three was vintage Cole Hamels. The 2008 version, that helped carry the Phils to the World Series title. Not the 2009 version, when the slightest little thing, like a runner getting on base, or the wind blowing a certain way, seemed to send Cole down a slope that always seemed to lead to a 4-run inning, with no way around it.

Credit to Uncle Chollie for letting Hamels finish that game, even after allowing a leadoff single. No matter how good Brad Lidge has been throwing lately, no Philly fan wanted to see him trot out of the bullpen to try to close it out.

Bring on the Giants.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

H2O Here To Quench Our (Title) Thirst

Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, and Roy Oswalt, or H2O as they're referred to, are leading my favored Phillies into the postseason this afternoon against the Cincinnati Reds.

There's nothing quite like the anticipation of the MLB playoffs getting underway when your team is one of the participants.

Baseball can be so unpredictable that any of the eight teams have a shot to win it all. No matter how many "experts" think the Phillies have the best shot, all it takes is the offense to go into a funk, or one -- or more -- of theses guys above to struggle a bit, or for Brad Lidge to throw like it's 2009, and the Phils' hopes of creating a mini-dynasty with a 2nd world championship in three years gets devoured as fast as a plate of food in front of Joe Blanton.

And, for me, it's time to actually start watching some games. You know my long-standing rule of thumb with the Phillies: watch, or follow along to as few of their actual games during the regular season as possible -- because the stress of the day-to-day grind of a baseball season, and the many ups and downs of an individual game can be very damaging to my health and sanity -- but then try to catch every pitch of the postseason.

That's the plan again this year, beginning this afternoon.

And, as the playoffs are just minutes away, I sit here thinking about what these next few weeks will be like. This is the beauty of the pre-postseason, if you will.

Nobody knows how it will play out. Who will be the heroes, or the goats? How many late inning heroics, or choke-jobs are about to happen? Dramatic finishes, breakout performances, memorable plays and moments...all about to unfold.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Another Red October?

The Phillies have won 10 in a row.

Gonna let that one simmer for a second. 10 in a row, at just the right time. Of course, there’s never a bad time for a 10-game winning streak, but these Phillies always seem to play their best baseball when it counts the most.

September is their month. The 13-4 stretch to close out the ’07 season when they passed the Mets, along with a 13-3 stretch to close the ’08 season – also passing the Mets in the process – and after last night, 18-3 this month.

In the past, it was the offense that carried this team. Sure, they had good starting pitching, plus a lights out closer in 2008 – who is quietly rounding into that form again this year – but the late season runs in those previous years were largely fueled by the bats of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins to name a few.

This year, it’s been all about pitching.

The Phillies now have three aces, a full house (every night), and a straight (path to the NL’s best record), after a clean flush of the Braves.

Cole Hamels is pitching better than he ever has, including the 2008 postseason run. Roy Halladay – although not looking quite as sharp as he did earlier in the year – just won his 20th game, and Roy Oswalt has been spectacular since his first start with the Phillies almost two months ago.

And then there’s Lidge. Perfect in 2008. Lousy in 2009. Close to perfect in 2010. Having Lidge effectively close things out at the end of games helps make the whole thing come together, since Ryan Madson can stay entrenched in the 8th inning role he has become very successful at, currently enjoying his best season on the mound as well.

Howard and Utley are still there, too. Rollins is set to rejoin them soon, and should add a nice dose of late-season experience (as long as Charlie Manuel keeps him far away from the leadoff spot), and Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino, and Carlos Ruiz are all contributing down the stretch.

Where will it all end? Who knows? All three starting pitchers could go in a funk. The bats could go quiet, and the Phillies could get swept in the first round. They could all get food poisoning by some ill-prepared ribs from Greg Luzinski’s stand at Citizens Bank park. You just don’t know.

But after a late-season surge to capture a division crown in 2007, plus a World Series win, and follow-up appearance in the fall classic last year, and now this season, something has been instilled in even the most critical Philadelphia fan; confidence.

Forget the rarity of 10-game winning streaks. How much more improbable is it to put the words Phillies, and confidence together in a sentence?

With this group of players, though, at this time of year…maybe 10-game winning streaks aren’t as far-fetched as we think.

