Wednesday, December 28, 2005

End of Year Tidbits

1. Something that you may not know about me is that I’m a fan of the Monkees. If you don’t know who they are, then you never had the pleasure of watching their T.V. show (I believe it was made in the 60’s, but has been shown on T.V. many times since). Unfortunately, EBAY is trying very hard (and becoming marginally successful) in combating my “fandom.” It seems like every commercial now is an EBAY commercial – you know, the ones where people are buying, playing with, or wearing an “IT.” Each of these commercials features the Monkees “Sleepy Jean” song. I used to love this song, but now I can’t stand it anymore. My hope is that no other company has any plans for using songs like “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” “Stepping Stone,” “I’m a Believer,” and “That was Then, This is Now.”

2. Can anybody believe that we have had to undergo the annoying career of Kobe Bryant for 10 years already? As luck would have it, he is only 27, so we will probably have to deal with the Diva for another 10 years. He scored 62 points a few nights ago, which shouldn’t be shocking because he hardly ever passes the ball (as can also be evidenced by his astounding 0 assists that same night). I can’t figure out why I find it so hard to watch pro basketball with all of the “teamwork” that goes on.

3. I hope 2006 will feature better movies than 2005 did. What a clunker. I went to about 4 movies this year, and I wasn’t bowled over by any of them (Batman, King Kong, Just Friends) except for “Walk the Line.” I didn’t even really like Johnny Cash prior to the movie, but after seeing it, my wife and I actually listened to AND enjoyed the greatest hits compilation that I for some reason purchased years ago.

4. I can’t believe another year has just zoomed by. Does anybody else enjoy watching those “Year in Review” specials that are being aired on a 25-hour-per-day basis the last week of the year? I love them, and I’m always astounded by how many things of significance actually occur in a given year.

5. Have a Happy New Year Everybody!!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Acoustically Speaking ...

I’ve always prided myself on how well I can play air guitar. At times I can literally transform myself into Pete Townsend, Keith Richards, and even Jimmy Hendrix (when drunk enough). I have always wished that I would’ve taken guitar lessons when I was younger. I figure, with the previously mentioned air guitar moves I currently have, mixed with some actually musical skills, I’d be dangerous.

Now, I have my chance. My wife surprised me by purchasing an acoustic guitar for me for Christmas. I’ve been slowly practicing the last few days, and I’ve come to the shocking conclusion that actually learning to play the guitar is a wee bit tougher than learning how to play air guitar. Also, the air guitar skills do not transfer to actually playing guitar.

I can’t wait for the day when I can play some good “Keef” guitar riffs on songs like “Satisfaction,” “Start Me Up,” and other Stones classics. As of right now, however, I’m having trouble picking up “When The Saints Go Marching In.” Maybe the Saints’ football team will be respectable by the time I can actually play (of course, they’ll probably be located in L.A. by then).

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Deal or No Deal

Finally, a game show like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, only without that annoying Regis Philbin, and without any questions that make me feel inferior (stupid, retarded, brain dead, etc.). I discovered this game (thanks to Ken) last night, and my wife and I were both instantly hooked – which is kind of shocking because she likes every reality show ever made, and I’m a fan of sports and pro wrestling.

The show is simplistic in nature, but is very over-the top with regards to the stage, the lights, and the hot babes (will discuss shortly). The gist of this contest is for the contestant to pick one number out of 26. This number is his/hers to keep. This number can equal a money amount ranging from 1 penny to 1 million dollars. The contestant is not shown this number until the end. He/she has the opportunity to “sell” his number to a banker after each round of picking other numbers (in the first round, he picks 6 other numbers to see what the money amounts are behind each one – this will be directly associated with how munch money the banker offers to buy the contestants number).

However, to make this game more “sexy,” the numbers are actually on briefcases … these briefcases are being held by unbelievably sexy women … 26 of them on the stage at once!!! (Smart move, NBC!!).

Additionally, the host is none other than Howie Mandel – a hysterically funny comedian from the 1980’s who got less funny when he released that “Bobby’s World” cartoon. Howie does a great job as the host of Deal or No Deal, BUT he does not get to improvise and do any of his comedy schtick (which is unfortunate for the Mandel fans like myself). He is totally serious the entire show – hardly even smiling. And after each round, he uses the increasingly more annoying phrase, “Deal or no deal.” This is comparable to Regis and the phrase that made me want to punch him in the throat – “Is that your final answer?”

