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.