October, here they come.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Real NFL Opening Day Is Here

Let's let summer reality star Rex Ryan -- coach of the New York Jets -- get everyone geared up for an afternoon of football, and snack eating.

Kiddies, get your earmuffs on for this uncensored, and NSFWS(peakers) clip.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Ok, Nevermind

Alright, alright. So, my theory on Tiger's recent -- albeit brief -- successful return to "Tiger-like" golf seems to be losing steam by the second.

After shooting an opening round 65 at The Barclays just hours after finalizing his divorce, he slowly faded out of that tournament.

This week, the news on the course is not so good either for Eldrick, as pointed out by the AP...
Coming off his best tournament since June, and needing a solid week to advance to the third round of the FedEx Cup playoffs, Woods opened with four bogeys in six holes. He hit one shot sideways across the fairway to escape nasty rough. He had to scramble for bogey on another. Six holes into the opening round, he was last in the field of 99 players.

“I didn’t drive it very good. I didn’t putt good. I didn’t hit my irons good,” he said. “Other than that, it was a good day.”
Hmmm, maybe this is distracting him a bit.

54-million dollar mortgages will do that, I'm guessing.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tiger's Swingin' Again

Tiger Woods' 65 in the opening round of The Barclays today makes one thing perfectly clear.

Tiger's got his mojo back -- on and off the course -- and ladies, lookout.

It's never been simpler to figure out the secret to Woods' success...

Single Tiger + Married (but cheating) Tiger = Best golfer in the world.

Married Tiger that got caught, went through "rehab", felt obligated to play it safe for awhile, and eventually headed for a costly divorce = a golfer that resembled James Woods, not Tiger Woods.

Freshly divorced Tiger, free to resume his shtooping all across the globe = a 65 in the first round at The Barclays, his best round of the year.

Safe to say Tiger will be in a late foursome on Sunday...after the golf event is over.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ahhhh, That New Blog Smell

Ok, so the blog isn't technically "new", but as you can see, and if you've been paying any attention at all to this thing, it at least looks new.

And, if you've been paying attention, you've realized that I've been a tad slow on the posting. The miracle run of the Flyers revitalized my interest in blogging, because I had plenty of thoughts going through my brain as the Flyers were marching toward the Stanley Cup Final.

Then the unthinkable happened. They ended up meeting my 2nd favorite team, the Blackhawks, for the the crown.

Never thought that matchup would take place in my lifetime. And, as much as I had hoped I would be neutral during the finals and just accept whoever ended up winning as a good thing, it was clear as the series went on that I was rooting for the Flyers.

After the Hawks won the Cup -- which against any other opponent would have me jumping up and down -- I felt a pit in my stomach for a few days.

I didn't feel like writing about it, and a few days turned into a few weeks, and blogging about anything became something I didn't have a lot of time for.

So, I thought I'd change up the look of the blog -- frankly, as much as I liked the look of the old blog, it was getting a little difficult to read the white text against the black background -- and this one looks pretty good.

So, my hope is to get back to a regular pattern of blogging the mundane details of my work and personal life, the shtuff that's interesting me, etc.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to plow through a few more cans of Miller High Life Light that I bought two months ago for $8.99 a case -- a 30 pack! -- that I had purchased in preparation for a family birthday party that I forgot to remember features a primarily tee-totaling crowd which left me overstocked with beer that is now on the verge of going skunky, as if Miller High Life Light had much wiggle room between normal taste and "skunky", anyway.

Rough job, but it's gotta be done.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Kane Was Able

Yep...still trying to figure that one out.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Truth Be Told...

...I'm rooting for the Flyers.

It's becoming more apparent game after game. On the opening night of the series, I felt fairly indifferent to who won.

But, I think that as that game, and especially as the series has gone on, I'm starting to bleed more Flyers' orange than Blackhawks' red.

Part of it may be the fact that the Flyers playoff run has been a bit more remarkable, and unexpected. Chicago is supposed to be here, and very well may be here several more times in the next few years.

For the Flyers? Not so sure. Things are just lining up for them better this year, and I don't have the same amount of faith -- amazing, coming from a Philly fan, right? -- that they'll be able to get back here again.