The stage and lighting are corny, but apparently not corny enough for the NBC executives, as they decided to add a “banker” who calls Howie Mandel after each round from a “simulated” office upstairs (you only see his shadow – how retarded!). He calls down to offer the contestant money for the briefcase (I believe it is based on a percentage chance of what the contestant could have in his/her briefcase, depending on what money amounts are left). I could do without this gimmick, but it does add some much-needed stress and suspense to the contest.

If you like game-shows, and are able to get past some of the corny nuances (if you are a fan of game-shows, you have obviously gotten past this before), then I think you will like this game. Much like Wheel of Fortune, there isn’t much along the lines of grey-matter usage needed for this game. So, if you like games like Jeopardy, you’ll hate it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

More and More Nuggets

1. Johnny Damon signed with the Yankees yesterday. I guess it shouldn’t be a shock. With the way baseball is, if you are a good baseball player, sooner or later you’ll probably be playing with the Yankees. Certainly for small market teams, they have to find creative ways to even remotely stay competitive with a team that can basically buy every player in the league like the Yankees could. Some people claim this is good for baseball. I’ve heard the arguments, and I’m not sold on them. Sure pure capitalists and the far right-wingers (I consider myself a moderate) love this. It is what America is all about to them. Don’t worry about the rest of the baseball teams in Major League Baseball. Survival of the fittest. Screw revenue sharing. Forget about salary caps. Competition blows. Level playing fields????? F that! Parody is so bloody overrated. Who cares if the NFL is successful?

2. I just figured out another petty thing that I hate. I thought of this nugget this morning as I was getting out of the shower. I really, really hate getting out of the shower in the winter-time. The cold feels borderline unbearable. I know – I need some cheese with my whine. It certainly is colder in Siberia, Alaska, and the Clinton bedroom, but it still is a bit unbearable, at least in my mind.

3. Sue and I are going to Caesars in Atlantic City on Thursday night. We got a one-night stay comped, which is totally cool. I’m really excited, mainly because I am addicted to the Wheel of Fortune slot machine. Ever since Vegas, I have had “nightmares” about going to casinos and not being able to find this machine. I wake up in sweats screaming “No!!!!!!!!!” because of this. What’s that Gambler’s Anonymous number again?

4. Did I see a preview of a movie that involved Jim Carey, and was actually a comedy? Now, if we can only get Tom Hanks to do Bachelor Party 2, the universe will once again have a semblance of balance.

5. I read on (I think) that Brittany Spears is suing US magazine for printing a story regarding Brittany being worried that one of her “posse” has a videotape of her and her husband doing some nasty sexual things on camera. I am torn on this. I am so repulsed by Brittany, her music, her marriage, her W.T. qualities. But, I usually enjoy watching these provocative videos of celebrities. I’m not sure if I should watch this if I happen to somehow receive a copy of it.

Monday, December 19, 2005

A Few More Nuggets

1. Was anyone else a little pissed that the President’s speech came on when Family Guy was supposed to be on? Why can’t the president pick another night – like maybe when American Idol is on?

2. Burger King is now selling the Triple Whopper. Do you get a free tombstone with this? You have to sort of admire BK for blatantly not giving a crap about healthy foods, instead of masking things like Wendy’s and McDonalds.

3. I saw King Kong this weekend. It was o.k., but certainly not “the best movie ever made,” which some commercials were claiming. It was about ½ hour too long, and Jack Black was annoying in the movie. Also, that actor with the big nose – there were too many close-ups on him. You could see his brain through his nostrils.

4. Since the Eagles’ season is basically over, and their backup qb’s suck, they should do a promotion to allow a lucky fan in the stands to be a qb for the first quarter. How much worse can it be?

Friday, December 16, 2005

What Makes a Good Coach?

My cousin and I had a “discussion” about NFL coaches last night, and the talk intrigued (annoyed) me. I shouldn’t be surprised by being annoyed when “discussing” certain subjects with my cousin, as she has also repeatedly defended Michael Jackson and his perverted escapades with children, claiming that even though he is eccentric and may step over the bounds of decency and, um, ethics with children, he is not guilty or at fault because he had a difficult childhood and his parents weren’t very nice. Arguing with her regarding this would be about as fruitful as arguing with a brick wall.