Ideally, whichever team loses this series would win the Cup next year, but we all know that it's not that easy.

So, I'll be donning the Hextall jersey tonight, hoping the Flyers run can continue. A win tonight guarantees the series goes six games, and gives me a few more days to continue to ignore the Phillies.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Flyers vs. Hawks: I Can't Miss

As a big fan of both teams, the fact that the Flyers and Blackhawks are playing for the Stanley Cup has left me in a position where I’ve got an empty net. I can’t miss! One of my teams is about to win the Stanley Cup.

For as long as I’ve followed hockey – over 20 years now – I never seriously considered the possibility that these two teams would ever face each other in the championship round.

They’ve each had their waves of good fortune. They’ve made the conference finals in the same year. They’ve been perennial playoff teams (save for an abysmal stretch for the Blackhawks for most of the early 2000’s). But, there was usually a better team lurking somewhere in one of the conferences that would take care of the Hawks and/or Flyers to keep them apart from playing for one of the holy grails in all of sports.

This year, the stars have aligned.

Detroit – a longtime nemesis of Chicago – defeated the Blackhawks on the final day of the regular season, costing the Hawks the number one seed in the west. But, with the way things fell, it also allowed the Hawks to avoid having to play Detroit until the Conference Finals, which became a moot point after San Jose eliminated the Wings in round 2.

Chicago got to face Nashville – oddly enough, their toughest series foe so far – in round one. Things looked iffy for a while, with the Hawks trailing the series 2-1. After winning game four in Nashville, the Hawks needed a last second goal by Patrick Kane, a 5-minute penalty kill in overtime, and then a game-winning goal scored by (the man who had just committed the penalty), Marian Hossa to regain control of the series.

Then, Chicago got the two most favorable matchups they could have hoped for, facing Vancouver in round two – the team they beat both physically and mentally a year ago, bringing their goalie, Roberto Luongo to tears. After disposing of the Canucks, it was on to San Jose, who, despite being the number one seed, and after a swift dismissal of the Red Wings, hardly scared Chicago.

Sure enough, the Hawks went for the throat, taking the first two games in San Jose, before sweeping them away like a pesky fly.

On the Philly side, they had to win on the final day of the regular season just to get IN to the post season. Then, they matched up with a New Jersey team that for some reason was a pushover for the Flyers throughout the year (a 5-1 record against them this season). The trend continued with a 5-game win.

Then, thanks to Boston knocking off Buffalo, and Montreal taking care of Washington, the Flyers got to play Boston instead of Pittsburgh.

And, thanks to the Bruins capping off one of the biggest choke jobs in the history of sports, the Flyers were able to bounce back from an 0-3 hole in the series, and an 0-3 hole in game 7 to take the series.

Montreal did the Flyers another favor, eliminating Pittsburgh in round 2, which gave the 7-seeded Flyers home ice advantage for the Eastern Conference Finals.

What was I saying about the stars aligning?

So, after the Blackhawks completed their breeze of a series with the Sharks, and as the Flyers were putting away the Canadiens in game five, I sat there just shaking my head in disbelief.

The Flyers vs. the Blackhawks for the Stanley Cup??

The only question now is what team do I root for?

If you’ve read this blog at all before, you probably understand my loyalty to the four major sports teams from Philly (more so the Phillies, Flyers, and Eagles, as I’m not much of an NBA fan, and I don’t think the Sixers are even in the NBA anymore anyway), but since I’ve been in the Chicago suburbs – we moved from Philly when I was five – the Blackhawks are the team I’ve become a fan of the most, edging the White Sox, with all of the other teams in Chi-town deep down on the list right next to the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Mets.

I can trace my first enjoyment of the Blackhawks to the early 80’s, in our basement, listening to the radio call of Pat Foley of a random game on a cold winter night. The excitement in his voice, the roar of the crowd after a goal, it just clicked with me, more so then any other team in town.

As I got older, my interest in the Hawks grew, and by the late 80’s, several of my buddies from high school would make a point to get to at least one game a year, and as the Hawks playoff surge began in ’89, we tried to get to at least one game in every playoff round.

Hardly qualifying as a fan frenzy, but on a limited budget, and with tickets hard to come by, not a bad feat.

We’d normally go for the cheap “standing-room” only tickets, forcing us to get to the Stadium as soon as the gates opened, then racing to our spot – usually behind the organ – to stand for the next four hours cheering on the Hawks in the loudest building in the league.

You can’t describe to someone what the old Chicago Stadium was like. The current United Center may be able to get more fans to the game (5,000 more), but it’s not even close. The sound in the Stadium during the anthem, or right after a key goal was scored would simply devour you. Pure intoxication.

This was one of the frustrating things about being a diehard Philly fan living near Chicago. It was virtually impossible to enjoy that kind of feeling at a home game in Philly.

Becoming a fan of the Hawks allowed me to participate at a hockey game, where the euphoria of big goal, or a big save outweighs by a wide margin a similar feeling in a football or baseball game, simply because in the other sports you can anticipate a play as it’s happening. In hockey, sure, you can see a player windup to shoot, but the outcome is completely unknown, until you see that puck squirt through, or if you’re on the other end of the ice in the standing room section behind the organ, you’re in the dark about whether it’s in the net or not until you see that glorious red light come on.

I used to bring a cassette recorder to the Stadium to do play-by-play of Hawks games, often doing a Pat Foley imitation (“now, here’s the draaaaw”). Heck, Foley was one of my major influences for choosing a broadcast career, and thanks to my mom who sent him a letter, and to my college radio station providing me an outlet, I was able to interview Foley in 1991 in the bowels of the Stadium.

The last time the Stanley Cup was seen in Chicago, I was there. Game four of the ’92 Finals, a 6-5 clinching win for Pittsburgh.

Following the Flyers over the years has not been as easy, having to resort to catching them when they’re on a national network broadcast – something that isn’t guaranteed in the Chicago market, even during the postseason – but that certainly hasn’t derailed my enthusiasm for them.

I still remember watching them rally to win Game 6 of the ’87 Cup Finals against Edmonton (J.J. Daigneault!!), the oh-so-closes with the Lindros teams, and the near misses with teams led by Primeau, Roenick, etc.

Philly is in my blood, even though I didn’t actively become a sports fan until moving to Illinois, but the Hawks are right up there as well.

I guess it might take until Saturday night before I can answer who I’ll be rooting for.

When the first goal is scored, how will I react? As of today, the answer to that question is far from being as easy as a shot at an empty net.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sharks Bit

The only sad thing about watching Dustin Byfuglien's overtime game-winning goal last night to defeat San Jose 3-2 was not getting to hear Pat Foley make the call.

The Blackhawks -- who now lead the Western Conference Finals series 3-0 -- had to battle through (way too many) penalties, which contributed to a robust 46 shots from San Jose.

Once again, Antti Niemi came up huge, and Chicago finally found a way to win at home, after being just average in the "Madhouse on Madison" during these playoffs.

Sunday afternoon, the Hawks can earn their first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals since 1992.

They very well could face my Flyers, who are in a bit of a tougher series with Montreal, thanks to the Canadiens 5-1 win in Game three Thursday night.

I'm still wrestling with the idea of potentially seeing my two favorite teams playing for the championship...something I've never had to face before.

Would my happiness for whichever team would hoist the Cup outweigh my disappointment for the team that will have come so close, only to come up short.

I hope I get to find out.

I certainly don't want to see San Jose, or Montreal win it all.

At least the Flyers don't have to worry about giving up a 3-0 lead in a series, after just completing a comeback from down 3-0.

Uh-oh, the Blackhawks are now up 3-0. San Jose has the recent Flyers comeback to use as inspiration. I knew I could find a way to feel bad about the Hawks 3-0 lead!!!

On tap for today, the Flyers and Habs in Game 4.

A good start would be nice for Philly. Hopefully we can get more shots like this fantastic picture from game two...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Flying High

Well, it took one of the most unbelievable comebacks in the history of sports -- not an exaggeration -- for me to get off my hind quarters and make a post on here.

The Philadelphia Flyers not only rallied from down three games to none in their Eastern Conference Semi-final series against the Boston Bruins to win after taking four straight games, but they won the final game last night rallying from a 3-0 defecit to win 4-3!