So, my cousin informs me last night that Andy Reid is a terrible football coach. Being a student of the game of football, I was thrown back by this statement. I thought maybe that she had perhaps forgotten about the past years in which Andy Reid has been head coach of the Eagles, or maybe that she had failed to realize that Reid was the coach since 1999 and not in fact a rookie coach. Armed with this knowledge, I tried to share it with her, informing her that Andy Reid had taken the Eagles to the NFC Championship game 4 years in a row, and even took them to a Super Bowl. She “reasoned” that he is a bad coach because he didn’t win the Super Bowl.

As ridiculous of a claim as this is, I decided to entertain myself by asking her who she thinks is a good coach. She said that Tony Dungy is a good coach. Now, I wouldn’t normally disagree with this assessment, but I was perplexed that she would anoint Dungy as a good coach even though he didn’t meet a single requirement she has for good coaches. In fact, I believe that Dungy never even made it to a championship game in his coaching tenure. I notified her of this, to which she shrugged and said he was different, so he does fit her “credentials.”

I decided to take a different path to try and discover just how many holes I could find in her argument. Since Super Bowl victories are at the top of her list for good coaches (or maybe not, who knows anymore), I asked her if she thought that Barry Switzer and Brian Billick were good coaches. She stared back at me with a glassy look. Then, I decided to ask her if Bill Bellicheck was a good coach, despite his Patriots struggling this season. Again, no response.

I thought that maybe now she would agree that Reid was a good coach, and of course I was wrong again. She said that he was not a good coach and the reason they won so many games was because of the quarterback. Seconds away from spontaneous combustion, I squeezed out the following question: Doesn’t Andy Reid have anything to do with how well the quarterback plays? Shockingly enough, her answer was yes and no. To the best of my recollection (insanity was slowly starting to creep in), her argument was that when the Eagles played well, McNabb was the reason, and when they played poorly, Andy Reid was the reason.

Because of rising blood pressure, and brain leakage out of my ears, I had to stop the dialogue there.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Behold, the Samba!

Back in high school (before electricity), my preference in footwear was indoor soccer shoes. In my mind, they were trendy, fashionable, athletic, comfortable, and just plain cool. Diadora’s, to Puma’s, to Addidas Samba Classics – these were the brands I hungered for.

This fad continued in college for a while, but slowly died out for me, thanks to the addition of hiking boots, cross trainers, and a real job. The sheer haste in which these sneakers (and the desire to have them) drained from my brain was astounding. In fact, I had not even given a thought to these sneakers for years … until a friend of mine displayed the new Puma flats that he had recently purchased.

Within seconds, the burning for a pair of soccer flats returned to my cranium. For months, I had searched department stores for a pair of these all-of-a-sudden elusive soccer flats. I knew that I could always go to a sporting goods store in down-town Media if my “jones” got out of control, but I didn’t want to make the extra effort (when you are in your 30’s, extra effort becomes synonymous with migraine).

Then, last night it happened. Whilst doing some final Christmas (holiday to all the non-Christians) shopping at a local Kohls, I strolled by the athletic footwear department, and heard what I thought to be angels singing. I then saw an immensely bright light emanating from isle two. Sure enough, I began to make out the shape of what looked to be an Addidas Samba soccer flat. “Halleluiah,” the angels did sing. I hoped against hope that Kohls would come through in the clutch with a pair that was my size. “Halleluiah,” chimed the winged do-gooders a second time!

Of course, I won’t be able to wear these until the 25th, but maybe I’ll be able to find a pair of acid washed jeans and a hideously blue Oakley windbreaker to complete the ensemble (mullet, anyone?).

Monday, December 12, 2005

1. I was very saddened by the announcement that Richard Pryor passed on Saturday. It was not a surprise, as he had been rapidly declining in health for nearly 20 years. As I said in my other blog, I remember somehow convincing my mom to buy me an album of his back when I was 10 or 11. My mom asked if it was dirty, and I guess I used the Jedi mind-trick to somehow get her to make that fateful purchase. What an eye-opener the album was – talk about eatin’ pussy, and turds, and his father beating the crap out of him – all of it delivered in an absolutely uniquely comedic way. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard about such troubling issues. He will be missed. Here are my 5 favorite Richard Pryor movies:
A. Silver Streak
B. Stir Crazy
C. Hear No Evil, See No Evil
D. Brewster’s Millions
E. The Toy

2. I got my hair cut this weekend – of course there are many punchlines that one could use after this sentence. Some of my favorities are:
A. So, did you get both hairs cut?
B. Did the barber offer you a discount?
C. What did you do with the other 23 hours and 55 minutes of your day?
D. How much extra did the shine cost?
Anyway, I have come to the conclusion that I am probably the best customer of all time. I know how to tilt my head just right for each position (starting to sound like a porn – ugh). The barber even compliments me. I rule.