Unfathomable. If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I would have never, EVER believed it.

And, how exactly did THIS Flyers team pull off the (nearly) impossible? They had a decent year, but nothing special. They generated zero buzz heading into the playoffs. Heck, they had to win on the final day of the year just to get in as a 7th seed.

When this series started to head downhill, who would have ever thought that THIS group would rally?

Winning the series? Yeah, right. Winning game four was a minor miracle.

Oh yeah, they also lost their starting goalie in game 5.

No problem.

And this isn't just a Flyers fan trumpeting a great comeback. This almost never happens. In ANY sport.

Just four times now, in almost 70 years, in ANY of the three sports that utilize a 7-game series has a team rallied from down 0-3 to win it.

Three of those four times it's happened in the NHL.

The other time was the Red Sox win over the Yankees in 2004.

So, how does it feel to be on the other end, Boston?

And, the craziest thing is that the Flyers now have home ice advantage in the Conference Finals, thanks to Montreal's even wilder run in the playoffs, knocking off the number 1-seed, followed by the defending Cup Champions.

Which sets up a tantalizing Cup Finals possiblity, as it is certainly within reason for Philly to advance along with Chicago (the 2-seed in the Western Conference).

The Blackhawks are my 2nd favorite team. Although, the gap between the Flyers and Blackhawks for my prime rooting interest is very small.

So much so, that if that matchup were to take place, I'm not sure I would be able to root for either side. I very well could cheer every goal and watch every game with a big smile on my face knowing that one of my teams would win the Stanley Cup.

Both teams are due. The Hawks haven't won since 1961, and the Flyers haven't won since 1975.

Maybe last night was the Flyers Cup win -- to a certain extent, of course. They could very well come out flat in the series with Montreal, and fail to advance, having spent so much energy rallying to beat Boston.

But, their place in history is already secure. What they did last night will always be mentioned in any conversation about great comebacks.

I watched the last two minutes of the game with my nine-year old daughter, after successfully convincing her to join me.

I told her that what she was watching was history. She's not much of a sports fan, has no allegiance to Philadelphia -- as I do -- and probably won't watch many more games this season, unless it's a similar game or series clinching moment that's about to happen, but I bet she'll never forget what she saw last night.

I know I won't. Either will the rest of the sports world.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Them Crooked Vultures

I'm just now getting around to listening to Them Crooked Vultures, featuring John Paul Jones, Dave Grohl and Josh Homme, and while the comparisons to Led Zeppelin (Jones' old band) and Queens of the Stone Age (Homme's current band) are valid, upon listening to the propulsive "Scumbag Blues" -- check it out below -- I'm getting a different vibe.

Listen to the first minute or so of this song, and tell me it doesn't sound like a Cream record.

Homme gets the falsetto going, and channels some Jack Bruce during this one. And, it's not too difficult to picture Eric Clapton laying down the riffs, either.

However, it is EXTREMELY difficult picturing Ginger Baker being able to pound out the rhythm on this track, at least the Ginger Baker of today, who can barely get out of a chair to take a leak, let a lone drive the beat of this infectious thumper.

So, as much fun as it is to pretend that Cream still exists over 40 years since they premiered, it's more realistic to think of this as a Cream song, circa 1973.

Monday, March 15, 2010


I gotta hand it to the guys from OK Go. After creating a web sensation with the video for their “breakthrough” song, “A Million Ways” several years ago – homemade footage of the four band members in a choreographed dance routine, which was never originally intended to be the actual video for the song, but became just that after it received high praise online – I was expecting them to rest on their laurels.

But, then they hit the treadmills for the very entertaining video for “Here It Goes Again”, creating another web hit (it is reportedly one of the Top 50 most viewed videos of all-time online).

Then, there’s the odd, but still fun-to-watch video for the song, “Do What You Want,” a song that is all too familiar in my house, as it appears on our Guitar Hero game for Nintendo DS.

Now, they’ve gone Rube Goldberg on us.

Using a “Rube Goldberg Machine” – a very addicting chain reaction of events based on precise measurements, timing, and complexity, that in this case, took months to create – OK Go has unleashed the latest of their video hits, for the song, “This Too Shall Pass.”

Sometimes in the middle of the day, it’s nice to pull up one of these videos, just sit back and smile at the creativity, and energy these guys have.

I actually like their music, too.

Check this out…

And, as if this video wasn't enough goodness for this song, there's even a different version that is a treat as well.

Friday, March 12, 2010

American Idol: Paige DeChausse

A few days ago, I had a chance to interview Paige DeChausse, who competed on American Idol this season, and advanced to the Hollywood Round.

Paige is from Morris, Illinois -- one of the many towns where I work these days -- and it was fun to get some behind the scenes scoop from someone who has actually been through at least the initial round.

While she didn't advance past round two, Paige is determined to take another stab at it in the future, spending her time between now and then singing with her blues bands (J.P. and the Cats, and Chicago Blues Angels).

You can hear the interview, which aired earlier this month on 107.1 FM, WSPY in Plano (there's town number two), by clicking here for part one, and here for part two.

More Paige...

...her American Idol audition

Performing at Miss Kitties saloon in Naperville, IL

singing with Chicago Blues Angels in St. Charles, IL

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pitchers and Catchers Have Reported...

...and I have a song in my heart. Phillies Fever!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Super Sunday

The first Super Bowl I remember, was also -- to me -- one of the best ever: Super Bowl XIII, when Pittsburgh beat Dallas 35-31 in Miami.

I was just seven years old at the time, and even though this was my first go-around of an NFL season, I knew two things already...the Eagles were heartbreakers (they blew the wildcard game that season 14-13 in Atlanta as their kicker -- the immortal Mike Michel -- not only missed his first extra point attempt, but also pulled a game winning 34-yard field goal in the final seconds, as Atlanta rallied from down 13-0 with two touchdowns in the final five minutes. On Christmas Eve. Thanks, Eagles for preparing me for the next thirty plus years of heartache), and the other thing I knew, I hated Dallas.

They were the defending champs, arrogant, "America's Team", and at the age of seven, I wasn't yet able to fully comprehend the power and glory of their best asset - the cheerleaders.

So, the Steelers were the clear cut team to root for. As the old -- and still current -- saying goes, my two favorite teams are the Eagles, and whoever plays the Cowboys.

As for the game itself, I know much more about it now then I can recall from watching it the first time. I've read, and seen highlights of that game many times, but from my memories of watching it, all I remember is that Pittsburgh took a big lead, Jackie Smith dropped a sure touchdown pass, and Dallas almost rallied to win.

But there was something magical about Steelers-Cowboys. From what I had heard, they played a great Super Bowl X (links can be found later in the post), and they were, along with Dallas, the two best teams of the late 70's.

So, on this early morning of Super Bowl 44 (can't even figure out the roman numerals for it), it never hurts to take a look back at some of the earlier games, and appreciate what came before the big spectacle we're about to get today.

If you don't have the time to sit through, and sift through the links below, Hulu has recently added the NFL Network to its library, where you can find old Super Bowl Highlight videos. Classic stuff.

Part one of Super Bowl XIII is below. Amazingly, it hasn't been pulled by the NFL. For the rest of the game, plus other Steeler Super Bowl wins, go here and either do a search, or scroll thru this fine gentleman's selection of videos.

If you're a football fan, it's worth it.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Super Bowl(er)

Do you know who this woman is?

Probably not, but you should. Her name is Kelly Kulick, and last weekend she became the first woman ever to win a Professional Bowlers Association Men's Tournament.

Take that, Michelle Wie!

Kulick -- who was eligible to bowl in the PBA's Tournament of Champions after winning the PBA Women's World Championship in 2009 -- defeated (more like "stomped") Chris Barnes 265-195 last Saturday for the historic win.

Just getting to bowl in this event was quite an accomplishment for Kulick...but to WIN IT?!?! Truly amazing.

I know, bowling isn't quite on the same level as winning a men's golf tournament -- something Wie, and other women have tried -- because on any given day, anyone with a pulse can go bowl a 200, while going out and carding a six-under on a pro course can only be accomplished by a select few, but still, Kulick was able to consistently put up big numbers all week long, and on television, too.