3. You know the football season is going bad when you say after an Eagles loss, “They really played well. I was proud of them.”

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

1. I am really getting irritated by that Pepsi commercial where the New England Patriots draft a Pepsi machine. Does this make me want to (a) buy a Pepsi, and (b) root for the Patriots? The answer is an emphatic NO! My first question is what does a Pepsi machine that catches footballs have to do with the taste of a Pepsi? My gut reaction is that it has nothing to do with it, but you might have other opinions. Secondly, would I ever root for an organization that drafts a Pepsi machine? Again, the answer is no … although a Pepsi machine would probably be better than Jerome McDougle.

2. Simon Cowell (sp?) just received a new 5-season contract from FOX. Thank goodness. I am so happy that American Idol will continue to grace television screens across the country, and continue to help in rapidly decaying people’s minds, as well as killing off terrestrial radio. Certainly, contestants on this show have great voices, BUT, there is no creativity outside of that. They sing other people’s songs -usually ones that are overplayed, so I’m sure we’ll hear gems like Photograph from Nickleback, and fecal loads from Three-Doors Down. Where is the creativity in this? Shouldn’t these “idols” be judged on songs they write and arrange themselves? Wouldn’t this be a better show than watching glorified wedding singers? Is FOX’s audience this dumb?

3. I am really getting sick of these “Red Tag” sales that Ford and GM are running. Hey guys, are you getting the picture yet? Nobody likes cars that are shaped like boxes.

4. Anyone else annoyed with any KFC commercial that has the “Sweet Home Alabama” song playing in it? KFC stands for Kentucky – Fried – Chicken. Most people outside of Alabama and Kentucky know that Alabama is not located in Kentucky. Stop playing this song, dammit! You are starting to sound like a GM commercial (playing old, overplayed rock songs to sell your product).

5. The thing I hate most about snow is the salting and over-salting of the streets. I know it is done as a safety precaution, but there is more salt on the street in front of my house than in the Dead Sea. On a positive note, I have learned a new word. That word is Brine. Apparently, brine is a mixture of 25% salt and 75% water, and this brine is useful in preventing ice build-up and melting ice. I learned this after the 82nd time it was mentioned by all of the local news stations. Thank goodness for local news. I am sure I will only hear this about 7,437 more times during this winter season.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Some Brief Nuggets

1. I came up with yet another fantastic underrated moment in life – finding a parking spot that is really close to the main entrance of either a department store or a mall. In the 6 hour marathon of Christmas shopping that my wife and I “indulged” in on Saturday, this happened a few times. You walk with a kind of a swagger when this happens … especially on a frigid day.

2. On Friday night, my wife’s office had a holiday happy hour at a restaurant in Olde City, Philadelphia. It was a great time until a coworker’s husband had his car towed by the city’s towing “service.” Of course, since I’m a helluva nice guy (hold back the snickering), I drove the guy to the lot, and waited around to make sure everything was o.k. Now, I know that Philly is very bass-ackwards about stuff, but they are absolutely retarded when it comes to what needs to be done to get your car back from the lot. One has to stand in three different lines in this routine. Efficiency is certainly not something the city is striving for with this. There needs to be a complaint filed about this, so that the city will get off of its lazy ass and redesign this “experience.”

3. Penn State vs. Florida State in the Orange Bowl????? You gotta be kidding me! As much as I want to see Joe Paterno’s team skull f**k the criminals, this is an outrage. Penn State has 1 loss and Florida State has 4 losses. Penn State is ranked 3rd in the country, while Florida State is ranked 23rd. How can the BCS logically explain that their system is not flawed? Remember, I want logical answers, not answers like “Well, Florida State did win the ACC title game, so technically they are entitled to this.” That answer is not good enough for me.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Battle of the Bands

A friend of mine who shall remain nameless, came up with this story, which I thought was absolutely brilliant. I had to share this with all (both?) of you:

I am interested in the success of bands like Nickelback, and others like them regardless of genre. Not in the way the millions of people who inexplicably purchased their albums are interested; presumably they appreciate the music. No, it is a wonder of biology that a human can squat over a cd and leave a steaming pile of turdsong; I am interested in how bands, Nickelback for example, achieved fame crafting such shit songs. Not since Train’s 2001 single, “Drops of Jupiter”, has a song caused me to wince to the degree Nickelback’s latest fingernails-across-a-chalkboard, guy-snagging-his-balls-on-top-of-a-chainlink-fence effort, “Photograph”, does. Very nearly was I the first person in history to throw up through his ears after hearing that melodramatic, turgid mess[1].