This wasn't just a one-game thing. She had to compete all week long, earn her trip to the TV finals, and then get it done with all of the pressure on.

What made it even cooler for me was that I was watching it happen live.

I was eating lunch, looking for something to watch, when I saw that a PBA event was on ESPN. As a former league bowler, and big fan of the old-time telecasts on ABC with Chris Schenkel and Nelson Burton, Jr., I always like checking out pro bowling on TV.

When I put the event on, however, I saw a woman warming up. Right away, I reached for the remote, because -- sorry ladies -- I have no interest in watching pro women bowl, unless they're hot. Which -- sorry ladies -- is rarely the case.

Then I realized what was about to happen, as it was Kulick warming up to bowl in the title match against Barnes.

Suddenly, history was (potentially) about to happen. And, Kulick delivered.

On this weekend before the Super Bowl, I thought it was a perfect time to recognize a super bowler.

In case you missed the match, here's the 2nd half of it...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Championship Sunday

Nothing gets me more in the mood for a day of compelling conference championship games than this CLASSIC NFL Films piece from about 20 years ago on the sideline banter from head coaches.

I realize most of these clips are from the prehistoric age of football -- I can't even say NFL, since these are so old that a lot of them are from the AFL -- but I'd be hard pressed to imagine any of the newer clips being so good that it would trump what I've displayed for you above.

My friend, Brian and I have watched this seven minute montage more times than I care to admit.

We debate over and over about which line is the best...

"Get him out of there, because he HAS no hands."

"Let's run an eight eighty-eight, deep down the F&%$ing middle and hope for a pass interference penalty, don't you think?"


"They're KILLIN' me Whitey, just KILLIN' me!"

Too many to choose from. Pick your fave in the comments section.

I'm Nutty

I just wanted to take a moment to express my love -- an everlasting, and long lasting one at that -- for Nutty Bars.

I can't get enough of these things.

And, I've only returned to them within the last couple of years.

I've always enjoyed the combination of chocolate and peanut butter (and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are in the team photo as far as favorite treats, too), and there's something about the texture and taste of Nutty Bars that makes them a daily staple in my life.

I used to eat them all the time when I was a kid. Back then, though, I ate them complete different.

You've probably done it, too.

The old "take each layer of the wafer off one at a time and lick the peanut butter out of each hole, then eat the chocolate wafer and move on to the next layer" trick.

Some nights, I'd eat one of the two wafers in the package that way, and eat the other one intact. Some nights I'd go for it and eat each one by breaking it apart.

It certainly made the eating experience last longer -- always a plus with a food I love -- and it brought me closer to the Nutty Bar. More intimate.

Okay, I may be going overboard a bit, but you get the idea.

For whatever reason, as I got older, I went away from the Nutty Bar. No real reason. I don't even remember why, actually.

But a couple of years ago while grocery shopping, I noticed a big display of Nutty Bars on sale for $1.00 a box. It was like running into an old flame ten years later and they still look as hot as they did in the old days. All the memories come back, even the ones about eating peanut butter out of their holes.

Come on, folks. I'm talking about the Nutty Bars here.

So, I bought a(bout six) box(es).

I've been hooked again ever since. It's the highlight of my lunch each day. That first bite is always a knee buckler. And, I don't separate the wafers anymore. It's just eaten the way it was designed to, and that's fine by me.

Maybe I had forgotten how good Nutty Bars tasted, and that's why I was away from them for so long, but, man, when you take that first bite and remember how good it is...mmmm, mmmm, mmmm.

Same way I feel each time I bite into a Pringle, Funyun, or a Susie-Q. "Man, that tastes GREAT!"

So, next time you're out and about and you see Nutty Bars at the Little Debbie display, grab a box. Bring back those old memories, or discover a taste sensation.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have five more boxes in my basement right now, that -- after a binge purchase on a day when they were on sale again for $1.00 a box -- have an expiration date of January 31st.

Time to get my Nutty on.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Conan vs. Jay: Historic Confrontation

How epic has this battle been between Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, and NBC?

It's been very entertaining to say the least, and considering how much not only Jay and Conan are talking about it on their own shows -- which isn't surprising -- but how much play it's getting on every other late night show (and just about every place else), this is turning into an unprecedented feud.