Equally nauseating is the gravitas with which this soulless band announced that they are straight up hard rock, not post-grunge. Wow. Thanks for the clarification guys. How stupid of me to overlook the fact that there are many kinds of dogshit. I certainly do not wish to diminish your effort by assuming you simply add lyrics created from the Magnetic Poetry Word Magnet set on the studio fridge, to the generic guitar chord scheme you used for all previous songs and share with 3 Doors Down.

Never having been a musician, I have no appreciation for the creative process involved with making music. Obviously the music produced by Nickelback and the rest of Satan’s house bands – Creed and the aforementioned 3 Doors Down (with apologies to all death metal bands out there, the Dark Prince more effectively possesses your soul if you listen to this crap, than if you listen to songs singing his praise) - comes by way of much blood, sweat and tears, and not squeezed from the giant pus-filled pimple found on the ass of their respective record companies. Of course, I could be completely wrong about the process. It may be as simple as the long black fingernail of His Dark Majesty scraping this song smegma from the foreskin of his festering cock.

So, with the creative input from Hell’s recording industry firmly established, we should examine how this music actually gets to our ears…

The Clear Channel Communications empire – with over 1,200 “listening outposts” in 247 of the 250 largest US markets – currently orbits the earth in their Death Star, destroying entire radio markets with their powerful song-repeating beam. Effectively, this beam - capable of shooting over a wide area, say the United States, a concentrated stream of mind-numbing songs, repeated hourly – saps an individual’s willpower to discover new music. For those of you who doubt the weapon’s effectiveness, I present the Billboard Top 10 Albums (week of November 26, 2005):

1. Kenny Chesney, Road & The Radio: Gay cowboy music. Every genre has its pop music and country is no different.

2. Various Artists, Get Rich or Die Tryin’ [original soundtrack]: Is anyone else bothered by the fact that 50 Cent looks like he plucks his eyebrows?

3. Various Artists, Now, vol. 20: This series’ popularity is baffling. Franz Ferdinand fan absentmindedly picks up the disc, probably horrified to see one of their songs included, then decides it must not be so bad since they included The Pussycat Dolls.

4. Neil Diamond, 12 Songs: Really no complaints here. Not a devoted fan but I give credit to anyone who is still popular after nearly 40 years in the business.

5. Nickelback, All The Right Reasons: Ah yes. Why we are here. I have yet to meet anyone who has admitted owning this disc. I’m sure rockin’ out the fuckin’ house as only “Gimme My” Nickelback can or, slutting around your bedroom pretending to be Britney Spears’ (or worse, Janet Jackson the Floppy Meatbag) is exciting, but if you are reduced to smuggling those respective CDs into your home like they are copies of “Little Boy Blew [Me]” or “Prison Rape: A Photographic History” then you probably shouldn’t waste your money.

6. Black Eyed Peas, Monkey Business: Classic case of a band who use to make good music until they taste enormous success and the dull hand of the record company executive vanilla-izes their creativity. Whitey strikes again.

7. Floetry, Flo’Ology: Have not yet heard this album, but their past work earns them a free pass.

8. Santana, All That I Am: “Now Sucks Due To My Temporary Insanity During Which I Agreed To Collaborate with The Crown Prince of Bland Music, Rob Thomas” is probably how the full title of Santana’s latest should read. Don’t get me wrong, Santana is a very talented musician, but Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty?! I have not seen a more unfortunate pairing since Alois Hitler and Klara Pƶlzl (and if you cannot figure out what they produced, please step in front of the next bus).

9. Destiny’s Child, #1’s: They are certainly atop one of my lists.

10. Kelly Clarkson, Breakaway: I won’t deny her ability to sing, but if songs of this sort by artists of this ilk were released without the massive support of record companies’ publicity departments would anyone ever notice? Many artists like this succeed because they are rammed down our throats, rather than on pure merit.