Ratings are skyrocketing, late night shows have gone from "over saturated" to "can't miss", and Jay Leno has gone from killing a network to inadvertently saving it (by being a first rate pud and kicking Conan to the curb, thus allowing NBC to restore an eventual lineup of regular programming in Leno's current 9pm central time slot) all within a span of a few months.

It makes me wish I was able to stay up to see all the shenanigans.

So Jay will go back to his old slot, Conan will get a settlement deal, then resurface on Fox against Jay, and hopefully kick his ass.

Sure has been fun to follow, from Conan's letter, to Kimmel's grilling of Leno, to countless jokes, impressions, and reactions to this one of a kind story, that certainly is far from over.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Yet Another Thud

Maybe I'm bad luck.

After a whole season of staying home for Eagles games, and either watching them on network TV, following along with an internet gamecast, or catching occasional live cut-ins on the NFL Network's Redzone channel -- a piece of brilliance that deserves a hundred blog posts singing its praises -- the last two weeks, I decided to go out to an establishment to cheer on my beloved (and perennially disappointing) Iggles.

Each of the last two weeks, including last night, they've had their ass handed to them on a silver (with blue star) platter.

Before these past two weeks, the previous time I went out to watch the Iggles was in last year's NFC Championship game in Arizona. That was a more crushing defeat. I had belief in that game. They were VERY close to advancing to the Super Bowl...where they probably would have choked again, but that's a different story.

I went into last week's regular season finale still believing this Iggles team had a chance this year. All they needed was a road win in Dallas, and they'd be 12-4 (pretty impressive), have a two-seed (a week off, then at least one home game), and a legitimate shot at reaching the Super Bowl.

But, after watching them get shallacked 24-0, which ended up giving them the six-seed (three straight road games, starting right back in big-D, or Arlington, or wherever the hell they put that monstrosity of a stadium), I lost all hope. ALL of it.

Not once all week did I feel any excitement about the wild card game. Not once did I feel any hope that they could turn it around and get on a run like last year -- when they reached the NFC title game also as a six-seed.

And, my plan all along yesterday was to sit at home on a Saturday night, drink a few beers, pause the DVR, and start watching the game after the kids went to bed so they wouldn't have to see or hear my frustration with what I fully expected to be another loss to the hated Cowboys.

My brother called me mid-afternoon yesterday and said he and several of his buddies, that I've hung with numerous times over the years for various football games of yore, were going to a new sports bar in Aurora to watch the game, and wanted to know if I was interested.

After some debate, I figured that it would probably be the last chance I'd get to go cheer on my team at a place like that -- which is always more fun than watching it alone at your house -- so I decided to go.

I don't want to say it was a mistake, because I did have a good time sharing misery with the rest of the group -- who, surprisingly carries a good assortment of Eagles fans (rare for us in Illinois) -- but, it certainly was a letdown watching another thud last night from the guys in green.

In fact, we were paying more attention to the bar's main event, the Blackhawks game (it was a Chris Chelios establishment) as they roared out to a 5-1 lead in their game -- a game they would eventually lose in a shootout.

That's just it though. I never got all that upset last night. Sure, we were disappointed, but I knew it was coming. I never had faith after last week. The team is a mess. None of their wins came against a playoff team. They were suddenly racked with injuries, they looked listless on defense, abandoned the running game (surprise!) and seemed to have lost whatever mojo they built while rattling off their six game win streak heading into week 17.

So, as I sit here on the morning after yet another Iggles season that has ended without a Super Bowl ring, I'm starting to get disturbingly used to these final chapters, and it's not even getting me that upset anymore.

The Phillies title in 2008 I'm sure has taken away some of that frustration, but the more I see McNabb, or Andy Reid, who, yes, have been there for what has unquestionably been the most successful run the franchise has ever known, the more it becomes apparent that these two, working together, are just not good enough to be great...if that makes any sense. They're good enough to be good. Plain and simple. They're not good enough to go all the way.

Maybe it's time for one of them to go. Or both.

I've seen this movie too many times, and the ending is the same every year.

The fact that it's not even getting me that upset anymore is what is troubling me the most.

Spring training is just 38 days away.