There are a few other notables in the Top 25 – Mariah Carey at #15 (so terrible that she was actually paid $23 million to NOT make music); Ashlee Simpson at #16 (do I really need to comment on this?); and the aforementioned Pussycat Dolls at #21 (Do we really need another group of pretty girls pretending to sing crap music? Didn’t N’Sync fill that role?).

Yet, after all that, I know this rant is an exercise in futility. Next month there will be another gob of thick mucous sliding down the Billboard chart; American Idol will continue churning out warm bodies for network holiday specials and anthologies filled with songs already covered 5,768 times; and Nickelback will release their next hit, “Try To Ignore The Fact That This Song Sounds Exactly Like The Others, Only Worse (If Such A Thing Is Possible)”.


[1] Fear of legal action due to unauthorized reprinting of lyrics prevents me from listing a sample. That and fear of my legs involuntarily kicking my own ass.

Some End-of-Year Lists and Awards:

Since I have nothing else important to write about today, I figured I’d put together some lists and awards, since 2005 is almost expired. I’ll probably have more in the coming weeks.

Karl’s X-mas Wish List of Items That Are Too Expensive For Him.
Mind you, I expect to get none of these presents, BUT if you ever come into a lot of money that you have no idea to spend, think of me kindly:
1. Rolling Stones personal concert. Do you realize that you can actually get the Stones to play a concert for you? Sure, the price is a little high, around $3 million, but the fact that you can actually reserve the world’s greatest rock band is pretty remarkable. I’m wondering if they take requests?
2. Megatouch Machine. I’m guessing that I have put around $1,000 into Megatouch machines over the course of my “career.” I would love to have one of these for my basement bar. Unfortunately, they run around $3,000 new, and $1,200 used. I can’t believe that they haven’t designed one of these for home use yet.
3. Indoor Virtual Golf Game. This causes a few issues. First, I don’t have the room in my current house for this (nor the ceiling space). Second, something like this would cost, at the very least, $30,000 –for the software alone.

Best Albums That I Purchased This Year.
With the continuing death of radio in the Philadelphia area, I figured I’d share some really good cds that would be worth purchasing for the people who are bored with the “same ol’, same’ ol.”
The Caesars “Thirty Nine Minutes of Bliss:” You’ve probably heard the one song on the I-Pod commercials. This group is very much part of the garage rock/punk wave that has, unfortunately, not really been heard in the Philadelphia market since Y-100 turned into urban crap. If you like groups like the Hives and the Vines, you’ll dig these guys. Great riffs and hooks, and a sound that is a little raw (which is a breath of fresh air, compared to the massively overproduced dung that is being played on the radio now).
Block Party “Silent Alarm:” This group is going to take the world by storm … that is, if satellite radio or internet radio really takes off (no stations in Philly support modern rock, and apparently this is the case around the country). The best song on the album is a song called “Banquet,” which sounds a lot like some earlier Police songs. Very catchy, even if you can’t understand what the lead singer is saying.
The Capes “Hello:” I don’t have this album yet, as cd stores in the area have been slow to update their selections. I discovered this group on one of the internet radio stations that I listened to. I have since heard all of the songs on their album and they are absolutely addicting. They sound like a cross between punk music, new wave, The Cars, and the Police.

Biggest Sports Disappointment of the Year:
Wow, living in Philly, we have so many choices. Should we go with the Phillies missing the playoffs yet again, but this time on the very last day of the season? Even though that one is very spicy, how about the fact that no Stanley Cup was awarded at all this year? Ouch – even though the Flyers annually let us down, the fact that the NHL didn’t play for an entire year is mind-boggling. My vote goes with the Eagles for not only losing the Super Bowl, but for the circus-like offseason, and the hideously bad regular season. It has not been a good year to be a Philadelphian.

Biggest Sports Surprise (positive) of the Year:
Not many to choose from here. I guess it was nice to see Afleet Alex do well, but I can’t give this award to a horse. Villanova had a great run in the basketball tournament last season, and it was nice to see Big 5 basketball alive and well (at least for Villanova and St. Joes.). I have to go with JoePa and the Penn State Nittany Lions football team this year. This team went a dismal 4-7 last season, and people were actually calling for Paterno’s head. This season, they are at the doorstep of a possible national championship game (Let’s hope that Texas AND USC lose, in addition to LSU losing). Joe-Pa was 1 second away from an undefeated season. Yes, Happy Valley is not located in Philly, but there are enough branch campuses and alumni in this area for it to be considered a “Philly” thing. Plus, nothing else good happened in Philly.